Thursday, December 31, 2009

Some photos of my Gay Trailer Trash on Acid Livingroom

As a huge fan of Pee Wee Herman, and a lover of visual intensity, I've had a blast the last 10 years slowly, steadily tripping out my livingroom since this is my last house and resale is not a concern. I'd wanted a mirror floor since the 70s when I was an art major, and scavenged mirror backed by contact paper to reduce breakage, plus hold sheets together when they finally DO break, has made that dream come true for $7 worth of contact paper. I have slowly built up an inventory of LARGE sheets of mirror, and dumpster dived a giant roll of contact paper. So I am going to lift up older, smaller, cracked pieces of mirror (held in place by gravity and friction), apply contact paper to these new big pieces of mirror, and thus achieve a more cohesive look plus cover, hopefully, a much greater portion of the floor and thus get rid of my old tattered tapestry and dumpster dive a new smaller one. Visitors often enjoy looking down into the mirrored floor and spotting "infinity feedback loops" based on mirrors on the ceiling. I just bought a 500 watt halogen workshop lamp and will soon post on YouTube a video cam tour of my "Art Tacko" Gay Trailer Trash on Acid Livingroom work-in-progress.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Imagine Peace Tower

I feel that this 10 minute video about the astonishing light tower that Yoko Ono created in Iceland reveals anew the positive, expansive energies that she and John shared with each other and the world.

Extremely creative video for 'Drive' by The Cars

I loved this song BIG time when it came out, but I was in my early 30s in Denver and still inclined a bit to enjoy melancholy songs. But I still feel it is a beautiful composition with an elegantly simple rhythm structure. A few nights ago while "altered" I found this astonishingly creative, odd, surrealistic video for it I'd never seen. I find the bizarre visuals (like the sliding bartender, and the mannequins) atop the lushly beautiful song oddly compelling.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Undersea Fantasy bathroom

When I bought my "Old Man House" here in Tampa in 1998 it was and is my intent it be my last house. So when I did this bathroom treatment after I realized that since I did not intend to ever sell or rent it, there was no reason to restrain myself creatively. So now every room has a distinct theme....The Gay Trailer Trash on Acid Livingroom, the corny, perky yellow and blue with sunflowers kitchen, my Victorian Roses Reading and Workout Room, and my "Thurston Howell the Third and Lovie's Bedroom". Here are some photos of my Undersea Fantasy Bathroom plus a silent video of it. My dumpster dived waves sound machine seen atop the toilet in the video died years ago....I am going to price one on-line as it added such a wonderful element to being in that room.

Concert video: "I Want to Know What Love Is"

For years now this lushly luxuriant love song has moved me deeply each time I'd hear it. So I was thrilled to find this remarkably majestic live performance, with a full orchestra, on YouTube. Seeing and hearing him, the choir, and the audience join forces during that sustained chorus is breathtaking to me. I hope you enjoy it.

VERY cool Nagare-themed Concept Cars from Mazda

As I recall, 'Nagare' is Japanese for 'flow', and the whole series of highly sculpted, super sleek and deliciously futuristic Nagare concept cars exhibit beautifully flowing lines. At one point, the Kabura was thought to be a sneak peek at the next RX-7. Sadly, while Nagare influenced production Mazdas a LITTLE, especially the current Mazda 3, none of these stunning concept cars entered production, and their gifted designer has left the firm. I think even folks not nuts about cars as I have been since I was 10 may find these concepts to be truly innovative.

Christopher Cross performing 'Sailing'

Many times over the years since this hauntingly beautiful song came out, it has brought me goosebumps and tears of joy, so I was delighted to find this video of Christopher Cross performing it live with an exuberant group of people backing him up. Thank heavens for YouTube! Enjoy, John

Monday, December 28, 2009

Stunning photos from the surface of Mars

When I was 10 in 1963 I imagined by now multiple domed settlements on the Moon and Mars, so I am disappointed that we MAY revisit the Moon again by 2015. But at least we have the amazing rovers on Mars that took these attached photos, plus the European Mars Express that is taking incredible, high-res pics from orbit revealing ancient river beds and shore lines while confirming the presence of enough underground ice to possibly cover the entire planet with a foot or more of water if melted. Be sure to click on each pic for greater detail.

natural kaleidoscopes

Nature offers us some truly beautiful patterns to relish, and to my eyes the blossoms of the hybrid Louisiana Irises I collect and grow in boggy soil in containers resemble kaleidoscopes. As with all pics on this blog, click on each to enlarge them for better viewing. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A recent TV appearance

I forget the name of the electromagnetic instrument played without touching, invented around 1907 I think, but that beautiful young woman plays it exquisitely in several of Yoko Ono's recent performances, like this one which she also performed on The View recently. I heard on NPR it is that haunting sound in The Beach Boys' 'Good Vibrations'. I feel this piece is very touching and I love the visual intensity of the studio.

from the Spring 1993 issue of 'THE GARDEN DOCTOR'


One morning in early May, 1992, a fierce thunderstorm whipped through my northeast Denver neighborhood as I landscaped a home beside the foothills several miles to the west. That afternoon I returned to see that my yard, the streets, the whole neighborhood, was rain-soaked and littered with wind blown twigs and green leaves torn from trees. Two grackles paced nervously side by side on my roof, squawking hysterically…. moments later I found two dead baby birds (mauled by a cat, likely mine) on the ground below my cedar tree where a week before a friend had pointed out a nestful of cheeping hatchlings near the pinnacle.

But from directly below where the parent birds made such a fuss, in a flower garden, came the frantic "cheeps" of a survivor…there, huddled between red poppies and purple iris, was a soaked, shivering, sorry-looking baby grackle. I took him inside, and quickly rigged up an incubator using a clear plastic bulk food bin from a grocery store dumpster, a soft towel, and a 40 watt bulb in a reading lamp. Soon his feathers were dry and fluffy and he no longer shivered, nestled in the towel and basking in the warmth. I named him "Burt, the Bird".

Since re-arriving in Denver two weeks before, I had been barely functioning, on automatic pilot, nearly paralyzed by shock and grief over the violent suicide of my old friend Renee’ Ashley, which occurred as I migrated back from Tampa and learned of less than an hour after unlocking my dormant house. But Burt was simply too hungry too often for me to slip further into numbing grief as I struggled to devise a diet for him….I’d always heard that feeding orphaned birds a food slurry with an eyedropper can get it into their tiny lungs, leading to fatal pneumonia.

So I soaked little pellets of dry dog food in a weak solution of warm water and liquid baby vitamins until they softened and swelled. When I offered them to this tiny but incredibly loud baby bird he sucked them up like a black hole, making a hilarious gurgling sound as he continued to scream through a throat full of wet nuggets! Each feeding he’d wolf down seven or eight of them till his neck filled up, and wash them down with an eyedropper full of baby vitamin water, then quickly fall asleep in the warm glow of the bulb or in my hands. An hour later his screams for more food would echo through the house once again, and I’d obey. Umpteen times a day Burt screamed and I fed him…it became a Pavlovian response for me, even when dead asleep. I had instantly fallen in love with this infant eating machine. And Sergeant, "The World’s Best Dog", didn’t seem jealous, only curious.

Burt grew like something in a 50’s sci-fi movie, and soon his fuzzy baby feathers fell out as wave after wave of flight feathers emerged from his translucent grayish-pink skin. All this growth and change was fueled by vast amounts of watermelon, slugs, raw corn-on-the-cob, peeled grapes, cereal, oatmeal (cooked or dry), raw beans, citrus, bananas, cherries, cottage cheese, and his favorite…..some of Sergeant’s ‘Prime Cuts’ canned dog food. Like me, he was a voracious garbage gut!

Burt had bonded to me on day one, always wanting to be with me, perched on my head (and pooping indiscriminately) as I typed, washed dishes or worked in my gardens. We were buddies. If he was elsewhere in the yard or house and I called out his name, he would invariably answer me with a loud singular chirp. One heartbreaking day though, as he sat drying on a tall squash trellis after a dip in the bird bath, he fell about four feet as I gardened beside him and landed skull first on the corner of a pane of glass at the back of the henhouse. Already filled with horror and sadness over Renee’s death, I saw him bounce sickeningly to the ground, legs painfully stiffening, eyes closed then he lay motionless. I felt guilty for putting him up there too wet too glide, certain he was dead.

But he was still breathing! So I put him on the hay on the floor of his little sunning cage atop the hen house, begging him not to die, my eyes filling up, a big lump in my throat, pretty well maxxed-out with negative life events. I stayed with him, softly calling out his name, watching his breathing. Soon he sat up, head waggling dizzily and unable to stand without falling over. But within the hour he was almost back to normal and screaming for food. Whew!

All that summer most mornings began with taking Burt, perched on my index finger, out to my neighbor’s expansive lawn (vs. my token 10 foot oval of it) for daily flying lessons as I sipped my coffee. I’d launch him with a gentle swing of my hand, but he just controlled his descent. As he got better I’d give him a softball-style underhand toss, and he’d "fly" maybe fifteen or twenty feet. By midsummer Burt was still a poor flyer as dozens of young grackles flew over the house daily. His now nearly adult feathers were a gorgeous shiny gray-black with an iridescent overlay of indigo and violet but the tips of his wing and tail feathers had frayed a little due to rubbing against the bars of his bird cage made vital by my and other cats who’d approach him hungrily. I wondered if he would ever be able to leave home to be with other grackles, even though I’d nearly weaned him from hand feeding by showing him how to catch pill bugs, earthworms, crickets and slugs, and by offering him assorted dry grains and seeds.

Tragedy struck Burt once again one morning during a flying lesson, when he landed on the heat-retaining compost berm on the north side of my house where he spotted and gobbled down a wild mushroom. The next morning the inside of his mouth was a sickly gray, his saliva was gummy, his golden eyes very dilated and his movements slow and jerky. So I gave him fresh water continuously from the eyedropper he had outgrown a few weeks prior to flush him out. He would not eat…and seemed very spaced out….was he tripping? If so it was clearly a bad trip. The next morning he was okay but bonded to me even more, downright affectionate, like a tame parrot. I asked him to recall this lesson about mushrooms when he was off in the wilds as a free bird someday.

A few weeks later, during a practice flight, he proudly surprised me by leaping off my finger and flying straight across my yard and the next 2 neighbors’ yards in a long, strong but very low flight. But panic filled me as he crossed Ruth’s yard when one of her cats leapt off the front porch and nabbed him in mid-flight with its front paws, pulling him screaming to the ground. Like an hysterical parent I shot forward bellowing my lungs out at the damned feline who was so freaked by the sight of a deranged and angry maniac bolting his way that he released Burt before biting him and fled into the bushes. Walking back to my yard with my heart thumping and Burt perched on my index finger, I noticed the cat saliva on his wings, relieved that this poor cursed bird had once again cheated fate.

October came, the leaves changed to gold and rust, silvery frost coating my gardens each morning and still Burt the Bird barely flew, never again having repeated his Wright Brotheresque performance. I wondered if he’d be migrating to Florida soon but in my truck with Sergeant and Lovely (the World’s Fattest Cat) and my chickens. Suddenly though he was decidedly untame, pecking at my offered finger instead of jumping onto it as usual. One sunny autumn morning, as thousands of grackles oddly swarmed into the tall trees in my neighborhood, their voices filling the air, I coaxed Burt onto my finger and took him out of his big back yard sleeping cage (big to reduce the fraying of his feather tips) for yet one more disappointing practice flight, knowing that winter was closing in. Suddenly he shot up at a forty five degree angle and landed in the dead fifteen foot tall pollarded elm beside my raspberry patch. Convinced it was a fluke he had for the first time ever gained altitude, I climbed up to rescue him once more. With my outstretched hand just inches from him, Burt burst away in a beautiful arcing upward flight to the big apple tree half a block away!

Back on the ground I was filled with conflicting emotions….pride, joy, relief, uncertainty and a touch of sadness that this might at last be the goodbye I’d hoped for and worked towards all summer. I never wanted Burt to be a pet, just a mature and healthy wild grackle. Parental concern drew me to the apple tree filled with grackles feasting on the red ripe fruits, and I spotted him due to his frayed feather tips right where he’d landed. I called out his name, and as usual he answered back. Without warning there was an explosion of grackles from that tree and towards a distant elm. Grinning and misty-eyed, I spotted one grackle flying lower and slower than the rest of the flock, but damn, he was keeping up!

Back home I read that grackles migrate south each winter too in large gregarious flocks, ending my fears of his freezing to death in Denver, hungry and alone. And all that winter in Florida, whenever grackles flew over making that oh-so-familiar call, I’d check first (usually) to see if anyone was looking then call out "Burt!", entertaining the fantasy that one would break away from the flock and descend to land in front of me, screaming for ‘Prime Cuts’ and slugs.

I still occasionally wonder where he is, if he is, thankful for the chance to have first saved him then grown to know him. And while I don’t believe in an anthropomorphic God running a cosmic show, I still can’t help but to see Burt as a gift of light and life at a time I was nearly completely filled with pain and darkness. While I will always miss Renee’, Burt’s golden shining eyes reminded me all that sad summer following her death of Life and Love and Innocence…….

If that is not a priceless gift, what is?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Appalachian Spring concert

Aaron Copland's 'Appalachian Spring' some years back eclipsed Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Serenade to Music" as my favorite symphony. Every time I play it I am brought to tears, especially by the sweeping crescendos, and I almost bawled when I saw it live this year at the Tampa Orchestra. I've noticed that there are so many ways of playing it, depending I guess on the mindset of the conductor....the link takes you to a three piece YouTube video of a performance where the piano was given prominence I'd not heard before. Part One will play the lower of the two boxes for Part Two, then play Part Three. I hope your sound system has a powered subwoofer like mine so that you can feel the full majesty of this stellar composition and performance. I hope it makes you cry with joy too!

Yoko Ono at the Meltdown Festival in London, June 2009

I have always understood why people could hate her music and singing, but I have been inspired and uplifted by both since 1970. I am pleased that she is receiving various lifetime achievement awards, had yet another number one dance hit in America a few months back, has two huge art exhibits travelling globally, her new album 'Between My Head and the Sky', is garnering great reviews, plus she is doing many live gigs at the age of 76. I love this video clip I got in the Yoko forum I've belonged to for is the last few minutes of her performing last June in London her long, challenging, avant garde free form piece from 1995 called 'Rising' that I feel is a soaring celebration of human possibility and the power of choice. I'll post the full lyrics below. I know she is getting ready to do some concerts in Japan, would love it if she came here!
I've posted a pic of her this spring in a floppy hat, one from 1972, plus two photos of her breathtaking ice sculpture 'Penal Colony' that people could walk through the interior of. Her raw, unrestrained lifelong creativity is thriving in her late 70s!


Mm -Listen to your heart,
Respect your intuition.
Make your manifestation,
There's no limitation.
Have courage,
Have rage,
we're all together. Oh - uh... ad lib
Have courage,
Have rage,
we're all together.Oh - uh... ad lib
Follow your heart,
Use your intuition.
Make your manifestation
There's no confusion.
Have courage,
Have rage,
we're rising.Oh - uh... ad lib
Follow your heart,
Use your intuition.
Make your manifestation,
There's no confusion.
Have courage,
Have rage,
we're rising.Oh - lib
Follow your heart,
Use your intuition.
Make your manifestation,
Have courage,
Have rage,
we're rising.Oh - uh... ad lib
Have courage,
Have rage,
we're rising.
There's no confusion.
We're all together.

Cool Spaceships and Planes

Since I was 10 and enamored with Gerry Anderson's "Super Car" and "Fireball XL-5" I have been nuts about futuristic cars, spaceships and airplanes. Here are some pics of favorites of mine. found this wonderful YouTube video of Paul McCartney performing 'Hey Jude' live in Red Square, Moscow, Christmas Night while delightfully "altered". It got me teary-eyed seeing how deeply moved people in the audience were. Plus this is one of my very favorite Beatles songs of all time, perhaps eclipsed only by 'I Am The Walrus'. Enjoy! John
p.s. Hmmmm.....sharing the link worked easily at the first site, not working now after several attempts and reading instructions.

Cool Futuristic Concept Cars

Since childhood I have loved seeing futuristic concept cars, and the anticipation as to whether they would enter production. I love sleek aerodynamic forms and covered wheel wells for better air I think they just look cool. Here are some favorite GM concept car images