Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lets face it, at my age I'm not likly to find a Sugar-momma....

...after all, I'm not as cute as I once was... (see previous post)


...but I still have ideas for projects that I envision and REALLY want/need to create!


This is the latest:

Recently I acquired about 30 pieces of circular glass. They are about 12" in diameter. I brought them home from work because they were being thrown out. I didn't know what I was going to do with them then but I knew it would coalesces at some point. I thought maybe I would paint my poems on them somehow but I wasn't sure...

A day or two later I woke up in a creative sweat. I sat right up and I saw in my mind what I wanted to do. I could see it in mind finished and its still there. It calls to me. It won't go away!


Some of you may remember that I started this blog by posting pictures from my last Retrospective Art Show at the VPL. I paint poetry on glass, in old discarded windows.

What I have in my head involves a poem I have only recently written. I know it is the poem from the dream and in my vision I have etched the glass rather than painted it! There are photos of my grandmothers and my mother included as well. Each verse will be etched on several panes and the circular panes will then be stacked with clear rubber spacers between them so that one must stand over the piece and read down through the panes from above with an etched photo floating in the verse.


But here is the rub. I can't afford the equipment or the supplies yet. The process is almost identical to the plate making process that I used professionally for 14 years when I worked as a Printer back in my youth. I know I can do it as I had quite allot of practice before NAFTA sent my job and my craft and skills to Hong Kong....

Here is a link to what I'm looking at:


The other night I half joked at EOTNP that if anyone wanted to contribute to my cause I was willing to take contributions. But then I got to thinking, isn't subscription how Artists and Writers used to work in the old days? If they didn't get enough to complete the work they simply returned the money. The next I was talking with an old friend from my Collage days (Annie C. ) who said "What the heck, give it a try..."


So this is what I propose to do: I'm going to open another savings account at my bank and designate it as the "The Pneumatic Thoughtforms Future's Project".

If you or anyone you know might be interested in contributing any $10.00 or more I will gladly add it to the account until enough subscriptions/memberships have been collected for me to continue with my "Pneumatic Dreams!"

I will post a running balance in the side bar of this blog and a list of contributing patrons. (Only if you wish to be listed of course, otherwise I will simply slate Anon #1, Anon#2 etc.)

For obvious reasons, I do not want to publish personal information that may be used by someone malishiously so if you see me on the street or at Church I will collect contributions in person.

If distance precludes that then you can E-mail me at this new E-mail address: This is not my normal address so please do not ad it to your mailing lists. It will be used strictly for this project.


So whatya think? wanna be a patron of the Arts? Think of it as a Birthday Gift...
oh yeah, I'm 51 tommarow. And I'm still "Cute" in my dreams!


Friday, February 20, 2009

This story is a TRUE story...Worst Blind Date EVER!

Sallah: Dr. Indiana Jones' beloved and trusted friend: [catches date and points to dead monkey] "Bad dates."


Its strange how we never know who we know knows who....

I was sitting there in the lunch room today and reading the newspaper because I left my book at home. I read or call Mom now so I don't feel tempted to go out on the "Death Dock" and smoke. I inadvertently overheard a conversation in the other room when an old friend "Dave" from my youth was mentioned.

I haven't thought about Dave in years. He was my 3rd Man at Grand Union in Stuyvesant Plaza back in the late 70s. We hung out after work. Went to the "Mad Hatter" on Saturday nights after work looking for "chicks". When he had a Band I painted the Backdrop. Their name was "The Blue Mountain Riders" and they played stuff like "Pure Prairie League".

Eventually Dave found a Girlfriend and I became the 3rd wheel.


So Dave set me up with his Girlfriends sister. I should have known what was coming when he said (tongue-in-cheek):

"All the girls love her and she's a wonderful Dancer..."

(...It was a long time ago so I'm not really sure what her name was so I'll call her Kathy just to make things simple.)

Dave and I had planned to go see the then new movie: Moonraker at the old Hellman Theater on Washington Avenue across the street from the SUNY Campus. I barrowed Dad's 75 Pontiac Grand Am. and went in to work for a shift at Grand Union. When my shift was over, I changed and threw my work clothes in the back seat of the Grand Am. Dave and I then went to pick up the girls at their parents house in Dave's Car.

When we got there I was taken aback immediately. I knew Dave's Girlfriend, she was petite, brunette, and about my height. They were supposed to be twins. But her sister was well over 6ft tall and weighed two of me!

Dave and his Girlfriend sat up front while Kathy and I sat in the back trying to seem amicable. I was still a little shocked, but being me I tried to get to know Kathy, she seemed nice and we conversed uneasily.

When we got to the Theater, Dave paid for himself and his Girlfriend first and then went right for the Concession Stand. I reached for my wallet and found an empty pocket! I tried to wave Dave down but he and his date took their Popcorn and ran into the Theater to get good seats....

This was not going well. My wallet was in my work pants in the back seat of my Dad's Car! Well, I smiled, explained that I was nervious about our date, and... I must have left my wallet in my work pants pocket.... [DAH!] Kathy rolled her eye's and said:

"Alright, if you can pay me back I'll pay for the tickets just so we can get out of this line...."

She bought the tickets, some Popcorn and Sodas and we went into see the movie. Dave and his date were waiting for us. Of course Dave had 10th row center seats. I moved into the row and sat next to Dave while Kathy sat on my left.

It was the late 70s, almost the 80s, Leisure Suits and Big Hair were on their way out, well almost.... The Woman in front of me was hanging on to a trend that should have begun and ended with Abbie Hoffman. Dave, of course, was sitting behind the shiniest of Chrome Domes! I looked over at him and smiled... "What took you so long?" he said.... He was sitting pretty with the BIGGEST Bucket O' Popcorn smothered in butter you could buy!

The movie began and I started dodging the "POOF" in front of me. If any of you remember this movie, and are a big fan of Bond, you will remember that it was pretty bad! Somewhere along the line Dave and I began heckling it between ourselves. Dave's Girlfriend began to get embarrassed and asked him to stop. Chrome Dome gave us a dirty look! This only served to inspire us, we were having TOO MUCH FUN! Dave has a laugh that is somewhere between contagious and a snicker. Every time I heard him laugh I couldn't help but laugh along with him.

...just then, Dave's Girlfriend gave Dave a shot to the ribs! She caught him completely unawares!

The next thing you know, Dave's BUCKET O' POPCORN goes straight up in the air...

In slow motion, I watched as it turned upside-down (retaining all of the Popcorn and the butter in the bucket) and then came down DIRECTLY ON CHROME DOMES ALREADY SHINNY HEAD! It fit as snuggly as a OJ's Glove.

Chromie turns, butter dripping down his nose onto his chin....

Dave, didn't even hesitate. He pointed right at his Girlfriend and said deadpan as you please:

"She did it..."

Some how the guy (who was built like a bricklayer) didn't kill any of us. As I remember, Dave borrowed some Kleenex from the girls and I still have a picture in my head of him apologizing profusely while wiping down this guys head and stifling a giggle.


When the movie ended we went back and got my Dad's car and I paid Kathy back the money she had loaned me. We went to the "Across the Street Pub" for a few drinks and had a good time laughing about the nights folly. Kathy seemed not to mind the mishap with my wallet, conversation progressed, and the Beers and Jellybean Shots began to accumulate. I became comfortable enough with Kathy to loosen up. I thought maybe we could be friends. BIG MISTAKE. I may have been slightly inebriated, but I knew that we were not right for each other from the start. However, apparently she had become enamored with me.

I took Kathy home to her house in the Grand Am. I pulled into her driveway and down an alleyway between her house and the neighbors, where I stopped a few feet from the back door to let her out. She continued to chat and NOT GET OUT OF THE CAR. I made small talk, turned the car off, turned it on, turned it off again... (She wanted a good night kiss and I knew that it just wouldn't be right to lead her on, but I didn't know how to get her to take a hint...)

...just then, a window on the side of the house flew open and her Father flung his head out the window and screamed:

"Give her a kiss and go home so I can get some sleep already!!!"

I pecked Kathy on the cheek. She said an embarrassed goodnight and ran into the house. I backed out of the driveway as quickly and as quietly as I could and sped off down Russel Road taking the back way to my parents house.

Resolving never again to go on a blind date!


Worst thing is... I saw her again about 6 months later. She had lost at least one of me, was all legs, and drop-dead-gorgeous! when next I heard from Dave she had just gotten engaged.

Just my luck. I'll bet she was a wonderful dancer too!



Thursday, February 19, 2009

I was cute once... no really!

Will you leave

a beautiful ghost for your grand children

to find on a summers day

can they come to know you

by the mellabotha's* your children say

can you then paint a picture

of your heart with words for them to see

the beautiful ghost left

when you burned out brightly

at both ends of the wick

that was your life left

at the bottom of a shoebox

filled with Kodachrome and light?



*A "mellabotha" is my Nana's nonsense word for something made from nothing for the purpose of piecing something together. Akin to a "Cob-job".


We all carry around at least one picture of ourselves inside. The one that no matter what happens we still feel is US. We grow up, get married, have kids, divorce, etc, and when we think of ourselves we picture ourselves in a certain way. I know when I think of myself as a young adult I think of myself in a mock discus pose that my ex took while I was posed atop a pedestal at the Empire State Mall. When I think of myself as a youth I see myself with my Cat "Ged" perched atop my shoulder playing with my shoulder length "Hippie-hair".

When I think of myself as a kid, well, as a "Cute" kid this is what I see in my mind:

OMG! That kid is so cute "I could just PUKE!" What happened between then and now?



Give the Man a Cigar!

Andy pointed out something I thaught was the case at first also....

When I first saw the original of this photo I thought my Great Grand Father had a "Handlebar Moustache". I guess my unconscious mind said: "He has a "Bowler Hat" that must be a Handlebar Moustache too...

John Joseph Burns (circa 1908)

So here is a enhanced closeup that shows that not to be the case. It is in fact a Cigar.


Monday, February 16, 2009

"What was I thinking?!!"

Postcard of "John Joseph Burns" and "Casper Burns" in a Model T.

This is a picture of my Great Grand Father John Joseph Burns with my Grand Uncle Casper Burns seated in a Model T. (circa 1908?) It is perhaps the only known photo of my Great Grand Father and was printed as a Post Card, we think it was taken at Coney Island.

If you look closely you can see he has a Cigar in his mouth. It seems that he died mysteriously and we are not really sure what his cause of death was. Most of the stories elude to alcohol, nothing is definitive. All I know is this shows he was a smoker too.


On Wednesday it will be 6 weeks since I quit smoking. The plan is to be in shape to hike the "Patowmack" tow-path this summer so I have also been planning to walk my old route around the "Ville" to get in shape as soon as it gets consistently warm enough.

I've done this before so I really don't think of it as a big deal. When I reach the 6 month mark I may just celebrate in some way. The only thing I really miss is my friends at work on the Smoking Dock....

The "Freezing My **s Off" on a cold winter's day I do not miss!


Last night I had a row with Sarah that I realized was not going anywhere and since she wouldn't give up and walk away I did. I put my Hoodie on, my "Polamalu" Jersey on over that, and topped that with my Jacket. I stuffed a few Stop Smoking Nicotine Lozenges in my pocket and off I went into the night!

I walk somewhere between a fast walk and a brisk run so it wasn't until around Mile 4 that I realized I had left my Gloves at home.

...and so I said to the night sky: "What we-er-ere yoo-oou th-th-th-inking!"

When I got home I took a Shower and grabbed "1921" by Morgan Llywelyn and went to bed.

...after Sarah and I made-up of course...


It's the next day now. I'm in the nice warm house. I'm thinking I'm tired and the walking can wait a little.

The forecast for the next few days is for Snow, I know what I'm thinking now:

"I think I'll celebrate that with a shower and a good book before bed!!!"



Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dad taught me how to be a Father and Mom showed me how to be a Woman!

Well, NO, not exactly....

(Left to Right) My Mom: Doris Burns O'Brien, My Uncle Bobby Burns,
Uncle Walter Burns and their Dog "Whatsizname"

What I mean is Mom taught me how to nurture. How to do the things most often attributed to a woman. It came in handy when I was a househusband in the 80s and later as a single parent in the 90s.

I don't give my Mom enough credit. I'm always going on about my Dad but really, Mom taught me things that I never could have done without. Who knew that I would have to be a Mother to my children as well as a Father. Not me.... No one in my family had ever been divorced before, let alone been male and a househusband, by choice... but her nurturing my innate ability to nurture was the most powerful gift she gave to me....


She also taught me how to cook, how to sew, how to clean... She gave me encouragement and lived vicariously through me in my Artistic endeavorers. Mom was the first person to put a brush in my hand and buy me paints when others my age were still playing with crayons. She gave me her pallet knife and she let me learn how to paint with that as well. Mom even introduced me to Gravestone-rubbing as an art form. She Instilled in me an appreciation of Nature (Dad used to say if you fell asleep in Moms house your mouth open you might wake up with a plant in it....) (She was planting things in old sneakers years before it was in B.H.&G.) Mom took me to museums during the summer and on school breaks to NY and Vermont.

Yeah, I supposed she gave me a few "paddlings" in my youth; but mostly I deserved them even though I didn't think so at the time... ;)


This past week we did the "Sibling-Get-Together" to plan for Moms future in light of her continuing Health Concerns. I think on the whole we did well in recognizing each others gifts and ways in which we could help her through this. Who knows what the future holds (although we have some idea) we know that by virtue of our upbringing, we are optimists by nature and we will all get her through this together.


Mom was my first Valentine. She always sent me a card and she sent them to my kids when they were young too! Chocolate Hearts, those little Sugar Hearts (with messages on them) they were always there every year, and the Cup-cakes as well! (...maybe thats where Sarah gets it from...)


Mom was the first Valentine everyone of us had and she'll always be our Valentine!


...and thanks for teaching Us to be a compassionate, nurturing, un-ordinary human beings.

Oh, I hope you don't mind, but We've passed it on....



Friday, February 13, 2009

Sometimes I feel like I'm cheating....

I spent some time in the back yard last week taking pictures of the Full Moon. I've been playing with them in "programs". Its weird how easy I find it to do things I've spent years laboring to do with paint...

I almost feel like I have been cheating.... What follows are the results:

The resolution in Blogger doesn't do justice to the end result, but if you click on them they should enlarge in your browser. Then, if you wish to do as I have and make them a desktop pattern, feel free to do so by right clicking and selecting "Set as Desktop Background" ( windows of course....)


Sunday, February 8, 2009

You know you done right when your kids are proud to be Nerds... Right?

Sarah, Jimmy and Tommy went to the New York Comic Con 2009 this past week. What follows are some Virtual Posts sent to me over the past few days:

"Is the Pizza ready yet?"

"Can Wedgehead have autograph?"

"Wedgehead like Sarah! Sarah like Wedgehead?
Wedgehead be your Main Doorstop?"

"Comic Con Exclusive Ugly!"

"Big Damn Line for Joss Whedon!"
(Creator of Firefly)

"...guess we won't be buying that for Dad after all..."

"...Boyfriend tired, go sleeply now..."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Alright, I admit it: I have had LUST in my heart for the last year and a half....:

NO!!! Not that kind of lust! ...had you going for a minute there though didn't I!!!

Actually I have been drooling over a map on-line for a year and a half. YOU WHAT? You have been lusting over a Civil War Map? Maaannnn, you're sick. You've gone around the bend.

Well, yeah but...

O.K., O.K., I finally bought it and I am not ashamed! I am, a Civil War Addict. ahhhh, now that feels better. I can't tell you what a relief it is to get that out in the open. FEEEWWWW!


What I bought was a map of the Washington D.C. Defenses of U.S. Army circa 1861. Illustrating the locations of Civil War fortifications including forts, batteries and other strategic emplacements.

You see, now I can hold a letter from James Gilmour to his brother Robert in my hand and say: "On this day, at this location this letter was written and this is what was happening at the time."

Click on Image to Enlarge.

General Irwin Mc Dowell's 1st division, 2nd Brigade

consisted of the 2nd New York, 1st & 2nd Ohio and the 2nd Artillery.

They were lead by Brig.Gen. Schenk at the Battle of 1st Bull on July 21, 1861

Here is a transcript of a letter written while James Gilmour was stationed here 11 days before The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as the First Battle of Manassas:

Balls Crosroad


July 10th

Dear Brother

I now write to

let you know that have been

waiting for your letter in

answer to my last but it has

not arived yet, it seemed that

your last letter was on the way

coming when mine was going

& as you stated in your last

that you were going to the

thought that you did not get

it as it was adressed to the store

instead of 4th* street but I will

a dress this one for the store

as I supose you to be back by

this time, this is a mistake as I see

yours was dated june 30th But I

will make it all right;

I was glad to hear that you

were in good health & also

that you were contracted on in the


store as work is hard to be got

in the city The prinsopal

reason for me writing now is that

we have recieved orders to

march to Richmond & as we

will have to fight our way

through I thought I would

let you know that how I was

getting along we now form part

Brigade Commanded By

Gen. Skank** it consists

of the first and second Ohio

Regts. 3 Conn. & our own

the 2nd of New York we wer[e] recieved

on munday & expects to march

to night or at day Break tomarrow

Morning. They next Brigade

after us consists of the 79th

Hilander the 13 of Rochester N.Y.

71 N.Y. & a Regt. from Wis.

I was delighted to see the

movement of the Brigade

& we got the Prais[e] of the

Bystanders for being the

cleanist Regt. of the 4


bu[t] it is a hard thing to Keep

clean clothes where we have 3

feet of Dust on one half of the

week & 4 feet of mud the other.

we have very hot weather

here at Presant, but what

goes worse with us is the gales

& Tempests that comes on all

at once we had a storm the other

night. it swept away our tent

wet our clothes & dunked ourselves prity

well but we are getting used to it

now. ***Frank is in good health

& wishes to be remembered to you

in the Kindest manner we are

all ready for fight. & the plan

we have adopted for getting dressed

quick in case of an alarm is

that we still sleep on with our

clothes & our cartridge Box under

our head & as a general thing

our Brave Partner in our Bosem

I mean our Muskets~

You may rest content about

me. I Trust God is with


us. & if he is with no who

can be aganst us

Please write as soon as

this comes to hand & let me

know how you are getting

along & how you spent the 4th

as for mine I spent it

at doing gard Duty as that is

the Run of duty we see most of

at Present

I must conclude hoping

that these few lines will find you

injoying good health

Do not think it strange if you

do not have an answer to your

letter as we do not know when

we may be located

but please write soon

I remain your

affectionate Brother to Death

James Gilmour

Please give my love to

all in the kindist manner

write soon.

*4th Street in Manhattan, New York City; was where they lived.

** This was really Gen. Schenk; but, this is James' actual spelling. Obviously, he was I am sure, unaware of the connotation that it holds today. I leave it as he wrote it for authenticity's sake, and also because it amuses me to think that from everything I have read of the enlisted men's opinion of him after Bull Run: I believe that if they had known what Skank connotes today, they may well have spelled it this way on purpose.

*** Frank Perry was James' tent mate and friend throughout the his war experience. Frank was the only soldier mentioned in James' letter's from his Original Company to have survived the War after being wounded at the Battle of Antietam.


Next summer Devin and I plan to hike the C&O "Patomack" Canal "Toe Path". We intend to take a Canal Boat from Georgetown west to about Great Falls, then hike along the Tow Path to Whites Ferry where we will cross to visit "Balls Bluff". Then we will take in Poolsville where James was Camped for some time. Next a Bus ride to Harpers Ferry to visit the Museum. (James was stationed here also. Truth is he was stationed all along the Potomac at various times.) Then I would like to travel south to find the location of the "Battle of Fair Oaks" where he was killed in Battle and later buried.


Monday, February 2, 2009


...the only trouble is, my nose keeps going UP like an infield fly every time one walks by....!

(I quit smoking on 07/Jan because I expect to be doing some serious Hiking this summer.....)


...What was I thinking....