Hole in the Clouds
Sep 5, 2009
Avram Dimitrscu's father was a musician in a Romanian concert band, behind the Iron Curtain. In the 1970s, the band toured western Europe, including the Channel Islands, where Avram's mother, a native of Belfast, Northern Island, was working at a resort hotel. They fell in love, and when it came time for the band to return to Romania, she helped him hide and eventually defect.. Avram was born on the Isle of Jersey and raised in Belfast. His parents ran a catering business until the 1990s, when travel to Romania became possible. Then they bought a truck and began operating a charity, collecting donations of food, clothing, and everything else, and driving all the way across Europe every month or so to deliver the contributions to Romanians in need.
Avram grew up during the troubles in Northern Ireland, in a Catholic part of town, and enrolled as an art student at the University of Belfast. He worked at a McDonald's near campus during the school year but spent his summers abroad, in Maine, where he worked as a camp counselor at a boys' camp. It was there that he met fellow-counselor John Stein. Avram and John traveled together, and Avram spent time in Alabama with all the Steins--always with his sketchbook in hand. Eventually, he married an American woman and moved to the town of Alpine, in the Big Bend area of extreme west Texas. He paints, illustrates, teaches art, runs the Dimitrescu Gallery, and surely still keeps his sketchbook close at hand.
This is his "Tiny Chicken #8."
(Image credit: Avram Dimitrescu
Aug 17, 2009
They wanted a picture of themselves at their lakeside campsite in Banff National Park, so they put the camera on a rock and set the shutter for a delayed snapshot.
Banff National Park
(Image credit: National Geograpic)
The whirring sound made by the camera as it prepared to snap attracted a squirrel, who chattered right back at it and got himself nicely pixellated for his 1/250th of a second of fame.
Or so it said on the National Geographic website. Hat tip to John "J.J." Stein for this fine submission to our irregular summer series of cute animal pictures. (Yes, there are more....)
Aug 5, 2009
This photo is ten years old now. Since then our five boys have rarely shown up in the same time zone, much less the same picture frame--this is an important document in family history.
(Image credit: Carol Stack)
The original negative is gone; there may be some high-resolution prints around somewhere, but I'm not sure where. What I've got on my computer is a scratched, speckled, and stained scan comprising just a handful of pixels.
This gussied-up version is only arguably better than the straight scan. Whatever: from left, in order of age, that's John, Ted, Joe, Allen, and Hank.
Oct 7, 2009
With apologies to those among you who have been on this list since 2007, I am repeating here one of my favorite baby pictures, taken almost 30 years ago. As you can see, John got distracted, and Ted made his move.
(Image credit: Norman Stein)
The prize clutched in John's little fist must have been something really special, so tasty and/or entertaining that it would be coveted even by a six-month-old baby. Such as a nice little pebble or twig or clod of dirt.
I like this picture because it suggests something of the tone of brotherly, um, love among the boys as the family grew. Even much, much later, whenever one of the boys would come home from college, odds were high he'd take a few minutes to go through his brothers' stuff and perhaps make off with a little something that wasn't being actively protected. Always, there was a stupid rationale--for example: "But it fits me better than it fits him."
Jan 20, 2010
All five Stein brothers in an elevator, on the first day of 2010.
From left to right: #3, #1, #4, #5, #2 (1981, 1978, 1988, 1992, 1979).