Saturday, 31 December 2011

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The marriage of Heaven and Hell

click on image to enlarge

"Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion,
Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence.
From these contraries spring what the religious call Good & Evil.
Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing
from Energy. Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell."
William Blake

Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing Day!

click on image to enlarge

    December the 26th is Boxing day in Canada. We celebrate the holiday every year but nobody's really sure what it means. Is it when we are supposed to put all the presents into boxes? Are we supposed to throw away the empty boxes? Is it about boxing fights?

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas-time always means perogy making time to me

    When I was a boy we used to make hundreds of perogies in preparation for the big Christmas eve party my parents held every year. We would make so many that we froze a bunch of them to eat for the rest of the year.
   We made potato, potato and cheese, sour kraut, and blueberry ones. Our little 
fingers were busy filling and folding and squeezing. Filling and folding and squeezing...
    My father always liked to be the one with the cool job of flattening the dough 
with the rolling pin and making little circles with the cup, while my mother would boil them and place them out on the counters to cool down.
    We had a real assembly line happening and the kids as usual being the lowest 
life-form in the room got the most laborious part of the job.
    We weren't stupid and we weren't going to be taken advantage of. Walking 
off the job was impossible. Dad wasn't very quick but he had a rolling pin in his hand. Mum would've seen our scheming anyway and made it impossible. There was no way we would have ever made it out of that door.
    Sometimes the only recourse a worker has is sabotage! I filled every perogy 
I made that year with dough. In Canadian-Ukranian parlance these clumps of dough were referred to as 'sucker perogies.' 
    My brother and sister were on board for the revolution but they didn't commit with the full hearted intensity that I did. I only made sucker perogies and made them really fast because it was way easier to make them when you didn't have to worry about the filling falling out.
    When Christmas eve came about, Dad instantly knew who the instigator was. It was obvious. I made no secret of coveting his rolling pin.
    That year, I spent the whole Christmas eve hiding behind chairs giggling and 
spying on the angry adults trying to eat their perogies. They had to eat every one of those balls of dough. Every last one of them. 
    Ukranians always finish everything on their plates. We can't help ourselves. It's in our D.N.A.
    All the adults hated me that year, except for Mike Wolynski. 
    He liked them!
    My punishment was that I had to eat every last one of the sucker perogies that remained. My mother put a lock on the freezer so I couldn't throw any away when they weren't looking. I wasn't finished until February.
    Perogies are serious business for Ukranians during Christmas.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Choose your path very carefully

click on image to enlarge
    Years ago I was tattooing this design from one of my sketchbooks
onto a friend's arm. I was fine with tattooing the image onto him but
I didn't feel right about branding him with the words.
    I never invented these words. They have a history as do all proverbs and aphorisms. An image often has several layers of meaning but these words were very specific.
    I knew his girlfriend a little. She was such a sweet-hearted girl.
He really lucked out with her.
    I couldn't...
    I tattooed the devils on him but left the scroll empty.
    No mercy...born to lose... Should a tattooist be telling people
what they should or shouldn't put on their own skin?
    I have this awful habit of thinking things to death
and that's what I did to my tattooing career.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Monday, 19 December 2011

Ontario study finds that fewer children are enjoying reading

   With our obsession for high test scores and empirical methods of measuring 
success, we're taking the enjoyment out of education. My kids have too much 
homework! Even if they know the information and lesson already they're 
expected to complete it. 
   My son has a new interest every few months and I think that's valuable too. 
He doesn't have the time to explore them properly because he has to regurgitate
lessons that he's already finished digesting.
   With the pressures of global competition our schools are pressuring the kids 
too much. We don't want to create little robots. We want innovators! 
Most importantly, we want them to grow up and be capable of enjoying 
this wonderful world.
It's happening all over but here's the study I'm referring to:

Sunday, 18 December 2011

 This comic from the 1960s reflects the culture of the time.

My modern eyes can't help seeing it like this:
click on image to enlarge

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Monday, 12 December 2011

Sunday, 11 December 2011

My newest sketchbook

     I asked my wife, who is Swiss-German, if 'Im alter von wunder,' means, 'in an age of wonders.' She was in a hurry so didn't pay very much attention to it and just said, "yes."
     Later she said it sounded a little awkward.
     Too late! I already painted it on the cover.

click on image to enlarge

It's true that we are living in a very interesting age. Are we not?

Thursday, 8 December 2011

This freaks me out

click on painting to enlarge

When I was teaching myself how to draw, I spent a lot of time looking 
at the art of the Renaissance. The paintings of hell haunt me to this day. 
I hope I don't have nightmares from today's painting but for the sake 
of art, I will do almost anything, even go to hell for one night!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

What are the heresies of our age?

click on painting to enlarge

The quotes and aphorisms of Helen Keller are very special to me.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

A 'poem' today:

Ninety-nine suckers and a one percent man,
throwing us our supper from his garbage can.
As he gives us another morsel to chew,
we throw it back'n say, "no thank you!
Your food looks good, but it tastes like poo!"
That was pretty bold - but what's he going to do?
Take away our pay checks and our pensions too?

by Michael Em

Friday, 2 December 2011

Unfortunate Fortune

     Confucius had a really good Chinese restaurant in the neighbourhood where I 
grew up.People came from all over town to eat there but the food wasn't the big 
draw. It was his fortune cookies!
     They had the reputation of becoming true. 
     People always asked him how he did it and he would just put on this wizened 
smile and claim that his dog did all the work. His dog actually wrote them. Yeah
right, but I was just a kid then so I believed him. I tried to feed his dog in order to 
get on his good side. 
    I never saw the dog talk or write. He didn't even seem to be a very
smart dog. Once I fed him my paper napkin and he ate it.
     One day he came out with an idea that made his restaurant truly famous. He put 
seven fortune cookies into the batch that said, "you will soon become very rich."
     Maybe he was afraid of success. I don't know why he did it but he made a
formal announcement that there is a fortune cookie in every batch that stated, 
"you will become very dead."
    Nobody ate at his restaurant after that except for tourists, drifters, and us. My 
Dad wasn't really a risk taker. I think he just loved Chinese food. My Mum asked 
Confucius why he would do such a thing to his own business. He just smiled and 
told her that he didn't write the cookies. He had no control over the matter.
     So we just kept going there every sunday. I don't know how he even stayed in
business. I suspected my Dad would eat there during the week on his lunch 
     One sunday Dad opened up his fortune cookie and it said, "You will become
very rich." 
     He was overjoyed but not me.
     My cookie said, "you will become very dead."
     I quickly put the cookie below the chair and the dog ran over and ate it out 
of my hand. 
     The next sunday Dad complained to him that he wasn't rich yet. Confucius
just glared at us pointing his finger and said, "you.... you killed my dog!
Get out! Never come back!"
     Dad was mad at me for weeks after that.
     He never did get rich.