Monday, October 31, 2005

stalwart or shill

Speakers Corner, October 2004

Our namesake, Uncle Ben, was an African-American rice grower who harvested his rice with such care that he reaped honors for the full-kernel yields and quality. In fact, his rice was of such excellent quality that it came to represent the standard by which all other rice was judged. As the story goes, the proudest boast a rice grower could make was to claim his rice to be "as good as Uncle Ben's."

Years later, Gordon L. Harwell launched a company offering to the public the same high-quality, nutritious rice he'd supplied to the armed forces in WWII through his company, Converted Rice, Inc. He chose the name "UNCLE BEN'S" to symbolize the high quality of his rice products. To this day, we preserve the standard that was set so many years ago by the Texas rice grower named Uncle Ben.-
(from the Mars web site


Advertisers used little black pickaninnies with braids and spindly legs, tar black Sambos with oversized rubbery red lips and large bugging eyes and overweight mammies to sell everything from cigarettes to cereals.
These symbols not only continued but proliferated around the turn of the century with the overwhelming success of Uncle Ben, The Gold Dust Twins, Rastus and Aunt Jemima.
- Marilyn Kern-Foxworth from her book Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and Rastus: Blacks in Advertising, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Imagine the consternation among journalists when, in a photo with two people of color, there is a box of the rice product.

What to do? Disappear Uncle Ben?

We believe in truth.

We believe in the freedom of right speech.

I like this rice, always have a 5 pound bag...

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

day of rest

don't remember taking this photo.
took it in august 2005
if I can't live in memory I can live in the photographs

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

white rice

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Friday, October 28, 2005

watershed moment

Over the years I've attended many meetings sponsored by our City. We meet with a neighborhood planner, Our input is earnestly solicited. We are invited to share our vision for the future of our neighborhood. And then? Next to nothing happens. The quality of life in the neighborhood continues to degrade.

So it goes. The beautiful historic neighborhood I live in is now a short cut for multi-axle traffic from an industrial park and for drivers shaving stop lights off the daily commute.

The City talks neighborhood values while developers cut building lots out of our cemetery.

Most of my neighbors have given up on the meetings. Meetings are crap. Meetings are a thing the magician does to divert attention with while the degradation continues.

Last night I attended a meeting regarding the future of our water supply. One of the my neighbors was in the room.

RWSA, our local water and sewer authority, has held a series of public outreach meetings on the question of where our drinking water should come from.

RWSA has taken the community input about the water source and they are acting to realize the vision! The vision is one of stewardship, living within the means provided by our watershed. I am cautiously optimistic.

It was a meeting with a difference.


It looks like RWSA is seriously considering:

Option #1 ? Charlottesville Pipeline

Increase the height of the Ragged Mountain Dam to allow for greater water storage. Connect the Ragged Mountain Reservoir and the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir with a new 10 mile (est) pipeline. Turn off the 100-year old 12-mile Sugar Hollow pipeline (slated for replacement) that fills Ragged Mountain today. Fill the expanded Ragged Mountain reservoir from the Rivanna Reservoir using the new pipeline. Balance water treatment between existing facilities.

Earlier in the process the Chinatown scenario prevailed, stick a straw in the James River at Scottsville...

The Daily Progress has a more balanced report. "Rivanna water options narrowed to 2"

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Thursday, October 27, 2005


the sound of chickens roosting
Office of Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Pictured above, my landlord, Mr. Ford Larkin. I don't know the mule's name.

Courtesy of the University of Tampere

Regional and Ethnic Names:

? The South: Billy Bob, Jimmy Jack, Johnny Joe, Mary Lou, Sarah Anne; Bubba, Buford, Beauregard

? Black southern names of the late 1800s: Pearl, Ruby, Vaseline, Oleomargaret

? Current (primarily) Black names: LaVonne, LaToya, LeVar, Latrell, Aloicious, etc.

? Caricatured Black names: Rastus and Liza, Sam(bo), Tom, Toby

? Rural or 'hick' names: Elmer, Homer, Jud, Lester, Clem, Roy, Hank, Jethro . . .

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

33 years later

I asked candidate Toscano whether he'd support "scenic river" designation for the Rivanna River in Charlottesville and he sounded genuinely enthusiastic.

Key to improving water quality is self interest. We need people in the water, by the water, on the water, recreating, becoming aware of this resource.

(33 years after the clean water act)

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Monday, October 24, 2005


I started drinking coffee/chicory products back in the seventies during my NOLA dishwasher stint. There are several companies that combine coffee and chicory. I settled on Luzianne.
Luzianne has disappeared from the shelves in Virginia, fallout from Hurricane Katrina. Called corporate headquarters last week. They are working hard to rectify the interruption, get the beverage back in the pipeline.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

day of rest

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Saturday, October 22, 2005


the Arab oil embargo in the 1970's hastened the demise of many a fine Detroit cruisemobile.

Wish we could resurrect this metal and send all SUVs to an early grave.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

getting there

Navigating an anfractuous landscape, happiness and melancholy, steeply up and down.
Creating images the work proceeds on two fronts, physical and emotional. The physical work can be corralled with methodology. The emotional work, it's like night.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

catalpa bignonioides

spent the day with doug and telisha williams, they have a cd slated for release in the beginning of '06, hoping to come up with useful images for the disc.
but it raises a question, how do you take a photograph of music? how, in a couple of hours, do you come up with visuals that rise to the level of music?

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I know two people who've been burnt out. They live deep in the country. The fire department couldn't travel fast enough.

(Richard Morgan at NorthernCrown is hosting the 7th edition of the Virginia Blog Carnival!)

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005


The couple across the street had a fire in their attic last night.
A neighbor spotted the smoke and called 911, two other neighbors rigged a hose.

The local fire, rescue and police were on the scene in less than five minutes.

I am proud of how the neighbors and the City responded. Quick right action by the community saved the house.

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Monday, October 17, 2005


Making 16x20's the way grandma use to make them, optical chemical physical process, selectively reducing silver.
Photographic darkroom work is different than Photoshopping zeroes and ones. A dance in the dark, requiring mental presence, physical exertion and balance.
Being old as dirt I am delighted that photography can be accomplished digitally.
My useful life as a printer will be extended.
When I no longer have the strength to pour a 20x24" tray loaded with chemistry back into a jug I will still have the strength to hit the print button.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

day of rest

Saturday, October 15, 2005

equus caballus

to each according to his ability

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Friday, October 14, 2005

dock of the bay

Jeb and Pelham

We have two perfect weeks of weather in Virginia per year. We had a couple of the good hours of one of our good days today. There are blood-sucking ticks, poisonous snakes and poisonous plants here, if you are elsewhere in the USA or Mexico, THIS IS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO MOVE. BAD PLACE, BAD PLACE!

I enjoyed California. That place is perfect. Light perfect, weather perfect. Just one problem, it's fixing to do a Pakistan.

Back in the Mutual Assured Destruction days people talked about "mental numbing". That necessary process for avoiding thoughts of the danger inherent to sitting on top of a nuke-u-lar arsenal.

"Looks like nothings gonna change, everything still remain the same."

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I've been trying to look up intercine, a word to characterize the current Republican conflict. It is not in
and the OED wants $29.95/month to look up a word.

Ah shucks. Ronnie wouldn't have needed an eight cylinder word or the prime lime dictionary.

Conservatives are gettin' their backs up, shades of AuH2O 64! The Bushman has stepped in his base, getting internecine conflict on his shoes.

Spirit of Ron is in the air.

(During the VA gubernatorial debate the wannabe Governors were channeling the 20 mule team borax man, saying "there you go again.")


Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I managed to catch a few minutes of the Scorsese piece about Bob Dylan. Seeing the words come out of the young genius's mouth. Felt like I was watching biblical videotape.

Put me in mind of Bob Dylan's Dream.

Spent memorable time with these people. We were three married couples, we had six kids, spent seven years congregating, eating, drinking, laughing, playing.

With haunted hearts through the heat and cold

we never thought we could get very old

We thought we could sit forever in fun,

But our chances really were a million to one.

All the marriages are over.

Memory and friendship remain.

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Monday, October 10, 2005


In VA we have an ongoing gubernatorial race. No, those aren't the candidates above but might as well be. Last night there was a televised debate, let's be charitable and say that the debate was helpful, bottled up it would make a good emetic.

There is a third candidate running as an independent. He seems to be the straight talker of the three. Natch, he was excluded.

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Sunday, October 09, 2005



Saturday, October 08, 2005


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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Looking for Irene

Irene and Robin, Slabtown

Sophie runs around Robin's house with her nose to the ground, tail wagging.
Sophie is looking for Irene.
Sophie checks beneath the front porch, the back porch, she crisscrosses the the garden, she looks in the creek.
Sophie searches every room in the house.

Sophie's friend of six years is dead.

Sometimes being simple is a comfort.

Sophie can't find Irene.

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

day of rest

SF gulls. Hoping to do better when film is developed.

I ran into one of my neighbors, three newly fallen leaves in his palm, his voice full of wonder he was saying

"it is all God."

Day of rest. Church of the the blue dome. Dog is love. You decide.

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Saturday, October 01, 2005


There are portions of American popular culture that make me apoplectic!
What was McDonalds thinking? Has polling revealed that 95% of their customers read at a third grade level?

"my kinda shoppin' spree, i'm lovin' it"

Indeed. Makes me want to bomit.

On the west coast for a wedding. I am a tourist! As McDonald's might say:

takin' turist pikchures, lovin' it

I'd like to blast up the coast and photograph the redwoods but my rented auto sounds like it has a worn rod bearing. Knocking noises under the hood. Not willing to break down, so I am staying put.

Staying in Oakland, rode the ferry into San Fransisco yesterday and took pictures of other tourists. I'd love to live in SF for a year. The quality of the light is breath taking plus I like taking pictures in fog.

Wireless network in the hotel is down, uploading via cellphone. Stomped on the images a bit more than usual using Adobe's "Image Ready."

Hope the Lord Buddha keeps all these Bay Area residents calm and in place. Can you imagine if these people had a hurricane Katrina and moved East. Eeekkk. There goes quality of life in the Rappahannock watershed.

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