Monday, September 29, 2008

It's Hate in Dayton...

Evidently, Friday night, there was a prayer meeting at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, which is just a few blocks from my studio, and someone was seen spraying an unidentified chemical irritant through the window of the nursery room where children were attended to during the services. While nobody was seriously harmed, the police have been unable to identify what the substance was, so who knows what the long-term effects might be?

Dayton is also one of the areas that have been saturated with an anti-Islam DVD included in the Dayton Daily News and sent via direct mail.

Dayton police say there's no proof of a "hate crime" having occurred.

So, what the hell else was it? Some guy decides to randomly spray stuff into the window of a mosque in case they have ants? What possible motive could there be other than to "get them before they get us" in this idiot's so-called mind, quite possibly prompted by the "free DVD" he got in the mail?

Also, if there was enough of the stuff to cause dozens of people irritation of the eyes, throat, etc., why is it that they couldn't collect enough to identify what it was? Something tells me if this was the big Christian megachurch by the airport, we'd know every detail, the perpetrator would be caught, and it would be national news.

If you read this blog regularly -- even the previous entry -- you know I'm not a big fan of any religion, especially those fundamentalists of ANY faith who try to impose their views on other people through government or by force. But I think violence and hate crimes are beneath contempt -- this is an act bordering on terrorism. And this is just one more reason to be hatin' Dayton.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lost Connection

Near my office, there's a store that sells used CDs and DVDs... they've been there a while now, maybe 15 years or more. Well I guess it has to be at least 15 years ago, because that's how old virtually all their inventory is. They recently changed how they display their wares and it made me think about how the entire store is laid out, and just how pathetically bad it is. Plus, how they seem to refuse to clear out worthless inventory. I mean, 6 faded copies of Joey Lawrence's 1992 self-titled album? Multiple copies of Pete Townsend's 1993 "Psychoderelict" ? Any copies at ALL of albums by Johnny Hates Jazz or The Best Kissers in the World or Jennifer Trynin? I actually like the Jen Trynin album, and I'm sure the others have some merit, but I've seen those exact same CDs sitting on those shelves unsold for years. And if someone didn't buy Jen's album during her 15 minutes of near fame, they're not likely to buy it now. Not to pick on these performers (well, maybe Joey "woah" Lawrence) but the shelves are literally clogged with dreck like this that will never ever ever sell ever... not even for $5.99. They have an entire section of "as-is" discs, unguaranteed to play, as if used CDs aren't dodgy enough. The displays for this crap fill about 2/3 of the store's space, space which is paid for by the square foot. In fact, the sturdy steel and aluminum displays must have been quite costly 15 years ago, so I'm sure that is the inertia excuse for keeping them filled with crap, so the shelves at least LOOK stocked. They do have a small selection of new releases, about 10 feet behind the register on high shelves -- for easy browsing, no doubt.

Until recently, the front 1/3 of the store had wire racks that displayed the fronts of DVDs for sale, so you would flip through them to look for titles, but you would at least see the covers of the packages. They've now decided to consolidate them onto a few bookshelf style racks, so you have to read the sides and don't see the alluring cover art. It also underscores just how many copies they have of the worst movies or the dodgiest public domain titles. (Frank Sinatra's "Man with the Golden Arm" stands out among them. Again, a fine movie, one of Sinatra's best film performances, but 8 copies of it?) The current system only lets 2 or 3 people browse at one time without invading one another's personal space, and it discourages casual browsing.

Now, granted, stores like this have taken a beating from "big box" retailers, online retailers, not to mention MP3 audio and filesharing. Anymore, when people buy a CD, they probably intend to keep it, having had every opportunity to sample it beforehand, so I'm sure this store has trouble getting good "used" inventory. Maybe they're just riding out a 10 year lease as they somehow bring in enough revenue to keep the lights on and pay one or two kids to mind the store. But it really seems as if they're not even trying. A friend of mine used to manage a small CD store in England (Hi Steve) so I've learned a bit about retail from him. I'm sure he's appalled at the wasted space and mismanagement of the place, and I'm certain if he could come in and point them in the right direction, and set up the space properly, they could continue to prosper instead of lingering until death or bankruptcy. But it would take some work, which obviously the owners don't want to put into the place any longer.

Sorry to have turned this into "Retail Management Today" blog, but this rant just played in my mind as I wandered into that store today, and I see the metaphor for myself and how I've fallen into similar bad habits and old-age thinking in both my day job and even the business side of my photography. Inertia and momentum are the same thing, in a sense, according to Newton, but it takes an overriding force to overcome inertia or change momentum. So, that's probably where I should be directing my energy.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman passes

Paul Newman was a class act, starring in some of the best movies of the past 50 years or so. Deservedly, Cool Hand Luke is one of his best known roles. I also thought he was amazing in The Hudsucker Proxy, along with so many of his other films. Check 'em out.

Here's one brief scene from Cool Hand Luke that I always found to be pretty powerful.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Raising the Bar

I may still chicken out, but I went ahead and pre-ordered a Canon EOS-5D Mark II. I just hope all my models don't start expecting me to provide this on a TFP basis. They'll at least have to pay for the helicopter rental.

Been getting a LOT of nice comments about these shots of PXE over on my Flickr stream, as well as a showcase over on the increasingly quiet OMP. I remember just a few months ago, she meekly posted a shot where her nipple was visible thru some fabric... now you can't keep clothes on the girl. Not that anyone is complaining... she's been doing some amazing work with tons of talented people around the country. Meow! *Dances*

Monday, September 22, 2008

Possibly the stupidest thing I've ever read...

This has so many layers of stupid, it defies description. And it doesn't even involve John McCain... directly.

Also unrelated, here's Sage, high above downtown Detroit...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Congratulations Ayden!

A bit overdue, but congratulations to Ayden and the very lucky young man she recently married! May you enjoy a lifetime of happiness together!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Big O


I just took the next step towards owning a piece of the political process; I made another donation to Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

But it's going to take more than just me and the others who've acted so far -- it's going to take a movement.

It's going to take millions of people working together to compete against John McCain and the RNC in all 50 states. They are raising more money than ever -- collecting huge checks from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs who will do everything in their power to maintain their influence in Washington with a third term of George Bush's disastrous policies.

We're not going to play that game.

Barack Obama is not taking any contributions from Washington lobbyists or political action committees.

We're transforming the political process by bringing together millions of ordinary Americans in a campaign that's owned by no one but the people.

At this crucial moment in history, will you join us by making a donation?


(That's Katy T posing with the Big O)

P.S. I just spilled a rant in response to a photographer's blog -- she basically was complaining that the campaign was too much like some sports rivalry, and that there wasn't much difference between Democrats and Republicans. I couldn't just let it slide, of course...

Yes, the election is an aggravating and tedious process (The Canadians just started their Prime Minister campaign which will END before our election day), but to say who wins doesn't matter is just being lazy. If Al Gore hadn't had the election stolen from him in 2000, it's possible 9/11 could have been prevented, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars could have been avoided, and instead of spending trillions on war, we could be well on our way to alternative energy solutions, improved health care, reduced poverty, and an economy that works for everyone, not just those most fortunate.

You should feel physically safe in this country... your risk of being harmed by a terrorist or through an act of war have been miniscule. You're far more likely to die of malpractice or a car wreck. Those in power over the past 7 years have been working to create fear and make you afraid so you'll continue to support those who claim to be able to protect us. (They did a helluva good job on 9/11, didn't they?) When we live in fear, the terrorists have won. When we give up rights and privacy and liberty, ostensibly for security, the terrorists have won.

Simply put, McCain believes war and greed are the answers. Obama realizes war and greed are the problems.

This ain't just OSU vs. Michigan here. This IS the future. And you can have a small voice, or remain petulant and be silent.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sold my camera...

It's in the other room, boxed up, ready for UPS to take it away in the morning to the Pacific Northwest where I'm sure it will continue to faithfully serve its new owner. I'm a bit nervous about selling it before its replacement is even available (Oct 6 perhaps?), but since I'm committed to virtually no shooting in September and October, I should be able to get by with my back-up camera for a few weeks. If you'll forgive me the gearhead moment, I'm excited about the new 50D largely because of its wildly improved low light capabilities (up to 12800 ISO), and 50% more megapixels for your viewing enjoyment. The LCD on the back is improved, too, and various other nudges and tweaks. I'd done the vast majority of my shooting with the 40D for about a year now, so while I'm a bit sad to see it go, I'm looking forward to that "new camera smell" and putting the 50D through its paces.

Of course, as is par for the course on the bleeding edge, there are rumors of other spiffy new models that will be out before long... how soon before the buyer's remorse kicks in? Guess we'll have to wait and see.

The photo is the newly streamlined JJ Plush... still built for comfort of course!

Oh yeah, the art nude thing...

Keep forgetting... actually, it just doesn't seem fitting sometimes to stick a nude in the middle of a political rant.

Here's Katy T (top) and Aveda Marie from some recently edited stuff. Check the Flickr photostream to see more, and request a free membership to see the best stuff.

Why is it even close?

Just watch a few minutes of this video of Barack Obama outlining his economic program, and it should be obvious that the man is brilliant, capable, informed, and insightful. Then watch McCain struggling to read a stump speech, and it's clear the man is tired... I don't agree 100% with Obama's policies, but I do fully support electing someone with a sharp mind who won't have to rely on "top advisors" to tell him how to think. There have been numerous times when reporters have asked McCain a policy question, and he doesn't know his own position on certain major issues, and he sheepishly says "well, I'll have to look up what I think about that and get back to you" -- is THAT change you can believe in?

I don't envy whoever inherits the job of running what's left of the USA next year. Financial collapse, domestic natural disasters, international turmoil. I think someone once said "anyone crazy enough to want to be president should be disqualified from getting the job." Then again, I remember my father saying that, in the course of your career, to "go where the problems are" if you want to make a difference and find fulfillment in your work. And I can't think of too many jobs where more problems are waiting to be solved than being the next President.

One interesting tidbit I'd found is that the McCain campaign is mailing FAULTY absentee ballot request forms to registered DEMOCRATS in key states. Why do that? Well, say I get one, and fill it out and send it in -- I think I'll get my absentee ballot in the mail, but in reality, I may be declaring that I'm ineligible to vote, so either the board of elections doesn't fulfill my request, or somehow marks me as ineligible, or the board of elections in my heavily Democratic county gets overwhelmed sorting out the mess. Some of these bogus forms have return addresses in DIFFERENT STATES so it can be said that voters are attempting to register in TWO states, and are thus disqualified. In Michigan, Republican Party officials in Macomb County plan to use home foreclosure lists to challenge voters at the polls in November to stop voters who no longer have valid addresses from casting their ballots. Lose your house, lose your right to vote. The Republicans have a name for these shenanigans: they call it "VOTER fraud." Not election fraud.

So, if you have any interest at all in this country's future, please send any money you can spare to the Obama campaign. Or at least register and vote.

Monday, September 15, 2008

"A fellow of infinite jest..."

Lost amid midwest power blackouts, hurricanes, financial collapse, and political cosmetic debacles is the suicide of writer David Foster Wallace at age 46. Probably best known for his epic mindscramble of a novel Infinite Jest, its title now gets an added twist of irony. Taken from the soliloquy by Hamlet that begins "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is!" which proceeds into musings on the ultimate fate of both kings and jesters... and award winning novelists.

As the worst-read English major to ever graduate with a BA, I've not managed more than make a couple futile attempts at "Infinite Jest" myself. As much as I appreciate the intricacies of craftsmanship that writers like Wallace and Thomas Pynchon weave into their work, I simply don't have the attention span to tackle their writings anymore. But I guess I'm enough of an English major to recognize a Hamlet reference now and again.

But you gotta wonder, when an artist of such talent, acclaim and success decides to pack it in, what keeps the rest of us going?

Friday, September 12, 2008

POSTPONED: People's Art Festival
NOT POSTPONED: Streetwise Gallery

NOTE: Due to weather concerns, the People's Art Festival has been postponed until Sunday, Sept 21. HOWEVER, THE STREETWISE GALLERY WILL BE OPEN THIS SATURDAY FROM 11AM TO 11PM as well as next Sunday during the Festival.

This Saturday it's time again for the People's Art Festival in Detroit... it's the largest arts festival in the area, with plenty of variety, plus food and live music. If it's anything like last year, most of the exhibitors are real "art" artists, not "crafts" people. Once again, the team from Streetwise Art will have gallery space there, and have been kind enough to invite me to take part, along with a number of other MWSEP artists. I'll have four framed pieces hanging, and a selection of "loose" pieces for sale. Stop on by!

Saturday September 13, 2008
Sunday September 21, 2008
11:00 am to 11pm

Where : Russell Industrial Center
Building #2 (Indoors) First Floor
1600 Clay Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48211

The shot is Streetwise's own Lisolette at the Russell...

Another chance to help...

One of the pitfalls of being a professional traveling model, besides all the obvious ones, is that virtually none of them seem to have health insurance. Sadly, that's not all that unusual in Bush's America -- about 47 million people are uninsured. But since most models are in the prime of their youth, it's usually not a problem ...until it is.

London Andrews is now holding a fundraising auction on eBay to help her offset some of the cost of her surgery next week. She's offering some wardrobe items, a lot of photo prints from some of her sessions with top hotshot photographers, custom photos, and various other goodies. Her opening bids are absurdly low, so you might pick up some bargains, but bid high knowing it's for a good cause.

See her sad face here? Go ahead and help a girl out...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Real McCain 2: Electric Boogaloo

A guy I know told me a couple weeks ago that I wasn't going to like it, but he's voting for McCain, and some gibberish about not wanting the US to be negotiating while the bombs are falling. First, I'd be amazed if he'll even bother to vote. Second, he doesn't seem to get that the only real threat of bombs falling on us is Russia, and that the US militaristic policies and "fuck you" attitude is what's driving the Russians to gear up in case they need to defend themselves from the missiles we're trying to put in Eastern Europe, and our invasion/occupation of Iraq and our posturing towards Iran. McCain is the definition of "shoot first, let God sort out the corpses" so if anyone is going to bring bombs down on us, it's McCain. He also doesn't seem to realize that Iran's allies include Russia and China, who if nothing else, could sink us economically if not militarily, especially since we've now decimated, demoralized and outsourced our military over the past six years just trying to "keep the blood to shoe level" against the "insurgents" in Iraq.

This same guy is still waiting for some big payout from his union... a union that "conservatives" like McCain work vigorously to dismantle, while Republican energy and "free trade" policies are decimating the very industry that helped create the American middle class. He's receiving grants and scholarships to go back to school, so he can work towards a degree where he can become an educator... McCain and the Republicans are doing all they can to make it difficult for students to receive financial assistance to go to college, so his theoretical vote for McCain endangers his current education, as well as his future career prospects. I could go on and on regarding the ways that voting Republican is voting against his own best interests. He's simply subscribing to the culture of fear the Republicans and so-called conservatives have created, and celebrate every year on this day. Sadly, he's not alone.

By the way, President Bush, have you brought Osama Bin Laden to justice yet?


Ok... just checking.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Oh yeah, this is supposed to be an art nude blog...

The ATM is now closed...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Slacker Uprising

Don't say you've never got nothing from visiting this site... apart from lots and lots of photos. Here's your chance to sign up to download the new Michael Moore movie for FREE on September 23. It's called "Slacker Uprising" (trailer below) and documents Moore's 60-city tour through 20 swing states in an effort to get out the vote among young people. Looks like it should be entertaining and certainly timely... check it out, or run the risk of ending up like Miss IXI here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ups and downs

UP: The seminar I went to the other night was pretty interesting and informative, and borderline inspirational. It is encouraging to hear true tales of people paying real money for photographs. A friend claims the people who run these seminars make their money off photographers, not photography. I would dispute that to contend they make money on BOTH ends.

down: Have far too much on my plate, and am too easily distracted. It did help to have a gun to my head for a while there, but I'm not sure that's the answer.

UP: The shoots last weekend went great, and everyone even showed up!

UP: While the plan is to keep September almost free of shoots, there was one I couldn't pass up, and I'm looking forward to working with her again.

down: My September roadtrip isn't going to happen. Maybe October, maybe spring.

down: It seems I was a topic of conversation yet again. When Oscar Wilde said "There's only one thing worse than being talked about, and that's NOT being talked about" -- he was full of shit.

UP: Someone called to clear the air.

down: All those who DON'T call to clear the air, and steer clear instead.

UP: I've been invited to be a part of another art show the weekend of the 13th, which is always gratifying.

down: Still don't have pieces ready to hang, and while I could show stuff I've had around for a while, I'd really really rather not. Just don't know how I'll get them done in time.

UP: A model friend may come out of retirement for a shoot with me soon.

down: Then again, she may not.

UP: No cavities.

down: Dentist wants me to use special prescription toothpaste that costs $13 a tube. Oh, and get serious about flossing.

UP: The more we learn about Sarah Palin, the crazier and more corrupt her record and background appear to be.

down: The right wingers and middle america seem to think she's for real, figuring since they'd like to "have a beer with her" that somehow qualifies her to be vp or even president. She's teflon, too -- despite mountains of evidence and allegations and bad policy decisions, nothing sticks to her -- not even the same "inexperience" accusations the right is making against Obama.

UP: Tomorrow's Friday... and less than 2 months until election day.

down: it's 90 degrees out, and they were setting up Halloween displays at Walgreens today.

UP: Big ups to Miss Viv in an NYC elevator, probably on the security camera, too.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Noticed that in this picture from the Squirrel House, there's a small object on the floor right by Sadie's foot... a stick?

Hollywood to shut down

Don LaFontaine, the guy who did the "In a world..." voiceovers for movie trailers has passed away. Now how will we know what the hell is coming soon to a theater near us?

On an unrelated note, Jerry Reed has headed on to that big truck stop in the sky. He was Burt Reynolds' sidekick in the "Smokey and the Bandit" movies, and had a number of hit country singles, including "When You're Hot, You're Hot" and my favorite from when I was about 12 years old, "Lord Mr. Ford". Sort of like Glen Campbell, he started out as a hotshot guitar virtuoso before he branched into singing and TV and movies. Lots of great stuff from Jerry's heyday to be found on YouTube, but for starters, check out this one of Jerry and Chet Atkins tearing things up...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Baby, Baby...

Seems to be a lot of baby talk in the air... going to a seminar thing today primarily for maternity and baby photographers, but I'm hoping it will have some good information in general, plus I'll get to check out a friend's new studio up in Columbus. Edited some overdue shots of Angie from late in her pregnancy, including the little global warming kind of statement above.

Then there's the whole flap over Sarah Palin and her unmarried 17-year-old pregnant daughter and even speculation if Palin faked her 5th pregnancy, and a lot of Maury-Povich-worthy notions. The McCain campaign now says they knew about the pregnant daughter when they selected Palin, but the reality seems to be they wanted to acknowledge the story before The National Enquirer broke it. Honest. And now lots of people are saying "leave the kids out of it." In general, I agree with that, except when a huge part of your "credentials" for the VP nod is that you're an abstinence-only proponent with a knocked-up daughter. Abstinence-only sex education is like telling your kids not to eat sweets or drink soda, and then forbidding them to brush their teeth.

That, and if another part of your "credentials" is that you have a son who enlisted last year on Sept 11 and is shipping out to Iraq THIS Sept 11 -- if you get credit for the son, you also get the heat for the daughter. Perhaps the shotgun wedding will be held on Sept 11, too.

It's all summed up nicely in this editorial by Mary Mitchell from the Chicago Sun-Times: "When an unmarried 17-year-old girl comes up pregnant on the South Side of Chicago, Republicans don't make it sound like a beautiful thing."

It's not the baby, it's the hypocrisy, baby.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hystery in the Making

In finalizing details for a shoot last Friday, I mentioned to the model, Rebecca, that McCain would be announcing his VP pick at a rally not far from where we were planning to shoot. She thought it would be fun to "crash" the event, so I went to my nearby Republican campaign office and scored tickets to the big fiasco. As a venue, the Nutter Center is THE most fucked-up place to see anything -- worst parking scheme, worst building layout, worst acoustics -- so compound that with the added security of a presidential campaign stop and I knew we were in for a fun time. So we were there for the announcement that Sarah Palin would be McCain's VP pick. Rebecca was initially crestfallen, imaging the 18 million Hillary voters who were presented as all belonging to the PUMA (Party Unity My Ass) movement, all breaking ranks to vote for John "Five Plane" McCain and Governer "Hockey Mom" Palin.

Like virtually everyone else in the building (McCain included), I had no idea who Palin was, or what she stands for. Having had a little time to haunt some of my political resources, it's pretty clear that her primary qualification is that she's a woman, and she's supposed to appeal to the fundamentalist right-wingers and "young earth" creationists. And she definitely appeals to McCain on a VPILF level, as she greeted him with an air kiss and he was repeatedly checking out her ass during her speech while fiddling with his wedding ring. But the cost is huge for McCain, in that it completely deflates his entire argument that Obama lacks experience to be president, especially since McCain's health is so dodgy, and casts further doubt on his judgment, the crux of Obama's campaign (judgement over experience). The video below does a good (and entertaining) job of summarizing what a reckless move this is for McCain...and the video seems to have been produced by a Republican.

But still, it makes me wonder if they have something else up their sleeve... so, just in case, do what you can.

The photo at top is Engel, who also does a great job of pulling off the sexy librarian look. :)