The debate tonight will certainly be capturing the attention of political vultures waiting to pounce on whatever weakness, vulnerability, humanity that might shine through what promises to be a real stinker of a “debate.” I put the word debate in quotes because the meet really isn’t about discussing one set of policies or programs or issues versus the others, rather the meet is about confrontation much like you see from and in the stands of a professional football game…a bloodsport. I don’t believe I will watch the thing…there is no one to give the seeming victor a “thumbs up” so that the loser can live to fight another day. That role, the “Emperor,” will probably be decided on November 8. I took this picture in Leesburg this last weekend. These birds were carefully watching the roadway below them for some poor creature to run afoul of an election…errr, that’s not right…rather car…then…dinner.

Waiting for the end...

Waiting for the end…

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I took this shot a few years ago in the King’s Dominion Dinosaur walk and modified it a little for this presentation. I added some texturing, splotches, etc., to give the photo a surrealistic look even though the reptiles were life sized…bigger than me for sure.

When looking at the photo critically, I began to ponder our current political environment. I realize that Hillary and Donald are only icons of all of our hopes, our fears, our hatred, and our greed (after all, we picked them)…so, as bad as they (and I think they are awful) are they are really just mirrors of who we might be? Perhaps they are just the new lows in a process that has been a traditional showcase of subterranean morals and expectations. But I’m not really sure that the bad actor is so much us…the general population…as the organizations that seem to manipulate the policy and our emotions on a daily if not hourly basis.

A few months ago I would have identified those two, mostly silent, organizations as the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC). But IMHO today those organizations, while still scary, don’t carry the same level of influence they did just last winter. The RNC seems to have been replaced by the Alt-Right. The Alt-Right seems only a step or two away from outright fascism but camouflages their hate with patriotic platitudes. The DNC seems to have lost all direction and influence and is now entrenching itself with personality-based empires. Conservative and liberal values are no longer debated or discussed or invented or changed or…well, you get my drift. Or? I posit that it’s not the Alt-Right or the Ultra-Liberal but rather “Big Money” that is firmly in charge of our political process and that if one was to take a look at how the $$ “sides” are shaping up, one would have a better idea of what forces are really behind the political, economic and cultural changes happening in America today.

The Donalds and the Hillarys are also probably just pawns or tools in that process although both are wealthy enough to take advantage of whichever party wins.  But I’d guess that the stakes are higher for the “secret” supporters since their reach is much broader than just politics. Oil, pharmaceuticals, commerce and technology empires teetering on intellectual property and liability laws that if changed that can impact the wealth and heath of many generations to come.

You might ask who I am going to vote for…

I think Donald Trump is horrifyingly dangerous and I am appalled that he has been successful by encouraging Americans to hate, to be racist, to bully others, and I’m convinced he will instigate “in your face” road rage-like behavior towards the rest of the world.  I think Hillary will only do lip service to America’s serious problems and instead will focus her efforts on the next generation of Her Secret Empire. I believe she will certainly cover up everything she would do in the Whitehouse, would hire a cabinet full of cronies that would defy congress, spit in the face of common sense, and will openly or covertly skirt or break the law as necessary to keep that particular brand of what I call “Insider Politics” in power.

so…who am I going to vote for?  I really loved what “Washington Post” conservative columnist Kathleen Parker said in her column today and I will quote her to answer the question on who I am going to vote for… “If Clinton gets my vote, it will be because I think she’s the best qualified. But I won’t tell you because I don’t have to. When I do, I’m leaving. In the meantime, I offer a barber’s remark passed along by a reader who surely speaks for many: I definitely don’t want Trump to win and I definitely want Hillary to lose.”

On the hunt!

On the hunt!

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A friend told me about an old car that was in a seemingly inaccessible place near a stream bed in his neighborhood. I was intrigued and decided to go exploring today. Fortunately, our wet weather subsided and we are left with only humidity and warm temperatures so going for a walk in the woods didn’t seem like a bad an idea. I walked for a while in the woods that my friend described and found the remains within 20′ of the stream and with no roads closer than…well, quite a long ways away!! How had this car gotten down into this seemingly inaccessible place and who did it belong to before coming to this somewhat ignoble and abrupt end? There was a sewer system next to the stream so the county was obviously involved and in fact the county took over the land in 1981. The houses on both sides of the stream (about 1/4 mile away on either side) had been built from the mid- to late 1980s.

I could not find a VIN on the car although I could tell where the tags had been attached. I don’t think they were engraving VINs into the body yet but I’m not sure. Also, I could not find any emblems or car names or insignia or really anything that hinted at what kind of car it was. At first I thought the tail lights looked like an early 50s Ford. But then I noticed the unusual rear fender and tail fin design and knew it wasn’t a Ford or Chevy. The engine is an old flat head 6 and that’s where I got my first clue. There was absolutely no writing or insignia on the block but there was one piece of equipment still in reasonable shape—the distributor. The distributor was labeled “Auto-Lite IAT 1417 2H.” Using Google, I found a list of vehicles that had used that particular component…Willys!! From the early 1950s. I then looked for the model of Willys that had the unique tail fin design and I found the 1952-1954 Willys Aero-Eagle. And then I found that the 1954 model was the only one with a flathead 6 with a mighty and powerful 226.2 CID. Which was a lot for back in those days and apparently that model of car was sort of fast. Willys and Jeep eventually became just Jeep although I think Rambler-Nash was in there somewhere, too.

So that solved the mystery of what kind of car…now…who drove it there?? And why does the rear fender have bullet holes? Looks like .45 caliber and a 12 gage slug sized holes. Maybe Jimmy Hoffa? Hah!  I’m guessing some spooning teenagers drove it down there in the 1970s (way back when that part of the metro area was WAY out in the country), got stuck and just left it there. They probably stripped the ID plates.  The bullet holes were probably inflicted on the poor machine by deer hunters who were not even close to civilization when they found the car. But now, well now the ghosts of party goers past seems to haunt the wooded valley which is now the graveyard of this old Willys and someone’s hidden memories!

1954 Willys Aero-Eagle

1954 Willys Aero-Eagle

1954 Willys Aero-Eagle Flathead 226.2 CID

1954 Willys Aero-Eagle Flathead 226.2 CID

1954 Willys Aero-Eagle Door with Bullet Holes

1954 Willys Aero-Eagle Door with Bullet Holes

1954 Willys Aero-Eagle

1954 Willys Aero-Eagle

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This is actually sort of a reprint from a walkabout I did in Denver four years ago. I converted the shot to B&W, made some other adjustments, and, I think I like this one better than the other one. I wonder where he is today. Or even, if he “is.”

As relatively minor as my last surgery was, I find myself recovering slower than in the past. Perhaps that’s because of the weather. Or because that part of my body was a little more sensitive than the others. Or maybe…just maybe…because of my advanced chronological experience. I just binge watched “Narcos” which was a really depressing show on, oh, so many levels. I’m pretty sure that if I watch more television, I will recover more quickly. Yep. That’s the ticket.

Homeless Guitar Player

Homeless Guitar Player

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There is a passion for surfing in California. So much so that surfing somehow leaked over to movies, music, land transportation and fashion. I’ve never tried it although WAY BACK in 1963 I visited my cousins in SoCal, bought a skateboard, and brought it back to South Dakota. It may have been the first skateboard in the state. I remember thinking it was cool but then winter struck (probably in September) and my skateboard did not have snow tires and I don’t remember seeing it again.  Decades later I tried a skateboard again and feel extraordinarily lucky I didn’t end up with permanent damage to my body. I don’t have any actual experience surfing but I do like to watch. My impression is that it’s a very individual sport but with very remarkable group, almost tribal, dynamics. Surfers will band together around a beach they like and are apparently territorial when it comes to sharing with other groups. I wonder if they’d be more open to new individuals…hmmm. Both of the shots below have been transformed by adding texture and manipulating the light. They are both from Dana Point. The seaweed in the second one that is behind the breaking wave reminds me of what I imagine a scene would be in one of John D. MacDonald’s books.

Today, I celebrate 26 years of marriage to an awesome woman. What fun we have, we enjoy almost every day and the ones we don’t enjoy, we get through together. I am happy through and through!

Dana Point Surfer

Dana Point Surfer

 Surfer

Surfer

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