I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday bird blogging

More of the youngsters I see hanging out in the park these days, this time two young robins. The speckles on their breasts that resemble their thrushy cousins fade and turn solid orange as they grow, as do their beaks.

But it's those fuzzy heads that I find irresistible.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday reflections

Windows on West 30th Street.

I always love the overlays, the way the partially glimpsed room on the left has its framed pictures on the wall visible behind the reflected stone, but on the right all you can see is the crumpled reflection of the church across the street.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Urban poetry

I haven't posted a picture of a taillight in a long time, but I'm no less obsessed with them -- I have an entire series on Flickr of nothing but headlight and taillight pictures.

They're a perfect example of how something mundane, looked at carefully and closely, becomes strange and beautiful.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


For a change of pace, here's a beautifully minimalist and completely inorganic subject -- the Manhattan sky, early morning, as viewed in a neighbor's window.

Sunday bird blogging

Here is the Don King of the African aviary, the go-away bird.

They're named after their cry, kind of a kway! kway! that does sound like they're telling you to go away. This one was telling me to get lost in Botswana, and in my haste to comply, I didn't get a great picture.

Still, I can't resist that face, or that crazy gray tuft on top of its head.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What John Cole said

It occurred to me tonight that we live in a country where the Supreme Court has decided the 1st amendment does not give you the right to yell “fire” in a crowded movie theatre, but the 2nd Amendment gives you an unfettered right to amass enough guns to shoot 71 people in the same theatre.

I would just like not to have to hear the phrase "shocked and saddened" ever again. Because I think the saddest part for those of us fortunate enough to be safely on the sidelines is that no one is really shocked anymore. Another troubled young man with a gun -- how did mass murder become no longer unthinkable?

Micro life, continued

Here's another not quite macro shot, a honeybee embracing a flower while it drinks.

Saturday in the park

Today is a beautiful interlude between the heavy rains that finally ended last night and tomorrow's return of the typical July air that feels like being wrapped in wet wool. I made it to the park before the crowds and sat on a bench by the Azalea Pond, drinking coffee, watching the robins and jays, and thinking of as little as possible. After a week in which my job seemed to suck out more of my soul than usual, it was soothing to be surrounded by the thick greens of summer, the buzz of honeybees, and a robin in a tree singing so loudly and so long it was impossible not to catch his happiness.

I don't take a lot of macro pictures so I don't carry the right lenses around with me for capturing insect life, but here's an Eastern comma butterfly stepping delicately along a branch, looking deceptively like an old leaf, then with her colors unfurled.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday bird blogging

A black and white warbler from the end of the spring migration in Central Park.

HBO has a documentary tomorrow night about birders in the park, which should be fun. I'm not nearly dedicated enough to get to the park as early and as often as I would like, and I don't know as much about birds as many of the people I meet there, but I'm always astonished by what a strange rustic oasis the Ramble is in the midst of the extreme cityness of Manhattan, and how brilliant and beautiful the birds are, all those colors, all those songs.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


More adventures with cardboard lunch trays. This is an assemblage/collage inspired by the intense sunsets in Africa that I'm calling Zambezi.

The photography skills I've so painstakingly tried to develop with birds and buildings turn out to be fairly useless when taking pictures of art, especially a piece as glossy and textured as this. Either I had too much light and everything sparkled annoyingly, or not enough and the whole thing was a black and orange blur. This photo is an unsatisfactory compromise between sparkly and blurry.

Below is a sample of the trays I'm using for materials in various projects. There's also  a smaller size without the little embossed squares that I especially like, but I usually have to make do with these.


Friday, July 13, 2012


Not geometry exactly, but I like the shapes of these pipes on the side of the Port Authority.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summer in the city

Still too damn hot. The thunderstorms that were supposed to bring relief last night had impressive thunder and lightning but not a drop of rain, so we're still sweltering. And so I'm puttering around the apartment, staying indoors as much as I can, and posting photos of random attractive passersby on Tenth Avenue for lack of anything better to do.

Sunday bird blogging

The uncommonly beautiful summer iridescence of the common grackle.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

It's too damn hot

I am supposed to be in Philadelphia, where it is expected to hit 102 degrees today, but one of my air conditioners conked out on me and I am staying in New York, where it is a relatively mild 98, waiting for the repairman to show up.

An air conditioner repairman is such a priceless commodity in this weather that I'm gobsmacked by my good fortune in reaching the company that installed my AC a few years ago, and learning that they were on their way to my neighborhood anyway and would add me to the list. I can always go to Philadelphia after all, and I'd prefer to be there on a weekend when it is actually possible to venture outside, but to get an air conditioner repairman on the hottest day of the year seems to me such a stroke of outrageous good fortune that I can't help wondering if I'm being rewarded for some generous act that has slipped my naturally modest mind.

Friday, July 6, 2012

That didn't take long

A Higgs boson walks into a church.
The priest says, "I'm sorry but we don't recognize your existence."
The boson replies, "Well, you can't have mass without me."

The particle traces found at CERN may or may not turn out to be the elusive Higgs boson, but it's useful to take a few minutes to pause and ponder the essential strangeness of this wonderful universe, where a soup of impossibly small particles somehow ended up being matter (rather than antimatter), an is rather than a potential.

Then atoms, light, rock, flesh, life. And now a being who thinks of itself as Kathleen and finds this joke amusing.

Having made my brain hurt thinking about it all, the very large and the very small, doing the dishes and packing for a weekend in Philly seems not just ridiculously easy but also, somehow, miraculous.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday bird blogging

A wire-tailed swallow hitching a ride on a riverboat in Botswana. There were huge flocks of swallows swooping over the Chobe and the Zambezi in dizzying wave formations, but this is the only one that paused for a closeup.

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