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30 March 2011 @ 09:17 pm
A day in the life of Joe Republican

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. And fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs.

Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry. In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills.

Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression. Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe is home from work.

He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good.

He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

17 December 2010 @ 11:28 pm

I hear a lot about how some potters don't want to be associated with Etsy because of the overall quality of the work on Etsy. True, it is an open market, any first-pottery-class entrepreneur can sign up for a shop and sell, so yes, there are quite a few bad pots. BUT there are also some really fine pieces.

Here are 7 mugs all from different artists I'd be willing to pay for. Click on any of them to link to their respective shops.

03 November 2010 @ 11:19 pm
Last week Ro and I took an afternoon and went out to Black Moshannon state park. In addition to a lovely stream and delightful fall colors we came across these old stones along the side of the road which are mile markers from the early 1800's.

I had ridden by them many times as a child, my mother had told me what they were and pointed them out, but we never stopped. Now that I am a middle aged man...I thought that maybe I should stop and share the experience with my lovely wife. The really cool thing is I think the other end of the Philadelphia Erie Turnpike ran very close to her old home in Waterford, PA, very near Erie. I wonder if the route can still be followed?

Many of us who do clay work are crammed into small basements or garages and  we just don't have much table space in addition to wheel space. Here is my solution to not having much table space available.
When Ro and I are both working, perhaps she is wedging or making sprigs and I am doing handles, I pull out this trusty tabletop I bought from Lowe's and put it across my splash pan. It's big enough for a bucket of water, a big ball of clay and about 20 handles. Cheap and easy. Any wide board would do, but the longer a rectangle of wood gets the more likely you are to to tip it over, so I went with the round table.

27 October 2010 @ 12:40 am
Today was a difficult day. I spent the afternoon with Ro and some friends cleaning out the Art studio I was a part of and help to run for many years.  Years of accumulated projects, examples, clutter as well as members discarded projects they didn't care to throw out themselves. All of it reminding me of the many good times and the slow failure of the studio.

 It was heartwrenching . I was sad, angry, frustrated and ultimately numb as I sorted through trash, treasure, useful items and things that aren't worth keeping for anyone. It was a great resource for the community, but except for summer campers it was underutilized. The only reason it was open for so long was the blood and tears of our volunteers, including myself and my family. Most recently Rowan tried to revitalize it, but it was just too far gone.

 Years of working 40 hours for me and 20-40 for the studio has taken a toll on me and mine. One one hand I am so sorry to see it fail, on the other I am looking forward to have time, time I never had before. Family time and my own business time. My child came to the studio after school and we went home after I taught classes from 7-9. He's an adult now and when he heard we were closing he was visibly upset. He said it was the only stable part of his life. His Mom and I had split, she moved a lot, and later I moved a lot, but the studio remained constant. It never dawned on me how he would be affected by it's closure.

I am sure there are a lot of kids out there who feel the same to a lesser degree. Some of my little art campers from years ago are now Art teachers or Artists in their own right. I'm proud of that, it's one of the things that makes me feel good about dedicating so much of my life to it. I know we touched lives in a good way and that has always been one of my personal motivations. So in a few days the lease will be turned over to someone else and we can begin the paperwork to put it to rest. Most of that will be for lawyers and accountants.

Earlier in the day I said I regretted being involved at all because of how I felt today, but that's not true. It was worth it. I just wish I had had the foresight to know we should have closed the doors a few years ago. A business is a business and while blood and sweat might be part of the equation for success, it can't be a substitute for for the cash customers bring. When the students don't sign up, no amount of volunteering will pay the electric bill.

So is it a big bowl of fail, or just something that didn't work out?I think I am going to withhold judgment, move on, and try not to have regrets.

25 October 2010 @ 09:02 pm
We had some additional art forms being practiced in the studio for the last couple days. There has been a special glass project happening. I'm all for it. I even contributed clay tools for a special sized mandrel.

25 October 2010 @ 08:56 pm

At first glance you might miss it, but I have a little visitor in the window. Toad has made an appearance several times over the last month or so. He checks the glass out from end to end then disappears again. Cute little dude, and his appearance lightened my spirits a little while I was working.

25 October 2010 @ 02:53 pm
I've gone and done it. I've added Twitter to the social media I use.

You should follow me HERE

22 October 2010 @ 05:59 pm
We just got back from the Renaissance Faire, the booth is full and happy again. Tomorrow looks like a beautiful day so I hope there are thousands of Faire-goers who like what we brought.

I am very pleased with the display right now, we have a lot of the Oak and Acorn stuff which seems to be the overwhelming favorite right now. Here are a few shots of the booth after stocking. I tried to do a panorama shot or 3, but couldn't get it to line up right. It looked like some kind of space/time disturbance had settled into the booth. There are two of things there shouldn't be and everything is wavy.

 Between these few shots you can see most of what we have out.

We also stopped to pick up a ton of clay..got 1/2 a ton instead, the rest will be in next week.

After I relax for a bit I'm going to head down to the studio and trim and handle some mugs, then possibly throw some pie bakers. I have all the clay wedged and ready to go.
 Ro picked up some baby oak leaves to use in smaller spaces this week, so some of these pie bakers may end up with some decoration on the outside. We'll see how it goes.