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Exchange of Values

Exchange of Values
acrylic on board 48'X96'

"Structure of Color Perception"

"Structure of Color Perception"
48'X96' acrylic on board

Friday, October 21, 2011

This blogging business can get very snarky can’t it! This is a comment I made over at “The Politics of the Cross Resurrected” and I’ll be danged if he didn’t censor me!!! Well, i will repost it here and y’all can read their blog then mine and make up your own minds.

And I quote myself, "Hey Y’all good to pop in here at TPotCR again (but gosh darn it DanO just what did you write that got your expunged? You must have really stretched brother Craig’s forbearance to the breaking point!) Anyway, hard to believe y’all are still here engaging in this same kind of discourse, shouldn’t everyone be out occupying something? Me, I been researching Tennessee’s Williams play and movie “Suddenly Last Summer,” and I highly recommend them both (T.W. is Germany’s favorite play write you know, and those Germans are usually right about such things. Really, one could write all of Freud, Lacan, Foucault and half the Bible out of this one movie!). TW’s work, (like Beckett’s?) could be engaged as a lifelong argument with God, sort of like what the Bible itself is, only vice versa. I don’t see much evidence that God has changed many folks minds these last 6000 years though, and that makes me wonder just what God is getting out of this whole exercise (one wonders if God shouldn’t have consummated with the Cro-Magnon's instead?). “Even if one should come back from the dead they would not believe,” the gospels tell us, how much less so from a bunch of cleverly disingenuous syllogisms. “Suddenly” dramatizes this point and how we refuse to acknowledge truth, and the extremes we will go to to destroy the truths we just can’t bear to face. It is untrue, however, as these things are reckoned, that TW wrote “Suddenly” after psychiatry was unable to “cure” his homosexuality in 1957 (rumor has it he went down on ‘The Doors’ Jim Morrison at Warhol’s factory, but I digress). I would be careful about over-identifying TW with his main character ‘cousin Sebastian’ who used Kathryn Hepburn (Mrs. Venable) and then Elizabeth Taylor (Catharine Holly) to procure fresh young boys for him. That, of course, is the truth that Mrs. Venable wants Montgomery Clift (Dr. Cukrowicz) to cut out of Lizzy’s brain! Oh how often we would all like to wield our own truth expunging scalpels on one another! But apparently that’s not how Jesus rolls (or is it ?).

Mrs. Venable, Scene One:

“...but on the Encantadas we saw something Melville hadn't written about...the sand all alive as the hatched sea-turtles made their dash for the sea, while the birds hovered and swooped to attack! They were diving down on the hatched sea-turtles, turning them over to expose their soft undersides, tearing the undersides open and rending and eating their flesh....Well, now I've said it, my son was looking for God. I mean for a clear image of Him. He spent that whole blazing equatorial day in the crow's nest of the schooner watching that thing on the beach of the Encantadas till it was too dark to see it, and when he came back down the rigging, he said, Well, now I've seen Him!—and he meant God...”

I think that for a good part of my life I have felt like one of those baby turtles in a death-defying scramble for the life-saving sea while being tormented by ruthless predator-drone-angels sent by a merciless God. Truth is, I’v really been feasting on turtle tacos seasoned with pity and self-righteousness. Well, to make a long story short, cousin Sebastian perishes in an omophagic orgy; thay is, he devoured by the street children and beggars, who literally 'feed on his flesh.' Of course there is a strong reference to Christ and his "flesh being real food" and that unless we "eat his flesh and drink his blood we have no part of him," ahhh... you gotta love those writers of the "Christ soaked south." Then again, he was buggering these vulnerable youths, and taking advantage of their poverty, but to be fair he also molested rich French and Italian boys. Well, as you can imagine, in 1959 the censors of Catholic league of Decency took their own scalpels to TW (there’s nothing Catholic potentates hate more than molesting children) and they lobotomized Gore Vidal’s screenplay, but it’s still a damn good movie. Of course, things have changed for the better, nowadays one can go on one of those ‘eco tours’ and actually pay to rescue baby turtles from the seahawks and gulls! It’s really a flourishing business (see link below). We don’t know what the hungry gulls and hawks think about this (or God for that matter) but I like to think that Jesus would be pleased to have Christians pitch in and rescue some turtle tykes and maybe give his image a positive boost after the beating he’s been taking by the Gay/God-less, liberal, Hollywood media. Like this example from TW at the end of the movie: “Of course God is cruel, we didn’t need to come to the encantadas and look at the turtles to find that out. No, we’ve always known about him, the savage face he shows to people and the fierce things he shouts, It’s all we ever really see or hear of him now, nobody seems to know why, the difference is we know about him and the others don’t, that’s where were lucky....” Really, haven’t we all felt that way? “we know about him and the others don’t.” Well, great to visit again and below is a link to one of those eco tours, blessings and obliged, and see you on the beach!, Daniel."

Acapulco Tour Guides @

Oh, and just to be fair and balanced here is a link to great recipe for “Charles Brongers Louisville turtle soup’:

Monday, October 17, 2011

I found this dead bumble bee in my cardoon blossom! How did it come to die like this? Was it so overcome with the purple beauty of the late bloom and its desire for nectar that in it’s passion the bee’s tiny heart was pierced by one of the sharp spikes? Maybe that’s a pretty good way to die, but honey bees (and thus the world as we know it) are in peril, so it still seems sad to me. Dostoevsky wrote clever things like...‘beauty will save the world,‘ maybe he was right, but then he also wrote, “Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man.” A lot happens in gardens that is beyond our explanations. They are sites of constant death, destruction, decay, competition; as well as rampant, unchecked fertility and an embarassing variety of unspeakable, insect and vegetable sexuality. Only by the most fascist-like discipline am I able to provisionally conquer, control and exploit this small 30x50 foot piece of ground into producing a meagre harvest for the barest needs of my own flesh. Never confuse vegetablism with peacefulness, every day in my garden is like the battle of Stalingrad, only our language makes it thus or otherwise. Bees are of a different sort though. I like to think of bees as if they were little angels sent to gather and share life’s potentiality and to set the whole machinery of life into motion. They are not responsible for how badly we muck the whole thing up, for that we usually blame the maker and the sender of the bees (and remember, bees like angels can be dangerous).

Elsewhere in Dostoevsky’s “Devils,” Terentiev asks Myshkin: "Is it true, prince, that you once said that beauty will save the world?" and then mockingly adds: "What kind of beauty will save the is an enigma.” I hate to think of that bee dying for an enigma, I want to think that she gave up her life trying to bring even more abundant life into the world, trying to make the world flourish in both beauty and bounty. Of course, the bee doesn’t belong to us, or work for us, the world is made in such a way that the bee’s lifegiving beeness (beingness--if you will forgive the Heideggerian pun) is pure gift. People are the only ones who figured out how to turn the gift of life-giving beingness into something that is bought and sold, and that can transform life’s gifts into symbolic forms of exchange, and then into a kind of death (isn’t life hoarded just a kind a kind of anticipated death?). Death can be a gift too, of course, if one’s dying makes the world flourish (and when it does maybe that’s what we would call a ‘gospel?’ the gospel of the bees?). But if our forms of life diminish beingness then our death also diminishes death’s being and it becomes a dead loss, a nothingness, evil. In “The Gift of Death,” Derrida writes that death is, “...the gift made to me by God as he holds me in his gaze and in his hand while remaining inaccessible to me, the terribly dissymmetrical gift of the mysterium tremendum only allows me to respond and only rouses me to the responsibility it gives me by making a gift of death, giving the secret of death, a new experience of death.” And what is this secret of death, this ‘fearful mystery‘ that opens up a path to a new experience in death? The dying bee in the terrible/beautiful embrace of the flower knew what it was and she sang it into being. And although I wasn’t there to hear it I am blessed by the gift of her life. Obliged.

Oh, here is a recipe for cardoon:

3 c cream, 1 c chicken stock, 1 bay leaf, 3 lb cardoon, 1 c gruyere, grated. Put the cream, stock, and bay leaf in a large saucepan and season with salt and pepper.

Trim your cardoons, then slice them into pieces around 2 inches long. Heat the cardoons until the cream comes to a boil, then simmer over medium-low heat for about an hour. Remove the cardoon pieces with a slotted spoon, putting them into a gratin/casserole dish and continue to boil the cream until reduced to 3/4 c. Pour the cream over the cardoons, top with the gruyere, and bake at 350 until the top has colored a little bit, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Thank you bees.