Keith Haring

Image result for keith haringSince my daughter is getting her MFA, I’ve learned a lot about art over the years. Of course, we always loved modern and contemporary art, so I’ll do a series of posts on contemporary art, beginning with one of my favorite artists, Keith Haring.

Haring is a graffiti artist from the 1980s. When you’re an artist, art naturally comes out of you. Haring couldn’t stop drawing. He drew his figures on everything that didn’t move, including the New York subway, something he got arrested for. Still, Haring kept drawing. His figures are playful. They make people smile.

Haring attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Walt Disney and Andy Warhol greatly influenced him. Haring said images can function like words and drawings can become a vocabulary. Most importantly, art must be fun. After all, if it’s not fun, why do it?

Image result for keith haringWarhol taught Haring to be humble and generous and to love life. He said go against anything that hurts people.

Unfortunately, Haring died in 1990 of AIDS at the tender age of 32, but his work lives on.

What a talented young man!


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The Theory of Evolution Isn’t New

The Bible tells us there is nothing new under the sun.

I recently learned that the Theory of Evolution isn’t new. The ancient Greeks believed that lower forms of life evolved into higher forms of life while other Greeks believed the world was “intelligently designed.” Even St. Augustine said you can’t take the Book of Genesis literally; it should be interpreted as an allegory, which many liberals would agree with.

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a famous naturalist, described the course of life on earth as an evolutionary process; even kindness could be inherited.

Charles Lyell, a geologist, said the earth had evolved. Darwin’s grandfather also believed in evolution. Truly, the 19th century was the age of evolutionary thought. After all, man had evolved from cavemen. Now there were great advances in science and technology.

Then God reminds us that we’re not gods at all. We built skyscrapers like great mountains against a red horizon. Then the Titanic sinks and shocks the world. We built airplanes and made trans-Atlantic flights. Then airplanes were used as dive-bombers to murder innocent civilians, sadly depicted by Picasso’s Guernica, a painting that became famous overnight for depicting total war.

Then why does Darwin get all the credit for the Theory of Evolution?

Honestly, I don’t know. These ideas have been around since the ancient Greeks, and the same old arguments about evolution and intelligent design continue to this day.

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The Exploitation of People in History

My mother worked for a Jewish businessman back in the 1960s. As a little kid, Mr. B, who resembled Harry Carey, invited us into his office to give us soda pop from his mini-frig. He fawned over us as if we were his own grandkids. He was the kindest man.

Mr. B grew up in a wealthy Jewish neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Once these tree-crowned boulevards were lined with mansions. Now they are black neighborhoods where you take your life in your hands because of gang warfare. Mr. B told my mom that Jewish people are sympathetic toward African-Americans because they share a similar history. Indeed, many former Jewish neighborhoods are now black.

So, is there a parallel between Jewish people and African-Americans?

Let’s take a look:

  • Both Jews and African-Americans were slaves
  • In Europe, Jews couldn’t join guilds or own property. American slaves were property.
  • Jews were segregated into ghettos. Today, there are black ghettos.
  • European Jews could only drink out of designated fountains. In other words, there were fountains for Jews and non-Jews. Same as American segregation.
  • Throughout history, Jews were expelled from European countries for various “offenses,” all proven to be false
  • Intermarriage with Jews was forbidden. In the Middle Ages, Jewish men were castrated for having an affair with non-Jewish women. Intermarriage between blacks and whites was also forbidden in America. 

Sadly, there are many parallels between the Jewish people and African-Americans. I see why Mr. B was sympathetic toward blacks.

As I said, Mr. B was the kindest man, and I’ll always remember him with a smile.

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Civil War hero Alonzo Cushing receives Medal of Honor –

I remember hearing about this back in 2014, but I was surprised by Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing’s bravery. Wounded three times, Cushing ordered his battery to keep fighting as 17,000 Confederates charged his men at the Battle of Gettysburg. Mortally wounded, Cushing kept fighting and would not turn tail and run. Reading about his bravery brought me to tears. Alonzo Cushing was only 22 years old. He was a true American hero, and he deserves to be remembered.

Civil War hero Alonzo Cushing receives Medal of Honor from President Obama.

Source: Civil War hero Alonzo Cushing receives Medal of Honor –

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Legalized Marijuana

An article entitled “Going to Pot” in the June 2016 edition of Family Circle stated that legalized marijuana is basically harmless. Author Scott Alexander leaves no question that he is pro-pot, stating that marijuana is legal in the most liberal states in America.

Alexander writes, “In the first year after legalization, overall property crime in Denver dropped by 8.9% and state traffic fatalities went down by 3% (continuing a decade-long downward trend).”

Uh-huh. How stupid does he think we are?

In high school my sister started with marijuana and went on to experiment with other drugs. As a result, she suffered partial memory loss. Surely everyone knows of a family devastated by drugs or alcohol. Later, as my sister reformed, she became a drug-and-alcohol counselor for a non-profit that serves Cook County Jail in Chicago, trying to help inmates escape drugs and alcohol.

Years ago, a prison evangelist told me that many crimes are committed for drugs or while a person is on drugs. The jails in Illinois are so crowded, politicians can’t house all the inmates. They want “low-level” drug offenders out on the streets to house the more “violent” offenders. Problem: a lot of those violent offenders are on drugs.

Social Ramifications

Where is all this leading?

My physician said the social ramifications for legalized drugs is already impacting our society. To be sure, he’s all for medical marijuana. It helps patients with severe pain who can’t eat. Unfortunately, drug companies can’t manufacture a pill that has the same painkilling effects as smoking marijuana.

The downside of this? My physician and my sister both agree: Many people self-medicate with marijuana and other drugs when they should be on antidepressants or in therapy. This creates a psychological dependency. In other words, the root of the problem is never dealt with.

We can only wait and see where all this leads. Only time will tell.

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1968 Democratic Convention – History Repeats Itself

Though a kid, I lived in Chicago during the riots of the 1968 Democratic Convention. All I remember was terrible riots on black-and-white television. The riots have ominous parallels to today.Image result for 1968 Democratic Election

The 1968 Democratic Convention was held at the International Amphitheater in Chicago during August
26-29. Ten thousand protesters demonstrated at the Convention, the Chicago Hilton and Grant Park. During that year, riots occurred in more than 100 cities following the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. However, many protesters were anti-Vietnam War. Americans were split over the war. Many young people wanted to know why America was fighting. The same questions are asked today with American intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thirty-six newsmen were arrested at the 1968 Democratic Convention. Mike Wallace and Dan Rather were assaulted by Chicago police. Security guards roughed up Dan Rather in the convention hall as he tried to approach a Georgia delegate. Does this remind you of Donald Trump and Michelle Fields?

Twenty-two thousand men in uniform were sent to maintain order. This consisted of Chicago police and the National Guard. Unfortunately, the violence escalated throughout the week. One hundred and seventy-eight people were arrested, eleven hundred people were injured, and 400 were treated for mace and teargas.

History is stranger still. Hubert Humphrey had 561 delegates, Kennedy had 393 delegates and McCarthy had 258 delegates. McCarthy was anti-war while Vice President Humphrey was pro-war. The Democratic Party nominated Humphrey, even though 80% of primary voters were anti-war. Also, Humphrey didn’t enter 13 state primary elections, and yet he won the nomination.

Does this sound familiar?…Ted Cruz and John Kasich have stayed in the race for the Republican nomination hoping that history will repeat itself. In 1968, people were shocked when Humphrey got the nomination. If Donald Trump is shy 10 delegates of the nomination, I predict rioting will follow. In fact, rioting has already occurred at Trump rallies.

In 1968, anti-war demonstrators pelted Chicago police in Grant Park with food, rocks and pieces of concrete. Protesters shouted: “Hell no. We won’t go!” and “Pigs are whores!” Does this remind you of Black Lives Matter with their chants of “What do we want?…Dead cops? When do we want them?…Now!”

In 1968, there was division in the Democratic Party. In 2016, there is division in the Republican Party. What happened in ‘68?…Richard Nixon won the Presidency. The rest is history.

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The American Civil Rights Movement

I grew up in Chicago Lawn. Marquette Park was one block away from where I lived. That’s where Martin Luther King Jr. marched in 1966. My best friend’s mother marched along with King. In order to become first class citizens, King and his followers were pelted with bottles and rocks.

Have you ever been pelted by a rock?…I have. It hurts!

When my mother rode a bus in New Orleans during the 1950s, she offered a black woman a seat beside her because the bus was full. The white woman in front of my mom turned around and gave her a look to kill. The black woman sat in the back of the bus. Then Rosa Park came along and refused to sit in the back of the bus. She sat in the front because no other seats were left; and so began the American Civil Rights Movement.

We’ve come a long way since the 1950s and 1960s. America has a black President. Some say he’s a black Muslim. Maybe they’re right. Who knows? I heard a news commentator say America wasn’t ready for a black President. I disagree! The people who oppose Obama don’t dislike him. They dislike his policies.

Anyway, I’m glad America has moved beyond the American Civil Rights Movement. Do we need more work to go?…Of course! But we’ve come a long way.


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The Middle Ages

In western culture, the Middle Ages is the time after the decline of Rome and before the Renaissance. The knights we see in Hollywood movies don’t represent the conflicting views of this historical age. It was a time when society tortured people and burned them at the stake, but it was also a time of great art and architecture.

Image result for Notre Dame cathedral

Notre Dame, Paris, 1163 AD

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was built during this time. This was still during the Roman Empire. The reason building came to a halt was man forgot how to manufacture concrete.

The Duomo in Florence didn’t have its dome completed for decades until Brunelleschi and one of the Medicis visited Rome to study classical architecture. After they “rediscovered” concrete, the dome was completed.

The Medieval townspeople watching the Duomo being finished was a form of entertainment. Unfortunately, so were public executions. This is the strangeness of the Middle Ages: a time of Giotto, Dante, and Da Vinci, but also a time of backwardness based in Old Testament law.

Duomo, Florence, 1294

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The Black Madonnas of Europe

For years I’ve heard about “Black Jesus.” I personally know a ministry that split over this. It’s sad what people focus on. And yet, a man is suing a New York City art museum because of European art depicting Jesus as Caucasian. The man said these paintings made him feel inferior.


Yes, really.

Afrocentrism points to the Black Madonnas of Europe to “prove” that Jesus and his mother were black. There are about 400 to 500 Black Madonnas in Europe, some in the Byzantine style.

My Polish grandmother had Our Lady of Czestochowa hanging over her bed. As a kid, the icon looked creepy, so I disliked it. Then one day the painting suddenly disappeared, so I asked about it.

                  Black Madonna 

My grandmother said the painting mysteriously fell off her wall; then a neighbor died. Some time later, the painting fell off the wall again, and then a friend died. She put the painting in her basement, so no more harm would follow.

There are many legends surrounding Our Lady of Czestochowa, the protector of Poland. One legend said Poland’s enemies found the icon and tried to destroy it with their swords. (The painting has a gash in Mary’s right cheek.) Then the raiders tossed the icon in the fire, but the painting wouldn’t burn: the faces merely turned black.

Now let’s look at the facts…

My daughter was an art major. Her adviser from Yale taught an art interpretation class. When you study art, you examine every aspect of a work like a detective. You only look at the facts. The title of a work may or may not be a clue about the work’s meaning. Some artists like Mark Rothko refused to label their work. Other artists purposely mislabel their work.

After you examine every aspect of a work, you compare it to a similar work of that period to see if there is a trend or other similar features in that work. Then you carefully summarize your conclusions.

             A Nubian Pharaoh

The Black Madonnas of Europe were from the medieval period. Not everyone in Europe is light-skinned. The people of southern Europe are dark-skinned. The reasons are obvious: southern Europe is close to Africa. Intermarriage and slavery contributed to a mixing of races. However, if you study the facial features of the Black Madonnas, they are Caucasian. By this, I mean their eyes, nose and lips. Whereas, if you study certain sculpture from Egypt, you can tell the Pharaohs were black, even though they are made of stone without any pigmentation.

      A Nubian Pharaoh

Why is this? The Nubians are the black pharaohs of Egypt. In the Bible, Nubia was the Land of Cush. Today, it’s the modern Sudan. Five Nubian pharaohs ruled Egypt until they were defeated by the Assyrians.



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