Dave's Journal, May 2011


Just in case you were wondering (as I was) . . . "Mayday" is an emergency code word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications. It derives from the French "venez m'aider", meaning "come help me".

jpg Well, we put that to rest easily because it is fairly insignificant compared to the contentious discussions about the Maypole Dance. Not a joke - look it up ! I can tell you that back when we lived near Prospect Park in Brooklyn, we went to see the Maypole Dance and I recall it as young girls in white dresses wrapping ribbons around a pole. Although I was only about 8 years old, I could sense that there was more involved here than young girls in white dresses wrapping ribbons around a pole.gif

A Day in Cambridge

jpg D and me (I know, I should have said "I") trekked down to C&M's new place in Cambridge. Had brunch at Cafe Luna (I had a smoked salmon omlette that E. Hemingway would have devoted a chapter to describe).

C had to work all afternoon, so the other 3 of us trekked to an outdoor market. D bought purse #23,362 (but hey, can a girl have too many purses? )

I saw some exceptional work by a photographer and a pottery person. The photographer was maybe 30 (?) and 90% of his stuff was excellent. (Typically, we see 10% excellent, and 90% "filler material".)
His website is: Doug Hockman

The pottery lady's work was a combination of bold and delicate. Here web page is:
Nora Jean.

On a more whimsical / crafty note, there was a young girl who had some very nice this and that. She has a web page on Etsy: Little Random Happiness
She has this extremely charming image she created: Paris . . . I know, you could take this same shot ypurself. But did you? No, you didn't.

jpgPond Cleaning

Moved the fish (3 big ones, 15 small ones) to big Rubbermaid containers, pumped it out (about 400 gallons), cleaned it with a brush, refilled it and poured various biological stuff into it. Ordered plants (online).

Tap water is still cold (about 530F), so we wait for some form of thermal equilibrium to happen before the fish go back in.

Osama bin Laden

He was killed in a US raid at a major Pakistani ! military training compound. Think about that. It's what the really informed people have been saying for years. Pakistan is not a friend of the US. It is "the most dangerous country in the world". More dangerous than Iraq ever was, more than North Korea, more that Iran. The Pakistanis have been hiding & protecting bin Laden for years. (I always said that he was in the Sheraton Americana Hotel in the Pakistani capital city, Islamabad)

I say that, as we pull our troops out of the stupidity of Iraq and Afghanistan, we selectively rocket every Pakistani military compound that exists. (Just for laughs.)

We can worry about the 100 nuclear warheads they have stashed here and there among the caves and sheep barns at some later date.

Postscript: I am ever so glad that he did not die of natural causes, and that it was US soldiers that killed him.

American Muslims on bin Laden's Death

The CSM has a (typically) good article on American Muslim reaction. Esp worth the read for those among us who believe that all Muslims are religious terrorists.

Hate Can't be Killed

Mike sent me a note about killing, love, hate (sparked no doubt by people rejoicing in the killing of ObL). And that got me to thinking about why hate never dies and why violence gives birth to more hate and violence.

We would all like to find some way to abolish war (all forms of it) and violence, but peace never has lasted long before someone starts being bad again and starts the killing cycle again. You'd hope that once we all settled down into peace, the world would stay stable, calm, peaceful.

Not to minimize the importance of that topic, I will point out that we would also like to find some way to abolish weeds on our lawns. You'd think that once we (and our neighbors) killed them all, the neighborhood would settle into a stable, weed-free peace. But that never happens.

Weeds produce uncountable millions of seeds, and have been doing that for years and years in your neighborhood and mine. Even when you kill the weeds, the millions of seeds still lay dormant until, for one reason or another they sprout a new weed plant, and here we go again.

The seeds of hate are similar. A hate seed gets made every time someone is killed by violence. It may lay dormant for a lifetime, or almost a lifetime, but it lays quietly, ever ready to sprout a new act of violence or, worse, a war - a whole field of weeds that will of course generate untold millions of new hate seeds for the future.

There is no end to this. To misquote a famous book tile . . . "Hate is the Hunter".

I have no punchline, no answer, no solution, no idea of how to stop this repetitive process. The best I can suggest is that we learn how to kill weed plants as they sprout, and live with the fact that we sorrowfully need to kill things to survive.

jpgToday was bad . . .

it rained . . . I went to two nurseries and got wet, but they did not yet have all their Spring plants in, so I left with nothing . . . my pond plants came in and I threw them in and the pond now looks like a messy swamp (which was not the plan).

it rained harder, so I stayed inside and photographed that old projector I bought last weekened . . .

But hey . . . talk about excitement . . . D's bank got robbed today . . . she is okay . . . no weapons displayed, they targeted the teller next to her . . . 4 young white guys who got caught in one hour, as they were seen running from the bank into the motel across the street gif . . . jees, kids, you call that a plan?

Historic Trail in Lexington (again)

The other day I drove past a really nice looking historic house in Lexington National Park, and so today, I went back to shoot it, and came home with 2 nice photos for "The CafePhotos Gallery".

Here they are, "matted and framed" . . . Photo#1 and Photo#2

A Piece of Art

I just got back from the Smith College Museum of Art, about 90 minutes west of here. Nice museum in a college town (a very artsy college town ! - Northampton)

Enjoyed a lot of their stuff, and, as usual, I got enthralled by a few paintings. This painting of Echo Lake (in New Hampshire, which we have actually visited and swum in . . . "swum" ? . . . or should I say "in which we had at one time swum" ? ) . . . anyway . . . had the most incredible treatment of the light passing through the clouds, reflecting off and also passing through the water and also reflecting of the sandy & rocky beach area. It really was fantastic once you got into it and stared at it (which I did for a very long while, which is why I go to art museums alone).

jpg A photographer takes this reflection and transparency effect for granted because the camera does all the work of recording what the light is doing. A painter however must somehow make that effect (the balance of the two effects) happen by laying paint on a piece of canvas. Just incredible, so I had to take its picture (click for the larger version).

There was another picture with a great great composition that gave me some photo ideas, but they would not allow me to photograph it, as it was on loan from someone.

Birds for Mother's Day !

Fate was on my side this morning. No sooner had I put the 200mm lens on the Nikon, but a redhead woodpecker and a male cardinal flew to the feeder outside the window. I could not let this chance pass me by, and ended up with 3 nice photos. (Click the thumbnails.)

jpg jpg jpg

That is a 30 year old manual lens (no "auto" anything) that I bought used, for cheap $$$ because everyone has gone auto-digital. It works perfectly on my digital Nikon camera ! (Yes, I get too excited about this stuff, I know.)


If you like "small" movies and can stand a sad end, Sérafine should be on your list. She was a mildly tormented person who worked as a cleaning lady all her life and struggled to paint her visions. Much like V. vanGogh, she spent her last decade in an asylum and passed away there. The acting is flawless, as is the directing and camera work.

Here is some background on her: Ionart commentary.

This morning I started out sanitizing that old projector to get rid of the moldy smell it had and I pulled the bulb out of it, and (it is such an interesting bulb) one thing led to another and hours later, I added a new photo / creation to my Gallery #2.

Mike sent a link to this great 3600 view of Manhattan (probably from the Empire State Building ?)

John McCain on Torture

Putting aside his blunder of picking S. Palin and tossing his presidential aspirations overboard, John McCain is one of the few Republicans around today who is not playing up to the "stupid American voter" mindset. He is "on the right", but not the "stupid bumper-sticker right". He actually thinks about things and at least tries to be reasonable (from a "conservative's" standpoint).

There has been a lot of BS lately about torture and how it is okay, even "American" for us to torture prisoners. I've seen lots of smirky comments and got some e-mails about how patriotic it is to torture people to extract "important information". I think that is total bullsh#t, and, according to today's Washington Post article, so does John McCain. Here is the article.

B&H Photo, New York City

Most of the last $5000 that I have pissed down the tube . . . um, I meant "invested" . . . in photo equipment has been in "used" and "factory refurbished" hardware that I bought from B&H in New York City. (Another excellent source is KEH, in Atlanta, to whom I also sell my older stuff so that I may buy newer stuff.). You won't find any Porsche-356speedster-in-the-barn bargains, but you will get excellent stuff all around.

Why, you wonder, am I bringing this up ?

Well . . . . I bought the wrong lens this week. From B&H, and it was clearly my error. I wanted the Nikon AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED Lens and somehow by mistake ordered the Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED Lens by mistake gif. (I will spare you my ranting on these idiotic lens descriptions.) So I had the lens for 15 minutes and realized my mistake and e-mailed them that I want to return it for a store refund.

Normally (having dealt with the sorry lot of idiots who sell things) I get screwed (never kissed or paid, just screwed). But within the hour, I get an email from B&H saying "no problem, we will even pay the return postage".

Why, you wonder, am I bringing this up ?

Well . . . I bring it up because I relentless complain (here in my journal) about how people treat each other, and how businesses treat customers, etc etc etc . . . and today I am ever so happy to be reminded that not everyone screws everyone that they can possibly screw. This is the 3rd (maybe 4th) time that I have returned stuff to B&H because I bought the wrong thing (call it stupidity, call it crazy old man brain rot, whatever . . .) So, for the (very short) moment I am here to mend my complaining ways and actually thank B&H people for being so great.

Trader Joe's

Well . . . feeling ever so "upscale" after brunch at the Dream Diner and a day at the shopping mall . . gif , D and me stopped off at Trader Joe's for . . . umm. . . "upscale" groceries. (Truth be told, I love Trader Joe's, but am inclined at the moment toward sarcastic and pungent commentary.) I came away with "Sweet Italian Style Chicken Sausage" (in my reading of the label in the store, I missed the "chicken" part and the "style" part). And, well, tonight I actually cooked and ate the stuff, and the eating of it made me want to read more details on the label.

Compared to other sausage and hotdog products that you may come home with, the nutritional data on the label of these chicken Italian sausages ain't all that bad, but it did send my (all too imaginative and not overbusy) mind to thinking about alternative sausage products.

For example:

Sawdust Sausage: 2546% of all the fiber you will ever need for the remainder of your life is packaged in every one of our sausages. Given that statistic, if you eat just one dozen of our Sawdust Sausages, you could live to 12,465 years before dying of lack of sawdust fiber in your diet.

Compost Sausage: Need more biology in your diet? Try our Compost Sausage, and get enough micro-organistic-biological organisms (not to be confused with orgasms) to start your own planetary system.

Vacuum Dust & Pollen Sausage: Need to kill someone you love and avoid a long, drawn out prison sentence? Then this sausage is what you are looking for. Post-mortem testing will simply show an overdose of common allergenics that are impossible to trace back to their source (that's you, and the killer sausages that you stashed away in the basement prior to the foul deed).

Okay . . . okay . . . we are done with that imaginative excursion . . . I have to go upstairs and eat dinner. Some kind of sausage that Deb picked up somewhere.

The GE "Rainbow to Retirement"

I will spare you the boring details. Here's the short version . . .



I had an image pop into my head last night, and this morning, I created it and posted it as "Paint in Motion"

The photo-art world has gone mad . . . . $3.9M for a pretty average photograph ?


When it wasn't raining today, it was drizzling, and it was always foggy. So to pick up my spirits, I headed off to the Audubon wetlands/swamplands. (Bad weather = beautiful photographs . . . sometimes).

I did not capture that "perfect" image, but I did get 4 nice views of a foggy-drizzly swamp.

Meadow#1 Meadow#2 Meadow#3 Meadow#4

Boston Globe / Cafe Luna

Ever vigilant Mike sent me a link to a Boston Globe article on the Cafe Luna in Cambridge. Although the article doesn't specifically note the artwork that graces the walls, you can see it hanging on the walls and establishing an ever-so-perfect perfect (but not overbearing) ambience for the customers. . gif



I look up at the blurred face looking down at me.
"Do you want to go to the hospital?" I nod, yes.
"Should I call for an ambulance?" I nod, yes.
The world spins outward, inward, upward, downward. They take me to the hospital. If I open my eyes I vomit, so I keep them closed.

Nurse, technician, doctor buzz about, ask me things. Ask Deb things. They make me open my eyes and sit up. I do and immediately I use the barf bag, and that pretty much clears it up for them, as to why I dropped in.

Doctor keys it all into his laptop. and leaves. Comes back later to tell me that I probably have this Byadayada Pyadayada Positional Vertigo, whch is a mechnical problem of the inner ear. Maybe loose calcium pieces. Effect is identical to being blind staggering drunk.

Me: "Got a pill for this?"
Dr.: "Nope. I have pills for the dizzyness and nausea but can't fix the real problem. It's just a matter of waiting it out and hope it fixes itself."

It is two days later now and I am on his pills and we traded dizziness for drowsiness and traded lots of nausea for not so much nausea. I can't move very much (esp my head) and eat little nibbles of dry Cherrios, apple sauce, bananas, toast. Use a cane to stabilize walking without falling over.

Happily I can focus my eyes close up on non-moving objects, so I can read (thank you, God) and (more importantly) write these witty comments on my journal page. All things considered, I am pretty lucky at the moment. Mike mowed the lawn for me. Deb is at work. I'm on the porch reading. The CAT scan of my head looked good.

Here is all that I never really wanted to know about Vertigo: BPPV


I spent a few minutes at my doctor's today to chat about me and vertigo.

Me: I studied up on the internet and I'm pretty convinced that I have BPPV, like the hospital guy said.
Dr: Let me do some tests.
Me: Okay.
Dr: Look at my finger (he moves it). Touch your nose (I do). Raise your leg. Lower your leg. Do this. Do that. Do this again. How is your vision (I answer). Are you dizzy now?
Me: A little tipsy.
The Dr thinks a bit.
Dr: I'm pretty sure that you have BPPV. gif

We talk more. He says that he reviewed my CAT scan.
Dr: Your brain shrank.
Me: Oh . . . what does that mean?
Dr: You're getting old.
Me: Yeh, I had pretty much figured that out. What do I do about the dizziness?
Dr: Move slower. Be careful when you are walking. Especially don't move your head too quickly.

Well . . . watching myself stumble (very slightly) as I move about today, it is clear to me why old men stumble about and look so cautious as they walk. Why did I think that this was not going to happen to me? Why did I think that I would get older without actually aging? Why did I think that I was going to stay young and healthy and just suddenly not wake up one day? Or just fall over dead watching a RedSox - Yankees game, with a half empty bottle of Killian's Irish Ale in my hand and a mouthful of popcorn ?

In a quiet way, my expectations about the rest of my life changed this week.

Footnote: My description of this vertigo event sounds to some folks that I am "depressed". That is not right. Debbie says that I am way too philisophical these days and Mike says that I have too much time on my hands to spend on thinking. Add to that the fact that I am generally sacrcastic in my wording and, I would have to say that my feelings are really not "depressed" they are . . . I'd call them . . . . let's say . . . "philosophically sarcastic" . . . gif

Relocated Dave's Webcam

Debbie is now worried about me when she goes to work, so I relocated my live webcam up to the porch. Now you can track my current whereabouts by clicking to my webcam page: Dave's Webcam.

My New Lens is Great

I traded 3 older lenses for some cash + a new lens for the Nikon digital. Attached it to the camera and fired 6 shots, 3 of them through the porch screen. The results are gushing with beauty, and I love the thing, even though it is the least expensive new lens that I ever bought.

Here is one of the six . . . taken through the porch screen, no postprocessing, except cropped to 8X10 format: Wagon

Happy Birthday Catherine ! !


(As usual, my card will be late gif )

Coney Island


It looks like they are making progress on rebuilding the place.

Russian Sidecars

Some of us babyboomers who missed out on the dream of cruising America on a Harley after retirement, have found an alternate solution . . .
jpg I saw one of these last summer, and it looks pretty cool, but D would never never ride a sidecar.


An interesting set of 13 stories more or less wrapped around old (70) Olive Kitteridge who is a cranky, opinionated, domineering person . . . neither a lovable heroine nor a hateful old bitch . . . just a lady so complicated that she doesn't quite understand herself any more than you will.

Won the Pulitzer prize, but, I did enjoy it, I don't know that it deserved that.

from the New Yorker . .


Republicans are too Contentious, Democrats have no Moxie

An interesting op/ed in the NYTimes points to one of my pet gripes about American politics. The article is fairly balanced, in terms of right and left, D's and R's, so it's worth an open-minded reading.

The gripe I have is this: American politics today is this win-loose ballgame, a zero sum game . . . one side wins and one side looses, the sum is zero for the total population of American people (half won, half lost). American politics is NOT based on "meeting in the middle" or "finding a balance point" or "win-win" or "everybody wins" . . . it's "I win, you loose". A spinoff of this is that (1) the D's are (today) too timid to come up with some bold governing ideas of their own because they are afraid of loosing the next dog fight, while (2) the R's punch and jab the D's about the stupidest, meaningless topics because all the R's want to do is win the next dogfight, not necessarily provide creative, balanced governing that makes sense for everyone.

I'll say it again . . . until We, the People stop viewing politics as a sports game and start voting balanced, reasonable negotiators into office, we will continue to deserve the contentious and timid lot of idiots who inhabit Washington.

May.31.2011 . . . waiting for the air to cool off outside so I can mow the lawn, I got imaginative and took a picture of Circuit City.

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