Department Of Some Things Are Worth The Wait
The tag on the gift bag, written in son K’s distinctive script, read, “The incredibly late Xmas present.” And I remembered what I had long forgotten: a promise, in the form of a preliminary drawing, of a creature-type mask or object K would make for me, as a Christmas present, to go on The Wall of Faces. ®
Lest that not seem self-explanatory to y’all, The Wall of Faces ® is a wall, in our home, upon which hang numerous objects d’art. Many are masks, but not all; in order to get a coveted spot on TWOF the art must be 3-D (e.g., not a painting) and must have something which (loosely or otherwise) can be construed as a face.
Welcome to the wall, creature of mystery.
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Department Of Separating The Art From The Artist
In November 2000, Jim DeRogatis, then music critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, received an anonymous fax in response to a review of he’d written of R&B star R. Kelly….The fax read:
“I’ve known Robert [R. Kelly] for many years and I’ve tried to get him to get help, but he just won’t do it. So I’m telling you about it hoping that you or someone at your newspaper will write an article and then Robert will have no choice but to get help. … Robert’s problem — … that goes back many years — is young girls.”
DeRogatis began investigating the allegations and…published a story…alleging that Kelly had engaged in sex with teenage girls…. DeRogatis expected the response to the story to be explosive, but instead it was muted…. In February 2002, DeRogatis received another anonymous tip, this time in the form a videotape purportedly showed Kelly having sex with and urinating on an underage girl. “It was horrifying,” DeRogatis says of the tape. “The worst thing I’ve ever had to witness in my life.“
(From the Fresh Air, June 4 2019 interview with reporter Jim DeRogatis, who has covered the R. Kelly sexual abuse story for 19 years, “Reporter Who Broke R. Kelly Story: Abuse Was In ‘Full View Of The World’ ” )
Daughter Belle & I have had several talks over the years about the conundrum of separating the art from the artist; specifically, continuing to read/view/purchase superb (however you define that) art which, some argue, is justified by the art itself, when the artist is known (or later revealed) to be a monster…or maybe just a deeply flawed human being whom you’d rather not throw your money at.
In our most recent conversation about the issue, which took place a couple of months ago, I remember that Belle thought it important to note that for some people even the mention of the “monster” artist’s name can be a trigger…while moiself thought it important to note that for some other people, the mention of someone having a “trigger”  is a trigger for anti-trigger lectures (“If you need a trigger warning, you need PTSD treatment.”)
I can’t say where or how every person should draw the line in every instance of Good Art/Bad Artist. I’m in favor of people drawing their own lines; mine are circumstantial and context-dependent. To wit: Woody Allen. I loved much of his work in the 1970 -80s, even as I also found parts of it disturbing – e.g., the relationship between Allen’s character and the teenager played by Mariel Hemingway in Manhattan curdled my tummy way before I’d ever heard the name, Soon Yi . My once well-worn DVDs of Annie Hall and Hannah and Her Sisters were consigned to the Goodwill pile several years ago. I just can’t go there, anymore.
Moiself is not a fan of judging the people of the past with the knowledge and standards of the present. If given the chance to see the Pyramids of Egypt I may do so, even as my appreciation of their majesty would be tempered by knowing that it was slave labor which produced them.
I do fully support (and hopefully/consistently practice) holding the contemporary art and artist to the ethical standards of the here and now. If the artist is active now and their art is obviously supportive of or relates to their “crimes” (e.g., racism, sexual assault, misogyny, plain bone-headed idiocy….), then no ick money from moiself.
For fans who are conflicted about the R. Kelly case: if you are too lazy (or fearful of what you’ll learn) to read the documented, two decades trail of R, Kelly assault allegations and their coverup, just listen to the Fresh Air interview (excerpted above) with the reporter who followed the story. Listen to the reporter’s voice, and note how it breaks when he describes knowing what he knows, what he found out, about what happened to those girls, and how Kelly was protected because of his “art” – because of the money he made for everyone in his inner circle and record label. You may not have known about this before; now you do, and there can be no excuses, no denying that your purchases of any R. Kelly product is buying into the protection of a deeply disturbed, serial sexual predator.
Or, on a related if definitely less gut-churning scale, consider my warning, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, to a college dorm buddy who was into Donny Osmond as an anti-cool/retro thing:
Do you realize 10% of your Donny & Marie album $$ goes to the Mormon church?
* * *
Department Of July 20, 1969
I’ve been reading a lot of Where were you/do you remember what you were doing? stories as we approach the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. My memories include serving my parents, my older sister and moiself little sherry glasses of Manischewitz Concord Grape – the only wine my parents had in the house (it was used for communion at the church the we attended; I think it was the only wine my parents knew about) to toast humanity’s amazing achievement. I also remember walking outside, alone, later that evening, looking up into the darkness with a full and aching heart.
A part of me remembers it so vividly: the excitement…as well as the beginning of a kind of mourning for that which would not be – a feeling of bereavement which lingered long after I and the world began to take space travel for granted. Because up until that time and for years afterwards, my do you remember what you were doing? stories involved remembering how I was lying to adults, including my parents.
My parents watched every televised Project Mercury, Project Gemini, and Apollo Program space launch, and they’d wake my older sister and moiself up early for the former launches, so that we could witness the historic events. A day or so prior the launches, Dad would go to a local appliance store and procure a refrigerator packing box. He’d set up the box in the living room, about fifteen feet from our black and white TV set, and cut out “viewing screen” windows in the box’s’ front and side panels. We’d watched the massive rockets launch, my parents sitting on the floor, softly talking to one another, while my sister and I piloted our cardboard spacecraft.
To be an astronaut was my secret ambition – my career wish that I kept hidden from everyone, including and especially my parents – from grade school through high school. The only way I can explain my obsessive secrecy about that ambition is the fact that I took the classic (if mistaken) birthday advice, re making a wish and blowing out the candles in your birthday cake, to heart:
If you tell someone your wish, it won’t come true.
So whenever I was asked the What do you want to be when you grow up question, I told my parents and the grups  who asked – and it was only grups who asked that question – my cover story: that I wanted to be a veterinarian. Which was not true.  But it was an accepted and even respected answer, so I stuck to it over the years.
My excitement at the moon launch was tempered with the fear and disappointment of the reality that stared me in the face with every news story about astronauts and every new spacecraft launch: a reality populated by men. Space flight was a men-only club – and not just any men, but military pilot men. As much as I dared to hope for the slim chance that women might be allowed to try out for the astronaut corps in the future, by the time I entered high school it seemed obvious that civilians of either gender could not be astronauts, as NASA was (at that time) wedded to the military. While in grade school I told myself I’d do anything to be an astronaut, but as the years went by (and the Vietnam War dragged on), I had to be honest with myself: joining the military, any branch, was the one thing I knew I could not bring moiself to do.
Decades after I’d given up my (still secret) astronaut dream, I raised another glass to toast Sally Ride, the Stanford-educated physicist who was the first (American) woman in space. It was groovy to the max when some radio DJs began playing the old Wilson Pickett song in her honor – Mustang Sally, with its beyond cool chorus, Ride Sally, ride!
I continued to cheer for Ride and other civilian crew members of those Space Shuttle missions, even as I kicked myself for my lack of foresight. It. Never. Occurred. To. Me. to imagine, back in my school days when all evidence was to the contrary, that anyone who was non-military could be considered for space travel. I’d no idea that one day civilian scientists (“mission specialists”) would be not only “allowed” but recruited to try out for the USA astronaut corps.
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Department of Epicurean Excursion 
Featuring this week’s cookbook, author and recipe:
Dosa Kitchen: Recipes for India’s favorite Street Food,
by Nash Patel and Leda Scheintaub.
Recipes: *Classic Dosa batter; * Onion and Chile Dosa Pancake; * Green Chutney
For Classic Dosa batter:
For Onion and Chile Dosa Pancake:
For Green Chutney:
Recipe Rating Refresher 
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
May you carefully weigh your own good art/bad artist dilemmas;
May you appreciate the sublimity of a piquant green chutney;
May you get your groove on to Mustang Sally and consider, for fond memories
or for regret, your own misplaced ambitions;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 “something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.” (Psych Central, “What is a trigger?“)
 Grown-ups. As every Star Trek fan knows.
 I loved my pets, always liked learning about animals, and obsessively read every wild animal/nature book I could get my hands on. But, to be a veterinarian involved working with people as much as their pets – I figured that out from a young age – and to me, people were often stupid and boring…but veterinarian seemed one of the few animal-related professions that adults approved of, which I also figured out at a young age.
 A recurring feature of this blog, since week 2 of April 2019, wherein moiself decided that moiself would go through my cookbooks alphabetically and, one day a week, cook (at least) one recipe from one book.
* Two Thumbs up: Liked it
* Two Hamster Thumbs Up : Loved it
* Thumbs Down – Not even Kevin would like this.
* Twiddling Thumbs: I was, in due course, bored by this recipe.
* Thumbscrew: It was torture to make this recipe.
* All Thumbs: Good recipe, but I somehow mucked it up .
* Thumby McThumb Face: This recipe was fun to make.
* Thumbing my nose: Yeah, I made this recipe, but I did not respect it.