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Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006
12:34 pm - Browsing through folk art...


While trying to find some winter landscapes for my holiday theme, I Googled a favorite artist whose work can be found on greeting cards and calendars at this time of year...

From http://www.ceaco.com:

Linda Nelson Stocks

Linda Nelson Stocks is internationally known to lovers of Americana art. Inspired by Grandma Moses, Linda has always painted what she knows and loves. Her art is a window to a childhood spent growing up on an Illinois farm. Her own Grandma Belle was a source of endless inspiration with tales of "the good old days" of petticoats, buggy ridges and family gatherings which encouraged a world of imagination which Linda has captured in her uniquely warm and colorful art. Linda Nelson Stocks art is available on a multitude of products which include wall calendars, cards, journals, needlecraft, ceramics, limited edition prints and an array of other fine products.

I first came upon Ms. Stocks' work when I was shopping for holiday greeting cards in the late 80s. At the time I was eager to limit my cards to themes that would be neutral for my friends and acquaintances to enjoy, as I knew that not everyone observed Christmas as a holiday. I always got winter landscape themes and a benign "Happy Holidays" greeting within. There was one time when I was into Southwest American art, having traveled to New Mexico and Arizona, and my cards reflected themes of red pepper wreaths, cactus plants, Native Americans and adobe villages covered with snow. My friends always appreciated my cards and I took pride in choosing those I felt represented me, my tastes and interests. I still do to this day.

I was at Carson Pirie Scott and I saw a box of cards with a beautiful winter scene at night. People skated on a frozen pond under a full moon. A church was holding midnight services. Homes were decorated with greenery, ribbons and Christmas trees. And the centerpiece of the scene was a beautiful tall Christmas tree decked out with ornaments galore and candles in place of lights. It was the most beautiful card I had seen and, reading the information on the box, I found that the artist and the company were local. I was hooked and, though the cards were a bit pricey and went against my politically correct standards of the time, I bought them. They were a success and I bought more cards because I wanted to save these for the people closest to me. I also wanted them to last a long time. Small companies were rarely seen in large department stores, swallowed by the American Greetings and the Hallmarks, and I didn't know if I would see the cards or the artist again.

But the company, Lang Graphics of Wisconsin, and the artist, Linda Nelson Stocks were on their way; I need not have worried about seeing more of them. I also found that Ms. Stocks was very local indeed - I had a friend who was related to her. I found that out when I gave him and his girlfriend one of the cards the following Christmas and he told me, in a pleased way, that he always got a calendar from her every year.

Apparently she lived in Wisconsin for many years. Then the year following my friend's revelation, he told me that when he got her calendar he got the news that she was moving to Massachusetts to paint New England scenes. I was a bit sad - I would not have minded meeting her at a future time - but how much Americana could you get? New England is the ancestral home of American folk art, after all.

Linda Nelson Stocks also paints year-round scenes, including oceanside scenes given her new home. But I have always felt her winter scenes were the best. The autumn and Halloween scenes were a close second.

And so last night as I thought of winter scenes, I thought of her. I had been to the mall the day before and found the calendar kiosks. And, of course, prominently displayed, was the art of Linda Nelson Stocks. Though I couldn't find any more biographical info about her, not even a Wikipedia link from Google, I'm assuming she's still alive, well and painting. I say bless you lady.

That first card, though, will forever remain in my heart. It represents peace, joy and innocence - what the holidays should be about. :)

current mood: artistic

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Wednesday, November 15th, 2006
12:34 am - Macy's and the Rime of the Ancient Mariner


"And the moral of the story is: This is not what to do when your bird shits on you."
-Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, introducing "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", 1984

Poor Macy's - they're sure having a tough go at it since absorbing Marshall Field's last year and changing the name two months ago. Terry Lundgren (Federated Stores' Chairman and CEO) finally admitted it in the Tribune today. And now, with the holiday retail season just beginning, it appears that he's about to find out how much this decision to change the Marshall Field name will cost him and Federated.

Methinks that they should have read Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner before sailing into the unknown sea known as Chicago and Marshall Field's. They could have taken a lesson from the old salt himself...

Macy's and the Ancient Mariner...Collapse )

current mood: accomplished

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Friday, October 20th, 2006
12:10 pm - The Green Party has a viable candidate after all

I supported Ralph Nader in the 2000 presidential elections because I was not impressed by what was offered by the other parties.

Though Nader and those who voted for him were accused as "spoilers" who threw the election to George W. Bush, I don't regret my vote. I would have voted for Nader again if he were on the Illinois ballot in 2004 and if I was certain that my write-in vote would have been counted, as well as votes for the other offices.
There is hope, but you gotta work to make it happen.Collapse )

current mood: hopeful

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Monday, October 16th, 2006
2:35 pm - Support Darfur refugees in Chicago

Hi everyone,

I work for the American Refugee Committee in Chicago, and this year we're holding a fundraising luncheon in support of the refugee camps we run in Darfur and other places around the world.  Speakers will include ARC's country director from Sudan and John Prendergast, a Senior Adviser on Africa at the International Crisis Group in DC.  Barack Obama is an honorary co-sponsor and may show up as well.  The luncheon is being held November 3rd at the Hilton Chicago, and tickets are $150 each (with at least 90% of that going directly to refugee support).  If you're interested in learning more about what's going on in Darfur and supporting refugee camps there, please email me and I'll get you an invitation.

Thanks for your support!


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Friday, October 13th, 2006
8:52 pm - The Rod and Judy Show...


Thankfully for the voters of Illinois, of whom I happen to be one, the Rod and Judy show only has a few more weeks to go. More mudslinging, more "what's she thinking" ads, more of the generous birthday check for Rod's little girl. Then we vote for either the best one for Illinois or the lesser of two evils.

Question: Why isn't Cthulhu running? Or is he gearing up for another presidential run? Hey, at least we get a chance to vote for pure evil with him.
Now on to the show!Collapse )

current mood: calm

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Sunday, October 8th, 2006
6:40 pm - X posted. Illinois Governor

I usually don't do things like this but I felt this needed to be brought to light.

I have a buddy of mine named Mark McCoy. He is running as an official write-in candidate for illinois governor. Mark has it together. Here is he info. http://www.markmccoy.com/

"Mark McCoy, a regular guy who loves and cherishes freedom. Mark McCoy, sworn enemy of ignorance. Mark McCoy, tired of the corruption, lies, abuse, thievery, and oppression brought about by government and the status quo. Write-In Mark McCoy for Illinois Governor. Promises will be kept, government will be small, people will be free."

Vote for whoever you want...but you should give Mark the time of day.

current mood: cheerful

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Thursday, October 5th, 2006
12:22 am - A weather-related observation...

cross-posted from my journal

I heard tonight that while the level of precipitation doesn't guarantee a more colorful autumn, a higher amount of rainfall may make it last longer.

I've been getting back my appreciation for the real beauty of autumn, but I had been mystified about the total rainfall. It seems that in the past week or so we've seen some pretty intense storms and higher rainfall totals as the result. For this time of year I thought that I had never before seen such intense storms visiting us until I came up with the answer yesterday.
Water, water everywhere...Collapse )

current mood: sleepy

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Wednesday, June 28th, 2006
1:55 pm

I, on behalf of the Chicago White Sox, need a favor.

Tadahito Iguchi is in third place amongst AL second basemen. Iguchi has been an excellent second baseman, and that isn't pure fandom on my part. From making superb plays at his position to moving the runner over when Scott Podsednik is on to blasting grand slams off of Brad Lidge over the left field fence, Tadahito is a great ballplayer.

I am asking you to vote for him for second base in the American League.
A brief defense of him, before anyone compares his numbers to those of others: he bats second in a lineup that emphasizes a mixture of "small ball" and power hitting. Our 3-4-5 leads baseball in homers and RBI, but we can still get it done without huge homeruns. Scott Podsednik gets on base, and it's Iguchi's job to move him over before anything else. He doesn't have the most RBI of second basemen or anything, but this is a case where the numbers mislead.

That all said, his numbers, homer-wise and RBI wise, are nothing to scoff at.

Please vote for Tadahito Iguchi when you're voting for the all-star game.
And, if you haven't been voting or aren't, then get on it. Voting ends tomorrow.

But, if you don't want to vote, please do, if for no other reason than to help Iguchi out. I'd appreciate it muchly. Remember, it's easy to pop in hundreds of ballots in a short amount of time, as after your first ballot, it saves your choices and then you can just click submit.

As far as email addresses go, well, let's just say that you can put in whatever and still vote.

Join me in pushing a candidate who deserves it forward.

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Friday, May 26th, 2006
11:25 pm - Six Flags Ticket

I had four, only used three, if anyone is interested make me an offer. Tickets are listed for $36.99 plus applicable tax.

(Good for Six Flags St. Louis.)

Picture of the ticket.

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Saturday, May 13th, 2006
12:41 am - Wanted: Trailer

I am looking to purchase a towing/storage trailer. Nothing too big, and must be covered.

If you have one, or know of one, let me know!

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Saturday, April 22nd, 2006
1:50 pm - HI
jiffner Just wanted to introduce myself. I'm Jenna. I am 24 and currently in Oregon.I will be moving to Springfield this fall. Going to go to school. But I am mainly moving for a change. I have family out there, but it would be nice to get to know some folks. Well, hi. :)

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Friday, April 14th, 2006
10:21 am

once a very long time ago, in college, a friend of mine drove me to rockford and parked just on the other side of the the fence of a landing strip for these small jets. we layed on top of the car and watched the planes go very low, right above our heads. it was close, loud, and amazing.

i don't know anything about rockford. i'm not from there. but i want to experience that again and unfortunately i lost track of that old college friend. does anyone know where we could have been? do people still do that or do the cops hassle you too much? i think it was tuesdays and thursdays that they used to land there. if anyone has any information at all, i would really appreciate it.

thank you.

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Thursday, April 6th, 2006
6:36 pm - Question?

Just wonderin, is there any anime fans out here in the Rockford/Belvidere area thats goin to ACen/Anime Central or somethin at the Rosemont Horizon from May 5th-7th?

Im goin with a bunch of friends from Chicago, OakPark and Glenveiw and I was hopin to meet some people out here in Belvidere who have got the same interests.

my AIM/AOL name is EternalySiberian

MSN: Cminako1@hotmail.com

Mod can take this down or somethin if it cant be posted or whatever.

current mood: curious

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Wednesday, April 5th, 2006
9:42 pm


let me know if you want advance tix!

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Wednesday, March 8th, 2006
5:35 pm

Image hosting by Photobucket

I'm selling tickets if you want advance ones! This is going to be a heck of a show!

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Tuesday, February 21st, 2006
2:20 am


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Monday, February 13th, 2006
4:24 pm

Hey all.

I'm looking for a pet-friendly (one cat) one-bedroom apartment in Charleston or the surrounding areas. If anyone here knows of a place that's available or has suggestions about where to look that'd be awesome. Thanks!

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Wednesday, January 4th, 2006
10:33 pm

Alley Kat Katastrophe Cd Release show. Jan 20th Carlinville VFW 208 S.West Street
Bastognes Best, The Cause and TBA.
4 bucks. And AKK Cds are 4 bucks
I made sure and put mapquest directions on the flyers and a little map for further assistance.

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Wednesday, December 14th, 2005
8:49 pm

I'm Greg Pratt, the Chief of the Office of the Independent Blogger. The headline of my site reads, "Independent in the same sense that Ken Starr was which means not very Independent indeed." For almost all of the time that I've had this website, since the Spring, that has been a sarcastic joke. Now, as we approach tomorrow's elections in Iraq, I have found myself to be Bipartisan by Iraq. Check it out and, in the meantime, here's two paragraphs that I'm quite proud of:

Read more...Collapse )

If I were less capable of spelling, our current path on the matter of Iran would elicit just as much support as Iraq does from me but it doesn't. When you've caught fire in a chemist's lab, you don't stop drop and roll: you shower yourself in the corner of the room. It's the same with Iran. Give it a read through -- you'll never believe how ridiculous some Conservative ideas are for dealing with the Mullahs. Want a hint? "Leave the Nukes, Take Out The Mullahs." Brilliant, if only it would work.

Ever have the government ban smoking in your city? I have. And have you ever been bothered by your party's reaction to an article that may be fake? I have. Ever thought that the President was being less than candid? I have, and you can read about these things here. While we're talking about a political potpourri, there's Tookie Williams, who has now been executed, and here is Me on why he's Not Redeemed At All.

Surprisingly, for a Liberal, I am not a huge fan of the 9/11 Commission. I think they're as out of order as they claim our current security measures are. So is the Congress, the Pentagon and the Law Schools who have a Case before the SCOTUS. I consider myself a candid guy. I'm honest. There's just no two ways about it as I call things like I see them and keep an open mind. Here, I write about a lack of candor, and end on this note: "Candor, on a last note, is increasingly hard to come by and al-Qaeda has none to spare. Bin Laden’s top Deputy to America: “bin Laden still alive and in charge.” More like, “Either hiding like a scalded dog or dead in the mountains.”

On December Seventh, Republicans Pearl Harbored Al Gore, accusing him of having given Russia permission to sell Iran nuclear weapons. For a moment, let's ignore Cheney's lobbying on behalf of an end to sanctions on Iran in the 1990s and talk about "the case against Gore," or, as I like to call it, a failed and transparent attempt to slander him and his dead father. Saddam Hussein's trial, the Right's fear of a Fight over Alito, the War on Christmas! and Rick Santorum's claim that he's helped "save Social Security" are all discussed here.

There are rumors of Chief of Staff to the President Andrew Card being fired and sent to Treasury, with Rumsfeld resigning and Lieberman taking his place. All of this would be bad for the country and wrong politically, for all parties involved, and so here is me on White House Politics. You've all heard the expression that Truth is Stranger than Fiction, correct? Well, in today's Washington Truth is Stranger Than Gingrich. That's all I'll say about that for now.

On December Third, I attended a Hillary Clinton speech in Chicago and here's my writeup. There were protesters, too, and it was an interesting day. Interesting as this post about the poisoning of our political stream. I know it's not exactly an original thought, that one, but it's still worth commenting on and I'd be mighty glad if you checked it. Finally, let me direct you here. Enjoy!

I am the Independent Blogger of the Office of the Independent Blogger.

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Sunday, November 6th, 2005
2:59 pm

At The Office of the Independent Blogger I make it a point to address the most important, pressing issues of the day. I make it a point to find things that others aren't discussing, and I do my best to provide insight and interesting commentary. If anyone would care to add me as a result of it, just do so and let me know so I can add you back.

President George W. Bush needs to grow a pair. Of White Sox. Using the Chicago White Sox as my model, I have written about how the President could solve his problems and, to frame his current predicament, I basically ask: What does George Bush want to be -- the Houston Astros, or the White Sox? It's an interesting approach, and I think you'll enjoy it, particularly if you enjoy baseball.

Little known to most people, Kofi Annan and the United Nations would like to get their paws on the Internet -- to control it. Read more about it (my first post on the subject is here).

Here, I stumbled upon various findings, each of interest. Like, let's take one of those findings: A Pat Buchanan article that begins with this: "“The Third Reich is the best example,” and launches into a story about Hitler’s 100% legal chancellery." That's not the only interesting thing, of course, but that's what I'm trying to hook you with. ;)

Now, there's a lesson to be learned from Mike Brown's recently released emails, and that's that FEMA is only skin-deep.

Brent Scowcroft, George H.W. Bush's National Security Advisor, has come out in opposition to George W. Bush's policies and has become a mini-hero to liberals everywhere. Here, I argue that the Left should say No to Scowcroft.

The SCOTUS nomination by George W. Bush last week shows that he's feeling Alito Trigger Happy. Very cute play of words, I think. It's also noteworthy as it contains a bit of commentary on that, as well as a link to the best article about Nuclear Weapons I've ever read: An expose exposing the fact that suitcase nukes do not exist.

Finally, The Minority Has Struck Back against the Republicans in the Senate by shutting it down, and, in maybe my most feisty and combative post, I write about the riots going on in France and the fact that they expose great problems with the Radical Left's approach to terrorism, particularly France's.

That's all for now. Please visit The Office of the Independent Blogger. I promise you'll enjoy your time there!

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