Author Archive

A Sound of Thunder   Leave a comment

Sound of Thunder.jpg

I’d done a series of illustrations of Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder” back in high school, which I posted here earlier.

This is a more detailed work I created while in college. I thought I ought to post it as well.

Posted May 23, 2013 by benjaminsapiens in uncategorized

St. Baldrick’s on Maine Day: Part III   Leave a comment

Wednesday was UMaine Circle K’s Third Annual St. Baldrick’s on Maine Day, and it was a pretty fantastic success.

Circle K is the Kiwanis-affiliated collegiate service organization, not the gas station.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a charity which raises awareness and funding for the fight against childhood cancer with head-shaving events like ours. Since the first heads were shaved in 2000, over $100 million dollars has been raised to support life-saving pediatric cancer research.

Maine Day has been the University of Maine’s yearly day of service and outdoor fun during the last week of classes since 1935.

We had 110 people shave their heads and we raised $12,480 to fund research for treatment of childhood cancer.

I personally was able to raise $135 thanks to the generosity of my relatives and a couple of Mom’s colleagues. All three years I’ve managed to raise more than the year before. Thanks so much to everyone who donated. And my fundraising page is here, if anyone would still like to make a donation – it’s not too late.

image

This year, we got to see firsthand just what a great cause we’ve been supporting these past three years. Five-and-a-half year old Thiago came to the event and his mom, Johanna Barrett, spoke to us about his fight with brain cancer. When it comes to treating something as terrible as cancer in a child, even the smallest advances in treatment can make a world of difference – like the new, less painful IVs that have recently been developed.

Thiago and Johanna came with Travis Blackmer, a UMaine grad student who shaved his head in honor of his young friend’s struggle with cancer. Thiago adorably helped shave Travis’ head, and then adorably helped vacuum up the cut hair piling up on the ground.

You can (and I highly recommend you do) watch Johanna, Travis and Thiago on this segment from CBS TV 5.

image

Our MC Wesley Wood interviews Travis, while Thiago shaves his friend’s
head with some help from one of our volunteer barbers.

Photo by Debbie Krupke
image

Photo by Debbie Krupke

image

Photo by Debbie Krupke

image

Photo by Debbie Krupke

image

Photo by Debbie Krupke

Walk like an Egyptian   Leave a comment

King Aspelta, Nubian Pharaoh of Kush, Napatan Period, ruled 593–568 B.C.
Nubian; Gebel Barkal, Nubia, Sudan; granite gneiss; 130 ¾ in.

Benjamin Richard, American, 1989-present

We drove to Boston to pick up Matt from his flight back from Germany last Sunday, and we made a day trip of it and visited the Museum of Fine Arts.

This would have worked so much better with Matt’s head, but his flight didn’t arrive till evening, so Mom posed instead.

I swear we treated all the other priceless works of art with much less irreverence than we displayed here. No really, we did.

BuzzFeed: Dying Iraq war veteran Tomas Young penned a letter to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War.   2 comments

Tomas Young, who was paralyzed on his fifth day of deployment in Iraq in 2004 and is now dying of complications from that injury, writes to the men who sent him to war.  (via TruthDig)

Dying Iraq war veteran Tomas Young penned a letter to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War.

Tomas Young in 2007.

Source: Body of War

image

Image by John Moore / Getty Images

image

Source: Pool / Getty Images

image

Source: Reuters

image

Source: Body of War  /  flickr

image

Source: Reuters

image

Image by Alex Wong / Getty Images

image

Source: Body of War  /  flickr

image

Image by Chris Hondros / Getty Images

image

Image by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

“The Last Letter” of Tomas Young:

 

A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

—Tomas Young

Via: TruthDig

Posted March 20, 2013 by benjaminsapiens in News, politics

Tagged with , , , , ,

Calvin and Hobbes   1 comment

yukon ho

Some fantastic person (specifically, Nite4awk, AKA freelance photographer Michael S. Den Beste) took illustrations from Calvin and Hobbes and placed the characters into some gorgeous real-life photographs.

These are simply too stupendously awesome not to share.

autumn treehouse

mutant snowmen

living room

log over river

spiff

As I was admiring these things, I couldn’t help but think of ways that some of them could be improved even further, and I couldn’t resist throwing them into Photoshop and sprucing them up a little. The following were composed by Den Beste, with a few small embellishments added by myself. Full credit for these belongs to him (and of course to Bill Watterson for drawing the comic in the first place).

snow art

Added color to the comic panels and shadows to the snowmen.

giant city

Added fire and smoke in Giant Calvin’s wake.

tracer bullet

Faded the smoke wafting away from the cigarette.

wagon pond

Added reflections in the water for the cartoons.

You can see all of Nite4awk’s Calvin and Hobbes images in this gallery, including a few others I didn’t post here. He also has a blog where he’ll hopefully be posting more of these in the future.

Snow   Leave a comment

What is it about a snowfall that makes the world so silent?

It’s because every living thing that might otherwise be making noise is hunkered down until the air is clear again. The birds are all silent. Can it really just be the absence of their songs that makes such an eerie hush?

The air pump in my old fish tank was obnoxiously loud, but when it ran every second of every day, its buzzing was nothing – until it was turned off, and the silence was deafening.

Posted February 11, 2013 by benjaminsapiens in photography

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

The Maine Labor Mural is now on display in the Maine State Museum   Leave a comment

Maine Labor Mural - Clarke Canfield, AP

Clarke Canfield, AP

Maine Labor Mural - Andy Molloy, Kennebec Journal

Andy Molloy, Kennebec Journal

Five years ago, in 2008, Maine artist Judy Taylor completed a 36-foot, eleven-panel mural depicting the history of labor in our state, which was then displayed in the lobby of the Maine Department of Labor in Augusta.

And there it sat until March 2011, when our blustering illustrious governor decided he didn’t like its pro-labor message and had taken from the walls of the Labor Department.

Gov. LePage received an anonymous letter signed by a “secret admirer” who sputtered in outrage at the presence of pro-union, Communist North Korean-style propaganda adorning the walls of a government building. This right-wing mouth-breather’s heartfelt plea for the state government to embrace reactionary anti-union paranoia resonated with LePage’s “Solidarity for Businesses and the People Who Own Them” agenda, and thus Dear Leader declared the mural objectum non grata in the very building it was commissioned to adorn.

It was a nasty if pathetically impotent attack on the labor movement, and it seriously pissed off quite a lot of Mainers.

Of course, it ended up backfiring completely on LePage: he made himself look like an obnoxious, bullying despot, the issue became a distraction for his administration and a rallying point for his detractors, and the mural became famous, celebrated – beloved, even – and is now prominently displayed in the Maine State Museum.

Bangor Daily News: Labor mural unveiled at new home, the Maine State Museum in Augusta

By Matthew Stone

AUGUSTA, Maine — Nearly two years after Gov. Paul LePage had a mural depicting Maine labor history removed from the lobby of the Department of Labor building, the artwork resurfaced Monday at its new home: the Maine State Museum.

Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette and Maine State Museum Director Bernard Fishman unveiled the Maine Labor History Mural in the atrium ofthe state Cultural Building in Augusta, which houses the museum, the Maine State Library and the Maine State Archives.

The Department of Labor has loaned the mural to the Maine State Museum for three years. Fishman, the museum’s director, said Monday that museum staff and others would work to find the artwork a permanent home during that period. The mural’s final home might be the museum, he said, but that would require some renovation.

“The murals, when they first came to public attention, were only contemporary art in a functional office,” Fishman said. “And after their removal became a public issue, they became historic in their own right. They recall and commemorate the past, but they also remind us of the power of art to stir thought and to stir feelings.”

This is a satisfying victory, and even if the  resolution is quiet and a bit undramatic, it’s a wonderful outcome. LePage failed, and the things he attacked came out stronger. It still doesn’t make up for that fact a bullying little puke is our governor, but it’s a nice offset to the damage he’s done to our state.

Maine Labor Mural

Maine Labor Mural 2