What Do I Think Of Remembrance Day

My father went to war, signal corp in France, it was either that or ride the rails and be a criminal like his big brother, my Uncle Harvey
The Depression handed out hard choices.
My war, as they say, was Vietnam, even though I’m Canadian, friends of mine like Al Garret left shortly after art school to the U.S. to join up to spend the rest of his life suffering from agent orange exposure.
Most of my friends were Americans in Canada avoiding the draft.
So we are to honour those who were drafted, or coerced economically, then told to kill or they would be shot, and were shot anyway.
They had their personalities torn down and built up again as mass murderers during their basic training.
Many that survived committed suicide or became Hell’s Angels according to Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
My Uncle Stan came back with his war bride, worked in a diesel shop for the trains for the rest of his life, in the same house, full of shame secrets and psychopath kids.
My family history is a long one of Scottish peasant cannon fodder in the British front lines, the first in, the first to die. That’s what peasant farmers are for.
Still are.
Do I honour their ‘sacrifice for freedom’.
Is that what the propagandists are calling it these days.
They were bullied and victimized and taken advantage of.
I am sorry for their loss.

The Problem Isn’t Their Narcissism

The problem isn’t the narc. The problem happens when I believe, without evidence, that I must have love. Then I can be recruited by love bombing, then manipulated by guilt fear obligation. If it’s a religion or a cult or a relationship of any kind, it doesn’t matter, because when I say I highly prefer to have love, but I don’t HAVE to, then I am loving me, and not dependent on others. It’s nice to have, but it’s not fatal, even though uncomfortable to not have it at (trigger) times. I can seek others to love me (healthily), I can focus on hobbies and other pleasurable pursuits, I can work on accepting myself without condition. I am in an adult with adult responsibilities relationship with myself. This is really helpful when the inevitable smear campaign makes for a quieter social life.

Love Art Loss

Dealing with loss is life skill
Ask the question: What good can I make of this?
I have lost much
I have gained skills
Art is the loss of the cherished desire, the failure to create that perfect hologram in my imagination with some media, and saying ok, what good can I make of this, this image that is now presenting itself to me on my canvas that doesn’t look at all like I imagined it.. Picasso said, start with an idea, and then see where it goes. Embrace your skill at losing the idea. Embracing your skill at asking what good can I make of this. Embrace the birth of something new, not planned.
This is the therapy of art therapy.
This is the joy of life, the satisfaction of discovery, of that which is just behind the veil.

A radio talk show with a Professor of cognitive therapy, and the subject was loneliness. Loneliness is created by the lie that no one loves me. I love me.
Connection with another is a choice. They don’t have to be in the same room to feel connected.
Love is a choice.
I love the characteristics of you that I find loveable, simply because I choose to find that satisfying.
You cannot create that, or make it stop. 
This our god-like power to love unconditionally, the power of free will and choice.

D-Day veteran, Dunkirk survivor Ken Sturdy dies at 98

Things My Fathers Untaught Me

I grew up having lost my parents.  My biological father, a coal miner lung cancer victim, died when I was age 2. My mother, a victim of early childhood sexual abuse, the national sport of Newfoundland, retreated from the world after my father’s passing, into agoraphobia and narcissism, self medicating with cigarettes and food. The only care she reached out for was the medical treatment received for self inflicted disease. Three time cancer survivor, she died at 68 during heart disease related surgery. Dr. David Burns in his book Feeling Good the New Mood Therapy,  lists the many common cognitive distortions, lies that we tell ourselves, I was taught, that create anxiety and depression. These are an adaptation of Dr. Albert Ellis’s work, which addresses elegantly the underlying causes of anxiety and depression: the philosophy and demands of conditional acceptance of self, others, and life’s random events. These are an adaptation of the philosophies of Epicureanism and Buddhism  turned into a psychotherapy by Ellis. Not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater, Ellis was an atheist who called Buddhism the best of a bad lot. In the process of my deprogramming from the harmful philosophies of my biological home, I began to gather up aphorisms, that have become my wealth and my protection. This process started early, as soon as I could read, as I lived in the library, a physical sanctuary from the bully children of the fascists of the working class neighborhood. I became adept at the logistics of abuse evasion, which actually turned into a career in logistics, a day gig to support my art.

 

Masturbation Is Normal.  Everything a Boy Needs to Know About Sex. Author Unknown. That was a book brought home from the library. It was allowed because it relieved my biological mother from the anxiety of explaining a subject she thought was ‘dirty’.

 

 

 

All Sex is Masturbation. Sex is Choosing Who We Socialize Our Masturbation With. a sex therapy book, title and author unknown.

 

 

 

Even Hitler Liked Dogs Albert Ellis talking about how no person is ALL bad,  Humans are too complicated to be labelled. This of course includes self downing.

 

 

 

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. Isaac Asimov I have never been in a physical fight. I’ve been beaten several times in the course of being assertive. 

 

 

 

If you want to learn self defense, learn how to run. 

 

 

 

Blackstock! Mix something with that paint! Any idiot can paint straight out of the tube!   Richard Halliday – first year drawing prof at ACAD.

 

As more of these aphorisms present themselves to my mind, I will be adding as I go along. Check back often.

What Do I Think About Arts Commons?

I’m 65 now. A former artist run centre administrator/artist. An art educator. A semi-pro musician. A  recent stroke survivor. Lifelong member of the Liberal Party of Canada and past member of it’s policy committee. A lifelong resident of Calgary’s inner city where I grew up virtually orphaned on its streets, my so called (very conservative) family moving here after my father was abandoned by Cominco for receiving his diagnosis of terminal black lung.

I once told Preston Manning that I owed his father, former Premier Manning, who preached the gospel on radio every Sunday in our ‘home’ a debt of gratitude. His government’s mean spirited, penny pinching welfare that I grew up on, made me a lifelong socialist and advocate of guaranteed annual income and education, the silver bullets that solve poverty, crime and health issues in global society.

I still feel rage at the hypocrisy of the self serving conservative Christian misusing the very cool teachings of their gospel for their own selfish  economic agenda. The same fear of ‘others taking what is mine’ justification that they use to embrace nationalism as opposed to globalization.  Buy locally is a conservative agenda, disregarding that their Christ would see that the guy in India needs to feed his family too. Fuck the pakis, fuck the Jews and fuck those faggot cocksuckers too, in the language of my conservative ‘home’, the streets of Calgary.

I accept that these expressions have also been business as usual with the Catholic Church, for centuries, as they plan ahead in terms of centuries. On an individual basis the using of altar boys for the pleasure of the priests has the same lack of empathy as their global policy of using women as breeding stock to make more straight Catholic men.

The current far right in today’s political climate, locally and internationally, claims a lot of allegiance to the Catholic Church. The head of the Alberta conservative party that was parachuted in from the federal party for example.
My former wife, upon graduation from law school in Calgary, promptly divorced her aspiring artist liberal husband, joined the Catholic church, and joined the conservative party of Alberta, in order to have a career.  She was rewarded with a position with Alberta Health fighting the unions, which she knew intimately since her father was a union auto worker/organizer in Windsor Ontario.

I solicited her and everybody I ever knew for my gofundme when I was hospitalized  recently and needed money for a place to live. She donated a niggardly amount, but refused to do it publicly, since caring for me might be suspicious I assume. I suppose I am on some list somewhere.

After the divorce, I eventually got to art school and then further qualifications to educate adults, and got gigs doing that at ACAD and Mount Royal University.  I was hired at ACAD to do professional development for public school art teachers, a 3 day studio gig, where they could study drawing and painting using the basic methods artists have used for 800 years to train each other; observation of the figure using a model and still life composition.
Arts Commons then hired me to further professionally develop the art teachers from the Catholic schools on site at Arts Commons. The model was not allowed as a subject to study, only coursework lending itself to abstraction please and thank you. Conservatives love abstraction, because it is historically spiritual based, I suppose, (Kandinsky and Malevich the white Christian mystics) and it is non-confrontational over their couch.  Also a staff member from arts commons was in the room at all times to monitor, I suppose, the conversation.
This was 20 years ago.

My colleagues at the artist run centres have always programmed at the window spaces of Arts Commons during this 20 years. I have been of 2 minds, supporting the emerging artists and disgust for the venue and its conservative programming and agenda.
Lately the artist run centres have pulled out, and while I don’t know the details, I did get a letter that said:
“Ultimately, our organizations strive to create spaces and opportunities in the arts that work towards more equitable and inclusive futures. At this time, Arts Commons has been unable to support us in these aspirations.”
In other words they got told to follow the Catholic agenda or fuck off.
Apparently Arts Commons hosted some fascist speaker, Canadian Art Magazine posted a link,
concerns about a Jordan Peterson lecture at Arts Commons ,
and arts Commons are taking the usual bully route of saying their free speech is under attack as cover to censure the programming in its windows which doesn’t comply with its Catholic agenda.
I hope this upheaval provides opportunity for new exciting venues for the artists but I am not hopeful for the traditional brick and mortar. There is an old European adage, taught to me by a German dance teacher I once had, “whoever controls the money, controls the art”, meaning that the money controls the message.
For me, personally and professionally, I embrace the internet as a way to circumvent the gatekeepers of the conservative gallery system who aspire to control even my very non confrontational art.
As a white straight male, a new senior, and a former lover of painting flowers, and currently street photo, I see no place for my work in the conversation of inclusion which is the battleground of the artist run centre.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t lend my voice in support, especially in support against fascism.
I invite them to join me on the net and take their work global in some manner that they will create for themselves, and control their own art, and message.

 

“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” – Mark Twain

He was one of my fathers, along with John Steinbeck, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Auguste Rodin who taught me atheism, science, creativity and rationality while I was a self raised street orphan cringing in the sanctuary of safety in the library.  Later, when I was in trouble it was Albert Ellis with his philosophy and psychotherapy who reached out from his writings. Recently an anxious and hostile 12 step guy at the gym was telling me evidence based psychology didn’t work, based on the evidence of my 30 year cure and recovery from anxiety and depression with its corresponding distractions of drugs, alcohol and religion. I just had to laugh out loud. He ceased to intrude on me with his testaments. Also, a very conservative couple who failed to have a rational discussion with me about policies, just spewing hate towards liberals, were working out on stationary bikes, grimly pedalling away in unison. It occured that’s how they made love, and these were their orgasm faces. I laughed and laughed….

Disputing The Nonsense In My Head

One way of disputing the nonsense in my head:
I must do well and be liked or I am no good.
So.
I had a stroke, lost a source of income, a house, a car, and a cat, and I’ve never been really popular so I don’t have visitors, well very few. So my self worth because it’s being measured by achievement and popularity is in the dumps
Dispute.
I had a stroke, why can’t I have random things happen?
Lost a source of income, got another one, more reliable
A home, got a better one more modern convenient cheaper
A car, I have alternate transportation, and am working on getting another car, medically legally authorized to drive again, dumped a huge debt load
And a cat, ya I miss the cat, he has a good home, I gained a roomie I choose to care about.
And I’ve never been really popular so I don’t have hospital or home visitors, well, very few.
Now I get out to the gym and make new friends, nicer ones. Value my internet friends, and professional colleagues who contributed to a gofundme.

So my self worth because it’s being measured by achievement and popularity was in the dumps.
Now I prefer to call it satisfaction with goals met and making friends by talking to strangers and asking for what I want. It’s fun
By calling myself names I created a depression, I did, no one else.
Calling myself names has had the following sub belief consequences:
I must have love and approval from everybody.
I need someone to love me.
I must not do anything that would cause others to think less of me.
I must be competent and successful.
I must have an important skill or talent.
I must successfully avoid unpleasant or undesirable situations.
Unpleasant and undesirable situations upset me.
I can’t control my emotions in difficult situations.
I must avoid dangerous or life-threatening situations.
If I do encounter such situations, I must worry about them to make them go away.
I must think, feel and act the same as I always have.
My past has such a strong influence on me that I cannot change.
I must find order, certainty, and predictability in life.
If I don’t find these things, I cannot feel comfortable or act competently.
I must depend on other people because I can’t depend on myself.
I must rely on superstition and religion especially in difficult times.
I must understand the secrets of the universe.
I cannot be happy unless I understand the nature and secrets of the universe.
I must rate myself as either “good” and “worthy,” or “bad” and “worthless.”
To be “good,” and “worthy,” I must be competent, successful and popular.
If I am not competent, successful or popular then I am “bad” and “worthless.”
I must never feel depressed, anxious or enraged.
Along with these self created vulnerabilities I have created the following emotional consequences with these beliefs:
Depression
Anxiety and/or panic
Self Downing
And I have created the following behavioral consequences:
Risk-avoidance
Shyness
Procrastination
Unassertiveness
Workaholism
So. That’s fucked up.
Ok then. Better dispute that belief.
Is there any evidence that I am no good, and deserve to be tossed on the human junk pile because I had a stroke and sustained physical losses of mobility income and shelter? (Which I am perfectly capable of regaining?)
There is absolutely no evidence for that belief.
Do I feel that way about others who have suffered loss?
No. I feel compassion and caring, I wish to help.
After disputing what do I feel?
Concern about the future, and sad, which is motivating instead of worry and depression which is self defeating.
Also feel excitement a sense of adventure!
What self helping behaviours do I do?
Exercise, writing, rebt self help form, working on websites to sell my work, making art, talking to strangers, asking for what I want, practicing unconditional self acceptance, and unconditional other acceptance, and especially unconditional acceptance of the world and it’s random fuckeries.
Cheers
Jerald Blackstock
These references and example might be of help to others as they have been invaluable to me.
About:
http://www.rebtnetwork.org/
http://www.rebtnetwork.org/whatis.html
info:
http://www.rebtnetwork.org/library/musts.html
daily self help:
http://www.rebtnetwork.org/library/shf.html
particular beliefs:
http://www.rebtnetwork.org/library/dibs.html

I see your pain

DSC_8823
I see your pain, and I empathize. Actually I see your inconvenience, and it is the same as mine, just the details are different.
you could be any race or gender or disability or age here online, with any profile you made up. bottom line, you are your thoughts, typed out, and it is often not pretty, self pitying and hateful. that’s what I see.

Wanna Show? Hell No!

DSC_8843
I must be liked and accepted or I am no good, and it turns out that others likes and dislikes only describe them not me. Here is a response to an invite to show my work recently:
Disabled art, indigenous art, pride art, women’s art, white middle class male art, emerging art, mid career art, etc, etc. a kind of racism by any way you dress it up by extremely conservative aka fascist art sellers and historians such as yourselves.
Whatever happened to critique? What were they going for, how close did they get, how does it compare to genius in the field, how do we get them closer? What’s the curatorial theme other than physical injury or physical gender or physical age etc etc.
You are offering me a disabled show because I had a stroke, so you may use me to signal your virtue. To print, frame and transport a show it would cost me 10 grand for you creatures to signal your virtue, without paying artist fees or production, framing, transportation costs.
People who are marginalized are often victims of predators like you.
Let’s get back to is it a good show and why and leave my personal medical history, my age my gender and who I like to socialize my masturbation with out of it.
Oh, ya, and don’t forget to reimburse me for my costs, and my time.

The Creatures

PTSD extreme fear, stress is another name for fear, is treated by acclimating, or getting used to, similar situations. Fear is just something I’m not used to yet, or fear of the unknown. What creates it, generally, is predicting the future that it is going to be awful and terrible, words that mean death causing, without evidence. Acclimating is evidence gathering. Politicians, religionists and advertisers create fears using conspiracy theories that you are no good without the shit they are selling and can’t handle life. It’s all nonsense, based on the evidence of you are alive so you can handle life.
Had a conversation with a cab driver yesterday. It started by his suggestion that the spirit was healing me. I told him I was an atheist, because I had found in my religious studies that it increased my anxiety, this dependence on the unknown.
I said look, 10 minutes ago, we didn’t know we were going to have this conversation, and we are handling it just fine, so obviously we have great skills at handling the unknown. If there is something after we die, we will handle it, based on evidence.
If there is nothing, then it is hard to worry about nothing. Worry is a choice. The notion of an afterlife causes fear of the unknown, not the notion of nothing.
It’s a way for religionists to manipulate folks and take their money and time, using fear. I’d rather spend Sunday morning in bed with my girlfriend, but they want to manipulate me with fear obligation and guilt, F.O.G., to get me to their collection plate.
The Creatures.

Untitled-1