The political conventions start this week.  Many speeches will be given, and we’ll have to see whether any of them stack up with the greatest speeches ever delivered.  Like Shakespeare’s speech about St. Crispin’s Day in Henry V.  Or Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Or Winston Churchill’s “we shall fight on the beaches” stemwinder during the dark days of World War II.

But as we look forward to the gatherings of our gutsy political leaders, right and left, in this our nation’s hour of need, my thoughts turn to another famous oration — the Cowardly Lion’s remarks on “courage” prior to his first encounter with the Wizard of Oz: 


What makes a King out of a slave? Courage!

What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage!

What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage!

What makes the Sphinx the Seventh Wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage!

What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the ape in ape-ricot? What have they got that I ain’t got? (Courage)

You can say that again!

Seems particularly apt these days, doesn’t it?

Russell’s Political Artwork

The Webner House encompasses a broad range of political views, most of which (unfortunately) don’t get expressed in our blog.

But there are other ways of making your views known.  Russell has been using his tumblr account to create some interesting political pieces, along with his photographic treatments of duality in the world.  The piece accompanying this post is just one of several political commentary pieces that Russell has posted lately.  From looking at them, I think it’s safe to say that Russell is not a big fan of Mitt Romney — or, for that matter, many of the standard symbols of American consumer culture.

Whether we agree or disagree on the candidates or the presidential campaign, I think Russell’s unique artistic creations — bold and colorful, pungent and direct in their viewpoint, and rich in symbolism — are pretty darned interesting.  They also show how art can be an effective and intriguing communications medium.

We may not agree on every political topic, but I’ll always applaud the ingenuity underlying Russell’s creations.

At The Crack Of Dawn

My grandmother was an early riser.  She liked to get up “at the crack of dawn,” she said — and she passed that trait along to me.

I like being out at dawn.  There is something special about the refraction of the light at that moment and the colors that are painted as a result.  When dawn came today, the shadows seemed deeper and richer, the pastels in the sky and clouds were softer, and the grass and trees seemed especially dewy and lush.

The crack of dawn is a magical time.