Subway Shadows and Tinker Creek

20140523-01-LearnPhotoFifty years ago I became hypnotized by the world of photography. My then wife was taking a photography course at the university and since we were an impoverished student couple, we saved our pennies, denied ourselves garlic bread at Mario’s, wore out-of-date clothes because they still fit, and still couldn’t afford a decent camera.

Ten years later, on the other side of the country, I loaded a camera bag with all the goodies I could buy, including a modern SLR camera, and surprised my new girlfriend while celebrating her birthday at the local drive-in theater. She loved it; I used it.

What I found myself doing was lugging a heavy bag of extra lenses, beaucoup de film, tripod, filters, flash, and handy instructional pamphlets around New York City in search of the perfect shot. What I got in the end was a sore shoulder and a few pictures of the shadows on a subway grating. Being a self-appointed purist, I used only Black and White film. I also scanned the magazine advertisements constantly for the ideal enlarger and the tools and chemicals I would need to convert my single-purpose bathroom into a state-of-the-art darkroom with a red warning light outside the door.

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Wind, Sand, and Stars

images.jpgI took college level French in the sixties. Having grown up twelve miles from the Mexican border, taking Spanish classes in Junior and Senior High School, and having an exchange student from South America living with me meant my Spanish was pretty good. At the University Spanish was not suggested for my major’s language requirement, so I shifted to French.

They speak of how knowing one Romance Language makes all the others easier. In some ways I expect that’s true. But no one warns you that learning similar languages can screw up your knowledge of both languages. To this day I inter-mix French words with Spanish words and sometimes throw in an English word when I’m really frustrated.

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FSMism For the True Believer

imageYou may have heard that a resident of one of the fine establishments for convicted criminals in Nebraska has had his religious freedom abridged by a U.S. District judge who ruled that Pastafarianism (also known as, and referred to in court documents, as FSMism) does not qualify for Constitutional protection.

In making his ruling,  John Gerrard provided an excellent summary of Pastafarianism for the unfamiliar:

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Have you heard of Bahá’i?

NoahWhen I was a very young man and just married to a very cute Jewish girl from the Bronx, we were visiting Chicago and attended Unitarian services at The University of Chicago. Up to that point my wife and I had casually discussed rotating religions a year at a time but things changed when we were exposed to Unitarianism.

Religion is funny business and quite interesting. I studied the world’s religions to some extent at University and subsequent readings I have done through the years have still kept me fascinated. No, I don’t have a religion—strict Atheist or as one of my friends says, Card Carrying Atheist Member of the ACLU with a Good Conduct Medal—but it’s always good to remind yourself of some of the basics.

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