Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sarah Palin

That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, we’re ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

Friday, September 05, 2008


My last post featured a video of an elephant painting. It is watermarked with the website of Exotic World Gifts.

In various places on their site Mark Fangue & Liz Allen talk about how the video came about. Here are a few excerpts:

“While looking for beautiful products handmade by artisans in villages needing sustainable income, we came across this refuge camp for elephants in Northern Thailand. With camcorder in hand we began to witness an elephant painting an ‘Oh my God’ image of an elephant.

"The owner/operator is a very tender hearted woman who loves the animals and feels pain when her elephant camp is unjustifiably grouped with other camps and/or individuals where animal abuse is tolerated (it does exist and our goal is to educate and help stop cruel practices). We have done research and investigation into the camp’s training techniques and we have not observed any abuse. The elephants seem happy and well cared for.”

The painter featured in the video was given the name “Hong.”

“’Hong’ and her mahout (trainer) … collaborate[d] to produce a wonderful image of an elephant holding a flower. It was amazing to see her retrace lines and add her playful personality to her work of art. She draws one or two flowers depending on her mood and when finished painting her flower, she presented [sic] a flower to a person of her choice.

“Hong is an 8 year old female who has a very curious nature and loves to investigate everything and once managed to use her trunk to open the door of a truck. This kind of curiosity made Hong a natural candidate for artistic instruction. She has so much control and dexterity with her trunk which allows her to create more advanced realistic paintings ... and only started painting 2 years ago. [ellipsis in original] I had the pleasure of rewarding Hong with many bananas and sugar cane after she finished her painting that appeared in our video.”

This barely begins to answer my questions. More posts to come.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

the elephant artist

This video of an elephant painting a representative figure - a self-portrait? – is beyond amazing. It is a beautifully choreographed performance, never boring, often suspenseful, playing itself out over the course of the 8 1/2 minute video (there are some edits, it looks like) in a way that holds the attention all the way to the end, the end providing both surprise and satisfaction. I have watched it a few times, captivated each time.

I would like to know much more about the context of this elephant painting.

Who is this elephant?

Her name is Hong. She is 8 years old.

(More in my next post.)