Art, Artists, arts, authors, blogging, education, freedom, lifestlye, opinion, Photography, Politics, Random Thoughts, sarcasm, war, Writing

Art And Empathy On The Younger Generations

 

I’ve used a lot of art mediums throughout my life’s journey. Honestly, I’ve scribbled…painted…glued…carved…molded…well, basically I’ve done it all. And I’ve come to the realization that my obsession isn’t with art, but more the freedom that it grants.

In any other avenue of life, there are rules and parameters.

How dull is that?

Rules and parameters mean…it’s been done before. Someone has claimed it. It’s theirs. They have shaped it to their liking, slapped a patent on it and now if you wish to re-create it…you are ‘borrowing’ an idea.

But with art there are no rules, regulations, parameters. Instead of a process void of thought and critical thinking, it’s the exact opposite.

People talk of the vanishing art programs. Education is slowly becoming strictly math, science, language arts and social studies. Such a strict focus on the ideas of others. Sadly, this is a mistake that will one day create a pit of regret.

The assumption is made that math creates a critical thinker. I propose that art creates critical thinking, enabling to use of math. It’s the reason why often time music=math minded individuals. It’s the ability the see the beauty in the numbers. Minus emotion, void of desire…who the hell actually wants to do all of those repetitive assignments created by minds past. If you love math…that’s an emotion. It’s a desire. Desire drives the art process. As well as the ability to calculate. These things take a sharpness. An ability to figure it out. As an artist can look at a blank sheet and envision a vast multitude of ways to give the paper a life of it’s own…So can too a mathematician, who views a series of random numbers and attempts to make sense of them.

Language arts, while teaching the works of others,  goes on the inclination that this will teach you how to create your own. True…Language arts does teach the necessary tools of the trade. But your creation comes from emotion. To grab the entire spectrum of emotion, you need to find the emotions first. You need empathy.

You need a trigger.

Triggers can be visual, heard, tasted, touched and smelled. And some people seem to feel an entirely new sense. A 6th sense. And in order to utilize these crucial senses, you must have an ‘artistic vision’. You need to become skilled at exploring your own mind. Unbutton the top button, so to speak. Basically…broaden your horizons. Be OF the world, don’t sit on the sidelines.

One of my most…if not the most, important lessons I’ve tried to instill in my kids is to keep an open mind. Experience the issue at hand, prior to casting judgement. And in some instances, it may not be possible to experience an event. Some events we truly wish to avoid! But we can relate out of empathy. Empathy can be awoken with art. It can bring tears and an understanding, as in these works by Bansky. His attempt to cast a light on the darkness that war brings to children, was sadly and  completely accomplished.

banksy-art-works-2_fa_rszd
Bansky

banksy-1

While some argue that the photos are too graphic for children, I would argue that closing their eyes to history creates a path to repetition. Social Studies classes of today, are watered down ‘incomplete sentences’.  How about throw in some Bansky?  

Throw in truth…

Allow the future generation to visualize the consequences of their future actions. Allow them to empathize. It’s like the child who asks “Is the stove hot?” You say “Yes. Don’t touch it.” And of course, just to see if you’re jerking their chain, they touch it <—Insert screaming child here. 

They need to personally experience the sensation. Verbal or physical…they need a trigger.

Ukranian-Banksy-Street-Art-2.jpg
Bansky

You know… if I were a government hell bent on creating a generation of  loyal, non-empathetic and  unquestioning followers….I’d remove the art….

war-street-art

Christmas, family, funny, holidays, home and family, Humor, kids, Life, lifestyle, opinion, parenting, Photography, sarcasm, travel, vacation, winter, Writing

Just because it’s hilarious…

This was at Tower City in Cleveland, Ohio. Included are photos of the Cleveland Public Square Ice-Skating Rink. But the true comedy was the Choo Choo Train.

As a giant toddler at heart, I  wanted to ride the Christmas train with my kids.  My daughter is  a teenager, so I naturally had to force her. And…it went well…yeah ok. She’ll probably run away screaming the next time I ask.

Just keep replaying it…for some reason it gets funnier :D:D (For the record, that isn’t my kid in the back…I have no idea whose kid it is…but the whole thing was hilarious. Just a little guy, enjoying the trip!)

…the ENTIRE trip…. Click here for the Instagram Video. It will open in a new window. WordPress may not allow the EMBED feature without premium, but I still want you guys to see it.

If you don’t see the video below, just click the link above. And keep scrolling for the pics of Tower City and the Public Square Ice-Skating Rink.

#lmao @http.courtneyyy #video @towercitycenter #christmas #train 😁😁😁😁😁 The WHOLE RIDE!

A video posted by D.s. (@homefreekids) on Nov 27, 2016 at 12:24pm

Here’s a few more pics from that amazing day….

15219382_1330680416966402_6177121513083747845_n

15253465_1330680283633082_7016486277248772688_n
She loved the view. At Christmas, Tower City is absolutely stunnin.
15202642_1330680243633086_7474602925459724049_n
Naturally, the little musician found her spot.
15253628_1330696756964768_638546311085161955_n
He was in awe of the height.
15170934_1330709936963450_6986052519718816216_n
Of course….
15241169_1330717020296075_1784890193075274081_n
Large Jawbreaker…
15871836_1381691895198587_8827310629837291307_n
Tiny Jawbreakers

15203135_1330711086963335_179160862111929135_n

15181387_1330725476961896_3846451450461880778_n
My daughter & I
15178222_1330651223635988_5520841535694799486_n
He was dancing…
15241425_1330651126969331_7677645093519228349_n
Getting their skates on.

15253484_1330650783636032_3406329810152883197_n15219367_1330650856969358_1030255569468021317_n

15895011_1381691881865255_3438002084333928756_n
Hallelujah! #coffee !!!!!
15202751_1330782070289570_9141066913531704654_n
A fabulous end to the perfect day!

 

To keep up with our travels:  #homefreekids @homefreekids

 

lifestlye, media, news, opinion, parenting, Photography, Politics, sarcasm, Writing

Lorain, Ohio : Let’s Play the Blame Game

Lorain, Ohio

The city of Lorain is in a $3 million dollar deficit. Yesterday 20 police and firefighter jobs were on the line. Last night the city came to an agreement  which will allow  the police and firefighters  of Lorain, to keep their jobs. However, the real problem is far from over. So let’s play the blame game. Who is at fault for the fragile state of Lorain’s economy? What does the future hold for Lorain?

Just last month I wrote an article on the lack of jobs in America: Where did all the people go?  For the photos, I didn’t need too look far. To be honest, the photos were initially intended to show the beauty in Lorain. But after about three photos, I realized the town center was deserted.  Mind you, there is still a powerful beauty beneath the emptiness. And on the outskirts, there’s no shortage of people in the suburbs. They just aren’t shopping in Lorain. There are a few exceptions, such as: Fligner’s . Their meat and produce draw plenty of traffic.

 

I hear a lot of folks passing around blame directed at local government officials, welfare recipients, the IRS, etc…

How about we look at the blatantly obvious, just for giggles. A majority of Lorain’s  original business and factory owners are long gone.

Let me explain what I mean.

I was around 9 years old when my father was laid off from the shipyard.

“Cleveland Shipbuilding was started in 1886 by Henry Coffinberry and Robert Wallace on the site of the Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Company, which was roughly where Detroit Avenue meets Center Street.  In 1897 they built a new shipyard in Lorain and relocated there, closing the Cleveland yard.  The company was acquired by The American Ship Building Company in 1899 and eventually became their Lorain Division.  It continued as a leading builder of lakers until the late 1970s but closed in 1983.  The site was sold to Spitzers as a steel scrap processing facility but is now a marina: see it from the air on Google here.  shipbuildinghistory.com

I’ll never forget that day. He looked as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. It took four long years for him to find another job. My father was/is a Navy man. He’s worked hard all of his life. An electrician by trade, he’s a true blue hardworking American. As a matter of fact, most of the folks around here are! The problem arises, when these hardworking men and women have nowhere to work.

So who do we blame? The mayor? That’s absurd! I’m fairly certain he’s my age or even younger. So I’m going to go out on a limb and bet my life savings that he did not close the shipyard.

How about the retired folks? Must have been them right? Except, most of them were blue collar workers like my dad. Now in their old age, they’re fighting to get by just like the rest of us.

And what about the rest of us? Do me a favor. It’s just a quick test. You don’t have to tell me the answer. Take a look around your house. Pick up a few items and make a mental note of where those things are made.

How many of those items say: Made In The USA? 

I know what you’re thinking. I’m guilty of it to. It’s virtually impossible not to be guilty of owning outsourced products. Fact is: the products outsourced from China are cheaper!  Given the lack of decent jobs, it’s all any of us can afford. The Dollar Tree is completely outsourced. Given the choice between a plate for $1 or a plate for $5 (and they are identicalmost will go for the $1.  The other problem is a humanitarian one: Who is building all of that stuff in China? And how many hours are they being forced to work. It’s everywhere, not just in China. They’re working 60-70 hour work weeks,  for pennies on the dollar.   I recently had reason to look into it and quickly became jaded. Once I really started digging, I did manage to find a few US suppliers. So if you look, they do exist.

Moving onto those with a college career, the problem stays the same.

Let’s say we manage to squeeze out enough for a college degree in medicine. We will spend years paying back those loans and the rest of our career paying an insanely high medical malpractice insurance. We are after all, a nation of sue crazy individuals. We can’t wipe our own rears without a lawyer these days. (Our outsourced/rebranded toilet paper may cause a rash). 

Maybe a teaching degree is the way to go? If we love the Common Core  <- insert sarcasm here, then we’ll go for it. Just know that anything we say to delicate little Johnny, may result in job loss or a lawsuit or both. So let’s leave those poor little kids be. They’re always truthful and teachers are  just mean. 

Small business owners are suffering as well. Given the choice between a McDonald’s $1 rubber patty, or the local ‘mom and pop’ shop’s homemade one; we go for the rubber. Ironically, in order to save a buck on a burger, we will spend thousands in medical costs down the road. Yes…I know…right?!?!  

Here’s the thing though: If we go ahead and spend that extra buck on our local businesses, we are putting money back into our city. Imagine that? You don’t say??? And small business owners will be able to employ more locals. Wow!  And pay them more! Wow….really?!?!?! 

2a0

Or we could just keep feeding the McDonalds CEOs. It’s entirely up to you and me. In the case that we do continue feeding the McDonalds Corporation, I suppose we really have nobody to blame then do we? I sure hope we have decent health insurance. (I don’t know about you, but my deductibles are insane!)

Here’s the reality: Yeah, currently things suck a little.

Can we fix it? The good news is YES!

Instead of taking daily trips to McDonalds, we can eat at home and save up for a nice meal at one of the family owned diners. Stop being all consuming. Let’s face it, we all buy a whole lot of crap we don’t need! If the demand is gone, so is the supply. Start DEMANDING American made products. March into Walmart and ask them for their made in the USA products. If they don’t have any then leave. Do it everywhere and do it often!

Trust me, we can all live without that $1 pink plastic storage container. Part of the problem is that we’ve become a nation of instant gratification addicts.   It’s become so easy to go for the quicker option.

And it shows in our children. They’re entitled now. We break our backs to pay in the hundreds for some stupid shoes. SHOES!  We are buying a NAME! Some of the shoes are the cost of a house payment. But children have learned from us that we should hide our real ‘status’. Nobody wants to admit they’re struggling. Nobody wants to admit their total debt. ( Just because you are not in default, does not mean you are not in debt. If you have a credit card…guess what? You’re in debt! ) But we do it anyway! Why?

Because “Mom…all my friends have them! Do you want me to get picked on?” 

    Well…no…of course not.

We don’t want our kids to have to deal with adversity…cuz…wait…

   WHY THE HECK NOT?

The real world will tell them NO! The real world will chew them up and spit them out! And when they find out it’s not as easy as ‘the mommy who always said yes’, said it was…well…I suppose there’s always Prozac. There are plenty of ‘Big Pharma’ companies ready and willing to parent our kids for us.

In the end, who should we blame?

Us…we  should blame us…as a whole…as a unit. We should blame ourselves.

 

 

 

 

 

Art, education, food, history, Life, lifestlye, money, opinions, Photography, Politics, sarcasm, travel, Writing

Where did all the people go?

Somewhere between the rich and the poor, there was once a group of humans known as the middle. They were the balance between the other two, often feeding both.  But still …there was a balance. And as a general rule, they would fly their children off to faraway states. Occasionally   they took long trips traveling the country while their  children boxed it out in the backseat of the family station wagon. Think…Chevy Chase.

Education was largely coveted and revered. It wasn’t ruled by the ‘pay me for the ignorant ramblings’ group up on Capital Hill. You know….the arseholes who blather on and on about bill changes, policies, test scores and blah blah …vomit.

The government didn’t parent the children…or attempt to drug them in hopes of bringing  up those highly prized  test scores…(Ironically, creating a generation bent on substance addiction, because their little brains no longer produce what they need…without a damn drug).   The teachers having paid for and attended college, were presumed to already know what the hell they were doing…so it was a non-issue. Play was a given. Recess gave teachers a much needed time out, while the children got to run and stretch their little legs.

Guns were for cops, the free folk and the assorted bad guys. Problems between kids however, were solved with a boxing match behind the school. Zero bullets required, and  the children lived to see round two the following morning.

Food was actually …food. It could be easily pronounced. Human immune systems were pretty  decent…mainly because antibiotics…worked. They worked because people were not being fed antibiotic loaded meat. Antibiotic resistance, was almost unheard of. Actually….people didn’t take antibiotics for every little NAMBY PAMBY BOOHOO illness! Docs didn’t pass out drugs like candy, in hopes of competing with the madness of today’s giant clinics.

There was no excuse for bad behavior. A brat was a brat. They weren’t drugged and told it wasn’t their fault. They weren’t given free run out of pity for their mental conditions. (Which oddly enough… have grown exponentially with the growth of Big Pharma, single family homes, increased divorce rates, the need of some parents to work multiple jobs….ironically…to be able to afford the daycare…so they can work multiple jobs...which …probably contributes to the increased divorce rate...go figure).

People actually had decent paying jobs, paid by companies who actually built decent products. Of course, this also meant that stuff held up better. Oak was oak…not prefabricated half plastic/ half wood shavings….well….garbage. Dressers and tables were built to last. Unlike the Walmart specials of today with cardboard backing. Workers now are  being paid less or entirely outsourced, in order to build product quicker for the all consuming American public….. just to see it fall apart. At which point, a phone call is usually made to the company…and surprise surprise…the operator is located somewhere on a faraway continent and you have no idea ...I mean none...as to what they are saying. Of course, it would be NON PC of me, if I didn’t finish that sentence with….”It’s not their fault, they just needed a job” and “It’s the lazy Americans fault for not being willing to work for 3$ a day”…oh and “We surely can’t blame the CEO’s…because who doesn’t need a swimming pool in their living room?”

I’m sure I was going somewhere with this…oh right…..

Where did all the people go?

1935596_1086914078009705_8186259406510944302_n
Photo by homefreekids.com

 

12631476_1086904858010627_9047207171263531463_n
Photo by homefreekids.com
12508979_1086903978010715_1938395048045341646_n
Photo by homefreekids.com
12644659_1086904024677377_4127011163386250028_n
Photo by homefreekids.com
12645132_1086903811344065_7282783608968780305_n
Photo by homefreekids.com
1959920_1086904008010712_2079386530899018875_n
Photo by homefreekids
12523920_1086903981344048_1716479661256357278_n
Photo by homefreekids.com

 

12573720_1086903738010739_7928130496793173140_n
Photo by homefreekids.com

 

 

authors, blogging, books, internet, lifestyle, opinions, publishing, sarcasm, web, Writing

Buy the Damned Book

In this…the age of Kindles and iPads…the world wide net and smart phones, ones thoughts and opinions are instantly available to anyone with the desire to listen. It doesn’t seem to matter what the topic is. I’ve seen it all. Humans come in variety pack and we’ve all generally, got something…anything, to write about. I’ve seen stories of heartbreak, dispair and horror….followed by lighthearted sarcasm and smart comebacks….mixed in with the bazaar and ‘just plain wrong’. I’ve spent endless hours driving through YouTube, only to find myself in that ‘strange’ part of the internet again. If anyone cared to search my internet travels, I’d probably be commited.

My first computer was a Commodore 64. Basically, after writing an hour long program from scratch on one of these ‘state of the art’ computers…you could change the font color from white to cyan…oh yeah! It was cutting edge! And after a few years (ok…a lot of years), the internet was born. Chat Rooms were the place to be. With a custom avatar, you could be anyone in the world. Don’t like yourself? Be someone else. And the chats were…well…..usually pretty dumb. Mostly people asking for each others stats. Height, weight, hair color etc… If you got lucky, every now and then, you talked to a genuine person. There was no real way to be sure. There still isn’t. Unless you’re willing to meet Mr. Creepy in a nice dark alley…no thanks.

After a while, aspiring young authors began to fill the blank pages of the net, like wildfire. Homepages took off. Free of charge (unless you didn’t want ads), available to anyone with a keyboard. Sites like Angelfire and Yahoo Pages kicked off the era of free publishing. Everyone who was anyone, had a link. Suddenly, folks with or without and education, became the authority on everything from curing cancer, whitening teeth, child rearing, marriage, law, gardening, job interviews, money making from home, do it yourself electrical, fixing that blasted disposal, couponing *there are THOUSANDS of couponing sites*….if you can google it, there will be a self professed expert on the subject matter.

While many sites are legit….too many are not. It amazes me the amount of folks who decide whether or not to spank their kids, based on internet opinion polls. Gone are the days of Dr. Sears and Dr. Spock, or hell….even calling grandma. Why bother? Just a click away, you can have someone claiming to be ‘Sally’, wife and mother to three perfect angels. Nevermind the fact, that Sally may average 23 hours a day on the internet, may or may not even have children and while Sally is the latest internet rage in child rearing, no background check, credentials or even PROOF OF LIFE, have ever been verified.

What does this have to do with pennies you ask??? EVERYTHING! Just the sheer volume of readily available FREE material, who gives a shit who wrote it, always the number one authority on how to get rid of that unsightly pimple on your ass….why buy the book? Not only can you find out how to pop that unsightly pimple…you can WATCH it on YouTube! oh yeah….not for the faint of heart…there is actually an entire section on ‘pimple popping’ on YouTube, of which I discovered on one of my ‘weird key phrase’ trips.  Please…don’t go there.

While I’d like to blame the common core for…well….everything: fact is reading ‘Dumb’, creates ‘Dumb’.  Need to finish that term paper in a hurry? There’s a fellow named Fred somewhere in a tiny effiency, surrounded by hoards of cats, sporting the clothes he was born in, cooking up a grill cheese on his lamp shade, hates his mother and all women in general….and he’s this weeks foremost authority on protecting your cervix…free of charge, your paper on cervical cancer prevention will be chalk full of useful ‘facts’ from Fred. No need to head to the local libray, Fred’s your go-to-guy! 

I personally, don’t have any books out there. So why does this effect me?

Simple: I would like my children and grandchildren to grow up in a world, where idiocy and ‘false facts’ are no longer part of the status quo. Need medical facts…buy or borrow a MEDICAL BOOK…you know…the kind where the author is a VERIFIED MD. Better yet…go to a damned DOCTOR! Don’t know how to punish little Billy? Use common fricken common sense!!!! When did rational thinking fly out the window? In this new age of memorization education, critical thinking is no longer on the menu….want to bring it back? BUY THE DAMNED BOOK!