Thursday, July 31, 2003

Some Artist Quotes


It is a huge danger to pretend that awful things do not happen. But you need enough hope to keep going. I am trying to make hope. Flowers grow out of darkness.

Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed.


Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.

One can't paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt.


Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.


Art is either plagiarism or revolution.

Civil --cough, cough-- Litigation

Ever hear the term civil litigation? Basically its meant to distinguish non-criminal cases. It certainly doesn't characterize the behavior of the lawyers involved (or, usually, the litigants themselves either, but that seems more to be expected, doesn't it?) Lawyers are supposed to be like athletes-- go out there, give it your damndest, within the bounds of good sportsmanship, and shake hands after the game. In fact, there's even a set of disciplinary rules and canons of ethics that provide that lawyers are supposed to comport themselves in a civil, dignified manner. Hah!

Civil litigation is what I used to do for a living, and it was rarely civil. Law seems to attract people who like to make other people's lives gratuitously miserable. Clients I excuse for the most part, because if they need a lawyer, their lives are falling apart around them, and some snarky behavior seems understandable. However, the blowhards and assholes who will give you seven kinds of hell over an adjournment, and then simply blow off deadlines and get matters automatically postponed by the court, while costing you time answering a court appearance at a motion calander call which they never appear for, are the sort of people who cause workplace violence. And the law is rife with this type of character. The small minded tyrannically inclined twit who busts other people's balls for the sheer joy of making a nuisance of himself, of provoking a reaction, is the character most often missing from TV shows that romanticize law practice.

I have been unfortunate enough, as a result of The Accident, to also participate in the judicial process from the perspective of litigant/client, and its no small wonder Shakespeare said "First, let's kill all the lawyers." I have been screwed royally by two sets of worker's comp lawyers; scared out of the office of a social security disability shop that advertises how helpful they are all over network television, but whose local office not only inspires zero confidance because of the rampant unprofessional behavior, but is also guilty of the very great sin of repeatedly wasting my precious time; and have been forced to deal with the button-pushing mania of one lawyer who is also a close personal friend, but seems to get off on provoking a reaction way too much for my sanity, all in the name of playing devil's advocate.

Devil's advocate -- Now there's an expression I can relate to!

And in keeping therewith, here are some definitions from Ambrose Bierce's "Devil's Dictionary", about my former profession and current nightmare:

APPEAL, v.t.
In law, to put the dice into the box for another throw.

Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due.

The plaintiff.

A burden which of all those that we load upon others and carry ourselves is lightest in the hands and heaviest upon the back.

A commodity which is a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service.

LAW, n.
Once Law was sitting on the bench,
And Mercy knelt a-weeping.
"Clear out!" he cried, "disordered wench!
Nor come before me creeping.
Upon your knees if you appear,
'Tis plain your have no standing here."

Then Justice came. His Honor cried:
"Your status? -- devil seize you!"
"Amica curiae," she replied --
"Friend of the court, so please you."
"Begone!" he shouted -- "there's the door --
I never saw your face before!"

LAWFUL, adj.
Compatible with the will of a judge having jurisdiction.

One skilled in circumvention of the law.

LIAR, n.
A lawyer with a roving commission.

A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.

A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.

In Law, a previous decision, rule or practice which, in the absence of a definite statute, has whatever force and authority a Judge may choose to give it, thereby greatly simplifying his task of doing as he pleases. As there are precedents for everything, he has only to ignore those that make against his interest and accentuate those in the line of his desire. Invention of the precedent elevates the trial-at-law from the low estate of a fortuitous ordeal to the noble attitude of a dirigible arbitrament.

Reparation without satisfaction.
Among the Anglo-Saxon a subject conceiving himself wronged by the king was permitted, on proving his injury, to beat a brazen image of the royal offender with a switch that was afterward applied to his own naked back. The latter rite was performed by the public hangman, and it assured moderation in the plaintiff's choice of a switch.

In an English court a man named Home was tried for slander in having accused his neighbor of murder. His exact words were: "Sir Thomas Holt hath taken a cleaver and stricken his cook upon the head, so that one side of the head fell upon one shoulder and the other side upon the other shoulder." The defendant was acquitted by instruction of the court, the learned judges holding that the words did not charge murder, for they did not affirm the death of the cook, that being only an inference.

A formal inquiry designed to prove and put upon record the blameless characters of judges, advocates and jurors. In order to effect this purpose it is necessary to supply a contrast in the person of one who is called the defendant, the prisoner, or the accused. If the contrast is made sufficiently clear this person is made to undergo such an affliction as will give the virtuous gentlemen a comfortable sense of their immunity, added to that of their worth. In our day the accused is usually a human being, or a socialist, but in mediaeval times, animals, fishes, reptiles and insects were brought to trial. A beast that had taken human life, or practiced sorcery, was duly arrested, tried and, if condemned, put to death by the public executioner. Insects ravaging grain fields, orchards or vineyards were cited to appeal by counsel before a civil tribunal, and after testimony, argument and condemnation, if they continued in contumaciam the matter was taken to a high ecclesiastical court, where they were solemnly excommunicated and anathematized. In a street of Toledo, some pigs that had wickedly run between the viceroy's legs, upsetting him, were arrested on a warrant, tried and punished. In Naples and ass was condemned to be burned at the stake, but the sentence appears not to have been executed. D'Addosio relates from the court records many trials of pigs, bulls, horses, cocks, dogs, goats, etc., greatly, it is believed, to the betterment of their conduct and morals. In 1451 a suit was brought against the leeches infesting some ponds about Berne, and the Bishop of Lausanne, instructed by the faculty of Heidelberg University, directed that some of "the aquatic worms" be brought before the local magistracy. This was done and the leeches, both present and absent, were ordered to leave the places that they had infested within three days on pain of incurring "the malediction of God." In the voluminous records of this cause celebre nothing is found to show whether the offenders braved the punishment, or departed forthwith out of that inhospitable jurisdiction.

Here endeth the rant for today.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Progress? And Driving Anxiety

The idiot appraiser has been replaced. So now we have an appointment with a more expensive, but seemingly competent outfit for Friday morning.

I am still trying to figure out how I am supposed to travel across the state by public transportation with a three month old for a closing. Things we didn't even think about when I was pregnant and this whole refinancing ball got rolling.

One of us has got to grow guts and become a driver. I have my license, but have not driven in over eight years, due to the PTSD and not being able to get my head to turn all the way right so I can see to change lanes... My husband, a city kid all the way, never bothered to learn... So here we are, parents, living in suburbia, and completely dependent upon car service. Makes me feel less than responsible. But the prospect of essentially relearning to drive with an infant in the car is terrifying!

So, bodies at rest tend to continue at rest and all that. I'm not setting any speed records trying to get back behind the wheel. But I recognize that I will probably eventually have to do it.


Friday, July 25, 2003

The Death of Civility and Blogging: Exhibitionism or Obsessive Compulsive Behavior?

My dear spouse just bitched at me--

"How many diary pages do you now have running? Do you realize this is obsessive compulsive behavior? I think blogs are one of the weirdest things to come out of the current century."

"What? You mean the exhibitionist need to put up the guts of your life for other people to read?"

"Yeah. Do you realize if you spent the time you [waste] on blogging/journaling on your novel..."

"Uh huh. Well maybe if blogging gets me used to typing some words every day, I will be better about working on the novel. As it is, I spend an awful lot of time NOT writing."

And there you have it. Is blogging avoidance of "serious" writing, or a way of stoking the creative fires? My quandry for today...

The Death of Civility

One conclusion] that seems inescapable is that civility and politeness are casualties of the modern era. I am constantly appalled by how people treat each other. I guess my age is showing, but my mama raised me to be polite to everyone, unless there was a damn good reason not to. Rude people are a pet peeve of mine, and something I feel like establishing a Hall of Shame for. So occassionally I will chronicle my experiences with those who deserve to be held up as Horrible Examples...

Today's Bitch and Moan is for professionals who act anything but.

My husband has squandered one of his few remaining vacation days to be home today to deal with one such "professional" who may or may not deign to show up. We are refinancing our mortgage, and need to have an appraisal done. We arranged with our mortgage broker that it would be today. The appraiser was supposed to call and set up a precise time. We still have not heard a peep from that quarter. And last night, the broker never got back to us. It would be useful if we had a number for the appraiser and could contact him directly...

I hate waiting for other people to get their shit together when it should have started out that way because its their JOB. I also hate the prevailing attitude that a paycheck is something you deserve for Just Showing Up. Uh, how about doing your fucking job???? Laziness and stupidity seem to have been moved from the vice column to the virtue column by a society that has its head tucked firmly up its ass. Grrrrrr.

Thursday, July 24, 2003


OK, so I'm losing my bloginity...

Not sure yet where this will be going, but here's an intro:

I'm 37, female, disabled after a bad accident with chronic pain and post traumatic stress. I used to be the consumate yuppie jerk, but getting hurt forced me to slow down, and look at life. While in many ways I am far more fucked up than before the accident, I am definitely a hell of a lot more self aware. Which I suppose is a good thing.

Anyway, I am an artist now (always was, but let my creativity die on the vine to pursue the brass ring of law firm partnership, till I got hurt and essentially written off by the snide bastards I had hoped to be partners with...) and I paint in a variety of mediums, though oil was my first and probably truest love. I have been exploring watercolors, which I find diffcult, but really interesting, because the technique is so different, and I really have to THINK about what I'm doing, which cross-pollinates my oil technique...

I also do ceramic sculpture and carve reliefs.

Just now I don't do a hell of a lot other than care for a three month old dictator who has taken over my life. Motherhood with disabilities is NOT easy, and worse than it has to be because the assorted medical professionals in my life have basically given me a choice:

breastfeed and give my son the best possible start in life


take my medication and at least take the edge off my physical and emotional pain.

At the moment, I am a medication-less basket case, having a hard time getting out of bed on days when the pain is at its worst.

I can't even use my service dog, because I essentially un-trained her while I was pregnant, because I couldn't stand the smell of her (my nose was hypersensitive, and seemingly directly connected to my stomach...) and right now I don't have the physical or emotional stamina to work her again and get her up to snuff.

So I am essentially just trying to survive my son's early days, eagerly awaiting the day he is ready for solid food. Which sucks, because I should be able to enjoy nursing him, but that's been pretty much taken away by the ass covering primary motivation of doctors and drug companies.


Why does life have to be made harder than it already is?