Drawing Attention … January 13th, 2021

Desert Skies

(tap the picture to see the video)

Music:  Desert Skies from the album “Let”  by Jonathan Richard Cring

Click here to visit the ClazzyArtShoppe on Etsy!

 

Drawing Attention … December 30th, 2020

Crazy Clazzy Trees

(tap the picture to see the video)

Music:  Largo from “Winter” from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi

Click here to visit Clazzy Art website!

Selections from Mr. Kringle’s Tales: Mr. Kringle Visits the President

In a variation on “From the Stacks,” I have decided to offer you, between now and Christmas, a few of Jonathan’s stories from one of his most popular books:

Mr. Kringle’s Tales: 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas


Mr. Kringle Visits the President

On December 20th, 1862, Abraham Lincoln was sitting in his office alone, deliberating the fate of young men he had sent to a war not of his making. He was interrupted by a knock on the door.

“Is that you, Mr. Hay?” he asked without budging from his chair.

“It is not Mr. Hay.” The voice said no more.

Abraham stood to his feet and creaked toward the door. Opening it, he gazed at a man with a smoky-white beard, stovepipe hat, dressed in the uniform of a colonel in the Union army. “I have two questions for you, Colonel,” said Abe. “Who are you and how did you get past my aide?”

“He became distracted by an urgent personal need which called him to the water closet,” responded the courtly colonel.

“Well, that answers one.”

“For the other answer, I think we should both sit down, sir.”

“I am always of a mind to put more pressure on my backside than my feet,” Mr. Lincoln smiled, motioning to a chair for his guest and heading for one himself.

The distinguished colonel sat, drew a breath, and began. “Mr. President, I am Kris Kringle.”

“Dutch or German?”

“Very.”

“Well, Colonel Kringle, you are honored with a fine name.”

“I am not a colonel.”

“Then you are in danger of being shot for impersonating one. Have you come to assassinate me?”

“Heavens, no. I have come to see you on behalf of the children.”

“Children? Are you a father?”

“Many children, I hope. Some are black.”

“A plantation owner?”

“No. A toyshop.”

“Mr. Kringle, I am not partial to riddles unless they are of my own making.”

“Then let me speak plainly. I am Santa Claus.”

“A little too plainly, dear sir. I must ask you to leave.”

“I know it is hard to believe. But sir, you are a man of great hope and faith. Stretch that belief for a few moments.”

“Speak on. You have until my aide returns to throw you out.”

Kris fidgeted in his chair, not sure what he had expected, but definitely discouraged by this beginning. “I have received words, letters and heard the prayers of black children across the South. They asked me for a Christmas gift — liberty.”

“That is why we are fighting this horrible war. Are you some sort of abolitionist-soothsayer?” Lincoln was perturbed.

“I am what I am, which I declared myself to be. I know you have a proclamation you are about to make law.”

“This is common knowledge.”

“I also know you are reconsidering your decision because people are putting pressure on you to keep slavery out of the issue.”

Abraham sat straighter, cleared his throat, and said, “Go on.”

“Freed children make productive men and women — the kind that build nations.”

“Maybe they would be happier back home in Africa.”

“These children are home. This is their land. They were born here. It is their dream. It is their hope. It is the land where they ask me to come and bring them presents. They are you and you are them.”

Lincoln probed the rotund stranger for a glimmer of sanity. Satisfied, he asked, “Well, Santa Claus, if you are, what should this old President do?”

“Be Santa Claus to a whole race of children. Give them what they deserve this Christmas — freedom. They’ve been good They have suffered quietly. It is time to let them run and play.”

Mr. Lincoln’s eyes welled with tears as he nodded his head. Kris Kringle stood to leave. Empty of words, he headed for the door.

“Mr. Claus,” Lincoln called, “what do I get for Christmas?” Abe’s eyes twinkled in the fading light.

“What do you want?”

“I fancy that stove-pipe hat on your head, dear sir.”

“It is yours.” Kris strolled over and handed it to the President.

“Is it magic?” Lincoln pursued.

“Everything has its moment of magic,” Kris chuckled.

Lincoln smiled. “The children will have their Christmas, Mr. Kringle.” He then turned away and stared out the window as Mr. Kringle vanished.

***

On January 1st, 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared the Emancipation Proclamation to be the law of the land, freeing the slaves.

***

In the spring of 1865, while riding a horse near enemy lines, President Lincoln was shot at by a sniper, the bullet passing cleanly through his stovepipe hat, leaving him unharmed.

Afterward

I wrote this story in 2004 as part of a collection. There are twenty-six stories (hence the title!)

If it intrigues you, go ahead and purchase a copy of the book. It’s on Amazon. Just click the title below.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales: 26 Stories ’Til Christmas

Drawing Attention … December 16th, 2020

The twentieth century avant-garde composer, John Cage, was famously impatient with music until it included natural sound, produced without the pre-conception of human beings–only planned by time and chance, so to speak.

I had a similar sensation one afternoon last week, while viewing one of my paintings as the light from the curtained window played upon it, creating streams on the work I never envisioned nor intended–but found charming and fascinating.

So I videoed it with music playing behind it–Christmas music, matter of fact.

Music: Heraldation from “Have Yourself a Clazzy Little Christmas”

by Jonathan Richard Cring


I had an identical experience several months ago, viewing my John the Baptist painting with a beam of light creating a jagged scar on his face. It was such a powerful image that I debated painting the scar onto his face. I still might. What do you think?

 

Selections from Mr. Kringle’s Tales: A Miracle for Elf Randy

In a variation on “From the Stacks,” I have decided to offer you, between now and Christmas, a few of Jonathan’s stories from one of his most popular books:

Mr. Kringle’s Tales: 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Not that many people can write “funny,” but it was one of Jonathan’s gifts. This particular story might make you laugh out loud–a trauma of elf-sized proportion.


A Miracle for Elf Randy

The scourge of Elfdom, causing the tiniest heart to palpitate in fear—a malady so intense that the eyes bulge in abstract horror:

Tallitis—a disease leaving the once-proudly miniscule elf with swollen hands, feet, nose, ears, arms and legs, while skyrocketing the victim to a freakish FOUR FEET IN HEIGHT. Eat a bowl of four-leaf clovers and pray to be spared.

Elf Randy wasn’t so lucky.

About a month earlier, he had noticed that his little toe was larger, challenging his big toe for Top Little Piggy. A fluke, he decided. Then his left ear sprouted new length—terrifying. He had to wear a scarf and hat to disguise it.

Two days later, the nose became bulbous, the right knee a mountain and his lips ballooned to the size of inner tubes. There weren’t enough hats or scarves to disguise the disgrace.

“You have Tallitis!” screamed Elf Candy.

A tragedy.

Elf Randy was forced to live in a stable with the reindeer (because no one was quite sure if Tallitis was contagious.)

He busted out of his clothes and Mrs. Kringle had to darn him a robe made out of a used blanket from a reindeer stall.

Things were looking up—but for an elf with Tallitis, that was bad.

Doctor Ulandi risked a visit. “I’ve been thinking about Tallitis,” he said.

“Do you have a cure?” Randy was desperate.

“If the problem is big, then we need to think small. I want to try something.”

Doctor Ulandi pulled out a handful of pills. “What makes us shrink more than diet pills? Then I want you to soak in a bathtub of lemon juice, read a story by Edgar Allen Poe, drink seven cups of coffee…”

“Wait! I don’t understand,” interrupted Randy.

Doctor Ulandi heaved a sigh. “You see, diet pills make you lose weight. Lemon juice causes you to pucker. The story will cause you to shrink back in fear. And the coffee will stunt your growth.”

“Will it work?”

“No,” Ulandi said. “But it will keep us occupied until you explode.”

“Explode??!”

“Just kidding,” Doctor Ulandi said innocently. “But anyway, the final step is to throw you in the washer on the hot cycle.”

“What?”

“Well, it sure shrunk my pee-jammers last week.” Ulandi smiled and frowned at the same time.

Well, of course, Elf Randy agreed to try it. He followed each step faithfully. And so, coffee-breathed and starving, he dove into the washer.

Round and round he went in the oversized contraption, an elf needing to be “Cheered” and swept by the “Tide.”

When the cycle stopped, Ulandi shouted, “Hurry! Throw him in the hot dryer on ‘whites only’!”

Finally the dryer stopped tumbling. The door was opened. Damp elf smell encompassed the room.

A leg plopped out. A tiny leg. Then another.

Randy dropped to the floor—a new pixie.

Healed.

“It’s a miracle!” he exclaimed.

Doctor Ulandi gasped. Then, regaining his composure, he proclaimed, “You are re-Elfed.”

Randy returned to shop life.

A cure for Tallitis had been found.

Doctor Ulandi submitted his findings to a medical journal. (They declined to publish due to a very tiny readership.)

Ulandi summarized the day, “Well, as they say—it all comes out in the wash!”


If the story intrigues you, go ahead and purchase a copy of the book. It’s on Amazon.

Click the title to purchase your own copy

Mr. Kringle’s Tales: 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

 

 

Drawing Attention … December 9th, 2020

Trees of Blue

(tap the picture to see the video)

Music:  Variations on a Theme by Eric Satis

performed by Blood Sweat and Tears

Click here to visit Clazzy Art website!

Living a Legendary Life … November 22nd, 2020

Slip-Slidin’ Away

If you’re intrigued with the notion of living a legendary life, you have to be aware of (and beware) slippage.

In olden times they referred to it as “backsliding”–allowing oneself to back away from principles once held dear because the temperature of the times have changed.

In the past ten years, we’ve allowed a streak of meanness to become acceptable. I’m sure this is no surprise.

But the meanness brings about a slippage in the attitudes of people toward each other–and even in the passion for life.

It’s like the proverbial rolling stone:

Those who were once merciful have slipped into being merely open-minded, leaving mercy abandoned.

The open-minded people have slipped to being generous–but only to people they know well or who are related to them.

Generous folks have backslidden to being kind–hoping that flashing a smile will suffice without having to commit to action.

And kind people, who used to think up ways to be contributors, have slipped to nice. If at all possible they will offer a pleasant countenance to the world around them–unless something odd happens.

At that point, nice people become careful. They will swear that the reason they become careful is because the world is screwed up and “you can’t trust anybody.”

And of course, careful people drop into being suspicious. They talk about animals being more trustworthy than humans.

And those who were naturally suspicious before become downright grouchy. They don’t even pretend to lead with a sweetness of spirit. It’s too risky.

And it goes without saying, there were people who were grouchy to begin with. They have become edgy–ready for a fight. Unfortunately, edgy people usually find that fight, and end up being bullies.

Bullies have become fighters and fighters are more violent.

The Republicans blame the Democrats and vice versa–but this problem of slippage did not come along with Donald Trump. Even if he exacerbated the problem, you have to admit that during the two terms of President Obama, there was a mind-boggling amount of fussing, arguing and struggling

You may consider this a “conservative” problem, or the “liberal media.”

But here’s something we all need to face:  If we’ve done everything we can do to improve our nation, our states, our cities, and there’s nothing more we can do, then perhaps it’s time for us to just work on ourselves.

Where have you slipped to?

Where have you fallen?

If even 10% of the population would raise their human effort up one notch, to the position they occupied before 2016, there would be such an improvement in the climate of this country that the other 90% would not be able to ignore it.

Now is the time to stop backsliding.

Let us lead the leaders. After all, there are no indication that government, business, education or religion is going to lead a resurgence in civil behavior.

No–it’ll be up to us. Let’s just take a look at our own slippage, and climb up one notch toward civility.

And my friends, it’s a necessary step if we’re going to lead legendary lives.

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