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Often on this day I see posts pop up around social media sites in which the writers recount where they were the moment they heard what had happened. It does seem that such details stick quite clearly in one's mind when faced with something horrific.

But the "Where we were" meme has been done. I think it's a better question to ask "Where are we now?"

I desperately want to believe this is not where we are. I want to believe we are not somewhere in which "Is the president a Muslim?" is not only treated as a relevant question but a scandal. I want to believe we are not somewhere in which several thousand people clicked the "like" button on the "International Burn a Koran Day" Facebook page, before the page was removed. I want to believe that we are not somewhere that a community center being built in Lower Manhattan is a controversy.

I want to believe we are not in a country in which our values have been handed over to the exact fear and hatred our enemies sought to create.

So, where are we?

Hatred killed nearly 3,000 people that day. Hatred does not honor a single one of them.
benwhoski: (Default)
So, I just migrated here from LiveJournal. To my friends who have also migrated, hi! To any new readers, hi!

The vast majority of my imported entries are private. I've made a few recent ones public again. Whether or not I'll ever feel like sorting through and changing security settings on individual entries at some point remains to be seen.

Will probably spend some time setting up here before I'll be making many posts. But here I am. :)
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"If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one, Mr. Pearl.

If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a Christian, but I have always been one Mr. Pearl.

And I am here to inform you, with the full authority of the Quranic texts and the practice of the Prophet Muhammad, that to say La ilaha illallah Muhammadun rasulullah is no different.

It expresses the same theological and ethical principles and values.”
- Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, Daniel Pearl Memorial (Full Text)


Watch out. Radical Muslim Extremist words right there...
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Originally published at BENWHOSKI.COM. You can comment here or there.

A new digital painting is available in the “Digital Art” gallery.

Wow. It kind of feels like an eternity since I’ve produced a piece of artwork that was worth posting publicly. Feels wonderful. The idea popped in my head while I was juts doodling around in deviantArt’s new Muro drawing application. If you are interested, the quickie version from that application can be seen here. It was the first thing since May that I started doodling and actually thought “Hey, I might have something here.”

As I was working on this I had an idea in my mind of a great sea dragon birthed from the magma of an undersea volcano vent, seeming more fluid where it emerged but gaining a bit more solidity as it moved further away from the vent. I imagined it being a rare sight to see the creature while it was still bright and hot, before cooling to a darker color as it swims away.

Not at all realistic, but that’s why I do fantasy artwork and not science fiction artwork.

Not nearly enough of my artwork involves underwater volcanoes.

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So, Alveda King recently likened same-sex marriage to genocide, because gay couples can't make babies. I realize that this was a tiny little rally of 35 people at which around 300 people showed up to protest, and that the only reason this was considered news worthy is because her uncle was our country's most famous civil-rights activist. Still, this isn't the first time I have heard the argument from opponents of gay marriage that it will cause some catastrophic population decline.

I can probably skip my rantings about legal marriage not necessarily fueling reproduction, that monogamy is probably bad for genetic diversity anyway*, how I'll worry about population decline when all of the orphanages are empty, and how offensive it is to use the term "genocide" in this context. There is a much larger hole in the logic of this argument. Most homosexuals already aren't making babies. There are stories of homosexuals who married into heterosexual marriages and had children, but most of them just continue not marry and not have children.

Unless there is some sneaky fine print in the legislation that makes same-sex marriage mandatory, the only way this argument works is if the only thing keeping a very large portion of the heterosexual population from switching teams is that one legal barrier. I don't know about anyone else, but I am quite sure that I am only sexually attracted to men. When same-sex marriage becomes legal in my state, or preferably nationwide, I am quite certain I am not going to suddenly wake up and say "I need to find me a hot wife"**. I suspect this is true of most people who identify as heterosexual.

I think it probably says something about the people who make this argument, really.

* - I am by no means anti-monogamy or anti-marriage. Nor do I consider it to be the only valid or moral lifestyle. However, if we're talking purely about sustainable population, it's really a swinger's world!
** - I am aware that there are those who would find it completely hot if this happened, but they will continue to be disappointed.
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Originally published at BENWHOSKI.COM. You can comment here or there.

Although I usually tend to focus on drawing, I like to dabble in photography. It’s especially satisfying at times when I feel rather art-blocked, as I have felt lately (I have ideas, but I can’t seem to get them out of my head and onto paper competently). It allows me to indulge in something creative and visual, but something a little different. It can help clear up the frustrations that are keeping me from drawing, and often outright inspires me to draw something. Hasn’t happened yet this time around, but it’s something to do until my drawing mojo returns.

Lately I’ve been having a lot of fun taking nature-type photos, especially with the macro setting. I’ve developed a bit of a fascination with photographing ants. And recently I discovered the laid back little guy in the thumbnail. I found him on our porch, which is a prime location for him to have been eaten by my cat. I didn’t want this to happen for two reasons: I like toads as I think they are cute and they eat annoying insects, and also when the cat eats them he gets sick and never learns from the experience. I got a couple good shots before and after relocating him to somewhere with better hiding places. I’ve posted my favorites in the Photography section.

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Originally published at BENWHOSKI.COM. You can comment here or there.

It suddenly occurred to me that while I had posted this in my Twitter feed and on my Facebook page, I had never updated the Drawing Videos page here. I recently came into possession of a Sony HandyCam HD Digital Camcorder and one of the first things I tried using it for was to take video of me doing some non-digital artwork. It worked out rather well, aside from the fact that I didn’t get video of the whole process because like a fool I didn’t plug the camera in and let the battery die while I was still drawing. I got most of it though. Certainly enough to show people how I went about drawing my creepy jellyfish thing.

Please enjoy, and I’ll try to be better at posting updates in the future.

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Originally published at BENWHOSKI.COM. You can comment here or there.

I think I weirded myself out a little bit with this one. It didn’t weird me out when I made the original sketch, but the finished piece weirds me out.

When I was little, I used to think the “Portuguese Man O’ War” (which is not actually a jellyfish, I know) was called the “Poltergeist Man O’War”, thus the title. Sounded better than my alternate title, “Jelly-Face”.

I purposely didn’t want the “face” to be too realistic. I wanted it to look more like this bizarre creature was manipulating its hood to resemble an eerie human face, perhaps to trick sailors into attempting to rescue a drowning comrade or something, only to be stung to death and slowly devoured.

Ew. Yeah. Definitely the creepiest thing with tentacles I’ve drawn.

I attempted to use my new digital camcorder to record myself drawing this. I’m not sure how much it caught, as the battery died while I was drawing because I wasn’t smart enough to plug it in while I worked. So, perhaps in the near future, I’ll have my first traditional-media drawing video uploaded to YouTube. :)

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Originally published at BENWHOSKI.COM. You can comment here or there.

Don't Feed the Plants

The 1986 Frank Oz film based on the “Little Shop of Horrors” musical was always one of my favorite movies. I’m not sure what it says about me that when I was seven years old, my favorite movie was a dark comedy muscial. It probably says something. Probably that I was just an awesome little kid.

Although I generally have not been including things that could be considered “fan art” in this gallery, I am making an exception for this one. A few years ago, I finally watched the lost, original ending to the film via YouTube. It’s essentially the “everyone dies, plants take over the world” ending from the musical, but with an extremely impressive (even by current standards, in my opinion) 4 million dollar finale in which giant plants rampage through New York City. It was cut from the film because it made test audiences sad, and the corny Hollywood happy-ever-after ending was added in. The black and white, unfinished original ending was added as bonus material on the first DVD release of the movie, but was quickly recalled due to copyright issues. There were rumors that a full-color and polished version, but that seems unlikely as the color reel was destroyed in a fire. There are still rumors that David Geffen still has a copy and wants to re-release it in theaters with the original ending, but they remain just rumors.

When I first saw the original ending, I really wanted to do a drawing of Audrey II on top of the Statue of Liberty as my own little tribute to the original ending. That idea got pushed to the back burner for a few reasons, not the least of which was not feeling confident that I had the skills to pull off the effect I wanted. I was recently poking through my “favorites” over at YouTube and ran across the epic-even-though-unfinished finale sequence, and was re-inspired. I wrestled a bit with whether to leave it black and white/greyscale or go with full color. In the end, I decided to stick with greyscale, as I tend to do with my ink drawings. I tried to make Audrey II stand out from both the background and the statue, but am still a little torn about whether I think the different shading styles worked or not. Only time will tell. The important thing is that it was fun and helped me through a little bit of the art funk I’ve been experiencing.

If you’ve not seen the original ending, I highly recommend checking it out. Even if you don’t want to see the scenes where Audrey and Seymore get eaten, you should check out the epilogue/finale sequence. Here is the original, black and white version as it was released on the recalled special edition DVD. I also ran across an enhanced “reconstructed” version someone put together, which makes some of the scenes easier to see, added sound effects, used the studio CD recording of the song “Don’t Feed the Plants”, and added some colorized effects and such. It was pretty neat to watch too.

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