Saturday, January 31, 2015

Industrial Workshop Interior

"Nova Labs" in Reston, Virginia has just moved into a new space which they are re-modeling into a people's technology center. I was invited to their "meet up" and was given a tour of the facility, or rather what the facility is going to be like when they've finished their re-model job. I sat in their main hall and did this iPad sketch of one of the more finished areas of the lab. The big orange air ducts on the ceiling and the white-painted metal openwork give it a late '70s neo-industrial style reminiscent of the Pompidou Center in Paris. Crafters and inventors and "makers" of all kinds are invited to participate in this new place. I might even take a class there myself, in what I want to call "Carpentry for Ladies." I've always wanted to learn how to use a hammer and saw and make things out of wood, but I was told in my youth that "girls don't do that" so I never tried. Anyway here's my iPaddery of the NovaLabs interior. The grey thing in the center is a printer for big poster-size prints, and the green bits to the right foreground are a stack of metal and plastic chairs.

"ArtStudio" app for iPad, January 30, 2015.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Blast Furnace Dragon

A blast furnace is an awesome thing, and a dragon is also awesome. Do they not resemble each other? A central furnace filled with molten metal is easily compared with the fire-breathing fantastic creature of lore. Here, elements from a blast furnace are recombined to make a dragon whose body is a hearth and whose wings and furnishings are sheet steel and openwork iron. There is a whole genus of steel dragons rattling and fuming fire-lit smoke. 

Brown sepia Pitt technical pen ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 3 3/4", January 29, 2015.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter branches 1998

I must have had a load of time back in 1998, because I was able to do a fully rendered color illustration on every page of my sketchbook journal. I had a lot of time but I also remember complaining that I was not "busy" enough and that I was not working hard enough to compare with my friends' "hectic" lives. Because if you had a "hectic" lifestyle you were earning your keep in society. It's still true I guess and I am still putting an illustration on each page of the journal but this year's format is brown ink monochrome as you may have noticed.  As for these winter trees, the view is the same and will probably be the same for a long time, unless climate change brings tropical foliage to Northern Virginia.

Markers and colored pencil on sketchbook page, 4" x 4 1/2", January 13, 1998.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Starbucks in the eternal now

This is the Starbucks closest to my residence, just a few blocks away. I visit there often. It has been there since at least 2000 and from its millennial origin it has dispensed coffee and other treats steadily and with no basic change other than a re-decoration or two and different furniture and displays. I can sit in there and draw and disregard time or progress or the passing of the years. If you notice, there is no clock on the wall in any Starbucks. They want you to drink your coffee and forget the passage of time at least for the moment you are there. I drew this in 2001 but it might as well have been yesterday, in a flat, shadowless winter light with the perpetual parking lot and purgatorial Whole Foods in the background. Is coffee a sacrament? If not officially so, it's close.

Sepia technical pen ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, January 31, 2001.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

More Industrial Patterns

Here's another tiny drawing of industrial architectural elements. It is not an "accurate" portrayal of a scene but rather a doodle which combines pieces from a steel mill and puts them together to make a composition. I want to do more of these and make them larger as the tiny format is hard to see. The three sketches from yesterday and today are all on the same 8 1/2" x 11" sketchbook page. 

"Industrial Pattern 3" is brown sepia technical pen ink on sketchbook page, 3 3/4" x 3", January 27, 2015.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Industrial Patterns

I've been fascinated by heavy industry since my childhood, when my family traveling in Europe would often encounter gasworks or mills on the outskirts of modern cities in ancient places. I recall the awesome sights of steel mills in Youngstown, Ohio and oil refineries in northern New Jersey. The drawings in this post are of a coal mine head (above) and some forms from a steel mill (below). I have a large collection of images of these industrial sites and I also have a good number of the photography books of Bernd and Hilla Becher, a German husband-and-wife team who specialized in photographing and documenting heavy industry. These pen doodles were adapted from Becher photographs in their book "Industrial Landscapes."

Brown technical pen ink on sketchbook page. Top image, 3 3/4" x 3". Bottom image, 4" x 2 1/4". January 26, 2015.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Phantom Stranger

The Phantom Stranger is a DC Comics character who has appeared since the 1950s. Through all those years, the Stranger is part of the story but you never learn who he really is, what his history might be, or even what powers he has. He always looks the same, always wears the same suit, hat, and cape, and is generally spooky. Some say that he is a fallen angel, others that he is a demon, and others that he is really the "Wandering Jew," who mocked Christ carrying the Cross and was consigned to wander as an immortal till the Last Judgement. I always loved the character and was glad to do this piece of fan art for a comic book fanzine.

Black ink on illustration board, 9" x 12", May 1987.

I'll try to make you some fresh art soon. I hate the lethargy of winter.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Eighty years ago Tysons Corner, Virginia was a crossroads of two rural dirt roads in open farmland. Fifty years ago it was a quiet suburb with some office buildings and stores. In the last thirty years it has been totally rebuilt as a bustling city jammed with high rise hotels, massive office complexes, and just recently an elevated Metro railway. In the 27 years I have lived here, I've seen the transformation from suburb into big city. 

During the 1970s and 1980s a number of characterless office buildings were built in the Tysons area. Most of them had retail or restaurants on the bottom floor. Some of them have been demolished and rebuilt, and the work is ongoing. This building was one of those dull boxes but it was enlivened on the  outside by orange horizontal stripes on each floor. I was mildly disappointed to see it being demolished, but I love drawing sketches of demolition and construction sites so I drew it as it was being removed, orange stripes and all. What's there now? Another forgettable office building with a Bertucci's pizza restaurant on the bottom floor.

From my 2002 illustrated journal sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 7 1/2", February 12, 2002.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cambridge Winter 1985

I don't usually do snow scenes because I don't want to be out in it. This one was possible because I was looking out the window at my back yard. I'm glad I don't use that reddish ink any more for sketching. The Pitt line of technical pens in sepia was the answer to my artistic prayers, though I think it's wasteful that they are disposable rather than re-fillable. In this scene you are looking across the street behind my house, where just a few feet away is Harvard Divinity School. All this archive-poring has made me somehow nostalgic for my Cambridge days but then I remind myself how miserable I was there and how cold the winter was. 

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 7" x 7 1/2", January 10, 1985.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

City of Sun Spirits

I've travelled once again to Phoebe Marie Holmes' "Celestial City in the Sun," where myriads of angels live in a golden realm of paradisiacal daylight. Here are some of their large residential complexes, which are built with garden terraces and big windows. In the spirit world the laws of physics don't apply, but I've decided to use gravity here anyway rather than just having things float around. Although there are probably spirit regions here where that happens. What looks like clouds in the skies are actually more buildings, residences, spiritual bureaucratic offices, and solar spirit shopping centers. If someone sponsored it I could probably make another one of my large obsessively detailed fantastic cities out of Holmes' visionary recital, but that would take forever. I hope that there are light cycles in the Sunworld, so that there is natural shadow and darkness to rest one's spirit eyes.

Brown sepia technical pen ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 3", January 22, 2015. Finally, a new piece of art even though it is tiny.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Surrealistic Spiral Staircase

This one's from 2004. I feel sure I've posted it before on the By-Product, but I can't find it here, and if I can't find it, neither can you. It was a commission by an old family friend of my parents. He wanted me to illustrate one of his favorite quotes, from writer Henry Miller. The quote text had to be incorporated into the picture. It appears in a banner across the top of this fantasy architecture scene in the style of M.C. Escher. The quote read: 
“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of
          looking at things.”

Well, I did the picture and duly incorporated this piece of twaddle into the top of the image on a banner. My destinations are always places, and you drink wine there, not have your perception adjusted, except of course by the wine. I hated having to put this banal sentiment into a rather cool piece of art, so once I had delivered the entire thing to the client, I took the scan I had made of it and deleted the quote in Photoshop. Now the picture looked just fine, complete with impossible staircase and mystic astrolabe. If you clikonthepic to look closer, you will see the carved image of a dentist at work, on the pillar holding the astrolabe. That's because the client who commissioned it was a dentist. The original title of the picture, which I didn't reveal to the client, was "Miller time," after the old beer ad.

"Miller Time" is ink, watercolor, and acrylic on illustration board, 9" x 14 1/2", October 2004.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2 Cambridge Girls

I didn't just draw houses when I went on my neighborhood sketching expeditions. Children often came up to me to watch me draw and sometimes asked me to draw them. This pair of girls asked for a portrait together, so I sat them down and drew them in pencil, and finished it in watercolor in the studio. I don't know whether they were sisters or just friends.They were about 11 or 12 years old, maybe younger. I photographed the painting and then gave the original to the girls. I don't even remember their names, though I may have it written down somewhere. I wonder whether the original art has survived and what the girls look like now, and whether they still are in contact with each other. They are now in their forties. 

Watercolor on Canson paper, about 7" x 5", c. 1979.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cosmic Runner

I have done my characteristic geometric abstraction paintings for a long time, from early on in my artistic life. They were easy to design and work with. Just use your ruler and your French curve templates and maybe one full circle from a template, and you've got a pretty picture. Pick colors you like and there you go. This is also why I haven't put a large amount of effort into these things. Your smug "fine arts" critic will know right away that it took me 15 minutes to design it, and call it "facile," or even "cheap." But it gets the job done. 

This was a commission from a Catholic priest who was very important in my spiritual life when I was considering converting to Catholicism. He had taken up long-distance running, as had a lot of people in those days. Even I put on some running shoes and plodded over the sidewalks for a while. But this guy regarded his running as a form of atonement for sins the Church (but not him) had done. Even when he messed up his knees he kept on going because of the pain. I used the quote from St. Paul as a comment on his muscular Christianity. The black silhouette figure is the running priest. He never baptized me, that was left for another priest to do later on. The running priest died in 2004 and he lives in blessed memory.

"Cosmic Runner" is ink and watercolor with metallic paint on Fabriano watercolor paper, 10"x 8", spring 1978. Click for larger view.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cuchulain 1981

In 1980 I went to Ireland and brought back a lot of Irish stuff including an English rendering of the epic of Cuchulain, the national hero of Ireland. I tried to do a "barbarian action" painting from the legend showing the hero with his spear, naked like a Celtic warrior, defending a river ford against a tribal enemy who is about to be skewered. This is my attempt and my figure drawing and muscle anatomy is far from heroic. In fact this picture is lousy but at least back then in 1981 I gave it a try. The rendering of the bronze shield is pretty good, strategically placed in front of Cuchulain's heroic privates. I also tried to depict Cuchulain's starry eyes and tricolored hair, described in the epic. The shrunken heads impaled on branches is a nicely barbaric accent. In my early days trying to be an Illustrator I wanted to master the action scenes that every other artist was doing but I never did. The art directors kept telling me, "More action! Your art is static and dull!" But I never did get with the program, which is why I draw wine barrels, geraniums, and garden umbrellas instead of epic battle scenes.

"Cuchulain at the Ford" is acrylic on illustration board, 11" x 21", January 1981.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Towers of the Sun

I did this fantasy doodle while waiting in the hair salon. You may remember, or not, my mention of a Spiritualist visionary fantasy about angels and cities in the world of the Sun. This is another sketch of what the Solar spirit realms might be like. Maybe someday I'll do a larger version with more fantasy architecture elements, and maybe some angelic crustaceans.

"ArtStudio" app on iPad, January 16, 2015.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Try Me Crustacean

Enough of that old faded fan art. What, you don't have anything new to post? Try me. I'm a crustacean. That doesn't mean that I'm good to eat, so don't be looking at that big metal pot. Someone stuck a sticker from a new flashlight on my butt. In three languages, too. If you press the button, the thing will light up, but only for a few seconds. When you get it home and need it for general use, you just deactivate the "try me" mode. So don't try me. I'll be going back down to the bottom of the sea where I belong.

Brown ink drawing marker on sketchbook page, 4" x 4 1/2", January 15, 2015.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Deryni Rider

More archival explorations found me breathing dust in forgotten corners of my dwelling. A lot of the bulk turned out to be yearly compilations of correspondence and bank statements from my religious group, where I am the treasurer. But there was also a lot of material from my days doing fan art, as well as some copies of a lavish "encyclopedia" of Katherine Kurtz' "Deryni" world which I did the cover for. I have been drawing Deryni fan art for ages, though not much any more. This piece, depicting a Deryni rider approaching a dark old ruin, is from a fan magazine featuring both writing and art. I made the picture kind of generic because I didn't have a story to work from. The only "Deryni" identifier in the picture is the halo around the rider's head, a sign of his magical power. In my opinion, Katherine K. and her Deryni have not received the art they deserve through the decades, and I have not ruled out doing more of it.

"Deryni Rider" is ink on illustration board, 6" x 10", September 1988.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ellemir of Darkover

I stand on a plastic box (used as a step stool) and look at a big closet shelf filled with ARCHIVAL STUFF. What exactly is all this stuff? I haven't looked at any of it for years. All of the folder covers are unmarked. That is not helpful. Note to archivist: write the year and date of the archive unit on the cover and/or spine of the portfolio book. I grab one at random and find a lot of small art from the 1980s. This lovely lady (all ladies in fantasy are lovely) was a piece of character fan art from the Darkover world. It was printed in a fan magazine which was made out of paper. Somewhere in another closet is the magazine and all its companions, each with art by me in it. 

I never made it to the higher levels of illustrative art doing book covers, collectible cards, game illustration, or interior illustrations. By 1993 I knew that I would have to do something else. I did a lot of very nice collectible art in the 1990s. I have not been doing a lot of fantasy or fine art in the 2000s, for many reasons. This makes me depressed. I would like to do more. I am not talking about sketch art like my winery art, which I seem to be able to continue doing, probably because it is small and not done in the studio. I hope there is some sort of solution that would make it possible for me to do art again. Meanwhile I will open some of those books and folders and all that stuff and see what's in them.

"Ellemir" is ink on illustration board, 3" x 5", summer 1983.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Truck Stop

In 1992, when I was already living where I live now, I took a road trip down the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, into Tennessee, where I attended a science fiction convention in Chattanooga. Everything was new to me this trip, it was unexplored territory for me. And it was the South in the dead of winter. My first stop after many hours of driving was Abingdon, Virginia, a town almost on the Tennessee border. It was elevated enough that snow was falling, though not accumulating. My stop-off hotel was at a busy intersection which had a cluster of hotels and restaurants as well as a truck stop. I could see the truck stop out my window.

On this cold mountain night I marveled at the big rigs arriving and departing; it went on all night and I heard its noise all night. I had my sketchbook journal, as always, and I made a drawing of the truck stop despite having poor light. You can see at least three trucks as well as two utility sheds in the foreground. The shape on the ground beside the truck to the right is not a dead body but some sort of flexible debris. 

I love this feeling of being alone (but protected in a shelter) in a place I've never been, with only a sketchbook to record it. I don't do as much traveling as I used to, and I wonder whether I'll be able to ride the roads again.

Technical pen black ink on sketchbook page, 8" x 3", January 15, 1992.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Modernist Fantasy World

Here's another test panel for what was then "The Flaming Ramparts," my graphic novel set in the world of the Noantri. (Yes, the same keyword that got Lamberto Fedeli to include me in his rant mailing list.) In this whole endeavor I am very much inspired by the Belgian graphic novel team of Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters who have created incredible architectural fantasies together. 

I imagine my Noantri living in a rather bleak world of new settlements, "Noantri New Earth." They have not been there long enough to create an artistic world of elegance; most of them live and work in plain modernist buildings which I borrow from early to mid-20th-century designs. There is also a strong Mediterranean quality to the Noantri's built environment and cities, because that is where most of them live. In this test panel, Enlil the techno-wizard stands on a rooftop gazing at the smoldering crater of Mount Aitna, which will soon menace the city with blasts of ash and a huge outpouring of lava. 

Ink, watercolor, and colored pencil on illustration board, 3 1/4" x 6", 1999.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fabbioli Cellars Winter Wining

"Wine Saturday" brought us to Fabbioli Cellars on a clear, chilly day. My friends and I sipped warming Chambourcin in the cellar-like tasting room, which is furnished with vintage wood and stucco walls. I did these small drawings there. Winter wining is different from the usual sketch session because it is too cold to draw outside. So I draw what I can see on the wall, in this case an unusually shaped window and a line-up of award-winning Fabbioli wines. The top color drawing is the view out the window featuring the vineyard in winter dormancy, lit by golden evening sunlight. It is framed by a plank of old wood which is part of the doorway trellis.

Technical pen ink and colored pencils, 6" x 9",  top drawing finished in Photoshop, January 10, 2015.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Towers of Aither

This experimental mixed-media picture features things I hardly ever use in fantasy art: white ink on a dark background and spray metallic paint. The white ink is actually liquid acrylic which I daubed on my pen point with a brush. When it was dry I went over it with transparent acrylic to color it. The background clouds are done in colored pencil. The Gothic architecture is inspired by the British Houses of Parliament. 

I called it "Towers of Aither" because "aither" is Greek for "magical energy." It became the English word "ether." Although the painting was pretty, I never used this combination again, probably because it looked like a New Age greeting card.

"Towers of Aither" is mixed media on grey paper, 8" x 9 3/4", November 1998.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Curious Case of Lamberto Fedeli, part 3

Brown and black ink on Bristol board, 4 1/2" x 4", January 9, 2015.


“Come clean or come and get me, you thieving degenerate shysters!”

Note: If you do not like or are offended by foul language, do not read this posting.

Lamberto took to the computer with dedication and endless energy. He repeatedly mailed any authority in Australia who he thought could help him in his crusade to get revenge on the lawyers and receive his $165,280.87. He wrote to politicians, members of Parliament, newspapers, journalists, TV news programs, lawyers from non-related courts. He wrote by paper mail as well, and even got replies; but they were the automated kind. “Thank you for your (letter, e-mail, phone call, fax). Your mail is important to us. We will get back to you in a maximum of three business days...” But of course they never got back to him. His daily e-mails (hoping perhaps that quantity and insistence might get him some real replies) were, sooner or later, blocked by the recipients. Sometimes he would get an automated reply online, and he would cite it to prove that his e-mail had been received and read, not just blocked.

What did it mean that he never got a personal answer (except from private individuals like me who in vain tried to get him to remove us from his list)? To Fedeli, it didn’t mean that they were not only blocking him but completely ignoring him as a pest. The silence of the authorities meant that they were afraid of him. That if they were to take his side, they would be violating the Mafia-like solidarity of legal and political life in Australia, so they couldn’t help him and still stay in the organization! 

“Come clean or come and get me, you thieving degenerate shysters!”

As the years of the 20s passed into the 201’s, Lamberto must have realized that his campaign of mailings was getting him nowhere. While still sending out his mailings, he resorted to faxing his targets, thinking that they couldn’t block an actual piece of electronic printing. But of course they could, and did. Fedeli actually cited the fax numbers of his targets, encouraging his readers to send more faxes to them. So now I know the fax numbers of various Australian officials, though I have no idea who they are. 

Lamberto did some research and came up with an anti-corruption law from 1914, his new weapon against the thieving degenerate mafia of the government. He gleefully quoted this time and again in each round of messages:

“CRIMES ACT 1914 - SECT 43 
Attempting to pervert justice 
(1) A person commits an  offence if:  (a) the person attempts to obstruct, to prevent, to pervert or to defeat the course of justice in relation to a judicial power; and 
(b) the judicial power is the judicial power of  the Commonwealth. 
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.”

Do you see, he said, THEY are the criminals, all of them, all in violation of the Crimes Act of 1914. Was anyone listening? It is now Lamberto Fedeli, whose last name means “Faithful” in Italian, who is exposing the corruption and wrong-doing of the Australian judiciary and by association, the entire government. And he continued to do so in round after round of mailings.

In this process, his original message morphed into a fascinating chain of rants, quotes, newspaper articles, advertisements, contact pages, political campaign leaflets, bizarre or grotesque photographs, and whatever would support his cause. Indeed, Fedeli’s mailings now resemble a blog, more than a campaign for justice. A blog from Hell, or at least Purgatory. His cause has become a ceaseless denunciation of corruption and misdeeds, wherever he can find them. The central theme remains, however. Everything Fedeli puts in his blog, is there because it can be compared to, or linked to, or investigated as the ORIGINAL CAUSE of the lawyers and judge who cheated him out of $165,280.87. Corruption in Australian politics? Scandals and embarrassments? Failure to prevent terrorist attacks? A baby taken and eaten by dingo dogs (This is an especially lurid and long-lasting Australian case from 1980)? ALL OF THESE are MINOR compared to the misdeeds of three lawyers and a district court judge in 1988 who defrauded an honest jeweler out of $168,280.87! 

I must say, as a side note, that Lamberto is not a nice old codger sitting on the porch with his laptop. He is an infinitely embittered old man, now aged 82, who has spent the last 28 years pursuing an impossible cause. He hates Jews, gays, feminist women, and anyone in authority. He believes in familiar conspiracy theories, denies global climate change, and may have had some contact with the Australian far right wing. His rants show a level of hate and rage that defies rational thought. 

Let us now turn, readers, to the words of Lamberto Fedeli himself. As the years go on and his frustration (and age) increase, his postings have gotten more florid, more vitriolic, and more profane, including many obscenities. I must say here that there is a cultural context to Lamberto Fedeli’s rants. He is from Rome, and he knows Roman dialect, and he almost certainly knows something about the ancient old tradition of Roman Italian invective. This kind of thing has been going on since the days of Petronius and Juvenal, and Fedeli is an inheritor of the style, which in the 19th century generated brilliant and nasty satirical poems in Roman dialect. So let us thank Roman/Italian culture for the literary output of Lamberto Fedeli. Here’s a nice long chunk of flaming text (all language as is without any correction) which covers most of his favorite themes. There are real names in this, quoted from my source.

“Jewdiciary vile damned race,  progenies of pimps & prostitutes, pederasts & pedophiles, throat cutters & pocket pinchers, fraudsters & opportunists,  manipulators of justice & protectors of the worst criminals, idolaters of drugs addicts ; bush rangers.(check their names in Google)  Going to court for justice  get robbed & if don't get robbed by a judge, you go broke by the  rapacity of solicitors. Open a fridge for a bottle of milk in a shop make you loose house & marriage. Going to court to recoup $49,745 worth of jewellery & I get robbed of interest & inflation of $165,280,87 cents & get $7,900 as compensation plus anger & stress let me had a cardiac arrest & forced to wear a defibrillators for the rest of my life. F*** you again bloody Peter Robert James 52 Victoria Street Grafton, Anthony John Gallagher 2 Robinson Ave Grafton, James W. Meehan, unknown  whereabouts, Chris Dalby, Grafton court house & the miserable scumbag of a district court judge, his whereabouts & name protected by their cohort of the high court of Australia
Go to complain to the authority &; they fob you  off with tergiversations & a lot of lies. We don't have any evidences that those individuals are or were legal practitioners. We don't have any evidences that You ever been in court. Asking if a judge is above the law, never get an answer, so he is above the law. Apply to high court of Australia; we will back to you as soon as possible. Never see or hear them again, f****** liars & miserable bastards. Call them sewer rats & never replay, so I was spot on, they are sewer rats.
I heard about a Jew law ( if true or fake I don't know) where a Jew can kill a Gentile (who is a Gentile anyways, a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu) & nobody can judge him but God only in Judgment Day. If a Jew find some things & belong to a Gentile he can keep but if belong to a Jew he must return, a Jew can defraud a Gentile but not a Jew. So Adolf was right, he just reverse the Jew law. F*** the Jewdiciary. The judge who robbed me must be a Jew then. I start to believe that such law is true. Spread around, no one will be prosecuted, it’s a true story all documented. Lamberto Fedeli. Police commissioner & high court rats know my address & phone number.”

Here’s some more choice verbiage:

“Do I offend the sensitive ears of those scumbags in wig and paraphernalia? Bloody hypocrites bastards, they have the denials from John Hatzistergos about the existences of Anthony John Gallagher and Peter Robert James plus same denial by Steve Mark which were supply by me to the police commission. The registration as legal practitioner of both solicitors, plus the pre-dated court ledger of 1985, when the sheriff declaration was in 1988. The refusal of acknowledgement of my appearances in any courts. Those bastards should be locked up for ten years as the law say. How we can let those jackals out of their den? How they can be so cunning, how the law can't be changed and let those bastards pay the consequences of their crimes. Nick Xenophon chasing gay priests, milk pricing, poker machines, travel perks, police warning you about scams on internet, Liam Bartlett exposing a Nigerian scam but no one exposing those pack of hyenas. They are shit, they don't deserve any respect. They are scum, crap shit, mierda, merde and if you know shit in any other language, please let me know!
And call me an offensive nutcase but at least I'm honest and not a hypocrite and don't have a sick, distorted criminal mind as those scumbags have.  Have those scumbags any thing to say in their defenses? Any excuses to act in such way? The police officers " Oath of Office" says "without fear or favor" Bloody hell, they have to lick the judiciary's ass!

Come clean or come and get me you thieving degenerate shysters.

In a more recent posting, Lamberto seems to have given up on bleeping his profanity, and going full-ahead with his sulfurous prose:

“Do you hear the people singing the rebellious hymn against those marauding hordes of Jewdiciaries? Hope that they will soon hear the roar of the tsunami or the roar of avalanches of shit which will overwhelm & devastate their dens. I got proof that those marauding hordes of earthling scum did very wrong & that they were cretins,
an attorney & a commissioner deny the existences of two solicitors when they are registered as such. fake a court ledger & put figures next to existing figures, so even blind Freddy can see the numbers come from same hand. No acumen, not a single thoughts about honest officer in court, who can recall dates & avenues. What a fucking mess they create for themselves.
You are an earthling scum, as all the other sons of bitches of high & supreme courts, merde of the worse kind, a mother fucker an arse licker of James W. Meehan, how people can trust you is incomprehensible to me, for $165,280.87 cents you sold you integrity & honesty, if you ever have had one. You must got 100% of what your invested. $8.000? get back $16.000? Very expensive now. You didn't just fucked your ass but the ass of all of them, plus the ass of your staff.
Go and sue me if you can, fucking son of a bitch, to defecate such shit must be a bitch, this will circulate all over Grafton. making a false court ledger, which got not legs to stand up, fucking idiot.
A country of convict three hundred years have passed & still fucking conman you are
With shit smeared all over your face. I will make you sorry for what you have done. Engage some thugs & you will end up in jail.
Never thought that this was possible twenty years ago. Busy man. Use you head next time. I wasn't a cretin, never crossed my mind that the judiciaries were a gang of criminals.

Happen that I go to court for recoup some jewellery, and solicitor & judge keep the lot, $165.280.87 cents and give to the right owner, me, $7.900. Check Ian Steele declaration district court 1988 amount over $25.000. Peter James ledger 1985 $4.974.50 definitely not for a district court.
My claim was for $49.745.00. Inflation from $95 to $250 an ounce plus 8 years interest make $165.280.87. 

I report the rort and nobody listen. Report to police, same thing. Report to law makers & they tell me that am a dreamer, no such solicitors or judge. I insist & they tell me to desist.
I don't give up with the ignoring authorities & they ban, block & blacklist my messages. So I start a revenge attack to defame the solicitor, which already ban my entry in his mail box, with faxes. His fax machine now is out of order. I start to insult all NSW authorities from police commissioners, politicians, senators, attorney general, Queen representative governor, premiers present & past by emails & faxes. And all this scum of inhumanity doesn't react or give me any response. They must be all dead shit, no pride, moral, integrity, honor but just dead shit. And we are the cuddle of democracy?

What’s that....the “cuddle” of democracy? Does he mean “cradle?” All this makes me want to take the next plane to Australia. It’s summer there, too! 


After reading all this and my previous installments too, you no doubt have come to a very obvious conclusion. This man is a complete and utter nutcase. Sure, you’re right. 
As a famous quote has it: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.” He might be a paranoid schizophrenic, or an obsessive-compulsive, or suffering from dementia. use language like Lamberto, he’s FUCKING HILARIOUS. This is the reason I don’t just block him as everyone else has. I want to see what the “earthling scum” and the “scumbags in wigs and paraphernalia” and the pack of hyenas and the thieving degenerates do next. 

Of course, for Lamberto, it can only end one way. He is an old man now and Nature will eventually take its course. All of the people involved have already either died or forgotten the whole thing. I don’t think anyone in Australia is as amused by it as I am. 

Another reason I don’t block him is rather personal. He reminds me of my late father. I had to listen to countless profanity-filled rants from my dad about culture, religion, politics, etc., the same thing over and over again. But my father, though obsessed with money, mercifully did not have to re-live the same small claims court case every day and night for 26 years. 

Now to solve the last problem. How in hell did Lamberto Fedeli, an Italian living in Australia, get my American e-mail address? It took a browser quirk to give me the solution. In “Safari,” if you hover the cursor above some words or e-mail addresses, it will give you a little pop-up on the screen that tells you more information about that address. 

I went to one of Fedeli’s e-mails and looked up all the names in his list. There I was, not by name but by my Yahoo account name. I put the cursor above it and out pops this: “Association Noantri.” NOANTRI! There was my answer but it takes a little explanation. As most of you know, I have an imaginary fantasy/science fiction world which I explore with writing, illustration art, and graphic sequential art. Some of this is up on my various web references including this blog. The world, and its people, is called “Noantri.”

I got that name from my memories of Rome, where I lived for three different years. (Lamberto was already in Australia, so I couldn’t have met him.) Remember my aside on Roman folk traditions. The district of Rome known as “Trastevere,” or “across the Tiber,” is the oldest district in the city. It is full of architectural and cultural treasures, not to mention great food. The people of Trastevere have a great sense of community. In Roman dialect, they call themselves “Noantri,” which comes from the standard Italian words “Noi altri,” or “We others.” I bet that Lamberto Fedeli either comes from Trastevere or has close associations with the place. Every year, in July, there is a  huge festival which takes up an entire boulevard in Trastevere, called the “Noantri” festival. It features street performers, vendors, food, music, religious processions, and all the marvelous revelry you expect from an ancient folkloric people and site.

Lamberto, when building his list, must have searched out “Noantri” on Google, or had someone else do it for him. The almighty search engine duly found me associated with Noantri, due to my imaginary world. My address was on the blog where “Noantri” was found, and thus got sucked into Lamberto Fedeli’s mailing list. Thanks Berto, for all the entertainment.

And so we leave our ranter in his cubbyhole in Sydney. There he types his rants to his readers, sometimes more than one a day, after all these years still hoping that someone will help him recover his (repeat after me) $165,280.87. If I were a billionaire, I would find it amusing to descend on his lair and simply write him a check for the whole thing. Or ten times the whole thing, if I moved a decimal point around. I couldn’t do anything about his earthling scum lawyers, though. As I am now, I could probably help him with the 87 cents.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Curious Case of Lamberto Fedeli, part 2

The Australian judiciary, in traditional court wig and garb.
Drawing is black and brown ink on sketchbook page, 7" x 4 1/2", January 8, 2015.

The Curious Case of Lamberto Fedeli, part 2

As Fedeli writes in his summary of the case, “In 1998 smells the rat.” He suspected that something dishonest had gone on in the jewelry settlement. In another posting, though, he says that he had already begun his crusade for justice in 1990. About what, then? This is where things in the Fedeli case get very weird.

Fedeli now claimed that he was owed far more money than he received in the earlier settlement. How did this happen? In 1998 he attempted to re-connect with the three lawyers who had worked on his case in 1988 and demanded to see the documentation on the settlement. He contacted the court he had been in and tried to get more records of the case, but could not obtain any useful information about the trial or his old lawyers. In 2004 (six years later!) Fedeli finally connected with one of the lawyers, who provided him with a court ledger which documented, in hand-written script, a payment to Lamberto Fedeli for $4,974.50 as a settlement in a defamation case that occurred in 1985 - by legal standards, ancient history. Note this number: it will become important.

But...a defamation case in 1985? Where did this come from? Fedeli doesn’t explain anything.  Fedeli provides as an attachment a poor, low-resolution copy of this 1985 settlement for $4,974.50. You can see the numbers but you can’t read the names of the people involved (except Fedeli). The image is just too blurred to read. There is no indication of why this was paid out. What you can see in the numbers is that the lawyers garnished $2,000 from this amount, leaving Fedeli only $2,974.50. But this award in the defamation case is somehow - a BIG unexplained somehow - connected with the $9000 award for the jewelry in 1988. Were the accused the same people as the jewelers who didn’t return Fedeli’s goods? I doubt whether anyone would do business again with someone who had hit them with a fine for defamation, so it’s probably a different party.

And sometime three years later, Fedeli makes a major discovery.

In Lamberto’s mind, the 1985 settlement has become the amount in the jewelry case.

 And there’s more: Fedeli claimed that he is owed not $4,974.50, but ten times that: $49,745.00, which was the real value of the jewelry he loaned out. Someone moved the decimal point one place to the left in the larger number, rendering Fedeli’s award in the 1988 case ten times less than it should have been.

There is a possible source of confusion here outside of Fedeli’s claim. In Italy, the punctuation on larger numbers is done with commas, while in Australia and other English-speaking countries it is done with periods (dots). So to an Italian, you are looking at a number “$4974,50” using commas which might confuse an Australian. 

Someone moved the decimal points! This was clear evidence of foul play to Fedeli. And what was more, in reducing the amount to “$4,974.50” from the Fedeli-claimed “$49,745.00”, the lawyers in the 1988 court case had removed the difference in funds and taken it for themselves. Fedeli (or anyone else) had no idea how this fraud and theft could have taken place. Despite that poor but readable copy of the ledger in the earlier settlement, (which Fedeli provides in regular e-mail attachments) there is no evidence in legal records of a mistake in notation or a larger payout being authorized. Nor did there appear to be any crime or fraud committed, as there’s no suspicion in the court or evidence of an investigation. Only Fedeli knows the truth. Permanently convinced that he must get what he is owed, Fedeli continued. He now accused the lawyers he had worked with not only of stealing the money owed to him, but of falsifying the date (1985) on the ledger so that by 1988 the three-year statute of limitations in small-claims court had already expired.

As the 21st century opened, Fedeli took his numbers to an accountant in 2006. He needed to update his fraudulently stolen settlement in 1988. The $49,745.00 amount he claims was rooked from him by his dishonest lawyers (as well as the judge who threw him out of court, who had to have been in on the job) was re-valued by the accountant. He took into the account factors of inflation, eight years’ interest (though the case happened 18 years ago, not eight?), and the price of gold in 2006. And by golly, the amount owed Fedeli after all these years of struggle is the “curiously specific” sum of $165,280.87! This is now Lamberto Fedeli’s claim on the world. This is what he is now owed in his quest for righteous financial justice. But if you look closely at the financial story even in a somewhat rational light, something will emerge: This money does not exist. It is an imaginary construction. Lamberto tries to make it exist, but it is undocumented except by the claims of an obsessive and deluded mind.

Nevertheless, he kept on trying. In Australian small claims courts, anything under $25,000 stays in the small claims department,  but anything over $25K can be brought to trial in a district court. In 2006 - already after almost two decades of struggle on the Case - Fedeli brought his cause to a District court, and went nowhere. He appealed to legal aid from the Australian office of the Legal Services Commissioner, as well as an attorney general, hoping to hunt down his treacherous lawyers from the old case and expose their fraud, duplicity, and theft. He received polite but firm letters from both of those offices, (scanned and presented as attachments for us) explaining that not only are the lawyers (whose 20-year-old business cards Fedeli produced) no longer accessible or even in practice any more, but that Fedeli’s case has long since timed out (the official statute being 3 years). So Fedeli is out of luck with the conventional legal world. He knows now what he suspected was true: They are all in collusion against him, not only the lawyers but the district court judge who threw his case out, and all the people he has tried to communicate and plead with. All corrupt, all standing together saying nothing rather than admitting that they defrauded or enabled the theft from an old Italian jeweler of more than $150,000.

What to do? He doesn’t know English well (except for cuss words), has no political contacts and knows no one rich or powerful, and after years of struggle is in poor health. How can he bring about justice and the return of his $165,280.87? Letters and phone calls and faxes don’t work...but there is this new thing, the Internet, and this even newer thing, social media, which can take his cause all over the world in a touch of a key. Everyone online can hear about Lamberto’s cause. And all these Australian authorities are online too, with e-mails and websites. He goes about compiling a list of politicians, journalists, TV and media people, lawyers, police, human rights activists, and anyone else who might support his cause. And somehow, among these Australian worthies, is me. How on earth did Lamberto Fedeli get my e-mail address? It’s not a secret; anyone who finds my blog or website can get my address. Fortunately, he is not sending abusive e-mails aimed directly at me. But why would Fedeli search me out? And what drives him to keep going?


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Curious Case of Lamberto Fedeli

Hi there, worthy handful of readers! This posting marks a change in the content of "Art By-Products." I will now be posting non-fiction and essay writing, in medium-sized pieces, to the By-Product. This won't happen every day, I expect to publish writing only once or twice a month. And each text will still have an illustration to go with it. If you want fiction (or perhaps alternate world is a better description) you are invited to visit my "Noantri New Earth" blog once it has been re-started. (I'll tell you when.) I've missed slinging words, and this way saves paper. Of course if the text doesn't interest you or is too long, it won't bother me if you just look at the picture. 

Illustration: "Lamberto on a Rampage" is brown markers on sketchbook page, 4" x 4", January 5, 2015.

The first "Word By-Product" is part one of a series on a notorious Italian-Australian internet crank, to whose mailing list I was somehow subscribed.


Long, long ago, in 1960, a jeweller and goldsmith from Roma, Italia, emigrated to Australia. His name was Lamberto Fedeli, and he settled in Sydney. There he stayed, unknown to most of the world, until he was thrown, or threw himself into, a world of obsession and rage magnified by the Internet, a voice howling in the cyber-wilderness.

Ever since it went public in the 1980s and early 1990s, the Internet has been the home of cranks, madmen, paranoids, ideologues, crackpots, and assorted crazies. With the touch of the “send” key, someone can multiply their madness not only to friends and family but to multitudes of people in places that the sender cannot even imagine. Some older net users may recall the rabid posts of “Serdar Argic,” who launched his wild tirades blaming the Armenians for the genocide of the Turks (the exact opposite of real history) to any newsgroup or forum that dealt with Near Eastern politics and culture. “Serdar Argic” turned out to be a “bot”, or a piece of software designed to spray messages over the internet when it encounters the right keywords. 

Lamberto Fedeli is not a bot. He is a real person whose life has gone wrong for years. He is still fighting a legal case which has gone on, by his own admission, for more than twenty-five years, long after the statute of limitations has run out on it. Just the level of his endurance, let alone the intensity of his commitment, boggles the mind. But what is most astonishing is that this case may not exist.

In mid-2011, I started receiving e-mails from Fedeli about this case and the injustices he had endured. The e-mails were copied to a collection of addresses of politicians, lawyers, media people, police, and other authority figures in Australia. I somehow had been placed on this list even though I am on the other side of the world and have no connection with Fedeli or his crusade, nor any ability to help him win his war. The texts he sent were mostly abusive and verbally violent, filled with foul language. His command of the English language was poor; as an Italian speaker in an English-language country he had not been able to learn the official language.

I could have simply blocked his address and I would be rid of him and his ranting posts. I wrote to Fedeli privately, as he makes his correct address public, and asked to be removed from his mailing list. He replied that he could not do that, because he had not put my address on it. He said that he had urged his readers (or friends and family, etc.) to seek out as many people as possible and add them to Lamberto’s list, so that his outrage would have a larger audience. This is the only time I have had direct online contact with Fedeli himself.

 At one point I wrote to one of the people on his list, asking just who this person was. The Australian person (I’m naming no names anytime here) told me to just block his address and ignore him. But I had gotten curious. This was a case of obsessive madness and I wanted to know more about it. Fortunately (or not), Fedeli posts a synopsis of the Case every so often so we won’t forget the facts.

The case

The details of this case are very difficult to figure out, given Fedeli’s lack of English and his own obsessive commitment to the cause. He is the only source I have for the story, after all; the Australians have all blocked him years ago and moved on. If I lived in Australia I might give visiting him a try, and speak to him in Italian, a language I know. At this point I don’t think even corresponding with him online is a good idea, given his ability to harass and cause mayhem on the net.

But let’s look at the case from a summary made by Fedeli himself and published in one of his e-mails to his list. I’m not going to quote the whole text, but make as much sense out of it as I can, and as he reported it.

Lamberto Fedeli worked as a jeweler in Sydney, Australia. In 1980, he writes, he left a large amount of jewelry with some fellow jewelers, a pair of brothers, on approval. “Approval” means that he places some merchandise with others, who will either sell it, buy it themselves, or return it to the original owner. A year went by, and the brothers had neither sold nor bought it. They did nothing for a year, neither refusing it nor returning it. So Fedeli sued to get his jewelry back from these colleagues. He hired three lawyers (or solicitors, as they’re referred to in Australia) to prosecute and get his money or merchandise back.

This date of 1980 is peculiar as Fedeli states in his report of the case. Because as he states it, the lawsuit to retrieve the jewelry or its monetary worth took place in November 1988 - eight years later. Do Australian court cases about business take eight years to come to trial? Perhaps. But Fedeli says the court case, with his three lawyers to serve him, took place in November of 1988.

The settlement, when it came, relied on the price of gold at that moment rather than the value of the actual jewelry. Fedeli testified in court himself about the wrong that had been done and reported that the price of gold had risen to $250 an ounce, since the original deal was proposed (in 1980?). (In fact, an internet search shows that the price of gold in 1980 was US$ 594.90 per ounce and its price in 1988 was US$ 410.15. But Lamberto’s prices are in Australian dollars, so that would change the price per ounce for an Australian case.)

After Fedeli’s testimony, the court recessed, leaving Fedeli bewildered and angry. When the lawyers returned, they offered him an out-of-court settlement for $8000. In some of Fedeli’s outbursts, this is cited as $9000. (Australian dollars.) The judge wanted it settled out of court because he (the judge) could not understand what Lamberto was trying to say, given that Fedeli didn’t know English very well at all.

Fedeli settled with his lawyers for 8 (or 9) thousand AUDollars. The lawyers garnished a fee from this settlement, leaving Lamberto with about $7900. The case seemed to end here, and according to his summary, Fedeli waited ten years before a major turn of fortune (at least, for him) occurred.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Make it Summer

When I was a youngster growing up in chilly dark Massachusetts, I hated winter and the endless long dark nights and the relentless cold. I begged my mother to "make it summer!" (Not, as the Captain would say, "make it so." They have Holodecks to deal with this problem.) I was not a winter sports fan, to say the least. I nagged Mother so much that she finally got an idea how to make it summer: she bought me a sun lamp. This device could either emit ultraviolet rays and a bright bluish light, or with another attachment, heat and infrared rays from a radiator element. It came with a set of dark goggles to wear when using the sun lamp.

This would be totally illegal nowadays, but it was just the thing back in the early 1960s. (It is not illegal in China, as an internet search shows.) With my goggles on I put my face in front of the sun lamp for carefully measured intervals of 15 minutes or so. A suitable exposure time tinted my face pink and also got rid of adolescent acne. We didn't know anything about "seasonal depression" back then but I could sure use that sunlamp now. The non-operating ruins of my little sun lamp, all rusted and dusty, still exist in the clutter of my mother's house. 

There are plenty of anti-seasonal depression lights on the market, and I have one from about 1999, but it's never done the job. You'd think that Virginia, which is the South, would not be a problem for me with winter cold and darkness, but it is. I cherish that one month when things are lush and warm and wet in the world, that is, July. The most I can do is unearth a summer sketch from my 1980s sketchbook. This one is of Cambridge trees and a turret from a magnificent old house on my street.

Brown ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, restored in Photoshop, 8" x 10", July 15, 1984.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Morning Glories

There's nothing like a true-blue flower to make gardeners like me excited. There are so few of them available to grow, that do not shade into purple or fade into pink. I've grown the common bachelor's-button, which is ultramarine blue, and I've also grown Chilean bellflowers and tiny forget-me-nots. But the most spectacular true blue flower for me is the ipomoea or morning-glory vine, in the "Heavenly Blue" variety. You can grow these just about anywhere that they can climb. I grew them in Cambridge and I even tried to grow one in my indoor garden under lights. It did bloom a few times but was eventually destroyed by aphids. How the aphids got indoors to my garden, I never knew. I do know that aphids "colonize" morning glory plants outdoors, and ants tend the aphids like livestock, harvesting sugary liquid from the aphids to feed the ant community. I have actually observed this phenomenon myself.

This morning glory painting was a commission from a friend who liked my garden art. It is hard to capture the true colors of these blooms with a camera, but watercolor can match that shade exactly. Maybe someday I'll try to grow real morning glories again, if I ever have room for them.

"Morning Glories" is ink and watercolor on illustration board, 9" x 11", January 1986. Click for larger view.