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Dear Habermas: Current Issue
WEBSITE Restructuring - Daily Site Journal
Ghosts, Governators, Goblins, Gurus, and Glossolalia
University of Wisconsin, Parkside (UWP)
California State University, Dominguez Hills(CSUDH)
Created: April 12, 2011
Latest update: June 28, 2011
E-Mail to Jeanne in L.A.
E-Mail to Susan at UWP.
Playing with Stuff Until You Can Figure Out
What's Trying to Crochet, Draw, or Sculpture Itself
I'd like to tell you what I saw in this image as it grew together with my imagination. I started just to play with Paint, the software program that came free with my computer ten years ago. I'd never learned to use all the tools; some of them looked like fun. And I had had a pretty bad day, what with trying to get the site to make sense, even to me.
First I tried the circle. I knew I could do that. Can't place them precisely, but hey, I was planning to buy Adobe Illustrator. I knew right away the circle needed a couple of oval eyes. And I knew how to do that, too. He's obviously going to be a ghost, don't you think? Of course, he'll be a "he" ghost. Don't know how I know that, but I'm pretty sure I do. Being so sure that he's a "he" will influence my drawing. So, of course, I'm more likely to make him a "he." Remember that humans, like other living creatures, are interdependent. That means that what I paint is very much influenced by all my experiences and beliefs, by what Paint lets me do, and by what you, the viewer, the reader, bring to the painting, as you understand it.
I practiced with a few straight lines crossing each other at crazy angles. Straight lines are pretty easy. It was the wavy ones I was really interested in.
. . .
Straight lines give way to wavy lines, which begin to look like curtains on a stage. Hmmm. I'll have to think about that.
Meanwhile, I have a drawing of Sugar Puss. He had very straight whiskers in the drawing. Most things in nature aren't exactly straight. I wonder how his whiskers would look, if I used the wavy line.
Could Sugar Puss with curving whiskers do Shakespeare?
"I just want to know, do you believe in unicorns?"
Of course, he could do Shakespeare, Prof. Buscaglia. Just like Damian stuck out his tongue when Steph and I asked ourselves if Damian could knit. It takes believing in unicorns to remain credulous enough to go down paths we've never traveled before. We call it our imaginary at the university. Just to sound impressive, of course. After all, we're professors. But we like your way of putting it: we believe in unicorns.
Now, I never saw one in my garden. But I did see a giant bird in my patio, the morning we returned from Amsterdam. I didn't tell my husband. I knew James Thurber's tale. I just told him to come down to see what was in our patio. As we stood at the kitchen window, and Lucy stood at the foyer window, looking in awe into the patio, the bird spread his wings (about a six-foot wing span), swept into our fountain, and snatched up one of our koi. Lucy began to cry. "He's eating our fish."
"Well, yes, but careful what you say," I admonished her, thinking of James Thurbers' poor wife." If we were still in Amsterdam, I'd think it might be a heron. But that can't be right, here in the Los Angeles hills."
I said nary a word about mythical beasts. Nary a word. I even disclaimed the bird idea, since we'd left Amsterdam and water birds behind in Europe yesterday.
Perplexed, my husband called the Zoo. The Zoo??? "We just saw a giant bird in our patio. But we live in the Hollywood Hills. And there aren't any giant birds here."
"Well, what is the bird doing, Sir?"
"He just ate one of our fish. . . Lucy stop crying. It's just a fish. (Frustrated pause.) . . . Then he flew away. He's very big, like a six-foot wing span. And, I mean, well I suppose he's a he. I don't know much about birds and their gender."Remember interdependence? And how it affects what we think we see?
"Well, that's it then, Sir. If he's that big, he's a great blue heron. They like to catch fish in the Los Angeles River, which is very near you in Studio City. If you have koi, and he's found your patio, he'll be back for more. (Lucy starts crying again.) They have incredible memories. They'll come back months later to check for fish. (Lucy sobs.) You'd better build a protective net over the pond or fountain or whatever."
"A protective net over our fountain?"
"Well, if it has koi, Sir. That way the koi can swim under the net where the heron can't get them. He won't forget." (Lucy sobs.)
The Zoo person was right. He ate all our koi. The heron, that is, not the Zoo person. And Lucy did a lot of crying. We never built the net over the fountain. We couldn't figure out how to make that fit with a French country fountain. I'm redoing the garden now. I was thinking of putting some koi back in the fountain. They were so pretty, and they seemed perfectly safe, even from the racoons who fished by the side of our fountain. Until the Great Blue Heron. Hmmm. Guess I'd better tell David we should have some protective section built so they can escape. He said they never forget. The Great Blue Herons, that is.
Well, I knew he wasn't a unicorn. Sorry, James Thurber.
Now, how did I get off on that? Oh, yes, of course. We were talking about interdependence, and how Damian, Steph's cat, can knit, and my two, Sugar Puss, and Sugar Plum, both knit and crochet, and I was wondering if Sugar Puss could play Shakespeare, with the right encouragement, of course. But Sugar Puss, I would caution you not to say too much about it. There's always poor Thurber's wife, you know. Well, not really Thurber's wife, I guess, but the wife of the man who saw the unicorn in his garden, who is in Thurber's story.
Speaking of which, how do cats whiskers go, Sugar Puss? Do cats whiskers all curve up? Or do they all curl down? Or any which way? Hmmm. I guess that's like "How does Santa Claus sleep? With his whiskers on top of the blanket? Or beneath the blanket? Oh, well. Now we're back to unicorns again, aren't we?. Shhh!
Santa Claus and unicorns aside, I decided to try out the solid forms and all their different variations on Paint. I tried the round-edged rectangle, and three little ones. A mother rectangle? with three little ones? Hmmm. A duck with ducklings, maybe? I added a few more little wavy lines, two of which were coming out of ghost's head. I added one at the top of the lines, trying to pull them all together. Well, that certainly didn't work, did it?
Drawing of ghostguy with wavy lines coming out of his head.
It's against my principles, you know, to erase any of this work, because it's like free form knitting and crochet. The piece is telling me what it wants to do. If I erase bits of it, I'll never know what Paint was trying to tell me.
I added some more wavy lines, kind of randomly, but I had no idea what they were trying to say. So I figured it was time to color. Clearly my ghost would be white, but I'd need a colored background to set him off. Well, sky is always good. I tried what I thought would be light blue, but it came out darker on my printer. So it's a gray day. I hope that won't discourage Mr. Ghost.
Maybe I could write in that big Mother Duck rectangle, so light yellow. But then I needed something birght. Orange. Yes. A baby orange duck. And then a bright green duck. How could I put one of the baby ducks on the other side of Mother Duck? I know. I'll show the green behind her yellow. The little ducks are all in a row. Orange. Green. Blue in front. Then I'll make the big triangular bird over Mother Duck orange, and the part of the bird over Mother Duck will be orange, too, showing that he's flying over her. But I wonder what these ducks and birds are doing with our ghost? Hmmm. Guess I'll have to play some more. Especially since I did the first ghostguy.gif several days ago, and now I can't use any colors but grays. I guess you could say this hasn't been my day!!
I promised ghosts, governators, and blue cows. And my paints worked. Sort of. They're still a lot darker on my printer. I started over drawing almost from scratch so the paints had a better chance of working. Began with the purple that looked to me like part of a billowing kite. It could have been the sale of a ship, and that's what it said it wanted to be. So there's my ghost, in a hat, on shore, watching the beautiful sailing ship go by.
Ghost on shore watching a ship go sailing by.
Oops, I forgot the blue cow who flew over the moon. But that's the sun. Hmmm. Ghosts aren't into sailing in the moonlight anyway. Or are they? Prof. Buscaglia. I need unicorn help. jeanne
Maybe Prof. Buscaglia will come to me in a dream tonight and tell me that he, too, can see that that might be a ship on the right hand side of the stage curtain. You see, it's taken so long for this painting to tell me what it wants to say, I've had to start over with Paint many times. The image in shades of gray shows more stage than the one I've been documenting in color. Time to look again at the color, as Paint let me draw and color it:
Ghost on stage. And he's got lots more color!
He's red, white and blue! He's a Fourth of July Ghost! And the red, white, and blue is coloring those solid angles I was so fascinated by! His whole body is made up of the triangles. He's got one arm; the blue one's kind of blended into his body; the red one's more identifiable as an arm. But hey, this is abstract figurative art, not realism. We have cameras for realism. And look, he's got a curved purple leg, very shapely, under the red arm.
And he has hands, a red one, and a blue one. He's holding the curtains apart on the stage.Our story is going to be about the Fourth of July.
That's all, folks. Until tomorrow. jeanne 06.17.2011.
- interdependence Social Studies for Kids Good fairly detailed exlanation of what "interdependence" means in economics. We'll use the term a little differently, because we'll be dealing with many issues, of which economics is only one. I'll get to more explanations soon. jeanne 06.15.2011.
* * *
- Make a Tricorn Hat for our Ghost And now, goodnight - until tomorrow. jeanne
This is an old paragraph. Will be moved to a different file. jeanne 06.15.2011:
Shhh!!! There are so many people disrespecting others, failing to be responsible for knowing what they're supposed to know to fit their titles, and failing to make an honest effort to add creativity and caring for each other to their efforts at whatever, that we've begun to despair. So it's time to work on our Public-Sphere. Habermas would almost certainly agree with us that we all need to practice listening in good faith, practicing our humanity in its fullest meaning. And so it's to tune Dear Habermas in to our communities, local, national, cross-national, internet, virtual and real, and set up practices in each of these communities on how to behave when you're a human, and how to grow the skills that fit you best, share them with as many others as you can, and then collaborate on building a better world for each and every one of us. You'll find both theory and practice, real groups and virtual, liberal and conservative efforts here, always free to all those who want to join us, right here on the site, and available to you free for the taking into your own communities.
jeanne and susan
Online Reference Sources for Conversations that Matter
- Newspapers: Labeling here is based on an article by Ashley K. Vroman on the impossiibility of labeling newspapers by ideology. I personally go along with the conclusion of the conservative Media Research Center's L. Brent Bozell III: if the paper never met a conservative cause it didn't like, it's conservative, and if it never met a liberal cause it didn't like, it's liberal.
But then, what about the Wall Street Journal whose news staff is considered liberal and its editorial staff considered conservative? Does that make them a tad schizophrenic? Not unless we all are. None of us humans are completely inflexible. Sometimes we think like liberals, and sometimes we think like conservatives, and sometimes we just plain forget to think before we speak.
Luckily, journalism has worked hard at maintaining a thoughtful and rational standard that we be honest and fair in what we report. Today we need to think on this a little more, because some popular media are more concerned with reporting "opposing" than "fair" perspectives, and are terribly careless with the meaning of "facts." jeanne 06.25.2011
- Los Angeles County Library. Online service.
- World Cat Online search for finding books available in your local librairies. This may have become far more essential as funding for librairies is being cut. Check it out.
PolitiFact.com will give you extensive information on what's truth and what's rumor and what's not in news reporting and viral vidoes and e-mails. This is offered as a Public Service by the St. Petersburg Times, for which we thank them profusely. These are times for checking your facts.
- Farlex Free Online Dictionary:
The script that lets you double click on any word you want defined is not working properly. But the dictionary works very effectively if you type in a word and enter it, either here or on its own site. I'll try to fix this some time this summer, but for now, we've placed it on the Home page and on the first page of each issue. That's so you can always get to the dictionary by going to Current or Previous Issue, or by going to Home. Susan and I need this tool always available. We hope you do too. jeanne and Susan.
by Jeanne Curran and Susan Takata
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.