Friday, December 30, 2022

The Season Of Long Shadows, - and - A Message Of Hope

                                                  A Message Of Hope - An original acrylic painting

                                                  12" X 16", unframed

 

                                                         ( click on image to enlarge )


 

      The people of the northern hemisphere are safe once again, to enjoy our annual holiday celebrations.  The winter solstice has past, marking the start of the sun's journey back to us, bringing the hope of new beginnings, fresh starts and new growth.  Now that we have science to help us understand the celestial navigation of our sun, we no longer imagine that any ceremony we have performed, in our shadowed past, has had any influence on bringing the sun back to us.  We no longer light huge bonfires to try and lure the sun to return, and we rarely make dedicated animal sacrifices as an appeal.  And it has been quite a while since an innocent virgin has been tossed on to the fire, to make our prayers look more sincere, although human sacrifice remains a central theme of some of our religious ceremonies and beliefs.  All in all, a change for the better, as our celebrations can now take on  more purposeful and thoughtful considerations.   

     The dark shadows across Europe have been deepening for ten months, as Vladimir Putin continues to slaughter the people of Ukraine and destroy their infrastructure and basic utilities of survival.  Many people are trying to endure the winter without heat, light and clean water.  Whatever we can do for them is much deserved.  And elsewhere, in a number of theocratic countries, the women are being reduced to slave status and human rights are eliminated.  What can we do to try and reduce such a growing menace of barbaric ignorance in the world?  We might start by questioning and reducing the growing influence of the religious right in our own country, which has succeeded in reducing American women to second class status.

      With all of the ignorance, hatreds and atrocities going on around us in our troubled world, the symbols of  this season still give us hope.   We pick the holly and the ivy and the other evergreens, and bring them inside, to remind us that we shall survive, even through the dark, bitter cold of winter, to great the return of the life-giving sun once more.  And we make wreaths of our evergreens for our doors and gates, to greet visitors with the message of hope.

     The house in the little painting above, has fallen into disrepair, but it seems that it is still occupied by at least one last family member.  Perhaps he, or she, no longer has the physical ability or the monetary means to make repairs to the property.  But the person who remains there, still made the effort to place a little, evergreen message of hope, on the broken, front gate. 

     So, we have the promise of new beginnings now.   The sun is coming back to us.  We will have a new, growing season, to replenish our lives and the lives of those who have been less fortunate.  There will be new possibilities for a better year ahead, and we still have the hope of finding peace and love for all.  Hope is eternal.   Perhaps hope is the only thing that is eternal.

                                                                               Eugene P. McNerney

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Thoughts On Thanksgiving, and - Pomona's Autumn Veil

 

                                                    Pomona's Autumn Veil

                                                    An original mixed media

                                                    Unframed, eleven by eight and a half inches

 


      Way back in late September of 2015, I posted my painting of a well know fountain

in my area, which features a sculpture of the Roman goddess Pomona, by Donatello 

Gabbrielli.  Pomona was the protector of the vineyard gardens and orchards, and many

a glass of wine must have been lifted in her honor.  Some Americans think that the 

celebration of the Thanksgiving harvest, is unique to us.  But of course, harvest festivals

have been celebrated since pagan times and beyond recorded history.   The celebration

begins when the crops have been successfully harvested and the domestic livestock have

multiplied and are well fattened, thus assuring that there will be plenty of bread and meat 

to last through the cold months of winter.

      The celebration in many American families generally consists of eating ourselves into

a stupor and then collapsing in front of a television screen, to watch our surrogate 

warriors, fight over a ball, for the glory our particular city-state.  For those of us who

paused for a moment to ask ourselves what we should be thankful for this November,

I wonder how many of us gave enough thought to the ongoing war being inflicted on

Ukraine, to satisfy the ego of one brutal autocrat.   Ukraine, which is known as the

breadbasket to the world, is not able to plant, harvest and distribute its grains to the 

starving populations of the drought plagued, poor nations, and day after day, the 

Ukrainian people are being pounded to death by Vladimir Putin's missiles and bombs.  

     We can be thankful that our own harvest was plentiful, without the assistance of 

some deity or other, but we have to remember that our luck may not continue into

the future, as our planet continues to heat up beyond our control.   Some day sooner 

than we know, we may wake up to drought and starvation on our own doorsteps 

                                                              Eugene P. McNerney

Monday, October 31, 2022

Seditious Tricks and Joker Treats

   


     As the night of the great pumpkin was drawing to a close, who should pop up but

my little friend, thespian and sometime model, Horatio H. Hamster Esq.  After we 

exchanged our mutually happy greetings, I asked if he had been out trick-or-treating.

He replied that he had stopped doing that long ago, because he was always being given

candy corn, which he hates.  Horatio much prefers the "real stuff", rather than the artificial

kinds.

     When I asked him the reason for his clever, joker costume, he said that he was 

dressed as Harlequin, as an aid for his dramatic readings from Shakespeare, which he 

was doing as a fund raiser for his theater group, the Quadruped Players.  He said that 

he was doing selections from the roles of the court jesters and fools, from a number 

of the plays, because those were the characters who often had some of the best lines 

in the plays.  And he further explained that the reason for that was, that only the fools 

could speak the truth to power without fear of reprisal.

     "Yes, much like today", I said.   And then I got a bit carried away and said, "Alas! 

Poor Yorick. I knew him Horatio".

      After a moment's hesitation, Horatio responded, "Forgive me sir, but you would make 

a terrible Hamlet.  You're much too old for the part."

      "Yes", I agreed.  "I'll try to control my theatrical ambitions."  

      And then I asked how things were going at the theater, other than the usual fund-

-raising difficulties, and he said that the company is still having push-back, following 

the vote to evict Donald J. Skunk and Vladimir Pig, from the Quadruped Playhouse. 

The family of nearly blind and deaf foxes is still calling for a recount, and they have

persuaded the blind mole to join them in questioning the honesty of the vote totals.

He said that this irrational suspicion and bickering was causing such a weakening

of the company that it could collapse and disintegrate.

     I told him that I perfectly understood the turmoil he and his friends were going

through, because of all the distrust of our own honest elections, which is being promoted 

by the treasonous lies of the members of one political party.  That party is controlled 

by one, bitter looser, who continues to spread his poisons in the waters and airwaves

of the nation every day.   We have to remember that our honest elections are the 

bedrock basis for our democracy, and those who deliberately undermine our faith 

in our elections can destroy democracy for all of us.  

     As I was finishing a quick sketch of Horatio Harlequin, I told Him that I would 

be happy to buy a ticket to see him perform his selections from Shakespeare, and 

I promised that the currency would not be candy-corn.  He thanked me with a tip

of his comedic crown, and then as he was departing I said, "To be or not to be!"

      "Too old", he reminded me.

       "Yes, I know", I replied.  "The answer to the question is is definitely a ....

Not to Be!"

                                                 Eugene P. McNerney

  

     . 


Friday, September 16, 2022

Tinker, Traitor, Liar, Spy - and - Mercury's Message, part 2

                                                   Mercury's Message  ( Carnival No.15 )

                                                  An original acrylic painting, on stretched canvas

                                                  24" X 18", unframed

                                                                             ( click on image to enlarge )



     In my last posting to this blog, I had a few things to say about the

willful ignorance of the Trump MAGA clan loyalists, who refuse to accept the 

truth of Trump's additional new crimes of obstruction of justice, which have been 

presented to them by credible news sources.  They still prefer to attack the 

messengers,and the lawful government agencies who are working to protect all 

Americans, rather give up their belief in Trump's Berlin wall of lies.

     Now we have learned even more about Trump's egregious thievery of

our most top-secret government documents, and his refusal to return them to

the safety of the national archives.  In the massive hoard of classified material

he had taken away to Mar-a-Lago, they found over ninety empty document

folders, forty eight of which should have held classified documents.  So now

the big question is, what did he do with all of that classified material?   How

was he using it for his personal benefit?  He had already attempted to try 

and overthrow the United States government by force, and that had not 

quite succeeded, so how much lower could he go?  The answer to that

as always, seems to be that there is no depth which is too low for Trump.  

He is well known for collecting dirt on the private lives of local government

officials, and threatening to expose that information if he didn't get the kind

of zoning or assistance he needed to advance his building projects.  So, 

were all of these secret documents providing some kind of leverage to 

help him overcome political opposition in his own party.  Or, even more

sinister, has he been in private dealings with foreign leaders who are our

enemies, offering this secret information in exchange for some kind of 

personal assistance?    Someone like his pal Putin would no doubt be

keenly interested in acquiring much of this secret government material,

especially since we have now learned that one of these documents is

the entire nuclear inventory and capability of a foreign nation.   The

fact that Trump had this information, and was using it as he pleased,

threatens the lives of those who provided the documents to our government,

and makes it less likely that our allies will be willing to share such secret 

information with us in the future. 

     Trump's great wall of lies is still standing, for his MAGA supporters  to

stand behind for the moment, despite all of the cracks and holes in the wall's 

weakened mortar.  But as all of the grand jury investigations continue and the 

department of justice gathers more evidence for indictments, will the wall 

begin to crumble and let some light of truth come through?   Only those who 

have been so blind and deaf to the messengers of truth for so long, can provide

the answer to that question.

                                                                  Eugene P. McNerney


                                 

                                      

                 

 

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

A Thief, Is A Thief, Is A Thief - and - Mercury's Message

                                    Mercury's Message  (Carnival No. 15 - obverse view )

                                   An original acrylic painting, on stretched canvas

                                   24" X 18", unframed

                                                                   ( click on image to enlarge )


     The messenger god, known as Mercury to the Romans, has often been used

as a symbol of the fourth estate, which includes the honest journalists, and the

members of the press, and watch-dog agencies, who expose the corrupt politicians

in our government.  But the honest messages which these dutiful workers deliver 

to us are all too often disbelieved and rejected by an ignorant populace, who

plug up their ears to the truth, and accept the lies offered by dishonest sources.

When that happens, the dutifully exposed, criminal politicians in our country 

can go unpunished for their crimes.

     In the Past week, The Department Of Justice announced that the FBI had

finally retrieved numerous, illegally held, secret government documents from 

Donald Trump, documents which he had tried to conceal and prevent from 

being safely restored to the National Archives.   Trump had illegally taken 

these important files from the White House to his resort, and then held on to 

them for over a year and a half, despite the repeated efforts of the National 

Archives and federal agencies to get him to return everything he had stolen.  

     As soon as the news of the FBI's valid, legal  search, and the discovery 

of the purloined federal documents became known, a great cry erupted from 

the ignorant populace, that we should kill the messengers, and ignore the truth 

of their message.  Why is the outrage so stupidly misplaced?

     Trump's casual exposure of these top-secret, highly-classified documents, 

may well have compromised the security of our nation, endangered the lives 

of many secret operatives, and revealed sources and methods of acquiring 

important secret information, which our enemies are eager to know.  But 

none of that maters to the loyal followers of the big lie.  They refuse to accept 

the truth, even when it is right in front of their eyes, in all of the black and white 

evidence laid out by honest journalists. They still prefer to get their information 

from the fraudulent sources, which support their own prejudices.

     Donald Trump is continuing the same assault on truthful journalism, that

Richard Nixon used, to try and conceal his crooked dealings. He is telling 

his believers that the press is the enemy of the people.  Trump repeats this

despicable propaganda so frequently, that it has become the gospel belief

of his gullible followers. They continue to ignore facts and the truth, while

they rely instead on rumors, hear-say, conspiracy theories and bizarre,

political fantasies.

     Mercury wasn't merely the messenger god.  He was also the god of

trickery and thieves, which makes him the perfect, fraudulent messenger

for Donald Trump.  Perhaps Trump will erect a statue of Mercury at 

Mar-a-Lago.  Or perhaps he already has.

     And so, the carnival continues.

                                                   Eugene P. McNerney   

      In the above painting, the carnival goer seems to be asking the other

revelers if they know who pilfered his caduceus.  You know how it is at

carnival, as the wine and spirits flow, bits and pieces of costumes go. 

And as the GOP carnival goes on, the truth gets lost amid the growing

 refuse and the fading fantasies. 

  

Sunday, July 31, 2022

The Less Than Professional Gambler, and - The Big Gamble For America

 

     It is primary election season, and today, while I was pondering the sorry choices 

for high, political office in my state, my thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of

my little friend, thespian and sometime model, Horatio H. Hamster Esq.  "Call me 

High-stakes", he said, when I noticed his colorful accessories.  (The middle letter "H"

in his name, as always, had been adapted to fit his currant preoccupation.)  When 

I inquired how things were going for him, here in our little animal kingdom, he said

that he had busy rehearsing for a new production at the Quadruped Playhouse.

     As I sat down to do a quick sketch of him, I asked him about the new play, and

what part he would be playing.  So he explained that the play was a dramatization 

of the popular song about the high-stakes, professional gambler, who spent his life 

on the train, going from town to town, and from game to game, always leaving with 

his winnings, before the losers could catch up with him.  He said that his death scene, 

on the train, would be especially dramatic, with a trio of chipmunks singing a chorus 

of the gambler's song, as he passes away.    I said that I could certainly see how

that would capture an audience's attention.

     I asked if there had been any particular problems with the production, and he

said that Donald J. Skunk, and his retinue of the nearly blind and deaf family of 

foxes, had been hanging around the playhouse, even though the company had

voted him out many months ago.  "They are the stink that never goes away !", 

he said.  "And Vladimir Pig of course.  No one wants him around, but he sneaks

in anyway, and bullies the smaller members of the company !"

     As I was finishing my quick sketch of him, "High-stakes" also admitted that 

he was having difficulty, mastering the art of shuffling a pack of playing cards, 

and he demonstrated his problem, showing that he generally lost control of the 

cards and dropped some, when he shuffled.  I said that I could see how that

might be a problem for his role as a professional gambler, but I told him that

all he needed was more practice.  That assurance brightened him up a bit, and

he bid me a farewell, before hurrying away to practice his shuffling skills

     When he was gone, I was left to ponder again, the big gamble for our

American democracy, during these elections.  Often times, it seams that we

might as well roll the dice or toss a coin, to see who wins public office.  The

three major Republican candidates for U.S. Senator in my state, have been

running a flood of ads, each candidate proclaiming to be the most perfectly 

aligned with Trump, and denouncing each other as criminals and traitors to 

the nation.  And all the while they try to carefully avoid mentioning anything 

which might upset their base of religious nuts, gun nuts, xenophobes, 

homophobic nitwits and the idiots who still believe Trump's big lie about 

a stolen election.   

     Since my state has been mostly red, in recent decades, one of these 

calculating frauds, is most likely going to be a U.S. Senator.  

Sometimes it would be nice to simply fold our cards, and walk or run away.

       

                                            Eugene P. McNerney

  
 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

A Proud Boy, and - The Gifts To America From The Republican Party

   

                                                   A Proud Boy

                                                   An original acrylic painting, unframed 

                                              

                                                           ( click on image to enlarge )

     I painted, and previously published, this reaction, to what I witnessed happening at 

the United States Capitol building, on January 6th, 2021.  That was when everyone was

watching on television, as stupid insurrectionists swarmed the seat of our democracy,

at the command of Donald Trump.  Trump was also watching, as the violent lynch-mob,

which he had organized and called to the capitol,  became increasingly destructive 

and lethal, but he did nothing to stop them.  He was hoping that they would succeed in 

their overthrow of our democracy, so that he could hold on to power.  Many of those 

violent, capitol invaders saw themselves as comic-book super-heroes, because they 

believed all of the false conspiracy theories, and the big lie about a stolen election.  

They believed those things, because of all of the Republican Party's congressional 

leaders, who failed to firmly denounce Trump's lies, even though they knew that the 

attorney general and over sixty judges, had said definitively, that the election was 

correctly counted and recounted, numerous times.  The Republicans who were in 

positions of power, preferred to go along with Trump's lies, rather than risk loosing 

their congressional seats: They preferred to put their own personal interests ahead 

of doing what was best for the country, just like Trump.  And just like Trump, they 

have no honor or the courage to do what is right for America.

      Even now, well over a year later, the majority of the Republicans are still unwilling 

to speak the truth, even as the Jan.,6th congressional, investigating committee is 

beginning to reveal just how far Trump and his co-conspirators were willing to go, 

in order to hold on to power.  Perhaps some more Republican tongues will begin 

to loosen, if the Department Of Justice begins to come down hard on them. 

Let us hope so!

     And now, what about some of the other gifts the Republican party has given us.

While Trump's party controlled the Senate, McConnell and the gang managed to 

stack three more Republicans into the Supreme court.  The primary qualification of

these three, to serve on the court was apparently their willingness to lie to the senate, 

and claim that they couldn't overturn the personal freedoms of all Americans.  They

called those freedoms well-established, and secure precedents.   And then as soon 

as they had the opportunity, they began to overturn those well-established precedents.   

Women have now been reduced to second-class citizenship, with no control over 

their own bodies or their own destinies.  Religious schools and teachings will now 

receive tax-payer funding.  And individual states and communities will no longer 

have the right to protect their citizens, by making sensible gun laws.   And then, to 

top that off, they removed the authority of government authorities, to help save our

planet from global warming, by restricting the emissions of greenhouse gasses, from

our air polluting industries.  

     As the world becomes ever more inhospitable to life, due to our burning of fossil

fuels, these judges will take away any twenty-first century, personal freedom that we 

now enjoy, if that right is not specifically allowed in the constitution, ( an Eighteenth

Century document, which had no original provision against slavery).  Now, all it takes

for us to loose another of our personal freedoms, is for some disgruntled, religious nut 

to bring a case before this Trump court, and there goes many decades of advancement 

in racial, social, and sexual freedoms.  

     Donald Trump instituted lying as the guiding principle of the Republican Party,

and the party members remain unwilling to put the people's interests ahead of their

desire to hold on to their power.   Mendacity and chaos are now supreme in America, 

thanks to the dishonorable actions of the Republication Party membership.

 

                                                   Eugene P. McNerney