Monday, July 28, 2008


My apologies for being so tardy of seems I'm eternally confronted by the waring factions of art and commerce. Though, for the life of me, I have no idea why that should be. I've never been one so ultimately jaded by the belief that all artist's are in the end, whores. I think, that if you believe that, then for you, it is so. Your art is based on the assumption that by putting a price on something it somehow debases it.

The sacred and the profane exist side by side and depending on where you chose to place your emphasis, there you are.

Anyway, I've been struggling through the arrival of the so-called "dog days" of summer....for some, a blessing, for those like me, well, if not a curse, then reeeally close. The commissioned work is nearly finished, and as usual, I fret and pace over making clear time to work further on the closing chapter of my furious, insane, rebellious, and utterly un-movie-make able book. No action figures, no video game on the horizon for this fabulous beast of legend.

Health revelations and struggles aside, it seems with the heat and humidity, things have settled into a war of attrition.

I honestly wish it were otherwise, but that's the unvarnished truth........and soon, another round of gathering commissions to further bedevil me.

So, I stay in the shade, and slogg forward just enough to give the illusion of progress.

One pays when one's perspective changes from sinner to saint......a terrible analogy to saddle myself with as I'm no saint....but it's the best I can do at the moment.

Be peaceful and do something beautiful.


Thursday, July 17, 2008


As usual, when I find something that really intrigues me, I soon discover the spooks, geeks and weirdos that run this joint, have arrived first. I swear, those guys can smell money before it even is money. They can smell potential money. And as is usually the case, poor people are in the way.

(warning, I've heard that to keep us free, our government watches those that watch Al Jazeera, so you may not want to look.......your choice.)

There is some great video here.. and here's a comment from an article I just read that explains the whole thing in black and, well, blue.

Niger was rated "the World's Poorest Country" by the UNDP in 2006 based on the standard of living . Niger has made vivid media headlines in recent years because of the starving and malnourished people there. And yet Niger is sixth in World production of uranium. Question: How can a country so rich in resources be the World's poorest country? Answer: Who controls the uranium? Niger has only been a "nation" for about 100 years. Before Niger existed, the people who lived there were self-sustaining, each with rights over their own territories. Niger was created by the French government, who owns the uranium mines in Arlit. Niger got its independence like other African countries, but the French never let go of indirect control over Niger, in order to continue to reap profits from exploiting Niger's natural resources. The stage was set for a racist independent government modeled after that of the French colonial one. Niger has several indigenous ethnic groups. The French favored the Songhay and Hausa because they were easily conquered, and they live in the south, where the French established their capital city of Niamey. The French hated the Tuaregs because they resisted having their homeland taken from them; they massacred Tuareg families in the early days to terrorize the Tuaregs into submitting. When Niger got its independence, power was turned over to a mostly Hausa/Songhay government, both of which have ancient animosities toward the Tuaregs. Hausa/Songhay are farmers, while Tuaregs were traditionally herders. Hausa/Songhay lived on the arable lands south of the Sahara, and Tuaregs lived on distant lands in the Sahara itself. Tuaregs have inhabited the vast expanses of the Central Sahara for thousands of years; the French divided up the Tuareg people by artificial borders to create Algeria, Mali and Niger. For thousands of years the Tuaregs were a self-sustaining people who were able to figure out a way to make a living in one of the world's harshest environments that nobody else wanted. But in the twentieth century, the Tuaregs were trapped and restricted in their annual herding cycles by artificial national borders, and marginalized on their own homeland, even after the independence. France has profited from cash crop production of peanuts and cotton among Songhay and Hausas in the south, but never considered the North good for much except recalcitrant Tuaregs who wanted their home back. Then uranium was discovered in the heart of Tuareg territories, just before Niger got its independence. Niger's government consists of a small elite group empowered and corrupted by international loans and gifts, along with military training and weapons doled out by the French and other major powers, including the U.S., who have various interests in Niger, whether exploitation of natural resources or positions of strategic vigilance in Saharan Africa. The policy has been to keep the ruling few contented, while letting the rest of the country struggle just to eat. Everyone is Niger is poor except for a handful of elite in positions of power who control the military. Food aid sent to alleviate hunger in Niger is routinely offloaded by the elite-controlled military and sold elsewhere for profit. Development funds, medical and food aid, are controlled by those in power, and reserved for their own ethnic groups, while the Tuaregs are denied any share. Peace Corps volunteers, UN workers and human rights agencies are well aware of these injustices. The people who suffer the most are those at a distance from the capital who are despised because of their ethnicity, namely Tuaregs in the North. They have been denied a share of any development funds that have come into the country. They are jobless and destitute. The Tuaregs live in a harsh environment, whether it's "beautifully desolate" or not. Global warming is making everyone's life a lot harder in Niger, but especially in the North, which is in the Sahara. Tuaregs have suffered through severe droughts for several decades now; many have died, many have lost their livestock, many are now stranded on their own homeland, without a hope to feed their children. The Tuaregs need jobs, and France has jobs to offer in their territory, but refuses to hire them. This is a disgrace and abomination. By the way, your article echos an error seen in a number of recent articles, which you should correct. The Tuaregs of Niger are not "light-skinned." Everybody in Niger is "dark-skinned," except for a few Arabs and other "white" immigrants and expatriots. Nigerien Tuaregs who come to the U.S. find that they are considered "blacks," because of their dark skin. Like Ethiopians, Chadians, Mauretanians, and other Saharan peoples, they are called the "red" people. The Songhay and Hausa are their distant cousins who live south of the Sahara, but are called "black" people. They are all "dark-skinned" indigenous Africans. Areva should be ashamed of itself. A company worth "Billions" should be able to at least take care of the people whose land and natural resources they have appropriated for their own profit. They should make the Tuaregs stockholders in Areva, and share the proceeds, so that the Tuaregs can rebuild their society. The French took Tuareg land through force and terrorism, and have pitted Hausa and Songhay against the Tuaregs, to maintain indirect control for their own profit, with no regard for the human beings they have dispossessed.


A quote from "Syriana"

Some trust fund prosecutor, got off-message at Yale, thinks he's gonna run this up the flagpole, make a name for himself, maybe get elected some two-bit, congressman from nowhere, with the result that Russia or China can suddenly start having, at our expense, all the advantages we enjoy here. No, I tell you. No, sir. Corruption charges! Corruption? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations. That's Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win.

And me?Well, I guess I still want a Tuareg will probably end up in a museum.

Oh those of you who have commissioned me to do things for you: hold tight, it's a lot of work to get out as fast as possible without slacking off on quality.

I may be a lot of things, but I'll never knowingly give out substandard work again.

Right then,

Be well you all.......much love,


Saturday, July 12, 2008


...Meanwhile, back at the ranch........

At the moment, I'm swamped with commissions. Thank God. The Bent Nail Studio family wins by a nose. All are interesting things for the most part, and I'm dedicated to doing my utmost for you all. My sincere thanks.

Also, here on the plains I've managed to pencil and script the first half of the last chapter of my interminable book.....I'd like to get the rest at least in an equally semi-finished state by the end of the month. Right now, it seems "do-able". If I can get that far, that soon, I'll more than likely be within striking distance of finishing completely late this fall, three years after I started......only a year off. I may get good at this.

A new interest to report, if you care. I've become fascinated by the Tuareg People of northern Africa. The photos above are a few I particularly like. The blue robes they traditionally wear are just stunning. I simply can't look away. They use real indigo of a type I've never seen in Celtic or tribal clothing native to more northern climes. In fact, I'm purchasing two scarves they wear for myself..... ( high fives himself.)now, if I could only find someplace that would sell me a real desert Tuareg Blue robe.

You bet your ass I'd wear it.

Luckily, they are known to be quiet tall. *whew*. But it's like finding an oasis in the high Sahara. Thank God I'm a stubborn bastard.

To all of you going to San D. better you than me......I can tell you, honestly, that I'll never go back unless things change very, very drastically. Which given pop culture, I doubt.

hope you all stay as cool and comfy as you'd like, and believe in real peace, inner and outer for those without any.


Friday, July 4, 2008


"Uncle John"

By Tom Rapp

The wind winds the platform

Blows through your suit creases

You want us To crucify the enemy for Jesus

With your chamber-of-commerce soul

You talk of war so bold

God is on our side, but He's lost in your wallet-fold

And the widows a-sighing

The children a-crying

The screams of the dying

Say you are lying, Uncle John

You pull out your Sunday God

And hold him up so proud

And say he is with us To the Applauding crowd

But the burn-blackened place

The shredded disfigured face

Don't say that God is Love

They say that you are Hate

And the widows a-sighing

The children a-crying

The screams of the dying

Say you are lying, Uncle John

You stand up on the platform

With the flag wrapped all around you

And tell us that the Bible says

To fight for it we're bound to

But the Red's for the blood we lose

The White's for the gauze they use

To cover burned-out blackened men

The rest is for the bodies numb and Blue

And the widows a-sighing

The children a-crying

The screams of the dying

Say you are lying Uncle John.
I love this place where I live.
So, lets put on some porn, eat some meat, douse ourselves in gasoline and celebrate.
I just cry.