Sunday, August 31, 2008

Time for Republicans to Wear American Hats

AP Headline: Republicans Suspend Most of Convention Activities Monday. Story: With Hurricane Gustav heading toward the Gulf Coast, Senator John McCain announced that Republican Party activities on Monday in St. Paul would be suspended except for necessary business. He called on his party members to "take off our Republican hats and put on out American hats." Comment: Despite his likely intention to say this is no time for campaigning, it still begs the question, aren't Republicans also Americans? Is party affiliation so different a role that it must be cast aside when one is called on to behave like an American? Is party affiliation so distinct from being American as to cast its members into a partisan haze where responsibility and unity require temporary suspension of business as usual? Doesn't it seem like he's inadvertently admitting that business as usual is the bullshit express? Can't Republicans go into hurricane mode in their Republican hats? "Okay gang, we're going to have to be Americans again for a bit, do you all remember how it goes? Don't worry, here's a bunch of scripts to follow in case you forget. Actually best just to memorize it and don't go talking in your own words. You might say something off message and blow the whole thing. I do it myself sometimes when I forget who I'm working for, so be careful. "
If our corrupted and highly flawed two party system would ever allow our elected leaders to stop campaigning and actually lead; work together to find compromises and solutions instead of playing Rock' em Sock' em Robots year after year, maybe things would be a little less desperate and vicious. We're constantly at war with ourselves never mind other countries. Do we all really disagree about that much? It's no different than the Red Sox and the Yankees, the Red States and the Blue States, and it should be VERY different. All these hats and colors and over-simplification and exploitation of flash-point issues just drive the divisions that much more insidiously into public acceptance. Us and them. "It's all part of the game," as the cops and the dealers both say on the superb HBO series "The Wire" and when the game is on, it stops being about life and ends up being about money and power. People tend to say it's all too complicated to understand, but I think it's a matter of how you look at it. Through your own two eyes or through the lenses that are in front of you so often you forget they're there. Who am I to say any of this, as it's not a new idea and it's all been said far more thoroughly by others, but this hat comment just struck me as revealing. It was a "tell" as they say in poker. In the meantime, here comes Gustav and the wind is decidedly non-partisan when it comes to blowing hats off of heads and "knocking your block off"...the map.

More Duaflex Experimentation

I was less impressed with the photos I took today at Puffer's Pond. The ghostly, found-in-a-box-in-the-attic quality wasn't as pronounced. The handful below are before/crop/after shots where I've cheated and added one degree of "Antique" from the iPhoto effects panel in the third step. Judge for yourself. The initial shots in some cases are pretty nice as is. The ones where you can see the Duaflex viewfinder give you some idea of what I'm actually doing I clearly have to take the camera apart and clean up the lenses and the mirror. Does anyone have a tiny philips-head screwdriver?

It Works! Digital photos taken through viewfinder of Kodak Duaflex

These are the first four. It takes a while to get the hang of the distance between the lens and the viewfinder and you have to set your digital camera to "macro" but I'm pleased. I'll see what I can come up with out in the world today.

Social Benefits of Freecycle, Ghostly Benefits of Duaflex

I posted on Freecycle that I was looking for an old Kodak Duaflex camera. There's a small group of photography fanatics who've discovered that shooting through the viewfinder of the Duaflex with a digital camera results in pictures with a unique vintage feel. I got a response from Nina who I'd met once before and when we met to hand off the camera, we decided to have dinner. Nina has a room for rent and after dinner I went to check it out for my friend Lance who's looking for a new place. Nina's apartment was a wonder to behold, and I captured some of the assorted decor including the paintings that are just below the camera which are Nina Decker originals.

(Above) The Duaflex

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dynamite Records new Main Street Store is slated to open on Monday.

Peeping in though, there's still a lot to be done and it looks like they're going to have to really jam to make it. Here is the sign arriving today at around 11AM. Dynamite's Website

Friday, August 29, 2008

Northampton Three-County Fair Preview!

The fair is on tonight, Saturday, and Sunday at the Northampton Fair Grounds. The Demolition Derby is Friday at 6:30 and again Sunday at 6:30. $10 admission to the fair. Extra $5 for grandstand seats for the derby (worth it). $15 for an all-you-can-ride wrist-band or you can buy tickets if you want to just go on a ride or two. I took a stroll around earlier today before the onslaught to get a taste. It's all about the kids with plenty of low-intensity rides. The Zipper seems like the only real threat to dinner though I'm sure there will be some unwelcome spin-art after the fried dough and soda start to churn and the Star Ship becomes a vomitorium.

Okay. The one on the left.

No one rolling balls or racing pigs yet at 4PM.

The Fly Surf? How about Sky Claw or Construction Mishap?

Ferris wheel. Fe is steel on the periodic table. A FErris wheel is made of steel. This was my pneumonic device for remembering Fe in high school chemistry.

Perhaps the mushrooms and poppies have contributed to the worm's wackiness.

The younger worms have the shakes.

And it looks like the dragons are dizzy from huffin' gas again.

Heather and one of her mommies.

Step right up!

Assorted videos below. Play them all at once for full effect!

(above) The Human Lettuce Spinner

(above) The Bungee Pentagram

(above) The Wacky Worm with death defying...15 foot drop!

(above) The Vomitorium empties, The Zipper zips (with complementary tetanus shot)

(above) Rescued from the Ball Pit by mom!

A previous demolition derby at the fair. Rules dictate you can back into each other; no frontal hits.

Here's how Franklin County rolls. Great Greenfield Demo Derby Documentary...sorta.