5" x 7" Oil on canvas

If an idle mind and hands are the devils workshop, then my grandmother Alice Burke should be canonized as a saint. This weekend marks her 95th Birthday and this oil sketch of her busy hands is my gift to her. Born Alice Kopidlowski the same year that World War I broke out. She lost her father at an early age and had to drop out of school in the third grade to work in a button factory. She met my grandfather during The Great Depression and they eloped in 1932. She made up for the lack of formal education with hard work and determination. At 95 she still reads a newspaper cover to cover every day. In her day she could sew a dress without a pattern, ma ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint "The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again." James Earl Jones from Field of Dreams Spring training is here! ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint

In order to have bipartisanship, you need two partisans but last night it became woefully obvious that there is no longer a Republican party. Bobby Jindal seems like a nice guy, and I've liked him in the few occasions I've seen him interviewed, but he wasn't ready for prime time and his response to the president was painful to watch. ...

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Ball point pen on newsprint

As traditional media goes through it's growing pains, it's comforting for a news junkie like me to know there are still young people dedicated to gathering news and informing others. Aaron Broder is one of 80 students reporting for Scholastic Kids Press Corp. The fourteen year old has covered presidential debates, visiting foreign leaders and has written book reviews. Whether newspapers will remain commercially viable into the future or these young reporters ply their craft on-line, having an informed citizenry is the most important variable in our future success. ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint

My mouth is agape when I read the tragic story of Sandra Herold and Travis the chimpanzee. I can't begin to imagine the upper body strength of a 200 pound chimp. I'm dumbfounded that the laws of Connecticut allow people to own such a large and possibly dangerous animal. It's painful to think of having a family friend so brutally attached before your eyes. I can't imagine the courage it took to plunge a kitchen knife into your beloved pet or the heart ache of witnessing your constant companion gunned down by police. I can't begin to conceive how long and tortuous the recovery of the poor victim or the burden Herold must live with kn ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint

New Jersey's Governor Jon Corzine was slow to learn how the union-managment relationship works. He was newly elected when he took the stage at a union rally in the state's capital to proclaim, "We will fight for a fair contract!" ...The states union members must have been confused. Whom will he fight? He was management and they were there rallying against him. Fast forward to the present downturn in the economy combined with New Jersey's balanced budget amendment and Corzine wants to have mandatory furloughs for all state employees. Unfortunately that "fair" contract may come back to haunt ...

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Ball point pen on the morning newsprint

I remember the anxiety I felt when I signed the mortgage for my home. The numbers may seem minuscule in comparison, but everything is relative. It's a risk to borrow against future earnings to invest in building your present life. No matter how good the intentions or fiscally sound the plan, it's impossible to predict all the variables. I felt the same anxiety when Donna and I had our two children, when we bought our first car or built my studio. But used responsibly, debt can be a great tool to build a future. Now, will generations of lawmakers be disciplined enough to do the legislative equivalent of staying home on Saturda ...

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