Word and Image

Archive for November, 2012

Sunset Manhattan


It’s not every night that you get spectacular light. But since that’s when you shoot, it must seem that this is what it’s like to have the Manhattan skyline for your view. I actually have had a 360 degree view. I admit I’m not on a high floor. But you get a lot more detail. Until things got built up or fell, I had a view of the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center. I still have a tiny piece of river view. We see the New Jersey palisades and I can identify many named buildings. Looking east we see the view and glow of Times Square but without the noise. And west is the Hudson River and ‘Jersey. Down by the river it’s still gritty but getting more gentrified every day.

Hot Dog


This hot dog vendor is stationed in New Orleans. One thing that I can say about Saudi Arabia, it’s hard to come by a good ‘dog. The grocery sells something they call a hot dog. Even I haven’t been that hungry yet. They are an odd shape and color. And they come frozen. “Subway” (the sandwich place) sells them. They are split and put on a sandwich roll covered with cheese to which they then add all the condiments and vegetables. The kids eat them …ugh. In Maine they liked their hot dogs a bright unnaturally dyed red color…definitely bad for you. The thing is that I doubt that I will make it my business to get a ‘dog when I visit home soon.



This is the first President Bush when he addressed our national meeting in New Orleans. Have you wondered what out of office presidents do? They get a lot of money to speak… a lot. We had Gorbachov in the fall of 2004. The auditorium was packed and waiting when a member of the national neurosurgical leadership stood up. I thought he would announce the speaker. Instead he stated, “In the upcoming election Kerry and Edwards are against malpractice reform. Bush (Jr) will sign it.” End of statement and he sat down. Son of a gun, if that wasn’t a political endorsement! Bush Sr spoke some years before to our group. I guess you would have to be blind not to realize that the leadership is decidedly Republican. I’m agnostic but mostly not Republican. When George spoke, it was quite an experience. He spoke for an hour. It turned out to be a history lesson. He once spoke about how before he was president there was a Berlin Wall and after he became president there was no wall… as if he took down the wall himself. (See how this ties in with Gorbachov?) This speech he gave to our meeting was much the same. It was a rehash of his presidency. And at the 59th minute of his speech he remembered to say something relevant to neurosurgery. He said that he was planning to parachute jump from a plane and Barbara warned him that it wouldn’t be a good idea in a room full of neurosurgeons. Let’s hope he didn’t land on his head. For all the money he was paid you would at least have hoped for an original speech or even a new idea. And as for the rest, I don’t remember another word he said, it was so irrelevant.

Swan and row boat


They say that you should use the warm glow of dawn and evening sunset to do your photography. During the high noon direct sun hours, it’s not really good to shoot. Unfortunately that’s when I’m up and about. So I say again, I’m a sucker for bright sun and bright blue water. We chanced upon this scene bike riding. It’s why I like biking. You’re seeing scenery change faster than walking. You get a little exercise. I do especially because my wife doesn’t stop so I have to pedal fast to catch up. She didn’t wait but I got the shot anyway.

Beach Ladies


I think that the display is a whole lot better than buying only one lady. It’s a Long Island tableau. The bright sun brings me right back to a hot summer day. Who knows where or when? Does it matter? I like the graphic and the color. I don’t think that I would necessarily want one at home.

Skinny Dip


Well the kids were in camp and we had just returned from a long bike ride. We were hot and the thing to do was jump into the pool. So here’s the abstract photo to commemorate the moment. Digital could do so much better. But then again the mood of this shot was perfect. And if it were any better I wouldn’t be posting it. This one is about the memory. I often wonder about the things we forget and would never recall without some aid to jog us. Yes, it is a weird picture that is hard to interpret, but it was all done in camera without any fancy aids.



This was an activity conceived and executed by my wife. She passed this place to rent kayaks and off we went somewhere out east on Long Island. We’re there in the kayaks paddling along enjoying the exercise. I don’t remember which kid fell out first. But I was certainly surprised that the water was so shallow. Really, you can’t see the bottom, so I assumed it would be deep. Otherwise why did we need the kayaks? And why did the kids not stay inside them?

I’m not a bit shy with my expensive Nikon in the kayak. I just wonder why the big deal to carry life vests in this wading water.



The one and original Nathan’s of Coney Island. This is the hot dog place that the name brand comes from. Perhaps Nathan’s hot dogs aren’t sold everywhere? And this is the place for the annual July 4th hot dog eating contest. I haven’t had a hot dog in 6 months now. I don’t remember what it takes to win the contest but it’s something like eat 50 hot dogs in 10 minutes… with buns… and water if you wish. I like dogs but I know I would throw up after/before 10. And it was always a skinny Japanese kid who would win… not lately. But who’d have figured a little Japanese kid? Otherwise the joint is nothing compared to the slick fast food Nathan’s they set up in the local malls.

Happy Thanksgiving


It’s a tradition in my house except that I’m not home this year. My life has landed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. So the day started in the gym, stretching. Then on to the OR for a woman who just had a baby and was becoming paralyzed from breast cancer. We saved her. It’s already late afternoon and in New York everyone is just rising. No Thanksgiving dinner later for me. No celebration. I’ve spoken to friends and family, left messages for others, and emailed my kids. It’s a funny thing because one year is so different from any other. Ninety degrees and sunny, tomorrow I’ll dive in the Red Sea. Who would believe that this is the alternative to Black Friday? The kids are traveling. My son is in California visiting his girl friend’s family. And my daughter will spend it in the Cayman Islands. I didn’t realize that dropping out of the holiday would change it so much for everyone else. In searching my hard drive, I was hoping to catch a classic shot that’s hiding there. Julia (infant) is being held by Grandpa Bill in one hand and in the other Grandpa has the Thanksgiving turkey waiting to be dressed. Julia was smaller than the turkey and it’s a priceless shot. Grandpa doesn’t even like turkey. He loved his grand daughter. So I got this shot. It’s a holiday dinner some years later. As you can see Julia is exhausted. And all she had to do was eat the dinner. We would start days in advance. It’s not hard. But you have to gather all the essentials. One year my wife bought a frozen turkey on Tuesday expecting to bake it on Thursday. She panicked upon realizing that this would not be possible. We ended up with a fresh turkey (don’t ask) and another whole turkey dinner on Saturday. So I say, go ahead and enjoy. I hope I can get a football game on TV/internet. Then I’ll remember Thanksgivings past. All the best to all of you.

Times Square

These shots are of Times Square before it underwent recent changes. So if you know it or have been there recently, here are some throwback views. It’s a bit more sleek now and there’s a pedestrian mall, and there’s a new and renovated Tkts center, and so on…. Neon lights are required and there’s still lots of action. And I suppose there are still a lot of plain clothes police. The porno movies and sleeze have moved away. One might say that it’s pretty safe.

They laugh at me about all the pictures I take. Aren’t you glad I did? A little?


Ninja David


As I look at this it is ski gear. But I believe the effect is to make a Ninja disguise. We don’t usually hang out at home in ski gear. The face guard reminds me that David had cold weather hives that would form in frigid weather. He has outgrown that. He also had very fair skin like his mother and we were concerned that he was at risk for skin cancer. He’s outgrown that too. Julia had my skin which is pretty tough but I’ve developed a lot of age freckles, so we’ll have to see about the kids. Anyway this slide is in my collection and it’s definitely not a fashion statement.

First Bikes


Some people save things. When you live in an apartment, you don’t. Or at least we don’t. I would but since I’m not really the boss, you understand. So when the kids were a bit too tall for their first two wheelers, it was time to donate to Salvation Army. Sentimental that I am, I tried to advocate to save them and the answer was that when the kids had their own kids they would want to buy the grandkids a bike that they chose. Is that convoluted or what? Well, I think my wife’s correct again. Instead I have to settle for the memory. The kids didn’t seem to be having any separation problem. My wife made two trips with the bikes. I couldn’t do it. On the second a couple guys asked her and she donated the second bike to them for their kids. She then went back to Salvation Army to get the first bike back but they wouldn’t let her have it to give away. Go figure.



I learned to play golf with these guys. Actually, I just play with them about once a year. Well, to be honest it’s not even that often lately. We’ve sort of split. Bob and Kathy split. He lost the ladies and so we see Kathy but haven’t seen Bob lately. Remember that movie with Carol Burnett and Sandy Dennis…. I learned to play golf in the most casual way. Who carries a camera around on the golf cart? I usually just spend most of the time in the woods wandering around looking for my ball. I don’t find it but there’s usually someone else as errant so I always come away with a ball even if it’s not mine. To be honest I’m secretly better. I hit it mostly straight. And when necessary, I tee it up from the rough and even the fairway to gain a greater advantage. Hey, I’m not too serious. Alex is way serious since he learned (about the same time as I started). He’s pretty good but sometimes Bob and Kevin tease him. They always ask if I’ve been playing and then shake their heads when I tell them it’s once a year.

Rorchach reflection

We visited Alex and MaryAnne in Ashburnham and stayed at their house on the lake. The early morning was still and there was a wonderful opportunity to get a fall reflection. Of course when you develop and mount your own slides abstraction is more obvious. Hence the turned slide that makes an entirely different statement.




We were about to embark on the annual Bear Mountain trip. My brother Eric decided that we should go fishing first. So off to the industrial park with fishing gear and bait we went. Hence the wool hat, football, and the hiking boots an outfit that would otherwise seem mismatched. They had just been throwing the football. It was going to be a bit chilly in Bear Mountain. And you need hiking boots to hike. Of course catching a fish… priceless.



Here’s a picture that conjures up an instant story unrelated to the picture, except for where I took it. I was invited to dinner at a transvestite bar/restaurant in the Greenwich Village. I had already passed the window. A young woman was sitting with her back to the street wearing a wedding style veil into which was woven scores of condoms, a bachelorette party. I was meeting a bunch of my OR nurses. Not wishing to be first to arrive, I carefully cased the joint and walked discretely on down the block. While wandering and waiting I shot this slide of a window display. So much for anonymity…once inside, I was quickly recognized by a neighboring table of nurses, who were also dining. They were from another hospital that I had previously worked in. It’s a small world even among NYC’s 8 million people. And… I was injured when one of the gym socks (of the transvestite singers) poked me in the eye. All that from a picture of some pottery bunnies… Who’d have guessed? I suppose Freud would say there is symbolic meaning in the rabbits.



This is Nellie our second Cavalier King Charles spaniel. She frequently traveled with us. On this occasion we were in Mystic Connecticut taking the kids to camp. She’s a good dog. Doesn’t everyone say that? Nellie tends to be fidgety and likes to run away. So how it is that I got her to sit still and not chase the kids is a mystery to me. She was always a whole lot better as a subject than Reggie, our first. He was black and just never photographed well.

Ferris Wheel


My brother took us to Dorney Park. David, Andrew, and Bryant went along – three cousins. At the end of the day when it was too cool to be on the water rides, we tackled the roller coasters. It’s slide film, not digital, so motion blur, low ISO, slow shutter speed, etc are all in play. But you get the idea. And the motion is a good thing. Yes I know that this is not a roller coaster. But there was more color and less motion.

Orient Point


We are at the eastern most point on the north fork of Long Island. It’s the terminus for the ferry. This ferry has had a significant part in our lives. It connects Long Island to New London, Connecticut. It is the way to summer camp, friends, skiing, Maine and so many events. It’s not a regular trip but we’ve made it often enough for the scene to be familiar. Like everything else, I take a picture of the lighthouse on each trip. Sometimes you like the shot better than others.

Julia Drive


I didn’t really realize it at that moment. It was Julia’s first time practicing in the car. Some things come and go so quickly and without fanfare. Before you know it, it was the first or last something. I’m glad I have this shot. I can’t say that I have a similar shot for David. Maybe it will show up sometime. They make fun of me for photographing everything. But I’m glad that they let me.

Playa Del Carmen


Where were we? Well, it was Don and I. We had rented a car and left the meeting in Cancun to travel south to Playa Del Carmen. We sat on the nude beach and had tacos while some bikini clad girl sold us some jewelry which we bought for our wives. And there by the roadside was this brilliant restaurant set against a bright blue sky. I like the graphic and the instant memory of where I was at that moment.

Red Grass


I’m just speed reading my image collection and stopped here. It’s not a great shot. It just evokes the memory of a hot sunny summer day with a bit of breeze. I got a lot of these days in my memory. And then, perhaps, not enough… It’s nice to be reminded.

10th Avenue


Here’s a mistake. I don’t think that I could repeat this shot. It’s handheld and blurred by motion. But there’s enough detail to keep it interesting. The elements, water, reflection, and colors make me pause to look at this shot. It also reminds me of Maggie Sherwood a photographer who shot a similar blurred image in the rain. She graciously loaned us her floating houseboat/barge on which we were married on the Hudson River at sunset on 9/11 many many years ago.



Costa Rica. I got three shots (one post). It rains – obviously. He’s made friends with a random dog. And here’s his imitation of an eagle – vulture. His sister was on another trip. Two weeks with a teenager gets you quality time and some silly candids. His sister had already been to Costa Rica. Her complaint was that we had better accommodations. Of course we did.