THE DANCER

 
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She must be real. She is beautiful, dressed in white and moving with a grace that remedies the nightmares that attack me. They are not real, I hope. Look at her…the elegance of the hand, the triumphant leap, the eyes filled with compassion. All around her love emanates. Her feet, bare and graceful land with a whisper. The air blows outward from them and alight like a gentle kiss.

You can hear it. It sounds like an amplified muffled kick to a chest. You look in the direction and suddenly metal and smoke are everywhere. Everyone close to you covered in blood and pieces of flesh now. The ringing won’t stop in your ears as you look at the carnage. A foot here, over there someone looks ok although they’re crying and you notice there is nothing from the waist down, turn to look away and a lump of flesh greets you. A wayward eyeball. A clenched fist. The smell of hatred in the air lingers among the death and destruction.

She is spinning. It’s unbelievable the way the left arm slowly rises, then the right leg raises and tucks in. The spinning continues, a delightful whirl of white topped with a black rope of hair that resembles a propellor. Perfectly executed that your eyes cannot look away. There is nothing else to see. How does she stay balanced? Will she ever stop?

Black boots. Dozens of them all around stained with blood. They move methodically left to right, right to left. From the ground you see the barrels of the guns rise and fall. The shots are deafening. As the bodies fall to the ground some move about from the extra bullets they receive. Everything is dusty, hectic and bright flashes of light mix with crimson blood. The boots keep moving. Will they ever stop?

She has nearly stopped moving. Poetic gestures that surely heal all wounds flow from her arms and through her fingertips. Gentle and slow the movements continue as she folds into herself. Lowering herself to the ground, the air still, she unfolds until she is positioned on her side. Head propped up tenderly by her radiant hand and elbow, she looks straight ahead. Though her eyes remain still, it’s obvious she sees everything around her. It is pure bliss to look at her. Quiet, peaceful, her simple beauty is the embodiment of serenity. 

There is only fire in the sky. Unrelenting blasts of wind so strong anything that appeared to have physical form evaporates instantly. As far as the eye can see from east to west, from north to south there is only fires. Sonic waves of sound punctuate though the clouds. All is rapidly disappearing, leaving a barren, scorched patchwork where life was bustling moments earlier. A frightful silence fills the now vacant space, pulsing every so slightly. Perhaps it’s the millions of souls ascending from the ruins. There is no beauty, no peace…there isn’t anything. Not even a memory remains, only a void.

Where is she? Please! Come back and dance!

Fred Vee

 

PAINTING

“Untitled” Fred Vee, 2019

I’ve really been getting into painting more and more. I have about 7 or 8 of these style that are made with acrylics and charcoal. As of now I really don’t spend a shit load of time on any one piece. From start to finish maybe a couple of hours at most. The quickness of sketching, adding up layers and basically just reacting / improvising as I go along is the best part of it. Whether the final outcome is “good” or “bad” is irrelevant to me. Much like the printmaking I’ve been doing it’s a matter of process that gives me the most satisfaction. That’s really what’s it’s all about, isn’t it?

FV

 

CAMP

 
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The boy ran up to me weeping and grabbed me around the leg. I asked if he was sad because it was time to leave. He couldn’t speak he was crying so hard but through his sobs he shook his head yes. I could only tell him to be brave. I had only known him for a short time. He was quiet and frail for an eight year old but confided his fears to me for some reason. I guess I was his only friend.

When you arrive here you can stay a maximum of twelve weeks. During that time one of three things can happen. You receive a pass from the Federation to continue to the next camp (closer to safety) and are provided transport. Or, if twelve weeks expire with no pass, you are safely escorted out for two kilometers, at which point you are left on your own to survive. Finally, the last option is euthanasia. This is mandatory for people over eighty, people with any illness or injury that requires serious care and for children ten or younger that are unclaimed after their allotted time here. With nearly a zero percent survival rate for them outside the camp, it would be beyond cruel to release them alone. Many who are simply tired of trying to survive request it.

Euthanasia is comfortable, quick and done with dignity. Everyone knows most of us will not survive long anyway, so it is rare to have anyone resist. If they do, we are compassionate and have "mercy therapists" to aid them in their existential crisis.

Each week we are able to transport a maximum of fifty people. Not nearly enough. If you receive a pass to proceed it isn’t a guarantee you will leave though. Even on the day of departure, if a scientist arrives or an agriculture expert, an electrician, any person with a specialized skill that will aid in survival overall, they get priority seating on the soonest transport. No–one is spared the loss of transit for these people. The old, the young, children and infants; all will lose to the skilled.

I looked at the boy and put my hand on his shoulder. I made it a personal rule not to hug anyone, though it is perfectly acceptable to do so. As he looked into my eyes, my hatred towards the men and women of the death cult, whose actions lead to these moments, outraged me yet again. You’d think it would have died down after thousands of these interactions for me, but it hasn’t. The boy had stopped crying and asked if I was scared. I smiled and told him there was nothing to be scared of, that there was only beauty and happiness ahead. I told him it was time for him to go, to be brave.

Fred Vee

 

CONTORTIONIST

This is a pretty wild x-ray I found on Reddit I think. The human body is an amazing thing. Contortionists are pretty amazing humans…at least their bodies are. I can’t begin to ponder my broken down body to do anything remotely similar unless it was involved in a car accident or some similar outside force put it that way.

FV

 

SOCIALISM FROM PAST TO FUTURE

If you are still unclear about socialism, what it is, the ideas behind it, why it’s good or bad; then here is another video from Professor Richard Wolff to help you out. Few people of our times, in my mind, break things down easier than the good professor.

This is by no means a video to make any of us an expert, but rather an excellent overview that clearly describes the ideas, history and mistakes of socialism in the 20th century. It should peak your curiosity to explore more if you feel capitalism is a failed system or if you just feel things are unfair in the modern world.

If you love capitalism, I suggest you listen as well. There may be things you weren’t aware of or maybe you’ve misunderstood what socialism actually is.

FV

 

THE ITALIAN WOMAN

Henri Matisse, “The Italian Woman” oil on canvas, 1916

I love the work of Henri Matisse and collect as many images online as I can of his. I found this one for the first time a few days ago. It’s impossible to have a favorite with the likes of Matisse but this quickly soared into those paintings of his that arrest me and are impossible to forget.

The simplicity, the subdued limited colors, the beautiful pensive face, the way the hair either makes her receding or emerging from the background and the unfinished hands. To me everything is perfect in this work. She will be in my dreams till I die.

FV

 

A PAGE OF MADNESS

This is a must see movie for any cinema fan. I can only write in adjectives and superlatives at the moment; it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, amazing visuals, incredible acting (though there is no sound), completely inspiring, terrifyingly beautiful, mesmerizing!

From Wikipedia:

A Page of Madness (狂った一頁 Kurutta Ippēji or Kurutta Ichipeiji) is a silent film by Japanese film director Teinosuke Kinugasa, made in 1926. It was lost for forty-five years until being rediscovered by Kinugasa in his storehouse in 1971. The film is the product of an avant-garde group of artists in Japan known as the Shinkankakuha (or School of New Perceptions) who tried to overcome naturalistic representation.

Yasunari Kawabata, who would win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, was credited on the film with the original story. He is often cited as the film's screenwriter, and a version of the scenario is printed in his complete works, but the scenario is now considered a collaboration between Kawabata, Kinugasa, Banko Sawada, and Minoru Inuzuka.

As there is no sound I watched it while listening to the Lo-Fi India Abuse album by Muslimgauze on repeat and it really worked for me. You might want to try a different album to set the mood for you.

Whatever the case, watch this masterpiece!

FV

 

SLIMBONE

 
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"Fuck Slimbone!"

"Shut up."

"Why should I? That motherfucker has a couple snakes and some kind of birds. Least that's what I heard."

"Maybe you heard wrong."

"Well shit, I ain't eaten for three days now. I'm goddamn going out of my mind. I say we go to Slimbone's and kick the shit out of him and take them animals he been hoarding."

"What if you're wrong?"

"About what?"

"About the goddamn snakes and birds. You think Slimbone just gonna let you kick his ass for nothing? Let alone steal his shit if he got anything." 

"Fuck him. (Long pause) Let's kill his ass then. I hate that smart ass anyway."

"You never even met him you dumb fuck."

"Well that's what I heard and anyway I gotta eat man. I'm about to die." 

Chill Phil wondered why he let this idiot tag along with him. He didn't even know his name and didn't want to. He just called him dumb fuck cause that's all he was. A simple, scared, stupid man who Chill Phil wondered had managed to live this long.

"C'mon man, let's get some sticks and some big rocks and go kill his ass when it gets dark."

"I ain't interested. You go ahead." 

"What're ya scared? You told me you ain't eaten nothing for a week now. I know you wanna eat. If he's got them critters we'll have food to eat for a week I bet. Besides, it'll be easier to kill him if it's the two of us."

"Fuck you dumb fuck. I ain't starting nothing with Slimbone. He never did nothing to me." 

"What about the snakes n birds? What if he's got em?"

"None of my business. If he got em they're his. He did something to get em, not me and certainly not you. You dumb fuck." 

Chill Phil puzzled over how he let himself agree to let this dumb fuck squat with him. He guessed it had been about a month since he'd last seen anyone alive when he stumbled upon him on his knees in front of the old church in town. Pathetic sight. Crying, praying, the whole routine. Like it would change anything. But Chill Phil knew it was a chance for company and maybe more. Three days was enough to know he was dead weight though.

(Later)

"C'mon man. It's getting dark, let's get going."

"You really wanna do this?"

"Fuck yea! I'm starving." 

"What about killing Slimbone?"

"I'm taking the son of a bitch out. He's as good as dead already" 

"Alright then. Seeing you're gonna go through with it I better come n make sure you don't get yourself killed. Slimbone ain't no chickenshit." 

"Whatever, let's go." 

Chill Phil let the dumb fuck lead the way. He wanted to keep a little distance in case of any surprises. Besides, he'd decided Slimbone wasn't gonna get killed, especially by this dumb fuck.

"Hey man. It's just a ways up from here."

"I know."

"Look, I'm thinking you go up first, seeing that you know Slimbone and all. You get him out in the clear and I'll come up and smash his head with a rock." 

"Yea, I guess. It's pretty dark and quiet though. Your fat ass gonna have to move real quick."

"Don't worry about what I gotta do. You make sure he's in the clear."

"Well, come here for a second. I wanna see what yer reflexes are like. Slimbone's a quick son of a bitch. He sees something funny happening, neither one of us is gonna see the sun again." 

"Jesus H Christ! Wasting more time" 

Chill Phil saw dumb fucks silhouette move toward him. Short, fat, lump of flesh. Thick as a brick thinking any of this would work. Opening his big fat trap, not knowing a goddamn thing about this place. Chill Phil pulled the blade from the back of his pants when the dumb fuck was a few steps away. Without a word he pounced and in one swift motion cut a new smile in dumb fucks throat. He watched him thrash on the ground, trying to talk and just waited till he bled out. Yup, there'd be food for a few days now he thought. That much mister dumb fuck had right.

Fred Vee

 

THE SEVENTIES

The 1970’s were a truly incredible decade. Set aside politics, art and music, and focus on the fashion alone. Narrow that down even further to people middle aged and above who embraced all the change going on around them and you get priceless anonymous photos like the one above. Very few mothers or grandmothers were dressing like this even through the sixties. Everyone jumped on board in the 70’s and thankfully it happened to be a time when home photography really took off to record it all.

FV

 

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR

Very few people in America and around the world for that matter, are not familiar with the great civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr’s epic speech, “I Have a Dream”. Delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in front of 10’s of thousands of people in August of 1963, it defines the aspect of his legacy for racial equality and the basic rights of all men, women and children to be treated with equality and respect. It is indeed one of the most important speeches of the 20th century.

Comedy duo, absolute masters of their craft, Key and Peele, remind us here of the unfortunate speaker who had to follow Dr. King’s epic words, the Reverend Robert Jones. As usual, the attention to detail and the absurdity of such a thing are amazing. I’m confident that Dr. King, were he alive, would find this every bit as funny as any K&P fan.

I hope you enjoy your day off in America and do take the time to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy. His words are as important now as they were over 50 years ago. Unfortunately, while much has changed in the time since this speech, quite a bit hasn’t and in fact what has changed is slowly moving backwards in many ways. What can you do to improve the experiment called America? Or what will be your role in a new America if things change very drastically, which is quite possible. In either case or a myriad of other possibilities, Dr. King’s words are always worth reflecting on and used for deep consideration.

And as always, no matter how bad things get, don’t lose your ability to laugh. Key and Peele and left a legacy of hundreds of hilarious skits to help us smile and remind us of the human condition in their own special way.

FV