Looking for a Fight

Hold on to your butts, people – this isn’t one of my better posts.

A man in New Jersey came to Milwaukee recently to visit family.  They ended up at Atwater Park in Shorewood.  This stretch of beach is all that separates some impressive bluffs from the waters of Lake Michigan.  In September of 2010, it acquired a sculpture called Spillover II created by artist Jaume Plensa.

The sculpture itself is a man in a crouched position staring out to the endless waters of the lake, and is comprised of a jumble of letters welded together.

Artist posing with his work

I think it’s a very interesting piece of work, especially when lit from below.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s a stunning piece of work.  One that makes you think.  On the very surface of things, you have a hollow man, sitting on twisted legs, staring for all time at the unbroken horizon of our planet.  Man is hollow compared to the panorama that is the Earth.

The figure has no face – suggesting it could be anyone – you, me, the random guy in a mankini sunning himself on the sand…

And the figure is illuminated from within, suggesting the hollow within houses a light (or a soul, if you will) that is barely contained by the tangible makeup of our bodies, yet shines out from that thin and fragile shell.

I can see man – all humans – constructed of letters.  The very building blocks of our language, our ideas, our dreams, our nightmares.  Everything that we are – broken down into a random jumble of 26 formulaic symbols.  We are all built and interact with each other through a complex arrangement of these 26 icons (in the English Language).  Think about how amazing this is.

26 icons – 36 if you add the numbers 0-9.

Our entire civilization is built with only 36 building blocks.

Language. Mathematics. Arts. Sciences. Religions. History. War.

Everything that the Human race is – is built with 36 tiny building blocks.

My mind.  Is blown.

So why is this man from New Jersey so incensed about this sculpture?

Hateful Sculpture in Milwaukee Needs to be Scrapped | Matt Sweetwood.

This is a clear cut, real-life example of not being able to enjoy the beauty of the forest because the damn trees are in the way.  He got up close and personal with Spillover II, and started connecting the jumbled letters together to come up with anti-Semantic messages.

Naturally, he claims it is deliberate, because the math says so.

Have we become so jaded in this country that we can’t view anything anymore without finding some cause to bitch?  That we have to examine, in minute detail, every piece of expressionism until we can find the ‘hidden meaning’ within – and assume that it’s a hostile one?

For some reason…I have a companion thought about a red coffee cup…

The message of hate you see in Spillover II, Mr. Matt Sweetwood?  You’ve created it with your own avarice.  Set it aflame with your post.  And given it life and breath with your vehemence.  The Shorewood council has ordered the sculpture taken down to be ‘fixed’ thanks to your paranoiac hatred.

The only thing that needed to be ‘fixed’ was your interpretation of the piece to begin with.  You found this message of hate because you wanted to find one.  Focus on hate and negativity, and that is what will be gifted you.

If you read this post (and I hope you did) you’ve now seen my interpretation of Spillover II.

Have we learned something?

One of my favorite games to play with letters is to take a random word, and figure out how many other words I can make out of it.  It can also be fun to occasionally find hidden swear words in the ‘find-a-word’ puzzles in the paper.

In case you haven’t learned anything from my post, here’s a random pile of letters – I’m sure there’s a message of hate somewhere within it…

I new It!!!

A Fractal Glass

The Daily Post serving another photo challenge I find irresistible:

It’s the first photo challenge of 2015, and the theme is “new.” Cliché? Perhaps, but clichés develop for a reason. For many of us, the year’s beginning is time to take stock of the past and plan for the future; this week, let’s get excited about those plans by celebrating what’s new.

IMG_0180What’s new?  Well, lots of stuff is new.  I got a new bra – but I’m not going to take pictures of it (you can thank me later!).  There’s about 6 inches of new white stuff on the ground.  Someone on Facebook posted a new meme, had a new political rant, picked a new fight with a new person, or posted a new picture of a new mod they can vape on.

Oh…let’s not forget the new -14 temp that goes along with winter in Wisconsin – it certainly made venturing out to this first Monday of the work-year a bracing morning experience!

We all love ‘new.’  The word speaks of something not-before-within-our-sensory-field.  Yea…excitement!  Something we haven’t come into contact with before.

Although…if New and Improved Tide gets any more ‘New and Improved’ … it’s going to dissolve your clothing…


I see new stuff every day.  The clouds in the sky haven’t put out that exact patterning ever before.  The people around me haven’t been in that configuration prior to this meeting. Look!  New footprints in the snow!

The lead-in photo above is a new frost-pattern I captured on my window just the other day…which reminds me…my landlord really does need to think about replacing the windows in our building.  What made this photo really pop are the Christmas lights in the window of the building across the driveway.

It doesn’t take a resolution at the beginning of the calendar year to find new stuff – it just takes being aware of your surroundings.

I’ll leave you with a movie quote from Joe vs. the Volcano – one that, decades later, I’ve tried to incorporate into each and every day:

My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.

Don’t you just LOVE that Brand New Year Smell?

IMG_0137 (2)

~~~~building across the street shot through frosted window.

Nope.  Not me.  Smells cold – icy, actually.  Winter temperatures have finally settled on Wisconsin.  Not the snow that everyone was hoping would fall in time for Christmas – just the cold.

Now, if I lived in a sane environment, like Florida (apologies to any Floridians I may have insulted with this statement…) the new year might smell more wonderful – like the salty-tang of the ocean spray…or the floral notes from your favorite blooming garden shrubbery…but it certainly wouldn’t smell cold.air hurts my face

Right now, it is 4 degrees.  With the winds up and ruffling everyone’s hair – the weather station says it feels like -10.


I certainly didn’t want to get out of bed this morning and make the trek through the freezer to work.  The cats didn’t want to see me go, either – they’d rather I performed the much more important task of comfortably settling into my recliner to be their warm-blooded furniture with hands that gently stroke the fur.  But…duty calls!


last year, on my way to work, after a ‘light’ snow.

I really should be used to this by now – I’ve lived in the frozen Mid-west all my life – and every year it gets “Wow, that windchill is vicious!” cold.  Every year I re-acclimate myself to the heavy boots, the heavy coat, and gloves. Every year I leave the house a few minutes earlier than usual, so the car can have the 5 minutes it needs to warm up before I put it in drive and head to work.

But hey! – at least we’re over the sunshine dimming a bit quicker each year, and are on the upward swing toward more light each day.  In this kind of cold, you gotta take whatever little happy moments you can get.

New Year’s eve is presented as a time to ‘reset.’

lifegoal out old in new quirky phrase

Facebook, and other social media, are awash in everyone declaring how they’re going to be a better person once we toss the 2014 calendars, and hang new ones.

Oh…and in Wisconsin…we’re gearing up for the Beer-fest this evening.  Everyone spend the last few hours of the old year getting so sodding drunk you can’t remember the first few hours of the new one.

Have I mentioned lately that Wisconsin runs on hops?

So what are my resolutions?  I don’t have any.  I resolved quite a number of years ago to not do the New Year’s resolution bit…with great success, I might add.

What will come, will come…and I’ll ride the wave as I always do.