It must have been the roses.

There is a piece in The New York Times that is the opposite of last week’s languishing. This time it’s flourishing.

The author gives you some steps to take to move from languishing to flourishing. There are seven of them. Most of them are smallish things like clean the kitchen or take the trash out. Others are more predictable like gratitude and hope.

I’m with Neil Young on the hope thing. You can’t eat it.

I suppose that moves me back into the languishing column but you can’t have hope without something to hope for. I suppose I do. If you read my comments about gratitude, turn them upside down and that’s what I hope for.

What are your hopes? Dreams?

I do have gratitude. I’m lucky to have a roof over my head. I’m lucky to the people and dogs in my life that I do. I’m really happy that the pain in my back and legs is mostly a thing of the past. I’m also very grateful that I haven’t caught CoVid-19 because it is a death sentence for me.

And you? What are you grateful for?

More importantly what are we going to do going forward?

Me? Well for starters, I’m going to clean this trashed studio.

Oh boy. This picture was a nice straight picture of some roses.

But, I couldn’t help myself. I just had to tinker with the picture.

Luckily, I had a vision for it before I ever started.

I wanted the picture to look like the emulsion of an old school photograph.

This actually starts with the border. Then, I worked to fill it in an appropriate way.

There is a lot of stuff going on in this picture that you don’t see right off. The background is one So are the shadows.

Even the roses are tuned up.

The total package works, but some stuff without the rest wouldn’t work. Believe me. I tried.

Stay safe. Stay Strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient.


A pleasant surprise.

I’ve been thinking.

You know how dangerous that can be. These are pretty good thoughts about a man who has served my country for his entire adult life. He served in the military. In the House of Representatives. And, in the Senate.

Now, he is dying of brain cancer. A particularly virulent strain that also killed Ted Kennedy.

Senator John McCain is making peace in his last days by writing a book that he might not be alive to see published. He is making peace by visiting with his old friends and telling them what they mean to him. Because he is sick, they have to come to him. They journey hundreds of miles to do this. Despite the political implications of these visits, most of them come because as former Vice President Joe Biden said, “I just want to see my friend.”

Please make no mistake. I don’t agree with many of the things Senator McCain did or said. He is too quick to “put boots on the ground” rather than to settle something diplomatically. He was often an air cowboy as a pilot. Yet, when the USS Forrestal was on fire he landed his aircraft and rushed to the fire to help save the crew. He comported himself with great dignity after his capture and prison time as POW. He came home to serve his country.

Most importantly, I never for a minute believed that he advocated anything — even those things with which I disagreed — without my country’s best interests in mind.

I respect him.

Now, as his time approaches, he is taking care of unfinished business. He is planning his funeral. He’s asked two former presidents to speak. They are from both sides of the political spectrum. Former President George W. Bush and former President Barrack Obama. They said yes. He does not want the current president to attend. It would be easy to criticize him for that. It’s not revenge. The current president stands for nothing the senator believes in. I’m not sure he stands for anything.

Where did all this bring me to?

I’m somebody of thinks through complicated thoughts and distills them into something simple. Understandable. After all, complicated pictures are hard to view.

We don’t have to agreed with each other. But, we owe it to ourselves and to the people around us to listen and to compromise. We owe it to ourselves to speak out whether it be in words, our art, or just in our actions.

You know, like how hard is it to let another car pass in front of you when they need to be in another lane?

Yeah, like that.

The Rose?

Oh, I saw it yesterday. It was too pretty to pass up. To pretty to pass up in my search for junk. You know what I say. The work is the prayer. Call it a prayer for the senator.


Flowers for Manchester. 

Roses.

For the City of Manchester, Ariana Grande, her band, crew and staff. And, of course her fans and their parents. For the first responders. For all of England. For the rest of the world. And, for you. And, me.

There will be millions of words written about the bombing at the arena in Manchester that took the lives of 22 people, and wounded just under 60. The world doesn’t need many more words from me.

Besides.

I have no words.

Except for just these few. Don’t be denied. The work is the prayer. And, prayer without work is meaningless. Take all of that as you will.

Peace.


All things pass.
All things must pass.

Yesterday was hard. For many people.

Today is a new day. Keep moving forward. That’s what I say. Then again, I say that every day. It’s time to regroup. It’s time to do whatever it is we do. Don’t be denied. As my friend, and legendary New Orleans chef Leah Chase would say, “Put on your pants and get to work.” She’s 93 years old. When she talks, you listen. She’s seen a few things in her lifetime.

That’s about the end of politics on Storyteller.

The picture. No. It isn’t an extension of the take that I published yesterday. This came by sheer luck. Yesterday. It isn’t one of the occasional series, “what the dog saw” because she didn’t see it. She isn’t with us at the moment. I was walking. I saw it. That’s all there is to it. The original was a little over exposed so I corrected that. The rest is pretty much as you see it.


Autobiographical...
Autobiographical…

 ”Twas Halloween and the ghosts were out, And everywhere they’d go, they shout, And though I covered my eyes I knew, They’d go away.

But fear’s the only thing I saw, And three days later ’twas clear to all, That nothing is as scary as election day.

But the day after is darker, And darker and darker it goes, Who knows, maybe the plans will change, Who knows, maybe he’s not deranged.

The news men know what they know, but they, Know even less than what they say, And I don’t know who I can trust, For they come what may.

’cause we believed in our candidate, But even more it’s the one we hate, I needed someone I could shake, On election day.

But the day after is darker, And deeper and deeper we go, Who knows, maybe it’s all a dream, Who knows if I’ll wake up and scream.

I love the things that you’ve given me, I cherish you my dear country, But sometimes I don’t understand, The way we play.

I love the things that you’ve given me, And most of all that I am free, To have a song that I can sing,

On election day.”  — “My Dear Country, ” Norah Jones © 2007


Roses in the soft sunlight.
Roses in the soft sunlight.

To tell you the truth, I forgot about this picture. It’s one of the backyard pictures that I take from time to time. Usually, I do that because I’m lazy. Very lazy. Not this time. I was testing a new lens. I didn’t know how it would handle strong backlighting. For that matter, I didn’t know how it would handle anything.

This may be about the fourth or five picture that I took with it.

It did fine. In fact, I was very happily surprised. Backlighting is the toughest test of a lens. You are looking at the results.

Because I know that some of you will ask. It’s a Sigma Art lens. 60 mm/f2.8. If you use it on a normal DSLR it looks about like any other lens. That’s one version. If you use it on a mirrorless body, it’s a different design entirely.  The external functions are stripped way down. It looks a little weird. Like a tube. Nothing else. No f stops. No distance settings. No nothing. Of course, you can see the settings through either the viewfinder or the lcd, so that doesn’t matter. It’s fairly inexpensive. But, that’s not what matters most. What matters to me is its size. It’s small. It balances very well on Sony mirrorless cameras. Unlike the latest and greatest lens releases from either Sony or their partner Zeiss, this lens is tiny in comparison. Even though those new Sony/Zeiss offerings are incredible lenses, they sort of defeat the purpose of using a small body. I think.

What do I know?


FQApril29-25
Holding Roses

I was wondering around with some new friends when I discovered this new art mall. Always remember one thing, discovery for me  means that everyone else knew about it ten years previously. I guess that I’m mostly lost. At one point we wandered to the back of the “mall.” This guy was sitting there. I asked if I could take his picture. I had no idea who he was. Everybody around me did. But, as usual I’m ten years late. He kind of grumpily agreed and asked if I knew who he was. I had no idea. And, I don’t believe it’s a good idea to lie to subjects — found or assigned. He showed me his one business card and I photographed it. I gave him one of mine. I asked to email me. If he does, I’ll email him some pictures. But, I doubt that he will. he doesn’t seem like a computer guy. I Googled him. Turns out that his name is Welmon Sharlhorne He is a painter. He spent 17 years in the Angola prison who started making paintings on the back of manilla envelopes that he caged from prison authorities by claiming he had to write to his attorney. His work is in the Smithsonian collection. It looks vaguely Myan.

FQApril29-27
Smelling The Roses

That said, this is one of my typical street portraits. You know. “May I make your picture?” And, “Just do whatever you you want to do. ” This is the vertical version. I’m not sure which I like best. What do y’all think?

 

 


And, sooner than you think. Halloween is popping up everywhere in New Orleans.