Five Routine Minutes: Sharing A Diet Coke With Omar

I haven’t run a Five Routine Minutes post in a while. For those who haven’t seen one before, this is the most poorly illustrated series on the net. Also, many times, what’s depicted doesn’t even add up to two minutes. But I like the idea as a goofy way to tell a story, so I’m resurrecting the series.

My wife has had to work a few recent weekends. That’s not typical and we’re taking it in stride. She’s done a lot of it at home. But this weekend she knew there was an event I wanted to attend.

Artist’s note: Despite what the drawing shows, my wife does not look like me. That would be creepy. Also, my goatee does not make my face look fat.


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Art Criticism: How About That Putin Fella?

I don’t criticize every piece of art that I see, or even every piece of art that needs criticism.

I should clarify that. I don’t criticize every piece of art that I see, or even every piece of art that needs criticism, as far as most of you know. After spending a day with me, you’d know that I have something to say about most art. I save my written critiques for truly special works.

There really isn’t art that is more special than the pieces created for an exhibition honoring Russian president Vladimir Putin’s sixty-second birthday. These paintings, produced by artists who chose to remain anonymous, depict Putin as a Herculean character taking on modern issues facing his nation. I’ll be discussing my impressions of these pieces for your benefit. I’m also hoping that my criticism will help the artists who produced these paintings be better artists by Mr. Putin’s sixty-third birthday.

Painting One

(artist unknown, photo credit – BBC)

The first painting depicts Mr. Putin fighting Terror. He is literally in a fight with Terror. Putin doesn’t care for metaphors; when it is time for a fight, he’s going to fight. Read the rest of this entry »

Art Criticism: George Washington, By Gilbert Stuart

Chances are you’ve got a Gilbert Stuart painting in your pocket. Of course, if you live outside the US or are having some financial difficulties you might not. The picture of George Washington on a U.S. one dollar bill is from a Stuart portrait of the first president of the United States.

Gilbert produced more than one thousand portraits during his career. Not all of those paintings were of George Washington, but a lot of them were. Washington was a favorite topic for Gilbert. Not just any art critic would take on the task of critiquing a very skilful portrait artist on a painting of that artist’s favorite subject.

I’m not just any art critic.

Today, I am going to discuss a particular Washington portrait by Gilbert. The original is at the Museum Of Fine Arts in Boston. A reproduction of this painting hangs in Boston’s Faneuil Hall. Read the rest of this entry »

Art Criticism: Brick Oven Pizza

One of the wonderful things about art is how it touches you when you least expect it. Today’s art critique is an example of that.

Last night, I stopped for a bite at a favorite restaurant. You might expect me to say that I found this painting in the restaurant. If you do, you’re wrong. This painting touched me when you didn’t expect it to. One of the unexpected ways that art can touch a person is from the window of a clothing consignment shop when all that person really wants is some gnocchi. Read the rest of this entry »

Art Criticism: Baker On A Unicycle

The other day I woke up hungry. I wasn’t thinking about the blog, or my extensive work as a critic of visual art. I was focused on fixing the hunger problem

As I sat down in a Panera Bread shop with a plate of not-hungry-anymore, I started considering that I’ve struggled in my search for topics recently. I stared off into space and then it hit me that the answer to my problem was right in front of me. I’ve found three other works of art that needed criticism while I was in restaurants – here was the fourth!

Good readers, allow me to introduce today’s work of art. Read the rest of this entry »

Why The Long Face? An Art Critique

I’ve known people who’ve said “I don’t feel like Chinese food today”. None of the people I’ve heard say that were Chinese. I’ll never say that either.

For some reason, after several thousand Chinese lunches, it occurred to me that Chinese restaurants are repositories of art. Most have some sculpture; almost all have at least one painting.

Today’s edition of my art criticism series takes on the painting that woke me up to the treasure troves of art that I’ve been missing.

Behold Read the rest of this entry »

Five Routine Minutes: The Martin Luther Technique

Last week, the microwave oven in my office died. It was replaced by a toaster. As you may recall, I found the toaster inadequate an appliance for heating up soup.

I returned to work on Sunday. I was certain that, days after the microwave went into the big sleep, a new machine would be in place. After all, I work for an agency with a huge budget. This kind of expenditure was nothing in the grand scheme of things. At lunch time I went into the break room. There was a microwave on the counter. The old one.

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Five Routine Minutes: What Does Replace Mean?

Most days I bring my lunch to work.  I’ve usually got some leftovers in my lunch bag. A quick spin in the office microwave and I’m in business.

There’s always something good on the break room TV. A few weeks ago, we watched some guy who was trying to understand why some lions attacked him. I thought the buckets of raw meat he was carrying were a bigger factor than the “experts” seemed to. Last Friday, we watched some bumpkins wrestling catfish in muddy water. That show made the catfish look like sympathetic characters.

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