Saturday, December 17, 2011

Giggling like a schoolgirl while cleaning brushes

I was waiting for a slow news week to post this. I wanted to write about humble and silent heroes that make our lives better. There are so few, and yet they are so important. I wonder why we take them so often for granted. Well, I wanted this to be a tribute to those unsung heroes that changed our lives just by reminding us to smell the flowers, even though we always find ways to forget it. That special brand of people that lives for the little things that life brings us. The little things that get us to appreciate life, the only path to true happiness. Silent heroes seem to relish in them while we just watch with one eye, find it cute, and quickly move on.

People around me, including my loved ones, don't know this...but I loved to watch The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross, on PBS, late 80's and early 90's (see video for a taste of the show).

I just loved watching Bob Ross paint. I was a teenager at the time, a sort of hard-nose rocker that found trouble easily. I don't know why I enjoyed it . It's very ironic because I don't even paint. I never was attracted to painting or drawing. Even my stickmen look awful! But there was something soothing and reassuring about Bob Ross in general. You know the "everything's gonna be alright" feeling. He lived for the little things and he surely appreciated life. It I secretly watched.

But you know, sometimes public figures on television are very different in really life. Sometimes they are quite the opposite of what they represent on T.V. Take O.J. Simpson, for example. As an American football fan, I just loved to watch him every Sunday as a broadcaster. He just sounded like a very sweet guy. We surely had another thing coming...

So, at one point, after the O.J. incident, before Bob Ross passed away in 1995 (at the age of 52), I wondered if Bob Ross could be a different person in real life than the soft spoken painter on T.V. I even imagined the worst scenarios: he would stop his show right in the middle, take a canvas and smash it on his head and scream at the top of his lungs "Fuck this shit...I'm gonna drive to California and drop acid. So long, fuckos!!"

But it never happened. Instead, he would simply giggle like a schoolgirl every time he cleaned his brush (see video...the "cleaning brushes festival" starts at 0:09).

And when he said "Maybe we'll get a little crazy today"...geez, the word "crazy" had a different meaning for me. For me it was partying. For him it was trying to paint something different. But, even then, I was totally digging his message.

And how about that: a white boy wearing an afro...In some parts of American cities, he could have been beaten up just for that reason. Hey! You have to respect the dude! That guy had to be the major dude! And not only he had cool hair, the guy acted cool too. He was soft spoken. Never raised his voice. He's been often compared to Mr. Rogers from Mr. Rogers' neighbourhood. In so many ways, his T.V. show was the adult version of Mr. Rogers' neighbourhood. Every week, he would take us on a new adventure. And even for adults, the adventure was magical.

I always pictured Bob Ross as a Vermonter. Can't you picture him making his own bread, drinking herbal tea, spying birds? Well the guy was born in Daytona Beach, Florida, and was raised in Orlando.  But I was, not enough strong of a word here...I was floored when I learned that Bob Ross was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and at some point was transferred to an Air Force base in Alaska. Ok. Maybe not Vermont...but Alaska is starting to make more sense.

I don't picture him for a second being a military. He doesn't look like a tough guy. But hey! It's just to say that you don't really know a man until you walk a mile in his shoes. In his case, his military boots. He had to do what he had to do at that period of his life. But that was surely not the true nature of our soft spoken white dude hippie with an afro. I'm pretty sure the first time he held a paint brush, he just knew that he had to leave the Air Force.

Of course, when you become such a public figure, people will start to imitate you or make fun of you (see the following two videos):

I'm sure he would have the sense of humor to appreciate such attention. In any case, one of his famous quotes was "There are no mistakes in your world. We don't make mistakes, we just have happy little accidents". He would say it very often on his show, sometimes with different words. I'm pretty sure he believed in that. If not, he fooled me...and he got me to believe in that too.

So any time I paint my home walls (I can't draw or paint a picture...but, I can apply paint on a wall!!), when I clean the brushes, I always think about him. I'm sure that if he's watching me, he's giggling, and telling me what he used to say on his show "just beat the devil out of it".

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

I will post articles on December 24 and 31 (no rest for the wicked) stay tuned!!!


This week’s lucky number: The Clue. A movie starring Will Smith: _______ pounds.

Sad Clown of the Week: Lowe's. The U.S.-based chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores pulled all its ads from TLC's "All-American Muslim" reality show because Muslims were portrayed as "normal and ordinary" people (as opposed to portraying them as terrorists!!!). When you think people are getting away from racism...some stupid-fearful-weak-ignorant-narrow-minded hillbillies keep pulling you back in it!!

Happy and Dandy Clown of the Week: Russell Simmons. The co-founder of the Def Jam record label and creator of the clothing fashion line Phat Farm has offered to buy all of the advertising time dropped by Lowe's for TLC's "All-American Muslim" reality show. Good for him! (But he couldn't do it because all the advertisement slots were already filled by other companies).

Clever song lyrics: "All you need is love. And love is all you need." - Song: All you need is love - Artist: The Beatles

Cheesy song lyrics: "I wanna know what love is. I want you to show me." Song: I wanna know what love is - Artist: Foreigner (I don't know who's the girl he was talking to...but that's a lot of pressure: "showing" love???)

Philosophical Quote of the week: "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" Character: President Merkin Muffley (wonderfully played by Peter Sellers) - Movie: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Sign the end of the world is near: Colorado Pastor Wayne Hanson said about Tim Tebow's (Denver Broncos' quarterback) recent success with his team: "It's not luck. Luck isn't winning 6 games in a row. It's favor. God's favor". Two things I have to say about that. Firstly, God does not give a rat's ass about football. Secondly, if God was a football fan, He'd be a New England Patriots' fan...and my Pats shall beat Tim and the Broncos tomorrow afternoon!!

Love letters, comments, opinions and complaints:


  1. Ha!! I've watched that show before...I would usually come across it by accident, but always stayed on the channel to the very end...I loved to watch him paint!

  2. @Dee: I'm glad I made you remember that show. Thanks for "coming across" my blog ;-)

    Happy New Year!

  3. It's funny that you would write a blog about this obscure guy - and even funnier that I used to watch his show and I had no interest in painting. I guess I always found it amazing that with a few brushstrokes in the right place he was able to turn paint splattered on a canvas into a beautiful landscape - and that he thought others had the potential to do it also!

  4. @Shayna: As always, thanks for your comments.

    I guess painting is like's not what you write about but how you write it...In other words, you sell yourself (as an author or painter) not your subjects.

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