Wednesday, December 25, 2013

butterflies and dogs

Composite of a highly manipulated photo and added icons.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Kid's Place Schedule

Where else would we want to find a "Kid's place" if not in a steel factory?

Also known as Ted Cruz's Very Special Playground for Impoverished Children.

steel and paper

Bless you for your weaknesses.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

White boy

Atlanta boy posing as a Greek god for a French exhibit.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"The Scream" (finger puppet)

Our piano is the backdrop here.  Works nicely, no?  And below is the original prior to my digital manipulation tomfoolery.  And by "original" I mean my original photo, not the original painting "The Scream." Just a little clarification in case you were confused.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Technoprairie's magical skylight-lit kitchen counter

Using this setting to take pictures is like cheating.   Apart from waiting for clouds to pass, there's nothing to it. Arrange, wait, click and voila, there's your photo.  For the horizontal pics, it's best to click on them to see them a bit larger.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

man with shadows

I've uploaded at least one other photo of this statue on the blog, but I trust this one is sufficiently different to warrant inclusion here.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Orange Juice

Obviously not feeling the mojo.  Still, one must start somewhere.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

anonymous donors

An anonymous donor.

In other words, all of us with the passage of time.

I sometimes ask my students whether they know of any of the persons associated with the scores of  names posted all over campus--on benches; over door frames; on buildings.   No student has ever heard of any of these persons.  Most students literally never noticed those names; they were invisible.  Virtually all of these markers memorialize former students, now deceased, who like the students I address once felt at home here and who surely found it unfathomable that they, too, would soon be forgotten.  

hiding in plain art

Taken in Savannah, GA, at the Jepson Center (the Telfair Museum).   Why wouldn't this man ever look up at the groovy art above his head and thereby provide me with a clearer and more direct (and surreptitious) shot of his face?  Why?!  

Here's why:  because his precious cell phone was too damn riveting to him.  

The irony:  I may be the only person on earth for whom cell phone technology impedes the taking of unwanted and intrusive privacy-violating photos.

Stupid cell phones!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Church framed by modern art

The connections between religion and culture are strange, unpredictable, and the source of endless social tension.  For centuries paintings of  obviously religious significance and intent lifted scenes lifted from scripture but depicted the characters in contemporary garb. No one thought a thing about Matthew sporting fashionable and fancy Italian pantaloons.   Nowadays, at least in the U.S., to depict Jesus, a carpenter, in overalls would be seen as scandalous, or at least ironic or intentionally inflammatory. Some of our notions of religion aren't exactly nutty, but they're so fixed--snatched from a more-or-less random moment in history--that our fixation with them as the only, or at least the iconic, way of doing things is irrational.  So for example, I'm sure the number of church steeples in early church history was exactly zero, but all of us today know, deep down, that God doesn't bother to visit steeple-less churches no matter what the closet hippy ministers of those places proclaim.  If God didn't want to hang out in churches with steeples, He wouldn't have given us hands and fingers to express, "Here is the church, here is the steeple...."

old, new, and functional

Taken in Savannah, GA, from inside the Jepson Center looking out to another art building and, past that, to the gorgeous Talmadge Memorial Bridge.

So the Talmadge Memorial Bridge doesn't count as art, but it's really nice.  It's quite beautiful architecture.  I wish our nation paid more for monumental public art.  We'd surely fund our share of monstrosities, but today's monstrosities sometimes become tomorrow's beloved icons of our shared community.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Well-regulated militia = no regulation whatsoever

From the Kansas City Star:  "A Missouri lawmaker is proposing to send colleagues to prison for introducing gun control legislation — a plan even its sponsor acknowledges has no chance of passage. Mike Leara, a St. Louis County Republican, said Tuesday that his bill is a statement of principle. It would make lawmakers guilty of a felony punishable by up to four years in prison if they introduce legislation restricting gun rights."

Here's the link:

Oh surely gun advocates can do better than that, right?

Forget the First Amendment for a minute and the whole freedom of speech thing.  Just consider the text of our 2nd Amendment:   

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Now what does that even mean?  What a poorly written prohibition.  We know this much: It's explicitly about a well regulated milita, which is necessary to the security of a free State....and how it shall not be infringed.  It also has language about "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms."   Now this fragment can be seen as merely amplifying or rewording "a well regulated militia."  Or it could be qualifying what a well regulated Militia is.  OR it can be read as an additional thing: the right of "the people" to keep and bear arms as part of being a militia.  OR it could possibly mean that "the people"--i.e. individual private citizens-- have the right to keep and bear arms whether or not they are part of a militia--but that's the least natural reading.  That would require reading the clause in this way:

Being necessary to the security of a free state, a well regulated Militia....ummmm......well, oh... ummm....also, the right of individual private citizens to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  

But the problem is it don't say that.  Which is not to say that the Framers didn't intend it.  They certainly may have.  (I'm not an expert in this area, so I'm not confident enough to say one way or another what the Framers intended.)

So good ol' Mike Leara acts as though the meaning of this amendment is so self-evidently true (and beyond the need of interpretation) that anyone who wants to regulate what this amendment clearly allows to be "well freakin' regulated" is violating the Constitution.

To quote George Will:


The worst part is this: this legislator's proposed legislation likely has nothing to do with principle. He knows this.  He surely knows what he's saying is utter b.s., but he also knows he's riling up a portion of people for narrow partisan gain who probably also know it's b.s. but are willing to collectively pretend it's not b.s. in the name of supposedly loving the Founder's America.

Which is how politics works all too often in our system.

I'm sure our Framers would be proud.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

eyes everywhere

Sensible people fret that government is ever more frequently monitoring our phone calls, tracking our whereabouts, and storing our email exchanges.   Though we’re not concerned enough to put up much resistance (after all, the Patriot Act was reauthorized by a Democratic Congress and Democratic President), I’d be surprised to learn that many people outside of law enforcement celebrate the trend.  But the trend toward less anonymity, less solitude, less privacy (and therefore less freedom) is hardly surprising given the way we delight in voluntarily chaining ourselves to privacy-killing technologies. 
I scarcely consider myself a loner, but I cherish privacy and the occasional moment of solitude, and this means I feel the need from time to time (virtually every day at some point) of being simply away from people.  And that means being out of reach from people as well.  It means being off the grid for just a few refreshing minutes. But in so doing I am behaving like a social renegade. 

Alas, a new ethical obligation has emerged in our society—the responsibility to make oneself available at all times to all of humanity.

To not respond immediately to someone’s efforts to contact us, no matter how fatuous their requests, is to be a poor citizen, a bad colleague, or an uncaring friend. 

I am no neo-luddite.  I email plenty.  I’m on Facebook for considerable chunks of the year.  I have this blog, after all.   I’m available at my office and at my home by a land line.  I do have a cell phone, true, but I wonder whether I've violated the social contract if I turn my cell off for much of the day.  When I’m in the car, I often have my cell on, but at times I turn it off—again, with a guilty conscience.  I wish to listen to music or the sound of the road in peace without feeling like I’m letting down humanity.  At these times I feel like cursing these technologies.

That is until I need to make that absolutely important call with a weighty inquiry. Like, “hey, are we meeting tomorrow at 8:00, or did we move it to 8:15?”  And then when I am forced—shock shock, horror horror--to leave a voice mail I wonder in disbelief  and indignation how this person had the gall to screen my call.  "Hey! I think, "would it kill you to pick up the phone?  What's wrong with you?"

Monday, February 11, 2013

blue stairs

ghost ships and magical thinking

Take away the cemeteries, the ghost in every room and on every corner (apparently they loiter), and all the tales of pirates, and Savannah is just another mid-size city that sells fudge to tourists.  What Savannah purchases from those romantic (and commercially exploited) stories--and what imbues it with magic--is the possibility that the past isn't really the past--that it's still with us today.  Which is just another way of thinking this: perhaps after we're long gone we'll still be around, too.

Saturday, February 09, 2013