That's the title of a video I made for YouTube.
"I have six part-time jobs and no health insurance, and that makes me a real American hero, in the kind of America that Ronald Regan dreamed about. No Pension! No Paid Vacation! None of that Democratic sissy stuff."
"No, and I am grateful to the wealthy people, the top one percent, for making my working life possible, because it is their wealth, trickling down from above, that sustains me."
"What if I get sick? Well, I don't go running to the doctor. No, No. I'm tough. I just rub on a little of grandma's lotion, then I take a shot of whiskey and sweat it out."
"Isn't it wonderful living in Ronald Reagan's America?"
Well, it's kind of funny, I hope. And relevant, because the Congress will now decide, in its painfully difficult process, whether to keep or repeal the Bush (son of Reagan) tax cuts --those tax cuts to the wealthy who can take that untaxed money and spend it to hire us little people and create thousands of jobs.
If they spend it. But they don't have to spend it, being wealthy, and they don't have to spend it in America. They can take their pre-tax dollars and invest in textile manufacturing in Thailand -- no jobs for us.
So I favor the repeal of these tax cuts for our high-income friends. Better they should pay taxes rather than you and I. The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution permits progressive taxation. It's a good thing.
Fishtown Blues. I've almost recovered from the Fishtown Art Show Disaster The pronounced euphoria this show produced among so many people is a matter of profound shock to me. The experience has been deeply isolating, because I think the show isn't half what it could be, and I look at the other people who loved it and I think -- we're not from the same planet, are we?
But I will try just the same. Kathleen (speaking to Kathleen Moles who curated the show), Kathleen, you tried and you made a great effort and I truly appreciate that. It's not a bomb. It's not a failure. It's even worse -- it's that thing that's close to being good, but not really good. And every artist and writer I know has had that experience.
You write something or you paint something and it's good, but there's a nagging feeling, there's some little something wrong and you can't quite put your finger on it. You step back and you realize that it's almost good. That's the key word, "almost."
And comes now the hardest part for an artist -- when it's almost good, you THROW IT OUT. You crumble it up and toss it in the wastebasket.
So the Fishtown art show is almost good. The right thing to do is to scrap it. Take it down and start all over again. Get it right. This is how we get to the truth, by accepting our mistakes as part of the learning process.
Am I wasting my words? Once the concrete sets on a museum show, it can never change. We are doomed to this inviolate display until October, when the show formally comes down. But I'm saying something worthwhile here. This initial euphoria from the show's opening will be wearing off. It's like the honeymoon rush, but the tired days of August will bring a truer appreciation of this show -- the beauty will have faded.
Don't let that happen. Fix the show now, before the beauty fades.
Back to the Video. Frog Hospital readers have indulged me -- bellyaching for three consecutive issues about the Fishtown art show, and most of you don't live around here so it doesn't matter, and everyone else who has seen the show thinks I'm wrong.
So, let's go back to the Ronald Reagan video. It's really good. I have been making great progress in this new medium. Learning to speak -- mumbling a few of the lines, but that's all right. Getting the light right -- I shot this one in partial shade in the park in Anacortes. Practicing my lines -- what I said I spoke out loud two times before I turned the camera on. Keeping a good pace to it, with changes in intensity -- now light-hearted, now strong and serious, some expressive hand movement and body language. There's a strong ego present -- I love the camera and the camera loves me.
But there's a really scary part to this video -- I'm kidding, right? But am I really kidding?
Three Dreams. I am working my six part-time jobs with three dreams to guide me.
1.A little dream -- to go whalewatching. Forty years in Puget Sound and I've never seen a whale. It's time. I'm going this week.
2. A medium dream -- a kayak trip with my daughter, paddling around the islands someplace, camping under the stars. My daughter Eva is my favorite camping buddy.
3. A large dream -- I leave the Skagit Valley in October, when the weather is still good, so the parting is sweet, but a little sad. I go south for the winter, to southern California, where the roses are still blooming in January. I stay south until winter is over.
Subscriptions and Signed Copies of the Book. It used to be that you sent in $25 and did not get much more than my appreciation, but now you get a signed copy of the Frog Hospital book.
This book is a treasure that will still be worth reading ten years from now.
Send a check for $25 to Fred Owens, Box 1292, LaConner, WA 98257. Or go to the Frog Hospital blog and pay with PayPal.