signs of the times

Jamie Whittington, girl photographer, flew from California to DC to march.

Chien-Chi Chang, Magnum photog, flew to NYC from Graz.
 Signs, signs, everywhere a sign. Photos of the women's marches all over the world were mostly pictures of handmade signs—everyone had their own agenda as well as one great overarching one: Dump Trump. There were plenty of great photos and great signs, but none convey the sheer joy of the occasion as well as the videos that pop up all over the web. In this article in Canada's Macleans, the video of Donna Ferrato shooting the march in Washington DC conveys some of this excitement. And it was excitement multiplied as the numbers of millions rolled in. Here is a spreadsheet of estimated marchers around the country, though Block Island is not included. New York City approached half a million, and they were marching downtown from all the way up here on the Upper White Side. Maybe the most impressive pictures, along with closeups of the faces, were the aerials of the masses. Protesting does not produce transformation of society, as many articles such as this one point out. But they make people feel less helpless and more hopeful.
    Oh, and no tear gas goggles were needed. Anywhere.
I did not have to leave the Upper West Side to photograph some signs.


attainable dreams

I have been waking up to the sound of sirens whining, helicopters chopping, bad dreams and a feeling of dread. But today I bring you a reminder that the small things are perhaps the most important ones. If our little dreams come true, the big ones may fall in line.


Look how young Phil Ochs is here in 1968. I was 18 that year myself. As a "Quaker youth," I was a big peacenik. HUge. And, yes, I marched on Washington and struck for peace (though how on earth taking over the administration building at Vassar College was meant to help I can't tell you) and had a conscientious objector boyfriend—no women were drafted in those days.
  I have been very disheartened in the half century since. People are still as violent and warlike as they have always been. What good has any of our outrage done? Like Phil Ochs, I ain't a marchin' anymore.


on the street where i live

I believe this. I really do. I can't love everybody, though, without my nearest and dearest suffering neglect. Just ask anybody in public service or social work or teaching or activism—or journalism. Nor can I love in the abstract. I can only hope that loving those nearby will ripple out into into the wider world. I can try to do the other thing, though. I am trying to think of a person I hate, and at the moment can't call one to mind. Trying not to hate in the abstract—that's harder. Especially now.
#invasionoftheswampthings #rulingclasssansclass #inauguration #congress


strange fruit

You have been wondering how the bitter melon (or karela) plant is doing, I know. The one I planted from seed in Missouri, drove to New York and watched crawl six feet up the airshaft almost to Toby's apartment. Well, a spot of cold weather did it in just as it was blooming, and it fell down to my window. You can just see the little flower and a tiny melon, but I doubt we'll get much further with this plant. I have a couple more seeds. . .


day at the shore

One of Dorothy's three porches.

The City—so near and yet so far.
 There were oysters and mussels and expansive views. There were walks and talks and lots of snacks. There was a signature cocktail and even a football game. And there were Lo Ladies. A quarter of a century ago, we were among the first trekkers to visit the Nepalese Kingdom of Lo. Nancy Jo was our leader and inspiration. Miriam was the oldest, and Dorothy was the youngest. (I know Miriam is 86 now, because she's 20 years older than me.) And there we were, at Dorothy's beautiful house in Atlantic Highlands, overlooking Sandy Hook Bay with New York City in the distance. Everything was so easy and comfortable, it felt as if we'd known each other forever. Oh wait! We almost have!

Miriam, Dorothy and Nancy Jo.


in the cat seat

Monsieur Nosebite: Hair guitar

Monsieur Zevon: Ne'er guitar
Nosebite, Esq, has asked me to post these pictures. He points out that his resemblance to the late Warren Zevon is of the most profound. One of Nosebite's greatest hits is Lawyers, Mice and Werewolves. He accompanies himself on guitar. I am assuming that this is homage to Zevon's  Lawyers, Guns and Money, in which Zevon accompanied himself on piano. Not sure what the legal implications of this adaptation might be. However, I would point out that this pose of Monsieur Nosebite's is neither convincing nor becoming to a prominent member of the bar (barre?).


full moon

Oh, and Nosebite? Happy Wolf Moon! Aawoooooooo


give it up

A stuffed peacock. White.
The color of a virgin, a bridal gown, a form of privilege, a white flag.
The color of surrender.


a gaggle of geese

Ed thought I would like this. He was right!
Think of it, all over this great land of ours are empty, tiny buildings with no remaining purpose. And if technology moves as it usually does, there will be many more of them—mid century modern, deco, '60s style. Just think you could each own your very own superfund site! Some people like the owner of the UCM Museum in Louisiana have made some success repurposing old gas stations as art project/tourist traps; others, like the one above, appear to have had less success. Maybe, like the Goose, they are not only victims of dying technologies, but of dying towns. But that can make their surroundings more pleasant. This one, plus house, could be yours for only—see ad!


the vicarious life

Donna photographing her daughter in 2009.
A voyeur spying on a voyeur. Those of us in the vicarious life, like Donna and me, are a little twisted. (Although I would maintain Donna is more twisted than I am!) We set out to do stories believing we were helping people. Helping people to know they were not alone, helping to raise awareness, helping to make things better. And so we seduced our subjects, convinced them to let us tell their stories. Almost everyone wants validation, to know that they are unique and important, so the actual process of gathering a story is flattering to the subject. But people have been harmed in the making of these stories, too. Most people were not prepared for the exposure, and some of them got burned.

In truth, we do it as much for ourselves as others. Witness: Clare Hollingworth, war correspondent, who died at 105 with her passport by her bed. Her obit here.


man up

Ok, y'all. This is sort of the equivalent of the annual membership drive.
Yeah, I'm talkin'to you.
I have been writing this blog, almost daily, for a dozen years—since before most of you had even heard the word blog.
I know it's not always that exciting, but I need feedback to get 'er going.

Dudes, you've fallen off.
Katie does her duty. And Doro.
Otra Rubia gives it a shot. And Dianne.
Dada and Ed have fallen off.
Barrett, from being a mainstay, is nowhere in sight.
Hannah hasn't reported in in a decade.
Bill never has figured out how to post. Nor Debby.

It really isn't that onerous. You have to check a box saying I am not a robot.
Big whoop.
It's hard to keep going out here all alone.
Just give me some kind of sign.