Robert E. Lee and Him

And who? Ty Seidule, that’s who! His book: ROBERT E. LEE AND ME: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause.

This book has helped me snap out of the stupefying effects of one of America’s biggest lies, the lost cause, which I’ll let you look up on your own so that you can examine the toxic linkage to another more recent but just as stupefying big lie.

I’ve indirectly illustroblogged about Robert E. Lee elsewhere, check it out here. In that 2014 post, I’m ashamed to admit that I knew nothing per se about the “lost cause,” which again I’ll let you look up on your own. My fascination with Lee had always centered on what I saw as an association with Don Quijote.

Ty Seidule’s courageous book is a lot to process; however, it’s worth every perturbing wave of irreversible discomfort because of the permanent illumination it offers. Here’s how I’ve begun to process it in my own cartoonish way:

Some 3-Minute iPad Drawings

Elsewhere on this illustroblog, HERE IN PARTICULAR, I’ve referred to my work at the Enrichment Center (EC), where I’ve taught iPad art to adult artists with developmental disabilities since 2015. The pandemic put an end to our in-person classes and studios, but we’ve continued to meet online a few times a week. On Fridays we meet for timed drawing exercises. Some use traditional tools, e.g., pens, pencils, markers, paper, etc., and others use iPads. We’re shown an object or a photo, we’re given 3 minutes to draw it, and then we take turns showing what we managed to crank out. I have over 60 digital images, and here are a few of them (all done in the Sketch Club app):

Being a Community Tutor in English on iTalki

Click on video to experience the digital transformation.

Since late February 2021 I’ve been a Community Teacher on an online platform called iTalki, a Chinese company headquartered in Shanghai. You can visit my profile page by clicking on the following link: [CLICK HERE TO VIEW MY iTALKI PROFILE PAGE]

To date (4/14/21) I’ve completed around 75 online lessons with approximately 35 students. It’s conversation-based learning, so I target students who can already speak English at intermediate and advanced levels of proficiency. Each “lesson” is about an hour. I currently charge $10 per lesson, although I may increase that once I reach 100 completed lessons. Some students purchase packages of 5 lessons at a slight discount.

The conversation topics are completely open ended. Occasionally, I pause the dialogue to provide feedback on pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and expressive, interactive style. So far I’ve had students from Russia, Estonia, Korea, Japan, Brazil, Peru, China, and the list is growing. It’s a remarkably eye-opening and rewarding experience.

If you know anyone who might benefit from such a learning experience, please help them book their first iTalki lesson with me or any number of other qualified teachers. Thank you.

By the way, did I mention that I’m often blown away by folks who use our conversations as an opportunity teach this old dog new tricks? Yes, it happens; and that makes me the luckiest person on my cul-de-sac!

One of our juiciest investments

Several days ago someone dropped off about a dozen freshly picked lemons. Today I made a batch of lemon sorbet using the 3 cups of juice they rendered and some zest. I used the juicer Annyth and I bought a couple of months after moving here to Merced in California’s Central Valley in 2014. I’ve used it to squeeze grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes, and even pomegranates. Thank you for your service.

Done on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using Sketch Club and then iColorama.

Juanjo Domínguez (1951-2019)

If you’re not familiar with Juanjo Domíguez, Argentine guitarist, then check him out. Below the digital painting I did of Maestro Juanjo on an iPad using Sketch Club, I’ve inserted a YouTube video of him accompanying Diego el Cigala and Andrés Calamaro performing Los Hermanos by Atahualpa Yupanqi. Enjoy!
I’m adding another YouTube link that perhaps better illustrates Maestro Juanjo’s playing (along side one of my favorite singers, Diego el Cigala): click here to watch Soledad.

Click on image to enlarge.

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Mom Heading to Isaly’s

Here’s my rendition of one of my favorite family photos. My dad took this extraordinary photo of my mom several months before they got married in 1943, probably just before he enlisted in the army. My mom worked at this Isaly’s in Canonsburg, PA at the time. There she is crossing Pike St. and walking over the trolly tracks on what looks like a sunny Sunday afternoon. One way or another, my dad probably ordered a White House ice cream cone, his favorite.