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They Said…


Coffee in my cup.

They said. Yes, they did.

They said that new studies indicate that coffee drinkers live longer. With the amount of coffee consumed around this place, I’m pretty sure that some of us will live forever. My first thought was “Damn, I’m never leaving.”

Don’t get me wrong. I have no death wish. I don’t want to die. But, we know that all things must pass. I accept that. Even living to over 100 years old really doesn’t interest me. The quality of life just doesn’t seem to be there. It’s likely that you’d out live most friends and family. It could very well be that living to 100 is a very lonely endeavour.  I don’t know.  I’d ask the next “senior-senior” citizen that I see, but that might not be the kind of question you should ask. Seriously.

Anyway.

I was watching the espresso flowing into the cup when I thought it actually looked kind of cool.

So.

I photographed it while it was in process. Then, I did my thing to it and made it a little more creative. I also realized that when I posted a coffee picture a while back, I earned a new follower. A blog about coffee. I never posted anything about coffee again. What must he or she think of me? Probably, like I’m some kind of bait and switch dude.

Y’all know better than that. I photograph what I see.

By the way, the couple of you who responded to my “should I beg for money” question, said that I should. I probably will. But, it still feels weird to me.

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The Pirates


Memories and clouds.

” It’s a summer afternoon, somewhere in Kansas or Illinois or Oklahoma. The wind is blowing the leaves down the gutter as the mailman comes by. “Afternoon Mrs. Higgins, hot enough for ya?” Over on Stone County Road there’s the smell of chicken frying.

“Henry! It’s getting t’wards suppertime you know. Henry!” There she calls from her second floor room. The end of a back porch afternoon. Where we’d stand on the bow of our own man-of-war.

No longer the back porch any more. And we’d sail pulling for China. The pirates of Stone County Road. All weathered and blown. And we’d sail ever in glory. ‘Till hungry and tired.

The pirates of Stone County Road. Were turning for home. “

— 1969, John Stewart. From the album, California Bloodlines.

Once a upon a time. Long ago. I seem to be determined to go on a journey through my past. I’ve been having dreams about the past. About a 1969 El Camino with a 454 big block motor. About places that I’ve been. About people I’ve lost over the years.

This musician, John Stewart, mattered to me a lot once. After he passed I sort of forgot him. Magically, this song popped into my head this morning. So, now I’m playing the album from which it came. It’s called, “The Pirates of Stone Country Road.” The version that I like best is live, from an amazing concert back, way back in time. The live album is called, “The Phoenix Concerts.” No. Not after the desert city. After the bird who rises from the ashes.

Anyway. Enough of you are interested in my ancestor’s history that it sparked my thinking. I’ve decided to take one more shot at learning about my family history. This time I’ll do it right. I’ll spend more money on research. I won’t stop with Ancestory.com. I have nothing against them. But, they can only take me as far as I already know. We are taking this a step further. A lot of steps further. A trip is in the very basic planning stages. My little town – Horodok — is in sort of located in an odd place. Even though it’s a Belorussian place, it’s actually located in Ukraine. The closest big city is located in Poland. The legend of this region is that you could live there, go to sleep in one country and wake up in another. That’s just how fast the borders changed, especially pre-1910.

I have a question for you. This could cost some serious money. I see a lot of pictures coming out of this. I see the possibility of a book. (Finally, I think that  have a project in mind that is worthy of a book.)  I advised a friend of mine to create a GoFundMe site, as I did once, to fund her gallery shows. I think these projects are self-contained and somewhat worthy.

I’ve watched GoFundMe deteriorate to the point where I watched a photographer ask for funding for a new camera. WTH? That’s a business expense. Get out of the industry if you can’t pay for your tools. I’ve watched two people ask for funding to pay for their vacations. WTH? Stay home if you can’t afford to travel for pleasure. And, the last came from a person who wants better seats at a concert. WTH?  I’m a fairly generous guy, but really, really and really?

You know where this is going. I think. I’d like your advice. Should I create a GoFunding page for this project? Or, am I over reaching just like the examples that I’ve cited? Oh, don’t feel compelled to contribute just because you think it’s a good idea. I just want your opinions.

Another Good Start


A summer scene.

First. The Wild Boars are free. That’s what I awoke to read today.

I think, after that, I’ll just stop reading the news. Most of it is bad.

I’ll just add one thing. We talk about police, firemen, that military as being heroes. They’re not. For the most part, they are just doing their jobs. Ask them. They’ll tell you. Ask a soldier. He or she will tell you that the only heroes are the ones who didn’t come home.

The divers and support teams who journied to Thailand are heroes. Combined with the Thai Navy Seals and the local medal staff, they went above and beyond. The international team didn’t have to travel to Chiang Rai from all over the world. But, they did. They shared their expertise, courage and skills with 12 young, scared boys and their coach while the world watched.

The picture. Simplicity today in a nod to the Buddhism that most Thais practice. Making this picture wasn’t as easy as you might think. If you look at the detail you know that I was pretty close to this scene. That means hands and knees on the ground. For my poor metal hip and arthritic back that takes an effort. I saw the picture. I wanted to make the picture. I ain’t done yet. The rest was simple.

Droplets


Under the leaf.

Water.

I read once that the next big war would not be fought over oil. It would be fought over water. I also read that in this time of proto climate change which includes droughts, higher temperatures around the world and extreme weather events, that there will be more immigration than ever. I read that even though the world’s refugees are fleeing oppressive governments and never-ending war, a large component of their movement is driven by climate and lack of much local water.

Think about that. I do.

In Louisiana we are lucky. Although we face the loss of our coastal land on a daily basis, and are known for powerful storms, tropical storms and hurricanes, we have plenty of water. So much so that the City of New Orleans loses something like 90,000,000 barrels of water weekly through our broken pipes and nobody blinks an eye.

Think about that. I do.

We also don’t have much winter. The weather turns hot about the first week of May, gets somewhat pleasant in late October and finally cools down for a few months. The cooler weather’s window is getting smaller and smaller.

Think about that. I do.

Happy thoughts for a Monday morning, eh?

Or, are they motivating?

You pick. Okay?

The picture. The one that got me thinking this way was made yesterday, after one of our short, but powerful summer storms. I just stuck the lens under the leaf and pushed the button. Nature did most of the work. I just cleaned things up a bit.

Nature generally does most of the work.

A Good Day Too


Into the experimental work.

I awoke to reading that four of the 12 Thai boys had already been rescued from their watery trap. The cave. The flooded cave.

Now, that’s the way to start a day. For them. For us. For me.

If you are human you have no choice but offer up prayers, good thoughts or whatever it is you do. For the boys and their coach. And, for all the rescuers who arrived in Thailand from all points around the globe. As I read somewhere, sometimes super heroes don’t wear capes. They wear diving gear.

You know what I think. The work is the prayer.

I started to make a kind of art. My kind. It’s about water. Just like the water in the cave. It is a version of the same take that I showed you a few days ago. After a very hard rain. A big storm. But, this time I tinkered with the original picture. A lot. It took a while to get to this point.

There are still 8 boys and their coach to be rescued. According to what I’ve read, this should happen in the next two days. Hopefully, nature will cooperate just a little. Southeast Asian weather is like ours down here in the swamp, times about three. It’s hot, humid and very stormy. I believe there is a race against time and nature.

Please continue doing whatever it is you do. I will.

I promise.

Summer’s Dusk


In the summer, after a storm.

Beneath summer skies.

With daily rain often comes drama. Usually, around dusk when the storm clouds are moving towards the west or upriver.

I can see some of it forming from my windows. But, I really see it on dogarito’s second — or sometimes — third walk of the day. Luckily, she’s pretty patient. So, I can make a picture or two.

This is one of the pictures. Not only do I see the sky and the framing silhouetted trees, but the image almost looks three-dimensional to my eye. There are natural layers upon layers hiding in this picture.

And, another word.

I see that our government has reached out to the DOD and are having immigrants discharged from the Army for no real reason except meanness.. Not only are they being taken out of their path to citizenship, but they are being classified as a security threat, which will get them a dishonorable discharge, hurting their lives going forward. In the ultimate Catch 22, anyone with dishonorable discharge cannot apply for citizenship.

Great.

This means a guy who wants to do the right thing, protect me and become a citizen can never do either. My God.

I don’t talk much about my life here. I see Storyteller as a place for pictures, art, discussion.

But, there’s this.

My paternal grandfather served in the Royal Russian Navy. In 1905, during the first Russian Revolution, his ship was ordered to fire on Russian people.  Rather than do that, the crew scuttled their ship and left the country. My grandfather made his way to Hamburg, Germany. He caught a tramp freighter and sailed for New York.

He passed through Ellis Island. He had no real papers since he had already jumped ship in Russia. He spoke no English, so my name became Laskowitz from whatever it really was. I still don’t really know. In 1917, when The United States entered World War I, he enlisted to serve his new country. His reward? Automatic citizenship. He died in 1949. I never met him. But, I am him. I’m the grandson of an immigrant.

Oh. About the family name. I’ve done a lot of research. The best I can come up with is that I am really Belorussian. I think our village was Horodak. In Russian that means little village. In Belorussia, it is a village. After that, I know nothing.

Oh. My family were sausage makers in the “old country.” This explains a lot. Like, why I can grind it out here. Heh!

 

A Collection


A little water.

Pooled water.

I ran about 123 errands. I returned just in time to avoid the rain drops. Two hours later, everything was soaked. I took dogarito for a late afternoon walk. I looked around. Everything is growing like mad.

Meanwhile.

Reports from around the country tell me that places are just burning up, either literally or they are just way too hot. It looks like the temperature in Los Angeles will break hot weather records by more than a few degrees. I’m fully in sympathy with my friends in these places. In Louisiana we are used to the heat. We have are ways of dealing with it. Good air conditioning. Lots of cold water. Sno-balls. 28 showers a day. And, grown men wandering around in shorts. Like me.

I’d like to be in a cooler place. There are a few places like that. High in the mountains, for instance. The rest of the country? Hot. Everywhere.

The picture. Less than 10 feet from the door. Sometimes you see them. Sometimes they see you. Heh!

 

It Starts Somewhere


New birth in nature.

It’s the season.

We talk about summer, summer, more summer and another summer. That’s how it is down here. But, there are phases. We are entering the wet season. The rainy season. Hurricane season. The time when we watch each storm as it forms off the coast of Africa.  Many of those storms don’t amount to much. Sometimes they do. Last year, we were spared. But the folks in Puerto Rico, Houston and Florida were not.

You never know.

Be prepared. Or, at least prepared as you can be.

Most of the time, we just live in a hothouse. Plants grow. Skin stays soft and moist. Walking outdoors anywhere drains you. And, electric bills pile up.

But, the hothouse.

You see scenes like this one. Healthy plants giving birth to more healthy plants. I hate to say this, but some of this is an early warning sign. I’m seeing moss and mushrooms in places that I never did. Summer is starting earlier and earlier. Winter, such as it is down here, is getting really cold. Only for a short time. But, still…

I don’t tell people what to do or think. But, that word. Think. Do it.

 

Not Really Feeling It


Cadillac Ranch.

A rough year. No. Make that 18 months.

I’m not going to get into a political thing on a holiday. I’m going to appreciate what I have. Remember what the notion of the USA means. And, hope that we can fix the damage already done. You know what I say about hope. It’s like miracles. They take hard work.

For those of you in The United States, happy Fourth of July. For those of you everywhere else, happy Wednesday.

 

Almost a Painting


After the rain.

Well. It looks like a painting.

I didn’t do much to it. I didn’t have to. Nature did it.

I’ve been thinking. About the next six months. The rest of the year. What do I want to do? What don’t I want to do?

I think I’m going to be a little busy. I’ll tell you about it in a bit. But, one thing that I did do was apply for a media credential as Storyteller. We’ll see if they bite. I realized that I have far more of you than the circulation of my first group of newspapers. That amazes me.