Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Dream-believing

The Artdog Bonus Quote of the Week 
What is the future made of? Many influences, but the best futures come into being because someone has a guiding vision to lead them forward. Where do we get our vision? We dream it. 





IMAGES:  Many thanks for these images to a great article from  QuotesHunter, "20 Inspiring Quotes about the Future." I really appreciate it!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Important to remember

The Artdog Quote of the Week
This is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and on a week in mid-January when we can use some motivational dreams to guide us into a better future, I could not imagine any quote I love more to combine these thoughts about dreams for the future.


IMAGE: Many thanks to LoveOfLifeQuotes, via Addicted2Success's "88 Iconic Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes," for this quote image. And many thanks to Dr. King for an enduring aspiration! Side note from the artist in me: After my Kwanzaa quote-searches and now this one, I really want to know how it is that so many quotes by African Americans are rendered in black-and-white. What is up with that? Don't the folks who create quote images think persons of color are colorful??

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Mining here?

The Artdog Image of Interest 
In keeping with this month's theme of working toward a better future, my Images of Interest for the rest of the month will feature amazing places in the United States that are threatened or actively under attack. As long as they continue to exist, we can still fight to save them, even if things are looking bad at the moment.


Today's image is a stunning photo of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon at sunset, chosen in response to the current administration's recent (early November) moves toward opening areas adjacent to the second-most-popular US national park for uranium mining, despite the concerns of environmental groups and local Native American groups. Local mining interests have been opposed to an Obama-era ban on such mining since it was put in place in 2012.

IMAGE: This photo appears to have originated on Shutterstock (photo by Erik Harrison), but it has migrated widely all over the Internet since it was listed in 2014 (thanks, TinEye!). I first found it on the Grand Canyon West website.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What do we value?

My theme this month is "working toward a better future." That probably is a pretty common and predictable topic at the turn of the year, when it seems as if we have a new chance to "get things right."

NOTE: every day actually is a new chance. Every hour. But many of us do tend to think about it more around New Year's.

How "right" we can get things depends in part on the cards in our hand, however. Last year at this point, for instance, certain decisions already had been made. Votes had been cast, and irrevocable changes set in motion. We dodged a few bullets in 2017, but some dies already had been cast by this time last year. In this context, I've been thinking about a pair of "takes"  on current events, by two commentators whom I respect.

Leonard Pitts, Jr., by Al Diaz, Miami Herald Staff 
The first is a recent column by the ever-perceptive Leonard Pitts, Jr., a columnist based at the Miami Herald. He wrote that "our sense of what is allowable and acceptable on the public stage, have been eroding for years, but 2017 saw the process accelerate like Usain Bolt. It was the year things that are not supposed to happen happened all day, every day."

He goes on to lay out the argument that we've come to a place in the public discourse where "anger, coarseness, political destabilization and a trickle-down nastiness [is] visible both in anecdotes and in hate-crime statistics."

But he doesn't leave it there. He's one of my favorite columnists because he always takes it to the next step. He ended his column, not with a groan of despair but with a call to action: "civil society is not something you take for granted. It’s a choice you make, a thing you have to fight for. Which will be a fitting mission for 2018 and beyond."

Resisting the tide of discord and "trickle-down nastiness" is an honorable goal, and it is our daily choice. I'd like to echo Pitts's challenge as well as respond to it in my own life. We also were treated in the last few days to another ringing call fo a better future, when Oprah Winfrey was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2018 Golden Globes. In case you haven't heard her speech, or even if you have, but want to hear it again, I've embedded a YouTube video of it here.



Even if some things look bleak as we move into 2018 and beyond, let us "maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights." Let us all affirm together we "know that a new day is on the horizon," because we are working to make it so.

Let us never lose hope, and never allow our weariness to keep us from continuing to fight for "the time when nobody ever has to say 'Me too' again," and we live in a civil society where  the dignity and value of all persons are respected, basic human rights are demanded for all, and where we cherish the well-being of this fragile globe that we call home. It's only too late if we give up on the values we hold most dear.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Jeremy Graham, Sr. on Ingrum, for the "Working towards a better future" image, and to Al Diaz and the Miami Herald for Leonard Pitts's photo, via his profile on Speakerpedia. Many thanks to CNN for the transcript of Oprah Winfrey's speech, and to NBC via YouTube for the video of Oprah's acceptance speech.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Lessons creatively applied

The Artdog Quote of the Week
My normal theme for January's quotes is "improving the future"--and this year I found so many I like, I've teamed some of them up! Today I'd like to share a pair of thoughts about lessons learned and creative challenges accepted.




IMAGES: Both of these come from a great list on QuotesHunter, "20 Inspiring Quotes about the Future."Many thanks!

Friday, January 5, 2018

A daring, creative choice

The Artdog Image of Interest 
The new year has begun, and if you're like me you've begun to think about the year to come. What new initiatives will you take on? What changes will you make? What new insights will you bring from the year just past?

I'd like to challenge you to look at things afresh, to rethink some of the areas where you may have settled into unconscious habits. To dare to make divergent, creative choices.


Can't imagine a cooler way to say it--or a more badass attitude to carry into the year to come. Be creatively bold!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Aga's Pinterest Board, via NanouBlue's Drole Pinterest Board, for this image!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Pongo faces

Last year I had occasion to look more closely than I ever had before, at orangutans (Why? Long story). I'm not generally much focused on ape species--there's a touch of the uncanny valley in my initial response. I'm more of a "dog person," in general. But on closer examination I found fascinating beauty and diversity.

Baby and mother, of the newly-identified species, Pongo tapanuliensis.

More recently, I read about the discovery of an entirely new orangutan species, Pongo tapanuliensis. It was announced in the online journal Current Biology last November. If you want a more in-depth dive into how they decided it's a separate species, here's a video abstract that lays it out well.

Pongo tapanuliensis looks to a clouded future--it is one of the most endangered ape species in the world. We've only just realized we have it--and we're already about to lose it.

But reading about Pongo tapanuliensis reminded me of my earlier research. I hope you'll enjoy this little gallery of Pongo faces, in all their marvelous variations.

With only about 800 individuals known to exist, this Pongo tapanuliensis baby has an unfortunately fraught future.
Pongo tapanuliensis may be new to us, but the other two species also deserve our regard and protection. All are endangered. All are amazing creatures.

A Sumatran Pongo abelii mother and baby find something of interest to look at, over there.
This Pongo abelii male looks to me as if he's about to say something profound. If only he could talk!
Another P. abelii male, but clearly not the same guy as the one pictured just above. I wonder what he's thinking about (probably wondering, "Who is this crazy human, and what is that contraption he's waving at me?").
A Bornean male, of the species Pongo pygmaeus, seems to have a lot on his mind.
Noisy zoo visitors prompted this reaction from a Pongo pygmaeus in an Indonesian zoo. Haven't we all felt this way at times?
Meet Mari, a Pongo pygmaeus (Bornean orangutan), with her baby. They live in a zoo in Singapore.

If you still haven't had enough wonderful orangutan faces, there's a nice collection of them on this video from The Orangutan Project, based in Australia (be aware: there's a fundraising plug at the end).




I wasn't able to find The Orangutan Project among Charity Navigator's listings, but another orangutan-devoted organization rated very high on their evaluation scale for financial integrity, accountability and transparency. It's Orangutan Foundation International, based in Los Angeles, CA. If you're inclined to donate, here's your chance.

IMAGES: Many thanks for all the wonderful Pongo faces, to: Zee News, Stuff, and The Atlanticfor first glimpses of P. tapanuliensis; to photographer Thomas Marent on Fine Art America, for the Sumatran P. abelii mother and baby; to iNaturalist and Roni Bintang's Flickr Photostream for the male P. abelii faces; and to Jason Hon of WCS and World View, for the askance-looking male P. pygmaeus, to Robertus Pudyanto, photographer, via Metro (UK), for the P. pygmaeus reacting to noisy zoo visitors, and to photographer Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty and Slate (nice article on animal personalities), for the photo of Mari and her baby. Thanks also to The Orangutan Project (AU)  via YouTube, for the video.