Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My wish for 2009....

"Today is all bare and bright, bare limbs and bright sky and I thought there is a way to face the truth we actually know far inside us, our nakedness, our peril, and let it invigorate every cell. There is a way of becoming so alive that anything on earth that happens is a privilege."
Margery Latimer 1928

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Introducing Thalia Chaltas

I can't wait, I can't wait! I've been saying this to Thalia since she first told me of her debut novel. Up until today I did not know the title or subject matter, she kept her cards very close to her, sharing little and inciting great interest. I will admit that I love books and yes, have a fascination with Young Adult literature. Really, who can resist Harry Potter or the Twilight phenomenon? (If these two references elude you... go directly to the sites and start educating yourselves.) There are also the books by Philip Pullman, Juliet Marillier, do I need to even mention JRR Tolkein?!

I have been waiting ever patiently for Thalia to announce the release of her book. Like most publishing endeavors I'm sure there are many hurdles. So I kept checking the internet waiting, hoping to find more information. Today I hit the motherload ... the book is listed at AMAZON as well as several pre-release reviews HERE and HERE and HERE.

The release date is April 16th, 2009, I don't know how I will be able to stand it. The reviews are already pronouncing tremendous literary success which will be the precursor to many more novels in future. I'm already proud and thrilled. It's wonderful to be witness to the success of a friend and fellow artist. Bravo Thalia!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Take Action

It's the holidays and it's also the time between, time between our incoming President Elect and outgoing President. It's a time when things fall through the political cracks as we glide through the holidays with our focus on family and friends. In a year full of upheavals and a very long political campaign, everyone is tired, most are worried, if not downright anxious about what is to come. However, the current administration will continue on making decisions for the collective "us" until inauguration day on January 20th. They are making decisions and hoping we're not looking. For instance.... approving drilling in our sacred natural spaces like Dixie National Forest and the Red Rock Wildnerness in Southern Utah.

photo credit Robert Riberia web page here

Environmentalist are doing their best to keep track of all that is being considered and are asking those of us who care about the preservation of these amazing natural wonders to speak out. They go so far as to prepare letters for you that can be easily emailed to your state representatives. I'm putting in the links so that you can go directly to the action pages where you can make your voice heard.

Whether or not you personally have interest in these incredible parks and forests how about your children? your grandchildren? I certainly think they are worth shouting about.

Here is where to have your say.... note there are two separate action letters, one for each location, the forest and the redrocks.

A note from Robert Redford on the NRDC website:

Stop Bush's Giveaway of America's Redrock Wilderness
Tell the Bush Administration to cancel the December 19 auction of Utah's Redrock wilderness to oil and gas speculators. These natural treasures belong to the American people in perpetuity. They are not Bush and Cheney's to give away. Once the drilling begins, this majestic wilderness can never be restored. Please SEND YOUR MESSAGE opposing this disastrous plan.

Tell the Bush administration not to allow destructive drilling in Dixie National Forest
Go to Natural Resource Defense Council and TAKE ACTION

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hurray for the polar bears!

News from the Natural Resources Defense Council
Dear Nicole,

I'm thrilled to report a major victory for polar bears, endangered bowhead whales and other species that live in and around the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

A federal appeals court has just ruled that the Bush Administration's approval of Shell's plan to drill for oil next to the Refuge in Alaska's Beaufort Sea is illegal.
NRDC and Earthjustice -- along with a coalition of Alaska Native organizations and conservation groups -- went to federal court and proved that Shell's rush to industrialize this fragile ecosystem posed a greater threat to wildlife and the Inupiat people than the Bush Administration was willing to admit.

Now the court is sending the government back to the drawing board to study and disclose the "significant harm" that Shell’s drilling could cause.

Our courtroom victory shows that oil companies can't get away with simply killing wildlife and destroying the Inupiat's way of life, which depends on that wildlife.

The government's own experts predicted that drilling in the Beaufort would cause at least one oil spill, which would have been an unmitigated disaster for wildlife as there is no known method for cleaning up oil in this icebound sea.

That's why we are so determined to keep Shell -- and all the oil companies -- out of our most sensitive Arctic environments.

Thank you again for steadfastly standing with us and defending the coastline of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge!

Frances Beinecke
Natural Resources Defense Council

P.S. The polar bear is not out of danger yet. In fact, right now NRDC is fighting the Bush Administration, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and America's biggest polluters for the sake of polar bear survival. DONATE NOW to help us win two critical cases that could help save the polar bear from rampant industrialization of its home.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Review: Small Images 2008

The Atkinson diet : 'Small Images' at SBCC brings together a diverse group of talents working small but thinking big

By Josef Woodard
Santa Barbara News Press, Scene Magazine
November 28, 2008 12:19 PM

Top: Penelope Gottlieb's Mid-Century Wow! is one of several real estate-themed pieces in the SBCC show Small Images 2008. Middle" Mark Lozano's The Space Between, and below: Nicole Strasburg's Brush Fire, take the theme in digressing directions. COURTESY PHOTOS

For many years now, the Atkinson Gallery at Santa Barbara City College has been the go-to place for anti-epic art, thanks to the ever-alluring Small Images show. If the tradition is predictable as calendar clockwork, the artistic viewpoints and specifics heed a nice diversification year to year, thanks to the rotation of outside jurors. As wisely chosen this year by Daniel Dove, a painter and assistant professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, this year's crop is a strong - and definitely wee - one.

One of the charms of the show is the opportunity to check in on regional artists we thought we knew, but in a radically altered scale. Larry Iwerks is a respected member in the landscape painter scene here, and his Aspen at Flagstaff is a loosely brushed oil, almost small enough to fit in a wallet. On the almost comically microscopic scale, Beverly Decker's acrylic-on-canvas piece is truly pocket-sized and assemblage handyman Dug Uyesaka's sculptural bauble is a miniaturist's dream.

Deceptively small in scale and in tactile imprint, the normally concept-driven artist Penelope Gottlieb shows witty, faint, pencil-on-paper drawings of suburban houses, the pencil colors matching the kitschy frames and fitted with titles tinged by real estate marketing language - i.e. Mid-Century Wow! and Handyman's Heaven! But the exclamation points are a stark contrast to the artist's soft touch and dry humor.

Self-conscious compactness isn't the only concern in the show. Among the sculptural entries, Gayle J. Waite's fancifully stitched fabric art/soft sculpture comes equipped with the mock-lofty title nonconforming tactile substrata while Colin Fallat's Tool Time mimics a functional tool box, but in the unseemly material of ceramic and metal.

Jens Pedersen, the longtime Santa Barbara-based artist whose relief sculptures happily violate the boundaries of painting and sculpture, shows his work, in smaller form than usual. Shauna Moses' untitled ceramic vessel is conspicuously tiny, but Jon Go's Crumpled Up Ball of Frustration lives up to its title with its gnarled mass of vari-colored acrylic, an emblem of clenched tension.

In the painting corner, Nicole Strasburg's Brush Fire is a concentrated blast of heat and flame packed into a small square format, and unintentionally all too relevant to recent, tragic events in Santa Barbara.

One of the strongest pieces in the room is Mark Lozano's The Space Between, an enigmatic and impressively detailed realist painting of a shadowy interior, with ragged white curtains both framing the view and casting the otherwise mundane scene in dramatic terms. We're drawn into a realm of space and craftily flip-flopped definitions of subject and ground. Dreamtime visions lurk in the space between the details, made all the more mysterious by its compacted scale.

As before, the tacit mantra and message of this annual show is that, in art, scale can - and does - matter.

When: through Dec. 12
Where: Atkinson Gallery,
Santa Barbara City College, 721 Cliff Dr.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Information: 965-0581, Ext. 3484,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fire Cause Determined

Tea Fire Cause Is Determined
Fire the Result of Carelessness Caused When Bonfire Left Unattended

SB Independent
Tuesday, November 18, 2008

At a 4 p.m. press conference, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown announced that as a result of an anonymous tip, investigators were able to identify ten young adults as those responsible for the cause of the Tea Fire. Brown described them as between the ages of 18 and 22, area residents, and a mixture of males and females. Brown also described them as all coming from one school and being cooperative with investigators.

The breakthrough resulting in their identification came as a result of the appeal made to the community to provide information regarding the fire. Over forty tips were received, including one anonymous tip relating to a party that had occurred at an area on the east end of the ridgeline overlooking Cold Springs Canyon known as the Tea Garden.

The cause of the fire appears to be the result of carelessness rather than criminal intent. Sometime Wednesday evening, November 12, the ten apparently headed up to the Tea Garden to party and this including starting what the Sheriff called a bonfire. When they left sometime between 3 and 5 a.m. Thursday morning, those who attended the gathering told investigators that they thought they had put out the fire, which was built near a wall in the Tea Garden area. Rather than dying out, coals from the fire continued to smolder throughout the day and ignited when the strong sundowner winds picked up Thursday evening.

Brown declined to identify those involved and added that the investigation is still ongoing. At this time reports are being prepared and submitted to the District Attorney’s office which will decide if any criminal charges will be filed. Anyone with additional information regarding the start of the Tea Fire is encouraged to call the Tip Line at (805) 681-4171.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tea Fire

Sending out prayers to all those evacuated from their homes last night in Santa Barbara. Prayers and thanks to all the workers (firefighters, police, Red Cross, equine rescue, animal shelters) helping to combat the flames and keep everyone safe from the devastating fire still moving through our hillside.

For up to date, fantastic coverage you can't beat the Santa Barbara Independent. The LA Times also has articles, photos and a map HERE Google has one of the best maps of the area I've seen HERE

To help: the Santa Barbara chapter of the RED CROSS is accepting donations HERE or call 1 (800) HELP NOW

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Notecards

The new cards are here!

Reflecting Pools

Island Hop

I just had new 5x7" notecards printed at PSPrint. I purchased beautiful clear boxes at ClearBags so that I can box them in sets of 6 to be sold HERE in my etsy shop. Happy holidays came early.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Introducing Erika Carter

Noozhawk Talks: Leslie Dinaberg Sits Down with Erika Carter
By Leslie Dinaberg, Noozhawk Contributor
(reprinted online article)

The owner of Studio 3 East gallery discusses the finer points of living an artful life.
(Carter family photo)
Downtown Santa Barbara’s 1st Thursday events have grown into a popular hive of art, music and wine, and few spots are buzzing like Erika Carter’s Studio 3 East gallery, at 3 E. De la Guerra St. above Starbucks. Carter, a Santa Barbara native, talks with Leslie Dinaberg about living an artful life.

Having invested her life in art, Erika Carter says art is a worthy financial investment.

LD: What are you working on now?

EC: It’s a holiday show. It will be the third annual show for Donna Asycough and myself … This one is “Arbol de Vida,” which is the “Tree of Life.” … The paintings I do are all retablos; those are the little tin devotional paintings, folk art. …This year I’ll be doing 100 of them.

LD: Wow.

EC: Yeah, I know. It’s a lot of work. Donna and I are both just very passionate about Mexico. We can’t get enough of it.

LD: How do you psych up to do 100 paintings?

EC: It’s insane. I get all the tins out. I prep them all at the same time. Most of them are collage transfers, so I take photographs, transfer them, and do some things. … This is all collage, this is all photo transfer, and then I paint on it, too, so it’s a mixture. I’ll go and I’ll photograph like crazy, and then I’ll come back and start looking at my images, start laying them out, and then I get to a point where they all get started. They’ll all be to a point where there will be 100 of them sitting there and I’ll start cranking and it will be 10-hour days.

LD: Do you primarily paint here in the studio?

EC: This is it, so it will be a mess in November. It’s very sad for the artist (Melissa Gill) showing here this month.

LD: There’s something kind of cool about that because most gallery space isn’t studio space.

EC: No. This was originally a studio space, that’s all it was, and for me to survive and have a studio space, which of course wasn’t as big as it is now, was to start doing shows to help pay the rent, which has been really great. I would do a show, have a few friends and hang some artwork for the weekend. Then people started hearing about the gallery space and it grew, and now I’m booked through 2009.

LD: Wow. That’s awesome.

To read the rest of the article about Erika goto Noozhawk HERE.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

First Holiday Showing

Afternoon Storm 12x12" oil on birch panel

In conjunction with First Thursdays in Santa Barbara
Sullivan Goss will be opening their Holiday 2008 shows
Thursday November 6th from 5-8pm.
(Yes, you read it right... holiday show)

Four shows will open:

Alia E. El-Bermani - Beautiful Vessels
Hecho En Mexico - paintings from the estate collection
Aldo Casanova - Selected Sculptures
Small Works - portable treasures from the gallery artists

I will have 2 small paintings and one large represented in the exhibitions and will be at the reception between 5-7pm (Bill will be in attendance as well!)

Hope to see you there to share a glass of champagne or a good laugh... we all need one!

Sullivan Goss located downtown at 7 & 11 East Anapamu phone 730.1460

Monday, October 27, 2008


Making use of my old etching plates, I'm re-discovering the possibilities of artist books. This is a small accordion fold book using 8 small plates of my jasmine root series. I used pieces of quarter inch maple ply wood for the covers and will perhaps carve some of the image into its surface before producing the series.

These are solar images made from copies of my original lithographic drawings. The lithos were not turning out the way I had hoped, the first two images printed so dark, diminishing the silvery quality of the the tree branches. These are smaller versions (5x7") of the originals (10x13") but translated well in a smaller format, delicate with lots of movement. Now I'm seeing these as possible book images as well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hurray for the whales!!

News from the NRDC action fund ....


We just got life-saving news for the last 375 beluga whales of Alaska's Cook Inlet.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has decided to place these imperiled whales -- one of the smallest populations of marine mammals left on the planet -- on the endangered species list.

It's a huge win for beluga whales, whose population has plummeted due to the industrialization of Alaska's most populated and fastest-growing waterway.

And it's a huge win for the NRDC Action Fund. More than 118,000 online activists like you sent messages to the Bush Administration demanding protection for the whales.

Our messages accounted for some two-thirds of all 180,000 comments received! This outpouring of national pressure put the White House on notice that the American people expect swift action to save beluga whales from extinction.

But the Bush Administration still dragged its feet. That's why our partner organization, NRDC, and 10 other conservation groups filed suit and put a halt to the administration’s delays.

The beluga's newly won protection will help scientists deal with the many dangers now facing the whales: oil and gas exploration, increased pollution, and plans for massive new projects that could endanger the whales' survival.

We will hold the government's feet to the fire and make sure that habitat protections are put in place under the Endangered Species Act, while there is still time to save the belugas of Cook Inlet.

Meanwhile, I want to thank you for standing up in defense of Alaska's most vulnerable whales. We'll be sure to keep you informed as soon as there are new developments.


Frances Beinecke
NRDC Action Fund

P.S. You can support our ongoing campaign to save beluga whales by making an online donation HERE

The NRDC Action Fund is the 501(c)(4) affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Monday, October 6, 2008

Take a minute to protect your rights as an image maker


I just wrote Congress to oppose the Orphan Works Bills. Please take a minute to send letters to your representative opposing this bill that greatly infringes upon copyright protection for artists.

Click on HERE to take action now

Click HERE to read the bill itself.

HERE is a link to already written letters that you can just click and send.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Off Axis events begin on First Thursday

Announcing Off-Axis 2008:
A Month-Long Celebration of Contemporary Art!

Here is a unique opportunity to explore ideas, concepts, and critical approaches to contemporary art practice in a community-wide setting. Off-Axis 2008 promises to be a stimulating immersion into art exhibitions, public openings, artists’ interventions, VIP tours, lectures by renowned scholars, and myriad of crossover events in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara is a growing hub for the arts in Central California and the West Coast region. Its rich history and the resources of the city’s visual arts institutions, the thriving gallery community, and cutting-edge performing arts scene provide an excellent backdrop for meaningful engagement with contemporary art.

October 2nd through November 5th
Join us for 1st Thursday
and a kick-off to Off-Axis
October 2nd, 5 - 8 PM

Pamela Zwehl-Burke is an artist, educator and book-maker. The books she makes are called "Artist`s Books". When asked for a definition, she says, "An Artist`s Book is one where the artist is responsible for everything - the structure, the form and the content."

Artist`s books can be unique objects or made in editions. The structure can vary from fairly standard to whatever comes from the artist`s imagination.

Pamela`s books are very personal, based on events and passages in her life. "Meditations" is a word that`s often used.

Watch video of Pamela Zwehl-Burke discussing her work and displaying her books.
Artist`s Statement
Bud, Bloom, Burst
Four Digits, and a Thumb
Picture Box
Soles for Her Roles
Order in the Drawer

For more information, please contact:

Eric Kelley

The Book Den
15 East Anapamu St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

(805) 962-3321

The Book Den, in collaboration with the Downtown Organization and neighboring art venues, is excited to present 1st Thursday, an evening of art and culture in Downtown Santa Barbara. On the first Thursday of every month, participating downtown galleries and other venues will stay open from 5-8 p.m. (or later) to offer free access to art in a fun and social environment.

Enjoy an evening of culture by strolling the Historic Arts District’s 30-plus participating venues. These venues will offer special programming such as artists’ receptions, music, demonstrations, lectures, wine tastings, and of course, an array of artwork. As you wander between galleries, take in the live musical performances and interactive exhibits outside on State Street.

In addition to visiting our venue, be sure to explore the other participating venues. Listings of the specific programming offered at each gallery and descriptions of all public performances and interactive exhibits are available at

Make the Historic Arts District the place to be on Thursday nights!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Things to do on your 4th Wedding Anniversary

Plant a new tree (Japanese Maple) in the backyard planter thinking how it will remind you of this very anniversary ....

Admire the amazing color of the flowers blooming in the yard....

Install a fountain in the front garden placing rocks and shells collected from all your walks together ....

Enjoy the beauty and the sound while sipping cold beers after the long day....

Love up your two dearest fur pals....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm with Anne Lamott

I LOVE Anne Lamott's political philosophy, her writing, her expression. I'm thrilled that I get to live on the planet at the same time she does. To honor her words today I went with a girlfriend to commune with nature, something that is what living in Santa Barbara is all about. The mountains and the ocean are just 5 minutes away and there is a quiet that surrounds you that is so painfully beautiful. It truly puts things in perspective because it is those moments that are worth fighting for.

What was most memorable about today's sojourn over the hill were the incredible Manzanita trees. They must be old because of their size but WOW the color was just spectacular. In the words of Oliver Twist.... "more please".

One more from a beloved writer.... Anne Lamott

A call to arms

How to handle the fury brought on by this election? Register voters, hit the streets, pray. Stop talking about her. Talk about Obama.

By Anne Lamott

Sep. 16, 2008 | I had to leave church Sunday morning when it turned out that the sermon was not about bearing up under desperate circumstances, when you feel like you're going crazy because something is being perpetrated upon you and your country that is so obscene that it simply cannot be happening.

I sat outside a 7-Eleven and had a sacramental Dove chocolate bar. Jeez: Here we are again. A man and a woman whose values we loathe and despise -- lying, rageful and incompetent, so dangerous to children and old people, to innocent people in every part of the world -- are being worshiped, exalted by the media, in a position to take a swing at all that is loveliest about this earth and what's left of our precious freedoms.

When I got home from church, I drank a bunch of water to metabolize the Dove bar and called my Jesuit friend, who I know hates these people, too. I asked, "Don't you think God finds these smug egomaniacs morally repellent? Recoils from their smugness as from hot flame?"

And he said, "Absolutely. They are everything He or She hates in a Christian."

I have been in a better mood ever since, and have decided not to even say this woman's name anymore, because she fills me with such existential doubt, such a sense of impending doom and disbelief, that only the Germans could possibly have words for it. Nor am I going to say the word "lipstick" again until after the election, as it would only be used against me. Or "polar bear," because that one image makes me sadder than even horrible old I can stand.

I hate to criticize. And I love to kill wolves as much as the next person does. But this woman takes such pride in her ignorance, doesn't have a doubt in the world about her messianic calling, that it makes anyone of decency feel nauseated -- spiritually, emotionally and physically ill.

I say that with love. As we say in Texas. (Also, we say, "Bless her heart.")

We felt this grief and nausea during the run-up to the war in Iraq. We felt it after the 2004 election. And now we feel it again.

But since there are still six weeks until the election, and since the stakes are as high as the sky, which should definitely not be forced to endure four more years of the same, we have got to get a grip. There are millions of people to register to vote, millions of dollars to be raised. We really cannot go around feeling flat and defeated, with the need to metabolize the rotten meat that this one particular candidate and the media have forced upon us.

One of the tiny metabolic suggestions I have to offer -- if, like me, you choose not to have her name on your lips, like an oozy cold sore (I say that with love) -- is to check out a Web site called the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator. There you can find out what she and her husband would have named you if you had been their baby. My name, Anne, for instance, would be Krinkle Bearcat. John, her running mate, would be named Stick Freedom. George would be Crunk Petrol. And so on.

First of all, go find out what your own name would be. Then for one day refuse to use the name of these people who are so damaging to earth and to our very souls -- so, "I don't have to understand anything, it's all fuzzy math. Trust me. I'm the decider." From now on, when working for Obama, talk about Obama, talk about his policies, the issues, the economy, the war in Iraq, poverty, the last eight years, Joe Biden. You don't have to mention Crunk Petrol, or his sidekick, Shaver Razorback.

And you sure as hell don't have to mention Claw Washout -- she is absolutely, hands-down the most ludicrous person ever to be nominated. She's a "South Park" character. There was a mix-up. Mistakes were made.

Everything you need to know about how to bear up during these two months is already inside you. Go within: Work on your own emotional acre. Stand still, and hurt, and feel crazy. Then drink a lot of water, pray, meditate, rest. Rest is a spiritual act. Now, I am a reform Christian, so it is permissible for me to secretly believe that God hates this woman, too. I heard God slam down a couple of shooters while she was talking the other night.

Figure out one thing you can do every single day to be a part of the solution, concentrating on swing states. Money, walking precincts, registering voters, whatever. This is the only way miracles ever happen -- left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe. Right foot, left foot, right foot, breathe. The great novelist E.L. Doctorow once said that writing a novel is like driving at night with the headlights on: You can only see a little ways in front of you, but you can make the whole journey this way. It is the truest of all things; the only way to write a book, raise a child, save the world.

As my anonymous pal Krinkle Bearcat once wrote: Laughter is carbonated holiness. It is chemo. So do whatever it takes to keep your sense of humor. Rent Christopher Guest movies, read books by Roz Chast and Maira Kalman. Picture Stick Freedom in his Batman underpants, having one of his episodes of rage alone in one of his seven bedrooms. Or having one of his bathroomy little conversations with Froth Moonshine. (Bless their hearts.) Try to remember that even Karl Rove has accused him of being a lying suck.

Reread everything Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower ever wrote. Write down that great line of Molly's, that "freedom fighters don't always win, but they're always right." Tape it next to your phone.

Call the loneliest person you know. Go flirt with the oldest person at the bookstore.

Fill up a box with really cool clothes that you haven't worn in a year, and take it to a thrift shop. Take gray water outside and water whatever is growing on your deck. This is not a bad metaphor to live by. I think it is why we are here. Drink more fluids. And take very gentle care of yourself and the people you most love: We need you now more than ever.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Eve on Sarah

I'm not usually so politically outspoken... I am a quiet conservative liberal (if there is such a thing). But I have to say that it's difficult in this election not to get passionate over the issues confronting us and impassioned by the choices set out for our consideration. Here is another good article written by a fellow artist whom I have adored for years... Amen Eve.

Eve Ensler, the American playwright, performer, feminist and activist.

Drill, Drill, Drill

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country choose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, "It was a task from God."

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

Eve Ensler

September 5, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Plant shopping

When I remember the name of this beauty I'll let you know. Still hunting for the right vine for the front garden......

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Amen Gloria!

Palin: wrong woman, wrong message

Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.
By Gloria Steinem

From the Los Angeles Times Opinion Page
September 4, 2008

Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.

But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.

Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest.

Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women.

And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.

This could be huge.

Gloria Steinem is an author, feminist organizer and co-founder of the Women's Media Center. She supported Hillary Clinton and is now supporting Barack Obama.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Printing Day

Yesterday afternoon I spent at the press with the last of my Litho Sketch drawings and solution. Sadly, I discovered recently, that Amaco has discontinued the Litho Sketch line.... I can't even give you a link to it because they aren't making it any more.

I was running low on the plate solution you need to charge the master in order to ink it and heard through some printing pals that the company was going out of business. I looked everywhere online to see if there might be a supply hidden somewhere and failed. Next plan was to call around and find out what the substitute for the plate solution might be, seeing as how I still have 25 master plates in my possession. Again, a deadend, Amaco admitted that even they have tried to find another possibility and couldn't. When speaking with Amaco I was stunned to hear that they had stopped production 6 years ago because it was such a slow mover. It has taken that long to finally run out of product.

What I have loved about this product is the immediacy of getting a print. It's some kind of coated paper that allows you to draw with litho crayons. Once the drawing is complete you charge the plate with the magic solution and roll on litho ink with a brayer. Simple as that. Once through the press and you have something that resembles a stone lithograph without all the solvents and processing involved. It's been grand!

Other products have been suggested to try that may be good alternatives to the Litho Sketch wonder. I'm distraught to have it taken from me just as we were getting to know each other, making beautiful prints, hey, I was falling in love. *sigh*

The new replacement plates are on their way here from Graphic Chemical (the most wonderful printing supply catalog!). I'll post my opinion after the blind date. I'm hoping to be smitten but Litho Sketch is still a fresh wound... it just won't be the same.

roll up table

paper plate

inking station

off the press

print from the paper litho plate

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