Autumn in Western Pennsylvania

Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Pennsylvania. This is promising to be another banner year for autumn color. These were taken in previous years.

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Pittsburgh Autumn

Autumn Reflections

Pocono Wetlands

Pocono Wetlands

Tales from The Oaks #1–Matinees

Background
In 1971 I married my soulmate and next year we will celebrate our 50th anniversary. In 1972 I lost my job as a credit manager and needed to reinvent myself. I decided to pursue my dreams and bought my first Nikon F camera. While learning my new craft I still needed to earn money. So in addition to becoming a teamster and driving a Yellow Cab, I began working as a projectionist at the Oaks Theater in Oakmont Pennsylvania.

With another projectionist we worked like doctors, three days on and three days off. It was fun and awful at the same time. Enjoyable to see new movies every week but also physically strenuous work. In that era movies were exhibited using 35mm film and the light source were Simplex carbon arcs projectors. An average movie had four to seven reels. Each reel weighed about 20 pounds. As the first reel got close to the end you would fire up the carbon arc on projector 2 and changeover from projector one to projector two. Then physically mount reel #3 on the first projector and manually rewind the first reel for the next show. After two years my right arm looked like Popeye The Sailor.

One of the owners was a colossal officious jerk. He was kind of like Ted Knight in Caddyshack. Sometimes his added stress would trigger us into some nasty pranks. We had no cell phones, TV or radio. There were no laptop computers so well we invented our own humor.

Episode One…The Matinee

We hated when they decided to have Saturday matinees. The person who pulled Saturday would essentially pull a double shift. Movies would normally start on Friday’s. We had no idea what would be waiting for us, so we had to arrive early on Fridays to carry the heavy containers up the stairs. We had to inspect the movies to make sure they were intact. Sometimes they weren’t rewound, and we had to rewind them.

The worst feeling was arriving Friday night and seeing 9 film cans rather than the normal 4 or 5. It mean there was a matinee on Saturday. Eventually we convinced our idiot bosses to provide a schedule but even so you could do nothing but groan when you saw all those heavy film cases.

There was a turntable and records in the booth so we could play music through the large Voice of The Theater Speakers before the show. Our boss insisted on playing Frank Sinatra before the Kids movies on Saturday. “No sense getting them all worked up” he said with his Ted Knight smile.

So, there I was on my third Saturday in a month, my partner was on vacation. I was pissed at missing another Saturday night anyhow and certainly aggravated that I had to be there on a beautiful fall afternoon. I locked the projection booth door and put on Frank Sinatra, yah don’t want to get them worked up. Hey wait, it occurred to me, I’m up here and idiot boss is down there…hmm fuck Frank Sinatra. I began to look through the albums. Hmm the United States Military Academy Band playing John Sousa’s marches. The kids should like this, right? It’s amazing how loud those big Voice of The Theater Speakers’ can get. As the theatre filled up, I cranked up the volume. I really didn’t hear the knocking on the door. Honestly, I didn’t. I was too busy watching the manager chase after the kids that were literally jumping on and over the seats. Oh well, it’s show time, I quickly dim the lights start the projector and lastly turn down the march music.

I didn’t work many matinees after that.

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The Oaks Theatre

Worlds Apart Kindle Sale Starts Saturday

Starting Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 8:00 AM PDT you can purchase the Kindle Version of Worlds Apart for just $1.99 . The sale ends on Friday, September 11, 2020 at 12:00 AM PDT.

Pittsburgh’s Jake Webber and Rose Youngblood provide some excellent escapist fiction as they battle evil across parallel worlds in this sequel to DreamMap . While Jake and Rose are jaunting through dimensions, Detective Janet Pizzutti tries to figure out a mystery at the site of the Greenfield Bridge implosion. The stories intertwine making for a fun adventure to help you escape Covid 19 and turmoil in the streets.

From our newest reviewer, “Great story with lots of mystery, plot twists, and even some chuckles. If you are familiar with Pittsburgh and its landmarks, you will really enjoy the tie-ins to many historic and popular spots of the city. This book does what every book should do —leaving you wanting more. Will there be third novel? Who knows, but don’t put off reading either of these gems — especially if yinz are from the Burgh.”

Another reviewer said, “I am a non-fiction guy; I prefer my books to be solidly grounded in reality. But reality has become overwhelming in these days of pandemic and political hyper-polarization. I needed something to take me away, to transport me to some alternate reality – or realities. “Worlds Apart” by Richard and Hinda Burke has done just that.”

Read a sample or order your copy by clicking here.

One World of Music Festival 1972

Like today, 1972 was a great time of social unrest in the United States. In August of that year there was a two day event at Pitt Stadium in Oakland sponsored by the NAACP. The festival was a celebration joining the forces of African Americans and young, socially conscious activists around the commonality of music. Bill Preston, Taj Mahal, Savoy Brown and Quicksilver Messenger Service were among those performing.

I had recently purchased my first Nikon F camera and an event occurred at the concert that shaped my entire photographic career. While listening to Billy Preston, I noticed Gary Duncan and Dino Valenti of Quicksilver Messenger Service sitting behind us. I turned quickly and captured this image of Valenti kissing a young lady. I entitled it Caught in The Act. It was my first photojournalistic image and suddenly I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Since then I have dedicated my artistic photography to trying to capture perfect moments. This was my first one.

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My beautiful picture

Early Reviews of Worlds Apart

Pittsburgh’s Jake Webber and Rose Youngblood provide some excellent escapist fiction as they battle evil across parallel worlds. While Jake and Rose are jaunting through dimensions, Detective Janet Pizzutti tries to figure out a mystery at the site of the Greenfield Bridge implosion. The stories intertwine making for a fun adventure to help you escape Covid 19 and turmoil in the streets.

From our newest reviewer, “Great story with lots of mystery, plot twists, and even some chuckles. If you are familiar with Pittsburgh and its landmarks, you will really enjoy the tie-ins to many historic and popular spots of the city. This book does what every book should do —leaving you wanting more. Will there be third novel? Who knows, but don’t put off reading either of these gems — especially if yinz are from the Burgh.”

Another reviewer said, “I am a non-fiction guy; I prefer my books to be solidly grounded in reality. But reality has become overwhelming in these days of pandemic and political hyper-polarization. I needed something to take me away, to transport me to some alternate reality – or realities. “Worlds Apart” by Richard and Hinda Burke has done just that.”

Read a sample or order your copy by clicking here.

Pittsburgh In Monochrome

Since I am traveling virtually this year I am revisiting places I have been and editing some of my images in monochrome. I look for images where the color does not add any value to the image and then see if I can convert it effectively. Of course Pittsburgh is my home but right now I miss traveling to my favorite places. I miss the museums, The National Aviary and the Phipps. I miss being able to do street photography. Yet looking through some of my images I found a few that were worthy of converting to monochrome.

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River View

PNC Park View

Schenley Park View

Pittsburgh

Missing the Phipps

I miss my friends and relatives but also just miss people in general. Each season we would make a visit to the Phipps Conservatory, The Aviary and Pittsburgh Museums. As members you begin to recognize the staff members. I hope they are all OK. Here are some pictures from previous visits to the Phipps Conservatory of Pittsburgh.

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Phipps Spring Flower Show

The Phipps Summer Garden

A Perfect Bloom

The Phipps Summer Garden

Today’s Lily from our Regent Square Garden

We planted these lilies three years ago and every year the deer would come right before they bloomed and eat the bulbs. Our neighbor built a new fence making it hard for the deer to get to the lilies and finally we get to see these spectacular flowers.

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Pink Lily

Why I Hate Deer

When we moved to the Pocono Mountains we oohed and awed over the deer. Our real estate agent said you will learn to hate them. I thought I never could hate such a pretty animal. We lived backed up to the woods on a fenced acre of land and the fence and our border collie kept the deer and bear away. Still they were a nuisance and we actually had to have a deer cull every year to control the population. It wasn’t until we moved to Regent Square that I began to hate them.

Yesterday I shared an image an image of a large tiger lily. Today they are all gone as are the red ones. They come like stealth invaders at night, eat our flowers and crap on our lawn. They are bad neighbors and wish they would stay in the park. There is plenty of food in the park. In the Poconos I would shoot at them with a pellet gun to scare them off but I can’t do that here. Sure they are pretty but so are our flowers which we rarely get to see due to their insatiable appetites. I hate deer.

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The Monster Lily of Regent Square

We have had this plant for a few years. It had never bloomed. The deer would come each year and eat it. Because of my neighbor’s new fence the deer don’t hang out here anymore YAY! We have been rewarded by the largest day lily I have ever seen. It is almost 8 inches across and beautiful in its coloration.

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Monster Lily