Sunday, February 28, 2010

The stage has been set!

Join me and my fellow photogs from the Dead Photographers Society - for an artist reception of our work to be displayed in the Bishop Arts District of Oak Cliff. March 4th, 7-10pm. Refreshments will be served. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 4, 2010
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Charlie Mitcherson Studio, 405 North Bishop Avenue

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cars lie overturned after the highway they were travelling on was destroyed in an earthquake in Santiago February 27, 2010. A powerful earthquake that struck Chile on Saturday killed at least 82 people across the country, the interior minister told reporters. REUTERS/Marco Fredes


455 AM PST SAT FEB 27 2010





Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Come see our work...


Monday, February 22, 2010

Rehearsals for a Civil War
By James Howard Kunstler
on February 22, 2010 7:06 AM

Amid the general incoherence of the Tea Party rebels and the failure of progressives to recognize the structural changes underway in a peak oil world, lies a deadly swamp of paradox where all parties may drown in the quicksand of their own muddled intentions.

The Tea Party appeals to the swelling numbers of the new former middle class angry at the sudden vanishing of their accustomed perqs and entitlements to a predictably comfortable suburban existence. They're mad at the government and hot for "liberty." But how do they propose to maintain the hyper-complexities of suburban life without taxes to pay for fixing the countless roads their lives depend on or to run the gold-plated central school districts that seem to exist solely to provide Friday night football? As for liberty, a handful of despotic corporations from McDonalds to WalMart have been granted the liberty to destroy the Tea-bagger's bodies and the economic fabric of their communities -- and they seem to want more of that kind of liberty, based on the recent decision of a "conservative" majority on the Supreme Court allowing corporations to buy elections. The Tea-baggers also apparently crave the liberty to push other people around, especially on questions of abortion and religion. That's an interesting kind of freedom.

As more and more of them lose jobs and incomes, will they resent their government-issued extended unemployment benefits? I doubt that you'll see them burning their own checks in big public demonstrations the way the Vietnam War protesters burned their draft cards. And of course this also goes for the retiree Tea-baggers who show up at their Tea Parties to inveigh against the government -- except the agency that prints their social security checks, or the other one that pays for their liver transplants (while 40-million unretired, un-insured Americans under sixty-five get slammed with extortionary hospital bills for twenty-thousand dollar routine appendectomies that end up bankrupting them).

Meanwhile, the progressives led by President Obama are doing everything possible to deny the deep tectonic changes thundering through our economic arrangements. They have embarked on a campaign to sustain the unsustainable that will only aggravate and accelerate the more destructive effects of the historic changes underway. For instance, the financial crisis is nature's way of telling us that banking occupies too much space in our economy -- especially the "creative" kind of banking which thrives on innovations in fraud and swindles. Yet the progressives are shoveling the nation's accumulated savings (and way beyond that to earnings-not-yet-saved) into a handful of gigantic banks whose employees live in a separate universe of luxury, and the bail-outs only guarantee more financial mischief based on efforts to get something-for-nothing -- in the absence of an economy that turns capital investment into things of value.
Faced with the multiple threats of peak oil, the progressives are pounding billions into the automobile makers and shoveling tons of stimulus money into highway improvement projects, while the railroads we will desperately need in the future continue to be starved to death, and no effort is made to promote walkable communities -- including a federally-led reform of our insane zoning laws which mandate a suburban development outcome in every corner of the country.

Faced with the hangover of a housing bubble, the president's team has insidiously nationalized the racket and is doing everything possible to keep housing prices unrealistically inflated, so that nobody still lucky enough to have a median income can afford the median price of a house. Meanwhile, the agencies used to facilitate this accounting shell game -- Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, etc. -- are choking on worthless mortgage contracts and generating ever more new toxic mortgage paper.

Then, there is the question of our military adventures half a world away in Afghanistan and Iraq, where both parties are unwilling to face the basic conundrum of what happens when our troops leave those places. Even if we stamp out the current Taliban leadership there are countless avid up-and-comers burning to take their places, and numberless mountain valleys for them to hide in. Al Qaeda, of course, exists mainly as an international computer network. Good luck stamping that out. And if it's oil we're after in Iraq, there are three main possibilities after the last US soldier packs out: one is the unlikely possibility that a competent Iraqi national oil company decides to dole out drilling licenses to "preferred" companies (don't hold your breath Exxon-Mobil); another is that Iraq cracks up into smaller ethnic units lacking the capital or coherence to get their oil out of the ground; and a third is that neighboring Iran comes to control the major oil-producing region around Basra. So, what's it all about, Alfie? -- besides squandering a trillion dollars we don't really have.

Homeland security? Neither party is serious about defending the borders or limiting immigration, and anyway there are "soft" targets beyond counting all over the USA and small arms galore available to get the job done. Three guys with automatic rifles set loose in the Mall of America would be enough to push the retail sector over the edge into oblivion, taking with it the commercial real estate market and all the banks involved in financing it -- in short, destroying the tattered remains of the so-called "consumer economy."

My own guess about where this all leads is in the direction of more anger and incoherence by all parties involved -- which will itself generate yet more anger in a spiraling centrifugal feedback loop that could eventually tear this nation apart. It will be instructive to see how some of these forces play out in the Health Care Reform "summit" that President Obama has called for this week. The Republicans will be rope-a-doped into the uncomfortable position of trying to explain why they have no ideas whatsoever about fixing the hopelessly cruel and unjust medical system that everybody except government employees suffers under. The Democrats will be juked into the equally unhappy position of explaining how a bankrupt US Treasury pays for a more equitable system -- and the insurance companies will sit smirkingly on the sidelines watching both parties fail to address the necessary severe disciplining of the insurance racket.

In the background of even these momentous deliberations, the foundations of capital creak and shatter, the stock market infarcts and the bond market fibrillates, and all the accounting tricks ever dreamed of in the fantasies of Harvard MBAs and MIT math PhDs, and all the newly-evolved species of grifters and shysters who pull the levers of the system will not avail to hold back our inexorable journey into new circumstances that will really determine the outcome of these predicaments.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The amount of time the kids were here was far to short, but we had a good visit...

Sometimes I can't help it...I am forced by some evil power to become Grandpa "Guy with Camera" and shoot candids...

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Kids are here for a short visit! Always good to see them!

Euroland, the Horror Movie

An Olympian game of musical chairs in global finance heads for a climax in the days ahead as so many eyes are diverted to alternate festivities in British Columbia, where grown men compete for gold by riding things that look like cafeteria trays down icy mountainsides -- is this the moment that comes every four years when you wonder why you didn't get your kid a luge for Christmas?

The advertisers must be lovin' it, but six thousand miles away a whole lot of European bankers are wondering how to get their fannies in a dwindling number of seats at the money trough. Greece is going bust. History is great prankster this way. Just when you're wondering how America will make Afghanistan safe for democracy, or whether Venezuela will blow itself up along with the oil markets, along comes kindly, picturesque, inoffensive old Uncle Greece -- land of antiquities and pizza entrepreneurs -- to fuck things up.

Those who run Europe have three choices: to bail out Greece, to let Greece sink (into a desperate economic depression), or to pretend to bail out Greece. The sad truth of the situation is that there is not enough productive activity in Europe to really support all the members of the European Union in the style they're accustomed to. (Which also happens to be true of the USA and its constituent states, but you probably know that already.)

Europe is a sad case, really poignant, because it became such a darn nice corner of the world after the convulsions of the mid 20th century. Who, for instance, can spend two weeks walking the lovely ancient streets of Bruges or Orvieto, or Lisbon and not fall to their knees in overwhelming despair on return to the slum of Kennedy Airport? Europe rebuilt itself so beautifully after the war while America became a utopia of overfed clowns riding in clown cars around the plasticized cartoon outskirts of our ruined cities. Europe had wonderful public transit while America let its railroads rot away. European men went about their business in grown-up clothing while Americans men dressed like five-year-olds and got flames tattooed on their necks as though contemplating a barbarian invasion of Akron, Ohio.

But history, that prankster, in the awful melodrama of industrial capital's demise, now seems to have backed lovely, reformed Europe into a corner as an early object-lesson in the agonies of de-complexifying and re-localization. The monetary union seemed like a great idea as long as the members appeared to play straight in the revolving credit racket. Europe had never been so peaceful and happy for so long. But the financial crisis has opened a yawning black hole in the operating system, and into it has been sucked all the elaborately constructed abstract markers of wealth -- in the form of credit-gone-bad -- and now the sad truth is that there really isn't enough wealth to go around. Places like Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland have to return to their previous condition as narcoleptic economic backwaters. Either that or Germans and Frenchmen have to work an extra seventeen hours a week to prop these places up, and somehow that seems unlikely to happen.

Europe has plenty of other things to worry about in the bigger picture. For one, where are they supposing to get the oil and natural gas they need to keep things running? Who's got any? Well, The UK once had quite bit but they pissed it away building freeways and suburbs. Norway, with around one-twelfth the UK's population, still has a bit of oil and gas left, but not enough to keep the rest of the gang in Europe humming. Romania has, like, a tablespoon of oil left, maybe. For the moment, Europe is getting its fossil fuels from Russia and the usual suspects in the oil export world. Bottom line: Europe can become Russia's energy bitch (and only for a little while because Russia is getting tapped out too), or it can compete with China, Japan, India, and the USA for whatever comes out of the Middle East, Africa, and Venezuela. Meanwhile, all the exporters see their own exports dwindling as their populations grow and grow and they pour more bunker oil into the new electric power stations, and evermore new cars leave the showrooms in Riyadh, and Hugo Chavez keeps pumping 35-cent gasoline for "el gente."

My guess is that the current situation in Euroland is unfixable. The "contagion" of Greece has already spread and it's only a matter of months before the Iberian peninsula goes under too. Did I leave out the UK's financial troubles (acknowledging that they are not within the Euro currency system)? Not to put too fine a point on it, Old Blighty is pretty well nigh fucked. It's on the express line back to the fifteenth century, and doesn't know it yet. Break out the leathern helmets and the wooden ploughshares. The UK is out of oil, out of banking cred (which is all it had the last forty years), and out of time. The one thing they have a lot of is bad paper hiding in their bank vaults -- enough to blow that black hole of capital even wider.

A larger question is what happens to the vaunted peacefulness of contemporary Europe now that the narcotic of universal prosperity is wearing off. Maybe it will be too shellshocked for a while to do anything. More likely, though, old and new animosities will burble out of those lovely old streets. Nations that seemed to be populated by effete cafe layabouts will be transformed back into warrior societies. Never under-estimate the sheer power of testosterone in idle, unemployed young men.
For another thing, I expect Europe to join the global contest for the world's remaining oil resources. Germany and France, at least, won't enjoy the luxury anymore of kicking back while the US Military desperately tries to keep a western "police" presence in the deserts down there. Germany and France will also not have the luxury to drink espresso and watch Iran become a mad dog nuclear power, with missiles capable of striking Frankfort and Lyon. Won't that be interesting?

As all this plays out, of course, the USA will be struggling with very similar problems of capital and economy, and as our states fall into bankruptcy one can easily imagine all kinds of political mischief here that would parallel the unravelings of Europe. Our financial arrangements are intermingled anyway, so the collapse of a major bank, or of a country, over there is going to blow more holes through our foundering institutions as well. Things are changing fast. We're all werewolves now.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Morning After the Night Before...

Snowpocalypse came to McKinney yesterday in a big way, some areas reporting some 10 inches of white stuff on deck...

Will be awhile before we see this again I am sure!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day!!....

Its rare to see snow very often in these parts, but this year we have already had three snow's however was surreal...and is not over yet! We blew thru that 1-3 inch prediction before 9AM...LOL...

Be safe out there tonight!
Ahuazotepec .- Authorities reported a meteorite falling on Wednesday afternoon between the towns of Ahuazotepec and Cuautepec, which allegedly destroyed a bridge. According to the Huauchinango Municipal Police , the first reports are there are no injuries, and that the impact generated a roar that was heard as far away as Zacatlan and Tulancingo, Hidalgo.
Radio station Tulancingo XENQ gave the initial reports a few hours ago. According to Jorge Martinez, a reporter for XENQ, they received reports from people in Huauchinango of a loud explosion.
The Puebla information portal,, said the incident took place today at 18:30 hours between the two towns and noted that the Mexican army had cordoned off the area.
Initially authorities believed the impact was by a falling aircraft. However, on reaching the site, they realized that the phenomenon left a hole 30 meters in diameter.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. Temperatures steady in the mid 30s. East winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow near 100 percent.

Maybe the Gulch will look this good again soon! Roxie would embrace it! :)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Monday, February 08, 2010

Tidbits from Paris...

Found this interesting oddity along side of the road on Hwy 82 headed back towards Bonham...

We're Weimar

Future historians who try to chart the unraveling of the USA's political tapestry might point to two events of the past week. The obvious first one was the Tea Party convention at Nashville. It was held not accidentally at the ridiculous Opryland Hotel and resort in the city's outer suburban asteroid belt, right next to the circumferential freeway, and next door to the defunct (1997) Opryland USA theme park, an attraction based on the cute idea that Tennessee rubes were too dumb to spell the word opera -- so the symbolism was perfect.

Behind the incoherent cargo of conflicting complaints that makes up Tea Party doctrine -- like "keeping the government's hands off our medicare!" -- stands the more basic dissolution of the Sunbelt's miracle economy, along with the pain and bewilderment of the southern peckerwood political nexus that rose out of the dust after World War Two to build the suburban nirvana of universal air-conditioning, happy motoring, Jesus tub-thumping, over-eating, and Friday night football that defined Sunbelt culture. They sense now that history is about to thrust them back into the okra patch, with the hookworms and the chiggers, as the economy whirls down the drain, and the car dealerships close up, and the idle production homebuilders succumb to methedrine addiction, and the price of Reba McEntire tickets exceeds their dwindling resources, and they are none too happy about any of that.

Of course this Sunbelt political culture has tentacles and outposts all over the USA, wherever a few generations of laboring folk enjoyed debt-fueled parabolic rises in living standards during the cheap oil decades, and now find themselves in foreclosure hell, indentured to the very WalMarts that they welcomed with open arms (and allowed to destroy their local businesses) -- and, of course, it's yet another paradox that these are the same folk who will still defend the big box masters to their deaths. The America they stand for is a weird contradictory mish-mash of Confederate nostalgia, hyper-individualism that really owes allegiance to nothing, racial enmity, religious paranoia, and potemkin patriotism -- especially involving anything in the constitution that allows them to wriggle out of obligations to the public interest at the same time that they get to push other groups of people around.

The Tea Party people are the corn-pone Nazis I have been warning you about. They are gathering strength in numbers as President Obama and congress fritter away their remaining legitimacy in a manner of governance that more and more resembles an endless Chinese Fire Drill. The delusional craziness of the Tea Partyists exists in direct proportion to the wimpy deceit of the government, especially in matters of money and statistics reporting. Our political leaders are resorting to wholesale deceit because the truth of our situation -- comprehensive bankruptcy -- is too painful to dwell on and for the most part they are too chicken too state it.

This brings me to the second telling event of last week when President Obama said, kind of off-hand, apropos of the US economic situation, "You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (of Nevada) was all over Mr. Obama like a cheap suit for that. I'm sorry that the President didn't slam back the craven Mr. Reid and pull his upper lip over the top of his head. Fuck Las Vegas and fuck Nevada, and fuck all the casino operators in every pulsating gambling venue around this country. The last thing we need is to continue believing that it is possible to get something for nothing, or an industry based on that false principle. I'd go a lot further and shut down legalized gambling all over the USA, send it back to the margins, to the alleys, to the berm between the WalMart and the Target Store, to the basement boiler rooms, to the public bathrooms, to wherever it will be identified as indecent, shameful, and not healthy.

Notice, by the way, that the Tea Party people have never made an issue about the disgusting gambling "industry" -- not even the Jesus thumpers among them, for all their pretense about decency and propriety. I suppose this is precisely because a cardinal article of Tea Party faith is that it should be possible to get something for nothing. You should be entitled to collect social security even while you inveigh against the intrusion of big government into your life and the horrible prospect that it will get its mitts on your Medicare! And when Jeezus comes to take you home, that place will be just like Opryland USA was in its heyday, with Dolly Parton in every suite and all the pulled pork sandwiches under heaven's dome....

As the contest heats up this year between Tea Partydom and the Weimar-like remnant of the party in power expect to see a political vortex form that will suck the little remaining coherence out of American life. Personally, I'd like to see Mr. Obama have a little fun with his adversaries, even if it seals his fate as a one-term president. I'd like to see him start by using the just-proposed national forum on health care reform as a rope-a-dope moment to expose opponents to reform as the bought-and-sold errand boys they are.

In the meantime, it appears that nothing will stop the epochal forces underway in global finance from spinning out of control. Illusions are getting hammered hard now and nations are lining up for the long trip home out of modernity to something that will look more like the seventeenth century, if they're lucky.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Back into Fannin and Lamar counties for some "Urban Decay" work over the weekend...despite the poor weather and brisk winds there were some things to be photographed...stay tuned for more...

They say there is more people buried in the cemetary than live in the town now...

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Artist Talk: Gregory Crewdson, Presented in partnership with UT Dallas

Wednesday, February 3 Presented by Dallas Museum of Art FREE! Call 972.883.4940 to order official website

Horchow Auditorium Free; no reservations required For more information, contact Magdalena Grohman at UT Dallas at or call 972.883.4940.

Photographer Gregory Crewdson will speak about his work and the creative process. Crewdson is best known for staging large-scale cinematic scenes that result in surreal photos of American homes and neighborhoods. His work has been described by the New York Times as "elaborately contrived micro-epics" and as having "production credits to rival a James Cameron movie."

The Dallas Museum of Art is currently featuring three of his photographs in its first floor galleries, in both the All the World's A Stage exhibition and in an installation of contemporary art from the DMA's collections in the Hoffman Galleries. Other prominent U.S. museums that include the work of Gregory Crewdson in their holdings are the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A traveling exhibition spanning the artist's career was shown at major museums around Europe from 2003 to 2005. His most recent work, produced from 2005 to 2007, was shown in spring 2008 at the Luhring Augustine Gallery in New York City, the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles, and the White Cube gallery in London.


  • Wednesday, February 3, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Urban Decay in Tishmongo, OK

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Jive Economy

What started out as a case of The Emperor's New Clothes now has America looking like the world's biggest nudist colony, with everyone in the long chain of power and authority admiring each other's splendid new (imagined) pimp suits. George W. Bush (remember him?) wasn't kidding when he discounted the function of objective reality in our national life, saying, "we make our own reality." This apparently hasn't changed much with a new chief at the top.

A nice example popped up last week with the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) index for the fourth quarter of 2009. The equation affects to measure the growth in economic activity and this particular release imputed that the US economy had expanded at an annualized rate of 5.7 percent. Wow, impressive! We must be digging a new Panama Canal or something.

It turned out to be based largely on some jive about inventory "investments" -- meaning, I guess, that the Ronco Corporation has laid in 1.7 million Dial-O-Matic food slicers and Showtime Rotisseries in the expectation that American stock market investors will enter 2010 creaming off their mutual fund profits to spend wildly on every infomercial prompt beamed at them over the graveyard shift at Fox News.

Memo to nation: we're not really growing, we're shrinking. Is this necessarily a bad thing? I dunno. Unlike, say, the stockholders of Toll Brothers I'm not so sure that "housing starts" represents my idea of a healthy economy -- since it really means we're destroying every cornfield and cow pasture left outside our cities, which will play havoc with our national life when the reality of our Wile E. Coyote agribusiness fiasco starts to hit home and we discover what cornfields and cow pastures were really all about in the first place.

Likewise, the standard processors of news media go orgasmic when they announce car sales figures of 11 million units annualized, or something like that. Isn't that wonderful: more cars on the San Diego Freeway and the Cross Bronx Expressway. Ever larger parking requirements for the new WalMart. More trips-per-household to buy milk and Fruit Loops. Do you really think that more suburban sprawl makes this a better nation? When our soldiers bleed out in the sands of Central Asia, will their last thoughts be of the curb cut between the Best Buy and the Burger King?

By the way, it is established fact that the GDP figure benefits from increases in medical services, meaning that the more obese, diabetic, two-pack-a-day cigarette smokers this country produces, the better off our economy is assumed to be. Bring on the Little Debbie Snack Cakes! Let's turn up the dial on hospital admissions!
But as I said, our economy is not really expanding, it's contracting -- and pretty swiftly. The question is how will we manage this contraction and what kind of nation do we become as this occurs.

For the moment, we are a nation committed to sustaining the unsustainable, and because this is the case we invite grievous political mischief as it becomes ever more obvious that the populace is being swindled -- and the populace becomes ever more ticked off about it. Thus, you get the Tea Bagger movement, and things like it, where the disenfranchised meld legitimate complaints with fantasies and conspiracy theories, and produce an incoherent agenda based on ideas like "keeping the government out of Medicare!" One can easily see a movement like this ramping up into full-bore corn-pone Naziism -- and for a nice dramatic enactment of such a scenario I recommend my new three-act stage play Big Slide, which we've posted over at the podcast.

The Republican resurgence now underway -- or imagined to be, I'm not really sure -- casts photogenic clods like Massachusetts's new senator Scott Brown as heralds of a new free market Golden Age, in which WalMart will profitably manage every moment of daily life from grocery shopping to banking to medical care to the mortuary (and perhaps even war). Little thought has been allotted to exactly what the role of citizens might be in such a nirvana. I suppose we'd become an endless chain of $8-an-hour "greeter associates" -- which is at least a step above being a national feedlot of polled Herefords. But I wouldn't want to be mistaken as a shill for the Democratic party, either, since the Obama team has opted for creating its own reality as much as its predecessor bunch did. The result will certainly be the election of countless maniacs to congress this fall, especially of the theocratic-despotic brand -- creationists, alien abductees, economics professors from bible colleges, Sunbelt war hawks, Lyndon LaRouche acolytes, Nativists, Palinites, crusaders against the New World Order, anti-Bilderbergers... the whole appalling menu of thought-disorder cases now roiling in the breakdown lane of American history.

They are our future, these yeast people and mudskippers, because the intelligent minority of this nation lacks the one thing that animates intelligence in the service of reality, and that is the courage to tell the truth. I suppose this is what galls so many former Obama boosters: that the "hope" vested in him would be enacted in truth-telling, which would lead to "change" in the choices we make about doing things. What we ended up with seems to be something like a false champion with a good line of talk. Mr. Obama may yet be pushed into a recognition of the reality he did not personally create, and this may occur as the US economy heads much more drastically south in the months ahead. Something similar might have been the case for Mr. Lincoln. He might have coasted along through 1861 trying to sweet-talk Dixie -- but the South Carolinians went apeshit on him from the get-go, and then there was no turning back from the ensuing conflagration.

More probably, we'll be dragged kicking and screaming into an epochal contraction of economy, something the industrial world hasn't really seen before, something more severe even than the Great Depression we never stop chattering about (as though it was like The Hundred Years War). Instead of preparing for it intelligently by doing things like promoting small scale local farming, local networks of commerce, and rebuilt railroads (things, incidentally, which are within the powers of government to promote) we'll squander our dwindling capital and political resources fighting over the table scraps of the twentieth century. Life is tragic, history is merciless, and societies don't always make good collective choices. Visit Big Slide for a taste of what might be coming.