Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Saturday, November 06, 2004
Burning Bush

Image: Reuters,

Thursday, November 04, 2004
Yesterday interspersed between too earnest celebrations of Karl Rove’s interpretation of the word mandate, I was struck by remarks made by several Republican spokespeople on the cable yak shows.

Maintaining the President's October 26th about face on ABC’s Good Morning America, these spokespeople continued to hair-split saying the Republican party is not opposed to civil unions and partner benefits implying that the Gay Marriage “issue” was simply a means to lure the simple-minded to the polls.
While ignored by the captivated corporate media (also heavily interested in luring the simple-minded) this issue-straddling was openly evident yesterday as the President and Vice President spoke to a worshipful throng gathered amid the Napoleonic W’s decorating the great hall in Washington, DC’s uber massive Ronald Reagan Building.
Though unidentified in any news text or photo cut line that I’ve Googled since yesterday, one person of some importance to Mary Cheney was making her 2nd public appearance since the VP debate with the first families of, as some described it, our Fundamentalist Christian nation.
The Vice President, tasked with the introductions and trailing a comet’s tail of Cheney’s, said:

Thank you all.
It is an honor for me to be here along with Lynne and our whole family on this very special afternoon.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Cheney said “our whole family” while in the company of his daughter Mary and her self described life partner Heather Poe.
Aside from some politically self-serving uses, I appreciate Mr. Cheney’s cheneyesque low-key actions and words regarding Ms. Poe particularly during and after a campaign utilizing such ugly and very Rovian whispered and shouted anti-gay rhetoric.
As Mary Cheney’s life partner, in my opinion and our Vice President’s, Heather Poe is, indeed, a member of the extended Cheney family.
Sadly, though I appreciate his courage in the face of the President’s fortuitous charismatic Christianity, Mr. Cheney’s words and actions offer meager balm to a grievous wound of politically fanned hatred now oozing on our body politic.
I recently posted a report detailing my participation with the Kerry campaign outside a Monday night football game at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium.
In that post I chose not to quote remarks made by a great many Bush/Cheney supporters except to say that the comments were rather vulgar.
In light of Mr. Cheney’s bravery and the Bush campaign’s dangerous hypocrisy, I regretfully (partly because this post will now appear in countless pornographic web searches) feel a few select quotations have, now, become relevant to illustrate that 59,123,312 Bush voters, perhaps, misinterpreted the campaign’s portrayal of certain allegedly moral and highly divisive issues.
The soon-to-be-listed epithets were, also, not directed at myself; indeed few had the courage to look me in the eye, but were rather directed at the candidates represented by the sign I was holding.
Additionally, while the following quotations are few in number they were variously and endlessly shouted by hundreds of vocabulary-limited male and female, young and old Bush/Cheney supporters throughout a 3-hour period.

They said:

Kerry’s (Edwards’) a fag.

Edwards’ (Kerry) takes it up the ass.

Kerry’s (Edwards’) a cocksucker.

Edwards’ (Kerry’s) a homo.

Kerry (Edwards) sucks dick.

Edwards’ (Kerry’s) a buttfucker.

Kerry (Edwards) drinks cum.

Kerry’s (Edwards’) a fuckin’ queer.

As a posted previously, I was most surprised by a fairly well dressed and highly incensed 60-year-old woman who pushed her face close to mine and, spit flying, screamed the entire hate repertoire.
Much to my regret for I would have urged her arrest, I, later, discovered she had intentionally spit on several members of our group.
Politically fomented hatred such as this will not easily subside with, though welcome, occasional unpublicized familial kindness by the Vice President.
I fear we have yet to see the violence this planned demonizing will produce.
It might be wise for these self-proclaimed Christians to remember that, according to the Old and New Testaments, God the Father “created the Heavens and the earth and everything therein” and that John was “the apostle whom Jesus loved” before they discover, too late, that the Being they presume to speak for does not appreciate those who assume his mantle of Judgment much less their use of improper language.

Photo: Associated Press

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Rook 1929, Rookwood Pottery

There is no thynge so stronge and ferme

but that somtyme a feble thinge

casteth down and overthrowe hit.

How well that the lyon be the strongest beste...

Yet somtyme a lityll birde eteth hym.

--The Game of Kings

Image: sean

Dear God
Not Again

America awakens this November morning to find herself facing a historic and social danger greater than any terrorist attack.
I would urge fellow Democrats, Republicans and our shockingly inept and corrupt media to restrain their baser instincts and pray for our embattled democracy.
I also ask my friends around the world to pray not just for America but also for our western civilization and the hope and shining light it represents.
It is, four years later, up to another state, where yesterday laws were bent and good solid Americans of all persuasions were illegally hamstrung and shockingly delayed in the legal exercise of their right to vote.
Unlike four years ago the focus of the present battle will apparently be across the mighty Ohio river in my wacky and ever torn neighbor of Ohio, sad poster child of the left and right’s worst political excesses.
I’m am gratified, in my present partially awakened state, to have heard Senator John Edwards say that national Democrats and the Kerry campaign will fight for every vote as millions of Americans, no matter the Republican party’s continued control of the Congress, will not tolerate another Bush presidency.
It might be wise for both sides, before the brewing political dogfight embarrasses us all in these too dangerous times, to put aside ego and the clacking of their special interests and to begin considering a Presidency and Vice Presidency of national reconciliation.
I’ve been praying and feeling like a dervish these last 24 hours and I know, this morning, there are millions joining me in this leaky boat.
America and what she represents beyond the corruption that infests her upper ranks is too important to dissolve in the crass political ugliness we living first saw in 2000.
If our leaders truly love America they must put her interests and her future ahead of everything else.
The question, this cold morning, is can and will they?
Pray for America and beg God to protect her.

Photo: Bill Greene-Boston Globe

Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Like most every other day, this morning I awoke at the crack of dawn.

Unlike every other morning, today I dressed before stumbling down to assemble a cup of coffee which, this morning unlike those others, was poured into an insulated Elvis travel mug (actually purchased at the Graceland gift shop) in preparation for the exercise of my constitutional responsibility.
Here, in this tiny rural Kentucky town, perched atop the rolling highlands on the western edge of the northernmost tip of the Commonwealth, I anticipated, as in previous elections, a fairly empty polling place but, as my brimming Elvis mug suggests, I left the house prepared for any contingency.
The drive to my poll is a longish cruise down a two-lane country road, which winds through some of the most beautiful farmland God ever placed upon this good Earth.
This morning, as I drove sipping coffee, humming the national anthem and saying prayers, the sun had not yet risen and the land was swathed in darkness.
I noticed what seemed to be an unusual amount of other automobiles in transit but, since I rarely leave the house so early, I had no comparison.
Arriving, eventually, at the polling place, located in the activity rooms of a hideously modern Catholic church, my wondering eyes saw, at 6:15am EST and 15 minutes after the poll had opened, a packed parking lot and a long line of enfranchised citizens.
Part of me was amazed while part wasn’t.
Since the Catholic Church defines a miracle as an event that defies statistical probability, and though unrecognized by the conniving established authority and the semi-blinded populace, I always viewed the last ill-fated and tied Presidential vote as some sort of higher power sign.
This poll, packed with quiet and polite Kentuckians, suggests to me that the higher powers have listened to my 4-year long prayer.
There was a certain particularly American resoluteness and strength within the early morning company of my fellow voters and a palpable sense that these last four years of darkness are concluding as history and all those who have preceded us would wish.
I voted a straight Democratic ticket and against the amendment to change Kentucky’s constitution to forbid non-traditional marriage.
As I drove home, with my “I voted” sticker affixed above my heart, the sun was rising, my eyes were wet but my heart was full of hope.

Image: Google images

Monday, November 01, 2004
What a Sunday!
Politics and Pottery made for an exciting day here in swing state southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky.

Art Pottery Movers & Shakers preview the Ruthven goods.

Most of my day was spent attending the Forsythe family’s auction of the Kevin Ruthven Collection of Rookwood pottery, Cincinnati School paintings and other decorative art in the Queen City suburb of Springfield.
The Forsythe’s are to be commended, as the event was one of the most beautifully organized auctions I’ve ever attended in this midwestern hotbed of American ceramics.

A Forsythe offers an item for close inspection.

Mr. Ruthven, son of renowned wildlife artist John Ruthven, had amassed a stunningly beautiful group of objects in a 40-year span of serious collecting and offered all for sale without reserve and along with the Forsythe’s most economical 10% buyer’s premium (as opposed to the 25% attached to items sold through the larger Cincinnati art houses).
To the benefit of the transcontinental assembly of American Art Pottery mavens and despite the sharp artistic acuity of Ruthven’s eye, some truly superb objects and the efforts of the Forsythe clan, the weak economy was clearly evident as many beautiful things struggled to achieve their pre-sale estimates in bidding that infrequently approached the frenzy normally associated with these events.
Unfortunately, to avoid being stuck in an interstate traffic jam of fevered Bush supporters assembling downtown, I left before the event concluded and before some of the star objects went under the hammer.
(I’m hoping the Forsythe’s eventually publish and distribute an erratum of hammer prices to go along with their excellent catalogue.)
Some Rookwood pottery highlights:

This beautifully painted 1898 portrait of “Pacer, Apache” by Sturgis Lawrence on a 3 handled standard glaze mug sold well over its high estimate of $1,800 for $3,000.

This barely 6” tall 1907 standard glaze vase by Clara Lindeman sold, in very spirited bidding, for $600 over its high estimate at $950.

This most unusual, large and heavy Arts & Crafts loving cup, a production shape previously unknown to most collectors, hammered over its $2000 high end estimate for a, I thought, reasonable considering its rarity, $2,600.

And, this small but absolutely pristine and exquisite 1927 vellum plaque in its original gilt frame by Edward Diers sold for $2,500 over its high estimate for $10,500.

On the political front...
I was pleasantly surprised at yesterday’s auction to see no obvious Bush support and a smattering of Kerry buttons in what is usually a largely conservative crowd of serious art collectors.
This morning, on WCPO television’s excellent morning newscast I was very surprised to see videotape of thrice-married and, now, confirmed bachelor and Cincinnati Reds’ legend Johnny Bench introducing President Bush to the adoring crowd, last night, at Cincinnati’s new Great American Ballpark.

Unsurprisingly, stadium and Reds owner Carl Lindner, major Bush backer, dark force behind Cincinnati’s unsavory national reputation and likely reason the President failed to mention his recent about face on gay civil unions, was unsmilingly enthroned behind our soon-to be ex chief executive and the Hall of Fame former catcher.

This blogger urges fellow northern Kentuckians to exercise their right to vote!

Photos: sean, Forsythe Auctions, Cincinnati Enquirer

Sunday, October 31, 2004
NNNHe's Melting!

The scariest movie any American Trick or Treat-er could watch this All Hollow’s Eve has to be the horrifying epic produced by that Ziegfield of Zeitgeist Karl Rove.
Anticipating tonight’s eerie concluding production number in Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark, it might be fun to read former theater critic Frank Rich’s column in this morning’s New York Times:

It's possible for America to overdose on entertainment. No president has worked harder than George W. Bush to tell his story as a spectacle, much of it fictional, to rivet his constituents while casting himself in an unfailingly heroic light. Yet this particular movie may have gone on too long and have too many plot holes. It may have been too clever by half. It may have given Mr. Kerry just the opening he needs to win.

Must Read!
As Osama hovers over our pillows like a turbaned Tooth Fairy, Atrio's links to an important Knight-Ridder report detailing his escape from Tora Bora.

Images: MGM, Reuters, AP, AFP

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