Word and Image

Archive for April, 2020

The big ?

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Today’s Dave’s birthday. Happy Birthday! (I’ll remind his sister so she’ll look good. Hey! People remind me of dates all the time.) I write my posts in advance. So, the big question is whether we are on the plane today to Scotland or not. We were/are scheduled. …cancelled/postponed due to pandemic. Who knew? River Tweed panorama anyone? No, the sheep are not sick with yellow fever. And we/us? As long as we are safe and with/among loved ones, it’s okay by me. Colleen would like to be with the “sheepies” too.


Ray (and Nutley) sits staring at the/behind the corner hutch. He’s lost his mouse (toy) again. How? Hmmm? There’s just a small space/crack to squeeze something into that spot. But… as all good humans, I dutifully moved that heavy cabinet and lo and behold…! There were more than a dozen assorted cat toys including yarn, mice, fish, and balls. Curious cats, they were all over me as I got their possessions back. Thankful? Nope, moments later Ray lay there on his back trying to put the toys behind the cabinet. Why? He was hiding them again. Oh my! My bad! I neglected to think like a cat.


It’s almost perfect. Not quite. There’s some problem with the focus. I’m not dead on with the eyes. Photoshop? Sharpen. Sure. But does it get unnatural? Okay okay, I’m strictly amateur to what can be done in Photoshop. Lightroom works. It’s fast. That’s my main reason to use it. I’m lazy. It comes out of the camera pretty perfect or I move on. But, I do have some skill. Before and after or otherwise, your guess. Hint: There is a difference.

you can’t run

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NYT 4/26/20 – most, many Americans are far from a hospital. So what? In the time of corona you can likely survive more than 30 minutes to get to a hospital.

What’s missing? What the news fails to report, because they don’t know? The quality of the care. All hospitals are not equal i.e. a hospital is a hospital. No! No, no, no. Many, perhaps most, are not of good quality. You get the idea that nursing homes are death traps? Yup, hospitals suffer the same lament. Care is not equal. Yes, even among doctors, all is not equal. There are some good and some not quite up to snuff. Most of the brilliant minds are at the major med centers. You do the math. Yes, I, too, live in a relative rural area. I fear for the local health care should I ever be in dire need. Things are not equal. And, you can’t just show up at the best place without a connection. Thirty minutes? … from care of any sort, or from real quality care? Once upon a time, when I was a lay person… I thought a hospital was a hospital. Wrong.


I try to take pics every day. It’s not every day I get something to post. Today? Leaving. We go. The cats stay behind. They know it when the bags come out. I could be accused of reading too much into their expression. Poor me (cat). Don’t go. They lie about the house listlessly, or perch on the bag as though that would prevent us from leaving. Either way, there’s plenty of guilt and regret. We gotta go…wish it weren’t so.

Drinnk Bleash


Here’s a riff on our dear (POTUS) leader’s suggestion that we drink disinfectant. Haven’t heard his recc? Been under a rock? Go back. How about detaining an illegal immigrant till he’s 18 and then tossing him in jail when he’s of age? It gives new meaning to “Icing” (ICE) someone.

Ok, ok. During this time of corona have you considered a bank heist? Perfect! Investigating cop, “What did the robber look like? Describe them.”

Oh yeah! “A couple wearing masks…..” And as you fled no one would even glance to see a couple in masks.

It brings to mind, “Why did train robbers in the old west wear masks?”… because the illustrations (crroks) on all those wanted posters didn’t have any masks.

The banks? They got it covered. You need an appointment to get in the building! You “D”O” realize all this is SARCASM? RIGHT?? (hmmmm, it (“right”) works  both ways.) And, for dessert: CYA – cover our (POTUS) ass! – let’s fire the (USA) health (secy) commish! Brilliant!

Department of Health??? He (another ass) put a dog breeder (another “another ass”)  in charge of the nation’s response. TRMS told me so. You can’t make this shit up. Look it up. Don’t bother. But, facts are not sarcasm. And, fact is fact. Can a dog breeder be SARCASTIC?

Can you not – I repeat – can you not, see the sarcasm on our smiling faces? “Look at me when I’m talkig to you!”

No, thanks

Lurking in antique stores, you come across a lot of weird stuff. People sell stuff like spittoons and bedpans. No! Skeevy! Every day I learn something new. Skeevy is a word. Onomatopoeia – words that imitate sounds – e.g. honk. Umm….no spittoon, no bedpan. Who collects, saves, and sells stuff like that?

Bike by


Dave and Kathleen biked by. We stood by on the balcony.  It’s how it goes in the time of corona. Distancing. We got the latest news. And we found out how life is about ten miles from us. The markets are different. People are out or they aren’t. They are both busy working from home. Dave is probably ok. He had the (corona) symptoms – mild – and recovered. His sense of taste is still largely missing. But he has olfactory hallucinations now and again. Imagine savoring a BLT never more? Masks? Bandits. If you’re happy and you know it, clap….


…as in under a rock. Or, how about, the moon is made of green cheese? Or, there are no aliens? Or, it is an alien in the great White house? You pick. I will admit I stage some of my images. It’s up to you to figure it out. I will readily admit it’s not easy to get a shot of the moon.


amazon TP

I did an idle search for TP. The very first choice right at the top of the page was for toilet paper masks. I had heard there was deceptive advertising. It’s done to sell product. This was amusing. And it’s gone. I went back a minute later and the offering was gone. The amazon police got ’em. There’s plenty of TP for sale too. There’s none in the grocery. If you believe the ‘hole corona thing is a hoax, why do you buy TP like it’s a scarce commodity. I live in a conservative Republican community and there’s not a sheet of TP to be found in any grocery. You guys! It’s magic, watch the hand…. Meanwhile, I won’t be buying masks tonight either. Credit Amazon for their vigilance.

Inspired &… reflected

The skirt does not do this young lady justice. We awaited the lecture to start. This poor gal could not get the overhead projector to project. Oh well, been there, done that. Tech, media, it always fails when you need it – right now! Anyway, see the reflection. She was standing perfectly. I used this to get Colleen into position later.


We all have heroes. I have had mine in neurosurgery. I even got a picture with a few of them. It’s flattering (to them) and it’s neat for me. Colleen has had the same inspiration to get shots with a few people we meet. She’s shy. So, I have to sort of maneuver. Voila! And, afterward I used the tour of the gallery to inspire me as I utilized the reflections for my own shots. I have no particular interest in recreating the technical excellence of these original works. I certainly appreciate the work and the thought. But my photography is entirely in a different direction.


I got a new camera a while back – about a month ago – and it has supplanted my last latest greatest camera – just like that. There is a role for everything…but for now…. I used to love my big ‘ole Nikon. I do, still. It has a definite role. And, it is my “go to” serious camera. But, the images I shoot are just fine with the easier to maneuver, easier to handle, easier to reach for, more available – point and shoots. Well, mirrorless is not quite all that, but it is close enough – for now. TMI? Suffice to say that I have a new toy. It’s got my interest. I’m taking pictures again. All good – right?

Cats. Sleeping, dreaming, plotting their next round of mischief… cute. And Elle, my poor solitary kitty. She skulks. It’s her way. And I catch her. She’s okay now. I even get her out in the open occasionally. Lucky!



The first buds, a pond, water, and geese – idyllic – a great scene – I noticed it out the window. My camera? I was not near the telephoto. I used the Sony RX 100 VI and electronic zoom. It’s soft. That would be my OCD and laziness rolled up in one. Instead, consider tie overall effect to be “painterly.” I could have done better. Then again, the message comes through. It’s spring and a new year has sprung from one of our warmest winters ever.


Sunset… blurred. Hey! I got this out the car window going 55+mph. It ain’t easy. I could’a asked Colleen…. But no! This was our sunset on leap day. You know… February 29. Special. It was a special sunset with my favorite wife…. present wife? (You knew that.) Ah, no matter what I say from this point, I’m in deep …. I shall remember this day for the musical concert and our unspoken disagreements this day. The concert beginning was worse than watching paint dry. Oh geez! But the second half was grand, kind of like how our disagreement disappeared. Years from now, this sunset will be the signature memory. All the rest will be a memory softened by time. So far, we’ve had a very nice year. (Ask me about the disagreement? … I forgot already.)

Would you?

…take your dog…. Wow! She did it! She had the dog with her at a black-tie concert. She must know….?? The dog got a lot of attention. It (dog) didn’t seem to mind – attention or the surroundings – no noise. I kept waiting for it (the dog) to pee on her. In the second half the woman did leap out of her seat? … to walk the dog? But, alas, no, the husband and dog remained seated and she did not return till the end? A mystery it seems, that shall remain unresolved.



Shutterfly is in business. It took over from Kodak as a photo site. I uploaded a ton (of images) to the site a while ago. Now, they send me reminders of what I loaded once upon a time. It’s an effort to make me buy prints. It hasn’t worked. I’m immune to the advertising. But, I appreciate the offer and effort. Hey, I took some nice photos back about five years ago. Umm… to be honest I don’t remember uploading at this particular time. But, I remember that I had just met Colleen after a long hiatus – decades – we were last in elementary school together. The image(s)? There is great late afternoon light coming from the west and into the kitchen. We took advantage. The last is indirect light from the same direction – like a giant lightbox. I have to say that I/we live in a wonderful space.



As long as we are talking technique, let me mention background. Most folks forget to look at the clutter in the background. You know, the stuff behind your subject. … like the light pole sticking out of some loved one’s head. Clutter. Distraction. Ha! I often find myself looking at the background to see the clutter that got “snuck” into someone else’s photo. Oh well, no one likes a messy background. It’s distracting and shows that you were not paying attention when you tried to focus on your foreground subject.

No one likes a cluttered messy home. “Minimalist” is “in” these days. Me, us, we seem to have accumulated an assortment of weaving and spinning things that would do any shopkeeper proud. Nice stuff. Displayed. We do work with most of the stuff you can see. (There’s more!!) Since, we are not entertaining in the near future, anything goes. A lot of fiber equipment is out and in use. This is not a display so much as it is a workshop of “in progress” projects. It’s home. And, it feels like it, though I laugh because not even the cats can make a straight line across the room.

… two spinning wheels, two looms, winder, lazy kate, carder, great wheel, fiber, ball winder… we’re not showing off. We – mostly Colleen – have many projects simultaneously in progress. …and, nary a cat in sight. And, I daresay any picture (in this room) unless it’s a closeup will have distracting background to be considered.


Get in close. I have been both ways – wide angle and telephoto. Nowadays, it’s simple to do both in camera at the same time. I don’t. There’s no reason not to do so. I shoot multiples. But, I also try for a good in the camera shot. It’s just practice and experimentation as you go. My secret is to always zoom in a little closer… after I compose the image. I found that my editing tended toward a little more cropping during post processing. So, I shortcutted the middle man. Yeah, pros and cons, but, I find that there is a bit less work and I am happy with my results. Along with each “good” image there are (others) mistakes and “almost” shots. Multiples, I still shoot multiples; it means less disappointment when one image is slightly out of focus. What should you do? Whatever. I do as I please and hope for the best. Ha! Which cat? Nutley or Ray? … or one each, both. Ha, again, dunno, no clue. 🙂

Life in the time of corona

I could aptly name this post several ways. Dave and Kathleen are sheltering in place about ten miles from us. They have been self-quarantined since they arrived from NY. They are bored but active. As you can see we are distanced. Colleen is up on the balcony above. The kids surprised us this morning with an early visit. (bad hair day, so far, for me). Colleen ever the proper lady dressed before she appeared on the balcony. They arrived without warning and honked in the driveway. I couldn’t see the car. But, amazingly I got the gist immediately and raced downstairs just ahead of the charging cats. We caught up on the latest news and I was relieved that everyone is ok. Maybe we’ll be able to have a picnic on the golf course next week. They can be on one side of the green and we on the other. But at least I saw my favorite son today! (His sister would say, “But dad, that’s your only son.)


I shoot a lot (of images). Most are duds. Some images strike me when I edit. The good news is that there are many more good images. So, my edits have been more gestalt. I look through the images about 28 at a time. There are standouts that get another look. And then, another pass; maybe something will still catch me and I’ll pull the image. It’s nice to have a lot of choices. Who shoots grapefruit? Hey! It’s a Longaberger pie plate! …and stand. They go for big money these days. My artificial flowers are a mixed bag. You don’t put orchids with geranium. Fiber ready to be woven, the finished product is in Colleen’s imagination and skill.



Willow and Patch have lost weight, nearly one third of their body weight. To compensate I feed them extra wet food. The other cats gather to get some (food) too. So, I put the special ones up on the counter. So far the boys have not gained weight. And, the rest are mad and feel deprived. It ain’t so! I feed everyone. It’s just that, some (cats) gotta eat more. Played? The cats have trained me. Willow will sit patiently, a hint (ever so slight) of rebuke in his eye, until I succumb to pressure/guilt and feed him (and Patch). They get me every time. Can you say, “Soft touch.”


Is it possible? When we cruise antique stores, there are some ringers. Antique is usually considered to have “age,” I always thought greater than 75 years. In the same booth were souvenirs of recent vintage. Opposing views. No doubt, this was an equal opportunity profit center. Today, I got no skin in the game. Converse statement: it’s politically offensive to make fun of the pres. OR he’s offensive – politically. Soon. Soon we will know the true will of the voting public. Polar – antarctic or artic; there’s not much temperate around here in these parts.

Remote control

New toy! When I was a neurosurgeon, we (our specialty) got the best toys. (He who dies with the most toys wins.) Bluetooth. I’m hooked into the new camera with my phone and with a dedicated remote. This is the first camera I have that is capable of firing via Bluetooth. (It’s not my first ever remote.) It’s new technology which opens up a whole new avenue of possibility. It’s not brain surgery. But the toys are getting better and better.