Book Hippo

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My First Art Lesson

In ancient times, meaning BC, or, before computers, I went to art school. I had drawn since my childhood but had reached a point where I didn't know where I was going with 'my art'.

So I decided to go to an art school in Ottawa and take what my art needed from the lessons. The girls who signed me up for a course agreed with my plan and so I paid the sixty dollars and showed up on a Monday night.

The teacher was an old man, a very good artist who is still alive, so I won't mention his name. He told us all that he had studied with the second-best artist in the world. A lot of people wondered about this statement. How does one judge what is best in art?

He had some strange habits. One was to tell the same three jokes over and over again. Now, he was over sixty in the eighties and so we all thought he was senile. We were nice because we thought he would die soon.

He's still painting, still teaching, and if I'm correct, still telling the same three  jokes. In fact, those were old Groucho Marx jokes so he may well have been telling these jokes his whole life.

And he would tell us stories. One of which went ... I was in the army, there were lots of girls around, and it's none of your business what I was doing with them... I always wondered why he mentioned it at all. What part of the story did he want us to take in? I found this puzzling.

He would also stick his tongue out at his less favorite students. Some poor guy who had an attitude would look up to see his teacher's tongue directed at him in an obvious insult.

Sadly, although he was a colorful character, I didn't learn much from him. Later I met another artist and when I saw his work, I knew where I wanted to go.

So I didn't need to spend that sixty dollars but maybe it was worth it for the experience.

By the way, my new e-book, Beggar Charlie, will be released in June. Here's the cover.
and the buy link

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mall Music

This might just be a terrible confession, the kind to turn all against me, but I have to say it. I hate songs. Not all the times. I realize there are many great songs and lyrics but I mean, I hate going into a mall or restaurant and hearing some pop song. It's like being tortured.

Anyone who worked during the eighties should remember when they pumped musack throughout the workspace and how everyone suffered, not being able to shut it off.

That's how I feel when I go to the mall and hear Joe Popstar being blared at me.

Now before you think I'm anti-music, I will say that I would love to hear any kind of music, no lyrics, when I'm sitting there or shopping. For some reason, taking away the lyrics decreases the songs power to annoy (for me).

But one place I do love music is on television. Especially background music. Scene: two male guppies pressing their mouths together, spinning around and around. Music: thumping, heart-beating war music.

It's great. Otherwise, it would just be two tiny fish and, so what that they fight. The music makes all the difference. Music is such a mood lifter that I'm happy to watch tv and feel whatever the music wants me to feel. It just adds so much to any program.

Now if malls and shops would only switch over to instrumentals I would be really happy at the mall.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Folk Remedies

On a day not so long ago, I was making stew. Some of it splashed out and burned my finger. Wow, did it hurt. I was watching carefully to see if I would need medical care for it and I couldn't help thinking of, first, my mother and second, my late landlady.

Before I was born, when my brother was just crawling, my mother was cooking something in her deep-fry pot. This was a large steel pot with a mesh steel strainer. You could put your potatoes in the mesh strainer and lower them into the spitting, hot oil. It had an electric cord attached because you had to plug it in.

I think you know where I'm going. My brother sat on the floor, and interested in the wire, pulled the whole bubbling, spitting oil down on himself.

My mother picked up a sack of flour and dumped the whole thing on his head. He only had a scar on his chin. He grew up with no disfigurement at all. That was my first lesson in 'folk' medicine.

Years later in Ottawa I lived on a street named James Street. A girl named Karen  lived there also. She had a cup of tea and spilled the whole thing in her lap. She let out a yell and went running to our landlady who hurriedly cut some raw potatoes and put them on the burns.

Later, Karen went to the hospital where they diagnosed third-degree burns. The end of this tale is, when she healed, there were no scars. Was it the potatoes? Another 'folk' remedy.

I don't really know if these remedies work, I only know that if I had had raw potatoes when my stew slopped over, I would have used them.