Tuesday, January 24, 2012


   The other night I was snuggled up to the wood stove in single digit country, when the phone rang. "Hello." "Hello." "Who's this?" "Who's this?" By now I usually hang up or figure out who's yanking my chain. Right before I clicked off..."Hey Uncle Mike. It's Esak." It was my nephew from the hills of Me. He and his buddy Walker Rothchild were down in this neck of woods putting on a roof in the middle of January. The weather had been so mild in Me., they figured working down here would be like vacationing in Florida. Trouble was the temps had dropped and snow was coming. Oh well. I had a big pot of venison chili on the stove and was grateful for the company. Things get lonely up here in the winter. The youth had arrived.
    The next few days the boys showed up after dark with micro-brew six packs and good herb. Walker had a good looking German Short hair pup that locked onto Ray Gilkey for a stare down. The cat was curled up in the chair and Rico the dog had his drooling snout laid right on the cushion, just inches away. Neither moved a muscle. After a while the three of us humans got tired of watching them and talk turned to politics (show business for ugly people). We speculated the pros and cons of which Republican douche bag may get the nomination. Then Walker informed me of a little known fact. "Do you know what a "Santorum" is?" I'll bite. "It's the viscous coating of ass fluid and cum that covers your dick after anal sex." At that the cat blinked and a blur of teeth, claws, screams, growls and fur erupted five feet off the ground. Ray got a good swipe in and I think for a split second was caught between Rico's jaws. Walker grabbed Rico and Ray escaped up the loft ladder. "Jesus! That's disgusting." I said when everything died down. And I don't mean the animals.
    The internet is a beautiful thing. When Rick Santorum compares gay sex with animal fucking, some smart geek fag gets on Wikipedia and look out. I just got used to Reverse Cow Girl. I had no idea how many terms there were out there for various positions and perverse sexual activities. Not to be out done Esak asked if I knew what "Riding the bull" was? I just shrugged. "Next time you are having sex from behind lean over and whisper into the person's ear- "I've got AIDS." Then see how long you can hang on." Sensing a theme here? Ray sat on the ladder and didn't take his eyes off the dog. "What's a Donkey Punch?" I asked. I truly didn't know. Earlier that night I had flipped by TMZ. The whole bunch was giggling at a wrong answer on JEOPARDY. The answer was A BLOW TO THE BACK OF THE NECK NAMED AFTER AN ANIMAL. The guy buzzed in and confidently said "What is a Donkey Punch." TMZ cracked up, as Alex never faltered. I had no idea what the joke was. Want to know what it is? Google it. I'm too disgusted. Just know it's not quite as bad as being Gingriched.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


   My feud with NYSEG (New York State Electric and Gas) continues. Yesterday I received another call informing me my lights would be turned off for non-payment of $150 bill. I don't know about you, but I've paid for my electricity all my adult life and think it's a bit extreme to cut off the juice of a good customer, in the middle of winter, for this paltry sum. I told the woman I had just sent out the check (true dat). She said that the disconnect order was still in effect and I would have to call this number and....I cut her off and informed her that talking to her should suffice. "The check's in the mail. Cancel the disconnect order. I'm not calling any...." Then the line went dead. She'd hung up on me. The lights flickered.....but remained on. Phew.
    With the news yesterday of Obama stopping the Keystone pipeline it got me to once again thinking about power and it's delivery to the masses. I'm no different than most, completely dependent on my car and truck in order to make money. When gas goes up I make less. So I'm all for cheap, domestic oil and gas, but at what price? Do I want to give up the beautiful countryside for generations to come, as well as clean water and peace of mind, just for a couple of bucks? Fracking is a real threat in my backyard. So I can relate to how those farmers and ranchers feel out west. Pipelines for jobs? No way. One spill and you are fucked. Not worth it.
    We've just gotten the first taste of all the extreme weather to come. The fragility of the electrical (and oil and gas) delivery infrastructure is more and more apparent with every storm. For years I've suggested burying electrical, cable and telephone wires as a way of protecting them from snow, wind, flooding and minivans. As a fringe benefit, imagine looking across the road without having the view marred by poles and drooping wires. Of course it's much cheaper to set a mile of poles than digging and burying the lines. But set that against all the money spent in getting the power back on year after year as the weather gets worse. An FDR style Gov. work program could do the trick.
    A few of my kin are off the grid and I applaud them. But that's not for me. I need my juice and I'm willing to pay for it. Sure, once in a while I get a little behind on my bill.But should I constantly be at their mercy? Until the customized hamster wheel I've been modifying for the cats is finished and hooked up to the car batteries on the porch, I'll still be obliging to NYSEG. The next time that woman calls I'm going to suggest my wire burying idea. Maybe I'll get a break on my bill for having a good idea. Didn't a couple of bicycle mechanics invent the airplane?  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012



Sunday, January 15, 2012



 Winter finally arrived this weekend. Temps went into the single digits and an inch of snowed turned into the frozen tundra. At last i could face the beast, instead of merely anticipating it. The hawk was at the door. I treated myself to a new kerosene heater (one that actually heats without the carbon monoxide). The woodstove is packed with burning logs and I wear a light coat inside. So I'm pretty comfortable. I'm not a sports fan so I can't even pass the time with the play offs. Jints will probably let everyone down anyway. In these bleak days I usually can at least look forward to Shewho coming up on the weekends, and reminding me to wash. But I haven't seen her in 2012. She left New Years Eve and has been stuck in town for one reason or another ever sense. This leaves the usual bunch of hicksters, none of which I was in any hurry to entertain and no invites were forthcoming. Then I got a call from my favorite client supermodel Hollie Witchey.
   The Hollie Witchey Project is the only paying gig on my plate these days. Since 2007 I've done three projects- The White Sulphur Springs Project with Samm Kunce, WSSP II with Tessa Hughes Freeland and Carlo McCormick and HWP. The restoring of old houses, as art for close friends and remaining gainfully employed (and still friends) has paid off. I've known Hollie about five years and she's one of my favorite people, so when i get a call to come to dinner with the boss I perk up. Plus she said her French friend Sandi was coming for the weekend. I think I'll shower. As a good boss myself, I drug Levi along for a lovely evening of wine, cheeze and lamb chops with two beautiful blond supermodels. He didn't complain. I don't pay much, but the perks are good. As we got drunker, talk turned to guns. I guess you can blame Hollywood, but for some reason hot girls all want to shoot guns. Who was I not to grant their wish. I promised on Sunday I'd bring the guns.
   Today, after a little thrift store shopping with the girls, I packed the .22, 9 mm. and 20 ga. into the
Neon with a duffle bag of ammo and went out in back of Hollie's barn to teach the supermodels how to safely handle firearms. It was about 10 degrees. Between the wind blowing the Coors cans off the bench, the bitter cold and my guns that hadn't been clean in a while, it didn't take long for things to start misfiring and jamming. Still, the ladies hung in there and were excellent students. The light was failing and I'm sure the sights on the guns were off. As we finished up, my hands frozen, Sandi and Hollie posed holding the guns, big smiles on their beautiful faces. I went to take the perfect shot for huntingwithsupermodels and the batteries on my camera went dead. Next time.      

Friday, January 13, 2012



 Sorry. That's a lie. The issue is why the fuck not? Way back in the 80's I was lucky enough to get two NEA grants- the first in 1984 and the second in 1989. Both were controversial and most likely wouldn't have happened were it not for artists who really supported and understood my work being on the panels. You know who you are. Then that Jesse Helms, Mapplethorpe, Finley mess ensued and the NEA buckled under political pressure, severing it's support to individuals and replacing it with support of organizations- much less risky. These artists were way more visible and successful than I AND used sex in a more overt way. They were easy targets. This was the beginning of the dark age of PC and the rise of the ultra-rich artist right alongside the poor and obscure. Like on main street, the middle class was extinguished.
   So as I sit here, the wind howling and temperature dropping, huddled up to the woodstove, alternating between the computer and the cold studio, I think back to those good old days when I could convince a panel of peers to give me money for being in a rock band, pulling prints from tattoos or branding a cow. Alas, these days are long gone and if there is an agency out there that would fund my hunting/art career I'd like to know about it. That said, more importantly, what about the youngsters? Art students are now encouraged to set up their "Practice", like a lawyer or doctor may do, and do good professional art. For some, of course, this approach works perfectly. There will always be a few good looking artists who do good looking work, who will rise to the top and have great careers. But what about that sullen, ugly, fat girl in the corner doing work that nobody likes? The NEA was for her. She's forced to change or give up. Neither works.
   I think enough time has passed. The internet has numbed us all to sex. Mapplethorpe boners look quaint. This agency should have a complete makeover.  Has anybody brought this up with Mrs. Obama? Hell, she tore up the lawn and put a garden in. Maybe she'd be into it. I think hubby is a lost cause. I don't think he took art in school. He thinks we're all losers. I need a reason to go to the post office and get my mail, tear open that government envelope and read: "Congratulations....." Ah, the good old days.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


  Google this and chapt. 7 of a 19th century book on the Catskills (Schoharie Co. in particular) comes up.  Osterhout is a common name in these hills, but more than likely these were distant kin. The chapter documents the fam. back to pre-independence, French and Indian War times. The "Negroes" and "Indians" do not fair well in this telling of my gnarled family tree's involvement with the Brits, as well as the revolutionaries. Put in the most patriotic of terms....we were fucking Americans in a time and place that produced the term. As they say, you can't pick your family or the country you were born in.
   Yet there are traits of pure ornery distain for authority that seem to have survived through the centuries. I can relate when the old man gets whacked with the General's cane, or cussed out by the Captain, only to stand his ground and prevail. Like my ancestors I do not take kindly to the voice of authority. In the end the old man gets pushed off a wagon, murdered for some land and cash.....not by an enemy, but a friend. Lesson to be learned? I can't find one.
    To have an account of ordinary (not public figures) blood kin that far back is fascinating. The men and the women were tough, mean, complex, pioneer, racist, Indian killers. Told by the grandson in the 1860's, his account of his grandparents is of it's day, a time when Blacks and Indians were still thought of as less than human. But to somehow sugar coat it would not do anyone justice. It is probably as accurate an account as you will get. On a cold snowy day in the Catskills, 400 years later, the narrative continues.    

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

MO DAVID NORTH- Studio view


A little over a week into the new year and hunting season seems a way too distant memory. My life structured around the weather, the rut, the lock down, the weather still, the moon, the second rut.....as i rise way before dawn and get home to a cold stove after dark, is sorely missed. What's left? A light work sched. and art. I've taken over the porch (MO David North) as my studio. Neither Shewho nor I have completely decided to close the doors, but it's in the wind. I'm definitely leaning towards moving on. MO David as a concept is a good one- make the context the content. But I have to admit dealing with other artists isn't always fun. In fact it can become downright ponderous. So in the meantime I'm bleaching bones and dripping deer blood onto plates. It's relaxing.
   My facebook artfaggery continues as I hype the new church, now called WAY TOO GAY NOT BLACK ENOUGH EMERGENCY CIRCUS FOXY BOXING CHURCH OF THE LGM, and argue relevant points of art interest. For some reason people are questioning super rich artists who don't actually make their own work, like Koons and Hirst. I thought Duchamp settled this point in 1911? Another point was made about hoping 2012 would produce no boring art. IFF! No boring art? That really takes a lot of us out of the game. Try sitting in a tree day after day, seeing nothing but slowly passing clouds and try not to be bored. We as artists should embrace boredom. The rest of you can try to avoid it. Watch America's Got Way Too Much Talent and try not to be bored. Boredom is such a giant part of my life I have no idea what I'd do without it. Unlike Koons and Hirst, I do my own work. But if I had the money I'd be right behind those guys outsourcing it. I see no conflict.
    I'm thinking about doing a little coyote hunting, but I haven't gotten passed the pondering stage. The wind's kicking up and even though it's probably in the high thirties, no one is used to it. It feels fucking cold.  Global warming has screwed our winter. There's no snow, and barely frost in the ground. The lakes have thin ice, so I haven't even seen Bobby R. and Savage for an afternoon of ice fishing. To fight the boredom I had Hollie Witchey and Levi Barrett over to the shack for a back strap feast last night. It worked. We drank wine, laughed and plotted the spring church. Before Xmas I had found a great vintage boxing bell at Dick Benjamin's. I proposed Hollie fight another super model at church. She agreed and instead threw down the challenge to Horst. Perfect! At the sound of the bell.....come out fighting. Not that's some boring art!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


  SOUTH PARK is on the TV. It's the episode where the guinea pigs, rats, bees and bunnies take over the world. It's a good one. I'm cracking up on the couch all alone. The last night of the year finds me with a bottle of Nyquil, next to a bottle of Hennesy on the table, wrapped in a blanket, sniffling and coughing. Shewho is off with the  McCormicks at Hollie Witchey's House of Enchantment bringing in the New Year.  I've opted to stay in the shack, feed the fire and drown my cold with booze and cough syrup. "Happy Rocking New Year." drools Dick Clark. Why do they keep trotting that poor fuck out? He looks like he's having a stroke as the ball drops. If this is any indication of what's coming....lets hope the Mayan calendar is right.
    Earlier Shewho and I sat on the couch and talked resolutions. Her's are classified. Mine is the same every year. Get a career. I don't mean choose a career. That was settled 40 years ago. I mean have that chosen career gather enough momentum to sustain a meager economic flow. Enough to pay the phone, TV, and electric bills. Rich and famous? Not even close. Closing in on 60, all I want is a couple of opportunities to strut my stuff, show, and maybe make a sale or two. Need I remind you all again that Cady Noland sold a multiple for $6.7 mil.? Does that make sense to anyone?
   But enough of that. It's been a good year. In fact my 50's (the last nine years) have been great. I got a little money in the bank from carpentry and real estate. The house and church are paid for. Shewho, Smokey and I are a little family unit. The truck and car still run. The LGM is back in full swing. MO David returned for a minute. My health is good. The Old Man died, but mom is still kicking, and sweet as ever. For some reason I look to New Years (more than Thanksgiving) as a time to take stock and give thanks for all I have. And I have a lot. Resolutions? Sure it's always the same one. Even when I say I could give a shit.....you all know I do. I just want to be asked. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE.