Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Saturday, November 13, 2004

As the highly energized rank and file of the Democratic Party continue to feel the burn from Mr. Bush’s 2nd questionable presidential victory and as big media continue to weave conspiracy into a devious web that soils both recount advocates and members of the liberal blogosphere, recount activism and leftist energy also continues apace.
Official Wire at, this morning, posts Greg Palast’s take on the Ohio recount.
Mr. Palast, a frequent victim of big media idea rape, has copy-protected his interesting article preventing this humble free web advocate from excerpting a juicy click-inducing chunk.
I would urge you, none the less, to follow the link and read Palast’s highly interesting article headlined, Kerry Won Ohio…Here’s How The Votes Vanished.

Aside from Googling “recount”, “Kerry” or the key state of “Ohio” to provide current information on active recount efforts may I suggest visiting to sign the petition and receive up to date Ohio-specific news of which there is a sizable pile this Saturday morning.
In order to give this particular post the gloss of loonie New York Times conspiracy allow me, in a tribute to vestigial hippydom and with lip-service to my much-maligned blog title, to post a bit of foodie perfection for a cold winter’s night in the form of my excellent Lentil Soup recipe.

Sean’s Lentil Soup

1 49-½ ounce can plus 1 14-ounce can of Chicken Broth
1 Kielbasa, skinned and chopped
½ of a 16-ounce bag of dried Lentils, rinsed
5 cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large White Onion, peeled and chopped
1 large Russet Potato, peeled and chopped
¼ to ½ of a 16 ounce bag of Baby Carrots, chopped
2 stalks of Celery, trimmed and chopped
15 Button Mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
¼ Tsp Thyme
1-Tsp Sea Salt
¼ Tsp White Pepper
2 Tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat oil in a large pot.
Add Garlic, Onions, Celery, Carrots and Potato to hot oil.
Stirring frequently, sauté 5 minutes.
Add chopped Kielbasa and continue to sauté for an additional 4 to 5 minutes.
Add rinsed Lentils, Broth, Mushrooms, Thyme, Sea Salt and White Pepper.
Bring nascent soup to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 45 minute or until Lentils become tender.

This, accompanied with some crusty bread, is heaven and a meal in a bowl.

Images:, Newark Advocate

Friday, November 12, 2004

Reuters photo of masked gun-wielding "mourners"

As the cartoon chaos of Yassir Arafat’s Ramallah burial unspooled across American television, this morning, its gross excess and ugly metaphoric aspects, while, as usual, lost on our hapless media, appeared obvious to the mixed political bag of unusually chatty early-risers watching from the locker room of my YMCA.
Political left and right, finally after 'lo these many years at loggerheads, found common cause deriding our corporate media’s kid glove treatment of a terrorist’s funeral and laughter, oddly, filled these ancient rooms.
“Can you believe it?” “The guy was a killer.” “Our media’s a joke.” And, “It’s like they’re burying the Pope”, were common utterances played to the tune of shaken heads and rolled eyes.
Images that seemed obvious to the eyeballs of ordinary men must have accrued a baffling mist as they traveled through non-telegenic features toward the cognitive centers of cable luminaries prior to a stentorious and inaccurate intonation, or so it seemed.
Returning home to keyboard, screen and world wide web, I found print coverage ranging from and’s delusional to and's more traditional fact-based reportage.
Both CNN and MSNBC made (intentional?) errors of fact by reporting that guns were fired “at the moment Yasser Arafat's body was lowered into his tomb” when, from the television coverage and as the BBC reported, it was clear that “mourners fired guns into the air as the coffin arrived on a helicopter” and continued throughout the inchoative ceremony.
In a final indignity and tribute to the Chairman’s vacillating leadership the wildly unruly mob, as blind to their new leaders as our media was to their own eyes, unceremoniously stripped the Palestinian flag from Arafat’s coffin and left me to cynically wonder how long before that same flag appears on Ebay.

Also from our Some Rumors Good/Some Rumors Bad Department, it appeared that HIV rumors were another curiously missing factoid from coverage that found ample time for equally groundless but perhaps more palatable and soothing rumors of poisoning.

Thursday, November 11, 2004
Pump & Circumstance

Workers ready a special “car” that will transport a festive assortment of “select” GOP officials along with Lybian leader and red pump aficianado Muammar al-Qaddafy during January’s Inaugural Parade.
Parade planners anticipate this car will be “tailed” by the James Dobson Escape-Proof Family Paddy Wagon.

Inaugural planners believe parade rapture among attendees will be infectious and urge the chosen few not to get left behind!

Modified Image: Reuters

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Images:, Reuters

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Well, another hunch paid off this morning with a quick Google of the words “Arafat” and “HIV”.
It seems I’m not the only person who heard a tiny bell ring with mention of the PLO leader’s “mysterious blood ailment”.
Perform a quick search yourself and peruse any of the 214,000+ hits this word combination reveals.
Certainly anyone even briefly associating with Arab men would notice the same untoward and denial-laden interest in male homosexuality that in-the-know Americans observe in our own contra sexually obsessed Christian Fundamentalists.
I, personally, remember vintage 1980's Washington scuttlebutt regarding President Reagan's enjoyment of a CIA report detailing Colonel Khadafi's fondness for red pumps and wonder if President Bush didn't sweeten his Lybian deal with a lifetime discount at Shoetown for the cross-dressing Colonel.
As the King of Siam once observed to Anna, “Tis a puzzlement.”
Certainly, in my humble opinion, the great unspoken issue buried within all this politically expedient demonization of things openly gay is the out-of-control nature of today’s hidden but highly active male sexual behavior.
Women, no matter if they will admit it or not, know this to be true.
I would love to give a few examples here but discretion, for once, is causing a modest and rare pause.
There is something about openness that really cramps the breathy excitement found in hidden lust.
Just ask (or Google) a hot ambisexual mix including the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Livingston, William Bennett, Robert Bauman, Bill Paxon, Newt Gingrich or your average imprisoned or on the lamb Catholic priest.
Thanks to the computer, the cell phone and the booming alleged erectile dysfunction industry, the modern penis has discovered the world to be his oyster.
Or, rather, should I say clam?
The point of the open gay lifestyle isn’t to celebrate the act that formerly didn’t dare speak its name but rather to engender and maintain a sense of family and unconditional love for so many of the male, female and, now, adult victims of, admitted or not, historic alpha male rapaciousness.
Strident fundamentalism, whatever its religion, makes a wonderful cloak to obscure the old power male’s true nature.
If Chairman Arafat is dead or dying of complications from HIV he has my sympathy but not my respect.
Respect would follow a frank announcement by the Arafat family of his true condition; an announcement which would have a major impact on a large, vulnerable and socially unreachable but no less exposed portion of our human family.

Photo: Associated Press

Sunday, November 07, 2004
Sales Soft at CAG
Holiday Sale

With some exceptions, like this unusual engraving-like 8 5/8” X 10 5/8” 1914 vellum plaque by E. T. Hurley which sold at double its high estimate for $14,500, the sour economy was clearly evident at this weekend’s bellwether Cincinnati Art Gallery Holiday Sale of Rookwood Pottery.

Excepting what is getting to be the regular Ebay oddity, like this 1914 7” matte production vase that sold for $1,550 over its catalogue list, most lots, including some very fine artist-signed examples, advantaged the buyer by selling well under pre-sale estimates.
I’m guessing the recent Forsythe sale of the Ruthven Collection had a clear impact upon this morning’s valuations, as many Art Pottery auction regulars, present at the Ruthven sale, were absent from today’s CAG event.
Another possible contributor to the modest hammers was this winter’s unusual lack of detail on many lots in the usually info-packed catalogue.
Excepting today’s lucky attending, phone and Ebay buyer, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth when the usually cash-flush Art Pottery regulars from across America peruse their soon-to-be-mailed lists of hammer prices.
Among the notable bargains:

This most unusual 8” 1941 production form with an unusually low pre-sale estimate, a superb glaze and bearing an original Rookwood paper label still sold for a song hammering at $375.

This museum-quality 1898 modest-sized and tiger-eyed portrait of Moki the Rabbit Hunter by Sturgis Lawrence and bearing a Cincinnati Art Museum acquisition number sold well under its estimate for $12,000.

This extremely rare 9 7/8” 1895 Aerial Blue by Bruce Horsfall with a 20-year old restored crack managed to score just over its low estimate by selling for $8,500.

And, this extraordinarily rare and heavy 66” X 91” Architectural Faience Mural sold in very slow massaged bidding for $6,000 under its low pre sale estimate for $24,000.

No matter this winter’s soft prices and the gallery owner’s likely discontent, the amusing patter provided by auctioneers Louis J. Karp and Brad Karoleff guaranteed a highly entertaining morning at Randy and Michelle Sandler’s premier art pottery event here in the birth place of the American Art Pottery movement.

Photos: Mark Mussio

Move over Karl Rove because there is a sly new non-partisan nocturnal omnivore lurking about our nation’s capitol with a penchant for sheep and a disingenuous media profile thanks to years of light-hearted work in Hollywood.

What could this Arnold-like nemesis be?
Why it’s none other than canis latrans or “barking dog” more commonly referred to as the coyote recently spotted amid the tonier foliage of upper northwest Washington.
According to a Reuters science report by Deborah Zabarenko:

"On our way home from a party tonight, my son spotted a coyote trotting among the trees," one writer said in an e-mail group…"One ran across Military (Road). No question, a healthy smallish coyote!" another wrote on Oct. 21, referring to a location about 5 miles from the White House…Coyotes' presence inside the city limits was confirmed only in September by a naturalist on duty in the woods of Rock Creek Park. "I suspect we've had coyotes close by for some time. We've just discovered them recently," Michael Bean, chairman of the wildlife program at the Environmental Defense group, said on Friday.

The breed, now found in every county of swing state Ohio and made famous by inept Warner Bros cartoon character Wile E. Coyote, should find itself in step with Washington’s marriage sanctity set as they mate for life and will have their “howling season” in this upcoming January and February.
Political cattle and sheep grazing on the District of Columbia’s lush slopes should be forewarned!

Image: Office of the Capitol Curator,

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