A little wood like glow.

What matters. This forest matters.

There was a political advertisement on television last night. I was watching the local news. That’s a whole other story.

The guy running for state treasurer wants to cut taxes. Huh? That how we got into this mess. The state of Louisiana can’t afford anything. We can’t pay much for education, healthcare or even rebuilding our ravaged coastline.  Meanwhile, the fine Republicans in Washington D.C. also want to cut taxes. And, raise military spending. And, build a wall. And, maybe work on the country’s crumbling infrastructure.

Where the hell do these people think this money is coming from?

I’m no fan of high taxes. But, I know enough that I have to pay some kind of fair share. The Federal tax cuts won’t help me. The likely won’t help you. They’ll only help the very rich. The ones who don’t need a tax cut. The one’s who barely pay taxes already because they exploit loopholes and write things off that most people can’t.

This tax cutting plan is just another scam. Let’s face it, the folks in the current administration think they are entitled. They want to bill you and me for private airplane rides. They want to fly to see the total eclipse or to go on their honeymoon. It’s not enough that their net worths are probably one hundred times our total net worths, but they want us to pay for their fun.

Drain the swamp, he said. That’s rich. He’s just dredging a deeper one.

The picture. What does it have to do with my words? Nothing. I just like it. And, I was tinkering around. I thought that you might like it too.

Oh. Yeah. There is some seriously fake news streaming around. People are falling for it. Supposedly, somebody wrote a really long post or email from the scene about how the U.S. Government and its rescue arms like FEMA are doing a really great job in Puerto Rico. That everything we have been reading is a lie. That all they need are truck drivers. And, to call a certain telephone number to volunteer. They claim that because things are so disorganized that you must leave a message and somebody will call you back.

I’ve seen the entire “email” in various places. It is exactly the same no matter what the source. Can you say scam? Even if it isn’t, it’s nothing more than a Trump-bot hoping to make the clown with a crown look good.

 


Under strange skies.

An alternative reality.

Yes. That’s what we are living in, and have been for a long time. Watching Ken Burns’ Vietnam series reminded me of that. There certainly was no transparency then. Apparently, every president including Kennedy knew the war was unwinnable. Yet we continued to pour troops and money into a corrupt country’s government.

Now we have the current presidential administration saying that all is good news in Puerto Rico. We’ve finally made a move. Meanwhile the people on the ground are still begging for help. Splitting the difference are the people saying there are huge stores of goods on airfields and in ports waiting to be delivered because there are no drivers and trucks.

Let’s accept the last comment. Shall we? It’s sort of believable enough.

Isn’t that what the U.S. military and National Guard are good at doing? Moving troops and vehicles anywhere around the world? Clear out the airport and the U.S. is capable of flying planes large enough to deliver tanks if that’s what is needed. Now, a general is running things on the ground. Let’s just see what happens.

I didn’t intend to go off on this tangent today.

This is supposed to be “Fabulous Funny fairytale Friday.” That’s why I made this picture into some kind of art. Into something that can’t be seen by the human eye. Into something that only a few people can see. Originally, the picture was a flower reaching into the bright New Mexican sky. The flower is still reaching. But, that’s no earthly sky that I ever saw.


Cadillac Ranch.

Distraction.

With all the big issues going on in the world — the potential of nuclear war, raging forest fires in the west, three major hurricane hits to the country, failed legislation, broken campaign promises, the Russian investigations and seemingly being at war with everybody including his own party and Congress — the sitting president thought it was a good idea to attack the NFL and peacefully protesting professional athletes.

There was no reason to do this. Except he that is the divider, not the uniter. And, he was speaking to his base in Alabama. Oh, there’s another reason. One that I’ve been hammering at this week. The color of a person’s skin.

There might be another.

As we all know, our very thin-skinned president cannot let even the slightest of slights pass without trying to punch back. The NFL owners never liked him. He was too sleazy for even them. He tried an end around and bought a team in the soon to fail USFL, hoping to bully his way into the NFL. No way. No how.  They wouldn’t let him into their circle. Attacking them last weekend was a measure of payback. You and I both know that he doesn’t care about the flag or The National Anthem. After all, they aren’t about him.

And, another.

Distraction.

Meanwhile in Puerto Rico, the bully in chief finally relented this morning and signed The Jones Act waver, after first saying that the shippers didn’t like it because it amounted more competition. Too bad. Lives are at stake. An entire island depends on it. Now, what I’m trying to figure out, is why tons of supplies have not been released from the docks, where they have been stockpiled for days. In the words of Sherman T. Potter of the old television series M.A.S.H, I think I see some “cahootinizing” going on.

All I know is follow the money.

The picture. Cadillac Ranch. Near Amarillo, Texas. I think everybody who fancies themselves to be a travel photographer has photographed this place at one time or another.

My point? The painted American Flag. OMG! Maybe the clown with the crown (he thinks) can attack this place in a tweet.

Since so many things that are common knowledge seem to amaze him when he finds out about them, I doubt he knows this place.

Everybody. Keep your eye on the ball. And, don’t be denied.


Caribbean light.

Lies, lies and more lies.

Puerto Rico.

Now the president says that he can’t wave The Jones Act because the port isn’t deep or big enough in San Juan for deep water freighters. Actually, the current director of Homeland Security can do it as well under the president’s direction. He won’t. He’s a political appointee.

WTH, WTH, WTH…

You know that military he is so fond of? You know big business of which he claims to be a member? They both know how to build temporary harbors. The military can do that very quickly. That’s what naval engineers are trained to do. They know how to move heavy supplies from port to inland. In hours. In days. Not weeks and months.

Supplies brought in by air are fine and appreciated. But, that won’t help them rebuild any infrastructure or support hospitals. Luckily, Hillary Clinton badgered the president into sending a naval hospital ship. And, her husband, and former presidents Bush and Obama are building support to help in a big way.

Oh, and because of a very tight schedule playing golf and eating two scoops of ice cream, the president can’t make it down there until next Tuesday. Two weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall. And, he doesn’t want to get in the way of first responders. That didn’t stop him in Houston when he was joyful about the size of the crowd who came to see him. Yes, our “always working” president.

Let’s get to the heart of things.

Puerto Ricans cannot vote in general elections. They can vote in primaries. They didn’t vote for the current president. They are also brown people. They mostly speak Spanish. The president doesn’t like those kind of people. He’s made that clear. Very clear.

He is a small, mean-spirited man determined to hurt anyone not like him. He is about paybacks. He might have been more willing to help out if they had at least voted for him. Or, they were rich.

So. The Jones Act.

It is about a 100-year-old law that is really called The Merchant Marine Act of 1920. Section 27 requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried on U.S. flagged ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. It sets freight rates. It protects the U.S shipbuilding industry. It creates a lot of extra work. Senator John McCain has been working to annual the law, saying that it is antiquated and actually costs more than it makes.

That’s the story so far. The day is young. Who knows what lies will be tweeted later?

The picture. St. Barts at sunset. A made it a few years ago. I’d like to say all is good there. But, Hurricane Jose destroyed St. Barts at about the same time it leveled St. Maartens. They are 12 minutes apart by air. But, they are French and Dutch. We’ll that them take care of that. Because that’s what this current administration does. As little as possible to help our neighbors.

Do I sound angry yet?


Well, if this isn’t something…

I’ve long said that Storyteller isn’t a political place.

Maybe I was wrong. And, that’s saying something because I haven’t been wrong since 1970. (Don’t take that seriously. It’s an old joke.)

Like many of you I’ve had enough. Maybe the outside informs the inside. Maybe that’s how art is really made.

We have parts of three U.S. states — one is an unincorporated U.S. territory — that have all but been destroyed by three hurricanes. Two of them, Texas and Florida, are getting Federal help. Puerto Rico is getting next to nothing while a U.S President tweets about their debt. They have no water. Little food. No electrical power. They can barely communicate with the outside. Not a few people. Or a hundred people. Or, a thousand. No, no, no… millions of people.

While a U.S president calls Black athletes “sons of bitches.” And, tells team owners to fire any player who doesn’t stand for the National Anthem. He’s turned one man’s protest about police brutality into something it isn’t.

While he has ignited what could be a nuclear war in Korea. While he calls the leader of North Korea “Rocket Man.” And, threatens to destroy North Korea in a speech at The United Nations.

While he can’t get major legislation passed.

While he is now trying to force U.S citizens to pay for a wall that most of us don’t want. That we really don’t need.

While he attacks everybody and everybody via never-ending tweets. Even members of his own political party. Even people who are generally acknowledged as heroes.

While he tries to take health care away from millions of people.

I could go on. But, this post could be 200 inches long. Nobody needs that.

Some people say stuff like, “I know what I think. I’m not going to tell you what to think.”

Why the hell not?

Your thoughts matter. Stop trying to sell stuff on WordPress. And, speak your mind. You don’t have to agree with me. Just speak your truth.

The politicians and the president are trying to tell us how to do everything. What to do. They are trying to take freedoms away from us. They are trying to take our health away from us. They are barring immigration in almost any form. Should I keep writing?

Let’s get this straight. This ain’t a dictatorship. They work for us. For me. For you. If I want to protest, I’ll protest. That’s my right. My duty as a true patriot. I have Constitutional rights. Besides, this country was founded on protest. The Boston Tea Party started it. The United States Revolution pretty kept it going. We left a war an unrighteous war in Vietnam because of it.

So.

Let’s forget this nonsense about whether athletes should stand or kneel. It’s their right. And, they don’t work on an antebellum plantation. Until 2009 no NFL team took the field until after The National Anthem was sung. It took big donations from the DOD and National Guard to the NFL to get players on the field for pre-game ceremonies. It was nothing more than a recruitment scheme.

Instead, it’s time to stop hurting people. It’s time to help our brothers and sisters on Puerto Rico. Yeah, yeah. I get it. These people can’t vote in U.S. elections and — dare I say it — they aren’t white. So what? That latter only confirms what I think about this president.

Remember. I’m a Katrina survivor. I know what it’s like to be alone and forgotten. It broke one presidency. Maybe ignoring the people of Puerto Rico will break another. Lord knows. It isn’t much of a presidency anyway.

The picture. This’ll make you feel good. But, first a question. Does it show disrespect for the flag, or nah? I made it in a conservative state. Nevada. In Virginia City. Sometimes, I get drawn to shiny beads. It’s old enough that I made it on film. I didn’t think much of it when I pressed the button. I just liked what I saw.

Now, I have thought about it. It seems to matter more now. Funny how things change.


Blue clouds.

I’ve been called an artist.

It’s been suggested that I paint. Believe me, I’ve tried. There are plenty of paints, brushes, canvases and paper in the closet. I’ve taken classes, courses, workshops. Trust me. I don’t have the necessary skills. And, that’s too bad. There are images in my head that I can never begin to capture with mechanical tools. I guess they’ll just have to stay there.

You see, I’m one of those who doesn’t believe that you can do anything. There are limits. There are talents. There is a special kind of drive that it takes to help talent grow. That’s how I became a photographer.

However.

I can tinker with different kinds of software and create a unique picture. One that’s mine and does come out of my head. I’ve had people ask to tell them the “exact” steps I took to make something that I’ve published here. I can’t do that. I don’t keep written copies of all the moves that I make. Because I jump from software to software there is no continuous metadata trail. Besides, why would you want to copy my workflow when you could create your own?

The picture. The usual place. The telephone pole place. Since I’ve been laid up — thanks for your kind words, but this is a chronic problem that won’t go away with topical or over the counter remedies — I’ve been tinkering and teaching myself to “paint” with software that is designed to created water or oil or acrylic approximations. Those all look weird to my eye.

Enjoy.


A Sunday stumble.

I had big plans today.

Hahahahahaha! You know the old joke about that.

I was going to photograph a second line. I haven’t done that in a while. But, my back and legs hurt a little too much for that. So I took some pain meds which didn’t really work. I thought that I post this a little early. My Apple computers decided that all sorts of things should go wrong including not being able to “see” my mouse or trackpad. Rebooting a Mac takes a lot of time. It also means that any of the apps with which I work also must reboot.

Two hours passed by.

Here I am.

The cool thing about this picture is that I made it two and a half hours ago. You could have seen it 30 minutes after I made it. But, nooooo…

Since I am somewhat disabled today, I guess I’ll go watch my local American football team, The New Orleans Saints, lose their third consecutive game as their die-hard fans scream about firing everybody. That might help. The team has no talent. And, I’ll look to see how the players react to the man I refuse to call president last racist speech and tweets. Personally, I liked world-famous basketball player Lebron James’s twitter reply in which he called him a “bum.”

The picture. iPhone and be there. A little light post production.


Over the rocks and through the woods.

A weekend picture.

Something quiet. Something natural. Something peaceful.

You know how there is “Wordless Wednesday?” Or, “Throw Away Thursday?” Oops, I meant ‘Throwback Thursday.” Well, today is “Silent Saturday.” I think I just made that up. Or not. Probably not.

The picture is something that I saw along the way. Something that speaks to the season. Of Autumn. Our Autumn. 90 degrees with 92% humidity. Bracing. Chilly. Sweater weather.

I didn’t do very much to this picture in post production. Mostly, I darkened the highlights so that you could see what’s going on in them.

Happy Saturday.


Nature never gives up.

Today is the first day of Autumn.

A change is in the air. Literally. But, not here. It’s a billion degrees again. With a million percent humidity. Oh well. We are used to it. It does get tiring about this time a year. Everybody would like a little cool air.

The picture. This is what you get when I listen to the new Stephen Stills and Judy Collins album called “Everybody Knows.” Their tale is a long one, and better left to music histories. For now, it is enough to say that they have a 50-year-old friendship. It started with a romantic relationship that ended after about two years. The breakup drove Stephen Still to write a couple of classic songs, among them “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” and “Helpless Hoping.” Both of them have had long and fairly distinguished careers.

Anyway.

The picture was made on one of my famous dog walks. No, the cocker spaniel didn’t see this. She was busy elsewhere doing something else. You can figure that out for yourselves. I looked down and just pressed the button. The original photograph is pretty good. But, I wanted something a little different so I pushed it and pushed it some more, until this appeared. It looks like a watercolor painting to my old eyes.

What do you think?

In case you are wondering why this picture is vertical rather than horizontal, it’s simple. I looked straight down on it. I framed it vertically. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about WordPress templates is that pictures do much better when they are vertical because you can see them much better.

And, the album? I’ve played it three times in a row. I never do that. It brings me back 50 years. To 1969. It brings me a large measure of peace. It makes me smile. Yet, it’s real. Still is 72 years old. He’s pretty much deaf which is not a good thing for a musician. He has severe carpal tunnel syndrome. Not a great thing for a guitar player. Yet, he rises to the occasion. Collins is 78 years old. Yes. Who knows where the time goes. He voice is still solid, if a little full. She is still the wonderful songbird that I remember.

Yes.

Photography and music is well intertwined.