Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Or the next best approximation thereof... No, I don't think 2012 will be the last- that would be way too easy. This is gonna drag out a lot longer, and if ya ask me (not that anyone is), get a (whole) lot messier. In the meantime, I got me a beautiful new calendar to enjoy. Here's to a better year, regardless...  BTW- The Greatest New Year's Photo- of all time...

Friday, December 30, 2011


This is something that could put a serious dent in everyone's plans for several years to come... Bigtime!

On a much more immediate and somewhat more local level- there's always the real possibility of a brand new war (it's just not the same with only one- and an old forgotten one at that) to start the new year off on the good foot... like say, with Iran.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Gallery In Town

Photo: Wang Yuanling

Carte Blanche is a new street level photo gallery conveniently located on Valencia St. in San Francisco. The gallery is spacious, well lighted and welcoming- owner Gwen LaFage even looks up, smiles and says "Hello" upon entering (yes, 25+ yrs of NYC gallery hopping has left me permanently scarred). And I wouldn't give a damn about any of that if there wasn't anything good to look at on the walls, and that there is- as can more than clearly be seen here! One can also purchase books, and more importantly get some very nice prints of the work at hand, mounted and ready to frame at very reasonable prices- nicely sized prints at just over or below $100.

I really hope the calibre of work continues at the level of this current show- a new, and much needed photo pit stop in The Bay Area...

Photo: Shinya Arimoto

Photo: Lukasz Biederman

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Other 5%

95% of all UFO sightings can be "conventionally" explained- no problem there. Hear what some generals, pilots and government officials are finally willing to say (on the record) about the other 5%...

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011's Greatest Fail

  This one really sounded good on paper. The epic marriage of the epoch- peanut butter goodness and yummy dark chocolate, instead of the yucky milk stuff. Mmmmm... Alas, the perfect fail-- Beeyecchh!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Two Guys Who Don't Write Their Own Material...

One is this guy who the very first time he played golf achieved 11 holes-in-one, and a total score of 38- by far the greatest score in history!!! But that's nothing- compared to the "fact" that he never had to defecate!

And then there's... Ron Paul. The good doctor disavows all the racist rantings (which he takes great pains to note he neither wrote nor edited) in the newsletter that bore his name. End of story! Moving right along now...

Which is pretty much part and parcel of Libertarianism as a whole. Let the chips fall where they may, what's done is done, whatever happens, happens. As long as we get to decide what laws allow us to make and maintain our fortunes- be happy we'll let you do whatever you want with the crumbs that are scattered your way.

The Plausible Deniability Party.  Update...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Conservative Soundbites v Common Sense

George Will, who for some reason seriously fancies himself the Conservative reincarnation of Thomas Jefferson, is reduced to a few prepackaged quips before literally succumbing to silence by the blistering onslaught of common sense inflicted by Barney Frank. Meanwhile, all the other Conservative pundit can do in response is try and change the subject ASAP...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Discretionary Evolution

I've been a really good boy resisting all the digital tools and toys out there this past decade. Truth is, I just haven't found them all that appealing- too small, too big, too plasticky, too expensive, and too damn fugly! Still, I suppose it's just a matter of time- much as I love film, I neither have the space for a darkroom, nor the money to rent one regularly. And I can think of better ways to spend my time than scanning and editing B+W negs. So this announcement has me anxious! I got the chance to see and handle a Fuji X100 (talk about an enthusiastic review!) while in NYC. It looks like a million w/lens shade (yes, I'm that shallow), very much satisfying my tactile/aesthetic needs- metal, retro, quiet, fast, and nicely sized and balanced. Extremely versatile, great image quality! Naturally, an even more advanced and comprehensive system this spring is of even greater interest, and that said, all I require are a couple of WA's or a compact zoom equivalent.

I've been biding my time since my needs are specific, my means very limited. It's something I enthusiastically look forward to, and absolutely dread (what if the B+W digital results just fall flat of the B+W aesthetics I relate to?). And, of course, the day I do buy it, a week later they'll come out with this- what I really want... Maybe.

And will the song of this Siren ever stop calling?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What Have We Learned?

Not a thing, not one thing, not one goddamn thing.  After all, it's the same sorry lesson we were supposed to have learned from Viet Nam, where we wasted so much time, money, and oh yes- lives. And we continue to prove just how utterly clueless we have become (and now relish being) as we threaten to take on Iran, after the 800 BILLION DOLLAR DEBACLE known as Iraq (while in the very process of losing yet another war in Afghanistan).

We've methodically killed hundreds of thousands, maimed countless thousands more, thrown away hundreds of billions, wrecked economies worldwide, poisoned and defiled environments for generations to come- and yet we clamor for more...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Read My Lips...

This cordial and enlightening exchange on the subject of taxes occurred several days after the original post- in case you missed...

rgfb drefv said...
The 1% pays half of the taxes in the USA. That's far more than they should. You 99% morons are dumbest, lazy Nazi's in Western Culture, and do nothing but take and destroy and complain, despite the fact that you’re lucky to be alive in a free society. Fortunately, you sniveling brats are less that 0.99%
You want to make a better world? Then stop harassing freedom-loving, hard-working people, band together in a commune somewhere and take responsibility for your own survival.

Stan B. said...
"We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes." -billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley
As Martin A. Sullivan of recently calculated, a New York janitor making slightly more than $33,000 a year pays an effective tax rate of nearly 25%. And the effective tax rate for a resident of the Park Avenue building named after Helmsley, earning an average of $1.2 million annually? A cool 14.7%.
And, of course, many corporations (talk about Lazy Nazis), who are now considered "persons" under law- thanks to Right Wing Supreme Court Justices (talk about Lazy Nazis), also don't pay any taxes whatsoever...

BTW- if you can't get your point across to people who can actually think without the childish, red neck, veins a popping, name calling intensity of your average, brain dead FOX "News" pundit- then by all means, go back to your precious little circle jerk of "ditto heads" (talk about THE VERY LAZIEST OF NAZIS).

Friday, December 16, 2011

It Only Takes 1

Not exactly a fan- but god, I so do love this song...
(And god bless Claudia Lanier)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Magic In Panoramic

Photo: Jens Olof Lasthein

I love good panoramics- they're some of the most eloquent and elegant forms of expression to be found in all photography. Most people think "panoramic" when they have an elongated landscape in mind, and that, of course, is one of its strengths. But to truly appreciate panoramics, you must truly immerse yourself in the format, just as you would a rangefinder, a Holga, a view camera. You gotta devote yourself to it, use it day in, day out, regardless- for those situations it most naturally lends itself to, as well as those you wouldn't ordinarily consider in everyday shooting... and then some. Otherwise you remain the casual imbiber, like myself, with only the rare keeper to speak of. There's a lot more real estate to deal with, so it demands a different mindset- switching midstream on assignment from a 2:3 or 3:4 ratio to panoramic and back is not always the most fluid of transitions.

Photo: Jens Olof Lasthein

I own a "true panoramic" camera, that is, a camera with a rotating lens- a 35mm Widelux, to be precise. It is fairly compact, designed and built like a WW1 tank, and just as fidgety and eccentric. It has three shutter speeds which can be frustrating, a viewfinder that shows about 65% of the entire image (I kid you not), and distortion that can be uhhh... mind bending. That distortion can absolutely kill many a shot (it can be that severe), other times (particularly in open spaces) it's barely noticeable, and at other times still, it can actually add to or enhance a shot. In some ways, it's similar to shooting a Holga- you never really know what you're gonna end up with; unlike the Holga however, you can get razor sharp results.

Photo: Jens Olof Lasthein

That unpredictability (and more limited exposure control) has prevented me from truly mastering the panoramic (not that I've truly mastered anything, for that matter). For every unique shot that I might steal with my panny, I might very well be giving up even more possibilities with my regular and more versatile SLR- so I tend to use it only on "special occasions."

Fortunately, that hasn't stopped more talented and adventurous souls than I from going forth and creating some absolute miracles- and on a regular basis! Utterly depressing as his work can be, I thought no one could best or even equal Boris Mikhaiolov when it came to everyday panoramic mastery, until someone by the name of Jens Olof Lasthein just happened to come along. What the latter creates via a panoramic within the "ordinary," everyday rhythm of life is nothing short of breathtaking. And he does it with such consistency, routinely ignoring the camera's inherent weaknesses, and instinctively playing to its strengths so that it all appears so utterly... effortless. Though in all fairness, maybe it's more the fact that Lasthein's images, as opposed to Mikhailov's do, in fact, offer some degree of hope- and in drop dead gorgeous color.

Photo: Boris Mikhaiolov

Photo: Boris Mikhaiolov

Other present day panoramic masters and practitioners include: Joseph Koudelka, McDuff Everton, Bruce Haley, Michael Ackerman and Michael Spano...

But wait! There's more... almost forgot the incredible series of 9/11 crowd portraits by the world's greatest museum guard- the one and only Jason Eskenazi. These are truly some of the most memorable, dynamic and sensitive images from that historic period of time when the shock was still raw, and our future still within our grasp.

Photo: Jason Eskenazi

Photo: Jason Eskenazi

Photo: Jason Eskenazi

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Must Lose Trend For 2012

It's bad enough seeing so many people walking about with their pop up, DSLR flashes all exposed and upright just begging to be entangled and dismembered, but one trend I got really sick of this year are those fugly, lotus petal lens hoods on those ginormous tele zooms that people leave on their lenses backwards. If ya aint gonna use 'em, don't buy 'em! Maybe it's just some photo fashion statement like wearing your baseball cap backwards; or maybe they realize how damn fugly they really are after the fact, and then try to hide them. All I know is- it's gotta stop!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Grinding Gears

I hope this West Coast port shut down serves to further unite labor- not alienate it. Personally, I wish Occupy would concentrate on getting the goddamn 1% to pay their bloody fair share of taxes, something that easily garners wide public support and approval when stated clearly and succinctly- unfortunately, this is not Russia, where people know when they're being pissed on. That would be a major victory that would pave the way for yet more action. 

The port shut down is quite the gamble- and Occupy is the only game in town, the only people conscious enough to bring attention to a system that is not only broken, but well beyond repair.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Need A Personal Life Coach?

If, like myself, you always found yourself coming up a little short in the "class" department- this here is the font and origin of the very word, the very concept, the very reality made flesh...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Loving Christians" And Their Religion Of Hate And Intolerance

If you find Christians (the people who worship the savior who commanded them to LOVE their enemy) that want to negate, humiliate or destroy everything they don't understand or believe in rather... amusing,  this site will definitely indulge your curiosity. Verily.

He's talking about the 1%, right?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

HOPE + CHANGE You Can Take To The Crapper

This is about as outrageous as it possibly gets... He's starting to make pretty speeches again, and say all the right things (while his Justice Dept. goes after pot smokers); but arrest, try and convict even one of the financial terrorists who swindled millions upon millions of dollars, homes and livelihoods from hard working citizens and rammed the 99% of this country headfirst into the toilet- surely you jest... (Make sure to see Part 2)


Monday, December 5, 2011

Vivian- What Have They Done?

I just got my copy of Vivian Maier- Street Photographer. I'm sure Mr. Maloof had the best of intentions here, and no one can ever belittle the importance and significance of discovering and exposing her work to the photographic community at large. This was supposed to be the long awaited tribute in print to Vivian Maier- photography's purposely unknown genius of her time. Instead, Powerhouse has done her a great disservice.

Quite simply, the book is a travesty- her work looks better online than in the reproductions in this book! That's not the way it's supposed to work. One naturally expects the quality of the images to be unleashed and spring to life with the more subtle expanse of tonal values that good print reproduction allows. And yet, these reproductions are unduly harsh, dark, devoid of shadow detail and devoid of life- and despite their contrast, still manage to fall flat! The sepia tone (not reproduced above) does not help. The cold/neutral grays online make her photographs feel current and alive; the book's warm tones act to further antiquate them into near lethal levels of nostalgic overkill.

This book brings to mind Josef Koudelka's original edition of Gypsies, whose horrendously blown out reproductions almost destroyed the power of his images- but even there you could tell the work still shined. Here, it really suffers; there is simply no joy to be had from it.  Had this been my first exposure to Ms. Maier's work, it would have had little more effect than that of an interesting, momentary diversion at a second hand book shop. 

No doubt in ten, twenty years time when her work and legacy is reexamined and reassessed, she will finally be granted the proper quality monograph she so richly deserves (as with Koudelka and others). As for now, one can only hope the upcoming documentary delivers some modicum of justice.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Artist

The Artist is quite the singular film, you certainly can't take the storyline all that seriously, and yet, you can't help but be captivated, or at the very least, become visually enamored of it. And its appeal, visual or otherwise, is not easily dismissed; shot gorgeously in gorgeous black and white- the film reminds us just how effectively silent films could connect with their audience. And it certainly doesn't hurt that Jean Dujardin is so handsomely photogenic (and looks and acts every bit the silent movie star born), and that Bérénice Bejo is herself so bewitchingly alluring and stunning in her own right. There's not much meat to be had in this flick, yet somehow it manages to create a unique soul of its very own.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

So It Goes...

Been pretty lucky this year photographically, got around 50 keepers (quite a bit for me) and am ending the year actually selling a photo- something that's not occurred in some ten years (not that I still try). Got picked up from my Flickr pool (first time) by a small indie publisher, and am actually getting paid. Of course, the money no way equaled the amount of time I spent rescanning and reediting a hi-res version of the damn thing with it's unforgiving sky and lighting; but to actually get published in print again- almost kinda makes you feel like... a photographer!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Exhibition Opportunities...

If Color Photography Had Been Invented First...

 If color photography had been invented first, would anyone have missed black-and-white?

Came upon this quite by accident and thought it made for a possibly interesting hypothetical- unfortunately, can't for the life of me find where the subject of the title is actually addressed. Instead we're treated to History of Color Photography 101- and a very brief one at that.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Alex Harsley and 4th St. Photo

Photo: Brian Rose

In 1973, Alex Harsley was the first Black man to open a photo gallery in New York City- The 4th St. Photo Gallery. He was the only African American photo gallerist then- a unique distinction one would think he would have well lost by now in a city so culturally diverse and inundated with galleries of every type and reason. Then again, how many people of any color have run a gallery in Manhattan that long? No, we're not talking some multi-thousand sq. ft. gallery in Soho, Chelsea or the Upper East Side. His is a modest storefront operation where photographers of every style and demographic have gone to meet other photographers since well before the internet and chew the fat with whoever happened to be there- be it the enthusiastic, aspiring unknown having his first show, or the the old curmudgeon from around the corner named Robert Frank.

One of the first things you realize about Alex Harsley is just how unimposing he is. He sets you at ease, does not inflict his ego upon yours- rare in a city where everyone makes it a point to tell you everything that they think they are within the proverbial New York minute. And despite the fact that he wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms upon first arriving on 4th St.- after nearly forty years, "the lights still turn on." Or as he puts it, "If they had left me alone, I probably wouldn't have lasted so long."

Alex is not a bitter man, doesn't dwell on the negative, whether dealing with racism or the other multitude of obstacles life throws your way. He looks at the big picture and how things fit in context, in history, in current and future society. And that is, no doubt, at least in part how he has been able to adapt, overcome and survive since he founded Minority Photographers, Inc. in 1971 to address the obvious lack of opportunities for minority photographers. After his own first show, Alex was taken to task by none other than A. D. Coleman in a scathing review. He then made it a point to confront Mr. Coleman in person, not so much to even the score, but to see where the man (the critic) was coming from- yeah, he turned it into a learning moment. The two would remain cordial, long enough to see Mr. Coleman himself get ostracized for giving one too many critical reviews when it came to one particularly well connected photographer.

In a city that almost commands you to reach for the top whatever the cost, Alex never sought out the limelight; he kept his bearings, never lost his base. It's the same steady, quiet kind of confidence and perseverance that allowed him to ride a bike in NYC well past his youth and well before the advent of "bike lanes." Something I could never summon the courage to do. 

After you've gone to all the big blockbuster shows in NY and played street photographer extraordinaire on the city corners of your choosing, make sure to amble down Loisaida way between Bowery and Second Ave. and discover one of photography's most under celebrated resources hidden in plain sight. As long as the lights are on, a wealth of info, experience and hospitality awaits you.

PS- Before I moved, Alex advised me against a very common (and surprisingly unhealthy) darkroom practice- I rolled my eyes with a face that screamed... what, really, you sure about that!? And he shot my youngblood self back a look that said- you wanna be a fool, stay a fool! That's another reason he's survived so long, so well- nice as he is, he doesn't readily suffer fools.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Into The Abyss

There's lot to be said about this film, for this film, in which Werner Herzog navigates material that's not exactly untraversed. The fact that it rises to the occasion so admirably, so often, speaks for itself. And the one thing I couldn't stop thinking was how vastly different Into The Abyss is from the sleazy "murder investigation" programs on TV that leave you feeling as cheap and empty as some of the characters that inhabit those one act plays. I suspect it's as simple as concentrating on the humanity of the situation, instead of the cheap sensationalism.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Thanksgiving Massacre

Lawyer, Pin Up, Chemical Analyst & TV "News" Something Or Other...

I really have no intention of turning this site into a petition signing forum- but Megyn Kelly really needs to get slapped upside the head with this one- (along with Dildo Bill).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What's Worse Than Not Knowing Anything?

"...the results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all."

Didn't think I'd be quoting this again quite so soon:

"To me, FNC reporters' laziness was the worst part of the bias. It wasn't that they were toeing some political line (though of course they were; see the embarrassing series on property rights from 2000), it was that the facts of a story just didn't matter at all. The idea was to get those viewers out of their seats, screaming at the TV, the politicians, the liberals -- whoever -- simply by running a provocative story," he wrote in October 2003.   --Matt Gross

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Walk Of Shame &...

After signalling that she was scared shitless of the out of control students rioting outside her office- the same said rabid students at UC Davis somehow managed to restrain themselves from feasting on the Royal Chancellor's entrails as she was escorted to her car. One can actually sense this video does not portray just how eerie the whole scenario was in person.


And then, there's this ...

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Pledge Not To Shop At Amazon...

I've avoided this long enough- I've got very few pennies these days, can hardly buy books... forget equipment. But it's time I put them where my mouth is and tell Amazon to do the same thing they do to their workers. I just ordered Vivian Maier's book as a birthday present to myself from Barnes & Noble for just a couple of bucks more, and hope you also find suitable alternatives, incl your neighborhood bookstore (for those of you who can afford it).

I think it would be great if anyone out there would like to get together and form some kind of united photo book buyers' front to better send the message (strength in #'s, ya know).  Please, let me know...

At the very least- please, sign and take the pledge below...
Despite thousands of customers raising hell, hasn't addressed the core problems underlying the shameful working conditions at its warehouses.Warehouse employees in Breinigsville, PA, have been working on their hands and knees at a frantic pace, enduring the pain because they're afraid of losing their jobs.1I admit I've relied on Amazon for a lot of my shopping. But now I know that Amazon's great deals and convenience come at the expense of its workers.That's why this holiday, I'm personally not doing any of my shopping with Amazon, and I hope you'll join me.
Like most retailers, Amazon depends on holiday shopping for a large percentage of its profit.2 During the biggest retail season of the year, the company won't want to risk losing customers – which means right now is our best opportunity to make a difference for its warehouse workers. Amazon is a $100 billion corporate giant3 known for its innovation – but mistreating workers is hardly cutting edge. Amazon has more than the means necessary to be a hugely profitable company without putting workers' health and well-being at risk. Amazon's workers deserve better. And as customers, we can demand better.
I emailed you a few weeks ago about how had been forcing employees to work in sweatshop conditions, with temperatures so high that Amazon kept ambulances parked outside to carry sick workers out on stretchers.Thanks to public attention and our collective outrage, Amazon is now planning to install air conditioners in its warehouses,4 but the company hasn't bothered to address other problems that are just as serious. Amazon is still continuing to rely on temporary employees who are forced to work at exhausting, brutal speeds – just because it's cheaper. One temporary worker "...was expected to pick 1,200 items in a 10-hour shift, or one item every 30 seconds."5 Unfortunately, it's much harder for temporary workers to organize for better working conditions, and that's why we've got to step up and demand change.
Send a message to Amazon and make a difference for these workers. Pledge not to shop at Amazon this holiday season.
Thanks for your commitment to workers' rights.
Liz, Hilary, Beth, Zoe, Michael, and the American Rights at Work team

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Add another to the list of spectacular, much hyped and ballyhooed holiday turkeys. Melancholia starts out with all guns a blazing with a series of amazing slow motion special effect sequences that have you wondering- Damn, if this is what he's throwing out for eye candy, I can't begin to imagine what wonder and amazement awaits the actual plot! Unfortunately, that's pretty much it for the sense of wonder in this grand non epic. You're next put through one of the most painfully bad wedding experiences you'll ever find yourself trapped in- and it doesn't get particularly better after that. 

It reminded me a lot of The Shining, where you're sequestered in a large estate with no recourse other than the promise of titanic terror, or in this case, incredible wonder- only to find out that the director is so entranced in his own personal dream state, that he's neglected to include anyone else. So you end up thinking of the movie that could have been...

There is one absolutely hilarious shot towards the end that has Kirsten Dunst splayed out completely nude in the forest primeval adorned solely by the blazing night light of impending Melancholia. It's the penultimate '50s glamour shot deluxe that's just plopped down in front of an audience with all the force of an errant planetary collision! Best line in whole movie has Kiefer Southerland admonishing his butler concerning his telescope, "You, don't touch the instrument!"

Update: It also turned out to be one of the most expensive movies I ever attended since one particularly malicious piece of popcorn decided to crack open one of my molars which will now require a crown- at least Amex is happy; they've been big fans of my teeth throughout this goddamn year!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Growing Gallery Of Shame

Cops can choose to be heroes, the mindless unwavering sheep of their puppet masters (admittedly, where most of us reside), or complete and utter cowards and assholes as exemplified by Mr. Pepper Spray above. Wow, a video he can show to his grand kids with pride!

Sadly, but the latest incident in a growing gallery of shame...

Photo: Joshua Trujillo

You don't have to take a very close look at these photos to see the work of bullies.The first fat bastard sprays a dozen people because he knows they're completely non violent, pose no threat, and has his boys in full riot gear to bust ass in his stead even if he did somehow face retribution. The second- jeez, an armed terrorist mugs a little ol' lady, basically... for laughs. The final coward strikes from the anonymity of the crowd- a very well armed crowd of thugs. Brave fuckers all, going that extra mile to protect decent people like you and me.

Photo: Randy L. Rasmussen

Friday, November 18, 2011

Two Uhmmm... Vertical Shots

Hardly ever shoot verticals, does anyone? Guess if you shoot a lot of portraits, or covers. Let's see, last time I shot a cover...  
Yeah, could've named these two shots something else- not gonna go there.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Animals Are Outside Today- Colleen Plumb

Photo: Colleen Plumb

Animals Are Outside Today is a curious mix of life and death, celebration and loss- equal parts exuberance and reflection that perhaps raises more questions than insight into the roles and relationships that transpire between animals and humans in the life and rhythm of everyday existence. We befriend them, eat them, play with them, capture them, extol their virtues and abuse them. Colleen Plumb's photographs examine our various interactions with animals, both domestic and wild, that occur since childhood. Often they are elementary as to how we form relationships, how we experience death, how we establish boundaries and perceptions that persist throughout life. Sometimes it's an ongoing relationship that we explore and nurture, other times one that we are barely aware of, unless confronted.

Ms. Plumb's photographs are alive with color and compositions filled with childlike wonder- as well as the tragedy and dissonance one also experiences during that passage.

Photo: Colleen Plumb

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And So It Goes...

Meanwhile, the mayor of NYC is ignoring the restraining order from the judge that allows them to remain with their equipment and belongings; and as to the latter, which they were told they could reclaim- it's all been trashed and sent to the dump. The same shameless shirking of the law by those in power that profess to uphold it that initiated the whole movement in the first place.

It's Uh.... Bleach- I Swear!!!

And no, it's not the kind I'd use to overtake the cockpit by threatening to discolor passengers' clothes!!!

On my recent trip to NYC, I had all my Tri-X in old metal and black plastic canisters. What I didn't know was that I had accidentally included a canister that I had long ago filled with potassium ferricyanide. Just imagine the scenario at the airport had security chosen to inspect that particular canister, only to find it filled with a bright, reddish orange powder inside- and I (already looking every bit the terrorist suspect- as my wife is needlessly fond of reminding me) would have been instantly surrounded by a cadre of: TSA, FBI, police, Homeland Security and a varied assortment of armalites...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Self Reflection

56 (and counting...)

I first attempted blogging in '04 during a period of unemployment right 'round my mid century mark, and transferred to Blogger in '07 when I finally decided to seriously commit to the damn thing, that is, develop the discipline to post most every day with something to say, present or show of some particular relevance or "importance." At first I wanted to create the largest audience possible, and after a couple of years of that said, "fuck it," it is what is. Just as I had concluded with my photography, it's ultimately something I do for myself, which at first sounds incredibly selfish and self defeating- particularly considering a medium that is so inherently meant to be shared, as is... a blog. But in a time when everyone is a photographer and everyone has something to say (and the means to do it), the choices are numerous, the alternatives plentiful. Fact of the matter- you can reach a helluva lot more people now simply via Facebook.

I can't deny what a leak it still is being able to meet, contribute, and share online; but I've pretty much said most of what I've wanted to say- as loudly and articulately as I possibly can. And with the work involved, I certainly don't want to embark on repetition for an ever decreasing "return." Curiously, others are also reassessing their roles in blogdom, and others still perhaps quietly fading away- some having already succumbed to... the inevitable(?). In fact, when you come down to it- it's hard to think of many (any?) "successful" photo blogs nowadays that are not at least partially funded in some manner.

Soon come, we'll be turning the corner on post 1,500- we'll see where we take it from there... And as always, thank you for dropping by.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Simpsons v FOX

In October 2003 the creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, revealed that Fox News had threatened to sue Fox Entertainment - which makes the show - over the satirical use of rolling ticker lines on the screen. "Pointless news crawls up 37 per cent... Do Democrats cause cancer? Find out at Rupert Murdoch: Terrific dancer... Dow down 5,000 points... Study: 92 per cent of Democrats are gay... JFK posthumously joins Republican Party... Oil slicks found to keep seals young, supple...," read the ticker on the program that sparked the threat. "Fox said they would sue the show and we called their bluff because we didn't think Rupert Murdoch would pay for Fox to sue itself. We got away with it.... But now Fox has a new rule that we can't do those little fake news crawls [tickers] on the bottom of the screen in a cartoon because it might confuse the viewers into thinking it's real news," Groening told National Public Radio. Fox denied that it threatened legal action.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How Republicans "Win" Debates

Not by logic, adherence to facts or the ability to break down complicated issues into understandable truths- but with threats, backyard bullying and sheer intimidation. Doesn't matter if it's a Republican politico or a FOX Views pundit. Whoever yells the loudest while repeating the mantra of unsubstantiated dogma wins...   

"Let me just say that the right-wing bias was there in the newsroom, up-front and obvious, from the day a certain executive editor was sent down from the channel to bring us in line with their coverage. His first directive to us: Seek out stories that cater to angry, middle-aged white men who listen to talk radio and yell at their televisions. (Oh, how I'd love to stick quotation marks around what is nearly a direct quote.)"
"To me, FNC reporters' laziness was the worst part of the bias. It wasn't that they were toeing some political line (though of course they were; see the embarrassing series on property rights from 2000), it was that the facts of a story just didn't matter at all. The idea was to get those viewers out of their seats, screaming at the TV, the politicians, the liberals -- whoever -- simply by running a provocative story," he wrote in October 2003.   --Matt Gross

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just Making It Up...

It's hard to take anything from the mouth of a Republican too seriously, whether it's badly informed, primitively bigoted, or purposely misleading and pernicious. This is one thing that I actually believed however- one that I thought made perfect sense from a purely business/financial point of view. And even this one turns out to be pure and utter bullshit...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy One Goal?

Photo courtesy: ©2011 John Montgomery

Now that Occupy has everyone's attention, should we perhaps concentrate on just one goal- one demand that could truly inspire, unite and actually bring out the 99% en masse? Namely, the fact that the 1% (incl corporations- who are now legally recognized as people in the US of A) must pay their fair share of taxes! Not that it would be nice, not that it's a good idea, but that they must do it- and do it now! 

Sure, every other Occupy demand is also eminently just, righteous and well, well overdue- but instead of just taking symbolic, philosophical stands, what if We The People finally said BASTA, and concentrated all our effort on just this one! So far, it's gone nowhere fast legislatively- but it's the one that would most easily garner (and already has) the widest nonpartisan public support and enthusiasm!

If we could get that one thing done, not only would it clear the deficit- it would also help pave the way for everything else that so desperately needs to get done...

PS-  Wrote the above a week before I found the photo, and the accompanying site...  Guess we got some like minded people out there- Let's do this!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Grand Tour

Impressive indeed... Go to any Occupy Movement and yes, there are a lot of somewhat grungy looking kids all about- what would you look like if you made the sacrifice to camp out under same said conditions? But once you get your mind beyond that (if you can get your mind beyond that), walk around, tour the various stations, attend a general assembly and see just how incredibly efficient, organized and yes, well disciplined, they actually are. And remember, it's all voluntary (ie- not for profit)!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why The +98% Are Still At Home...

Most Americans are frantically treading water just to stay afloat, they know the treadmill's broke, and broke bad, but they're scared shitless to get off. They're gonna ride that bad boy straight down to the rims. Just as we've been trained and told. To get off would brand us losers, and worse still, it would mean we were lied to- and we took it all in: hook, line and sinker. So we'll continue to stay the course, and continue to struggle with ourselves- and the others just like us, all around us. It's the only option we've been allowed to hear, prepared to believe and allowed to follow. A dumb and sorry lot are we.

There was, of course, that brief wink of recognition when we could connect the dots, could see through the lies- had the insight to recognize the enemy. And knowledge emboldened us to strike back, in that brief shining moment called the sixties. But when all was said and done, it was the 1% that had learned the most. Which is why our public school system descended into absolute shambles, and debt for college loans now actually exceeds that of credit cards. The dumbing down of America was the first well calculated step towards the economic enslavement of the 99%. Make them so outstandingly ignorant they don't even know who to blame. Hence religious fundamentalism in the body politic, the rise of the FOX, the utter lunacy of a Tea Party- the "equality" of corporate personhood. No conspiracy here; it was all done in broad daylight, under guise of law, one small and very conscious step at a time as that most treasured American Dream became more and more just that with every succeeding year, with every passing decade. Pretty soon we were just living on its fumes, living off the numbers the 1% created and worshiped- until even they could no longer pretend they added up. But we were too busy shopping to notice, or care.

The dream long dissolved and dissipated, we now lack the means (economically or morally) to deal with the reality left us.  So much so, that when the most innocent amongst finally point the way to a most obvious truth- we ignore, deride, and belittle them. And in our most bountiful ignorance, still court those who so gleefully, willfully sold us out, to somehow, ultimately save us. A lost and sorry lot are we.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Vile Beyond Imagining- 73 Million...

I had no idea, no idea that such an atrocity was being inflicted on numbers this vast. Not to mention the multitude that have been hunted and slaughtered for sport, fun and "vengeance" ever since the fictional movie blockbuster some thirty plus years ago...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Occupy SF (part III)

The Signs Of Protest

I had my reservations about posting these, being how ugly things have gotten in some places. But this ain't the place one comes to sample hard hitting photojournalism in the first place, is it? Admittedly, the commentary may sometimes strive for the jugular, but the personal visuals concentrate on humor and irony (hopefully). I let the serious pros handle the hardcore.

There's usually two sides to every story- if not two stories to every side. Besides, it's Friday.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Beat Goes On...

They say that every movement needs its martyrs, that said, let's hope that two tour, Iraq vet Scott Olsen makes a full recovery. And that the needless, ill thought out attack under the cover of darkness designed to give Oakland mayor, Jean Quan, her political cajones backfires into the impetus that propels Occupy to the next level.

One of the truly beautiful aspects of this entire movement has been that for every negative action by the authorities, there has been a positive and more assertive reaction from the 99%. It's a chess game without impunity, where both sides must own their actions and take responsibility- exactly what the 1% have gotten away with for so very, very long...

Has Photography Come To This?

What won't a photographer do these days to get their project funded? Yesterday, I (and several others) received an email from a "name" photographer tearfully describing how she and her family were mugged, robbed and helpless in a foreign country. Odd- I had never corresponded with this photographer on a regular basis. Nevertheless, I emailed a wee bit of advice and then quickly got the squeeze on where and how to send the... $1, 950! Jeez, not even the hint of a postcard for my effort (like from many a project at Kickstarter)- and even my Nigerian friends always promise to cut me in handsomely!

Of course, it was all a scam, and they were quickly told what they could do while they waited. More importantly, perhaps this is a forerunner of more elaborate ploys to come our way...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So, It Aint Just Me...

Guess with a pair of peepers that big, one can't help but notice (buhrumpump)! Hey, she's the one talking large random objects... OK, OK, cut me some slack here- why do I suddenly feel like an aging borscht belt comic from the Catskills? Anyway, good to know one can still be... observant (if not subtle) at any age.

I always say they should put people in jail for wearing clothes like that. Especially stretch jeans over size 10 -- they should be outlawed.   -Iris Apfel

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Literature Of Occupation

Occupy SF- 10/15

Occupy SF, the left coast offshoot of the original Occupy Wall St. movement had a rather impressive showing on 10/15, marching about downtown San Francisco. The majority of the nine forthcoming photos were taken then, and the one thing I particularly noticed, as I have in reports elsewhere, was the plethora of witty, original and humorous signs that participants fondly created, displayed and identified with.

Every demonstration and movement has its signs that serve to punctuate and identify causes, groups and issues. But the Occupy movement have taken it a step further, their signs go well beyond the more mundane sloganeering of yesteryear. Occupy participants seem to have a genuine affinity with their signs, signs that reflect their personal idiosyncrasies, philosophies and identities. The wit, creativity and humor that help define them go well beyond the usual overt political and economic criticisms. This movement, more than any recent other, has been most literate in what it has to say, and how it wants to say it...