Saturday, April 30, 2022

The Inescapable Storms, and - Thunder Over The Prairie

 

                                                  Thunder Over The Prairie

                                                   An original acrylic painting

                                                   14" X 34", unframed

                                                                 ( click on image to enlarge )


      At the time of my last posting on this blog, four million Ukrainians had been forced to 

flee from the slaughter inflicted on their country, by the Russian army.  The number of 

refugees has now surpassed five million, and is expected to grow to eight million, as the 

brutal onslaught continues.  It seams unthinkable that history could be repeating itself 

 again. but we have to remember that a previous Russian dictator, Joseph Stalin,

confiscated all of Ukraine's food crops, in the early 1930's, causing an estimated five 

to six million people to starve to death.  And now the world is entering another period

of ignorance, hatreds and greed, as our species resists truth, science and education,

while our own pollution is destroying our only home, the Earth.  There are dark days

ahead for all of us.

    

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

The Growing Exodus, and - Will The Flowers Grow Again Someday?

 

                                                  Will The Flowers Grow Again Someday?

                                                  An original acrylic painting on gesso primed Masonite

                                                  13" X 15". unframed

                      

                                                           ( Click on image to enlarge. )


 

     In my last posting on this blog, I wrote about the war crimes being committed in Ukraine

by Vladimir Putin, resulting in the half million refugees who had already fled across the 

border, to escape death and destruction at the hands of the Russian military.  Now, as

the death toll continues to mount ever higher into the thousands, with no end in sight, the

number, of Ukrainian's who have been forced to flee their country, has quickly risen to 

four million.   About half of the refugees are children, many of whom are traumatized 

by the relentless days and nights of bombing and shelling of their cities and homes.  

Some of the children who were not able to escape Russia's slaughter of civilians, are 

now counted among the dead, and some who did manage to find safety, have been 

injured or have witnessed the deaths and injuries of friends and family members. 

     This brutal assault on the people of one country by a neighboring country is even 

more incomprehensible to young children than it is to adults.  So, in their own ways, 

they try to mimic the protective and loving behavior of their parents, as a coping 

mechanism, to deal with the traumas of their shattered world.  To a young child's 

mind, the faithful, little, stuffed-animal friend, which he or she has carried across 

the border, has also suffered injuries which need bandaging, and which is also 

in need of loving care, to dry the tears of pain and fear  

     And, after having made the long journey through the smouldering ruins 

and ashes of their abandoned homeland, such a child might well ask, 

"Will the flowers grow again someday?".

                                                                  Eugene P. McNerney

 

Monday, February 28, 2022

Exodus, and - Outward Bound

         

                                                               Outward Bound,  an original acrylic painting

                                                               28" X 22", on stretched canvas

                                                                       ( click on image to enlarge )


     As I am writing this, over five hundred thousand refugees have fled from Ukraine, and

the ongoing flood of people trying to get over the borders makes it likely that that number

will soon pass the million mark.  Families are being torn apart as they flee, in hopes of 

finding safety from the Russian's attacks and bombings. They separate at the borders; 

the women and children don't know where they will be going, as the men stay behind to 

try and defend their country.   Nearly five hundred men, women and children have 

already been killed, in addition to the thousands who have been injured.  

     What great sin have the people of Ukraine committed to deserve such an assault from 

their brutal neighbor?  They have planted a tree of democratic freedom, and they have 

been enjoying its fruitful rewards.  That has angered Vladimir Putin, who, like a vengeful, 

supreme deity, seems determined to eliminate all such subversive knowledge from the 

country, before freedom should possibly drift over the border and take root in Russia.   

     This kind of behavior is par for the course, for a sociopathic, murderous thug like 

the ex-KGB agent Putin.  He has enriched himself more than the fabled wealth of royal 

Czars, all at the expense of the Russian people, while as he was murdering anyone who 

opposed him.  He is always quick to take advantage of those who are weak and 

defenseless, and he sticks his knife into any conflict around the globe, anytime he can 

profit from other people's tragedies.  He is the reincarnation of Joseph Stalin in every 

way, except for the black mustache.  

     At this point in time, it should be perfectly clear to everyone, that Putin is the true

personification of a thoroughly evil, human being.  However, that does not take into

account Putin's fellow sociopaths, such as Donald Trump, who, as his family has 

warned us, is someone who thinks only of himself.  When Putin and Trump had their

summit talks, the photographs showed them smiling at each other like a pair of Mafia,

crime bosses, having a meeting to divide territories.  And now, even in the face of the

fact that Putin is blatantly committing war crimes, and causing the loss of lives and

untold suffering, Trump is still calling Putin very smart, savvy and a genius!   

     Wouldn't it be nice if Trump could be trapped in Ukraine right now, with the 

encircling army, firing closer to him with every passing minute?  What would he be

saying about his pal Putin then? 

 

      The painting was a recent commission which vaguely fit in with today's posting,

perhaps symbolizing the way people have always had to flee from persecutions of 

all kinds, by any means possible, often by ship, across the oceans, to an unknown 

land and an unknown fate.      

                                                  Eugene P. McNerney

 

                                                         




     

 

 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

All The News That Is Unfit To Print


     I was gloomily turning a page of a news magazine, reading again of how our country 

will never be a true democracy, as long as the filibuster remains in place for the minority

to rule the majority, when I heard, "Are we ready to go to print?"  That was when I looked

up to see that my little friend, thespian and sometime model, Horatio H. Hamster Esq, had

popped in again.    

                                                       

     I recognized Horatio in his journalist persona, so I set my magazine aside, to respond

to his appearance. With his green eye-shade and an editing pencil parked over his ear, 

he was the image of the hard-bitten, newspaper editor, as seen in the movies of the 

1930's and 1940's. All that was missing was a lighted cigarette dangling from the corner

of his mouth and another one still smoldering on the rim of an ashtray filled with butts.

      "We can go to print as soon as you finish editing the copy", I answered, as I 

picked up a sketch book to try and capture the image of the editor at work.

 Horatio is the editor of the theater page of The Kingdom Weekly Bugle, located 

here in our little kingdom of the animals, and which is published regularly every 

three or four months or so, depending on when the printer, (that would be me, 

 the blogger ), can get around to doing the job. 

     He said that his contributors had submitted several pieces for consideration.

One was a new critique of Shakespeare's Taming Of The Shrew, from the point

of view of a shrew, but he was thinking that piece might be a bit too esoteric for

the readers.   But he did have a couple of articles which were informative about

conflicting influences in the theater world.  On the positive side of the news was a

story about how he and the other members of the Quadruped Playhouse, were 

beginning rehearsals again, using the safety protocols of masks and vaccines, 

and were now looking forward to performing for audiences who were equally

well protected from being infected or from infecting others.

     On the negative side, is the ongoing story of some of the ex-members of

the theater company, who have been voted out but who continue to deny the

validity of the vote.  Most prominently among those rejects is, of course, Donald

J. Skunk, who always insisted on hogging the best of every production for himself,

and also that family of blind and deaf foxes which follows him around like an

ignorant fan-club of his lies and his denials of the truth.  Their visual and hearing

impairments don't hinder their ability to stay behind the skunk because they just 

follow his stench, wherever he goes. 

      As I was finishing my sketch, Horatio and I agreed that the article about 

Donald Skunk's continuing efforts to spread disinformation and false conspiracies, 

should be the featured story of his page.  When I set my pad aside, he charged off

like a dedicated news editor, to prepare the article for publication. 

     Horatio's brief visit can serve as a reminder that we are now living in an age

of disinformation.  So many of our newspapers, the old, reliable and honest 

sources of truthful information, have succumbed to the onslaught of social media,

and the lack of financial support from their local communities, that it is difficult or

impossible, in a growing number of cities across America, to find truthful, 

written articles about local and national news events.  

    I would just like to say to those of you who happen to be lucky enough to

still have an independent, truthful newspaper, with dedicated editors, in your

community, please do whatever is in your power to help those brave publications

survive.

                                             Eugene P. McNerney

  

Friday, January 7, 2022

The Trump Party

           

        The Republican Party got it's start with Abraham Lincoln, representing all that was 

good and true in America, as he led the fight against slavery and the people who wanted 

to destroy our nation.  What has Lincoln's party become?

                                         


      Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the insurrection which Donald Trump

organized and sent to our nation's capitol building, to overthrow our American democracy

and keep him in power, like some totalitarian dictator, destroying the evidence of his

loss of the election, and perhaps killing off the elected officials who were carrying out 

their sworn, constitutional duties.   The following day, the leaders of the Republican

Party, including Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy said that Trump was fully

responsible for all the destruction, carnage, injuries and deaths which resulted from the

assault on our democracy.  But by the end of the week, they were already tossing

the truth out the window, along with all of the destruction debris from the capitol

building 

     Every day now, Trump continues to defecate on our American flag and the 

United States Constitution, like his insurrectionists who smeared their feces through 

the sacred halls of our nation's capitol building.  And all the while, the Republicans 

continue to help Trump promote the big lie, undermining faith in our honest elections 

and the trust in our truthful, civil servants.  The Republicans prefer to do the bidding 

of the petty tyrant, in order to try and get re-elected, rather than to protect our 

endangered constitutional democracy.   Just as when they refused to acknowledge 

Trump's guilt of treason, during his impeachment trials, they now continue to put 

their own self-interests above the interests of the nation.

    Trump doesn't know the meaning of public service; that is a foreign concept to

him.  Our founding fathers, during the revolutionary war, pledged their lives, their

fortunes and their sacred honor, to our American democracy.  Trump has no honor,

his life is a stream of lies upon lies, and he certainly wouldn't give his money or his 

life for his county.  He was quick to avoid military service, and he only ran for the 

presidency to enrich himself and avoid paying taxes.  He admitted as much during 

a televised, presidential debate, when he said,"That makes me smart!' 

     In an entry of this blog on February 28th of last year, I offered an abbreviated

listing of the damages inflicted on our country during Trump's failed, and corrupt, 

presidential administration.  It was the complicity of the Republican Party, which

enabled Trump's abuse of office, and which failed to speak out against his incitement 

of the cultural, racial and religious hatreds, which fuel the pathetic fools who are

his power base.  In that blog entry I said that the party which had once stood for 

the ultimate in patriotism, courage and self-sacrifice, had become the party of 

irresponsibility, cowardice and greed. Now the ongoing failure of the party to 

repudiate Trump's big lie, only serves to prove that they do not have the best 

interests of American citizens at heart.  They are no longer the Republican Party. 

They have now become the mendacious and unprincipled Trump party, and

they are waving the Confederate flag.

                                                       Eugene P. McNerney

 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Another New Year, and - On The Twelfth Night Of Christmas

 

                                            On The Twelfth Night Of Christmas

                                             An original oil on canvas, 24" X 20" , unframed

                                                              ( click on image to enlarge )

     

     I am wondering what percentage of our regretful countrymen woke up on the 

first of January, ( the month named for Janus the god of new beginnings), sadly

wishing they had been more mindful of the consequences of their New Year's Eve's

overindulgence, in celebrating the end of of the old year.   Unfortunately, we mere 

mortals do not have Janus' ability to see into the future, ( as I mentioned last January

30th, in my blog entry about a painting from my Carnival series ), so the numbers of 

hangover sufferers this year must have been staggering, as usual.

     Who can explain this annual ritual of New Year's Eve celebrations, where it seems we

are permitted to go a bit crazy, with paper hats and horns, drinking too much, making too 

much noise, popping balloons, tossing streamers and confetti, and making ourselves sick?

And who can explain the competition between men to see who can fire off the most guns

and ammunition at midnight?  The combined weight of all the lead they shoot into the air

is probably enough to sink a battleship.    Is it all an inheritance from our pagan 

ancestors, trying to create enough noise and fire to call the sun back, to put an end to 

winter and the old year?  Some of us still do try to keep the old yule-log burning for 

the full, twelve days of Christmastide, as if we want to make certain that the sun is 

returning.

     This holiday period of the twelve days between Christmas and the feast of Epiphany,

falls under the astrological calendar-sign of Capricorn, the goat.  That is one of the 

reasons I'm showing this Twelfth Night Of Christmas painting in this blog entry.

It is from the series I called Mediterranean Fantasies, and like the painting in my last

posting, it is another of those folk-art style pieces, which were made for greeting cards, 

using flattened space, shapes and patterns, for the designs, suggesting images similar

to religious icons .   Shakespeare also set one of his well known comedies on 

Twelfth Night, on the Adriatic coast in the Mediterranean, which is so layered 

and rich in tales of adventure as well as being steeped in religious mythologies.

     The traditional song about the twelve days of Christmas doesn't tell us what 

became of the true love's gifts.  Did that partridge and the other domestic fowls 

end up roasted, in a pear sauce perhaps? And after those milk maids finished 

milking the goats, did they do a bit too much of their own celebrating, with all 

those lords-a-leaping and ladies dancing, and then fail to notice that the goats had 

gone missing, and were busily devouring the noble lady's garden? 

     Some who view this painting will think that I may have been making a reference

to the work of Marc Chagall, and the domestic livestock he painted drifting in the air 

in a love dream-scape with he and his wife.    But goats actually do climb trees. All 

over the middle east and north Africa, where the land has been so overgrazed for 

centuries, the goats can be seen climbing on cars, roofs, and into the trees themselves, 

to get to the fresh green branches and leaves.  

     After we have given ourselves a few days to recover from the holiday's excesses

of over-spending and over-indulging, we can take time to acknowledge the fact that

we can't erase the problems of 2021 through the use of noise and feasting.  Our  

problems are going to continue on into the new year, and it is up to us face up to

to the problems of our own creation, and do our best to provide the remedies.  We

have to start by recognizing the fact that we are killing our planet, and we must take 

the necessary steps to reduce global warming.   And we have to acknowledge and

denounce the great, political fraud created by the lies of Donald Trump and his cabal,

which is undermining our faith in our honest elections and threatening to destroy 

our democracy, just for one man's narcissism and greed, and his refusal to admit he

is a loser.    And we all have to do our civic duty, in our war against the covid 

viruses, by getting vaccinated.    Ignorance is no excuse; if you haven't done it yet, 

get the shot!   

                                                                  Eugene P. McNerney

    

 



Sunday, December 26, 2021

Thoughts On Christmas, and - Mystic Dawn Of Christmas

 

                                                           Mystic Dawn Of Christmas  

                                                            an original Acrylic Painting

                                                           16" X 25" , on a stretched canvas


                                                                 ( click on image to enlarge )

     

     Now that the party is all over, except for the disposal of the shredded, wrapping paper, 

and the rush to return the gifts which were the wrong size, or the wrong color, or simply 

too wrong altogether, perhaps it's time to pause for a moment and think about the early

origin of our yearly quest for a lasting peace.

     Some years ago, I did a number of folk-art style, paintings, to use as cover art, for 

a series of holiday, greeting cards.  Some of those pieces have been previously been 

posted to this blog, during a past Christmas season.  ( Silent Night, Glad Tidings Of 

Great Joy, The Great Day Is Near, Behold The Glorious Dawn )  I called this series

Mediterranean Fantasies, because I was trying to capture something of a feel of the

land and long history of the place where the mythologies of western civilization began.

It is those mythologies which evolved into what we call our religions.  Religions have 

always been appropriated by our tribal leaders, kings, pharaohs, emperors and  the

succeeding dictators of all our history, to help control their people, by promoting the 

idea that they alone have the true god on their side, and that other people are evil 

non-believers, and therefore they are sub-humans, perhaps even unworthy of life 

or liberty or the right to keep their own land.

     Here and there, over the centuries, some rebel reformers have come along and

spoken out against the powerful establishment, and it often cost them their lives.  

One such reformer was a man named Jesus, who received the standard Roman 

death-sentence - crucifixion.   His followers established a new religion in his name,

but it soon became part of the establishment, and the core of his message is mostly

ignored.  There are millions of people in this country who call themselves Christians, 

but a large percentage of them find ways of rationalizing that their religious belief is 

compatible with racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia and most any other form

of hatred or fear and mistrust.  Perhaps all believers should be required to recite the 

golden-rule every day.  That might make them think a little more like Jesus. We will 

never have peace until we all pledge to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves.

     Since this is usually the time of year when we make our New Year's resolutions,

may I suggest that we make a start by at least trying to be a little bit kinder to our

friends and strangers alike.  Strangers can sometimes turn out to be our best friends,

and we can never have too many friends.

                                                       Eugene P. McNerney