Word and Image

Archive for June, 2016

Dental Cleaning

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There are no tooth brushes. So nature provided wrasse for the duty. They dart among passing fish. There are even so cleaning stations. Fish come for cleaning like a car wash. Ha! But from time to time you do need to clean your teeth and if you don’t have a brush, a toothpick, or a tongue, it’s gotta be hard to do yourself. Open wide. I got this shot before. Not quite so wide. I could pretty much see the tonsils. Moays have tonsils? And then in darted the wrasse. One gulp and he’s a tasty snack. And he did it more than once. For his part I could not see what the wrasse found so appetizing. Imagine eating the food between someone else’s teeth. Brave fellow. I’m pretty fortunate to have been there to watch. See? The little one is sitting inside looking out at me. Daring me to come in. It’s not so benign. I’ve seen video of a moray tearing the tentacle off an octopus. Maybe the wrasse was the bait and I was dinner?IMG_6270


Eat Sand

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I’ve been diving on this reef about four years. Blue spotted rays always command a stop for a picture. They are commonly seen but not too common. And I have tried all sorts of angles and shot movies and got in real close. Whatever. Until now no one ever raised up and showed me their mouth. I looks drippy and yucky. They must vacuum their food. Can’t see it to eat it obviously. Or should I say obviously can’t see? Following? Rare? For me it is. My first. Not the confusion, it’s this shot of the underside. There are images of giant manta rays with the underside and their mouths. But this spotted ray just smiled for me. Thanks. Meanwhile it must eat a lot of sand with its mouth pressed to the bottom.

 


Fun

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I’m not much of a museum buff. No real photo ops. Still, there are some fun things. American Gothic. A classic. It needs no introduction. It’s in my psyche. So, to see it up close and personal was fun. I’ve been to the Chicago Art Institute before. Darn, if I remember the painting was there. Still is. And will be when I come back. Maybe (I’ll come back)? So my feet are tired and we needed to get a little less serious about all this art. Actually another woman did this first. I actually had an umbrella. But the security guards are too tight assed. I shouldn’t have asked first. Just take out the umbrella, get the shot, and be gone before they notice. But with TSA, one does not mess with Mother Nature. Nope. Not permitted. They strictly told us at the door to carry our back packs in hand and not on our back. It might swing and damage something. Inside people did as they pleased. Too many people disobeying to really try to police. Oh well…civil disobedience. We made light of it all. No rain for days….

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Terracotta Warriors

Not too often is there something I’d like to see or do. A couple things on my short list would include the exhibition of Chinese human anatomical dissections and another is Cirque du Soleil. SFSG. Riding the bus at the Chicago meeting I noticed signs proudly proclaiming there were terracotta warriors on exhibit at the Field Museum. The entire army is more than 6000. I just finished a novel in which the setting was in China at the site. A chance! Up close! Alas, it wasn’t the 6000 or even close. But there were some. And it was fascinating to read about it. And then I got to see them up close. No I did not get to touch. Many of the warriors were broken into fragments and were painstakingly reassembled and restored. The ultimate puzzle game! And I did not know that they were originally colorful. The dyes had faded with age. Outside the exhibit I got to pose with them. Cute!

I don’t usually go to the museum in a suit. We had rushed over from the meeting witouth time to change. Did I tell you the one where I was at the meeting in Los Angeles? Universal Studios. We had the opening reception there. 2000 or so neurosurgeons showed up for the evening event all dressed in suits. We rode in the trams sitting tall and straight. The bedraggled tourists, kids in tow, leaving at the end of the day, looked upon this rank and file and thought we must have been brought in as extras for Men In Black. Yes. We all wear dark suits. It’s a uniform. No Hawaiian print. Not for this conservative group! Nope. Nada. And the entertainment band was wildly playing out their hearts. Sweat poured in the warm evening. And when the band finished it’s number, the audience stared back at them. No one applauded. Would this be the definition of a stuffed shirt? So I laugh at myself too. And I try not to wear a tie unless I must. But at the national meeting it’s easier to blend in with the boys then to fight city hall. You don’t have to change your suit. No one will notice.


Bedrooms

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Van Gogh painted his bedroom. It’s famous. It’s been in my subconscious always. I think. I’m not an artist nor too much interested. The Chicago Art Institute is well known. Duh? They put on an exhibition,” Bedrooms.” The lines were out the door. Wisely we looked up the time and found that you could order up a fast pass. Skip the lines. Get into the exhibit fast. Pay extra. Time was money. Paid online an hour before we went. It seemed like cheating. Well, we paid for it, for sure.

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Got there, got in, cut across the big line. In! To the exhibit. There’s plenty more to the museum but we wanted to see the exhibit. Go! Front of the line and the man with the bar code scanner said, “Whoa! You have a fast pass but that does not get you into the Van Gogh exhibit.”

“Foul!” I cried. No problem. Back up. Pay $5/per more for entry. Dammit. You’d think that all that other money would have gotten us in…

The fuss? Van Gogh painted his bedroom three different times. Side by side you can see the differences. And otherwise I am sure I have seen this painting. But I never knew there were three versions. Yes, I do brain surgery. I’ve been under a rock. So, look. The background in each version is slightly different. The three paintings make for an interesting exhibit. I am a photographer. I took advantage that the museum let me take pictures. So many people crowded in front and with their smartphones shot a remembrance. Few paused long enough to appreciate the paintings. I mean ten seconds and one smartphone pic later, that’s not terribly fulfilling. But in today’s world you have about fifteen seconds before the next event hits the news cycle.

To be honest, I did not notice the differences until they were pointed out. This is art not science. I gladly claim happy ignorance. Teach me.

No, I won’t photograph my bedroom three times. No one will care a hundred years from now.


Demera

Ethiopia is just across the way from the Middle East. And, I traveled to Chicago to eat in an Ethiopian restaurant. The sites on the ‘net recommended it. The food is typical. It has a pancake bread called injera. It’s a sourdough tasting spongy kind of pancake looking bread. That help? You gotta try it. My kids don’t like the taste of the bread. So you order up. The stuff comes on a large flat pan with injera as the base. You get extra injera to dip and eat with. No forks. Fingers! It’s communal. Sharing. You dip in and go. There is an option for gluten free injera. You don’t go away hungry. The place was packed and they’ve been in business a long time.

Did I tell you my birthday adventure many years ago in NY. There was an Ethiopian restaurant a few steps from where I lived. It’s still there. I’m not. I liked it – the restaurant. The family did not like the taste of the bread. So we never went after our initial adventure. On my birthday I was instructed to dress for dinner out. Then I was blindfolded, led down the elevator, and we all got into a waiting cab. The destination was whispered so I had no clue. After a few minutes we arrived in front of the restaurant. Surprise! Sometimes your family makes sacrifices. It was the last time we ate in this restaurant. Fortunately, they did not depend upon us to remain open.

Sadly, a very nice Italian restaurant has closed in Jeddah. It was expensive and had a great veal dish. Their high price was too much for them to survive. Many a night I walked past them to eat in the cheaper Italian place next door. Yeah, cheaper by half. I did have a very nice meal there before it closed. Restaurants come and go in Jeddah. You have to have customers in order to survive. Many a time I have been in places that are nearly empty. Perhaps I go to eat too early.

Conclusion: Ethiopia is a long way away. I stopped there in the airport on the way to Tanzania. I did not eat there. And otherwise my experience with Ethiopian food is less than once every ten years. Don’t bother to leave the light on for me.