Civility and Politics

I don’t usually comment or post about politics on this blog. In the last six years of writing this blog my political posts have only been a plea for people to get out and vote. Once again I encourage people do so. I will not be in the United States for most of the time leading up to the election. THANK GOD! Elections have always been contentious but this year has set a new low. We can blame it on the candidates but it is not really their fault.

Society is more polarized and angry that it has been since the Vietnam war and our political landscape is merely a reflection of how fractious and divided the United States has become. I have always felt guilty for the way we disrespected those who returned from the war in Vietnam but now the pendulum has swung the other way and if you don’t worship the flag and display your love of country many think you are not American. I yearn for simpler times when politicians were less controlled by lobbyists and Americans were less judgmental of each other’s actions but I recognize those times have passed. We are encouraged by social media to have an opinion about everything and correct and judge each other.

I realize like Roland Deschain that the world has moved on and I struggle to move with it. Once again i encourage you to vote and not to be discouraged. I know many people don’t even register to vote for silly reasons like they don’t want to serve on a jury or their religion prevents them from voting. So a nation that preaches democracy to the rest of the world and feels it has the right to take democracy to all has one of the lowest voter turnouts of any nation. This is shameful.

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Ted Kennedy and George McGovern  in Pittsburgh 1972

Ted Kennedy and George McGovern in Pittsburgh 1972

An Oldie at a Deserted (or so we thought) Train Station

This is one of my favorite shots and for some reason I never have published it. I was on a fashion shoot at what we thought was an abandoned train station. I have shared some photos from that shoot before.(one,two). We had been there for about an hour, not a soul in sight. The model was doing outfit changes behind a deserted building and then a train pulled in and these two guys got off the train and immediately checked their watches. We were both stunned but Pat had the good sense to run over to the train and strike a pose. A magic moment.

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A Deserted Station

A Deserted Station

Iao’s Needle

Every time we go to Maui we make sure we leave time to go Īao Valley State Park and the wonderful Gardens at Kepaniwai County park. The first time we were there was 28 years ago and I was saddened to learn that the parks were damaged severely last week. As of today Īao Valley State Monument on Maui, will remain closed indefinitely due to extensive damage from heavy rain and flooding that occurred on the night of Sept. 13 and early morning on Sept. 14, 2016.

“Our inspections show that the (ʻĪao Stream) Wailuku River course has changed and is significantly wider, cutting into state park land that contained public access features. The stream is heavily silted and cobbled with new material and landslides on both sides of the stream are evident,” said Curt Cottrell, Department of Land and Natural Resources State Parks division administrator.

I hope no one was injured although I believe several lost their homes which is injury enough. I know the spirit of the Hawaiian people and am sure the park will reopen soon but “mother nature” did some real damage and it will take hard work and dedication.

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Iao's  Needle Maui Hawaii

Iao’s Needle Maui Hawaii

Iao Valley State Park

Iao Valley State Park

Maui Hawaii[/caption]

The Roseate Spoonbill

A lot of people visiting Florida think these birds are Flamingos when they see them in flight. Flamingos are not as common in Florida as many may think and are more native to South America and Central America. The spoonbill though is common in the southern United States. Mostly you will see them wading in wetlands but when they fly they truly look strange. These were photographed on Captiva Island in Florida.

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Roseate Spoonbills in Flight

Roseate Spoonbills in Flight

Yo La Tengo at Carnegie Music Hall

So we were on our way to Boston for Thanksgiving a few years ago and stopped at a rest stop on The Mass Pike. My daughter and wife found me standing in front of the Men’s Room door staring intently at the door. They gave me a strange look and shrugged and I said, “Any second Trey Anastasio is going to walk out that door.” They both laughed but I had seen him go in when I was leaving and almost on cue he walked out the door.

Predictably my wife and daughter both shrieked TREY and he smiled and walked over to talk to us. After a minute he asked an interesting question, “So how did this happen?” wanting to know how our family became Phish Fans. We told him that we had been taking our daughter to Grateful Dead shows since she was 7 years old and now she was taking us to Phish shows. He nodding saying, “That makes sense.”

So why am I telling you this? It wasn’t really accurate. We still bought the tickets and actually it was my Godson who really introduced us to Phish. However when my daughter was in graduate school she surprised us by buying tickets and taking us to our first Yo La Tengo show in Maxwell”s Pub in Hoboken. Last night we saw the band deliver an awesome performance at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh. Of course it made me think of my daughter but also of meeting Trey Anastasio all those years ago and thinking he would also think that this also made sense.

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ylt3

ylt1

2

Friend or Foe?

When we first moved to the Pocono Mountains we would see all the deer and get real excited. Aren’t they pretty? Isn’t nature wonderful?
Our real estate agent laughed and told us that within five years we would think of them as pests. He was wrong, It only took three years. We saw the impacts of deer wasting disease and eventually our community had to vote for a deer cull. There was no hunting in our community and the deer population was unhealthy.

For the last three years we have been wintering in Florida and I love to watch birds in flight, especially large birds like pelicans. People who live there hate them, especially fisherman. They steal bait, steal the catch, poop all over their boats and stalk them well out to sea. Here is a small group pestering a fisherman in a bay near Captiva island Florida.

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Friend or Foe

Friend or Foe

Still Waters…Still Minds

In modern society it is more difficult to shut off your internal dialog and empty out your mind. We are always listening, watching, reading and we use a larger percentage of our brain than ever in history. Yoga masters know the truth is to focus on your breathing. I am a very visual person and I find it helpful while doing yoga breathing to focus on relaxing images in my mind. I find still reflections like this one to be the most relaxing. Not enough to focus on to make you think or excited, but the stillness of the image helps me to empty my brain.

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Still Waters...Still Minds

Still Waters…Still Minds