Thursday, September 30, 2010

More rain

New York is wet again, not yet the cold wetness that comes later in the year, but the annoying late summer rains, when it could and should be much nicer, but it is not.

Boy, was I in a bad mood last night; grim, hopeless and full of despair. All that's passed though now and I'm back to my normal cheery self, except for the rain, of course.

I am just being patient and awaiting the arrival of my new camera, the Nikon D7000. I think I have figured out which lenses I am going to buy but I'm not 100% certain yet….

AF NIKKOR 24mm f/2.8D

AF Zoom-NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D IF-ED

Some people tell me that I don't need the prime lens, that the wide angle zoom will do everything that I need it to, that I should buy a telephoto zoom. But I can't help but feel I will want the 24mm prime and will appreciate the speed of it.

I question if I would have much use at all with a telephoto zoom lens. I'm not a sports photographer. I shoot mostly snapshots, sometimes wanting as wide of an angle as possible but I also like being able to compose odd and unexpected distorted visions from up close. I know that both of these lenses are pretty good and I wouldn't be wasting my money, but I want to make sure that I am maximizing the money I spend now because it will be some time before I'll be able to spend any more on lenses.

There is still time to do research…. but not much.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

B Flat, undiscussed Villon.

Even the nice places of New York have a very dirty edge to them, a danger.

It is as if the entire city is switchblade antique, rusted solid in attractive enviable untouchable positions.

Or perhaps it is only something of near relative value, seen at the whirlpool bottom bowl, glimmering in those transient and recurring waters.

Alive in a way that only a death-at-sea can be, or a non-stop funeral for the sky?

A watch, or a ring, or a lighter, or a aura ; never meant to be lost.

Things are pronounced and distorted here ; their value, their worth, forever changed by the lightnings and shadows ; the unending feeling that the much-anticipated opening is closing, has closed.

By the sightings alone.

All things here seem other.

So other.

Siesta Key

Only if all of life were as simple and easy as a day at the beach... but without all the wet sand in your trousers.

I want to go back to Florida. We were only there for a weekend, only on the beach for a couple of hours, though quite luckily at sunset and just after.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rainy Days and Photography

Nothing much to write today, it is raining, I am recovering from a terrible decades-long sickness. The sound of the rain is somehow both sad and comforting. My dog Barkley, pictured above, is my main consolation.

My friend Bill from did an exhibit for a respected photo-website, you can find it here. It is well worth looking at. He has spent much time on it in the last year and it is finally complete.

Ok, new rain, less talk.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

the rules of the game

I'm not sure what "the rules" are when taking photographs out in public. I was walking around Soho today, taking pictures. At one spot a man started screaming at me that, "no photography" was allowed.... There were no signs stating such, just an angry man screaming, at me, at his mixed leisure and duty. He did not appear to be there in any official capacity, he was just trying to sell somebody else's art, out on the street, and to prevent pictures from being taken of said sellable art.

Much has been said about the "art" sellers in and around Soho on the weekends. Apparently they claim that it is "free speech", though it is all clearly done openly for commerce, and for commerce alone it exists. The only speech I heard today was an angry man telling me that I am somehow prohibited from practicing yet another art form in conjunction with the pre-existing one on sale.

I thoughtlessly forgot to ask him for his photographic portrait, neither did I offer many poems.... poems of heavens and hell, poems of sidewalks and things for sale....

Instead, I reacted in short and in kind, and immediately told him to, "Shut the fuck up, I'll take pictures of whatever I choose to. I'm in public."

I am uncertain of the appropriate protocol for such an interaction and was afraid of committing a faux pas, of course. I hope these were the right words to aid in creating a better understanding between artists, and those who sell the art of artists, and those who yell, and those who get yelled at. But how am I to know? How to be certain when it comes to expression and the tender emotions that accompany the heart of artist's sellers?

How is one to be sure in the famed topsy-turvy free speech movement of Soho, where the only garde is no longer avant, but rather quite adamant.

The new insistent-garde movement of Soho, read it and weep Berkeley...


Freud is alive and wealthy in Soho.


Friday, September 24, 2010

this unpieced place

I could almost see ahead of me
a night of drink, perhaps love

How many like me have come home
cold and dead from such nights
from such love

I could nearly see ahead of me, stars,
bleak horizon and the jagged lost line
of inkblack mountain

From that darkness emerged
dark fountains, flowers found,
the faces of women,
so seemingly, some so beautiful

some shadows, no sound

sensuous but already blossomed

faded, and failed
in that nameless instant,

and now us

You and I in this unpieced place
where unknown
we fall into the eye of the unnamed

After all this night, death, half-funny
another daze, demised.

sculpture not carved of stone
but of want, and blame

anonymous death, half-funny,
half lame.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I am on the verge of buying a very expensive camera (for me), and have been seeking guidance. There is precious little to be found. For as many photographers there are also opinions. Mostly these opinions are a mixture of pragmatism or personal choice. They question my interest in prime lenses, or they encourage me to buy cheaper zooms because they are "so useful", though they emphasize to spend all of my money on "glass", even though I can not afford the full-frame digital camera that I desire. It is beyond my reach.

I found out tonight that the camera that I will very likely buy will add precious "mm" to the lenses that I am also buying. It is not that I am ignorant, it is just that there are things I don't know yet....

I just want what jesus 'aves....

Thursday, September 16, 2010


All of us have our enemies, both real and imagined.

The more imagined, the more real.

The Tyrannosaurus within, you and I.

Godzilla's circling.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

the facts of life

"Paganism is wholesome because it faces the facts of life." - Aleister Crowley

I believe it takes much more than just the facts of life to create a wholesomeness, Mr. Crowley.

The speed of cheap, New Orlean's style jazz….

"By its very nature, no one person can be the center of jazz." - Ken Burns

"The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician." - Louis Armstrong

"My music isn't anything but me. It has jazz in it, and rock 'n' roll, and it has an urgency to it." - Neil Young

"I missed jazz, kind of. And by the time I came to it in life, it was too intimidating to enjoy thoroughly." - Warren Zevon

"Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the less people appreciate it." - George Foreman

NY rooftop without a base

"The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one." - Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

to see takes time

"Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time." - Georgia O'Keeffe

Saturday, September 11, 2010

... no roll in the heart of doubt

I have been giving far too much thought to this "chemtrail" phenom.... It occurred to me that it is a nearly perfect conspiracy theory. Anybody, anytime, anywhere can participate in it merely by looking up into the sky and believing that they see something far different than what they have seen before, something worthy of question. All that it takes to begin is a vague feeling that your government is doing something wrong, a belief that the skies are becoming increasingly ominous, and a new level of scrutiny emerges... and then voila', conspiracies abound; it confirms to the newly initiated a global coalition of evil, orchestrated by international conspiracy, and only those in league with evil, or deadened by the machinations of media, would claim otherwise.

As far as these conspiracy theories go it is nearly perfect. The fact that this particular 'theory' is baseless makes it even better, more effective, resistant to claims of denial, easier to participate in... as it rejects all empiricism as part of its sweeping indictment. It is one short step away from denouncing all of science as evil, and in league with the forces of government gone wrong.

It just seems to me that with all that there is verifiable in the world that can be fought why focus on unverified claims that contrails, which have existed without serious question for many years, even decades, are now somehow part of a system of evil. There is real evil in the world and it can be verified, and much of it comes from our own government. Should not these things be tackled first? The popularity of these absurd chem-claims can be traced directly back to September 11th, 2001. Without any research, I am certain of it. It is understandable, but preposterous and disappointing. I began making the claim that chemtrails can not be photographed because it is an appropriately absurd response, in measure and step with the initial thesis: self-evidently false. It is the least I can do.... "The evidence is evident.", say the

Theory, as contemplation alone, is opposed to action.

Ay Allah, that's another point: any theory, for it to be called a theory, must meet certain scientific standards. Conspiracy "theories" do not burden themselves with anything as archaic as actual science, mere speculation is proof enough. Merit plays no role in the heart of doubt.

Further discussion only lends credence, etc.

Yet, I perversely seek the conversation of conspiracy theorists. It is a form of sociological magic. It becomes so much a part of the individual's personality that they seem to defend it with demented and whole-hearted lunacy. To show any skepticism towards their skepticism is heresy, misguided and ignorant.

Such short-lived joys this brave new world offers us....

The modern world could use a reminder that all doubt is not equal, there is no such thing as democracy of intelligence. Intelligence is staunchly empirical, it seeks to fairly dominate other thought and eliminate ignorance, but not speculation. It invites question, but it equally invites question of the question.

Ok, I leave you with the ominous skies of New York City.... the birthplace of modern doubt and empire....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why can't "chemtrails" be photographed?

I have a friend who believes that "chemtrails" are not only a reality, they are perhaps the only relevant reality. I did a little research on them and I couldn't find anything of substance. Even the Wikipedia article sounded very non-convinced, with virtually no positive support for the assertion. If you can't mount an even vaguely ambitious argument for something on an open encyclopedia, editable by individuals, then your cause is spastically doomed. That, and no scientific evidence should seal their fate, one would think. But no, oh no, not in this great democracy of information. Wikipedia is probably in league with the government agencies that are creating these chemtrails, they might argue. Or another favorite of the conspiracy theorists: Wikipedia is doomed to obligatory ignorance, out of touch with these horrific realities, in league with all enemies of truth.

Speaking of Wikipedia.... here is an excerpt from their section on conspiracy theories:

Conspiracy theories are the subject of broad critique by academics, politicians, and the media.

Perhaps the most contentious aspect of a conspiracy theory is the problem of settling a particular theory's truth to the satisfaction of both its proponents and its opponents. Particular accusations of conspiracy vary widely in their plausibility, but some common standards for assessing their likely truth value may be applied in each case:

  • Occam's razor - does the alternative story explain more of the evidence than the mainstream story, or is it just a more complicated and therefore less useful explanation of the same evidence?
  • Logic - do the proofs offered follow the rules of logic, or do they employ fallacies of logic?
  • Methodology - are the proofs offered for the argument well constructed, i.e., using sound methodology? Is there any clear standard to determine what evidence would prove or disprove the theory?
  • Whistleblowers - how many people – and what kind – have to be loyal conspirators? The more wide-ranging and pervasive the conspiracy is alleged to be, the greater the number of people would have to be involved in perpetrating it - is it credible that nobody involved has brought the affair to light?
  • Falsifiability - would it be possible to determine whether specific claims of the theory are false, or are they "unfalsifiable"?

Noam Chomsky, an academic critical of the United States establishment, contrasts conspiracy theory as more or less the opposite of institutional analysis, which focuses mostly on the public, long-term behaviour of publicly known institutions, as recorded in, e.g. scholarly documents or mainstream media reports, rather than secretive coalitions of individuals.[21]


One would think that most conspiracy theories would have little or no resistance to debunking when looked at in this way. But no, because actual logic plays no role whatsoever in the creation or maintenance of most of these theories, it has no power to negate them. I have really wound my friend up by continuing to ask, "why can't chemtrails be photographed?" when that in fact is the only "proof" that this bong-water coalition offer of their existence. Chemtrails indeed....

That visual evidence, and Dennis Kucinich, of course. Oh, It is worth investigating that little gem...

In the way that some of my friends flock to "psychics" and are increasingly amazed that the better they get to know the individual psychic the more prescient her talk becomes ( I use the word "her" because the 'psychics' they attend are exclusively female). I can only assume that male psychics appeal to others due to their specific psychic needs.

Some of them are amazed right out of the starting gate, the first visit and the psychic seems to already know so much about them and their lives, forgoing the simple evidence that one or more of their friends has already visited this particular psychic, and they themselves are there on recommendation, and they have the word of their friend that nothing of their personal life has been previously discussed with said psychic.... the last thing a woman would do would be to discuss the emotional lives of her friends... with a stranger.... a psychic... why would they even need to...?


I leave you with this image of a psychic sitting in her 'psychic storefront' with the ghostly image of me floating there above her, discerning all manner of cosmic vibrations..... possibly stealing her soul, but nothing sinister, just to have a chat with a spirit from beyond.....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I am afraid of photographers

I am afraid of actual photographers. I mention that I have developed an interest in photography and that I have a blog dedicated to it, but I know what sorts of images wait there to be found by them... Images that are very bad by anybody else's standards. I love these out of focus partial-truths and distortions.

I happened to start talking to a woman today about photography. I told her that I was on the verge of making the great decision to fall towards either Canon or Nikon, and that by doing so I knew that would push me towards that company, and their lenses, from here on out. At the end of our conversation I gave her this web-address, the first time I have done so to a stranger, I think. My hand shook as I wrote the address, knowing that it would be images like this that she would find. Fear.

My mother in law has a box of cameras that shoot actual film. Everybody else that I know is afraid of real cameras because film is so expensive and mistakes so costly. But that is the very thing that draws me to them, though I don't own one. I am in love with my mistakes, something I haven't been able to make with such freedom since youth, very early youth. I want a physical copy of these mistakes. To be able to hold a horrific mistake in my hand, like rubbing a scar, like looking at journal entires from puberty ; hilarious, demented, painful, renderings and false poses and postures.

I am amazed at the actuality of it all...

Here to see the Dr.

I go the the doctor today. It is always an unnerving experience. It feels like a form of gambling, a bet that you can not win, and that you can only hope to not lose right away. It is almost always the same result: I should do more of this and less of this.


The thing about the gambling is that I'm not even really sure how bets are supposed to be made, I neither understand the pieces nor the chances of any of them winning or losing, only that all of them eventually will. I look for large balls that have my initials on them, lucky ones, I guess. I find one initial but not the other. I decide to just go with the one that has a large "X" on it, though it is greatly outnumbered by the "I" balls....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Employees Must Wash Hands Befor

Ah, life.... I want things, very specific things. The only way that I see to get them is to suffer much loss of time and (in some cases) dignity. I am expected to do things at a level that always increases and yet am alternately expected to not notice that the expectations are increasing. The rewards are an ever-diminishing recompense.

But oh my, the world is quite bright and shiny with lots of things to want. The simple things that I want are easy enough to acquire: music to listen to, something good to read, etc. Though even these things are difficult to come by with both quality and regularity. It is the basic needs that eat up all of the resources: rent, utilities, food... drink. After that there really is very little left for joy. I once remember hearing that, "money can't buy happiness, but it can finance the search."

Right now I want a new camera. It is a modest camera, compared to some, but beyond my immediate grasp. It is a reasonably large dollar item that is not easily bought on a whim, and I am referring to my 3rd choice rather than the 1st and 2nd, those are well beyond my means in exponential ways.

Don't get me wrong. I am very happy with the camera I have. It's just that other cameras can do so much more. Once you begin taking pictures that is precisely what the eye wants: more.

Look at what wonders can be achieved with it:

That is how I feel: very far away from my feet and always being reminded to wash my hands, but most of all, to return to work...

I think that any sign that instructs people to do something without knowing how to spell the words needed to correctly give that instruction should be illegal.

Before is spelled thusly.... ...the "e" must have hopped off of the mirror and into the sink, trying one last time to save itself.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Rockaways

The other day my wife and I decided to go to the beach. From the South Street Seaport there is a ferry that drops you off at Sandy Hook. When we got down to the pier we were informed that the Sandy Hook ferry wasn't running, so we decided to go to The Rockaways. We were astonished at how few people had decided to go to the beach on such a lovely day. We thought that we would have the beach all to ourselves, perhaps sunbathe naked. Who knows.

When the ferry dropped us off there were a few people that wandered in different directions, a few people that got into cars and drove off from the ferry parking lot, an old gay couple waiting for their friend to show up and give them a ride to the beach that they normally go to, and us. There was really nothing there at the ferry landing/parking lot, except the on-ramp to an interstate. After walking for a few minutes we found the entrance to an old military base, Ft. Tilden. Then we found out that if we walked through the base there was a beach on the other side. So away we went.

When we got to the beach we discovered there were all sorts of amenities: bathrooms, beach supplies, picnicking, and a snack shack. The snack shack even had beer. It was about this time that we realized that we had left Manhattan with only a credit card and not much else. We had worn bathing suits , sensibly. We had brought towels. We had brought a great and wonderful thirst for some ice cold beer, but no cash.

We asked where the closest ATM was and not a single person had an answer. An ATM machine was a much rumored novelty but they had never witnessed its magic firsthand. So we decided that maybe we didn't need beer right away and we would lie out on the beach for a while and take in some sun. The beach was very empty though not so much so that we could sunbathe naked, though not that far off. As soon as we picked a good spot, got settled, and reclined on the sheet we had brought, then the sandstorm began. At first I thought that it would pass quickly and this is something that just happens at the beach from time to time. But no. I was quite wrong about both the severity and the duration of the sandstorms. They continued unimpeded for sometime, so that the entire sheet we were on and everything we had brought with us was covered with sand. The top of my head, where I had been lying, had been sandblasted and was covered in a layer of very fine smelling beach sand. My wife did not look pleased.

Clearly the beer situation could not continue unaddressed with these sandstorms running wild. We decided to walk to an ATM there was rumored to be in the adjacent city, many, many miles away.

Luckily a couple we met after about 20 minutes of walking, in the old military base, agreed to give us a ride to the ATM after we had explained our situation. Sand, beer, etc. We thanked them vigorously and offered to buy them beer but they were interested in going off to a beach that they knew about and had once been to before, one that sounded more secluded than the one we had found, one where perhaps all sorts of nudity occurred.

So, we sat on the benches and ate lunch and drank cold beer. Watching the people head out to the water where the sandstorms were.

The water was very cold, we told ourselves, too much so to go swimming, sadly - and the sand was very difficult, almost impossible. There was the camera to think about, you see. So I took some pictures between the sandstorms when I felt that there was a break in the action. There was not very much to take pictures of, at least not very much that interested me, but I walked around with the camera and beer just in case. The day was beautiful and the there were just enough clouds in the sky that the day was prevented from being terribly hot.

The day passed through us, the sun warmed us, the cold beer pleased us. We sat and watched and talked and took pictures, all day long.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

behaviorally dependent….

From Wikipedia:

"The most extreme cases of micromanagement constitute a management pathology closely related to, e.g., workplace bullying and narcissistic behavior. Micromanagement resembles addiction in that although most micromanagers are behaviorally dependent on control over others, both as a lifestyle and as a means of maintaining that lifestyle, many of them fail to recognize and acknowledge their dependence even when everyone around them observes it.[1] Some severe cases of micromanagement arise from other underlying mental-health conditions such as obsessive–compulsive personality disorder, although not all allegations of such conditions by subordinates and other "armchair psychologists" are accurate.

Although micromanagement is often easily recognized by employees, micromanagers rarely view themselves as such. In a form of denial similar to that found in addictive behavior, micromanagers will often rebut allegations of micromanagement by offering a competing characterization of their management style, e.g., as "structured" or "organized."

Friday, September 3, 2010

"All Democrats Are Dumber Than Me"

I made the mistake of trying to have a conversation with a liberal.

No information, or collection of information, reaches their advanced sensibilities.

It is a phenomenon, especially to one who holds very high standards.

It is a shock.

This person refused to accept the basic truths I offered. Simply refused.

It is what makes liberals so strong, that strength of mind and character, and divided purpose.


(I feel like I should explain this post. It was written 'tongue-in-cheek' in response to a conversation I had with a supposed liberal friend of mine who seemed to believe that unity of purpose in a political party is a weakness rather than a strength.)

Some holiday weekend

So, my wife is out of town, today I will go to some galleries and enjoy some of what there is to enjoy about New York City. I will compare it condescendingly to Beacon or anywhere else, all other places, etc.

Well, perhaps not.

TheOnion just posted a headline, "8.4 million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live"

Funny stuff. Perhaps I should have waited to post until after I had come back from the galleries... belly wine full and smiling gladly with myself....

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I Often Dream Of Trains

I often dream of trains when I'm alone
I ride on them into another zone
I dream of them constantly
Heading for paradise
Or Basingstoke
Or Reading

I often dream of trains when I'm awake
They ride along beside a frozen lake
And there in the buffet car
I wait for eternity
Or Basingstoke
Or Reading

I often dream of trains till it gets light
The summer turns to winter overnight
The leaves fall so suddenly
The sun sets at four o'clock
Exactly what
I'm dreading

I often dream of trains when I'm with you
I wonder if you dream about them too
Maybe we'll meet one night
Out in the corridor
I'm waiting for
You baby

-Robyn Hitchcock, "I Often Dream Of Trains"

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beacon, again Sam

Every now and then I think about moving from Manhattan. Then I'll go and visit other places; ghost towns, practically. They all seem to remind me of my childhood somehow. The streets are filled with long-abandoned businesses or buildings that have been barely kept up, though empty and awaiting sale. It is quaint to get ice-cream at a Dairy-Queen or Carvel, and walk around little shops that sell cute and over-priced crap. There is always a bar that has a blinking video game against the wall, golf, or something else equally absurd and ironic. The bartender: a shattered mixture of assumed world-weariness and local pride.

For all the noise and confusion there is something that still attracts me to Manhattan, this crazy carnival of cities. There is a unique excitement to it, it is palpable. The lights here are bright but the shadows are dark and long. The chasms of abyss in the city seem unforgiving, endless and everywhere. Recovery from failure seems always far off.

I wonder how much the feeling of a place reflects you rather than it, how much of what we are seeing at any given time is internal.

Is it me, or is it Rick's place, Cafe Americano….

Third Stone From The Sun