Hole in the Clouds
Sep 1, 2012
In the archives of the old Harris & Ewing photo studio in Washington, D.C., is the glass negative for this picture, with no caption information whatsoever.
What think you? A posed shot to promote new lawnmowers with Ajax Ball Bearings? Political imagery to promote a candidate with hard-working American (grass)roots? Somebody's aunt?
Couple of thoughts: Years ago, we lived in a neighborhood of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where most of our neighbors were older people. By then, lawnmowers had gasoline engines, but I recall that pushing them was considered women's work. More recently, when we lived in Maine, I often saw older couples out in the morning clearing their walks with gasoline-powered snowblowers. The division of labor for this task was that the man walked behind the snowblower while the woman worked alongside with a shovel.
What I like best about this picture: the pearls.
(Image credit: Harris & Ewing via Shorpy)
Sep 3, 2012
Upper Range Pond
(Image credit: Susan Wiggin)
Sep 4, 2012
Sep 5, 2012
For the 2007 Prairie Art Festival in Medicine Bow, Saskatchewan, German street artist Edgar Mueller turned River Street into a serious river.
Sep 7, 2012
At John and Bonnie's wedding this summer, guests were encouraged to pose for pictures in a photo booth. The people in these shots are pretty much all related to me in some way or another, most through marriage, either mine or my son's.
Sep 9, 2012
We all know that artists are often politically minded people, and that much art is intended, on some level or another, to communicate political ideas. But we all also know that works of political art, regardless of whether or not they succeed artistically, usually fail to directly accomplish much of anything politically. The paintbrush is not often mightier than the sword.
A couple of months ago, artwork on the streets of Yekaterina, Russia, a city of almost two million people about a thousand miles east of Moscow, got the political job done. The city fathers of Yekaterina–the regional governor, the mayor, and the vice-mayor–had all been elected on promises to repair potholes and other problems in the city's badly deteriorating roadways. Once in office, however, they seemed to lose interest; despite citizen complaints, the potholes just kept getting worse and worse.
One dark night in July, Yekaterina artists took to the streets of center city and painted portraits of the three well-known politicians with wide-open mouths surrounding three of the worst potholes. They documented their work with a video that they posted to a popular local website; an English-language video about their video is here.
The next day, the potholes were fixed and the portraits scrubbed from the pavement. Officials denied that the artwork had anything to do with the sudden burst of municipal maintenance.
Yekaterina was already a city with a certain artistic sensibility; in addition to their potholes, the downtown streets feature a bronze monument to Michael Jackson.
(ura dot ru via thisiscolossal dot org)
Sep 10, 2012
Tanja Baker writes from Durham, Maine:
I could have sent some cute pictures of our cats; they turned 2 years old yesterday and had a blast with their brand new toys. But I figured our 4 quackers deserve some shine too.
Now that we own a house with a yard and we no longer have to ask a landlord where we can plant a garden or whether we can have some animals, we had to get some egg layers. Everyone can have chickens, which are messy, and we wanted more entertainment. So we got some Indian Runner ducks.
There are no breeders in Maine or New England, so we had to order them from Texas. Little did we know that ducklings do not need any food or water for the first 3 days of their life; they are still nursing on the egg yolk. All they need is heat. So they come in a cardboard box (yes, the one in the picture) with a heating pad, delivered overnight to your post office.
I did not believe this would work without any casualties, but those little birds are tough as nails. They arrived 3 days old and happy to explore their new world. We had to keep them under a heating lamp and introduce them to water and cracked corn. Since then, they have been growing at an unbelievably fast pace. Now 5 months old and fully grown, they own the backyard, and we are waiting for our first egg. I will keep you posted, can't wait for my first backyard-grown breakfast.
(Image credit: Tanja Baker)
Sep 11, 2012
(h/t: Norman Stein)
Sep 12, 2012
Five years ago, when the Comcast Center skyscraper was nearing completion, a lucky photographer had a chance to go 974 feet up into the open superstructure and see what he could see. He saw that the Comcast tower was already more or less as tall as the tippy-tip-tops of the Liberty Center towers that appear to be right smack behind it, thanks to the magic of a telephoto lens. When complete, the Comcast building would be the tallest in the city, about thirty feet taller than the taller of the two Liberty Center spires
Way far away near the top of the picture is the Delaware River, and way down below and all around is lots and lots and lots of Philly.
(Image credit: Steve Ives)
Sep 15, 2012
For those who've been wondering: this is what the landscape looks like in extreme northern Paraguay, near the Brazilian border.
Sep 17, 2012
Richard Stein writes from Lower Hutt, New Zealand:
Our newest sheep, Little Fluffy Raincloud, at left in photo, was a gift from a friend of ours. We had three previously, Curly, Lari, and Mow, but Lari died recently of old age and is buried on our property, where she lived a full and happy life. Once your sheep have names, you cannot eat them. We need three sheep to keep the grass in our two paddocks.
(Image credits: Richard Stein)
The photo below is of our dog, Sesame, who immigrated to New Zealand with us (she is almost 12 now), and Trapper, our New Zealand cat. Both animals regularly follow A. and me when I walk to work in the morning.
Sep 18, 2012
Sep 22, 2012
There are good things to say about summertime, but there's also this: it was too damn hot. The air finally feels fresh and pleasant at this new-beginning time of year, even if I've had the same song in my head now for forty-one Septembers. . . .
(Image credit: JJ Stein)
Sep 23, 2012
That would be the band! The scene of this marching is the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, but bands are everywhere in the fall, parading down the street and then stepping out spectacularly onto the fields of glory. The inimitable Professor Harold Hill of Gary, Indiana, whose Think Method of musical instruction worked well enough till his encounter in Iowa with Marian the librarian, probably said it best: "I always think there's a band, son."
(Image credit: Archie Florcruz)
Sep 24, 2012
Maggie Stein and Colin Doody write from Rochester, New York:
We have two cats: Mac and Jasper. Mac is this tall, slim, elegant, handsome, smart and funny young man. However, as he has a shiny black coat, he is fairly difficult to photograph. You can see his eyeballs in the top picture above. That's one of his favorite hiding places: behind all of his favorite DVDs. He's got a comprehensive collection ranging from boy meets world and full house to sleepless in Seattle to black hawk down.
Jasper is our chubby, off-white, special little boy. While he is super cuddly and floppy (as you can see in the two pictures above), he is also less adept at normal cat functions. He often gets stuck up on top of our shelving unit, and he struggles with bathing, using the litter box, and controlling his caloric intake. He might also have a thyroid problem (which, as it turns out is a huge problem due to Rochester's soil), as he likes to sleep at least 18 hours a day. One of his favorite pasttimes, when he's not sleeping of course, includes pulling Q-tips and sponges out of drawers. He also enjoys occupying public areas in protest. While he doesn't voice his opposition well, we think he may have something against Ikea (see photo below).
We hope that our special boys make the Good Morning email. They would be so proud of themselves. Mac might even link to it on his Facebook account. Those interested might consider friending Macbot J. Catson.... he could use a few more friends. (Please don't tell him we said that.)
(Image credits: Maggie Stein)
Sep 25, 2012
Sep 26, 2012
In 1934, Carl Gustaf Nelson painted life in New York's Central Park, above, the way life ought to be; in 1932 and 1933, photographers from the New York Daily News aimed their cameras at Central Park's Hooverville, below, revealing life that was not being lived the way people ought to live. Both images tell something of the story, in an upstairs-downstairs sort of way.
New York's homeless citizens began building shanties in Central Park's Sheep Meadow late in 1931, by which time half the factories in the city had been shut down by the Depression and literally millions of New Yorkers were desperate for food and shelter. In 1930 and 1931 homeless people tried to camp in Central Park, but they were repeatedly arrested for vagrancy; as the economic situation became more and more dire, however, policemen and judges became more sympathetic to the "bums," and official eyes were averted as this and many other Hoovervilles emerged. Some of the shacks were said to be solid brick and stone houses with tile roofs, built by unemployed bricklayers.
The residents of Central Park's Hooverville said they had built their homes along Depression Street. Many of the shanties had furniture and at least one had carpets, but there was no electricity or running water, no sanitary facilities at all. In 1933, the city condemned the dwellings, evicted the residents, and demolished the shantytown. The official justification was public health.
Thus, by 1934, when Nelson painted his picture, Central Park had been officially reclaimed for the sole use of well-dressed, well-to-do people like the ones in the painting, people with warm apartments to go home to and indoor plumbing. The people of Hooverville had moved on, and they would keep on moving on, scraping by, somehow, till a government stimulus program, aka World War II, finally brought full employment back to America.
New York City
(Painting by Carl Gustaf Nelson; Photos by New York Daily News)
Sep 27, 2012
Looking out Helen Behr's new window in Highland Park, Illinois.
Sep 29, 2012
Blatt Tire and Service, at the north edge of Chinatown in Philadelphia's Callowhill district, deals with cars at a location long devoted to trains. The sidewalk grating is labeled as an emergency exit for the subway, and the overgrown overpass in the background carries long-abandoned railroad tracks that have been designated for a makeover into an aerial park like New York City's new Highline.
The good news is: the car passed inspection.