Welcome Back Everyone!

Oh how happy Rick would be to know that his blog is back up and running..yay!

I'm not sure what it will bring, be patient with us, the whole family is going to be joining in - so who knows what this will turn into. Lots and lots of love to everyone who is checking out his site and his previous posts. He is smiling down on each and every one of you.

Stephanie (Rick's Favorite Sister)

My sister's are going to be so mad that I gave myself that title, but they don't have the password yet to delete it : )

 

Portrait of Fernanda and Notes on Process

This is an edited re-posting of of something I wrote a few days ago, hopefully free of blather. I picked up a virus from the kids and while they recovered quickly I developed pneumonia, a condition I am predisposed to. The last time this happened my fever spiked at 105.F and I wrote madly from my hospital room, fully under the influence of fever and meds. Alright so far, and then I hit "SEND". A little later Naomi arrived and confiscated my laptop. So I should have know better that to write and publish now. I have separated out the con-jumbled issues into two post. This, the first, is on art, Fernanda, her marvelous life, the umbrella of her sunshine, and my marvelous, forgotten pink painting. Maybe in he next post I will address the surprising discovery of liver cancer.

Fernanda Sosa

A current portrait of Fernanda Fernanda Sosa in her Caracas living room. A most cherished friendship. She is sitting in front of a painting I had almost forgotten; mixed media on printed upholstery fabric. The fabric was a cotton/linen blend of English origin. I wish I could find more.

I painted on the back, where the bleed from the repeated floral print was more subtle and more lovely than the actual print on the face of the linen. The added benefit to working on the back was that there is no Scotchguard to repel my paint. Later I discovered transparent gesso which would have sealed and protected the raw fabric from the materials I used in the painting. In that time concerns about archival quality were not topmost on my mind.

The painting was from a series that I called my “Rockheads”. It was a familiar process that began with unrolling a bolt of raw canvas, (or printed upholstery material) – onto cracked and broken lengths of sidewalk. I would mark out portrait or landscape-oriented rectangles as I went down the line and fill them with charcoal impressions picked up from the sidewalk. From there to the studio walls (I had forty foot long studio walls) and standing back and meditating on suggested images.

These paintings were process pieces that slowly cohered over time. I sharpened suggested images with charcoal, pastels, scrubbed in clear binder, continued with colored latex or acrylic washes. From there to solid color and finally to oils for finishing. Running out of inspiration on one image I would move down the line to work on another until ideas returned. Some of the discreet pictures grew into one another until they became inseparable, more challenging and interesting. When finished I cut them apart and stretched them.

This was a way of working carried over from a childhood of tracing images in the clouds and faces in the wood grain when I should have been focusing on math and science as I sat at my little wooden desk. I have never tired of it.

After reading “The Success and Failure of Picasso”, by John Berger, I went through a time when I looked at my work and judged it rather harshly, seeing it as too facile, too easy.  It was a way of working I enjoyed and that came naturally but my half-WASP background got in the way of total enjoyment and acceptance.

Picasso’s ultimate failure, according to what I took away from Berger, was that in his later years his subject - that being himself - was too small. He needed a larger subject. Not something to go into here but I puzzled over implications for me and my subject. I considered my subject to be my life, my stories, my recovery. My engagement with art was a major part of my recovery from a life that up to a certain point had truly not been very well or wisely lived. Art was essential to my healing and continued emotional and spiritual growth and continued well-being. I let go of the thought that my subject might be too small. It was necessary work that served an essential function.

new studio-56-Ada

How they progress

A little E.R. poem

I spent a little time in the Emergency Room at St. Vincent's this morning. They found some pneumonia and I'm at home with good company (Broadus) and antibiotics. It turns out my ER Doc, Jamie Gagan, is a practicing artist disguised in a white coat. Here is a link to some of her work. For what it's worth here is a little poem I wrote on my phone as I lay on my back in my sick bed in my little cubicle. Thinking about... I don't know, just thinking, making stuff up.

Every breath is a moment in time a breath of yours is a breath of mine Under the hill and far away the children come the children play Dusk brings a weekend of music and dreaming Night is the home to which we are winging Most awaken with the coming of dawn And some remain at the fountain of song.

Here is a picture of some flowers Broadus brought me when I returned home. His eye was drawn to the identical yellows in the two different flowers and he made me a present.

Broadus brings flowersNot Hiroshi's hands, but a kid's refined hands already doing interesting work. He is just beginning his artistic journey. These are the hands of a 6'2" fifteen year old finishing his first year at the New Mexico School for the Arts here in Santa Fe.

And here is a picture of the acequia running at the border of our back yard, and why I can call our place waterfront property. If it were not for this occasional storm-driven acequia flow creating a dense green swath through the city I would feel much less at home here in our High Desert setting.

Green Zone

Hiroshi Sueyoshi and Jane on their swing through Santa Fe

I guess how to do this will come back to me as I write. And I need to write. First though, I am transferring my facebook post about Hiroshi and Jane's visit over to this site. Because I know how to work with this one and I find facebook hectic, and when I want to think about things out loud I want a little quiet space to do it in. I do think I'll start a new blog though. This is too cluttered, and I want to tell stories. Maybe over the weekend. Here are the notes on Hiroshi's visit.

I took these pictures of Hiroshi Sueyoshi's hands today. He is holding a (as yet unidentified) black clay pot with a large center opening and a smaller opening at the top of the handle. A lamp? It is a Goodwill find I passed on to Hiroshi. Jane and Hiroshi are finishing the first leg of their Western Tour. It is a pleasure to see them again. Hiroshi was the first person I met on my first pass through Wilmington in 1978 when he was the Artist-in-Residence at CFCC. I was exploring the decommissioned WW2 floating torpedo repair factory the school was using for marine tech classrooms and I stumbled into his studio. I remember him as soft spoken and kind, a light in his eyes and the hint of a smile. I was in need of a friend at the time. The light is still there, so is the smile, so is the friend.

Hiroshi 2

Jane cajoled Ada, our 6 year old, to bring out her cello and play for us. Jane played first and knew all Ada's tunes. It was a pleasure to see them together. Yesterday Broadus, Hiroshi, Jane and I went to brunch outside of Santa Fe at the San Marcos Feed Store and Cafe. Afterwards, in the Hardware store that is also part of the Feed Store and Cafe, Hiroshi bought horseshoes of various sizes, some brass hardware and a pair of spurs. Not silver, but very pretty.

Thanks to Jane Base, who emailed ahead to say they were coming. I hope to see Wilmington folks when we are back the last two weeks of July.

For those who do not know Hiroshi here are links to his website and to an article about him and his work.

http://www.hiroshisueyoshi.com/

http://www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com/article.asp…

Hiroshi, Jane and Ada

Ada plays for Jane and Hiroshi. Jane, who teaches violin and piano, knew all the songs.

Hiroshi Sueyoshi(Wrightsville Beach Magazine)

Scrolling through the "Likes"(on Facebook) I see so many familiar names and faces. I have missed North Carolina, Wilmington friends and the water in particular. We have been living in a parched landscape - beautiful in its way - at 7,000 feet above my comfort zone for the last 8 years. We have added two mountain girls to our family, Ada Corrina Meridian Swinton, 6.5 years old, and Calliope Roselma Pearl, age 2, - Swinton, I beieve, but maybe Swinton-Mobbs. I forget, but I think the girls have both our names, just the reverse order from Broadus Mobbs, 15.5 years. We are a trip at the border, sorting it all out. We bought a house in Santa Fe in the Fall of '14 and moved most of us down from the UWC-USA campus. Naomi still works there and commutes down with Calliope. She will soon be wearing other hats there though and will live with us in SF. We found a waterfront property. We back up to an Acequia, remnants of the old Spanish irrigation system. The water still flows during snow runoff, heavy rains in the mountains, and during the Monsoon season in July and August.

The Acequia Madre - the "Mother Acequia" - is a few blocks west. It runs torrents when it runs, the Flash Floods we are warned against. Our acequia doesn't run dangerously though. Up to the knee on me. Calliope can't play on her own but Broadus and Ada can build dams and bridges and float sticks and leaves. Even unused now the acequias still create thin green lines overgrown with grasses and trees across the city. We are five minutes from the old Plaza but we are in a bird paradise, the trees muffle the sounds of the city, we have two goats in the yard (life used to be so hard, now everything is easy because of you). Broadus wants baby chicks. Next week we will go back to the San Marcos Feed Store and Cafe, and pick out the ones he likes. I'll rent a rototiller and till an area back by the acequia. A gentleman farmer I am not, but the assignment to Half-way house garden in Dorchester Mass saved my life and sanity once and I would like to return to the serenity, creativity, and spell-bound awe of those days. My feelings about living in NM have turned 180 degrees since moving to Santa Fe.
This feels like home. Quiet, and the screen of Chinese Elms spreading like live oaks. We found a sprawling place that needs work. There is a casita - a little house - for those of you who would like to visit and bring tidings from the East Coast or points more or less distant. The house is in Casa Alegre, one of several unbelievably sweet neighborhoods built by a guy named Stamm in the 50's and 60's.The 70's too, but we are in a house built in the 50's. Small, by today's standards. Especially considering the converted garage I set up as a makeshift studio has been taken over by the three younger creatives living here. I'll have to build a studio in the backyard. In the meantime I'll used the breezeway, the interconnected porches of the houses. I will be exiting the movie business soon and be back to making stuff, the thing that has always felt like my natural calling. Anybody out there know how to make a living from Art? Hiroshi's visit has brought up a creative surge. Facebook is such an odd way to keep up with people but sometimes it does feel good. This is better for me though.

Broken Angel (Last Call)

What I have been up to. Beside being a daddy, working in the movies and etc. Here is a picture of a work-in-progress. Wax at this point, about 22 inches tall, ready to gate and vent and cast in bronze at the NMHU foundry. I think of it as a broken angel, or maybe a Wild Hunt survivor.  This is the third iteration as it has fallen apart or broken three times during making, gating and venting, and the work has been interrupted two or three times by out-of-town movies. I hope to finish and cast it over the summer. In the meantime Calliope has turned one, Broadus has turned fourteen. Ada will be six on the fourth of July and I'll be one hundred and six in February. Naomi is, as always, timeless.   broken angel

living with one bowl?

Putting back more than I take? Good Orderly Direction? Not things I've been thinking about. A lot of bowls would have to go. I try to back to life. Good Orderly Direction? No. Maybe time for inventory? Look at who I am again. After all these years.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter

Looking over these photos I posted elsewhere I thought they might be of interest to some of you.

The photos are from a movie called “Country Justice”, filmed in Tazewell Virginia. (For a while it was known as “Coal Miner’s Grand-daughter”.) This was George C. Scott’s last movie. I was Scenic Charge, responsible for interviewing miners and collecting reference photos inside a working West Virginia low seam coal mine. This required traveling two miles inside the mountain, the ceiling never more than four feet above the floor. The miners spent their working lives crouched, crawling and shifting. I directed a crew of scenic artists and foam carvers in making a modified replication of what I saw in the mine. Our work was above ground, and light, compared to theirs.

A miner on his mining machine. (In West Virginia, across the state line from Tazewell, Virginia)

A miner on his mining machine. The grinding head is in the nose of the machine, about fifteen feet in front of the miner. The miners follow the coal seam, leaving pillars of coal to hold up the ceiling. Once the seam is exhausted the miners back out, collapsing the pillars and collecting the coal as they go.

Should the ceiling collapse on the miner, rescuers will dig in and grapple onto the back of the drilling machine and pull it out. It will quickly return to service, controlled, very likely, by another driver.  As you can see there is no overhead protection for the man.

This photo shows the actual West Virginia miners.

Despite the working conditions they were a hardy, cheerful lot.

A crew photo in the re-imagined mine.

Taswell Virginia had one motel at the time. Crew (and leads who wished) were housed with mining families. We were well fed and cared for. The local and family histories we heard did give us cause for reflection; me anyway. Generations of men worked the mines and everyone had lost someone to accident, black-lung, cave-ins, methane explosions which turned mine shafts into canon barrels, shooting miners across the valley to crash into the opposing mountain. We learned of strikes and shut-outs, shoot-outs and union-busting; the times and the economic hardships; the lack of choices for the young people. But there were also music, cheer, laughter and comfort to be shared. People are people, where ever we go. I’m glad I took this gig.
The set rigged for cave in.

Five thousand gallons of water rushed in on the actors. Among them was George C. Scott, who had to leave his oxygen bottle whenever he worked. A strong union guy, he refused to cross a picket line during the show. The production backed down.

Another shot of the real mine.

We prettied things up a bit.

Another wing of the set. When the shooting was over people from the community asked us to please leave the set in place. (We used a large municipal warehouse for Art Department and set construction.) Production agreed. We learned that for all the generations of men that had worked the mines, the women -wives, mothers, sisters, daughters - had never seen the inside of a mine, the places where their men spent their working lives. Viewing the sets gave them some idea of their loved ones working environments. A very approximate idea, as you can tell from the pictures. For other set pictures and examples of movie work - backdrops, etc. - please visit New Mexico Storyboards and Art to Go.

ann, again

A note, and a response.
.
.
New comment on your post "Ann Bunting-Mock" Author : Jeanne Scheerbaum Comment: May, 2012 I just read a wonderful article by Ann Bunting-Mock in American Quilter magazine, January 2008.  Just want you, whomever you are, to know that she still is helping people with her ideas, words, and quilts, I am sure. It went on to explain that she began making anonymous women's quilts from old quilt tops, rearranging, combining, repairing and finishing them, along with a 'letter' hidden, explaining who she was as a woman, but evidently without name. What a marvelous way to continue ones legacy and belief in the "kind, character-building small acts such as picking up some trash, giving money to a charity drop-box, allowing someone to make a mistake or be unpleasant without getting angry..... . I find that taking myself out of the picture begins to shift something in my life and connects me to a great anonymous river of positive emotion.  The unexpected benefit of allowing and nurturing myself to embrace a bit of anonymity connects me uniquely to the world." Sounds like a special, giving and gentle woman to me. And she is swimming in that 'great anonymous river of positive emotion', a wonderful place to be, swimming in the good.  Quite a good and gentle woman!  Glad this site is still here. http://rickmobbs.wordpress.com/2008/01/04/ann-bunting-mock/#comments
Dear Jeanne,
When you left this note on my blog I was touched and pleased. I meant to get to you right away. It was thoughtful of you to write and tell me about the article, and to quote it at length. She was that good and gentle woman, and more. She had fire in her heart and expressed that, too. She helped where and as she could. I think she saw the big picture and the very small, the very human. She was smart and bright and human herself. I think she saw herself and the rest of us pretty clearly. She blessed our frailty and foibles and encouraged our gifts and strengths and was one with us, not apart. I know she suffered and she endured. She was student and teacher, darkness and light, spinning around a core of awe at the simplicity and the complexity of her universe. I'm glad you recognized her. I believe she would have recognized you.
I am waxing poetic. I live in Northern New Mexico with my small family. Our lives are quite crazy and we do our best to manage but things (like responding to mail) do slip through the cracks. Let me know if you are still out there.
I'm working out of town. I'll post some pictures of the quilts she made for us when I get home.
This link is to a piece of writing dedicated to Ann's memory. As is the painting I gave to her of a calf I saw in the mountains above Merida, Venezuela, while I was visiting friends there.

back again

About finished with Tin Star, a pilot for a proposed Western series. If all goes well then there will be continuing gainful employment for at least some of the film community here. Lone Ranger crewing up in ABQ. Building an Old Western town west of ABQ as well. Working on a big show can be like working in an art factory. Creative, but still a factory. I prefer smaller shows with lots of room in between for family, friends, art and travel.

I wonder, continue this blog, or set it free?

 

 

 

looking for lost etching press

Kelton etching press Hello, my Wilmington NC, ex-creative community (Printmakers in particular!). I seem to have misplaced a very large (6 ft wheel), very heavy (burned out the clutch in my truck driving it down from Boston) and very old (120 years, plus or minus a few) etching press. This press was (if I recall) manufactured by M. M. Kelton Co, (Brooklyn ?) New York, in the late nineteenth century.

It was last seen at The Independent Art Company gallery. Someone asked to borrow it and I said ok. Later we took a 3 month gig in New Mexico that turned into 5 years and I managed to lose track of it. Recently I have needed access to a press and I remembered - everything except who I loaned it too. If anyone knows the whereabouts of this old, large, heavy, beautiful object please email me at rickmobbs.gmail.com or call: 910-233-2497. Thanks you so much. I miss your faces. See you soon, I hope.

Glenn Buttkus writes again

Ada at two, standing in front of a jumble of scenes pulled from a full life, just like with Glenn's Poem I posted below. Now she's two and a half and painting. A firecracker, born on the 4th of July. The picture caught my attention when I was looking for an image to accompany Glen's writing. How They Found Me

steinbeck lost dog women red roaring skin bukowski cream tour bra-flinging pow-wow drake headstone nicholas tilt moon mountain gods foot old field school bus weeping blood soldier winged dance ballet laces naked cat sonata crazy cornflakes gleason sleep number aging mirror twin wrinkles salmon toss trash talking sphincter blues tacoma pier bear lips bledsoe broadsword bare nipples whistle train sadness byrd leg panties paso egypt fist square sun burroughs bath house break zone creek serling owl zelda doll cancer flowers police poem handcuffed words saxophone harjo tattoo tulsa cd funsterville motorcycle lyrics fidelo butt rash ride pine violin ferrari bus hilo bacon bungalow bobbing picasso pears franco figs fringed custer flight goggles raven ranch poe park eagle drive-in talon fort poetics joyous morning meal.

Glenn Buttkus

February 2011

Glen's blog is bibliosity. Check it out to see many more examples of his work and the work of his friends. You can also listen to him read his work there, and visit his marvelous image collections. And I have to say check out his On Patrol for a mind-blowing piece of writing. No soft or happy pictures there.

"What do I see? I see a barefoot angel looking at me. Also a snake. Where did that snake come from? And these red shoes? I would like one final blessing before heading out to cross that Supernatural Bridge, please."

 

Yemaya's Children - the Orishas return

Another story from Damyanti in response to the image I put up as a writing prompt for her. I never know what will spark her writing or the direction it will take, but I am always delighted to read what comes out. She brings a magical sensibility and a chameleon-like ability to diffuse into the story and disappear until surprise! she opens her eyes and I see what she sees.

The picture she used is from a scroll (4' x 25') of connected-by-theme paintings which I later cut apart and stretched separately. I saw them as creation myths. This image was the first in the series. It is about 3.5′ x 4′. I used acrylic lay-in colors finished with oil glazes on printed linen (image painted on the reverse as the pattern's bleed-through produces a more subtle background - also, no scotch-guard protective film on back). I'm glad Damyanti showed up to write the stories. Here is her story.


Yemaya's Children

Quit swimming in the air, Kenny tells them, air is no place for fish.

But they refuse to listen.

During the day they forage amid the plants in their aquarium, driving him crazy most weeks because no sooner than he puts in a half-decent plant in their aquarium they set about ripping it apart. The Singapore Aquaria, set above the sparkling, man-made Sentosa beach, likes each of its aquariums to look as neat and well-groomed as Singapore parks, gardens, people and government. If Kenny, a Filipino, is to survive here he has to make sure the Blue Tialpia behave.

But the Tilapia do not know about the obsession for order that hovers about them.

Each moonlit night they rise from their aquarium, and before Kenny’s helpless eyes, they rise into the blue ether, taking their time.

Quit swimming in the air, come back here, Kenny orders them, or they’ll fire my ass.

The Yemaya will protect you, the Tilapia babble in a chorus, like precocious children. She is the mother of all us Orishas, the most powerful guardians of old, and of the lands, the rivers, and the ocean. She is our mother and yours, too.

I know who is my mother and she is back home sleeping in the Philippines, come back now or I’ll lose my job and she’ll starve, pleads Kenny, hiking up the pants that have slipped below his belly.

We’re the children of Yemaya, the now-faint fish voices rain down from the moonlit sky above the blue-black ocean, and the red-rimmed moon is our home.  Our job is to send dreams and desire to all creation, mate day with night, turn up in the dreams of newly-weds on land and in the sea, multiply the children of Yemaya.

If you’re so powerful, why do you swim about like a bunch of common fish in an aquarium? Come back down, air is no place for fish.

If fish do not belong in air, do you belong in this country of another, cleaning muck where you could have planted fields back home?

Kenny has no answer. The Blue Tilapia rise and fade till he can see them no more, they go home.

The next morning, Kenny does the same.

Damyanti Writes

I lifted Damyanti's story from her blog, the Daily (w)rite : a daily ritual of writing. She wrote the story from the image I put up Feb 3rd. She spins amazing stories out of just about anything, just for exercise. I've known her maybe three years now and she just keeps going, and going, and going. Meet Anna Williams and her hats, everybody.

Once you wear your hat you’ve gotta keep it on, they tell Anna, you have to become a legend because that is why you were born. Everyone in your family has done it. We married into it, Annie-girl, we bought it, traded it, bred it, so just you go ahead up on the stage and spit it out, and no matter what they’ll recognize it, because we wrote it into your chromosomes, baby, just go ahead, all right? Keep your hat on and you’ll be okay, they say, and give her a shove.

That was ten years ago and now she walks tall, a hard-headed girl, wearing many hats, a singer, songwriter, seductress, dancer, actress, diva, designer. A legend in the making, they say, we told you Anna-darling, just listen to us , they say, just keep your hat on and you’ll do well.

Sometimes though, she wears all of the hats together, and that’s when she has the most fun, though neither them nor anyone else knows it. To shrill whistles and hoarse cat-calls, under flashing strobe lights, surrounded by stale perfume, cigar smoke, and beer fumes, Anna purls her much-insured body the color of midnight, that otherwise appears on screen in flashes, covered by iron-clad contracts.

She wears a mask as she twirls around the cold, hard pole, and her hats–one hat upon the other– a red hat with tassels, an oriental hat with ostrich feathers, a fedora a top-hat, a blue balaclava, a wretched beanie embroidered with pearls, never letting any of them fall as she moves.

The elderly men in loosened, delirious ties do not know what awesome return-on-investment the cash they drop at the bar brings them. Anna Williams in the flesh, all of it on display.

Anna breathes in her freedom as she raises her leg strapped to stilettoes, she smells her abandonment in the upturn of her arms and the hardening of her nipples, in the bracing of her stomach she finds the strength of her spirit.

I have kept my hats on, Mom, Dad, I’m okay, Anna mutters under her breath as she whirls, eyes flaming. Glued to her head by the power of her will, her hats tilt, sway, but do not fall. Because once you wear a hat, baby, you better keep it on.

Creation Myth # 12

Two for Damyanti Ghosh, who requested image prompts. Survey her work at http://damyantiwrites.wordpress.com/ This drawing is of my niece, McKenzie Jones, when she was a teen-ager. Not so long ago...  

At one time I was putting up new images every thursday as prompts for writers. Those prompts are still up and available. They are archived - along with the collaborations - at http://rickmobbs.wordpress.com/the-storybook-collaborative/

This second image is from a scroll of creation myths. This was the first in the series. The size is about 3.5' x 4', acrylic lay-in finished with oil glazes on printed linen (image painted on the reverse where the bleed of pattern became a more subtle background).

If you write something be sure to leave a comment and a link back to your work so others can enjoy it also!

able, reasonable, experienced, available on short notice

newmexicostoryboards.wordpress.com

What is it about self-promotion and competition? Everybody says it is necessary for the artist but most of us hate it. Resume and availability now up on new website. Lots of varied experience in film and TV on the East Coast but out here in New Mexico I am mostly known as an able, experienced, multi-talented, creaky old set painter. I guess I have to let people know what else I can do. Check out new mexico storyboards. Let me know what you think please!

She came, she bathed, I asked

(A reworking of a poem I wrote in a time of rooming houses, everyday visions, clawfooted bathtubs, visiting friends, tribal ghosts and protectors and conversations with god on the Dorchester Avenue bus.)

She came, she bathed, I asked,

“Are you and augury of love? Or love itself?”

At that she laughed, she made a splash. Downstairs a door was opened and in the sudden draft I saw the legions tramp across her back. Under glint-eyed standards each man drew and poised to hack with brittle spears and swords and axes flesh made for kisses, not excesses.

Again she laughed as with my hand I washed the scene away.

She said,

“I cannot tell the future dear, nor predict it from your fits. Am I an augury of love? Or love itself? Who knows? Accept the present, dear, And dear, accept the gift.”

what if?

What if we really couldn't afford to take care of our elderly, infirm, sick, dying, homeless, wounded, maimed, disabled, crazy... ? What if even Defense had a budget so tight the argument over whether to pay for one B-1 Bomber or instead, pay for city schools, hospitals, firetrucks, meals, medicine, shelter simply evaporated. Evaporated into listless, desultory conversations about the way things used to be when it seemed that we had choices. It seemed we had choices and if we argued our preferences reason - and kindness - just might in the end prevail. But then to get to what seems to be the end of the line and find that survival means paring down to essentials, eliminating the niceties, the superfluous, the frills, in just the way we do when stripping to fight - stripping ourselves of binding wraps, stripping our enemies of their humanity. We have to see them as not-people, as not-us, or suffer as we slay them. Even if we don't slay but simply walk away, allowing them to not-thrive to their very deaths, it will be easier if they don't seem human.

Will our sense of humor keep pace with our sense of the tragic, the flawed, the foolish if meaning and hope gurgle away? We are on a foundering ship but if we can, at least sometimes - laugh at life, at ourselves, at death, even as we throw the weak and helpless overboard, even as we know that we will inevitably follow them - then maybe we buy ourselves, and our healthy children, and our able friends - a little more time. Then we might survive. Then we might even survive to be worth something, remembering we did what we had to do in a time when there was no time for second guessing, and precious little time for tears. Laughter makes the gods crazy. If we want to outgrow them we need to laugh often and we need to laugh long. It wouldn't hurt to go ahead and start laughing now.

... half-baked thoughts generated out of a National Geographic article on the Human population fast approaching 7 billion people. Happy New Epoch, everybody.

Images by 

Sebastião Salgado.