August One is National Girlfriends Day

national gals day

Also, Narional Raspberry Day, also an attractive subject. Oh well. The girls have it. I’ll not subject any of my human friends. The lovely photo above is courtesy Google Image. and thank you. They do remind me of high school or something. Here are some other girls.


I’m not sure these are all girls. With geese, who can tell.They certainly are friends.


Ditto these two, spotted on a cold and lonely December evening, keeping each other warm with best regards…


These girls may be headless, but they stand together (sorry)


And these two were real. Not my friends, but I enjoyed seeing them.


This is an old girlfriend, looking cute — as was her wont.


And this friend (Calliope, I think) who graces the lobby of a hospital I’ve been to many times.Well, that’s how friendship is some times. Some people just grow on  you. Also, there’s her smile…


national girlfriends day

Yeah. That too.

What I’m Doing Part Two

cica-circle-july-2016Lately I’ve been telling some people they should take a look at this much-neglected blog (heh, heh, you know who you are). That amounts to being a not too subtle prod to myself. If you want people to look at a blog, you’d better produce a blog.I couldn’t agree more — so what I’m doing today is making a resolution to add something here, say, every Monday. How good a promise that is, I can’t foresee, but if you enjoy what you see here, please become a subscriber. I’m tryin’…

The blog will go on being mostly photographs I have taken (well, I have all these photographs…) with the occasional notice of what happened on this day in history, and, if I get really ambitious, stories of one sort or another. Who knows that might come of this? I expect to continue this blog to be non-political, non-religious. Yes, I have religious and political viewpoints, but I expect they are pretty boring (to other people at least), so, for now at least, I’m skipping that. Of course, there’s that circa-statuegentleman at left. He seems, oops, a bit political. Never mind.

In the meantime, today, I’m celebrating another visit to Circa, my favorite place for wonderful memorabilia. These pictures were all taken on a bright and sunny day in July. I used a reckless point and shoot procedure with my nice little Canon point and shoot camera, the sun too bright to see anything on the window, so I couldn’t see what might happen. That, of course, is part of the fun.

As often happens, the motif that day was circles, lots of them, which I’m fond of for so many reasons.  Doesn’t the circle represent all we’re about? The beginning and end of time, the completeness of the womb, the beauty of logic? Oh, I could go on and on. Obviously.

Not all the circles were complete, and not all of them circa-circle-3were beautiful, exactly — although they mostly seemed so to me. circa-milk-can



circa-wrought-ironAnd then, after the outside shining, there’s what you see, last shot in this sequence, when you peer in the doorway. Thank you, Circa.



Who I Am and What I’m Doing


Who I am today — not just for today, but with any luck, for the next couple weeks — is somebody who is doing Blogging 101, a challenge for the new year. Who I am — today and for the recent past and the desirable future (isn’t a future always desirable?) is an old dog learning some  new tricks. Who I have been — for a long time — is an aspiring, but very amateur photographer. What I hope to do — for the next couple weeks, and maybe the next year — is get back in the habit of posting here, mostly photographs…


At top, a picture from Lake Worth in Florida. At bottom, the Amtrak Station in Yonkers, New York.

Almost Comic

on this day onemagesJune 26, in 1794, was fought the Battle of Fleurus, which today is a municipality in Belgium, which has known many bloody battles.. Fighting this particular and not insignificant battle were on one side, a coalition army representing Great Britain, Hanover, the Dutch Republic and the Hapsburg Monarchy and on the other the army of the First French Republic. The French won.Although not without great losses and disruption.

In 1794, the French Revolution was still going on, or at least some part of it. The Republic had been established and so on, but the tumbrels were still running. Heads were still falling and perfection had not yet been attained. There are some who claim this battle, which battle of Fleurus-1794-battlemapeffectively ended the Dutch Republic (for then anyway) and effectively changed many boundaries of the European landscape, also led to the deposition and death of Maximilian Robespierre on the very guillotine he had done so much to promote — but that’s another story.

The other significance of the Battle of Fleurus — and the one that instigates this particular notice of it — is that it marked the first time hot air balloons were used in warfare. Used to good effect, one might add. Not as attacking modi, but as reconnaissance apparatus. Imagine — or battle_of_fleurus onesee pictures here attached, the bloody carnage going on below while floating overhead (no anti-aircraft firepower in those days!), a gaily colored balloon full of fierce men in uniforms, equipped with field glasses and — one supposes — some sort of communicating devices. No cell phones in those days either.

Apparently the balloon served to good effect and presumably was the precursor to some partsbattle of fleurusEarly_flight_02562u_(10) of air warfare as we now know them. But you can see the limitations. How industrious we are. How we make use of all available materials. And here’s a little picture of what Fleurus looks like today. The Internet will be happy to assist you in making hotel reservations if you should want to go there.

battle of fleurus_120848_H39URJ_0

On This Day

boniface Tomb of Boniface VIII-sarcophagus-GrottoesOn this day, June 23, 1295, the current Pope, Boniface VII “entered Rome” as they say, and made it — for a time being, at least — the center of the papacy. This is perhaps an historical event of not too much current interest, except to historians and maybe some of us who were raised Catholic. Boniface and all his troubles and triumphs and troubles again (he was Pope only from 1294 to 1303, when he was perhaps murdered) represents a bloody period in the history of the Roman Catholicism as well as the history of Europe in general, so it’s not too surprising to hear that he was a boniface Porta_Pia_Pagliari_Vizzottobloody type. What is a little disconcerting is to hear the story of the sack of Palestrina, a city which had surrendered with the understanding that it would be left standing. Boniface not only saw to that the city was utterly destroyed, but also poured salt on the ruins. He appear in Dante’s Inferno inhabiting the seventh ring of hell. Not for his conduct at Palestrina, but as a simonist, one guilty of selling church relics and favors.

Meditation on a Place



Several, maybe. There are so many wonderful places to be, it seems almost ungrateful to pick one, but I’m a fool for the ocean. The ocean never disappoints.

Growing up in a rural mountain area, I had never seen the ocean (except in pictures, of course) until I was well into my twenties. By then, even then, so many things that had been hyped in my childhood had turned out to be, if not, frauds, well, not as exciting as they were said to be. I’m not talking about sex or roller coasters here. Those are pretty reliable too. And I had not, nor have yet had occasion to see the Grand Canyon or the Taj Mahal. I’m talking about much smaller frauds here. Nonetheless, there was some fear. Suppose it was just a lot of water and so what? Among other things, I guess I mean, suppose I was not up to seeing it?

IMG_1237---Copy---Copy_editWell, you know why, don’t you? It’s all those pictures. When you’ve seen a million pictures of something it’s sometimes Maine_coasthard to really see it then. Some things — I’m being so tactful here — just look too much like their pictures. Yawn. And then there was the ocean. A definite Cortez moment (you know, silent on a peak etc.). The ocean was everything I’d hoped it would be.

I think it was the noise. One is never prepared, even by a lifetime of watching movies, for the actual noise the actual ocean makes as it throws itself, heedless. Second, of course, it’s much too big for a picture, so there you go. When you’re actually standing there looking into the face of the ocean, the first realization is that you can’t. The ocean is just too big to look at all at once. Part of it isn’t even visible, even though you can’t help knowing it’s there.

1024px-Winslow_Homer_-_Maine_CoastWhat really surprised me, what has really surprised me over a number of years, of decades, is this keeps on happening. The ocean continues to be too big to be boring, too noisy to be ignored, too beautiful. Some people maybe feel this way about standing on mountain tops. But the countryside, no matter how far the eagle’s eye can see, doesn’t move. Well, except if it does, that’s a very bad thing. The ocean threatens us and we love it. Well, I love it.

This last picture, is by Winslow Homer, and the thumbnail of the Maine Coast is from Wikimedia (many thanks). The other two are mine and were taken in Florida. But the remarks above apply to oceans everywhere.


Meditation on a Photograph


Here it is, the street where that murder took place. Recognize it? I don’t either, but something in my bones tells me this is it. It looks so innocent and pre-war. Yes, it looks (to me) like 1927. Don’t look too closely at that surrealistic automobile,, lurking in the left vanishing point, or the worse one hiding behind the fence. They can’t help being there. It’s like the innocent bystanders who didn’t manage to get themselves indoors and out of sight before the  police arrive. The sun is shining on this spot but it’s an ironic sun. This street speaks of exit. This street says, too late, too late. And it isn’t even willing to say what it’s too late for.

This is the kind of scene the crime leaves behind. That is,  not streaked with blood, but after the blood has been all tidied away. This is a street trying to assume its innocence. That picket fence alone is worth a thousand lies. That spot of sunshine, pretending, perhaps, to be a sit-in for something else.

They once lived on this street, you know. I mean, the victims. It was green then and banked with flowers. Automobiles grazed its pleasant lea. Don’t look too closely into the windows of those houses, crouching behind the fence, or staying — far left — out of the picture altogether.

The impulse is to put names to the gangsters, but only stereotypes come to mind. Jay Gatsby could have been here. He would have been proud of this neighborhood. Or ashamed.

Am I saying nostalgia is murderous? I may be. Once you get going with automatic writing, it’s hard to say what’s going to come up. This photograph is like that. It’s only a blink in time. It’s only a little place, a spot on street that doesn’t even want to say whether it’s city, suburb, or rural (stops to take a look). Look how big those trees are! Whatever this place is, it’s been here for a while. Those trees — how heavily they hang their branches — have been looking down on the multifaceted transgressions of human beings for a long, long time. And when the sun shines on this road, this street, if that is what it its, it’s because they let it. They have been laced through and through with the bothering of civilization, the telephone lines, the electric wires. And they have witnessed.

With any luck at all, they will still be here, after the murders have been forgotten. After it’s all been tidied up. But luck, that’s what we’re all hoping for, right?

[This has been a spontaneous writing exercise in an enterprise called Writing 101. No humans or animals — or trees — were harmed in the making of it.]