"o frabjous day! callooh! callay!" he chortled in his joy
Speckled paint is no more. But all is not lost — Speckled Paint has been transmogrified to the Solipsitic Gazette
I had a chance meeting today with a man who claimed to have most, if not all, of the answers. I gave him a sly look and then went on my way.
In hindsight, I should have shot him between the eyes.
Figuratively speaking, of course.
A big thank you is due to Mark at wood s lot for letting me know and easing that pain of loss. Be still my beating heart.
That's all for now. The sun is out and I'm going to work on a boat and mow a lawn.
freedom of speech
Some teachers in Oakland are rallying behind two students who were interrogated by the Secret Service. That followed remarks the teenagers made about the President during a class discussion. The incident has many people angry.
For years the classroom has been the setting for the free expression of ideas, but two weeks ago certain ideas led to two students being taken out of class and grilled by the United States Secret Service.
It happened at Oakland High. The discussion was about the war in Iraq. That's when two students made comments about the President of the United States. While the exact wording is up for debate, the teacher didn't consider it mere criticism, but a direct threat and she called the Secret Service.
Even worse, they say, is the fact that the students were grilled by federal agents without legal counsel or their parents present, just the principal.
"When one of the students asked, 'do we have to talk now? Can we be silent? Can we get legal council?' they were told, 'we own you, you don't have any legal rights,'" Felson says.
thanks to BookNotes
How far away are we from a totalitarian state where no dissent is allowed? Not far, apparently.
a romanian family
Ana and Traian Gherasim live in Mila 23 with their 4 year old son Octavian and Ana’s mother and father. Ana is 25, Traian is 27. Ana is from Mila 23 and is Lipoveni, but Traian is Romanian, and comes from a community nearby, Crisan. When they first married, they lived with his family in Crisan, but three years ago they moved in with her parents.
Traian is a fisherman. Ana’s father, who is 69, also fished until a year ago. Ana looks after their garden on a tiny strip of land about a mile away, only reachable by boat. She also looks after their one cow, which they keep on another strip of land. Her mother isn’t very well any more and isn’t able to contribute much to the livelihood of the family.
remember the taliban?
Taliban appears to be regrouped and well-funded
As the fiery chief justice of the Taliban's Supreme Court, Abdul Salam shook the world once, proclaiming the right to execute foreign aid workers accused of converting Afghans to Christianity.
Today, not only is Justice Salam back, talking to a foreign reporter for the first time since the Taliban fell a year and a half ago, but he says the Taliban are back as well. Regrouped, rearmed, and well-funded, they are ready to carry on guerrilla war as long as it takes to expel US forces from Afghanistan.
It's what Afghans want, "because during the Taliban times, there was peace and security," says Salam, who retains the long gray beard that marks him as a devout Muslim.
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
more leica stuff
Monday I posted about my grandfather's Leica IIIc. In addition to getting an ecouranging comment from Andy Fraser, in London, my friend Blaine England dropped by to show my his Leica copies.
The one on the left is a Japanese copy of the Leica IIIf and the one on the right is a Russian copy of a Leica II. The Russian copy was probably made in 1934 by the Korkov Commune.
Blaine also sent a couple links. One of them is on how to cut the 35mm film leader so that little pieces don't break off and jam the shutter. It's applicable to all Leica screw thread mounts and their copies. But Blaine's link to a new Leica is the most exciting...
Leica has finally come out with a low-cost consumer model, the Leica-H. For those of us who have been wanting to own one of the legendary Leica cameras but unable to afford the $1,000 + price tag ,the H model is a godsend. Although it is a rangefinder, the H resembles the R models more than the M models at first glance. This is because of the high profile necessary to accomodate the medium format film size. Yes, mediium format. The new Leica model takes 120 sized film and comes with a host of new "features".
This prototype model was smuggled from a top secret German lab by a technician and these photos and specs are being made available by me as a service to collectors and enthusiasts.
Leica has made a few departures from their old ways and kept a few things the same for this model. One innovation is the use of sticky tape to hold the back plate in place. Previously, Leica has used a removeable base plate to assure absolute negative flatness. I'm told by technicans working on the H model that "this just wasn't an issue anymore". When I attempted to follow this up, asking if this was a result of the larger negative or simply a laxation of tolerences?" I was chased from the premisis. Another innovation is the ingenius reduction in movable (and therefore breakable) parts, the "rangefinder" optic is now more of a peep sight. All actual range finding is done by asking the subject "Bob, how far away would you say you are?" and then turning the focusing dial appropriately. Confusing distances have thoughtfully been kept off of the lens, focusing is now done by selecting one of four icons, "one person", "two people", "some people" and "mountian", "mountain" being the furthest away.
Diplomats on the Defensive
Diplomats are paid to have cool minds and even cooler temperaments, but inside the State Department, plenty of America's elite diplomats are privately seething.
They are up in arms over what they see as the hijacking of foreign policymaking by the Pentagon and efforts to undercut their boss, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
"I just wake up in the morning and tell myself, 'There's been a military coup,' and then it all makes sense," said one veteran foreign service officer.
There is scant information about Kim Jong Il and North Korea, the country he rules with an iron fist. Information gleaned from a few defectors and spin put out by the South Korean media paints Kim as an eccentric, paranoid recluse.
Kim inherited power from his father, Kim Il Sung, in 1994; the title of president still belongs to his deceased father, the eternal President. Like his father, Kim has no intention of putting an end to the country’s isolation. The people are poor and survive on meagre state handouts. Nobody is allowed to leave and no one can enter. However, there are always a few exceptions as photographer Olivier Mirguet found.
Jim Crow revived in cyberspace
Astonishingly, and sadly, four decades after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. marched in Birmingham, we must ask again, "Do African-Americans have the unimpeded right to vote in the United States?"
In 1963, Dr. King's determined and courageous band faced water hoses and police attack dogs to call attention to the thicket of Jim Crow laws -- including poll taxes and so-called "literacy" tests -- that stood in the way of black Americans' right to have their ballots cast and counted.
Today, there is a new and real threat to minority voters, this time from cyberspace: computerized purges of voter rolls.
The menace first appeared in Florida in the November 2000 presidential election. While the media chased butterfly ballots and hanging chads, a much more sinister and devastating attack on voting rights went almost undetected.
In the two years before the elections, the Florida secretary of state's office quietly ordered the removal of 94,000 voters from the registries. Supposedly, these were convicted felons who may not vote in Florida. Instead, the overwhelming majority were innocent of any crime, though just over half were black or Hispanic.
You'd think that Congress and President Bush would run from imitating Florida's disastrous system. Astonishingly, Congress adopted the absurdly named "Help America Vote Act," which requires every state to replicate Florida's system of centralized, computerized voter files before the 2004 election.
thanks to Cursor
Another nail in democracy's coffin.
speckled paint — rip
I went to Speckled Paint, one of my favorite sites, and found this...
You did good, Josh. I'll miss Speckled Paint.
hello! anyone still our there?
Some deadlines met — new deadlines appeared. There is no end to the deadlines. Sometimes, though, you just have to say "We don't need no steenkin' reality!"
I hate to say it, but reality has been getting in the way again. I resist it mightily when it happens, but to no avail this time. I have some deadlines to meet today and I then I shall return. Until then, check out the blogs in the blogroll and listen in to Jim and Esther at Whole Wheat Radio.
Cartoons To Ignite Your Id
And then along comes one of those extraordinarily rare and shimmering hunks of gorgeous pop-culture art/entertainment to make you rethink everything you thought you believed and about which you were sort of comfortably sad and bitter and resigned.
You know the ones. Those astonishing unexpected gems that somehow manage to break through your thick wall of bitter media-numbed ennui and slip right around your fine-meshed bullshit filter and hit you right in the solar plexus of hope and enchantment and maybe humankind isn't so utterly savagely doomed after all even though it probably is, but oh well.
Because this is when you finally catch the animated Japanese masterpiece "Spirited Away" on DVD. This is when you finally find a pop-culture art piece that speaks to multiple levels of human creativity and divine imaginative power, which you want to champion and cheer and exalt and bow humbly before and say to the jaded world hey, you know what?
And if you are anything like me, you see this movie and you are completely taken aback, dazzled and humbled and impressed, at once enthralled and encouraged and also realizing in one sad sighing punch how utterly and embarrassingly bereft American popular culture is of any sort of fresh and ingenious mythmaking.
One little girl. One stunning adventure. No clear villains. No simplistic and ham-fisted good vs. evil plot line (sorry, Dubya). Breathtaking range of magic and fantasy and character and detail. Endlessly inventive, completely unpredictable, randomly imperfect. Complicated, nonlinear storyline, almost to a fault. A messy and odd but still radiant moral universe at once familiar and entirely extraordinary.
And oh dear God, how necessary and invaluable this kind of movie is right now.
Look. All signs point to the fact that we are facing a dire failure of imagination in this country. We are clinging like blind bats to dying (dead) myths about who we are and what we stand for and what angry patriarchal war demons we believe in. Our sour leaders frantically clutch crumbling and outdated and jingoistic notions of empire and God and righteousness. You know they do.
Magic and imagination and free thinking are reviled right now, threatened, openly despised as anti-American and unpatriotic and oh my God don't you dare question the prevailing boot-stompin' cowboy-hatted violence-happy ethos of God and guns and might-makes-right or John Ashcroft will come to your house and suck the pith straight outta your soul with a Shop Vac, unnerstand?
You gotta find your gorgeous reminders where you can. You gotta hold up the occasional beacons of pure divine imagination as high as possible and point to them more frantically than ever and wave your hands in the air and try to get some attention, because everyone seems to be looking down and askance and forlorn, scared of their own mythological power, afraid to make eye contact with the potent forces of creative and nubile supernatural myth lest someone think them some sort of, you know, evildoer.
When in fact quirky, lush, incendiary art such as "Spirited Away" can only help us rediscover those invaluable traits we need the most, those very ones that Chihiro, the film's initially bratty 10-year-old protagonist, ultimately embodies: that is to say, radiant, and self-defined and utterly, wonderfully fearless.
This is a must read. Things are much worse than they appear. No sense deluding ourselves on that point.
The Coalition of the Shilling
Tired of killing Muslims, we are now trying to teach their survivors some democracy.
There are a number of practical problems with this, among them being that the curriculum is in the hands of the most authoritarian, deceitful, anti-democratic, and constitution-wrecking administration we've ever had. But there's an even more disturbing matter: wander around your nation's capital and try to find something better. Leaving aside anomalies such as the ACLU and the Cato Institute, a few members of Congress, and a handful of anachronic journalists, this town shows virtually no interest in liberty, the Constitution, or democracy these days - except when prescribing them to those in far away lands.
This is not hyperbole; it is simple, grim fact. And also essential, because what makes a democracy or constitutional republic function are not words written on paper, not oaths uttered, nor clichés reiterated in public addresses, but natural, visceral, organic love of the principles overtly avowed.
You can not find such a spirit, such love, such loyalty in today's Washington in any corner that matters. Certainly not in the administration but also not in Democratic salons, not in the media, nor amongst the ostentatious ministrations of the think tanks. The nation's capital has given up on the very principles it wants to teach the Iraqis. With such leadership, it is small wonder that so much of America no longer wishes to be America anymore.
There are plenty of signs of our democratic dysfunction, beginning with the fact that we're sending a bunch of generals and corporate executives - professionally groomed to honor anti-democratic procedures - to do the job. Then there is the most elitist media in American history demonstrating its love for democratic debate by blacklisting voices of dissent before and during the Iraq invasion, turning its airwaves over to spooks and military brass, and embedding itself without a hint of skepticism in the administration's agitprop.
Most of all there is the atmosphere of hubristic homogeneity that has seized the capital, so full of arrogance, jingoism, narcissism and the political equivalent of the hyperbolic deceit that buoyed the economy in the 1990s. The difference is that instead of a stock market bubble we are now in the midst of an imperial one. Some day, it, too, will end and in a manner not of our choosing.
Thus, in many ways, America over the past two decades was an accident waiting for September 11 to happen. All the pieces were in place - an increasingly powerful military; a corrupt and leaderless Congress; the disappearance of civics from school curricula; the slow acculturation to unconstitutional behavior by police, military and prosecutors; a media more interested in the power to which it aspired than in the readers and viewers it was meant to serve; the concentration of formerly devolved power inside of Washington, and the concentration of Washington power inside of the White House.
True, contempt for the citizenry has long been part of the character of the capital. For example, in 1963 J. William Fulbright, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a capital favorite, said, "The case for government by elites is irrefutable...government by the people is possible but highly improbable."
What has changed is the impunity with which those in power can act as though they believe something different. Washington has become the capital of great pretenders, where the powerful talk as democrats but walk as tyrants and where television and advanced agitprop have made it perfectly possible to create a dictatorship that the people still regard as a democracy. This is the same coalition of the shilling that now purports to export its sordid distortion of democracy to Baghdad. Don't be too hard on the Iraqis if they fall for it. After all, we did.
thanks to BookNotes
Dealer in old photographs and ephemera, located in Tokyo, Japan
thanks to Speckled paint
"To prevent undue wreckage in society, the artist tends now to move from the ivory to the control tower of society." – Marshall McLuhan
The US Department of Art and Technology is the principal conduit for facilitating the artist's need to extend aesthetic inquiry into the broader culture where ideas become real action. It also serves the psychological and spiritual well-being of all Americans by supporting cultural efforts that provide immunity from the extension of new media technologies into the social sphere.
thanks to This Modern World
Prodromus in Systema Historicum Testaceorum
His erudition is evidenced by the range of his publications. His 1777 inaugural dissertation treated poisonous plants (e.g. hemlock, monk's hood) and related topics. In addition to the Prodromus in Systema Historicum Testaceorum (1795) he authored works on such diverse topics as birds, mammals and even a disquisition on economics and numismatics, a further sign of his scholarly breadth.
thanks to Giornale Nuovo
A superpower like the United States does not invade a pipsqueak power like Iraq — outside the framework of international law and against worldwide opposition — only for its publicly stated reasons, in this case, fighting terrorism, liberating Iraq and triggering a domino effect for the democratization of the Middle East.
The real American agenda is only now becoming clearer.
'If Fish Can Feel Pain, Then Maybe Iraqi Children Can, Too'
The recent report by the Royal Society suggesting that fish can feel pain will come as a severe blow to all those anglers who have hitherto operated on the principle that fish are incapable of feeling anything. It comes as an even bigger shock to those of us who have for so long applied the same principle to human beings.
If fish can feel pain, does this mean that a 13-year-old child, picked up in Afghanistan, hooded, flown several thousand miles to Cuba and kept in a chicken coop, may also experience physical sensations bordering on the uncomfortable?
Like Tony Blair, I thought the Guantanamo Bay camp was 'an unsatisfactory situation', but it never occurred to me that the human beings in there would be capable of feeling discomfort.
On Saturday, hundreds of angry Iraqis swarmed into the lobby of the Palestine Hotel, which is home to most foreign journalists here, and protested for hours about their inability to get work from the American administrators, who now have their headquarters inside the marble halls of the Republican Palace.
"Don't try to persuade us that the U.S.A., after 40 days, cannot constitute a government that controls everything," said Younis Abbas Khamis, a 55-year-old government worker. "If this chaos lasts forever, there will be a revolution."
Many Iraqis have fallen victim to hucksters who sold them job applications, but who had no connection to the American administrators.
Even without the sting of local con artists, job prospects here are horrendous, and tempers are rising. By some estimates, as much as 75 percent of the Iraqi work force made a living from either the government or the military — both of which have now collapsed.
thanks to The Agonist
So, how is 75% of the Iraqi work force going to get jobs so that they can get money so they can do things like eat?
EARTH FROM THE AIR is a spectacular presentation of large-scale photographs of astonishing natural landscapes. Created by world-famous photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, every stunning aerial photograph tells a story about our changing planet. Seen together, they are an outstanding visual testimony to the world we live in today. A world with a growing population, shrinking biodiversity, polluted lands and oceans, a changing climate and a shortage of drinking water. A world, nevertheless, of beauty and of wonder.
thanks to plep
Another case of how the mental illness called fundamental christianity is destroying us.
Nevertheless, beyond all these more obvious anti-environmental motivations there lies a more deep-seated inspiration. Difficult as it may be to believe, many of the conservatives who have great influence in the Bush administration and now in Congress are governed by a Higher Power.
In his book "The Carbon Wars," Greenpeace activist Jeremy Leggett tells how he stumbled upon this otherworldly agenda. During the Kyoto climate change negotiations, Leggett candidly asked Ford Motor Company executive John Schiller how opponents of the pact could believe there is no problem with "a world of a billion cars intent on burning all the oil and gas available on the planet?" The executive asserted first that scientists get it wrong when they say fossil fuels have been sequestered underground for eons. The Earth, he said, is just 10,000, not 4.5 billion years old, the age widely accepted by scientists.
Then Schiller confidently declared, "You know, the more I look, the more it is just as it says in the Bible." The Book of Daniel, he told Leggett, predicts that increased earthly devastation will mark the "End Time" and return of Christ. Paradoxically, Leggett notes, many fundamentalists see dying coral reefs, melting ice caps and other environmental destruction not as an urgent call to action, but as God's will. In the religious right worldview, the wreck of the Earth can be seen as Good News!
Some true believers, interpreting biblical prophecy, are sure they will be saved from the horrific destruction brought by ecosystem collapse. They'll be raptured: rescued from Earth by God, who will then rain down seven ghastly years of misery on unbelieving humanity. Jesus' return will mark the Millennium, when the Lord restores the Earth to its green pristine condition, and the faithful enjoy a thousand years of peace and prosperity.
Cartoon recipes. Why didn't anyone think of this before?
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
Posting may be a little light today. I've much work to do and most of it is actual paying work. Cool!
About 2,000 friends, celebrities and strangers gathered Saturday to celebrate the life of Fred Rogers, the television pioneer whose "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" has been watched by generations of children.
John Rogers said his father met Ralph Waldo Emerson's definition of success: "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children ... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived."
The Art of the
Are you the type of person who longs for patience and tranquility in your life? Of course you are, but in our modern society who has the time? Now it's possible. With the items contained in this kit you can quickly and efficiently reach an inner peace that can take monks an entire lifetime to achieve.
The secrets are now yours!
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
The Bush administration, U.S. soldiers, and the mostly-male media have little or no knowledge of what Iraqi women think about the invasion of their country. The views of some of these modern, educated, outspoken Iraqi women may come as a big surprise.
Hatred of the Americans is boiling on the streets of Fallujah, where Iraqis lobbed grenades into the US military compound yesterday, wounding seven and damaging vehicles.
Nearly a week after troops from the 82nd Airborne Division randomly opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators here, prompting the US military to announce an inquiry, commanders have yet to speak to the doctors who counted the bodies.
Watching the Shiite Muslims marching through Karbala and Baghdad last week brought back uncomfortable memories. It was Iran in 1979 and 1980; Jimmy Carter was president, and the insufferable Walter Cronkite was counting off the number of days Americans were being held prisoner in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Shia clergy push for Islamist state
One of Tony Blair's closest foreign political allies has warned Britain and America that they may live to regret unleashing the "law of the jungle" in international relations when China becomes the dominant world power later this century.
A US marine under investigation for war crimes, after he told his local newspaper that he had executed an Iraqi soldier, has become a cause célèbre in his home town, Las Vegas, and has announced his intention to become a policeman.
Navy criminal investigators are questioning gunnery sergeant Gus Covarrubias, about his actions in a battle outside Baghdad's defence ministry on April 8.
Meanwhile, another battle rages in Las Vegas newspaper letter pages and internet chatrooms over whether he is a hero or a criminal.
"Gunny" Covarrubias, now back in Las Vegas recovering from concussion from the battle, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he had tracked down two Iraqi soldiers he believed had fired a grenade at his unit, shooting one in the back of the head and another as he tried to escape.
He described his actions as meting out "justice". The Pen tagon disagrees. "If this story is true, then clearly it would be violation of the law of war," Captain Shawn Turner, a marine spokesman said.
thanks to also not found in nature
When you look at Iraq today, it's clear that we've walked into a situation only President Bush's most ardent defenders would describe as positive.
With all eyes focused on the war in Iraq, the U.S. press and even the foreign policy establishment has seemingly lost interest in the political and social unrest taking place in Latin America. Populist electoral victories beginning with Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in 1998 and 2000, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in Brazil (October), and Lucio Gutierrez in Ecuador (November), have already changed the map of Latin American politics. Even if widespread populist and anti-IMF sentiment in Argentina does not end in a similar result there, all signs are that the revolt is spreading.
thanks to Cursor
my grandfather's camera
My Grandfather's Leica was made in 1949. I remember him taking family pictures with it. He always seemed to find it a little difficult using this camera. Well.. some of it is difficult, like loading the damn thing. (But I'm getting better at it.) He gave it to me in the mid 70s. I used it for awhile but it started to have shutter problems. I had it fixed but the fix didn't last long and I put it aside in 1976. It has been a display camera for 27 years.
Last Monday night I was in my kitchen talking to one of the members of Sweet Briar, after TestingTesting. David pulled my Leica down from its display perch. I was embarrased because of the layer of dust on it. Even more embarrassed when I discovered he was the owner of a Leica M6. He encouraged me to use it. I explained the shutter problem and he said he could recomend some Leica repair people
That prompted me to clean the little Leica up and run a couple of test rolls though it. What a joy to use! The controls are a little archaic (winder knob) but it felt like no other camera I've used. Nothing automatic on this sucker. I've been shooting a digital camera for 5 years and I'm tired of the "automatic" features that get in the way. This is a 54 year old camera but it is still a very usable shooter. It is like taking pictures with a piece of jewelry. A thing of beauty to look at as well as use. I can understand Henri Cartier-Bresson's devotion to the Leicas.
Unfortunately the test rolls showed the shutter problems were still there and that there were now pinholes in the shutter curtains. Bummer! Need to find those Leica repair people. Once I find some money to get it fixed I can look into some new lenses that Cosina builds for their Voigtlander line of rangefinders. They all fit on the old Leica Screw Mounts.
And there is even a guy that makes mechanical rapid winders that will let this antique shoot 2 to 2.5 frames per second. I'm just kicking myself that I let this little jewel sit for so long. Well...better late than never. It will take pictures again.
[Update: I forgot to mention — when I scan the 35mm negative from the Leica, I get an 8 megapixel image. I don't think Oskar Barnack had digital in mind for his little camera.]
This is a Henri Cartier-Bresson festival. I ran across this mention of a retrospective of his. He was always a favorite of mine and is the patron saint of all street photographers. Cartier-Bresson always used Leicas. At one time he must have used a IIIc just like the camera my Grandfather gave me.
Eternity in an Instant
It doesn't interest me," Henri Cartier-Bresson says of photography. "It never has. The only thing that has ever been important is drawing." He is sitting at the living-room window of his fifth-floor Paris apartment, looking out over the Tuileries Gardens. It's almost exactly the same plunging view, he points out, that was painted by Monet and Cézanne. Cartier-Bresson abandoned photography in the mid-1970s and now prefers to discuss painting and drawing, his later passions. But even he can't deny the unforgettable images he captured during a half-century of photojournalism.
thanks to Esthet
Tête à Tête
When Henri Cartier-Bresson picked up his Leica in 1932, it was a miraculous new kind of camera, small and light, equipped with a sharp, fast lens and filled with a long roll of 35 mm film. This remains the kind of camera most of us know and use today, but before that time virtually all cameras were larger and more cumbersome. The amateur's Kodak, although easy to use, offered little control over composition, and the press photographer's Speed Graphic used large sheets of film that had to be loaded one at a time and often needed a bulky flash. Of course, ambitious photographers devised clever ways to get around their clumsy materials, choosing subjects that didn't move too much, counting on luck and quick reflexes to freeze motion, or perfecting the image in the darkroom, where it was easy to crop out awkward information and improve the composition.
Henri Cartier-Bresson was an aspiring painter and student of literature when he first saw Martin Munkacsi's brilliant photographs of runners, swimmers, and race-car drivers, which appeared in the new illustrated magazines being published in Germany and France. Through Munkacsi's work, Cartier-Bresson recognized how the new small cameras made it possible to capture spontaneous motion while creating beautiful compositions within the rectangular shape of a single frame of 35 mm film. He was also deeply influenced by the contemporary movement known as surrealism, which encouraged artists and writers to explore the meaning that lay hidden below the surface of everyday life. In the hands of the surrealists, photography became a way to reveal significance that would otherwise be invisible or lost. When captured in a photograph, a simple gesture, chance meeting, or mundane setting could convey great beauty or tragedy or humor.
Truman Capote, 1947
"In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject," he wrote in ‘The Decisive Moment’. "The little human detail can become a leitmotif." Most of his photography is a collection of such little, human details; concerned images with universal meaning and suggestion. He lived in a haunted world where mundane facts, a reflection in a mud-puddle, an image chalked on a wall, the slant of a black-robed figure against mist, radiate significance at once familiar and only half-consciously grasped. His was an anti-romantic poetry of vision, which finds beauty in "things as they are," in the reality of here and now.
All his great pictures were taken with the kind of equipment owned by many amateur photographers: 35 mm rangefinder cameras equipped with a normal 5Omm lens or occasionally a telephoto for landscapes.
Along with Dr. Erich Salomon and Alfred Eisenstaedt, he was a pioneer in available light photojournalism, and would no sooner intrude flash or flood into his pictures than would a fly fisherman toss rocks into a pool where he hoped to catch a prize trout.
By having so skillfully exploited the camera’s ability to transfix a moment in time’s flow, Cartier-Bresson has left us a treasure of images. We can, through his eyes, see the world a little more clearly, and find truth and beauty where we had not guessed they existed.
Known for its reportage style and early connection to the rebelliousness of Surrealism, the work of Cartier-Bresson has always subverted narrative expectations. A reluctant and ambivalent scion of the bourgeoisie, Cartier-Bresson captured in photographs the plight of the very dispossessed, marginal, and illicit underclass shunned by his own socio-economic community. His venues ranged from Mexican flea markets and African street fairs to the Jewish ghettoes of Eastern Europe.
A sense of the photographer's visceral engagement with his subjects emerges from the natural, unposed moments he chooses to present them in. This technique, which he termed "incomplete adventures" or "happenings in the moment," originated with Cartier-Bresson and laid the foundation for the approach known as "the decisive moment," a style that transformed photojournalism to a high art. "The decisive moment" occurs in flashes during the everyday pursuits of work, play, and contemplation, and reveals an open sensuality which is not normally the prerogative of the outcast.
moral is as moral does
The Bookie of Virtue
Few vices have escaped Bennett's withering scorn. He has opined on everything from drinking to "homosexual unions" to "The Ricki Lake Show" to wife-swapping. There is one, however, that has largely escaped Bennett's wrath: gambling. This is a notable omission, since on this issue morality and public policy are deeply intertwined. During Bennett's years as a public figure, casinos, once restricted to Nevada and New Jersey, have expanded to 28 states, and the number continues to grow. In Maryland, where Bennett lives, the newly elected Republican governor Robert Ehrlich is trying to introduce slot machines to fill revenue shortfalls. As gambling spreads, so do its associated problems. Heavy gambling, like drug use, can lead to divorce, domestic violence, child abuse, and bankruptcy. According to a 1998 study commissioned by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, residents within 50 miles of a casino are twice as likely to be classified as "problem" or "pathological" gamblers than those who live further away.
If Bennett hasn't spoken out more forcefully on an issue that would seem tailor-made for him, perhaps it's because he is himself a heavy gambler. Indeed, in recent weeks word has circulated among Washington conservatives that his wagering could be a real problem. They have reason for concern. The Washington Monthly and Newsweek have learned that over the last decade Bennett has made dozens of trips to casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, where he is a "preferred customer" at several of them, and sources and documents provided to The Washington Monthly put his total losses at more than $8 million.
Fucking Republican hypocrite.
The always excellent Atrios points out that the Washington Monthly feature about Bill Bennett's teensy little seven-figure gambling habit also mentions that he regularly plays (or at least played until recently) a private poker game with Robert Bork and Supreme Court Justices and fellow avatars of morality Antonin Scalia and William Rehnquist.
Which, under DC law, is punishable by jail.
Welcome to the 3rd annual Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day exhibition, where you will discover 447 images realized by as many different pinhole photographers from 31 countries!
All the photographs in this extraordinary collection share two common characteristics:
thanks to dublog
war against some drugs
A top White House drug policy official is threatening retaliation from the U.S. if Canada relaxes its laws against marijuana possession.
David Murray, right-hand man to U.S. "drug czar" John Walters, says he doesn't want to tread on another country's sovereignty, but warned there would be consequences if Canada proceeds with a plan to decriminalize the possession of marijuana.
thanks to MetaFilter
And they wonder why they hate us. The entire world will conform to the wishes of the US or it will be punished. This is an America we are supposed to be proud of? It's getting harder and harder.