Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You think your Christmas was rough...

From the Daytona Beach News Journal

December 30, 2008

2 Face Charges for Penis Tattoo on Fellow Inmate
Staff Writer

DAYTONA BEACH -- Lempira Norman had a lousy Christmas.

Not only was he housed at the Volusia County Branch Jail on Dec. 25, he also, by force, got a penis tattooed on his back by two fellow inmates, a report shows.

Norman told sheriff's deputies that Justine Harris and Ryan Collina had been harassing him all day because they wanted him to join a club they were forming. An annoyed Norman refused and went back to his room.

A few minutes later though, Harris and Collina showed up with a blanket and ordered Norman to get on the floor, the report shows. They threw the blanket on his head and began pummeling him.

The men threatened Norman, saying he would get a worse beating unless he allowed them to apply a tattoo, the report shows. Harris told Norman the tattoo would be of a capital and lowercase B, the report said.

But instead, as Collina held Norman down, Harris -- equipped with a makeshift tattoo kit -- applied a drawing of a penis on the back of the victim's right shoulder, the report shows.

When Norman reported the ordeal, the tattoo kit was confiscated, and Harris and Collina were charged with aggravated battery to a detainee, by a detainee.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

To Al, from Cathy

I've been sitting on this for a couple of weeks now. I recently went through a trunk of the last of my dad's possessions. Well, actually most of the things, including the trunk, weren't really his possessions. For a couple of years before his stroke, he bid on random storage unit lots that were being auctioned for past due rental fees.

I'm not quite certain what he hoped to accomplish. For the most part, the stuff was the kind of junk that you would let go rather than pay what you owed. Occasionally he'd find something, like my antique brass theodolite, that was really worth something. So I went through everything, piece by piece, separating out my dad's things that I wanted to keep and discarding the rest.

And then I came upon this in a wooden box:



Thirty-four years ago tomorrow, Cathy sent this postcard to Al at the Ohio State Reformatory. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Since my dad found this in Daytona, I have to believe that Al came to Florida after his time in the big house in order to get back together with Cathy.

The fact that Al kept this for so many years makes me think he couldn't have been all bad. But that he did leads me to believe that she ended up being the one that got away... That this postcard, received at a down and out part of his life, was the only part of her he had left to hang on to.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

How Old Is Too Old?

I'm not one for Christmas songs. As a matter of fact, it's just about this time of year that I want to go all Falling Down on people when I walk into a place and find Christmas music blasting. There are exactly two Christmas songs that never elicit this response... Snoopy Vs The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen and Father Christmas by The Kinks... two rather diametrically opposed approaches to the holiday season.

In fact I often find myself singing Father Christmas... in front of the kids... which has prompted strange looks from them.

When I was small I believed in Santa Claus
Though I knew it was my dad
And I would hang up my stocking at Christmas
Open my presents and not be glad...

See... we've never had The Talk with Fletcher. We almost did last year. We almost did this year. I don't think he really believes any more, but he also hasn't given us the "I'm in on the joke" thing when Blythe talks about Santa.


It's strange for me, because I had older brothers, I was disabused of the notion of a fat guy in a red suit coming down the chimney rather early on. That and the fact I'm sort of a pragmatist deep down. Fletcher is a dreamer. But he'll be nine in January and frankly, if he does still believe in Santa, I'm concerned about his gullibility meter.

So now I'm left in a quandry. Do I let it go? Or do I take him to the park where I told him that my dad died and that Arthur died and tell him Santa Claus is dead too?

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Originally uploaded by coleopteranpress

The Crimbo Tree

Pear Shaped Tree

We went to a cut your own place in Gr... No... I'm not telling you where because they had awesome trees and I don't want everyone going there.

I felt like Clark Griswold when I got it on the car, and especially after trying to get it in the house. Somehow it doesn't translate here, but the tree is about 8 feet in diameter at the base. If we didn't have such a big living room, we'd be in trouble. As it was, we had to rearrange the room more than ever before.


And you might notice that thing at the top. No, it's not an angel. It's the Elf on the Shelf, a tradition we started a couple of years ago after getting the book. The elf reports back to Santa nightly and finds a new place in the house to watch for the next day. It keeps the kids on their toes.


No, this is our angel... for sweet, sweet Arthur.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Saying goodbye is remarkably easy

Wednesday was my last day at Fallon Clinic in Worcester. I've taken a new job in Springfield with a retina practice. Things are going to be a little rough back at Fallon for a little while as there are only a couple of people who know how to do my job... And they already have other responsibilities. I felt a little bad about quitting, but after getting walloped last year by a truck in a snowstorm, I just have too many reservations about commuting. So I wrote a letter to everyone.

This year I'm thankful I won't have to drive 120 miles round trip to work any more.

It's been a pleasure working with each and every one of you... well, for a couple it wasn't and you know who you are. But the rest of you… it was fun.

I’d like to thank each of you that took the time to teach me what you know and help me learn how to be even more awesome… if that is even possible.

Everything that I’m taking with me, I owe to you. Despite my unlimited show of self-confidence, when I started here I knew nothing… and you all were willing to give me a chance and impart your knowledge to me.

For those that started after me, I’m glad I had the opportunity to pass along some of that knowledge to you. Do the same to those who come after you.

The days ahead without me will be dark and perilous. There will be times when you'll think the skies will break open, the oceans will boil, and everything will come to a catastrophic end. But you will survive... most of you anyway. To those I say, be nice to each other… help each other out. Remember that we’re here for each other. Patients depend on us to ensure that they remain as healthy as possible. Treat each of them like they were your family… if you like your family, I guess.

Remember, I share 99% of my DNA with chimpanzees, so if I could do it, they can probably train a lemur to replace me. In fact, if Fallon could get away with filling out a W2 for a salary of peanuts and bananas, there would already be a couple here. Life will go on without me. It just won’t be as colorful or taste as sweet.

As a final gift, I give you this...

From Old Family Pics

...proof I wasn't always as bad as I am now.

Thanks for everything,


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 1979

From Random

Made with my very own front paw.

From Old Family Pics

Proud graduate of the Crafty School of Art.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

William Lyons is spinning in his grave

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned seeing my second favorite car... The Jaguar Mk II sedan.
From Jaguar Mk2

So today I'm browsing through eBay looking at cars I can't afford to either buy or maintain and I run across this... this... clusterfuck. There's no other word to describe it.

Here's the description:

Dare to be different with this one!!!!!! Car started life as a 4 door 1962 Jaguar Mk2. The car is chopped 5 1/2 inches and is mated to an s-10 chassis. This car has a fresh 355 chevy motor and full race t-350 transmission.The motor is an 010 block w/4 bolt main, 58cc heads,noisey gears, scat crank,blue racer cam 284 grind. Roller rockers,750 holly,edlebrock intake and a 750 holley, s-10 v8 conversion headers,new aluminum radiator and lincoln mk3 cooling fan and 0 miles(has been test run) chassis is c notched,and air bagged with fb system, has 4 wheel disc with zinc plated slotted and drilled rotors, upper tubular a arms. Rear end is from 2000 blazer and has new posi unit and 373 gears.Wheels are new 18" Corvette on the back and new 15" Mickey Thompson Skinnies on the front.Car comes with lots of parts, if serious I can e-mail a list to you. I have owned this car for approx 14 years and originally bought it in Arizona which is where it is titled. It's current home is in North Carolina. The hard work is done! Body work needs finishing,interior needs finishing. Let's just say it is a work in progress. The drivetrain is complete as is the exhaust system, but must be wired(new harness included) and plumbed to run and drive. Every one that sees this car freaks out and can't figure out what it is...old ford,mercury...what??? This car will truely attract attention and I don't believe there is another like it. Being a project it is sold as-is where is. Hate to see it go, new business and space require it does.. You finish the way you want, Rat rod, Hot rod, Custom.......Vehicle is listed locally, and seller reserves the right to end auction early if sold.

1962 Jaguar Mk 11 on eBay.

I can't believe someone did this to a poor defenseless Jag.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Political Response

Yesterday I read a blog from one of my regular feeds... a nice, extremely smart guy from Florida that is of Minorcan descent. As a 9th generation member of one of the oldest ethnic groups in Florida, he's a strong defender of the Old Florida... people that know what a coontie and a datil are.

So it was with trepidation that I contemplated responding to his blog, I've had it... It's the final straw. What set him off was the story about the girl who had a "B" carved into her face because she was a McCain volunteer... which has turned out to be false. I don't know... what was their first clue? That it was backward?

Anyway, he is concerned about voters being unable or unwilling to note Obama's general failings as a viable choice for President. On the one hand, I wish I was HALF as politically motivated at his age.

But on the other, I'm concerned that his arguments, from my perspective, are based on some fairly spurious innuendo by Republican leadership.

So I had to respond... and I tried to do it in a way that does not negate his political views. I welcome people that think differently than me because it makes me really examine why I'm voting. I think we will have to agree to disagree on most things, but want the argument to be substantive.

You're obviously intelligent... I've been reading your blog long enough to pick that up. But I can't understand why you're regurgitating half-truths about Obama.

There are lot of things I don't know about either candidate.

Regarding #1

McCain was, at one time, an amazing legislator. He broke with the party line when he felt that his constituency would not be served by their policy. Frankly, I think McCain is a little too aggressive in his foreign policy. But where it really broke down for me was his choice of running mate. Palin had little business being Alaska's Governor, much less next in line for the Presidency. She has proven time and again that she has little ability to think beyond the confines of her own stunted belief system and she thinks government can be run like the PTA. It was a clear message to me that McCain's interest was doing what he thought could get him elected, not what was good for the country. I don't care how much experience you have, once you start acting incompetent in the present, you negate any claims to experience in the past.

So what we are left with is a questionably senile old man and a poorly informed, hypocritical "hockey mom" or an "inexperienced" U.S. Senator and his 5 term, middle of the road Senator VP nominee. Choose. Now. You’ve got four years to live with your decision.

Regarding #2

The things that I've questioned about Obama, I've actually taken the time to read about... you know, from unbiased sources. What do you disagree with that ACORN has done? Its work to ensure low to middle income families have access to health care and affordable housing? Its work to help Hurricane Katrina victims?

I know... it’s their work to register voters, isn't it? Because you believe that ACORN is involved in massive voter registration fraud, right?

What do you know about it... really? Tell me what they've done. Because everything that I've read that bothers to go beyond the fact that ACORN received fraudulent registration forms notes that they have followed the legal requirements and flagged them as problematic. They have been upfront with the issue that fraudulent registrations have been taken and possibly even submitted by their employees. Yikes! and then they fired them... and cooperated with prosecutors and the FBI. Where does and organization's responsibility for the actions of its employees end?

And what about Bill Ayers? What was the connection to Obama? Bill Ayers is a douchebag. We agree on that. But the connection between the two was tangential at best, and that is obvious to anyone that knows anything about how politics work in the real world. They served on the boards of two non-profits together. Ayers hosted a meet and greet for Obama's first run for Illinois Senate. The Ayers connection there was more with Alice Palmer than with Obama.

If this kind of connection is enough to link someone to another's nefarious past, then I have no doubt that both you and I could be tied to child molesters, the Klan, drug dealers and jack-o-lantern smashers.

As for Wright... I don't really know much about him. I've heard bits of some sermons that I don't necessarily agree with. There are statements that he perpetuated (like the US government made HIV) that are pure craziness. But I've heard sermons in my own church growing up that I didn't agree with and would disclaim today. But if you read some of those sermons about American foreign and domestic policy... the ones that got everybody up in arms... he was largely right. The US government does do a lot of things that make us look overbearing in the eyes of the world. And the US government has treated Native Americans, minorities (probably even MINORCANS) and women as second class citizens in our history. The really funny thing is that McCain defended Obama and his connection to Wright during the Democratic primary when Hillary was beating up on him.

"I think that when people support you, it doesn't mean that you support everything they say. Obviously, those words and those statements are statements that none of us would associate ourselves with, and I don't believe that Senator Obama would support any of those, as well."

Regarding #3

"My attitude is that if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

What don't you agree with? Do you equate everyone participating in a healthy economy to be socialism?

I understand that there are policy issues that you might have with Obama. But please... argue the real issues and not the fake stories that get thrown out there to confuse things and play on our fears.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Halloween is my favorite holiday and yesterday was punkin' pickin' day. We went to a new place...
From Kids
Fletcher Farm in Easthampton, of course! We took one of Fletcher's friends from school.

They had some nice pumpkins...
From Kids

...and we made some new friends.
From Kids
Ham, Sausage...

From Kids
...and Bacon.

One of us even kissed a cow.
From Kids

We selected our pumpkins and made for home.
From Kids

I'm taking suggestions for what to carve in them.

A note... don't worry about making the hay ride. There wasn't much to it. We circled one empty field, crossed the road and circled another. Unless you happen to catch a college cheerleading team , Playboy playmates, or a group of librarian fetishists having a weekend outing in Western Massachusetts, it's going to be a boring, dusty ride.

Apple Pickin'

I forgot to post last week's outing... apple picking.

We went to Clarkdale Orchard up in Deerfield.
The last time we were there, Blythe was only two...
...somebody has grown a bit.
Looks like it's time for some apple pie.

While we were there, I saw my second favorite car, the MkII Jaguar... in British racing green, like it should be.
After that we headed down to Old Deerfield Village for their colonial chocolate exhibit.
It was interesting to have hot chocolate prepared as the colonials did. The recipe called for many spices, including star anise and pepper. I never realized how much chocolate was used in colonial America. As a matter of fact, Ben Franklin sold chocolate out of his Philly print shop and British soldiers were given a chocolate ration during the French and Indian War.

The exhibit was sponsored by Mars, Inc. and you can order chocolate made with an original colonial recipe from their website, American Heritage Chocolate.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Small Beer Press

I first met Gavin Grant of Small Beer Press when he brought the original cover art for The Mount into the gallery for framing.

Cover art by Shelley Jackson

No explanation... just a painting of a dude with a bit in his mouth and a saddle on his back.

When he picked it up I asked him about it, and he told me that he was the editor and publisher of an insane little private press with his wife, Kelly Link, an interesting author in her own right.

Over the years I've crossed paths with them at various events in the area... most often at Holly Black's infamous annual New Year's party. Please... no pictures... I might want a career in politics one day.

Well, for October Gavin and Kelly decided to make their entire catalog of 26 books available for the low, low price of $249 and are giving 20% of the proceeds of all sales to the Obama campaign. So... if you have an interest in some good literary fiction, stop by the Small Beer Press website and see if anything looks good. Everything is on sale... up to 60% off in some cases.

And if you're voting for McCain/Palin, suck it up and buy something anyway. At least you'll have something to throw on the fire when Palin starts burning books.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Would you believe...

...the new daily driver is a 1987 Volkswagen Cabriolet?

From Cabriolet

From Cabriolet

No cracks about it being a girl's car.

There's something about 80's cars that I love. There are few cars from this time period more iconic than a Mk1 Volkswagen... they are the forefathers of the modern hot hatchbacks. Plus it's great riding around with the top down.

The heat works, the air works, new Alpine radio with iPod adapter, tires with tread... and it's pretty good on gas. It's already got the Mustang beat.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sometimes Nothing Can Be a Real Cool Hand

It's with a heavy heart that I wake to a world without Paul Newman. Note to Lalo Schiffrin... compose something fitting.

Goodbye Lucas Jackson

Goodbye Reggie Dunlop

Goodbye Brick Pollit

Goodbye Ben Quick

Goodbye Fast Eddie

Goodbye Harry Gondorff

And goodbye Butch...

Mr. Newman, I regret I never had the opportunity to meet you. You were a man among men.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Two Years

It was two years ago today that we lost Arthur... I was going through Flickr and found the worst picture of my kids and dog that was ever taken.

Worst Photo Ever

As it happened, it was also Arthur's last photo. It didn't seem like such a bad photo after he died. So I dug up the blog that I wrote when it happened and I'm posting it again today... because it sucks to lose a pet.

September 22, 2006

After what happened to Arthur, I just don't have the heart to be an asshole today. This morning Blythe tied a rope around her little stuffed dog's neck and pulled it around the living room saying, "Come on doggie, come on." I've got a headache that won't go away and I feel like I'm going to be sick at any moment. So, instead of wallowing in other people's failings in art, I'm going to talk about a couple good books.

What You Know First
By Patricia MacLachlin
This is a story about a young girl whose family is forced to leave the family farm and how she comes to terms with leaving the only things that are familiar to her. It was written by Patty MacLachlin, author of Sarah, Plain and Tall and illustrated by my friend Barry.

What you know first stays with you, my Papa says.
But just in case I forget
I will take a twig of the cottonwood tree
I will take a little bag of prairie dirt
I cannot take the sky

Big Fish
Daniel Wallace
The book on which the movie was based. It's a cliche, but the book is so much better than the movie. A story about a man who begins to understand who his father was by reconciling the tall tales his father told against the reality of his life.

On one of our last car trips, near the end of my father's life as a man, we stopped by a river, and we took a walk to its banks, where we sat in the shade of an old oak tree.

After a couple of minutes my father took off his shoes and his socks and placed his feet in the clear-running water, and he looked at them there. Then he closed his eyes and smiled. I hadn't seen him smile like that in a while.

Suddenly he took a deep breath and said, "This reminds me."

And then he stopped, and thought some more. Things came slow for him then if they ever came at all, and I guessed he was thinking of some joke to tell, because he always had some joke to tell. Or he might tell me a story that would celebrate his adventurous and heroic life. And I wondered, What does this remind him of? Does it remind him of the duck in the hardware store? The horse in the bar? The boy who was knee-high to a grasshopper? Did it remind him of the dinosaur egg he found one day, then lost, or the country he once ruled for the better part of a week?

"This reminds me," he said, "of when I was a boy."

I looked down at this old man, my old man with his old white feet in this clear-running stream, these moments among the very last in his life, and I thought of him suddenly, and simply, as a boy, a child, a youth, with his whole life ahead of him, much as mine was ahead of me. I'd never done that before. And these images - the now and then of my father - converged, and at that moment he turned into a weird creature, wild, concurrently young and old, dying and newborn.
My father became a myth.

Thurber's Dogs
By James Thurber
This book contains one of my favorite dog stories, Snapshot of a Dog. I remember reading it in my literature book back in 4th grade and it was the genesis of my love of James Thurber.

I want to thank everyone who has expressed their sympathies. It's funny, the night before Arthur died, Fletch and I were sitting on the couch talking about our cat that we had to put to sleep last year.

"I miss Caitlin," he said.
"I do too. But everything dies eventually. Arthur will die someday too."
"I know. And you will too... someday."
"Yeah, but not for a long time. Ok?"
"I don't want to talk about it anymore," he said.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have slept on the floor with Arthur Thursday night. And we would have eaten great blocks of cheese, and mountains of pizza crusts and all the other things he liked. We would have waited up for the skunk and barked in the moonlight if he dared to show up again. And in the morning we would roll in the grass together as the sun came up on the last day of summer.

That's it... that's all I've got in me today. It's going to be a cold winter.

I had no way of knowing that less than a month later my father would die as well. It made my choice of that excerpt from Big Fish all the more apt.

From Arthur

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No Lazy Sunday

Some kids play soccer... or baseball. Fletch tried those. I'll be honest with you... I don't think he's ever going to be much of an athlete. There are worse fates.

But today, Fletcher rocked the house.

A couple of weeks ago, Britton asked Fletcher if he'd be interested in falconry. She'd seen an ad in the back of Valley Kids for quite a while and thought it sounded like something he'd like to do. Fletch agreed... excitedly. So this morning we made the trek up to Hadley to New England Falconry.

We came up on a typical New England field, barn and all...
From Falconry Class

Look close along the tree line... there was even a deer watching us. Chris Davis, the falconer, got the birds ready for us.
From Falconry Class

First we were introduced to the birds. They are Harris' Hawks and are native to the southwestern U.S.
From Falconry Class

There were two adult birds and one juvenile.
From Falconry Class

We were then shown the equipment... and how it is used.
From Falconry Class

From Falconry Class

Chris put on his vest with the bag of meat and selected the adult male to get him prepared for the session. He attached a radio transmitter in case the hawk decided to make a break for it.
From Falconry Class

He showed Fletcher how to release the bird.
From Falconry Class

And how to hold your arm and let him land on the glove.
From Falconry Class

Pretty soon, Fletcher was doing it with his assistance... just a little flinch.
From Falconry Class

And then all by himself.
From Falconry Class

By the end of the session, Fletcher looked like a pro.
From Falconry Class

From Falconry Class

From Falconry Class

Falconry Class from Joe Bullock on Vimeo.

I'll admit... I was a little jealous. I can't wait for his next class.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

During the Florida Tennessee Game Today...

...they highlighted a Vols player on the Academic Honor Roll with a 3.1 gpa.

His major? Exercise Management.

So a football player majors in working out and gets a B minus?! And this is something of which they're proud?

I'll bet he's tying his own shoes now too... pin a medal on his jersey

I Made Consumerist Today

Indoo Ships Your Textbooks To You When They Feel Like It

I've been having a hell of a time dealing with an online bookseller that I purchased textbooks from for this semester. They were taking forever to arrive. After several emails with no responses, I finally got pissed and contacted The Consumerist, one of my daily blog reads. This morning they posted my story and it received several comments from readers that had similar experiences to mine.

Online textbook sellers take note... You are competing with the great evil that is the campus bookstore. Students order books when they get their book list, often on the first day of class. Don't be douchebags and make them wait until the third or fourth week to get them, especially when they pay extra for faster shipping.

Read The Consumerist... it is one of the best blogs out there.

Suck it, Indoo.com

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Richard Wright

photo BBC News

I remember the first time I listened to The Wall all the way through... I had picked the cassette up at Camelot Music to play in my Walkman (old skool yellow Sports model) while on a flight from Florida to Moscow in 1986. I remember thinking I was so cool to be listening to this old music while everyone else was listening to Mr. Mister and Lionel Richie. Hell, I was in 7th grade. Maybe it was the fact that I would soon be staying in the country that was our sworn enemy, but it was a seminal moment for me. It started opening my eyes to a world outside of the World's Most Famous Beach. As time went on I became a huge fan of Pink Floyd... perhaps the only one that never smoked pot. Over time I stopped listening to Floyd on a daily basis, but I have a playlist on my iPod for when I'm feeling nostalgic.

So the news yesterday of Pink Floyd keyboardist, Richard Wright's death hit a sensitive spot. Mr. Wright died on Monday of cancer. I remember watching a documentary on Syd Barrett last year and Shine on You Crazy Diamond came on. Fletch sat with me and listened and while it didn't exactly make him a fan, I could tell he was thinking about it. He's an introvert and I'm sure there will come a day when that song will mean as much to him as it does to me.

David Gilmore had this to say:
He was gentle, unassuming and private but his soulful voice and playing were vital, magical components of our most recognised Pink Floyd sound. Like Rick, I don't find it easy to express my feelings in words, but I loved him and will miss him enormously. I have never played with anyone quite like him.

Shine on, Rick...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dear Poland Spring

First off, let me tell you how much I love Poland Springs water. I do! Even if I found out that you really bottled it out of a rusty bathroom faucet from a tenement in Newark, I'd still drink it.

But over the last couple of weeks, the one liter sparkling flavored waters purchased at our local Stop & Shop (store #0030) seem to have inconsistent carbonation. We usually purchase around 6 at a time and my wife told me that the ones I picked up last week ranged between completely flat to what she termed "normal". All of the bottles had intact safety rings, but it seemed a little disconcerting. She didn't tell me about it until I got several more this week. I opened one tonight and even I, the guy who didn't notice his wife had changed her hair color for a week, could tell that it didn't seem as carbonated as normal. I noted the lot number and expiration date, because I know that kind of data makes you giddy as a schoolgirl.

041708 8108WF 1902

Please let me know if this was just a bad lot or if Poland Springs is trying to reduce their carbon footprint or something.

Kindest regards,


Friday, September 05, 2008

A Place for Us

Forgive me, but this is going to be a long blog.

Today I got a comment on Facebook from a person who has known me longer than anyone except my family... and maybe better. He was in my kindergarten class and we went through thirteen years of private Christian school together... then about a year of college as well. I'd joined the I'm Moving to Canada if Palin is Vice President group, and he being a conservative Republican, asked me what was wrong with Palin. I almost felt like saying, "If you have to ask, you're not paying attention."

I'm not happy with any of the candidates right now. I honestly waver between righteous anger and bleak sadness over the state of this country. I fear that once in office, either of these two administrations might get us involved in some foreign policy fiasco, or continue eroding our civil rights. So after a long email rant to him about McCain and Palin and how I'm not exactly happy with the Obama/Biden ticket, (I think they may be able to garner a little more bipartisan agreement) I ended with this:

I want a garden in my backyard, because I want it, not because I need it to survive. I want to be warm in the winter. I want to fly on a plane and not be treated like a terrorist. I want to be able to disagree with my government and not be censored or silenced. I want my kids to be able to get an affordable, quality education. I want people to be able to get married if they want to and not be hassled, whether they're gay or straight. I want people to go to church if they want to, and as long as they aren't molesting children or breaking any laws, be left alone. I want the government to encourage less dependence on foreign oil. I want to be able to live by the motto, "Your rights end where mine begin."

I jumped in the grocery getter to attend to tonsorial duties tonight and this song by Dan Zanes came on. It's my favorite of his... He does "kids music", but in such a way that you don't want to pull out a hank of your own hair if you hear it over and over again. Some of the songs, this one especially, speak more to the adults. It's kind of a "This Land in Your Land" for the new millennium. It reminds me that my friend will always be my friend... and there's a place for both of us in this country.

On a misty morning walk
I met a friend we sat and talked
about a place for us
all our words rambled high and low
from the Catskills down to New Mexico
there's a place for us
from the Coney Island rides
out to the California tides
there's a place for us
under a storyteller's tree
or on a riverbank down in Tennessee
there's a place for us

where people gather in the summer heat
talk and laughter float on down the street
there's a string band playing and the dancing feet
make such a peaceful sound on the hot concrete

from the town halls up in Maine
to the windmills on the plains
there's a place for us
where the farmer feeds the town
and the high school band supplies the sound
there's a place for us

when our borders disappear
and the signs say you're welcome here
where empty New York city lots
become neighborhood garden plots
there's a place for us

from the Rockies to the shore
when there's a land of poetry and open doors
under a sky of endless love
can be the world we're dreaming of
a place for us

where people gather at an evening fair
crazy orchestras have filled the air
at every table there's an extra chair
and a hand to shake and a plate to share

on a misty morning walk
I met a friend so we sat and talked
about a place for us

From Kids

Dan and Fletch a couple of years ago at the Eric Carle Museum.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Connecticut River Brewers Festival


Milk? Never!


Drink beer... Wrassle goats

The Connecticut River Brewers Festival

at the Holyoke Canoe Club

Friday, September 5, 2008 1-10 PM
Saturday, September 6, 2008 12-10 PM
Sunday, September 7, 2008 12-6 PM

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day of Classes at UMass

And I'm in my underwear.

Except this time I won't be arrested. Four classes... all online.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Through the Viewfinder

Great... thanks to Jim Neill over at Life in the NohoDome I find myself compelled to do something else, Through the Viewfinder photography. That is, shooting with a modern digital camera through the viewfinder of an old school camera like the Duaflex II with a viewfinder on top. I was sitting here this morning looking at old photos and I read his blog about picking up a Duaflex and experimenting with it and a digital camera. Since I had one downstairs, I broke it out, got my Canon and macro lens, and started shooting.

The first thing I noticed was how difficult it is to hold the heavy Canon and the Kodak... Because the macro lens is manual and fixed, I have to focus by moving the two cameras toward or away from each other, all while framing the shot.

The second thing I noticed was how filthy the Duaflex was inside.

So I took it apart and cleaned it.

There's nothing like using a $800 macro lens to shoot photos that look like they came from the pinhole camera you built as a science fair project in 5th grade.