Tag Archives: Art

Black Friday

bfYears ago Art Buchwald wrote a piece that parodied Thanksgiving. If memory serves, one of the Pilgrims, who was in sales and marketing, thought it was a great idea. Start with a big feast to begin “Thunderhead Month,” a month of mad shopping and spending leading up to Christmas.

If only Art could see things today. We’ve exceeded his wildest imagination – and Art Buchwald had a wonderful imaginations.

But beneath the advertisements, and the specials, there is some very real and special magic. The daylight is shorter, the temperatures colder. We stick closer to home and hearth—in other words family. We decorate the house inside and out. Neighbors and passers-by may see the outside, but only family and friends—those near and dear to us get to see the inside. The inside that needs just the right tree with just the right lights and decorations. Everything needs to be perfect for those who are oh so important to us.

You’d almost think that there was a higher power telling us to love one another the way He loves us.

So as you venture out during Thunderhead Month, keep that love in mind when you’ve stood in line just a little too long and the clerk is just a little inattentive and the sale price doesn’t go through. It makes all the difference in the world.

The Medium Makes the Artform

When visiting a museum, it’s easy to get lost in the art. There’s the picture, of course, then there’s the style –no mistaking a Monet for a Warhol or a Cezanne for a Botticelli. Artists understand that the importance of media is very personal, and almost part of their signature. Painters choose among oil paints, acrylics, water colors, and then decide whether these should be applied to canvas, wood, or uncured plaster as in a fresco.

Among sculptors perhaps the most elite are those who work with marble or granite, tediously chipping away everything that doesn’t belong in order to free the image from its stone prison. However, some amazing work has been done with clay, and, of course bronze. Modern sculptors may weld pieces of steel together in an additive style of sculpting, yielding some of the most thought provoking pieces.

Although I do not claim to be much of an artist, I nevertheless have a preferred medium that I have settled on after all these years.

I prefer cocktail napkins.

Although in a pinch I’ll use a regular paper napkin, cocktail napkins have a smoother surface, lending to a crisper finish, not to mention the fact that so long as your drink tab is open, they are generally provided for free.

While for writing, I prefer a fountain pen, such an instrument is virtually useless on a cocktail napkin resulting in unsightly blobs. While some prefer pencil, I find that insincere since an image can be adjusted. On the other hand, a fully committed artist never fails to use a ball point pen – the type with gel ink whenever possible.

Cocktail napkin art is best viewed in dim light; in the past this also could be enhanced by clouds of tobacco smoke, but that has fallen out of favor. Beer goggles enhance the view of the work of art in order to capture the frame of mind of the artist.

I have submitted the following for your enjoyment, although I had to compromise and use a standard paper napkin, and it was produced in the sober light of day. However, I do believe it is satisfactory for instructional purposes.


Faux Pet Peeve du Jour


CNN Link

Today I’m going to rant about sand sculptors.

I see all these beautiful sand sculptures knowing that in a day these sculpture will succumb to wind, waves, kids and critters. Hours and hours of work for only a brief period of enjoyment.

I suspect that these artists are good not only with sand but paints, clay, marble, concrete, stainless steel, anti-matter, etc.

I believe that they are so good, that they make sand sculptures just to show guys like me that they can create beauty that will disappear, and I have to work hard just to have a decent lawn.

Okay, artists, you win.

Seeking Unindicted Co-conspirators

Now that I have your attention…


If you study ancient history and old texts, you may have heard of a novel written in 1969 that was deliberately written to be as awful as possible. Each chapter was written by a different author.

It was awful.

Any good writing was edited out to make it even more awful.

It contained a lot of sex.

It became a best seller.

The authors disclosed the hoax.

It sold many more copies because the hoax made it even more intriguing.

Now I have no desire to write something awful, but I thought it might be fun for me to start a story, introducing the characters and the general scene, then pass that on to another author to write the next chapter, etc.

Each chapter would be published on this blog, although any authors who agree to participate could either link to this blog and/or publish the entire work on their own blog. I figure each “chapter” would be about 300 – 1000 words, just to make it easy.

If you’re interested, let me know either by comment or by e-mail (steve@sfnowak.com). I’d like to line up who’s interested first so we’d know how many chapters we’d be writing.

If you’re a regular reader but not interested in personally contributing, you could cheer others on and convince them to volunteer.

On the other hand, if you’re a regular reader and have no interest in this whatsoever, not even in the slightest, here’s the thought for the day…

You get up in the morning and stop at Starbucks for a coffee and see the inevitable tip jar. You catch the subway to work and pass a street musician playing, his guitar case open in front of him to collect tips. Maybe you’re in the service or retired military, so you shop at the Commissary; there are signs that remind you that the people who bag the groceries work only for tips. At dinner you tip the waitperson. Since you had a few adult beverages, you take a cab home, and tip to cab driver. You stay at a hotel and you tip the chambermaid.

Given the current state of affairs would it surprise you to find a tip jar at your doctor’s or lawyer’s office?

How much of a tip would you leave?

Now, comparatively speaking, don’t you wish you had been more interested in contributing a chapter to the story?