Word and Image

Archive for September, 2020

Shaken not stirred

Afterward, I took immediate comfort in hugging my cat. It was that bad. I could not verbalize what I had just watched. I couldn’t’ speak/tell Colleen – who did not watch. It was like watching a train wreck. Takeaway – an autocratic bully unfit to be president – a loser who demonstrated more than ever how unfit he is – what kind of shit was that? I am not proud to have seen the “Office of the Presidency” treated with so little respect. But, then again, we knew – know – even he knows – he was always a PRETENDER! They gave the “RUMP” the wrong mood altering drug. With each new lie, revelation, and stupid act, I take comfort that this clown is nearly done. Clown? No, orange buffoon! He would give a clown a bad name. Say it like it is: This emperor has no clothes.

Don’t do this – what???

My (former) wife once told me my oldest (dearest, favorite) daughter was a funny looking baby, while she was still a baby. I ignored her and thought she was crazy. (Ha ha, you’re gonna go crazy wondering to whom the pronoun applies.) On those rare occasions when I offer photographic technical advice, it usually is thrown back in my face – sometimes vehemently. This was such a case. As is often the case we got a blast message accompanied by our little one in a green dress. I was immediately struck by the wide angle distortion – i.e. the iPhone was held high and above the child to create a large forehead tapering downward to a smaller disproportionate body. My gentle advice was promptly rejected and the purple shirt pic was sent to absolutely refute and state that, “She’s beautiful!” How does you deal with a second mistake compounding the first? Yeah, yeah, bad grammar; it hurts don’t it? The second is still wide angle distortion, the same just different. This time the forehead is still large because the camera is too close to the face and still slightly angled. I swear that the child is not hydrocephalic! And, I do indeed have pics of a normal head, face, and body on this very same child. She is no circus show attraction. It’s been quite a while since I offered photo advice because of past experience. I think I shall not be offering advice again. I will keep my thoughts: that this is a “funny looking kid” to myself. Even my own very beloved wife admonished me on this one, “you could have said it differently.” Ok! She’s a “looking, funny kid.” And, NO! I will not tell you how to correct this technical issue. I got issues of my own!

Still hoarding

… after all these months. I liken it to Paul Simon’s – Still Crazy After All These Years… hum it, if you know it. I still buy TP whenever I see it. Who knows when you’ll see it again. The shelves remain empty except when they are not. Bastards! I buy at any price. At some point we’ll learn the scandal behind the shortage. No yeast, either. Get it if you can. Do you read labels? The drink pictured here is flavored water with vitamins. Little Hug Fruit Barrels. Just vitamin water. 8 ounces, artificially flavored. Ah! The power of advertising! Why the empty shelves? Empty makes the demand greater or is it the other way ‘round?

Note: When I composed this post months ago, we seemed in dire straits. The shortages are less now. There is no real normal as every excursion is done with caution. We eat out rarely. We cook. Colleen has become semi-vegetarian once more. I cannot say good or bad. Different.

Who makes this shit up???!!!!

Personally, the brain eating amoeba caught my eye for obvious reasons. Then, of course, his campaign chairman (another one!!) is found to be (literally) nuts. Or, how would another lie sound? Nah, it’s reality. Liar liar pants on fire…. Yeah, you been audited. Now, what? You have bankrupted America in so many ways with your lies and deceit I can’t count the number. The icing on the cake? This won’t change the meter. The Russians, the Russians. Gleeful? No, I’m ashamed today. So many people – not me – trust(ed) you, or, made a Faustian bargain with the devil. LIAR! What a headline to wake up to a new day. You can lie to the people some of the time…. and they will believe you…. I see the light of a new day coming.


My gardening goes back through my mother who used to plant salvia and allysum to make a stunning bed in West Virginia. She would laugh because her flower bed was always more attractive than our neighbor’s, who was a florist. In my decades of gardening I have had luck with allysum. Salvia were temperamental.  Lately allysum have been finicky. So I have largely abandoned them. They fade in hot weather. No luck for me. This year’s container garden had both salvia and allysum again. They were not the stars but for a brief time they provided pleasing color. My mother called them scarlet sash. It’s an incorrect naming. That’s what makes this a special memory for me.


Wasp! I got great detail! My luck! I’m still waiting to get one in motion – flying. That will be quite a trick. I’m casual not crazed. So it will indeed be luck if I get a wasp in flight. Meanwhile, I got detail. Nice! He stood around while I got my shot.

Some time ago – many years – I started this blog. Photography was my passion. I never pandered for followers. There are a few hundreds who have come and gone. A few follow along at any given time. There are silent followers among friends and relatives. You know who you are. Ginny, Susan…more. Thank you. I am public and my thoughts hang out. Sometimes way out. Sometimes humorous. It is a picture into my life in photography. One (a few) pic and a short story (very long caption), it jumps forward and backward. There are no brakes and no editor other than me. Unfiltered.

To all of you who follow along – Thank you.


2005, February, Central Park, New York City, “Gates,” Jeanne Claude and Christos. Christos passed away recently. Jeanne Claude died in 2009 of a brain aneurysm, no less. Their signature art installation for me was “Gates.” My database and Lightroom catalog got me to the images in about five minutes. My memory got me to the only frames in which I caught the artists inspecting their work. My memory also recalls that I did not walk the park with Lisa. Strange. I persuaded Charlie to fly over Central Park in the helicopter. Alas, the (aerial) pictures were not memorable. Carol framed and hung a few of my “Gates” pics. I wonder if they are still hanging? No one else has tried such monumental works. Somewhere, I have a sample of the ‘Gates’ cloth. No, I will not find that anytime soon.


I took these pictures. I know it because they are in my files. And it was from my deck container garden. Do I remember? No. I’m old and headed on to demented. Oh well, we knew this would happen. I hope not. Memory is a funny thing. I have forgotten more than I remember. I remember more than you know. I constantly amaze myself with obscure trivia that just pops up on demand. My images are my brain’s external storage. My photos have always served as an anchor. I can often see a random pic and recall the circumstance and place where it was taken. This flower and moth in my container garden? … not a clue. Demented? …every day you meet new people.


No doubt the death of Justice Ginsberg has raised hell! I have been in a deep funk over the unfairness of it all. Republicans are gleeful. Russians are gleeful. They won and they have the power. Fully 40% of the voters are solidly behind this unfair play and see it as perfectly legitimate. They seek a dynasty, a dictatorship, a kingdom.

60% disagree. There’s no assurance of the outcome in November. In real life do cheaters prosper? Do the good guys win? Is there decency left in the world? Does it have to be team and party always? The wheel always comes around. There will be a reckoning. Never have so few decimated what democracy has meant to me.

As time goes by

The saying goes, “The shoemaker’s son has no shoes.” We cleaned up the back of beyond. All the dead brush and the phragmites are reduced to near nothing. Phragmites are locally invasive (very tall) grass that obscure my pond view. Efforts to remove it did not get beyond talking. So, one January day when the temp hit 63 degrees, I cut them down with a manual hedge trimmer. It was tedious! To my surprise it worked and the grass never returned in any significant quantity. Who would’ve guessed? This year we put the final touches to the cleanup. I sought before and after pictures. Easy!? Nope. It was hours before some pics were found. And it seems I don’t have a good shot of when the phragmites obscured the view. Imagine that? I was at a loss for a picture!

The front of the house was unique, which was a nice way to say – “odd looking.” The appearance is indeed unique, as one would love a special child. It’s a work in progress. Before, there was no hint of interest. Now, I have been on a multi-year plan to obscure the balcony with green. Wisteria and ivy are growing in. There is a climbing honeysuckle. Yes, I know wisteria take over and the climbing honeysuckle may be more nuisance at a later time.

For better or worse, this remains a work in progress. There is a very fine line before I cross over into messy. For all the pictures that I take of every single thing and event, you would think that I would have extensive image documentation of this change. Surprise! There’s not much to show. Ha! I culled more than a few but it was harder than I expected.

We are in a border dispute. When I cleared the phragmites I found a park bench on the edge of the pond between the pines. Ours? We had a bench and I didn’t know it? Or, the neighbor? It seems that the neighbor has claimed the bench. He can have it. There are too many mosquitoes.

Search for beauty

In these trying times, desperate times… I/we try to look for beauty.  No easy task, I took the opportunity to just spin through my image catalog. I let the cursor land on some random shots over the past four years: Arches National Park at sunset; Some random brick wall and a selfie. Past, present, and future mingle in this post. The photos from long (past) posted now (present), while published in the future (about three month) during which time the world will have changed radically once more.

May you live in interesting times” is an English expression which purports to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. … Despite being so common in English as to be known as the “Chinese curse”, the saying is apocryphal, and no actual Chinese source has ever been produced. – Wikipedia

Right tool

The Sony RX 100 M6 has replaced my big Nikon 80-400 zoom lens. Why? ‘cause it’s on hand and available. I have to go find my big DSLR. Ok, enough with the tech stuff. I have to admit the zoom can pull in faraway objects clearly better than an iPhone can do. Simple. Need a telephoto shot? I can get it with the spiffy point and shoot camera nearby at hand. Meanwhile, the blue heron had landed nearby. Not too close nearby, so it was accommodating and waited while I got the camera and got my shots. I feel so fortunate to be able to get the shot and that I had a camera capable to do it. Sometimes that iPhone just doesn’t have the reach you need.


I have nice flower photos too numerous to count. We could go into a long discussion on technical tips. I aim and shoot. I shoot multiples. I get about what I expect when I edit. There are a lot of duds. And there are some keepers. Wasteful? If I set up would I do better? Inasmuch as I don’t know in advance, whatever comes out works for me. It’s rather unplanned and not knowing if you got what you want is maddening. But, it’s not to me. What makes the cut? Focus, first and foremost. Then composition, background, color, and detail. There, and, I still get too many good shots to ever bring to post or to show off. When I look at the efforts of casual iPhone users, I sigh. One good shot, done. One sitting, I have too many good shots; it’s a matter of perspective.

the horses

I got these shots on the way back. From where? It doesn’t matter, except, I made you wonder. Ha! A field of yellow flowers, a pair of horses feeding, and it’s nearly an automatic photo op. So? How come we didn’t stop on the way to rather than the way back?

Chicken or egg

It’s not my first time…. passing this farm. The farmer leaves the door open. I never stopped before. I was unsure. It’s confirmed now. It leaves/left me uncomfortable. Do you really want to see how chickens are treated? It was a beautiful spring day – sunny with a gentle breeze. Caged! Prisoners! Captive! Humanely treated? It’s vaguely discomforting. I eat chicken and eggs. I don’t think about the process. Would I? Should I? … it made Colleen a vegetarian.


We all have our favorite’s. I belong to Feather. As a result, Colleen thinks I favor her most, like a favorite child we all secretly have. Ha!

I once operated upon a “confused” man with a brain tumor who had seven daughters. Before the surgery I asked him which daughter was his favorite. They all leaned in closely as he said, “Jennifer.”

“Humpf!” the oldest said, “He hasn’t got a daughter named Jennifer.”

Feather jumps on my lap for love and hugs. I oblige. But when I hug her she gets wary. Close is too close. For all of my most excellent cat portraits, the look of “wary” is rather unique. You know the look and its meaning without a word being spoken. How’s that for communicating? If asked to illustrate “wary” this would be the picture.

Japanese snowbell

Emma has a program app on her phone that she pays for. (Don’t you just love that I throw in names without context?) Since I’m a cheap bastard I simply messaged her a pic and asked her to use her app to identify my/our tree. Three guesses later…. she got bad info and thereby gave me bad guesses… it turns out to be a Japanese snowbell. Drat! We saw this tree at the Washington Cathedral garden. We got one. But, we remember it as a styrax. Oh! The “science” name, how dumb of me. Let’s go with the popular name. It blooms for a short while in the spring. I realize I am a season or two removed. It’s how bored/far I am posting ahead. The non sequitur? Our trip to the nursery at the same moment. I could’ve asked there.


During covid I am down to two chief subjects, my cats and flowers. Boring is good. It means we are safe and sound. I have joined Colleen in obsessing over weather. I have four different weather apps open and one beach cam. And we cook and eat. …repeat. Colleen asked me to photograph her handicraft and mine. We completed these projects among others. Spinning fiber to yarn; weaving yarn to material, scarves; weaving Nantucket baskets. I’m not bragging; the girl’s got talent. Me? I’m better than I was but not as good as I’m gonna be.


Photography will be mine. It will define me. I went into medicine to take care of my family and to ward off their death. It didn’t work. It was a naïve notion of youth. I went into photography to preserve memories. We had none before I started taking pictures. There are too many pictures my family has never seen. At least there is more than a memory. There are some tangible pictures of the things I have seen. It lacks context. So many pictures will be without caption left behind for family to ponder over who, what, where, or why. But at least there will be questions. It will be more than a name and date on a gravestone.  … this was Jamaica circa 1988; I don’t drink.


Follow the money. I consider it a “rag,” but Colleen reads all sorts of shit. She read this op-ed in the NY Post railing against Biden and Delaware. Hmmm, Delaware? Oh!! I get it. This New York tabloid is owned by Fox news Rupert Murdoch. I get it. It must be election time?! The National Enquirer has lost cache. So, it’s on to the slanted fake news of the Fox people. Remember, your great Republican leader once said, “You can fool some of the people….” (Lincoln, A) I shall be grateful to have questioned the origin and authority of the NY Post in it’s op-ed. Follow the money.


My wife (in this case “ex”) influenced me in subtle ways. I thought I was free and independent. No. She said I took too many pictures. I took the same thing over and over. She never liked how she looked in pictures. She was too fat or too…  And, in looking retrospectively, she was right. She inhibited me in ways too subtle to realize until now. I get encouragement or, at worst, amusement from my current wife. She’s a positive influence in a way I never realized till I started looking back through the archive of my slides. Night and day? Nothing so drastic. It was much more insidious.  Bitter? No. Sorry (I was so clueless). Today, she/we do things I would have never done before. Progress! – true love…


Sm, element 62 in the periodic table of elements. Rock, I’ve been under one. I was a chemistry major. I’ve been looking at the periodic table since I was in 9th grade. What? Huh? Where have I been? I just saw it and realize I have no recollection of this element. Use it in a chemical equation. Ha ha! It exists in nature. It is not one of the transitory elements they discovered in the nuclear lab. It sounds like it has Middle East connections. Beware! Meanwhile, you can laugh. In all of this time Pluto was a planet, then not, and now once again is. The statement, “I’m not a camel.” begs the question, “Then why are you telling me this?”


What do you remember? What was your earliest childhood memory? My daughter Jules gave me an entirely unexpected observation. She’s seen the slides and video of her childhood many times over. She saw herself in all the pictures of all of our travels so she knew she had been there. And, she said that it was hard to separate the actual memories from the picture recollections. What was reality and memory got blurred. Darn! I could’ve kept them in a closet, with Photoshop – add backgrounds, and saved a lot of money. I did it once. We were traveling Xmas eve. So, we faked Xmas day on the 26th. No one was the wiser. The pictures looked just like Xmas day. Shhhhh….


Nineteen years. Time fades memory. I nearly forgot. I didn’t. But the raw sense of profound loss has been tempered. Last year we were in Scotland to fulfill a long dream of Colleen’s. We passed this cow on the road looking over the hedge at us. I stopped. Cute! Not a Heilan coo. Maybe? He needed bangs. So, a cow, a cute one at that, and he let me take his picture while he curiously gazed. Yes, nineteen years, a couple generations have passed. Has memory faded so much? I remember. I was there. I know someone who was lost. For many it’s not so personal. Not me.