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First Day Of Autumn For 2012 Is September 22—What Is Fall?

September 22 is the first day of fall for 2012.

(Above–The 1890 painting Autumn Rain by Julian Alden Weir.)

What exactly is fall?

Here is a definition.

From that defintion–

“The autumnal equinox marks the first day of the fall season. On this day, the Sun is again directly over the earth’s equator, and daylight lasts 12 hours in the Northern Hemisphere and decreasing. This day is typically recognized as September 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the first day of spring is recognized on September 23.”

Though I imagine we all get the idea no matter the specific definition. Even if it is our own idea of fall that we get.

The seasons mean different things to different people and the seasons mean different things depending on where you live.

Here are facts about why leaves change color from the United States National Arboretum.

The seasons may also mean something totally different from what we take them to represent in everyday thought.

Martin Luther King once said this—

“The sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.”

Here is the link to my 2012 Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List.  This is the best such resource on the web.

Metaphor gives life substance.

Above is a picture taken by Wing-Chi Poon of the Lost Maples State Natural Area in Texas.

This park is in Bandera and Real counties in Texas.  It is yet another resource provided by government for the good of the general public.

I turned 45 a few days ago. I don’t suppose that it is yet the autumn of my years. Maybe it is mid to late summer.

For those who don’t want summer to ever end—No need to worry.

Climate change is real and it will stay warmer more and more as the years pass by.

Houston is often very hot and first day of fall does not mean so much. It’s greatest meaning may be that hurricanes rarely strike this part of the country after the third week of September.

How should we note the first day of fall? Should we conduct a sacrifice?

No. I think that would be somewhat severe.

Instead, let us mark the new season by being kind to others.

I think that would be best for all seasons of the year.

(Below—Autumn at Tsaritsyano Park in Moscow. Picture taken by Корзун Андрей.)

September 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

People Come From All Around To See American Gothic

People come from all around to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the famous painting American Gothic.

Here you see a crowd of such observers at the Art Institute this afternoon.

American Gothic was painted by Grant Wood.

What could be more All-American than seeing this famous painting in the great Midwestern capitol of Chicago, Illinois?

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August 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Orange Construction Spool That Mirrors Art—Objects Have Many Functions And Purposes At The Same Time

One of these orange things I took a picture of in Houston’s Memorial Park a few days ago is public art.

The other orange thing is part of a construction project.

Though the giant orange spool does not seem far away from also being art of a kind.

Below is a picture of a marine propeller that I took in Galveston back in March.

This propeller is now as fully functional for its revised purpose as it was when it was on a ship.

Objects can have more than one purpose at once. A legitimate purpose of a thing can be a quality or a function for it that we imagine.

Things have both a “solid” and a metaphorical value. Shadow and substance are in the end the same.

Look around at stuff you see each day and think about it in new ways.

At the least, thinking about old things in new ways might make the routine more interesting and enjoyable.

June 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Please Don’t Climb The Art—If We Don’t Respect Ourselves, Our Political & Corporate Leaders Will Just Go On Abusing Us

Above is a picture I took a few days ago of a piece of public art at Discovery Green Park in Downtown Houston.

You see in front of the sculpture a sign telling people not to climb the art.

I’m not sure why I was a little bit surprised. People are always doing dumb things they should not be doing.

The problem of people climbing the art in Discovery Green is such that the park website also asks people not to climb the art.

The  sculpture above is called Monument Au Fantome.

Here is some of what the Discovery Green website says about this work

“The large free-form red-white-blue sculpture on Avenida de las Americas is the park’s most well-known artwork and one of Houston’s great treasures.  Its title means “Monument to the Phantom” or imaginary city in French.  There are seven individual forms that represent different features of this city, including a church, hedge, chimney, dog, phantom, tree and mast.  The sculpture is by Jean Dubuffet, an internationally-known 20th century French sculptor who passed away in 1985 (two years after the sculpture was completed).”

Here is a post I made last month about a vandalized piece of public art in another Houston park.

Here is a post I made last year about litter in the otherwise very nice Tony Marron Park in Houston.

When we don’t treat our shared public assets with respect and when we don’t treat each other with respect, why are we surprised when we are routinely abused by our political and corporate leaders?

June 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Show For Politically And Socially Minded Art In Houston Starting Tonight And Ending Sunday

There is an upcoming art show for politically  and socially minded art here in the Houston area.

This show will run from today through Sunday, June 10th.

The show runs from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM Friday, 2 PM -10 PM on Saturday and 1-5 PM on Sunday.

Here is the Facebook page for this show. 

The show is taking place at Winter Street Studios located at 2101 Winter Street in Houston.

At the end of this post are further details about this event.

I will be attending. Maybe I will be able to find some good pictures to take for the blog. Maybe I will find something to purchase.

It can be difficult to find a venue to express your views and outlook in a hopeful forum, and in the company of sympathetic people.

Hopefully this event will be such a forum.

Hopefully this event will also expand the voice and the reach of the artists who are taking part.

Here is more—

A 3 Day Political and Social Art Show by Kallinen Contemporary. All artists welcome to sell, trade or barter their politically and socially conscious art as they wish. $25 entry fee for 1st piece of art and $10 for each additional piece. No size or quantity limit. Profits go to benefit the National Lawyers Guild defending Freedom of Expression in Houston’s courts. For more info Kallinen Contemporary at 713-320-3785 email attorneykallinen@aol.com Solomon Kane 832-244-3814 email sk_artist@yahoo.com Art Libre Colectivo (John Paul Hartman/Amerimou$) at 832-884-6169

June 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Showing Of Political And Social Art In Houston From 6/8 Through 6/10

There is an upcoming art show for politically  and socially minded art here in the Houston area.

This show will run from Friday, June 8th through Sunday, June 10th.

The show runs from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM each day.

Here is the Facebook page for this show. 

The show is taking place at Winter Street Studios located at 2101 Winter Street in Houston.

At the end of this post are further details about this event.

I will be attending. Maybe I will be able to find some good pictures to take for the blog. Maybe I will find something to purchase.

It can be difficult to find a venue to express your views and outlook in a hopeful forum, and in the company of sympathetic people.

Hopefully this event will be such a forum.

Hopefully this event will also expand the voice and the reach of the artists who are taking part.

Here is more—

A 3 Day Political and Social Art Show by Kallinen Contemporary. All artists welcome to sell, trade or barter their politically and socially conscious art as they wish. $25 entry fee for 1st piece of art and $10 for each additional piece. No size or quantity limit. Profits go to benefit the National Lawyers Guild defending Freedom of Expression in Houston’s courts. For more info Kallinen Contemporary at 713-320-3785 email attorneykallinen@aol.com Solomon Kane 832-244-3814 email sk_artist@yahoo.com Art Libre Colectivo (John Paul Hartman/Amerimou$) at 832-884-6169

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Houston Scene Reminds Me Of The Charles Sheeler Painting Classic Landscape—You See Stuff If You Just Go Out And Drive Around

Above is a picture I took while driving about Houston recently.

This picture reminded of the 1931 Charles Sheeler painting that you see below called Classic Landscape. 

The painting is of the massive Ford River Rouge plant in Michigan.

Here is how the painting is discussed in American Art And Architecture by Michael Lewis—

“….at the end of 1927…Ford unveiled the new Model A…to riotous crowds. Ford carefully planned its advertising campaign, engaging Charles Sheeler to photograph the complex at River Rouge where it was manufactured. His role was purely that of a  commercial artist but the immensity of the site and factory overwhelmed him. Sprawling over 1,100 acres, it had a sense of colossal scale like that of the Egyptian pyramids or the cathedrals of medieval Europe. And like those monuments, the factories seemed to embody physically the great social forces of the age….He soon began to make paintings based on his photographs, imitating not only their compositions but their photographic character: their crispness…and..abstract geometric forms in almost airless space….adopted the values of the machine–clarity, precision, razor edges, and clean form. (This) became known as Precisionism, the leading school of American realism in the art of the 1920’s and 1930’s. “

Sometimes I like to get in my car and drive around.

When I drive around I see new things, and I see things that remind me other things.

May 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

March 15 Is The Ides Of March—A Great Day To Learn About Rome And Caesar

Tomorrow, March 15, is the Ides of March.

Here is an explanation of what the term Ides of March means.

(Above–The Death of Caesar. This work was painted in 1798 by Vincenzo Camuccini.)

Here are two accessible book to learn about the events surrounding the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of Julius Caesar.

Rubicon–The Last Years of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland.

A quality biography is Caesar–Life Of A Colossus by Adam Goldsworthy.

Though these events took place a long time ago, the impact of the rise of Caesar and the history of Rome is still recalled today.

Here is a comprehensive timeline of Ancient Roman history.

Here are some essays Ancient Rome from the BBC.

(Below—Whoopee! It is Cleopatra and Caesar as painted by Jean-Leon Gerome in 1866.)

March 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Scene Inside A Cincinnati White Castle Reminded Me Of An Edward Hopper Painting

Here is a picture that I took last week inside a Cincinnati White Castle.

The scene reminded me of an Edward Hopper painting.

There is stark overhead lighting.

While the setting is public, the place is nearly empty.

A small number of diners are present but we do not know their story.

The diners have no communication with each other.

Below is the famous Hopper painting Nighthawks.

Here are some facts and a number of paintings about Edward Hopper.

March 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Man To Tightrope Walk Across Niagara Falls—The Niagara Region Is Interesting And Fun

Permission has been granted on both sides of Niagara Falls for a man to attempt to cross the falls on a tightrope.

(Above–Maria Spelterini crossing a portion of the falls in 1876. The fact that Ms. Spelterini lived until 1912 will clue you in as to the outcome of this walk.)

From Reuters-

“Canada agreed on Wednesday to allow a member of the Flying Wallenda family of daredevils to attempt a tightrope walk over Niagara Falls, clearing the way for the stunt some time during the summer. Nik Wallenda, 33, secured support on the American side of the falls last September when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill giving him one year to perform the feat, which Wallenda says will be the first attempt in more than a century.” 

You can click the link above for all the details. Mr. Wallenda asserts that this walk will be unique in that it will be the first to cross right over the falls.

I support this walk as I can think of no reason not to do so. If this guy is a pro and has the proper permits–More power to him.

Here are facts about tightrope walking.

Here is a history of Niagara Falls daredevils of various kinds. 

Niagara Falls and Buffalo are great places to visit on vacation. Buffalo is one of the cities I encourage folks to visit in the summer vacation post I run each year.

Here is information about visiting the American side of the falls. 

Here is information about visiting the Canadian side of the falls. 

Here is a live image of the falls.

A good book is Niagara—A History of the Falls by Pierre Berton.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Niagara Falls three times.

While it may seem to some a destination more popular in years gone by, there is a lot to do on both sides of the falls for a vacation of a number of days.

The Niagara area is not retro or stodgy or hip. It is just an interesting place to learn and to have fun.

Learning and having fun are often one in the same.

(Below–Niagara by Frederick Edwin Church is a famous painting. It was painted in 1857 and is on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. I saw it once and it is quite impressive.)  

February 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Great Web Resources Of American History And Culture—Everybody Has The Ability To Learn And To Act

While much of what is on the web is junk, there are some great resources for folks who want to use their discretionary time effectively.

C-SPAN has a full archive of all its programming over the years.

One thing I find of value at the C-SPAN site is the Booknotes page. Booknotes was a weekly interview program that ran each week for a number of years.

The most recent interview I listened to was one from 1989 with Colonel David Hackworth. Colonel Hackworth was a decorated solider from Korea and Vietnam who came to oppose war and much about how the Army operated. This is programming you can listen to on your home computer while you are getting other stuff done.

Here is a Colonel Hackworth’s obituary from 2005. 

An interview on Booknotes I found of interest was one from 1998 of Iris Chang who wrote The Rape of Nanking–The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. This book is about the Japanese occupation of China. Here is an obituary of Iris Chang 

If you look on the top left on this link, you’ll find access to a full list of old C-SPAN series and programs about a great number of topics. There is a great deal of interest here on a wide variety of topics relating to American history and American authors.

Another great resource is the website of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

While there is a great deal of interest at this site, it is the new American wing that most holds my attention.

Here is a New York Times tour of some of the exhibits in the American wing.

You can look at and read a bit about every piece of art in each gallery of the American wing. You can do this for the art in the other galleries of the museum as well.

This works on a mobile device as well if you look it up that way.

Each work also has a link to its place the very good Heillbrunn Timeline of Art History.

This art is an insight to the political, cultural and personal lives of Americans.

If these resources don’t sail your ship, find something that does.

Everybody has the capacity to understand complex things. The resources are out there to learn all sorts of stuff.

Empowered with what we learn, we all have the ability to put forth our views and to act. Progress is up to each of us.

(Below–Enoch Wood Perry‘s Talking It Over from 1872.)

January 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Was St. Nicholas?

Who is the St. Nicholas who become our Santa Claus?

(Above—an 1898 painting called St. Nicholas of Myra Saves Three Innocents From Death. Painted by a Russian named Ilya Repin.

St. Nicholas was a fourth-century Bishop of Myra. Myra was then in Greece. It is now in Turkey.

Not much is known of the life of St. Nicholas. He is said to have been generous to children and to the poor. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children. Here is a link to a list of Saints.

St. Nicholas is said to have been born into a prosperous home. His parents died when he was a young man and he was left an inheritance. Nicholas used this inheritance to help a poor man support three daughters who otherwise would have been sold into prostitution to support the family home.

It was this gift giving that is the connection between the St. Nicholas of old and the Santa of the modern day. In the spirit of the gifts for the three children, people in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands began to give each other gifts at Christmas. Santa Claus is, after a few mutations, St. Nicholas.

It is said Nicholas brought back to life two or three boys who had been cut-up and tossed in a brine-tub by an innkeeper. The innkeeper was going to sell the boys as pickled pork.

It is claimed that God his or herself indicated to the people of Myra that Nicholas should be selected as Bishop.

Nicholas was renowned as a champion of the falsely accused. He saved the lives of three men who were going to be put to death based on a sentence that had been made on this basis of a bribe. That account is the basis of the picture above.

Many falsely accused people are put to death and placed in jail in the United States in the current day. Please click here to read about The Innocence Project.

Nicholas is the patron saint of prisoners and prostitutes. All people merit concern. Here is a list of the many groups that can claim Nicholas as patron saint.

St. Nicholas is said to have stopped a raging storm in Greece and in so doing saved the lives of many mariners. In Greece, he is the patron saint of sailors.

Santa is about more than gift giving.  I don’t think St. Nicholas would have lined up at Best Buy at 5 AM the morning after Thanksgiving to get a bargain on a laptop.

Here is a brief account of St. Nicholas from AmericanCatholic.org.  

One source for this post was The Oxford Companion To The Year—An Exploration Of Calender Customs And Time-Reckoning. It’s a great book.

(Below–A statue of. St. Nick in Myra, Turkey. Photo by Lindi44.) 

December 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Great Gift Ideas For The Holiday—Books On Texas Regional Art

(Blogger’s Note–This is a rerun of a post I ran last summer. I’ve made it current by suggesting you buy the above books as a holiday gift. The first time I ran this post it fell flat in terms of traffic to the blog. And here I was figuring there was a pent-up demand for Texas regional art of the New Deal era that was just waiting for a blogger to express it for the general public. Everyday life has value. These books give everyday life and everyday people they respect they merit by viewing how we live as a subject worth being painted and written about. I hope folks are having a nice holiday season and thank you very much for reading Texas Liberal.)

I’ve bought two art books in recent weeks that show Texans working together and respecting the land and culture of the Lone Star state.

These two books are shown above as they are being read by two members of the Texas Liberal Panel of Experts.

On the left, Extinct–A woolly mammoth–is reading Alexandre Hogue–An American Visionary.

On the right, Cactus is reading The Texas Post Office Murals-Art For The People.

Both of these titles are published by Texas A & M University.

Alexandre Hogue lived 1898-1994. He spent most of his life in Texas and New Mexico.

From the excellent Handbook of Texas Online-

“(Hogue) is best known for his paintings of the Dust Bowl of the American Southwest during the Great Depression. Most of his work on this subject is from the 1930s, but the theme of natural balance-and the resulting environmental disasters when humans fail to respect that balance-is found throughout his work.”

Alexandre Hogue’s paintings offer a way of seeing Texas in a way that reflects something more than just doing whatever you want no matter the harm it causes others.

Below is Hogue’s 1939 painting The Crucified Land.

Again from The Handbook of Texas Online

“Post office murals capture the flavor of Texas through its most prominent symbols. Themes include regional history and early settlement. For example, the arrival of the conquistadors in West Texas is a mural theme in the Canyon, El Paso, and Amarillo post offices. Pioneer settlers appear in the murals of Mart, Big Spring, Brady, Wellington, and others. Included also are murals depicting various industries that characterize Texas, such as ranching (Fredericksburg, Amarillo); agriculture (Elgin, Farmersville, Longview); oil operations (Kilgore, Graham); and lumber manufacturing (Jasper, Trinity).”

Here is a list of Texas post office murals. Some of these murals are still around to view. Others are not. Check in advance.

Below is a picture I took from the Post Office of a 1941 Jerry Bywaters mural called Houston Ship Channel: Loading Cotton.

This painting is at a Houston parcel post facility and, regretfully, is not at the moment able to be seen by the public.

Texas can be seen from many different perspectives. You don’t have to accept a Texas where the land and the environment mean nothing, and where the little person gets no regard from the powerful other than a kick in the head.

See Texas in a more just and hopeful way, and then work hard to make your vision a reality.

(Here is a Texas Liberal list of books about Texas.) 

December 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

What Are The 2011 Texas Constitutional Amendments On The Ballot?—I Don’t Know

There are 10 amendments to the Texas Constitution on the 2011 ballot.

These items are called propositions.

(Below–A 1631 painting by Judith Leyster called The Proposition.)

What are these propositions?

I have no idea.

There are resources you can use to figure out how to vote on these issues.

Here is a guide from the Texas Secretary of State. 

Houston area Democratic State Representative Scott Hochberg has some facts about  the amendments.

This pdf report from the House Research Organization of the Texas House of Reps. is useful.

The League of Women Voters of the Houston Area has information about these propositions. This is also a pdf file.

Progress Texas has a view on these amendments from a left of center perspective.  

Here are facts about how the Texas Constitution is amended from the Handbook of Texas Online. 

I promise the blog reading public that I will take some time the night before I vote to figure out what I think on these amendments.

Early voting in Texas for 2011 runs October 24-November 4.  General Election Day is November 8.

Here are my endorsements for the 2011 Houston city elections.

(Below–Some movie I’ve never heard of.) 

October 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 9 Comments

I Need A Haircut—Some Haircutting Links

I’m going to get a haircut today. It has been almost two months since my last haircut.

(Above—An 1880 painting called The Barber. The Barber is the work of Nikolaos Gyzis. I really don’t like that painting at all.)

I’ve been going to the same barber for 13 years. He has no idea what my name is. He always calls me “Young man.”  The barber can call me young man as he is pressing 80.

At the end of his life Lyndon Johnson allowed his hair to grow longer.

I keep my hair short. I’m helped in this preference by not having much hair in the first place.

The barber shop I frequent just had a makeover. New owners bought the place and installed wood paneling on the walls, a flat panel tv on the wall, a book case full of books nobody reads, some art, and even a bottle of whiskey with some glasses so patrons can have a drink if they wish.

They did keep the 80 year old barber who does not know my name after 13 years. He was the previous owner. He no longer wanted the hassles of owning the shop. He always gives me a good haircut. I’ll go to that shop as long as he is still around.

However, I do miss how the shop was before the new owners. There were some framed pictures of trains and old cars. There was a small television on which the barber would play old western movies or dvd’s of bluegrass gospel concerts that had often been recorded in Tennessee or Kentucky. I thought the stuff the barber played on the TV was interesting.

Last year I wrote a post about a song I heard at the barbershop called “You Don’t Love God If You Don’t Love Your Neighbor.”

The barber does not play these things on the big new TV on the wall. Either he does not know how to operate the thing, or they told him not to play his videos anymore.

Here is some history of barbering that goes way back.

Here is some history of black owned barbershops in the United States.

Here is a history of various hairstyles over the years.

Here are pictures and descriptions 0f 25 hairstyles of the past 100 years.

(Below— A restored barbershop that is part of a pioneer village in Scurry County, Texas. Photo by Billy Hathorn.)

October 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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