Unexpected Moments of Grace

Alice in Wonderland

Driving home (north) on South Dakota Avenue late tonight, in the murky darkness.  Movement caught my eye from the right.  On the side walk something was moving.  What is that, a cat?  No.  A possum?  No.  Something hopping.  It was a rabbit!  A white rabbit.  A fuzzy, quite healthy looking albino rabbit hopping up the sidewalk on South Dakota Avenue!

I wonder if rabbits can find their homes the way that cats and dogs can.

Annie Liebowitz

EB and I went to see the Annie Liebowitz exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery today.  Admission was included when we paid for the Ansel Adams exhibit earlier.  

I first became aware of Annie Liebowitz because of my love for John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  Liebowitz was the photographer who took the famous Rolling Stone cover of the couple lying on a bed.  Yoko, fully clothed and staring out directly are the viewer.  John, naked, wrapped in a fetal position around her.

Having become "a fan" of Liebowitz, I came to know other photos by her - Bette Middler naked in a bed of roses, Whoopie in a bathtub of milk - her dark skin in contrast to the white, Chris Rock in white-face - amazing.  

The exhibit, designed by Liebowitz herself, interspersed her professional work with personal pictures of family and friends.  It gave me a voyeuristic feel to see her parents and her friend, author Susan Sontag, exposed by the same eye as saw those celebrities.  

In her photos, there is a jolt of surprise, a visceral stir, seeing something both staged (obviously composed) and uncomfortably intimate at the same time.  Exposing some essence of a person and/or what we project on to them.

Which is why I was surprised to read that Liebowitz does not see herself as a portrait photographer.  In fact, the exhibit says she'd prefer landscape photography like her hero, Ansel Adams. I can understand admiring Adams.  But the examples of her landscape photos were not particularly inspiring, not like Adams', whereas her portrait photos... If what was written is true then it's  a shame she doesn't see where her gifts lie.

Finding Bimbo in Little Mexico

Grace and I went to Little Mexico today, an area around the intersection of Kenilworth and East-West Hwy that has a high concentration of Mexican immigrants. As Grace often points out, while there are large numbers of Latin Americans in the DC area, most of them are Salvadoran, not Mexican. She was specifically looking for supplies for El Dios de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), November 1st.

So... we went to a wonderful Mexican bakery, which was selling Pan de Muertos (bread of the dead). And we ate yummy tacos like the kind I used to get from the taco truck in SoCal. I discovered Sidral Mundet, a Mexican apple-flavored soda that reminded me of Apple Sidra, the Chinese apple-flavored soda with which I grew up. I actually liked the Mexican version better, seemed lighter. And we went to several small grocery stores where I got to view the merchandise. I love going to grocery stores of different cultures - seeing both the similarities and the differences, discovering new things. And that is how I discovered Bimbo Bakery. There was Bimbo bread, which looked alarmingly like Wonderbread, and to my over-joyed amusement, Bimboletes. Even tho they didn't look nearly as good as any of the pastries I had just bought, I had to get some.

Guess "bimbo" doesn't have the same connotation in Mexico as it does in the U.S.

Ansel Adams

The Golden Gate Before the Bridge

EB and I went to see the Ansel Adams exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery today. I have long been a fan. (Who isn't?) Even so the exhibit surprised me.

Yes, I was expecting the beautiful photos of Yosemite and other natural scenery, and they were there in all their glory.  But I wasn't expecting the photos of buildings and statuary and other references to human civilization.There were photos of the Sutro Baths in San Francisco (I'd heard of them but never seen them before) and of small suburban towns in SoCal. And they were lovely photos, every bit as lovely as the national parks. In addition, it seemed that Ansel loved the same places that I love - Cali, the Southwest, New York... I was really surprised to see photos of both Pueblos and Manhattan. Guess I was a fan who didn't know very much about Mr. Adams after all. What a gift to see my beloved places through his eyes.  The unexpected side-effect of taking in all this beauty is that I am now extremely home-sick. Homesick for California. Homesick for the Southwest. Homesick for New York. But mostly homesick for San Francisco, my love.

The Great Gull Getaway

This arrived in my emailbox yesterday.  Anyone who thinks there's no connection between humans and other animals is out of touch with reality.  Hey, I like Doritos too!

A seagull in Scotland has developed the habit of stealing chips from a neighborhood shop.

The seagull waits until the shopkeeper isn't looking, and then walks into the store and grabs a snack-size bag of cheese Doritos.

Once outside, the bag gets ripped open and shared by other birds.

The seagull's shoplifting started early this month when he first swooped into the store in Aberdeen, Scotland, and helped himself to a bag of chips. Since then, he's become a regular. He always takes the same type of chips.

Customers have begun paying for the seagull's stolen bags of chips because they think it's so funny.

How to Handle School Bullies

This story made my day, probably my month. What a woonderfully positive way to respond. :)

Central Kings students wear pink to send bullies a message

By IAN FAIRCLOUGH Valley Bureau

CAMBRIDGE — Two students at Central Kings Rural High School fought back against bullying recently, unleashing a sea of pink after a new student was harassed and threatened when he showed up wearing a pink shirt.

The Grade 9 student arrived for the first day of school last Wednesday and was set upon by a group of six to 10 older students who mocked him, called him a homosexual for wearing pink and threatened to beat him up.

The next day, Grade 12 students David Shepherd and Travis Price decided something had to be done about bullying.

"It’s my last year. I’ve stood around too long and I wanted to do something," said David.

They used the Internet to encourage people to wear pink and bought 75 pink tank tops for male students to wear. They handed out the shirts in the lobby before class last Friday — even the bullied student had one.

"I made sure there was a shirt for him," David said.

They also brought a pink basketball to school as well as pink material for headbands and arm bands. David and Travis figure about half the school’s 830 students wore pink.

It was hard to miss the mass of students in pink milling about in the lobby, especially for the group that had harassed the new Grade 9 student.

"The bullies got angry," said Travis. "One guy was throwing chairs (in the cafeteria). We’re glad we got the response we wanted."

David said one of the bullies angrily asked him whether he knew pink on a male was a symbol of homosexuality.

He told the bully that didn’t matter to him and shouldn’t to anyone.

"Something like the colour of your shirt or pants, that’s ridiculous," he said.

"Our intention was to stand up for this kid so he doesn’t get picked on."

Travis said the bullies "keep giving us dirty looks, but we know we have the support of the whole student body.

"Kids don’t need this in their lives, worrying about what to wear to school. That should be the last thing on their minds."

When the bullied student put on his pink shirt Friday and saw all the other pink in the lobby, "he was all smiles. It was like a big weight had been lifted off his shoulder," David said. No one at the school would reveal the student’s name.

Travis said that growing up, he was often picked on for wearing store-brand clothes instead of designer duds.

The two friends said they didn’t take the action looking for publicity, but rather to show leadership in combating what they say is frequent bullying in schools.

White Flour!!

Anti-hate Activists at a KKK Rally

Silliness.  Kindness.  It's definitely a moment!

Clowns KKKick KKK ass!

Monday May 28, 2007 16:25

by Chris Irwin - Three Rivers Earth First!

FROM THE NEWSWIRE: Knoxville rejects Nazis and Klan.

Saturday May 26th the VNN Vanguard Nazi/KKK group attempted to host a hate rally to try to take advantage of the brutal murder of a white couple for media and recruitment purposes. 

Unfortunately for them the 100th ARA (Anti Racist Action) clown block came and handed them their asses by making them appear like the asses they were.

Alex Linder the founder of VNN and the lead organizer of the rally kicked off events by rushing the clowns in a fit of rage, and was promptly arrested by 4 Knoxville police officers who dropped him to the ground when he resisted and dragged him off past the red shiny shoes of the clowns. 

“White Power!” the Nazi’s shouted, “White Flour?” the clowns yelled back running in circles throwing flour in the air and raising separate letters which spelt “White Flour”.

“White Power!” the Nazi’s angrily shouted once more, “White flowers?” the clowns cheers and threw white flowers in the air and danced about merrily.

“White Power!” the Nazi’s tried once again in a doomed and somewhat funny attempt to clarify their message, “ohhhhhh!” the clowns yelled “Tight Shower!” and held a solar shower in the air and all tried to crowd under to get clean as per the Klan’s directions.

At this point several of the Nazi’s and Klan members began clutching their hearts as if they were about to have a heart attack. Their beady eyes bulged, and the veins in their tiny narrow foreheads beat in rage. One last time they screamed “White Power!”

The clown women thought they finally understood what the Klan was trying to say. “Ohhhhh…” the women clowns said. “Now we understand…”, “WIFE POWER!” they lifted the letters up in the air, grabbed the nearest male clowns and lifted them in their arms and ran about merrily chanting “WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER!”

It was at this point that several observers reported seeing several Klan members heads exploding in rage and they stopped trying to explain to the clowns what they wanted.

Apparently the clowns fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the rally, they believed it was a clown rally and came in force to support their pointy hated brethren. To their dismay, despite their best jokes and stunts and pratfalls the Nazis and Klan refused to laugh, and indeed became enraged at the clowns misunderstanding and constant attempts to interpret the clowns instruction.

The clowns on the other hand had a great time and thought the Nazis were the funniest thing they had ever seen and the loud laughter of over 100 counter protesters greeted every attempt of the Nazis and Klan to get their message out, whatever that was.

Many of the local Knoxvillians that came to counter demonstrate had no illusions about why these out of state bad clowns with swastikas were doing in their town.

“KKK YOU CAN’T HIDE, WE CHARGE YOU WITH GENOCIDE!”

“GAY, STRAIGHT, BLACK, WHITE ONE STRUGGLE ONE FIGHT!”

“U.G.L.Y. KLAN YOU AIN’T GOT NO ALIBI, YOU UGLY, YOU UGLY”

Were just a few of the chants that the non clown counter protesters rained down upon the Nazis. The clowns interacted with the non clown protesters with glee and even participated in a chant or two, though apparently with no idea that the Nazis were indeed not clowns thinking it was just part of the show.

In the end the 20 or so sad VNNers left with their tails between their legs. At this point over 150 counter demonstraters were present. The clowns seeing how dejected and sad the Nazi’s looked began singing to cheer them up.

“hey hey hey hey, ho ho ho ho—good bye, good bye” everyone sang waving their arms in the air in unison.

After the VNNers left in their shiny SUVs to go back to Alabama and all the other states that they were from the clowns and counter demonstrators began to march out of the area chanting ‘WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!”

But the cops stopped the clowns and counter protestors. “Hey, do you want an escort” an African-American police officer on a motorcycle asked. “Yes” a clown replied. “We are walking to Market Square in the center of town to celebrate.”

The police officers got in front of the now anti racist parade and blocked the entire road for the march through the heart of Knoxville. An event called imagination station was taking place and over 15,000 thousand students and their parents were in town that weekend. Many of them cheered as the clowns, Knoxvillians and counter protestors marched through the heart of Knoxville singing and laughing at the end of the Nazi’s first attempt at having a rally in Knoxville.

http://asheville.indymedia.org/article/107Clowns

Red Hibiscus and an Orange Moon

Yvonne came to be my first guest in my new home. As a house warming present she brought a beautiful hibiscus plant with large deep red flowers. We planted it on the side of the front yard, where we'll be able to see it when I eventually get some porch furniture. Since Vonnie had attended a conference in New Jersey with the plant in the car, it was a little worse for wear and I've been fussing about it since it went into the ground on Friday. The hot weather has not helped, and the flowers that were on the plant have all drooped and died. Grimly, I cut off the dead heads.

But this morning, I came outside to be greeted by a big fat beautiful red flower. A new bud had blossomed and I could see more buds were in the works. A fine house-warming indeed.

And tonight, as I walked back to the house from my back alley, I looked up and saw a big fat beautiful nearly full orange moon. Not off-white or yellow, but orange. Don't know why. I had missed the lunar eclipse from last night - the sky was too overcast - but tonight made up for that.

Only in the NorthEast?

I realize that this silliness could occur anywhere (and actually I think it was from the Midwest), but I had already teased the Midwest and figured it was the NorthEast's turn. One of my strongest memories of it while living there was it's obsession with antiques. Even freshly made antiques, apparently.

Thanks to Mer & Adam for sharing this photo.

Unearthly Beauty

A friend forwarded me some pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope. Supposedly, after more than 15 years of snapping pics, the guys at NASA voted on the ten images they thought were the most spectacular. All ten were amazing but I actually liked some of the ones that ranked "lower" better. The colors are unbelievable. They remind me of William Blake.

Coming in at numero uno is the Sombrero Galaxy, and it truly is just a pristine picture.

"The Perfect Storm," a small region of the Swan Nebula came in at number seven but I thought it was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. I can picture Urizen there measuring the solar systems.

And lastly but not leastly, "Starry Night," named after the Van Gogh painting. It too reminds me of Blake. Heck, it looks unreal.

To see all the pics visit the Gallery pages of the Hubble site.

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