I got to spend an hour with our friend Tracy Nicole today, whose mom won another in a series of Mary Kay cars. We talked about all kinds of things as we waited in her mom’s front yard for the car to arrive. Tracy is a singer-songwriter, and Abby and I really like her music. While we were talking, Abby called to tell me her baby mouse for her computer at work died, and could I go by Staples and buy her another one. When I got off the phone, Tracy said we were “precious,” which is probably true. She told me she couldn’t sleep last night and wrote seven new songs, the lyrics to which she showed me, and they were really nice.
RE called to say he saw a t-shirt in a bin at MIT that simply said, “Meh,” which as my faithful readers know is one of our nomers. He asserted that the existence of said shirt was a direct result of the word virus principal, and that we are the source. Flattery, flattery. I am no more the source than a hole in the ground.
In conclusion, fleh.
Okay, here it is, our 1985 community access comedy Kamikaze Badminton. Shamelessly violent, terribly acted, awkwardly photographed, and littered with sophomoric production values, it remains the only film created by Paranoid Adolescent Fantasies Productions. It stars Robert Cote, David Wheelock, Michael Zeiler, Dwight Strimple, Karl Krummel, Neal Thomas, and me as the guy who didn’t have enough to do that summer. I am able to show it to you now because the 18-year copyright has since expired, so there is little chance any of these people will be able to sue me for posting it.
The entirety of mainstream politics and media in America continues to refer to certain terrorists throughout the world as “Radical Islamists” or “Islamic Fundamentalists,” as if to intellectually divorce Islam from the terror perpetrated in its name.
It is not the responsibility of the United States and its military or intelligence community to apprehend fundamental Islamic terrorists; it is Islam’s responsibility. Indeed, while many Islamic organizations pay lip service to the civilized world with strongly-worded condemnation of terrorism, what is missing is action.
It is also interesting to note that societies and groups seem to stop hating America just as soon as they begin to have American-style behaviors themselves, and in particular, American wealth. Saudi Arabia comes to mind. A fact that poorer nations, and Islamic nations, conveniently ignore is that without western wealth and capitalism, they would have nothing. After all, where does the middle-eastern world get its wealth? Almost universally it is from petroleum, and America is petroleum’s biggest customer. Imagine how little power and influence nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, and others would have without our oil money. They would languish in squalor and obscurity.
Here is a quote from a piece I found on the web recently that was penned just after 9/11, and which begins by condemning the attacks, but rapidly degenerates into a bellicose anti-American diatribe: “As Muslims we must know that the American form of democracy can never be allowed in a truly Islamic society. In the American form of democracy any issue is allowed to be put to a vote of the people, and the majority decision prevails upon all. Can we as Muslims put an issue that has already been decided for us by Allah up for a vote and accept the will of the majority if they vote against the Will of Allah? Of course we cannot, so therefore we can never accept democracy as defined, practiced, and promoted by America.” (Read it in its entirety here.) But America didn’t fly jets into building to directly attack Islam! Imagine the reaction if “Christianic Fundamentalists” flew jets into the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, which is without question the Islamic world’s World Trade Center. The truth is that “radical Islam” invited us in that day.
Of course I can certainly appreciate animosity toward America and its policies. In many parts of the world, George W. Bush is regarded as a terrorist himself. (Let me assure you that “W.” isn’t bright enough to hatch a terrorist plot against the White House Rose Garden.) But as all rational humans know, two wrongs never make a right (”An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” -Gandhi). America is often seen as the bully on the block. The obvious solution for nations that don’t like America is to stop inviting America. Stop buying our Coke. Stop selling us your oil. Stop watching our movies. Stop letting us visit. What’s that? Without American dollars your economy would be in the dark ages? Too bad. If you hate us, get out of bed with us.
In conclusion, I would like to add that Islam is just a religion, and like all religions, is based on a view of the universe that is based on superstition and magic, and is therefore fundamentally, factually wrong.
This morning Abby and I slept in, and as the morning went by, I found myself dreaming rather extensively about Jorja Fox, the actress who played Sarah Sidle on CBS’s CSI for seven seasons. Abby was disappointed to see the actress and the character leave the show, and with the departure of two additional core characters (Gil Grissom and Warrick Brown [presumably]), she and I believe the show may have jumped the shark.
Anyway, in the dream I am apparently on the CSI team along with Sarah, and we have gone underground, literally, intending to blow up a casino. She reassures me, however, that it’s okay, since we own it. She prepares her explosives, which are created by mixing a critical mass of dog food in seven large dog food bowls in the stairs to the basement we are using as shelter (this may have been a result of my reading on Wikipedia about a criticality accident that occurred in 1945). She tells us that when she puts on the last handful of dog food, we need to run as fast as we can down the underground hall.
After the detonation, Sarah Sidle has apparently strained her back, so she is held flat to a wall by a vacuum pump to keep her spine straight.
No sooner had I read on Wil C. Fry’s blog that he and his wife Marline were celebrating birthdays than I saw them both, at last night’s Konawa vs Wayne football game and homecoming coronation. They were happy to see me, as I was them, but we were all busy, and didn’t really get the chance to hang out. Wil
claims to be painfully shy, but I never really know if he is being aloof or I am being a doof.
I also apologize to Giant Muh fans worldwide for not having my own photos of Scott AndersEn handy when blogging about him the other night, and to repair this injustice, I searched my archives for a photo of him that had never been printed or scanned, so it appears here for the very first time. Custom handtinting took me upwards of five laborious minutes.
Yes, photographer’s friends tend to also be photographers.
This bizarre image is actually Abby doing one of her regular exercises, which therapists and trainers call “bridges,” but which Abby knows by the nickname “Chihuahuas.” Normally the move is performed by laying on the back and placing a weight on the abdomen, then bridging up, holding, and lowering for a set number of times, which is Abby’s case is currently 30. She named the exercise the “Chihuahua” after it became obvious that our dogs could act as the weight.
Here’s my story from 9/11, seven years ago, the day of the terrorist attacks:
I was at Ada Junior High early, taking a picture of a teacher and the student who saved his life by performing CPR, which we were trying to get into the paper that morning. I overheard some chatter about a plane crash in New York City, and mention of a Boeing 767. As a pilot, aircraft types are interesting to me, so my ears perked up. I only caught a couple of details, something about two planes, when I decided I needed to get back to the office so I could hit our deadline.
I was shooting that day with my first digital SLR, the Nikon D1H, which had only been in my hands for about three weeks. It was making deadlines decidedly easier.
On the way back to the office, I heard a parcel of scanner traffic, the Homer Volunteer Fire Department as I recall. The captain was telling his firefighters to gas up all the trucks because the price of gas was about to shoot through the roof. I happened to be passing my usual fuel stop, so I pulled in and topped off my tank for $1.35 a gallon, and at the time I didn’t think much of it.
Back at the office, I went straight into my office, which was still the darkroom then, and swiftly worked my image, then popped into the newsroom to let editors know it was ready and on the server. I found everyone in the conference room, crowded around the television. There it was, the smoke and chaos that became known as 9/11.
For the rest of the day, I went around town shooting images of the local effects of a national crisis. The Ada Fire Department raised the giant flag in Wintersmith Park that normally only gets used on July 4.
The Oklahoma Blood Institute had a line out the door and down the street of people trying to donate blood.
By noon, the gas stations had lines out the door and down the street, and prices were above $4 a gallon. I thought it was pretty selfish of the station owners to jack their prices, and I also thought it was pretty selfish of everyone to buy every gallon of gas in sight. What if the crisis had been much more severe and the military needed it? I thought it was pretty unpatriotic, and if I’d know what was really happening when I was about to gas up in the morning, I wouldn’t have tanked up.
In the days that followed, I shot a lot of images of people “doing their part.” Some of it was genuine, some of it was self-serving. 9/11 happened on a Tuesday, and that Friday night, football was replaced by a candlelight vigil at ECU’s Norris Field in Ada. Like the previous days, some of it was genuine, and some of it was indulgent. Overall, the vigil itself was appropriate.
The reason for its importance to me isn’t it’s photojournalistic value, but the fact that the woman in it threatened to sue us over it. (I cropped out all the faces for our protection.) The reason? She isn’t saluting during the Pledge of Allegiance. She said it made her look unpatriotic. Look at the photo. Is she saluting? No. Does that make her unpatriotic? No, of course not. What makes her unpatriotic is that in the midst of the most deadly terrorist assault on American soil in history, she only thought of how it made her look. What a bitch.
Background information: Dorothy Milligan was Abby’s mother-in-law for 23 years while Abby was married to Paul Milligan, the youngest of three brothers. He died in 1992. In spite of the fact that Dorothy is not technically related to us biologically (except that Abby’s daughter Chele is Dorothy’s granddaughter), we still regard her as our mother-in-law, and she feels the same way about us. Dorothy lives on the other end of our bucolic pasture, and we all take care of each other. (Pay attention – this will all be on the test.)
Tonight I took something down to Dorothy’s house for her, and she was there to receive it. She told me that yesterday a large Kingsnake fell into her living room from above. She assumed it came from the attic or a high bookshelf. It appeared stunned to her after it fell, and not wanting to kill it, she brandished a broomstick or other implement and attempted to usher it out. The reptile awoke, and managed to slip away behind her computer desk, and she hasn’t seen it since.
Here’s the cool part: she doesn’t care. She figures that if she doesn’t bother it, it won’t bother her. And it might eat some mice while it remains a guest. Man, she’s cool.
Oh, and she’s been to Israel three times.
When I was outside today, I could feel it: September. The air was different. It was as if the sun were struggling to be hot, but failing. By now the spiders are big, the pond is low, the baby rabbits have all grown up. Summer is ending.
It’s only one six billionth all about you.
For those of you who thought that our Norman gang cranking out a list of baby names that start with “C” was funny, here is the actual list…
Casper, Carmen, Caper, Canter, Chai, Covey, Colorado, Cumin, Caledonia, Cayenne, Cisco, Cecelia, Calypso, Cyrus, Ciattle, Clooney, Clara, Charlene, Cloud, Chaz, Cobalt, Conifer, Cale, Cane, Chipotle, Cole, Coco, Ceecee, Celtic, Carrot, Cuba, Calliope, Captain, Clover, Clever, Camilia, Cassius, Clay, Carter, Cullen, Comet, Cosmo, Chandler, Candace, Cello, Crowe, Cassini, Chenille, Coat, Conch, Copper, Caviar, Cancun, Coral, Caper, Cannon, Corina, Chewbaca, Civet, Coors, Cord, Cora, Cosette, Countess, Colliedge, Charlotte, Caspian, Coriander, Chandra, Caper, Congo, Chellie, Ciprian, Cedar, Cinema, Chase, Chad, Cherish, Cherry, Charm, Curry, Cassia, Cyril, Cree, Cinderella, Coclea, Cambridge, Card, Claudio, Cannibus, Corky, Cocina, China, Canal, Cristobal, Cognac, Cider, Crash, Cash, Cadance, Catelyn, Cailiu, Caymen, Cashmere, Cid (Cyd), Cork, Callico, Creed, Casiopia, Camel, Cleopatria, Carnivoire, Case, Canado, Camarron, Cimmeron, Cyan, California, Coast, C, Chapps, Chapel, Canary, Cupid, Custer, Casanova, Cruz, Cruiser, Caleb, Cave, Carpe, Cooper, Corvette, Cobra, Chevy, Camero, Carera, Ciao, Corncob, Cricket, Claud, Clyda, Clint, Conon, Corona, Chardonnay, Chablis, Captain, Cougar, Chevron, Chino, Christmas, Chromo, Cinema, Chaplin, Cicero and Cerebellum.
As Gustav slowly churns to our east, the weather here has been breezy, cloudy, occasionally rainy, and a little mysterious-looking. As evening fell, I walked around outside and watched the sky change. Low clouds streaked by from northeast to southwest, and high clouds caught the last light, as in this image of one of the young pecan trees I planted this spring.
It must be very reassuing to believe in a life after death. I don’t believe in life after death because I don’t believe in death. Death itself is a transformation. Now I am a human. Tomorrow I may be dust. But all that I am remains. Maybe I am the sand in the desert. Maybe I am the water in the sea. But I am still here.