Out of the blue and into the black.

W

e do it for the stories we could tell, so says Jimmy Buffett, even when we know do that something could end badly. It’s especially true if you are a young teenager. I was 13 or 14 when I did that story telling thing.

I went to a day camp during summer. One day we were taken to a pretty big and wild park. We could borrow or rent bicycles. So, I borrowed one.

All good so far.

We road to a sort of big peak. The ride was gradual, but if we wanted to continue in the same direction we had to ride down a pretty steep path. The chose would have been walk down or turn back. We should have chosen either of those two options.

Oh no.

We just had to ride. Being the biggest idiot among us, I rode first. About 30 feet into the ride I realized there was no braking and certainly no stopping. I made it about 75% of the way down. I hit a surface tree root. I went airborne, then I went side wise, and finally upside down.

I landed on my face.

I was battered and bruised. After a little clean up by one of the camp counselors I looked better, but not much. I was lucky. I could have broken all sorts of parts. I didn’t.

When I got home my mom was horrified. My dad just laughed. He asked if I would do it again.

Yes.

Of course, for the rest of the summer I was called skid face.

Kids can be so cruel.

I was their hero. I did something they were afraid to do.

So there.

A

pologies. If something doesn’t make sense on the other side.

That WordPress programming trick of capturing everything in a block and not allowing editing happened not once, but twice.

If you try to edit, the software deletes whole sentences. The only way to recapture any of it is to revert to a saved version.

But, that only brings your work so far.

So you rewrite whatever you lost.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember sentences exactly. I reconstruct them as best I can.

Do that three times and you have no idea what you originally wrote.

Add to that the newest annoyance, placing the cursor at the start of a sentence even though I intentionally placed it in the middle, and I almost gave up today.

WordPress has to stop this. Even though I said I’d stay here because of the community, I’ll leave if this nonsense doesn’t stop.

I’ll ghost. That’s where I’ll go to a blogging platform called Ghost.


The surly bonds of earth.

No time for my project in the last couple of days so I’ll show you some of the pictures that I’ve been making on simple walks, some with the all seeing dog and some by myself.

After all, we all need a little solitude.

Besides, the all seeing dog is starting to show her age. She walks fine, but sometimes she cuts her own walk short. But, on other days she walks until I want to turn back. Lately, that doesn’t happen much mostly because my little procedure seems to have worked pretty well that I don’t hurt.

Now, that’s something.

I have no expectation that the back work would turn out so well. I have a check appointment with my pain specialist next Monday. I think we’ll both agree that it was a success. Neither of us know how long it will last, nor do we know if my inflamed parts might heal. I’m feeling pretty positive.

That, in itself, is a big change.

Next step, much longer walks because I am pretty out of shape barely walking or walking a sniffing around dog’s pace.

That is also a big change.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. You are experts by now so you know the rest. Enjoy all the softness.

One more thing. Don’t be a Neanderthal like the governor of Texas.

Making changes. Since I closed the left column with change, let’s just take it forward.

I’m talking about changing technique.

I used to desire that every part of the picture be as sharp as possible even though in my film days I liked pictures to be filled with motion and blur.

That was because of the early digital revolution when we thought that everything had to be tack sharp.

I got tired of it and so did my clients. Anybody with a digital camera or phone can make sharp pictures. What would be the fun in me doing that?

So.

I keep experimenting with different applications. One of my current approaches is to soften the sky so the subject pops out of the photograph,

This image is an example of that.

Two things remain sharp. The power pole, and the contrails 35,000 feet above. That is an added benefit. I’m not exactly sure that even saw that when I made the picture.


Three crosses.

“Well, it’s hard to believe. So you get up to leave. And you laugh at the door. That you heard it all before. Oh it’s so good to know. That it’s all just a show for you. ” — L.A. / Neil Young 1976

I awoke this morning with the weirdest feeling.

Early this morning, the second of four statues commemorating the Confederate era was taken down. Once again, the city started work at about midnight. By 5am, the statue and base plate of Jefferson Davis was trucked away to some unknown destination. Some city warehouse. This doesn’t feel right. Not in the dead of night.

Don’t misunderstand. I am no fan of the succession. Of our Civil War. At the root of it, no matter what anybody says about states rights, was slavery. And, the right to own another human being. Granting freedom to those slaves took a lot of the South’s monetary worth. Reconstruction, after Lincoln was assassinated, was brutal when it didn’t need to be. I think many of the officers who served in the CSA should have been tried under the Uniform Military Code of Justice. But, Abraham Lincoln was smarter than I and pardoned just about everyone.

That said, times are changing.

There have been semi-violent exchanges between both sides. By extremists who don’t even live in the city. They should all go home. Let us, who do live here, work it out. Hell, I never gave the monuments a second thought until all of this started. Now I do.

But.

Taking down these four monuments are being done for the most base of reasons.

Politics.

Our mayor, of whom I am a fan more than a critic, wants to play on the national stage. He may want to replace his sister, who until 2016 was one of our senators. He may have bigger aspirations.

Generating the kind of publicity that he’s garnered over the past two years has certainly gotten the nation’s attention.

There is talk of him being a presidential candidate in 2020. Yeah, right.

While the problems that I write about from time to time — broken streets, broken infrastructure, a higher per capita murder higher than Chicago’s — are certainly not entirely his fault because they well pre-date him, he hasn’t done enough over his two terms to alleviate that. If he can’t manage a small city, how can he manage a nation?

Anyway.

My belief is simple. If you are doing the right thing for the right reason, you shine a light on it. You do it in broad daylight. Not in the dark of night.

So. I feel weird about the whole thing. Very weird.

And, I said Storyteller isn’t a political blog. Heh!

I suppose that the outside drives the inside in art. After all, you can’t make art in a vacuum. I haven’t been to any of these sites yet. At least, not after the protests started. I think it’s time for a visit. I know where a number of city storage facilities are located. I think I’ll poke around a bit today. Maybe the Jefferson Davis statue is hiding in plain sight.

Seems like I’ve heard it all before.

The picture. You won’t believe this, but it was made on an older iPhone. At the time the sensor and processor could not handle the extreme light in the picture. While I cleaned it up some in post production, most of what you see was made in camera. Er, in phone.