Clarkia: A Flower with an Historical Connection

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My Most Neglected Blog

I found this in Google Docs. I wrote it for Mechanical Turk and got paid, probably a dollar or two, and I suppose I signed away the rights. But I don’t care. What are they going to do to me?

My favorite artist is Frida Kahlo, because she was not afraid to paint self-portraits time and time again, and she reveled in bright colors. I admire her because she was self-taught, and she did not allow her lack of formal instruction to inhibit her. In fact, direction from anyone except herself may have robbed her of the uniqueness of her style. She was able to express physical pain and isolation. She drew upon aspects of her background and experience, that of an indigenous woman and an observer of and perhaps a participant in the Mexican revolution. Frida said, “I was born a bitch; I was born a painter”. That statement summarizes her persona. Perhaps I admire Frida for her personal outrageousness. She was a Trotskyite, and bisexual. Her marriage was turbulent, perhaps even violent. Insisting on claiming her Hungarian-Jewish heritage, she has been found to have been of German Lutheran descent on her father’s side. Even this illusion is compelling.

What You Might Find In Google

I have a painting of Rosa Parks in my office, an inexpensive print in a plastic frame.  Everyone knows who Rosa Parks is but at the bottom of the print it says Paul Collins.  Who is Paul Collins?

He grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he flunked high school art once  and was told art wasn’t a practical career choice.  One man had confidence in Paul’s abilities and encouraged him to try various mediums.  He experimented and settled on oil.  

Since those early days, Paul Collins has painted people in west Africa, Israel, Japan, and on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  His mural of Gerald Ford is on display at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.  His special projects have included special Olympics, famous black women, Key West Florida, Americans at work, and a long list of others.  His work is on display in libraries, galleries and museums all over the world.

I’m certainly glad I took the time to google this amazing artist.


  • ImageFor those who like to read poetry….Google  this:   Deep Underground.  The Harder Side of Poetry.

    The poets here, who also write some prose,  are more engaged and serious than average.  There are quite a number of them, but they seem to be outnumbered by the lurkers.  Oh well, a writer needs an audience.  You can’t just write for other writers.  If you go to this site, you don’t have to read the dark poems, the angry poems, the erotic or drug poems, the extreme content.  There are also poems described as upbeat, spiritual, observational.   Story poems, love poems, song lyrics, non-fiction prose, and fiction.  And you don’t have to be practiced or professional to post here.  There is an audience for people who offer their sincere expressions, no matter how haltingly or faltingly.  

Christmas Cheer

bah-humbug-double-sided-green-glass-ornament~10499149People get so doggone mean and ornery around Christmas time. 30 below with the wind chill tonight and I can’t find my long underwear. I’ve figured out how to improvise by tucking sweatpants into my socks. Blocked a manipulative lard ass from my FB yesterday, who had managed to access my page by befriending 127 of my friends. She had created that identity Sept. 1 which seriously creeps me out. I could set permissions differently but I want to keep my page public. BTW that name was given her by a household member she is stalking and he usually doesn’t say things like that. He keeps a box of the stuff she has sent him in case he ever has to take action, and he calls it the Loony Bin. I wonder if she has ever heard of a restraining order.
One reason I find Christmas miserable is that the long nights give me time to reflect. I never established Christmas traditions of my own. The elders I celebrated with passed away, one by one. I know I’m inviting well-meant advice (that I don’t want) by writing this, but I AM a writer and I dig down into the truth sometimes. It’s not always pretty. Another set of thoughts is that Christmases of the past weren’t always idyllic. Sometimes they were obligatory and rife with disappointment (which had nothing to do with gifts). This year I will spend Christmas Eve at church and with friends. Christmas Day I will cook something. And I will hear my dad’s voice saying, in his Minnesota Norwegian way, “Well, another Christmas just bit the dust”.

Soul Searching

My dad told the same stories many many times. Some of his stories embarrassed me. I wish he were here to tell them again.

I remember how he began the story of attending an event at which a lecturer from Berkeley addressed the packed John Glas Fieldhouse on the campus of Bemidji State University. The man was native American. The first words out of his mouth were, “You Christian sons of bitches”.

“You could have heard a pin drop”, my dad would say. “Then the man repeated his words. You Christian Sons Of Bitches. There were some nuns in the front row, looking down at the floor”.

The lecturer went on to tell how the U.S. Army awarded 20 medals of honor to the 7th Cavalry for the shooting deaths of at least 150 Lakota men, women and children on the Pine Ridge Reservation in SD, Dec. 29, 1890. Babies were found still nursing their dead mothers.

One of his hospice nurses later said to me, “Your dad is very outspoken about social justice issues”.

I remember how he would say there would not be peace in the Middle East until the Israelis (whom he called Israelites) admitted they had taken their land from the Palestinians. “The same way we took land away from the Indians here”, he would add.

A lot of what my dad said comes back to me. He was an admirer of labor leaders John Lewis and Jimmy Hoffa. “They were roughnecks and maybe they cooperated with organized crime”, he would say, “but they put milk in stomachs of innocent babies”.

I find myself telling my dad’s stories. His truth…plain, unvarnished, sometimes hard to swallow and sometimes lacking in nuance…was far more credible than some of the spin that passes for truth nowadays.


Some infuriating remarks I discovered as written responses to Gen. Petraeus’ extramarital affair:


“Yep, women tend to hang up the guns early and accept old age. Men have an extra 20 years of functional and enjoyable sex drive. Too bad it’s not accepted as natural evolution. Multiple sex mates does not make a man (or woman) less trustworthy, conscientious, rational, or competent. It’s too easy for the non-players to angst over it.”

“Not to defend the actions of Petraeus, but in the news footage, his wife looks like Aunt Bea on the Andy Griffith Show. Sure, he revealed a lack of personal intergrity, but Mrs. Petraeus must accept her own responsibility. Any woman – regardless of age or disability – can buy a bottle of Clairol or go to a salon.”

“The science is when women reach around 40 they lose their figure, sex drive and start getting hot flashes. Having sex with their husband or anyone is the LAST THING ON THEIR MINDS. There are strong hormonal changes occurring and make her less able to think logically.
Now once they hit their fifties the hormonal crap finally subsides and the true women emerges. This is when they are finally able to directly duel with men in logic and reason. This also accounts why women leaders are always past menopause.
This is the way God designed it. Older deprived men will always be chasing (or open to) younger women because they are fertile. Younger women are usually only interested if the man is powerful or rich.”