Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Not Enough



I don't get to write again today.  Awkward sentence, I know.  That is how my life is now.  Schizophrenic, really.  Alternate states of anxiety and fatigue.

But there is no time to elaborate today.  Off to the void.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Lost Cat



How do you catch a cat?  It must be someone's cat, very used to people.  There is no way they are catching a feral cat.  I mean, how?  Do you have one of those Spiderman web throwers?  I've never heard of this before.  Coming after the cats.

There is a cat that has been hanging around the house, a pretty black and white one.  He comes to the kitchen door and looks through the bottom panes into the house.  Initially he would run away if I approached the door, but now he sits and stares at me.  Yesterday I put my hand on the pane and he arched his back against the glass.  Hmm.  But he is definitely feral.  You can't get near him, even with food.  Ili tries.  She has begun leaving bits of food for him, first some tuna juice, last night some snow crab leg meat which he didn't seem to care for.

I've been missing like a stray cat, too.  Things happen.  Some you can tell.  Some you can't.  It is better to keep quiet this time.  Maybe, far in the future, the events will emerge as a tale.

But today. . . no pictures, no story.  Just a notice of a "Found Cat" who seems to me to be not so found at all.  Someone is missing their tabby.  I sure hope they get him back.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Remembering a Story at the Last Minute



I always have something to write about until it is time to write something recently.  When you don't have anything to say, don't say anything.  That's the advice I would give, anyway.


This is a series of pictures I took in a few seconds the day I pulled my camera bag out of the basket on my Vespa and all the Leicas fell hard to the ground.  I picked them up and just went through the mechanics to make sure they worked.  This was the little Leica CL film camera.  Fortunately, Leicas are built pretty tough, and film cameras will take a much bigger beating than a digital camera can.


I have taken to putting the developed film in the scanner, twelve frames at a time, and giving them all the same setting for capture, hitting the button, and walking away.  I do this since I don't have proof sheets when I develop at home.  I'll look quickly at what I have later.  I haven't looked at these since I scanned them and they are a complete mystery to me.  I like the shadows and the light there.  Nothing in the first frame, something in the second, then a kind of mystery in the third where it seems the boy is running after the girl.  I like the surprises that film can bring.

Yesterday I was speeding more than usual on my way to the factory.  Driving here has become impossible and I am impossibly impatient.  Coming down an overpass at many, many miles per hour over the regulated limit, I saw a black and white police car belonging to the very city through which I was passing.  There are many, many little cities piled together on this stretch of very commercial road, and I must be aware all the time.  When I saw him, I knew he saw me as well, and I began pumping my brakes in the most inconspicuous way that I could to take speed off without being obvious, cursing my self all the while with a series of "shit, fuck, piss, shit, fuck. . . ."  You know, the speeders prayer.  Well now, when I passed the black and white, I glance in my rearview mirror and saw him pulling out.  O.K., I thought, I am guilty, so I got over into the right hand lane to make it easier to pull over when he came up behind me.  At this point, I was driving behind the slowest moving traffic, not speeding at all, slower than slow, and he was trying to reach me through the mass of ever slowing drivers as they became aware of his old black and white.  I got to a red light and thought about turning as he could never make it over in time, but I thought again and had already decided that I was going to plead mea culpa and see.  In another quarter mile or so, he was able to get into the lane behind me.  He came charging up like a madman, but I wasn't looking in the rearview mirror directly now knowing it would be awful to make eye contact.  Out of the corner of my eye, though, I saw him riding me and swerving like a hop-head on speed, probably trying to rub one out just a little, his testosterone levels spiking, his adrenaline pumping.  Just a little rub, just a tiny squeeze.  Watching him now, I was sure I had made a mistake, that I should have taken that right at the light, that this guy was not going to be taken in by any mea culpas.  I pictured the veins in his neck as he clenched his jaws chewing on some imagined piece of meat, pecs flexing, hands quivering.  But I didn't look in the mirror and kept to the right lane waiting for the flashing lights.  A half mile.  A mile.  Nothing.  And when I looked, he was gone.

I did it!  He must not have gotten a good reading on my speed.  He could look and see that I was, but maybe he didn't get his radar up in time.  He was surely calling in my tag number.  I was sure of that and I was glad for no outstanding warrants at the time.  And when I turned up clean as a bean. . . .

I will drive more carefully today.  And probably for a few more days after that.  Surely, I will.  Surely.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Coldest Day of the Year



Woke up to the coldest day of the year.  Hard to get out of bed.  Solid freeze here in Vacationland.  I am lazy.  I am slow.  I am late.

I am gone.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Hard Man's Gotta Fall



Last night abruptly ended my temperance.  I went out to meet an old friend I haven't seen in maybe fifteen years, though that seems impossible.  I met him and a couple other friends at a bar on a Tuesday night.  The place was empty except for what Ili described as "lost people."  We had the bar to ourselves.

The trouble was that Ili and I started early.  We finished late.  We didn't meet up until nine, a time for pjs and the couch on a work night.  But I couldn't not go see an old friend.

I am paying for it this morning.  And the factory whistle is a-blowing.

It is good to see old friends, but why do they do it?  Why do they get so old?  Do they do it just to piss you off?

I know the drill.  People hold an image of you they don't want to let go.  I have people who feel betrayed because I am not able to do what I once did.  I like hearing the tales of who I was.  They are the ones I want to hear.  But people are pissed when you can't handle a situation the way you once did.

Oh. . . I used to swim up waterfalls and wrestle grizzly bears and make the most beautiful women on the planet swoon.  I was something, so they say.

At least I do.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Just the Facts



I am not upbeat today, and everything that I start to write is a downer.  Everybody has had enough of that.  So I'll be brief and simply report.

Yesterday, Ili and I went to a restaurant we go to only on occasion and had a wonderful spicy lentil soup and some potato cakes with a very fancy name.  We sat at the corner of the bar looking out onto the half-empty, light-filled dining room.  It was good.

We came home and lay upon the couch and watched "The Collection," a series on Amazon.  It is beautiful.  Almost every shot is a delight.  The story is o.k., too.

Then we watched the first ever episode of "Southern Charm" so I would know what that fellow is writing about.  The Leisure Class.  I have known them, the southern aristocracy, and they are a bit monstrous which is the theme of the show, I think.  If only.

We went for sushi early.

Then we watched more of "The Collection."

And this morning, I must return to the factory, for I am not of the Leisure Class myself.  I have learned to cope with them, but not fully.  I have wasted my life working.

But there I go morbidly opining.  I will keep my word and only report today.

The morning is cold and getting colder.  The sun is brilliant.  I will not be taking pictures today.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Elaine Steinbeck



This is a historic photograph that is only given to us through the advances of modern computer technology.  I've had the negative of this picture since the early 1990s, but I have never been able to pull an image from it--until now.  I was going through old notebooks of negatives and proof sheets and decided to try scanning this one more time.  Then I took into a couple different photo programs and finally got this.  It is the meeting of John Steinbeck's wife and Jim Harrison at a Key West Writers Conference.  I was standing there when she walked up and introduced herself.  Harrison, who had been a mean old bear toward people, lit up.  He talked about the correspondence between himself and her husband and as they chatted, I asked them to let me take a picture.  I had a little Olympus XA with an attached flash, but something went wrong and the flash terribly overexposed them both.  Why I only took one, I'll never understand.

What do I do with such a photo?  It is important, I think, but to whom?  Maybe a Harrison biographer.  Maybe.

Or, like all my photographs, it will go into a dusty room to get thrown away one day.  The permanence of photography.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Dustin Waters




There is a new guy we need to make famous.  His name is Dustin Waters.  He works for a small paper in Charleston.  Here is how one of his pieces begins.

Hey everybody, welcome to the new spin-off of the celebrated reality show recap series "Confessions of a Southern Charm Newbie" with me, Dustin Waters. Arriving just in time for the holiday season. When we are all profoundly depressed.

Now, if you're anything like me, you're semi-employed, constantly dehydrated, and adrift in life. Also, let's just say for the sake of this column, you have a deep fascination with TV spin-offs.

In the great pantheon of television history, reality shows often have the easiest genealogy to follow. The formula usually involves taking one of the show's standout characters and simply focusing on them in a subsequent series that largely maintains the structure and tone of the original. This is how Flavor of Love gave us I Love New York, Toddlers & Tiaras led to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and The Jersey Shorebegat The Show with Vinny, Snooki & Jwoww, and The Pauly D Project. This is often less akin to All in the Family and Happy Days giving way to Maude, The Jeffersons, and Laverne & Shirley, and more the television equivalent of using every part of the buffalo (link).

I've seen a five minute portion of "Southern Charms" in the past.  Ili made me watch it.  Everyone has a guilty pleasure, and I know why this is one of hers.  But it isn't mine.  

Yesterday, however, she began reading to me from the Water's column.  I was in tears.  The column, she says, is much better than the t.v. show which is easy to believe.  Waters actual writing on the page is worse than a first year community college student, and apparently there is no copy editor at this paper, but if you can get beyond the spelling and punctuation errors. . . .  

Someday this guy will be writing for a respectable publication and will have people to correct all of that, though.  Fitzgerald's writing mechanics were just as bad, but it didn't matter in final print.  

We have to be first on the bandwagon.  We have to make this guy famous.  

So. . . Mario Testing and Bruce Weber have been #MeToo-ed by some male models.  Sounds like they made the mistake of thinking all male models were gay.  Nobody got raped, of course, but there are reports of improper advances and masturbation.  Jesus, my whole life, I've been afraid someone would catch me, but apparently I've been missing out on something.  Many men find it wildly pleasurable, I guess.  The being watched, I mean.  The time of public masturbation, however, seems to be coming to a quick end, and like so many other things in life, I've missed out.  

Selavy.  

Now we all sit and wonder and wait.  Who will be the first woman to be #MeToo-ed?  Other than school teachers, I mean.  For some reason, little boys are the biggest rats.  Girls will go to Mexico with their science teachers, but little boys can't wait to tell.  So far, however, no women have #MeToo-ed any other women.  I'm waiting for the dam to burst on a once-upon-a-time contender for a high public position.  You-know-who.  It's bound to happen, right?  

Mark Wahlburg--now there's a fellow.  He just gave $2,000,000.00 to a women's rights charity or something.  He's no fool.  It's not like that cad from FOX news paying women tons of money to be quiet.  It's how men fix things, like buying your wife some expensive jewelry to make up for something you've done.  We'll see if it works for Wahlberg.  

And now, in the cold brilliance of the morning, I think I'll take a walk.  I haven't been feeling well for days.  Yesterday, Ili and I lay on the couch and watched "Thin Man" movies.  That is the best long series of movies ever.  Only the old Basil Rathbone "Sherlock Holmes" and the "Charlie Chan" series (with both Warner Oland and Sydney Toler) come close.  But Nick and Nora were just what was needed yesterday, that and some grilled lobster tails dipped in butter.  

You know, Marky Mark worked with Bruce Weber when he was young doing the Calvin Klein underwear ads, but he never complained.  But then again, it all worked out for him.  

I'm going to go read some Dustin Waters now.  You come, too.  

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Beauty and Bottles



I got beautified yesterday.  I asked for a shorter cut.  I don't recognize myself today.  Funny how that happens.  Q sent me a photo of himself in a suit in front of a Christmas tree this morning.  I started to write back, "oh, I'm sorry," but thought better of it when I realized what he was dressed for.  Still. . . .

Funny how we define ourselves.  People with larger definitions are better off, I think.  It is a mistake to pigeonhole oneself.  Of that, maybe, I am guilty.

I never buy big bottles of whiskey except when the liquor store doesn't have a fifth.  But every time I buy one with a handle, I seem to quit drinking.  It has happened again.  Bought the big one and stopped.  Bottles with handles are a definite sign of alcoholism.  So is having the liquor store workers in several locations knowing what you want when you walk in.  So are "Get Well" cards from them when you don't show up for awhile.  The last two years, I had a dry January.  I am just starting this year's now.  I have no problem not drinking except for the fun.  Ordering a sparkling water at your favorite bar is terrible.  Otherwise, though, I don't miss it.  I don't get the jitters or the shakes.  I just miss the ritual.  Ritual, I say.  I never miss the habit.

My life should be like that in more areas.  We narrow our definitions through habit.  How did that old Amy Mann song go?

There is nothing that competes with habit
And I know it's neither deep nor tragic
It's simply that you have to have it.


Ritual, though. . . well, that's another thing.  Ritual is time remembered and relived.  It is a repetition that is more thought out.  It is sacred whether religious or existential.  One must eschew habit while holding onto ritual.

So say I.

This blog, for instance, is supposed to be a ritual.  Then, it is good.  When it becomes a mere habit, it is something else.  You can tell the difference.

Like many of you, I am off for the next three days.  It seems glorious.  Ili and I are committed to watching movies on the couch.  That is what we say now, anyway.  And it sounds like a good plan.  Movies and teas and sparkling waters and lots of healthy snacks.

If I had to pick a habit. . . .

Friday, January 12, 2018

Chinese Curse



Uh. . . what did I tell you about Franco?  Always at least ten seconds ahead of the curve.

“Relations between men and women in America are one of permanent war. They don’t seem to actually like each other. There seems to be no possible friendship between them. They distrust each other, lack generosity in dealing with one another. Their relationship is often made of small vexations, little disputes, and short-lived triumphs.”

Today's quote comes from this (link).  There's sure to be war over this.  The American Woman, however mythical, is a source of derision in other cultures, of course.  And of course, we can blame that on American Men.  They are a source of derision, too.  

I watched the most recent season of "South Park" in the past few nights.  They hit the nail on the head, babe.  

Trump upset all the people who don't like him by referring to "shithole countries."  I think, though, there are people you don't suspect secretly cheering.  The "We've Got Him Now" mentality is doing no good.  Trump is like some crazy uncle.  Everybody knows he's crazy, but once in a while you hear a family member say, "You know, sometimes he makes sense."  And no matter how whacko he gets, he's still invited to weddings and Thanksgiving.  Old Uncle Trump.  Crazy as a shithouse rat.  Dumb as a fox.  

Meanwhile, the Fox has cleaned out the henhouse.  There are no teeth left in the EPA's mouth.  The FDA is a tool for Monsanto.  

And the stock market continues to soar.  

Have there ever been times like this?  

I'd remind you of the old Chinese Curse.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Eternal Sin



Now that the courts are ordering Sex Aversion Therapy. . . I don't have a follow up for that.  I can't think of an appropriate independent clause.  I just thought it would be a logical "next step."  And I'm not opposed to it, but I'm not sure such things have a good track record.

So, we may need to embrace the phrase "uncomfortable male moment."  I read that in the N.Y. Times this morning in reference to the coming Oscars.  I didn't bother reading the article, so I am not sure exactly how the phrase was intended, but I like it.

"Excuse me.  That was an awkward male moment."

What concerns me most is that most people still want to maintain a hierarchy.  They just want it to be inclusive.  That's fair.  I, however, think that things won't change until we break down the hierarchy completely.  It is everywhere.

Money.  Power.  Privilege.  Those are the things that oppress the world's majority.  It is the same in every "industry."  Ask any musician, any writer, any artist.  You have to suck up to get on the inside.  It is true in government.  It is true in education.  Until we break down the ENTIRE power structure, there will be abuse.  The faces may change, but that is all.  Female actors who are on top don't want to tumble the whole thing, they just want a better cut.  I understand that.  But if any of them think they have less power than I in ANY institution. . . well, they don't.  They just think that they deserve more than I do because they are more talented, smarter, better looking. . . whatever.  It's no different with Tom Cruise.  He is not going to help me either.  Nor is Woody Allen or Jack Nicholson (how has he escaped so far?) or any of them.

I've had this conversation with my black friends for years, and they tell me, sure, you want to tear down the hierarchy just when we are about to get a piece.  I support them.  But, yea.

Have I had white privilege?  Sure.  Have I had male privilege?  Yes.  Has it done me any good?  Of course.

Have I exploited it?

If you have any privilege or power, you have to question what you do every day, every moment.  When you make a decision that is hierarchical, you are susceptible.  People do that without even realizing it.

Is it wrong?

Yes.  And what is to blame is the system.

I don't know what I'm talking about.  I've gotten balls deep in this thing without meaning to.  I'm just trying to get out ahead of this like Michael Douglas.

Like Faulkner said in his paternalistic way, we all hurt people every day.  Doing so with intention is the sin.

Well, a sin.  THE sin is deeply imbedded in us all.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Report From Your Intrepid Financial Advisor



O.K.  My mother didn't appreciate the photograph the way she should have.  Predicted.  She says it makes her look 100 years old.  I told her it was supposed to.  Intent be damned.  She isn't having it.  I may have to rethink my project in the name of vanity.  I guess people don't want me to make pictures of them that look the way I do.  What can I say?

James Franco.  He's really fucked.  He shouldn't have won a Golden Globe.  Now he's going to hear about it (link).  His answers were not good.  He sounds very, very guilty.

"Neither Mr. Colbert nor Mr. Franco mentioned an episode in 2014 in which text messages posted on Imgur suggested he had attempted to seduce a 17-year-old girl. Nor did they mention a tweet from an actress who said she had felt pressured into doing nude film shoots for $100 a day."


He'll be living with Roman Polanski soon enough.

Otherwise, things are going right along.  I should tell you that I took all my money out of the stock market in September because I thought there was no way it wouldn't crash.  Whoowhee!  Once again, I was spectacularly wrong.  There is no way to recoup that money.  I can't go back in now.  Nope.  If you want financial advice, call me, then do the opposite.  I'm an investment anti-Christ.  And with retirement rushing toward me like a Santa Barbara mudslide, I am verklempt.

I can still walk, however, a thing I need to hold onto, for a walking man walks, and there is little you can't walk away from.  Little, I say.  The things you can't are just the inevitable.  Until then, though, I gotta walk.

Old Franco, though. . . he'd better run. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

True to the Trade



I shouldn't post this here.  I haven't sent it to her yet.  This is one of the pictures from the experiments I've been running with wide angle lenses and daytime flash.  I love the photo and will print it big and hang it in my house.  It is just too wickedly fun.  

So. . . I guess we're all preparing for the Oprah/Rock ticket.  We've come a long way, baby.  I hope they appoint a Kardashian cabinet.  

I just deleted a stupid riff on that.  To what end?  

I should delete this photo, too.  What if it becomes famous?  Iconic?  My mother would certainly cut me out of the will.  But an artist must be true to his art and all that, right?  I love the photo.  



Monday, January 8, 2018

Suffering Equally





In an interview with Mark Cohen- the interviewer asks Cohen if people ever react violently to him photographing them. Cohen responds:

“A lot of times I had trouble with the cops, because if you walk into somebody’s yard and start taking pictures of a rope that’s sitting there, they’ll call the police. And if you photograph a young child and his mother sees you through the window, they get really excited.”

Cohen explains what happens when police come:

“Half of the time I could explain myself. I had all these different stories. I was driven out of Scranton a couple of times when the cops picked me up taking pictures there. They would follow me out of town. Other times someone would take down my license plate after I got in the car, and the police would show up at my house. Once a guy actually managed to track my plate number himself, and he showed up to my house. He was very belligerent because he felt like I had victimized his wife in some way when I took her picture. All kinds of things happened.”

He says he was never beaten up, though, nor ever had his camera smashed.  

I've been working with flash the past few days, and I think I have what I'm trying to do down now, but I don't think I'll be flashing strangers in public.  I have an idea for shooting in public, but with people I know.  Having a technique, though, isn't enough.  Not nearly.  

While presenting the Best Director award alongside Ron Howard, Natalie Portman took the opportunity to point out the obvious: Not a single woman was nominated.

"And here are the all male nominees," she said before reading out the list.

I didn't watch the Golden Globes last night, and from what I've read, I am glad.  Apparently it was a mirthless, boring thing somewhere between a protest and a religious service.  One of my old lefty friends married to a feminist wrote, "There is always excess for some time in the early days of a revolution."  I didn't respond to that one.  I wanted to say, "That's what the Trump supporters say."  But you could substitute many things for "Trump."  It is definitely the cry of the Taliban.  But whatever.  At least Franken is gone.  There is cause for celebration.  

I'll quit it.  I'm told that sometimes my humor doesn't translate well.  

So onto serious matters.  


Um. . . someone has been reading my blog.  More to the point, here is what I can expect this summer (link).  What will climate change do to equality?  Will we all suffer equally, or will there be a comfort hierarchy?  I think we might know the answer to that.  I'd buy my land in Norway now if I were you and had enough spare cash on hand.  Seriously, that is where the wealthy will go.  Those of you stuck in India, especially around the coastline. . . good luck to you.  

For me (and perhaps for a lot of you), all we will have are drugs and golden milk.  Here's the recipe (link).  I'm going to try it tonight.  I hope this isn't just hype.  

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Far Side



(Tatsuo Suzuki)

Here are two photos by a photographer who has been shooting for awhile.  He is one of my favorite street photographers.  You have to have given up on everything else, I think, to shoot this way.  You have to simply become this thing.

I am envious.

He uses two fairly inexpensive cameras to do his work, a Ricoh GR and a Fujifilm X100.  Often, he uses flash.  To get that close to a stranger and let off the flash is really the other side of crazy.  Bruce Gilden does it in a very aggressive way.  So does Mark Cohen.  The difference with Tatsuo Suzuki (link), however, is that his subjects are often very stylish and very pretty.  Maybe to a flaw.

Yesterday, I received a book I had ordered by Mark Cohen.  Here are links to a couple videos about him (link) (link).  I saw his work for the first time when I was taking photography classes in college in the mid '70s.  The pictures struck me hard, and for awhile, I used flash in my photography to great benefit, but the pictures I took were always with people I knew.  His working that way on the streets of a northeastern working class neighborhood seems crazy.  I've never heard him talk about being beaten, but I have to think it must have happened.  Much of his work centers on adolescents and he openly talks about the sensuality of that.  He is lucky that he escaped lynching.  Thank God he did, though, for the results are more precious than mere innocence.  I can only speak for myself, but I think conventional morality must be sacrificed in the interest of art.

Perhaps that is why I never appreciated the Abstract Expressionists the way I should.

But, even Norman Rockwell was a little bit pervy.  And I love the art of the Catholic Church.  They are usually willing to excuse most anything.  The Mormons, on the other hand. . . well, there is no great Mormon art as far as I know.  I grew up in that religion, and all I recall is that schlocky poster art that bordered on cartoon-ism.  They eschewed pomp and circumstance and all forms of intellectualism as far as I know.  But the Catholics--well, they gave us Caravaggio, didn't they?

I won't be watching the Golden Globes tonight, I think.  Maybe I'll have to, the way I watch the news because of Donald "The Genius" Trump, but I don't want to.  I'm glad they are going to all wear black.  It is appropriate, I think.  I may watch, however, just to see if anyone has the gall to wear red.  I would chip in to a Kickstarter for that.  It is not that I am against equality and safe passage.  Indeed, my protests and marches have all been for that.  It is ideology that kicks my ass, that and the feeling of religion that revolutions always bring.  Besides, I appreciate outsiders and rebels.

To wit, I watched a documentary on Gilbert Godfrey last night.  Holy shit!  I can't say it is a great documentary and that you should watch it, but there are some real surprises in it.  The biggest one to me was how beautiful and loving his two children are.  It will reify your belief in weirdness.  Godfrey is about as far outside the main as a person, especially one who makes a living off the establishment, can get.  And I've always loved watching him.  I'm sure, if he were on the red carpet tonight, he would not be wearing black.

(me)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Workweek Interupted



I was at the factory late yesterday.  My building was empty when I left.  It was the end of a brutal week, a week of feeling poorly, of sleeping poorly, of eating poorly, and of drinking without moderation.  Ili picked me up, and without reservation, I said fuck the gym, let's get a drink.  She had no objection, so we headed for a favorite spot and, miraculously for the hour, found the best seats at the bar, on the far corner facing the rest of the room.  It was cold outside and I wanted an Old Fashioned.  And fortune smiled upon us.  Our two favorite bartenders were mixing.

We sat next to a fellow who looked like a Steve Buscemi clone.  I'd seen him around town for years.  He would often speak to me as if we knew one another, but that had never been the case.  Something was wrong with him, I knew, but here he was in an upscale bar ordering dinner and chatting with the barman.  When he stepped outside for a smoke, I asked about him.

"I don't know him, really.  He's been coming here for a long time.  I know he was in a car wreck and it left him a little goofy."

Good to know.  So Ili sparked a conversation.  That went well for about a minute.

But what he was eating looked fabulous.  I had to have it.  Duck cassoulet.  It was perfect.  I rarely have it, rarely see it on a menu, but it is truly one of my favorite dishes.

Old Fashioneds and some great red from Macedonia.  Hellos to an old friend.  A bar full of people excited by the cold.  It seemed we were there a long time.

When we got home, it was seven-thirty.  Jesus.  Something has gone terribly wrong.

But that is the way it is now, and I am fine with it.  Smooching, glasses of an old scotch, declarations of love, then the couch and episodes of "The Last Tycoon."

A warm bed on a cold night.  The spiraling constellations beyond.  A late rising on a cold morning.  Good coffee and a clear sky.  Classical Music for Readers in the background.

The work week begins to fall away.  A beautiful evening.  A wonderful morning.

I don't know how to improve upon this.  Breakfast at the diner, perhaps.  We agree.  We shall see.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Privately and Publicly



I don't know what to do with Christmas pictures now.  I missed my opportunity, I guess.  I took a bunch, but somehow they never got here.  Sue me.


I'll just combine that one with this one and let it make its own narrative.  I don't know what I would do with this image, anyway, on its own.  Actually, now that I'm looking at it, though, it has a narrative all its own.  Together. . . oh, my.

Today, finally, there is an article in the N.Y. Times that speaks out against the assumed lack of agency that many women have willingly adopted in the new world order (link).  Privately and Publicly.  That is always the case.  The public voice always censors the private, but the private subverts the public.  Trump/Hillary.  People know what they have to say, but when they pull the curtain. . . .

And that is why we love to read letters and journals, isn't it?  With the passage of time, those private voices begin to make more sense.  They reveal "truths" that would not have been evident at the time they were written.

Yes, those two photographs work well together.  Do you want to know why?

You'll have to wait and read my journals.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Blog Doesn't Pay the Bills



Early factory work kept me away yesterday.  It is just a fact of life.  This blog just ain't paying the bills.  And so. . . .

So far, 2018 is looking a lot like 2017, except colder.  Do people understand that this cold will lead to warmer temperatures and weirder weather than we are used to seeing?  I don't think so.  They don't act like it.  I don't hear people saying it.  The news isn't talking about it?  I guess it's just too complicated.

My mother says that there has always been changes in the weather.

I have said it before, but it has gotten even worse--I am an Amazon crack addict.  Whenever I am feeling low, I just order something.  It is stuff that I would buy anyway (I think), things like black and white film, meat scissors (just came a minute ago), books.  I just feel badly for not buying these things from brick and mortar stores in my area.  But shit, man, it is so hard to get to them any more.  It takes forever to get through traffic.  Soon the only shops open will be restaurants and bars, things you don't buy online.  I don't know how any other businesses will survive.

Last night, I watched a YouTube video on the photographer Mark Cohen.  Then I got up and ordered a book of his photographs.  It will be here soon.  The book is not available anywhere in town, of course, so I've not taken anything away from the local businesses.  The ease of buying such things, though, is sure to break me sooner or later.  I have been buying a photo book a week.  I will soon run out of space for them.  I think that they should make high quality digital versions for my sake and others who must live ordinary lives in ordinary spaces.  But that won't stop me from buying more.

I am being distracted from this post, so I will give up and close.  What has happened to all the time?  It seems to be back there, somewhere.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

We Could Not See the Super Moon



Whoa is me.  I return to the factory today after having a totally dysfunctional holiday break.  Not dysfunctional, actually, but there was little of the usual spirit of the season and there was the struggling with illness that left us all pretty enervated.  Ili has come down with it worst, but we have all been lackadaisical for days on end.  All. . . including my mother who stayed over for New Year's Eve and Day for endless mimosas and beans and rice and collard greens and spicy eggs and bacon and then again with the pork and beans and rice and collards.  Sure, you might say it was the drinking that did it, but we only drank to ease the miseries as they say.

But now, I will have to be that other fellow again, the responsible one who puts on clothing rather than pajamas, who gets in the car and battles traffic in order to get to an office in time so that he can do other people's bidding.  That fellow.  The one who didn't get his batteries fully charged during his time off.

I watched the latest and last of the Dave Chappelle specials on Netflix last night.  Steroid Dave who has smoked too much pot.  He lumbers now where he used to dance, stopping to laugh now at his own "jokes," flexing his muscles visibly.  Maybe it is simply a matter of age, time and circumstance, the inevitable slowing down of any athlete, speed and reflexes relaxing, the mind more puzzling.

But he is still right about most things.  People are too brittle, he says.  Someone is going to take offense at anything you say.  You cannot escape the accusations.  Everyone's a victim.  It is hard to be funny anymore.

“What is moral order today? Not so much the reign of right-thinking people as that of right-suffering, the cult of everyday despair,” Bruckner continued. “I suffer, therefore I am worthy. … Suffering is analogous to baptism, a dubbing that inducts us into the order of a higher humanity, hoisting us above our peers” (link).  

Sometimes, it seems, you are on everybody else's side but nobody is on yours.  

That's why they have Facebook. 

Shit.  I have gotten used to living in "no time," but now time has returned.  If I am going to the gym today, I have to go now.  This is the reality that kills me.  I'm not ready yet.  Another half hour, that's all I'm asking.  The New York Times says that I should go to the gym and eat vegetables and drink more water and meditate and be kind to myself this year.  Oh, and sleep more, too, perhaps going to a clinic to get treated for my apnea.  Why should the factory bosses have more say than an authority as big as The New York Times?  

O.K.  I'll leave with this.  I channeled Lillian Bassman for this photograph.  Look her up.  This is the blurry end of a fallen vacation, the dizzying end to cafe life and fun.  


Monday, January 1, 2018

Less Doom, More Joi



A new day.  A new year.

My mother stayed over last night.  We all went to bed at 10:30.  Everyone in the house is struggling to be healthy.  Some bug that doesn't destroy you but keeps reminding you not to do much.  We ate my special pork and beans from the pressure cooker with rice and collard greens.  A true southern feast.  We sat outside before the fire in the fire pit and watched the nearly full moon rise in a cloudless, deep blue sky.  We drank champagne and ate deserts and watched a movie.

All before the stroke of 10:30.

I can't imagine watching Maria Carey and whatever pop-rock was happening in seemingly every city in the world, but there are many things I can't imagine.  Most, really.

So a dramatic year closes dully.

My friend dropped by while we were cooking dinner.  He asked me what my New Year's resolution was.  I truly don't have one.  Such things have never made sense to me.  Ili and I had stopped at a gym earlier in the day to sign up to try one of their workouts.  The trainer to whom we were speaking asked me what my fitness goal was.  I said to get taller.  Maybe I should make more goals and resolutions.  I don't know, but the things I want are all unattainable.  It has done me no good to pursue them.

Maybe I should resolve to lose the sense of dread that has enveloped me.  Inevitable doom, etc.  I'll try that one, I think.  Less doom, more joi.

We'll see how that works out.

But it is a symbolic day, so I will try to live symbolically.  Hoist the Jolly Roger and sail with me into the future.

What could go wrong?