Saturday, January 30, 2010

All Wet

All Wet

I know you think I'm all wet sometimes, but are too polite to say so.
Self-portrait taken in Las Vegas.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What is she on?--a rant

Medical Marijuana in the Classroom

I'm sticking my neck out again, something I try not to do but I can't resist this one. Be aware, I can and will delete any comments that I don't like. I reserve the right to be arbitrary and biased on this one.
First of all the juxtaposition of the article with the ad for Concerta is just too choice to miss (Concerta is an extended release form of ritalin).
Second of all, I'm sorry but since when do medical marijuana advocates recommend marijuana for school children and as a treatment for ADHD? In my mind giving pot to your kid is tantamount to child abuse. I know it is a free country but really. So your 5 year old has trouble sitting still and concentrating--what give him a little "medical marijuana"? Are we insane? This makes me so glad I don't live in California.
I am trying very hard to picture a classroom of stoned first graders. I might just have to write to the Comedy Network about this one. According to this writer, Jennifer L., there are 20 clinics in Oakland California dispensing marijuana to teens with ADHD. My brain hurts--hey, I forgot, weed helps with that too. I will not dignify Ms. L. with a link or even the use of her last name. I have no wish to engage her in a dialogue or promote her brand of insanity. You can see it on the screen shot if you use a magnifying glass and if you are really desperate for a laugh I will personally e-mail you the link. Ms. L. finishes her blog post with the following words:
"If I had a child with ADD, I think I would prefer they were on cannabis rather than Ritalin because it is a natural remedy." To which I reply, arsenic is natural too. As are ricin and tetrodotoxin. But I don't give them to my kids. What is the world coming to?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Board Up and Blue Sky

Board Up and Blue Sky

Inspiration is lacking so I'm posting some more pictures from my last few photo outings. This shockingly blue sky makes for a great backdrop for these old houses, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lodebar on Princeton

Lodebar on Princeton

One of my favorite local churches. It looks like a transplant out of Normandy. Lodebar is a biblical town which features in a story of King David doing a kindness to the son of his old friend Jonathan. I tell you this because I was baffled at the name of a church. It seemed more suited to a Colorado ghost town. In fact, it is from the Hebrew Lo Debar which is variously translated as "No word" or "No pasture" which suits this Englewood location.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Back to Gary--post number 1002

Gary row houses

Not much more than a year ago today, I took my first and only other set of photos of Gary, Indiana. I said most of what I could say on this post last year. This year I traveled over many of the same streets and revisited my favorite row of cast concrete row houses (built around 1910, architect D.F. Creighton, according to my sources). After a bit of searching on-line, (I do so love the internet), I learned that the initial concept for these houses came from Thomas Edison (one of my childhood heroes) and that these homes were built as low cost worker housing. According to a posted application for the National Historic Register, the Monroe Terrace Historic District these homes were built for the workers of the U.S. Sheet and Tin Plate Company and are "an outstanding example of early twentieth century company-supplied worker housing that utilized experimental methods and materials of house construction." (See above link). I wonder if the application was approved. I saw no signs of improvement to the houses since I visited them last year.
Well, this was more than I had planned on posting. I wanted to mention as well that I have posted over 1000 posts! I never dreamed this blog would last this long when I started it. I am amazed at how much I've learned and at the friends I've made this way. It has been worth it.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Back to our regularly scheduled programming . . . .

Aged Barn

On Sunday, I had a child free afternoon so I got in my car and pointed myself in a southern direction. My goal was to take some more photos of Gary, Indiana which I'll only do when I have a long day and cold weather.

Frozen Cornfields

Initially, I wound up heading due south and found myself in rural Indiana, south and west of my initial goal. It was a pleasant drive reminding me that there are still parts of the country where people raise horses, cows and poultry and still own plows and harvesters.

Eventually I consulted a map, turned north and east and found Gary. Suburban and rural housing developments receded and dereliction and dismay appeared. I am hesitant to judge a town I only know as a photographic tourist but downtown Gary is painful to visit. It is a ravaged old lady with good bones. I remember thinking that I wouldn't want to be the mayor of Gary. I hope he or she is a more hopeful type than I.

Burnt Out

In a way, Gary suits my wintry mood far better than cornfields waiting to be replanted. Winter and the stress of bad news makes me feel vacant and trashed like one of these poor houses, once someone's cherished and valued home.

Death Be Not Proud

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I'm in the mood for a grand gesture. Should I shave my head to raise funds for pediatric cancer research? Would I be silly, grandiose, vain, or something else to go ahead with it? Would I be chicken-sh-t not to do it now that I've thought of it? What would I look like without hair?
At least I know my hair grows fast. I'd only be a grotesque fashion statement for a couple of weeks. Then I'd be fashionably punk.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

F--k Privacy, F--k Cancer

Carter at Thanksgiving

I'm going to break my rule about keeping my private family business off the net. Since the relevant family members have not felt a need to keep this private, I'm going to dump it on the world or at least on my handful of readers.
My nephew who is 2 years old was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in August. It was an advanced tumor and is know to be very aggressive. At the time of diagnosis we were told that the survival rate at 5 years is around 50%. His treatment has been unimaginably aggressive. Chemotherapy, surgery and preparation for a bone marrow transplant. There have been all the usual complications with the poor little guy spending much of the last month in the hospital with fevers, GI problems, an abdominal infection and so forth.
Today we got the worse news. His latest staging scan reveals bone metastases. I don't know many details but it sounds like the hospital that is treating him feels that his current treatment has totally failed and they are looking for new protocols. It seems likely that if they go ahead, they will need to go out of state for treatment.
I cannot imagine how this all is for my brother and his wife. They just had a baby daughter a couple of weeks after their son was diagnosed. The family has basically had to split in two with my brother in the hospital with his son and my sister-in-law home with the baby and holding down the job that provides the essential health insurance. My brother who is self-employed has put his career on hold to do nothing but care for his son.
Some days life just seems so cruel. This is one of those days.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Black is the new White

Collection Black

I'm diverting myself, and hopefully you too, with a Parisian ad seen on the Champs Elysees this summer.

Lunettes Noires

Friday, January 08, 2010

Grandest Canyon

Zig Zag

Have any of you ever been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon? Not I. I have thought about doing so but frankly I am intimidated by the hike. This is what the National Park Service says about the hike to the bottom--"WARNING: There are no easy trails into or out of the Grand Canyon!"--which incidentally is printed in red. You get to choose between hypothermia and ice in the winter and heat stroke and 106 degree weather in the summer. Not to mention the cliffs and crowds.
To give you an example of the route, the South Kaibab trail descends (or ascends) 4760 feet in 7 miles. It is hard for me to even imagine climbing a nearly a mile in that distance! I did a lot of backpacking as a kid but I'm not sure this is something I'd want to negotiate now or in the future even if I were in shape. The alternative of going on mule-back seems even more intimidating although maybe less strenuous (not for the mule of course).

Mule Train

Despite sub-freezing temperatures at night and icy trails, there were a number of intrepid hikers and mule-bound travelers en route to the bottom when we were there. I took a few pictures in the true spirit of vicarious adventuring. I think if I ever see the bottom of the Grand Canyon, I'll have taken a raft trip.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Coral Pink

Why Here
Why here? Good question.

One of our scheduled stops on my recent vacation was at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. How can anyone turn down a chance to play on pink dunes? As we turned off onto a small side road to the park, snow became an issue. Even though we had rented the world's largest SUV to park our 6 bodies and luggage in, some members of our party became concerned we would get stuck in the snow. Personally, I didn't agree--the snow wasn't that deep, we had 4 wheel drive, the road wasn't that bad or that isolated. It nearly created the first of several squabbles that are inevitable with 6 opinionated people from 3 generations in one car for two weeks and 700 miles. Sounds like a road trip movie, right?

Desert plants in snow

I think the pictures speak for themselves. Coral pink sand dunes look white, white, white under a foot of snow. Chicago today has plenty of white drifts of snow. No need to fly all the way to Utah!

What We Were Missing
What we were missing.

So There's the Coral Pink
So there's the coral pink.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Raven Photo Op

Arizona seemed full of ravens. It was great to watch them fly over the canyons and strut around in front of the cameras. They were especially visible in the Petrified Forest National Park where I am sure they were fed by tourists (although as in any park this is not allowed). I can see why the Native Americans were so fascinated with them and included them in so many of their legends. They are smart, beautiful and personable birds. They can be annoying too. On a separate trip we took to the North Cascades, we were warned by the rangers to guard our windshield wipers as the local ravens had taken to stealing them! Amusing unless it happens to you. Fortunately we escaped with our wipers intact.

Painted Desert and Raven

Monday, January 04, 2010

Happy New Year

Ravens' Flight

I haven't had much time for posting. Here is a shot of ravens flying over the Grand Canyon.