The Story of Graffiti

It is not a rare occasion, when going along the street you clash with some puzzled and giant inscription. Vivid colors and intricacy lead you to stare, guessing and having a hunch what is written on the wall or building. That is the first impression people get about graffiti, embellishing their buildings. Indeed, graffiti style has emerged not long ago, but simultaneous simplicity and involute plot leave us nothing but astonishment and excitement. It is an issue of street-art culture, which signifies that modern art is not a prerogative of rich and intelligent people, but talented ones.

Graffiti is recognized as street art style that embraced outdoors of New York in 1920s. However, there are some ideas that it was only an outburst of this art, which has accomplished a long history of its development since ancient times.  As strange as it may seem, petroglyphic drawings in Egypt and Greece are likely to be the first steps towards graffiti, which were executed on statues, temples and even pyramids. They carried either religious or warning meaning. Medieval graffiti is associated with pre-Columbian America and the culture of Maya people and, in addition, Vikings in Northern Europe, who were engaged in runic writings. In Early Modern Period graffiti was left by soldiers in various parts of the world, who were eager to leave some written mark about their conquest or stay in the mission station.

All in all, at the beginning of the 20th century people faced graffiti style, which slightly differs from the modern version. Moreover, the culture of this street art style was enriched with new methods, terms, authors and, of course, ideas. A critic is also included, which features the question: are graffiti images an art or an act of vandalism? There is no doubt that most of the authors (so-called writers) strived for expressing own social and political perception, but it did not obstructed to make images (tags) alerting and well-performed. Mainly, they were observed on the streets of American cities, where young people “imprinted” their dissatisfaction with the President or certain politicians.

Many tags were created in order to point out musical preferences. For example, the most prominent tag of the 20th century is “Clapton is God”, which appeared in Islington station (London subway) in 1967. In this way fans of rock-musician supported the release of his new album “Bluesbreakers” and the rock-n-roll culture.  The decades of 1970s and 1980s are a period of protesting punk rock movement. Especially, it covered streets of Manhattan, where the most visible tag was an upside-down martini glass – a symbol of Missing Foundation (punk group of 1984-1992). By the way, Manhattan is also a native place of the first recognized graffiti writer – TAKI 183; his tags were all over NYC, pointing his name (Taki is simplified from Demetrius) and address (183rd street).

To date, lots of countries have admirable and talented writers, which decorate both their native streets and make great tags in different parts of the world. Some cases might be underlined. Miss Van started with painting incredible dolls on Toulouse streets and nowadays moved to Spain, sharing her art with fashion industry (Fornarina collection, particularly). Banksy is the most well-paid and the most mysterious painter of modernity. He hides real identity behind the pseudonym of Bansky and paintings criticizing politics. He alerts an attention with his nihilism and anti-capitalism views, which only encourage people to attend his gallery exhibitions all over the world.

Stuck at the Denver airport

So I suppose its not that bad, it’s not snowing here or in Boston either and i don’t have to sleep at the airport but chicagos is delayed so my pilot is late. I left at noon in LA and will be in boston at two-thirty in the morning.  After which It being christmas eve and everything, i will have to go spend time with my girlfriend and her family.  This is normally fine except for the fact that I will be drop dead tired and perhaps slightly offensive with my disinterest.

After that though will be a some time to relax at my moms and then at the cape, the most relaxing of all…

I was lamenting the work ethic of americans a moment ago becuase no one gives us any credit for being the hardest working people outside of asia.  I’m taking a week off and so I will get paid for three weeks instead of three and will need to subsidize my rent.  Even If I were a salaried worker, I would christmas day and newyears day off and the rest would have to be vacation days out of the ten or twenty given to most each year.  The average person in Europe works 30 hours a week and shuts down every afternoon for two hours to take lunch and a nap.  I would say that the average United state’s citizen works about double that and clocks out for lunch.

These stats are not totally accurate but the idea is spot on.  If you were to tell someone in Spain for example that you work 15 hours a day, every day, with health benifits that couldn’t cover a cold, they would consider it inconceivable and possibly criminal.  I would argue that it is a conflict in our constitution, albeit a debatable one.  One could see this hard work as cruel and unusual punishment for being poor or unintelligent but it is a necessary path for people in the pursuit of happyness.  And they are working like this to make other people happy, generally their families.

Suggestions?

Federally mandated paid vacations, even for hourly workers?

Tax Breaks for people working more than 40hrs a week?

This country was built on people willing to sacrifice their lives’ work to provide a better environment for following generations.  How are we not at a point where driven hard working people can have a few minutes of free time?

This began as a reflecting on my last six months of work and how hard it is to clock 50hrs a week and be tired all the time but now I see that it’s not about me, It’s about the people really stuggling to make ends meet because they are stronger than me and I don’t know how they do it decade after decade.

To the people whose shoulders’ we stand on!

Year in Photos

Some pics from my life this past year.  More to come…

Boston

Boston

Upstate NY

Upstate NY

 

My Old Car

My Old Car

 

My Dog

My Dog

 

Thornden park

Thornden park

The Road West

The Road West

stock-market-the-ride-l

Election Results

Election Results

LA Peoples

LA Peoples

Hollywood Clouds

Hollywood Clouds

LA

LA

Beverly Hills Tree

Beverly Hills Tree

Boston College Pics

Some taken by me, some from unknown sources
Lookin up

Lookin up

 

Babst--The silent library

Babst--The silent library

 

Gasson

Gasson

 

 

My old apt on Braemore Rd

My old apt on Braemore Rd

The Red Sox Win…for the first time

Flipped and burning cars, riot cops on horses, shotguns and teargas…

Boylston St

Boylston StSome kind of gas fired into the crowd

Ready for rabblerousers

Ready for rabblerousers

Man vs Wild

I grew up in the city. I was born on Beacon Hill and when I was five we moved to Brookline on the edge of Fenway Park.  When I was thirteen, it was a good time for me and my friends to go down to the combat zone and buy fireworks in an underground store that also sold live animals and swords. I went to a high school located at Dartmouth and commonwealth in Copley Square. I had soccer practice by the waterfront and basketball in the North End.  I have been mugged and in street fights and know my way intimately around the downtown alleys and Roxbury housing projects. Until I went to college I lived within a few blocks of the Longwood medical district and as a result could not hear sirens unless someone else pointed them out.  Occasionally someone would ask how I dealt with the noise and I would always reply, “What sirens?”. This is city life, loud and sometimes dangerous.

            I have also been going to a family estate in Cape Cod my entire life. My family bought an oblong twenty acre island in Buzzards Bay in 1872 and made it their vacation home.  There are three houses there now that were built around 1900 and the rest of the place is secondary growth forest surrounded by a nature conservatory.

            It takes an hour to get there from Boston and I go whenever I can.  Perhaps it is because I can never hear silence where I live, but then again waves are not silent either.  I’ve learned to bring what I need so I don’t have to drive into a town that closes at ten. This lack of irritating or unpleasant noise tips my mental balance towards sanity.

 The distance is not a problem for me, driving is not particularly unpleasant though I am dependant on it.  Cars are too important for most people though because they need these expensive things to get to work. People can’t afford to live in the city but they have to work there and in many cases public transportation is not really an option. It reminds me of the aliens looking down on earth and deducing that the car is the dominant life form.

Ultimately the city and the technology that has arisen from it does not make our life easier, it just makes some of us live longer, more stressful lives.

Boozin College

The most dangerous aspect of college drinking should be the focus of prevention strategies.  I think the foremost goal should be not necessarily a reduction in college drinking but a reduction in the number of these drinkers who endanger themselves or others by drinking in an irresponsible manner.[1]  This is particularly important in the long run because binge drinking and other alcohol abuse makes it more likely to become an alcoholic or addict later in life. 

Trying to prevent alcohol from possession by underage students is in practice a waste of time.  Punishments or legal measures for such offenses are important because they show that the establishment stands behind the law, but do not prevent the flow of alcohol.  In this particular case it should be recognized that attacking the supply is useless because of the legality and general acceptance of underage drinking.  In most cases, a reasonable person does not object to people over the age of eighteen drinking responsibly.  The most compelling argument for me is the fact that when an American citizen turns eighteen, we can vote, go to war, be tried as an adult, but are not allowed to participate in one of the most popular adult activities.  We should also think about the situation in this country in relation to the situation in other first world countries.[2]  Considering that alcoholism rates in Europe are much lower and so is the drinking age, as well as the idea that alcohol is less likely to be abused when its consumption is not a novelty, we can conclude that focusing on responsible drinking is the best general strategy to reduce the overall harm, regardless of age. 

            Education is important but taking a hard line approach when presenting the facts can undermine the intended statement.  Since many college students think they should be allowed to drink, they may disregard a message that prescribes prohibition for people under twenty-one.  Providing a course to educate freshmen seems like an excellent idea as long as the emphasis is on responsible and safe drinking.  It should be a given that freshmen have the choice to drink alcohol.  These courses should also be mandatory instead of a form of punishment for violating the rules regarding alcohol.  Classes that are required as part of punishment are also less likely to be effective because they do not generally cover a large amount of material and students generally just have to attend to fulfill the requirement.  A mandatory class with grades and credit, not unlike this one, would be a way to make sure that everyone is aware of the dangers, even if they choose to ignore them.

            Proper education about the nature of alcohol should also be provided before college and most people do have some drug and alcohol programs in high school and middle school.  Experimentation should also be encouraged to a certain point.  This is not to say that parents should give their kids alcohol and tell them to have a good time but if a teenager is curious about alcohol, they should be allowed to try it.  I think that knowing the effects of alcohol before entering a college drinking situation would be very beneficial.  Quite often alcohol poisoning is a result of someone who didn’t know what effect a certain amount of alcohol would have on them.  A very important aspect of any education program should include the warning signs of alcohol poisoning.[3]  Sanctioned, supervised alcohol consumption during high school and college would also normalize the drinking situation to a great extent.  For many people, drinking would become less of a thrilling pastime and more of a normal event.  For example, I have spent a good amount of time at Mcgill and at the parties there everyone is drinking but generally not overboard and is certainly nothing compared to American schools.  One possible reason for this is a tradition that professors have a dinner with groups of new students, wine is served and the students can have an example early on in their college career of how to drink in a responsible manner.

            Beyond education, there are several things that could be done with regards to student living arrangements and sanctions associated with underage and/or irresponsible drinking.  The first and most important thing is to make sure that if someone gets in trouble, they can be helped as quickly as possible.  In order for this to happen, people can not be afraid to ask for help.[4]  The possible sanctions one might face when calling the police or ambulance for a sick friend should not be such that someone might hesitate to react the way they should.  BC has done a good job concerning this risk because generally when an underage person is caught drunk, they are given the choice of a jail cell or the infirmary.   Another thing the school could do would be to encourage RAs to be more aware, if not involved, with the activities of the students.  Students shouldn’t be worried about being “busted” by the RA because then we have an US vs. THEM mentality which may stop some of the alcohol coming in but does not make for an effective prevention technique.  An RA should overlook moderate drinking in order to create an atmosphere of trust and so if a serious problem arises, it can be dealt with more effectively.  Sanctions should be given mainly as a way to recognize warning signs for an individual.  The college is certainly concerned with the health of their students and so with a certain number of alcohol related sanctions, someone should tell the student they may have a drinking problem and have recovery options should they need it.

            I think we should lower the drinking age despite the fact that the earlier a person starts drinking, the more likely they are to become alcoholics.  The benefits of a more responsible drinking population would outweigh the potential downsides.  Destroying the novelty of alcohol consumption would greatly reduce the amount of abusive drinking.  With the drinking age at twenty-one, it is important to focus to moderation and treatment rather than prohibition and punishment

 


Boozehound

I’m not a bum, or a hobo, or a drunk, or any of the archaic and condescending terms I am pointed out to be. Nor am I homeless; I live in Copley Square, and I am an educated man. Now, the word drunk could aptly be applied to me most of the time, but I prefer the word boozehound because it shows me an ironic picture of dogs barking to a bell. Not that I am in a state of denial about alcoholism or the degree to which I am addicted to various substances. But as you can see I can still be apparently intelligent and genuinely eloquent. I live in the square with other tribes of miscreants and exiles, with most of whom I have a good rapport. I am of course most comfortable with the other boozehounds but I still slide into other circles when a change in monotony is needed.
I have said that I am an educated man and while I am not a braggart, it would seem confusing if I did not elaborate. I am educated because I keep a respectable pair of clothes for the purpose of going indoors. Given this freedom to go inside without coming out quickly, I have taken to living in the Boston Public Library and on days like this it is a sanctuary without equal. While others are relegated to sitting on subway vents, I look with a grand view of Trinity church, my favorite place to sleep and stare at through the window on cold days. It never fails to amaze me that such a place exists, that it is free and that it contains the lives of so many.
I like ravers the best because they have hope, which is both refreshing to see and provides for a type of conversation that can include things unrelated to destruction. This is because they have an idealistic view of drugs in general, a ridiculous notion to begin with, but I have mentioned before that they have hope. Almost universally the speaking among the hoodrats concerns hot cars or shiny acquisitions, but sometime the talk turns to music and more importantly the specifics that are worthy of sophisticated critics. The punks appear to have a deep consciousness but they are really lost exiles from a land of which they still wish to be a part. The skaters are monks perfecting massive skill in minute movements. They tend to their worship in a grand display of ceremonial recklessness. These are the major groups today and we all huddle under the trees looking for a way to be warm.
It is now the worst time of the year in the square with the jet stream descending, freezing the dripping noses of the daywalkers. The jet stream as I should explain is the wind blowing from the east off the ocean and tunneling through the lines of streets stretching from the waterfront to the back bay, where the wind is diffused by the drop in building height. The daywalkers as I should also explain are what commuters might call commuters. But they only exist in the day and they only walk while they are here.
One must eat and live with tolerable pain, so I hustle. Don’t really have a better word for that activity, but it’s pretty goddamn universally-understood, so I didn’t bother. I steal if the opportunity presents itself, I beg, I gamble, and above all I sell drugs. The circles in the square are the market and as I have mentioned, I float around fairly easily. I also buy alcohol for kids, mostly from high schools in the area but anyone with half a brain and the need can come to the city and send a boozehound on a run to the package store. They pay well and we have no compulsions sending others on the path to our reality.
I should examine my feelings concerning bravery because it is a concept central to the life of a boozehounds and myself in particular, being one of the more respected among my peers. Boozehounds are brave by nature, though some are forced into it at first. A conscious rejection of all social stature is not what a logical person decides to do simply because they see themselves as part of that structure. I am on the peripheries of the structure and as such am not concerned by much other than dependence on certain substances. Many will argue that we are most of us victims in some way, the two most common accusations being alcoholism and mental illness. I say to them that the will to live is very different than the will to live on the street. I will give an illustration of this idea because I feel my description can go no further. I will only preface by saying Jack is the embodiment of bravery.
Jack is one of the nicest people I know, homeless or otherwise. Because of his extraordinarily good natured personality, he is allowed to reside in affluent suburbs such as Brookline, where other boozehounds would normally be run out within the hour. I had a sublime picture of what Jack looks like from the face of a boy playing basketball in his large well kept driveway as we were walking by. A large black man is shuffling down the side of the manicured street pushing a can-laden Stop&Shop cart, occasionally yelling curses and hitting himself on the backside with jarring violence. I happen to know that Jack has an open invitation to one of several hospitals in the area where he could live in the comfort afforded by modern times. He feels the freedom as I do; the wanderlust and peace of being that can only be shown on the peripheries of structure.
I think I will elaborate on the condition in which I live, as I think this would be of considerable interest to the uninformed. Certainly I do not relegate myself to the Boston Public Library, and Boston has many squares like Harvard and Sullivan and Porter and so forth. Then there is also downtown and the tunnels, places I hesitate to commit the details to paper, lest the city evict the stowaways. Some may be familiar with the extensive and densely populated underground tunnels in New York because there was a quality documentary by the name of Dark Days made about the homeless community down there. Boston, however, has the oldest subway tunnel system in America and as a result there are many tunnels whose whereabouts are not even known by the city planners. Some of these tunnels have dangerous people in them and some have very amiable people living in them and it is not hard to tell the difference even at a glance because of the difference in appearance; often one can simply tell by the odor. Though perpetually damp, the old subway is the warmest place to sleep when the wind is sharp.
Looking back upon what I’ve written, I realize that I have not mentioned booze, normally the first thing that comes to a man’s mind when encountered a person such as myself. Denial is a long large river in Africa. I have said I am not in denial about drugs and the influence I feel but it is quite another thing to articulate, particularly when it might be revisited in a brief state of sobriety. I drink and abuse drugs because I like the world in altered states. I like the various pairs of eyes I have access to when I’ve had an intake. I had a place in society but I abandoned my post and I don’t miss it in the least. I don’t worry about health or death because quite simply, a man in my position doesn’t concern himself with those kinds of things. I keep myself in a state where the world is wonderful and as Hunter S. once said “I need my medicine to keep me totally twisted, otherwise I couldn’t stand this bullshit”, great writer, that Mr. Thompson. To come to my point I am content with my life as a boozehound and neither mourn nor anticipate the end of it.

The Combat Zone–Boston

                        The Combat Zone  “You want to come to Chinatown with me?”“Sure”            We started off down Boylston, Emerson on our right, the old burying ground on our left, and the grand imposing Masonic lodge directly ahead, not noticeable when not looking directly at it.            One block down and into what was once Jack’s joke shop only to be told by a decidedly unjokemanlike salesperson that Jack has hung up his whoopee cushion. Looking at the shelter across the street I became a tour guide to what once existed and remain only in my memories, residing in parts of my development that few know about.            Taking a right at the DMV I stop and stare at the former combat zone of Boston.  A skyscraper spouting condos and office space, complete with doorman and underground garage and once again I am a visiting tour guide.              There was a five story slanted building, the top floors of which being The Royal Hotel and the bottom being a sidewalk brimming with pimps and streetwalkers, addicts and dealers, and it saddens me to see a well kept granite sidewalk where they used to chill.  Why it should make me sad is a mystery because they were dangerous criminals in this red light district, violence was endemic and dried blood told gruesome stories. Perhaps it is nostalgia for a reckless youth, though I was just a witness and not a participant in that world. Maybe because I am leaving this town soon, I don’t want t to change for the better, I want to walk down the streets and see the same old things when I come back to visit.            Whatever the good, it is now an empty corner occupied by tall stones and a vacant lot destined for another skyscraper, not a hooker in sight.            I shouldn’t say the corner was unoccupied because I had a conversation with a hustler on the corner. He wasn’t out on the edge like the owner of a corner should be, he leans against the recessed corner of the condo building and as we passed so did a conversation in our eyes. He offered and I declined, I inquired as to his crew and he sadly indicated the vacuumed area.            The gangster speakeasy is now the tourist restaurant as the package store is now away from the playground and children dance on dried pools of rotgut, a policeman strolling nearby.  

Newscast for 10/30/06

Patricide

10/30/06 6:00pm

 

 

ANN:               Good evening the time is six o’clock and we start off tonight’s news with a disturbing death in Mattapan.  Brian Lee, a resident of Boston, is in custody and will be arraigned today on charges that he murdered his father. Lee will be charged in a West Roxbury court based on gruesome evidence police have found at two separate crime scenes.  A Roxbury woman has found body parts outside her home and the police have discovered the torso of an elderly man at Lee’s Mattapan home.  Neighbor Donald Barlow remembers the relationship between father and son as strained, a fact that led the father to request a restraining order from his son.

TAPE:              “He seemed a bit off…I think his father was really terrified of Brian”

ANN:               Brian Lee had been seen driving his father’s car as well as possibly disposing of evidence by friends and neighbors who are needless to say, shocked by the crime.

        

Forest Fires

10/30/06 6:00pm

 

 

ANN:               California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is visiting the fire ravished town of Twin Pines today, where firefighters are gaining an upper hand on large wildfires that have been raging for several days.  So far the blaze has killed four firefighters and left one badly burned. The fires have also destroyed more than 30 homes in the state.  Authorities say that the blaze, which has scorched over forty thousand acres so far, was set by an arsonist and at this point the police have no leads in the criminal investigation.  Despite the massive scale of the fires and the possibility of high winds, firefighters are confident they will have the blaze under control by tomorrow night.

TAPE:              “It’s the bottom of the ninth, so we want to make sure we hit it out of the park and win this thing”

         

Shell Shock

10/30/06 6:00pm

 

 

ANN:               Turning now to the Iraq War, we look at one of its most important casualties, the health of veterans.  Some soldiers come back from the war and renter civilian life with no problems, but many are still very much affected by the experiences they have had in the middle east.  Andy Wilson is one of those who still carry the war around with them.  He has post traumatic stress disorder and it has driven him to attempted suicide. He not only has problems finding work and interacting with his family, but also suffers from headaches, depression, and fatigue. There are many who feel that the military should recognize these mental problems and provide aid to veterans while others believe aid should be reserved for those with physical injuries.

TAPE:              “Maybe they should come up with some thing for us crazy guys. I don’t know. But we have wounds that we’re going to carry for the rest of our lives.”

ANN:               The response that was given to Wilson by his captain was that there is nothing wrong with him.

     

Bridgewater triangle

10/30/06 6:00pm

 

 

ANN:               In supernatural news, people are revisiting the mysteries of the Bridgewater Triangle, a part of Massachusetts known for Ghost and UFO sightings.  Stretching from Abington to Freetown to Rehoboth, the triangle’s paranormal activity is often linked to the violent takeover of the land from the Native Americans.  Some of the more interesting sightings include prehistoric fighting birds, a bear-human hybrid and a lunatic truck driver who speeds and honks his horn at everybody.  While the trucker may just be the average Massachusetts driver, many people like teacher Chris Balzano believe that the area has strong supernatural energy.

TAPE:              “I’ve seen cycles of tragedy and what might be a negative force popping up in different forms”

           

Pats and Vikings

10/30/06 6:00pm

 

 

ANN:               In sports today, the Patriots will take on the Minnesota Vikings in the Minnesota Metrodome.  The largest challenge for the Patriots will be the unfamiliarity of play in this rare appearance in Minnesota.  The dome creates a strong home field advantage and the Pats will have to be prepared for this. One of the ways they are doing this is by practicing with loud music playing and using signals instead of audible communication.  Brady and Belichick are both confident they can overcome the obstacle of very high volume.

TAPE:              “It’s all about communication… there’s a rhythm of a center when he brings his head up to snap the ball”

           

Weather

10/30/06 6:00pm

 

 

ANN:               And now for the forecast. Today will be comfortable with a high of 62 and a low of 42. It will be partly cloudy and winds will start out strong in the morning but will go down by the afternoon.  Tomorrow we will have a high of 69 and a low of 48 with plenty of sun and the possibility of more strong winds. For Wednesday we have a high of 66 and a low of 43 with clouds moving in early and a possibility of showers later that day.  All in all the week is shaping up nicely so get out and enjoy it before the Boston winter arrives.