Friday, July 29, 2022

About Quakers and the Democratic Party

 I want to point out also that while many Friends, myself included, tend to identify with Democrats, due to social issues, we must not ignore that hawks dominate this party.  Both Hillary and Biden are hawks.

During the 2020 DNC debates, the DNC changed the rules, preventing Tulsi Gabbard from participating further in the debates. She was the only candidate whose primary concern was peace.  By excluding her, they allowed the discussion to be focused on domestic issues rather than our disastrous foreign policy.  Democratic sources also circulated spurious rumors about her somehow being a Russian asset. This allowed a hawk, Biden, to be nominated, leaving Trump as the peace candidate, which is very unfortunate.  Biden was able to hide his voting record, e.g. voting for cluster bombs in the Viet Nam War, because of the action of the DNC.

Biden's historical hawkishness had to be hidden, because the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Trump together -- both speaking for reduced American military involvement abroad -- clearly illustrate that the majority of the American people want to scale back on militarism.  Trump's anti-war position -- now don't get me wrong I dislike him as much or more than the next person -- is routinely characterized in the main stream media as "isolationism," as if the only way of dealing with foreigners is to make war.  

War is big business for the media.  They are a business that sells negative drama.  War is great negative drama. The media all allowed themselves to be embedded -- and coopted -- in the first invasion of Iraq.  If the military/industrial complex wants to suppress anti-war candidates, they can manipulate the media to do what they did to Tulsi -- implying that she was a Russian asset/agent and other disinformation, like saying she was a Hindu nationalist.

There were also very spurious reactions on mainstream media to the fact that she was a peace candidate.  I am not a huge fan of the Jimmy Dore Show on Youtube, but he has some insightful reviews of how she was treated.

The way she has been treated by Democrats and by main stream media has pushed her towards  the Republican media, which is more anti-war than the Democratic media.  She also tends to speak in rather provocative language, which makes her painful to listen to, but she is firmly committed to reducing USA military adventurism.  Her commitment to peace is something that we have to pay attention to.

War is a huge violation of civil rights.

Not being aligned with a party is not only important for Quakers from a tax perspective, but also because we cannot delude ourselves into thinking that the Democratic party is our party.

It is also my view that the hawk, Biden, destabilized the world situation by reflexively running off and re-energizing NATO.  The Russians regard NATO as threatening.  While we might see France and Germany as friendly, we have to remember that both of those countries (Napoleon & Hitler) have viciously invaded Russia -- and that Hitler publicly stated a desire to murder ALL slavs, despite many of them being blond and blue-eyed white people.  His soldiers did engage in incidents of mass murder against civilians in Slavic countries.  Biden's retro, Western Europe oriented, worldview gave Putin the justification, in the eyes of his colleagues, that he needed to invade the Ukraine.   We shouldn't be hiding our heads in the sand about this.

This is not to say that I support what Putin did -- absolutely not -- but we are not entirely innocent here.  We allowed a traditional hawk with a retro worldview to be elected without comment.  

#Quakers #Peace #PeaceTestimony #Hawks #DemocraticParty #TulsiGabbard #DNC #Russia #Ukraine #War #NATO

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Responses to Meeting for Discernment; NYYM 220726 @NYYMTweets

I am mindful that I spoke twice yesterday, so I am trying to allow others to speak today.  There were several messages that I wanted to say something about, so I am putting what I would have said in this blog.    

One question was what we could not unsee.  People mentioned things they had seen on the news.

The news is a business that sells negative drama. The more riveting the drama is, the more money they make. If we allow ourselves to be whiplashed by the emotional content that we see on the screen, we become their followers.

The history of Quakers has been leadership. If our concerns are based on what we see on our screens, we become part of the faceless masses that are also watching the same screens. We cannot be leaders. 

Quakers have been leaders, because they were moved by the Holy Spirit. They were leaders, because they were not moved by the concerns of everyone around them. 

This is not to say that we should not be moved at all by what is on the news.  However, when we focus on that, our few voices become inaudible in the general din.


One question had to do with things we were called to do .  One thing that was mentioned was attracting young people:

If we want young people to participate in meeting, we have to be mindful of the sleep research about people between the ages of 18 and 35. Their natural melatonin cycles make them fall asleep after 11 PM. The world expects them to be up and about by six in the morning. They still need nine hours sleep. They are constantly sleep deprived. They have to sleep in the morning on weekends. We cannot schedule youth activities in the morning on weekends.  


I had a reaction to the queries themselves:

The queries themselves are worded, or so it sounds to me, to invoke a sense of guilt. What am I not doing that I should be doing? That kind of self flagellation, it seems to me, pervades Friends’ ministry. That feeling that we are always somehow not enough, not doing enough, not being enough provokes depression and despair. It’s not a welcoming message. It’s not something that will encourage people to join us. We have to also look at what we might have to celebrate. What did we do right?


Another thing that was mentioned was polarization:

It seems to me that politics of late has been reducing issues to sound bytes -- which necessarily oversimplify everything -- and then polarizing people around sound bytes.  Reducing issues to sound bytes is a form of dumbing down.  I don't like it.  I would like to see us have confidence that we haven't all been reduced to sound bytes.


I mentioned this blog to a friend outside of NYYM.  He mentioned that something he finds fatiguing is many Friends' attachment to a sense of outrage.  Yes!  Centering in the spirit should be, imho, peaceful, not high drama.  I am reminded of my exposure to a group called Emotions Anonymous.  These are people who believe that they are addicted to their own cortisol and adrenaline.  I hope Friends will be cognizant of the potential of self-intoxication from emotional drama.  This also relates to my first point above -- allowing oneself to be emotionally manipulated by the news.

[NB I do sometimes continue to edit my blogs]

#NYYM #NewYorkYearlyMeeting #ReligiousSocietyOfFriends #Quakers #Meeting #NYYMSessions #SilverBay2022

Friday, June 10, 2022

More historical info

This is some older information that previously appeared on my updates page, but I decluttered that page by moving this here.  It's not really important.

Here's a photo taken by Brad Benson of me performing with Lauren Stripling at The Magnet Theater in November of 2014.


          How the updates page started (in 2014):

          I made my very first attempt to post updates on linkedin  

          This was one of those hard knocks things.

          First, they had rather small limits on the lengths of updates.

          Second, they removed carriage returns, so that bulleted lists become garbled.

          Third, There didn't seem to be a way to edit a post once you get it up there.

          Fourth, it was really hard to enter text in there, because they automatically substituted miscellaneous links, while I was typing, and I had to hit "escape" while typing to avoid getting this miscellaneous, unrelated garbage in your post.

          So I deleted my post, put a link to my updates blog on linkedin, and am maintaining it for recent updates.  I also have a link to the update page on my website and on my profile at Paul Michael's The Network. I am grateful to this website for allowing me to be verbose and format and reformat my posts.

          Musings about getting into Art

          Update about commercializing my art

          Some people have been encouraging me to try to put my doodles into the field of surface design: fabrics, carpets, etc.  

          I went to the Printsource convention during the summer of 2019. This is a convention where people selling surface designs offer their wares to the buyers.  Apparently there are a number of such conventions in NYC.  This is one of the few that allows non-exhibiting artists to visit and talk to people.

          Looking at the exhibitors, it appeared that they had all put in several thousand dollars getting their designs printed up poster size and in books on thick display material.  They all had hundreds of designs.

          True, none of their designs looked similar to mine, but that could be fashion.

          I got the e-mail addresses of at least 20 businesses that hire artists for surface design.  I e-mailed all of them with a link to my google photo album.  A few got back to me saying that they liked my art, but they needed art in digital vector form, not hand drawn.  One company said that they need patterns that repeat so that they can be printed out on rolls.

          I’m just not willing to spend the time and money to create this type of exhibit or get the software necessary to create digital images.  I just want to draw on paper.  It’s a stress relief thing.  I don't want to work on making my designs repeat, either. I'm sure it could be done -- likely not too difficult -- but not really fun for me.  I do think my designs would be suitable for a scarf or an area rug, without repeating.

          There are some designers who do hand drawn designs — but companies that hire those designers did not get back to me.

          I have put a couple of designs on (link to my page), but no one contacted me as interested.  One of the artists at the convention told me that you have to promote them. No one just goes on there browsing.  Again, I’m not willing to spend the money to create a marketing campaign.

          In order to sell from spoonflower you have to order a sample and proof it.  I haven't done that yet, though I might at some point.  

          Original blog on Musings about getting into art

          In the past, I always regarded art as a distraction, not even to the level of a hobby -- just something to do to calm down.  I never thought that I was good at art.  When I was a kid, there were art classes in school, and I never felt that my representational art was as good as that of many of the other students in the classes I took.

          Also, my handwriting was very poor for a girl.  I don't think it was as bad as the boys' handwriting, but I got negative remarks for it.

          I started doing calligraphy to try to overcome bad handwriting. I doodled a lot, the way one might drum one's fingers or crack one's knuckles, just to release stress.

          I've posted some of my calligraphy on this blog before.

          Then, in 2017, I started remembering my mother's doodles.  She doodled in the margins of shopping lists and newsletters -- abstract shapes. I remember thinking some of them were quite beautiful -- but I don't have any of them now, because they were all thrown away with the documents they were drawn on.

          I decided to start doing doodles to give to friends, so that my doodles wouldn't suffer the same fate as my mother's.  Then I posted some on social media. To my surprise, people really loved them.  I've even sold some.  That's hard for me to wrap my mind around.  Someone bought art from me?  Curious.

          Animation/3D Modeling/Rigging

          Samples of my work

          WordPress Blog about my recent studies with blow by blow updates of samples of my skills

          Courses I've taken

          • Certificate program in 3D Modeling & Animation, wcc Sept 2021-July 2022, Prof: Joseph Thomas
          • Java Programming for Video Games, Summer 2021, Lehman College, Prof: Brian Murphy
          • 2D Animation, WCC, Fall 2021, prof. Deborah Krikun
          #Maya #Java #Zbrush #Adobe #Animator #PhotoShop #Animate #Illustrator #AdobeAnimate #Flash #AdobePhotoShop #AdobeIllustrator #AutoDesk #AutoDeskMaya #AutoDeskSketchbookPro #3DAnimation #3DModeling #Animation

          Wednesday, June 1, 2022


          Just memorializing a Facebook comment that I wrote in response to a post by Tulsi Gabbard.

           On the one hand, Uvalde was certainly a terrible tragedy. On the other hand, how many people were killed in automobile accidents during the same time as we’ve been watching Uvalde situation unfold? Why is traffic death not newsworthy? Isn’t that precisely the sort of corporate control of media that normally concerns you?  

          And why are we focused just on the mass shootings, and not the enormous number of gun related suicides?  Isn’t that something that the gun lobby wants to hide, that guns are not just showy phallic totems that make the owner look potent; but also the agents of misery, depression, self hatred, and self harm?

          Friday, May 20, 2022

          2020 updates

          Moving these from my ongoing log for brevity of that one

          News from 2020

          recent performances 

          courses completed

          • Art 147, "Introduction to Digital Animation" Prof. D Krikun (fall semester 2020 -- via Zoom) New blog site created for this course 
          • Improv 2, Magnet Theater with Ross Taylor (retaking the course -- via Zoom) October-December 2020. Class Show: December 4 on Zoom
          • FTS 212 "Introduction to films and TV," Prof U Gonzalez, Lehman College online (Movies watched: "The Persistence of Vision," "The Kid," "Hugo," "13th," "Pulp Fiction," "The Unforgiven, "Pan's Labyrinth") (Encore program) (July-Aug 2020)
          • 6/1/20, 5/4/20, 4/27/20, 4/20/20, 4/1/20, 3/24/20, 2/25/20, 2/15/20 zoom dance class with James T Lane
          • 2/7/20 dance class with James T Lane
          • 1/21/20 dance class with James T. Lane

          CLE courses completed

          • November: several courses from NYIPLA 
          • 9/5/20 "Social Security and Disability Claims: A Primer" United CLE
          • 8/25/20 "Dissecting the New York Primary: Lost Votes and the Creation of a Better Process for November"
          • 8/19/20 "Practicing Law in  a Pandemic: Remote Lawyering in the Age of COVID-19 Part II" United CLE
          • 8/8/20 "Recognizing and Removing Bias from the Legal Profession" United CLE
          • 6/23/20 "Litigating and appealing health care and long term disability insurance denials" United CLE
          • 5/22/20 "Hot Topics in IP" JPPCLE

          media consumed

          • albums purchased: "Sing Gently" by Eric Whitacre Virtual Choir; The Soundflowers EP; David Foster "Eleven Words," The Hu "Gereg," Avi Kaplan "I'll Get By", John Williams "The Rise of Skywalker," Adam Lambert "Velvet," Adam Lambert "Trespassing"
          • Livestreams: 4 by Josh Groban; 1 by Matt & Savanna Shaw