Monthly Archives: June 2009

Eating Paste:

EVERYTHING IS FUNNY AS LONG AS IT IS HAPPENING TO SOMEBODY ELSE.

-Will Rogers-

My colleagues can testify, and my family will bare witness that I’ve never been known as a great brain.  Some will even say challenged by technology.

My personal belief is that both the latitude and longitude configuration of my brain is now suffering the indiscriminate actions of eating white paste as a child.

I hale from an era of push lawn mowers that had spinning angled blades that stopped when you stopped. If you had the attachment for catching grass you live on the “right-side” of the tracks; we didn’t.

Never one to let a good deed go unpunished, I fired up the mighty red rocket mower with power assist just waiting to feel the surge make its way to the small front rubber wheels like bolts of lightening. 

Ask how it works?

Hell, no! 

I’ve used a power lawn mower before; heck owned more used ones than you can shake a bag of grass at.

THE RED ROCKET! The two handled power-assist model!

THE RED ROCKET! The two handled power-assist model!

This house has the square grass footage of a football stadium and after the first two hours of pushing the power-assisted mower up the hills, I had pretty much cussed the inventor and manufacture with every step.

With half the job done, I was breathing as heavy as a bull walrus during mating season and patiently waited for my son-in-law to  return from work so that I could tell him what a piece of junk he had purchased.

With the sly smile of a gummy bear he chortled “Did you press in the second handle to engage the front wheels?”

Second handle? …

Damn the bastards who thought they needed two handles!

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Taking the Pathway:

Muller Pond near Fishkill, NY

Muller Pond near Fishkill, NY

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

-Henry David Thoreau-


The Backyard: Holy Hoops!

Where the deer play.

Where the deer play.

The whole idea of spending $2 million dollars for a “Lakers Parade” at a time when both the city of Los Angeles and the state of California are in such economic turmoil could not be any more ridiculous than Kobe’s wife forgiving him for playing a rousing game of one-on-one, Colorado style.

At a time of double-digit unemployment and a housing market that is coming back as well as the “Magic” in the final game, it makes about as much sense as newspapers producing a special “Lakers” section without advertising?

Hey Casey and Laura, how about putting some of grandpa Wasserman’s movie money to some real good?

Personally, I like the idea of playing some half-court on a grass court over the septic tank.  It’s even more challenging when you don’t know where the pump outlet is or the deer droppings.

A court where you can really go foul.

A court where you can really go foul.


The Back Yard:

A pattern of lace, the ferns grow at the edge of the tree line.

A pattern of lace, the ferns grow at the edge of the tree line.

Just reading in the back yard…

It is towards the end of the first graph, but I’m uncertain if you can call anything that meanders past three inches a graph?

“My suggestion to newspapers everywhere is to give the public a reason to read them again.” stated the editor.

Thank you Graydon Carter, Editor of Vanity Fair in “Editors Letter” for speaking the obvious in the July 2009 edition of the magazine.

Many of us in the newspaper business for maybe way too long have been singing the praises of magazine quality work both in words and photographs but in an industry where publishers and editors are afraid to buck the trend and put quality first and hope readers and more importantly advertisers will come…we have dug our own grave.

Was that  video you introduced this past month?

Now, if that sounds a bit bitter, looking deep into the dark depths of my soul…it is.

This past Friday I stumbled past a thirty-year personal best which I never really gave much thought to until Saturday.

I have been unemployed for two months and a day.  That is one day longer than I have ever been out of a newsroom.

Technology has made it much easier these days to both reject and face rejection.
Rusty with work of the past.

Rusty with work of the past.

Back in the day (old folks use that a lot) you had to mail a bulky portfolio laden with photographs or story clips.

I collected the rejections for a period of time, one of my favorites from an editor in Spokane, Washington.  “You would be better off as a milkman rather than a photographer.” he noted.

I always enjoyed the honesty in such a reply.

Where the deer hide and the turkeys wait for the rain to stop.

Where the deer hide and the turkeys wait for the rain to stop.


A little rain must fall:

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.

-Roger Miller-

Not much as the heaven’s opening, but more like spitting a luggie in this part of New York, the sky has spoken with a vengeance.  It overpowered both the thunder and lightening pounding Hook Road like a neighborhood bully during our third night as virgin residents 0n the east coast.

It had been a very long time since we had experienced the sheets of rain that fell through the trees driving the leaves flat to the rough limbs and tree trunks.

The sound was something that seemed foreign, coming from drought ridden Southern California.

 We looked not much different than the wild turkeys with their beaks to the sky just a few yards in the thick woods beyond our bedroom window. We pressed closer to the pane of glass watching as if it was the first rain we had experienced in a lifetime.

The signs are plentiful throughout the area emphasizing these were summer homes and hunting cabins back in the early days offering relief from the city just some fifty miles to the south.

The weathered deer platform is covered by the thick green leaves in the woods behind the house, but the cold steel fur traps still hang from the home’s cellar wall.  Now rusty and hard to pry open but still deadly with a slip of the clip.

As kids we trapped muskrat in the diversion canals that brought water of the Klamath River to the farms.  The traps are brutal and rarely kill on impact but allow the animal enough time to drown or chew a foot off to survive…but only a short time.

There are some things of my youth I don’t miss.

The rain was mesmerizing and it crested the threshold of the basement door by morning’s light. With a bit of bailing, using a yellow plastic dust-pale and bucket, the water receded just as the shower’s slowed.

I shuffled around the car only to find that I had left one of the rear windows open throughout the night.

It allowed the flowing waters access to the back seat and floor drenching both, reducing the sound system to a blank screen on the dashboard….but who needs music when you can listen to the rain.

 Into each life some rain must fall.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow-


Five States in Two Days:

There was a time when I thought I was a darn good coach and photo editor until a digital monster was unleashed on the blog the other day.

“Damn, slow down!  I can’t see the screen to shoot?  What about the reflection and the radio antenna? cried my navigator and digital journalist, Anne.

“Dude, do you think you are Ansel (@#$%&*#)  Adams with that point-n-shoot.” I blubbered.

She got that big grin on her face and did the co-pilot shimmy in her seat  singing how she had the best photo on the blog…I’ thinking I can’t seem to find the battery charger?

OBSERVATIONS:

Signs:

  1. Outside Tulsa: Don’t drive into the smoke! I guess just in case you had the urge.
  2. Hit a freeway worker and pay a $10,000.00! The state of Missouri knows what their guys cost.
  3. East of St. Louis on the Illinois side:  Hit a freeway worker and go to jail for 14 years! Illinois just could not come up with a cost figure.

Stuff:

A. Radio 1550 the sounds of Branson good old bluegrass “Jesus Hold my Hand” ….Jesus turn the station!

B. Armadillo’s are no better at crossing the road than an opossum, but they look far more peaceful, spinning on their shells feet in the air.

C. Missouri drivers pretty much feel the nation is their NASCAR track.

D. St Louis could very well be the worst city in the country to transition freeways.

E. It felt like a small piece of Corona driving by the LUCAS OIL stadium in Indianapolis.


Yellow Line Fever:

Old ranch home found outside of Amarillo, Texas on old Route 66.

Old ranch home found outside of Amarillo, Texas on old Route 66.

So California residents, if your wondering where your tax dollars may have gone for rebuilding the states infrastructure…it can be found in the state of  New Mexico.

If they can bend rebar, pave it, or put an orange cone around it (always in the left lane) they are doing it!

 Today’s vote for best roadside rest stops goes to Texas. They are clean, spacious and always have a grumpy welcome person on hand to make you wish you were back in Arizona.

This is advertised as the largest cross in the northern hemisphere found south of Okalahoma City. (Anne Miller/image) Ray of light provided by God or another bug on the windshield.

This is advertised as the largest cross in the northern hemisphere found south of Okalahoma City. (Anne Miller/image) Ray of light provided by God or another bug on the windshield.

Antidotal observations:

1…More moving companies and U-haul trucks are heading east, three-to-one.

2…More cyclist are riding Route 66 from east to west.

3…New Mexico uses little plastic barrels the size of a medium sized orange dwarf rather than orange cones on their constructions sites. If California wasn’t broke they should buy some.

4…I have added a new color to my pallet, GREEN, it’s everywhere!


New Roads on an Old Map:

 

Just a poor reflection of the big dogs in Cabazon!

Just a poor reflection of the big dogs in Cabazon!

It is hard to believe that it has been thirty-plus years since I’ve been glued to the white broken lines on the I-40 heading east.  Well, I was heading west thirty years ago but the lines were just facing the other direction, and looked much the same.

Good Lord, life is always more clear when you’re looking in a rear-view mirror and the sun is setting in the opposite direction!

An early morning start from Phoenix to Shea Road (It’s funny that my new start is off and running with an old friend’s last name.) to the 87; to the260; (don’t blink, Heber is there) to the 277; to the 377: to Holbrook and the I-40 (the holy pavement of Route 66).

Now I am a dinosaur lover and I have been since a small child rubbing the legs of the big boys in Cabazon, Ca. known as the home of the world’s largest fake dinosaurs.

To see a community such as Holbrook, AZ. claim legacy to the giants of dinosaurs just because of their location to the Petrified Forest National Park settled as well as the morning’s Denny’s “grand slam” (always a mistake) breakfast!

It’s tough for a guy who spent years in San Bernardino. CA. to understand why others claim rights to Route 66. I’m still trying to figure out why “fetish” Zuni jewelry is the specialty in Gallup and not Melrose along the official route? 

The clouds of Gallup, New Mexico

The clouds of Gallup, New Mexico

I’ve had a few good friends and colleagues from the state of New Mexico (some still friends) and I finally understand their challenges and sense of humor after today’s drive.

The state of California offers “Click It or Ticket” as their guide to safety on the freeway and New Mexico counters with “Click It or SPLAT!” with a red splash….you have to appreciate the humor in that.

I fell in love with the clouds that act as a white canopy and wonder why the state has blow-up Indian casinos when so many of the reservation residents appear to live in poverty?

Wait! My favorite was the real casino that had forty-foot arrows stuck at an angle in their parking-lot as if “Cupid” the Greek god of LOVE missed California?