glorious garbage

Outside PS 87 is this sculpture the kids made of plastic pop bottles. It sparkles in the sun.


magic underwear

 In the course of writing an article about Brigham Young's 19th or 44th wife, depending on how you count, I made a side trip to investigate Mormon underwear. It is known as "the garment," and you have to be a member of the temple (and prove it) to buy it in a special store. It used to be a union suit, but as you can see it has been updated. There are still tiny embroideries over the breasts, belly and knee that are said to come from Masonic symbols like the square and the compass. You are meant to wear it next to the skin at all times—even under your bra if you are female—though swimming, showering and sex are exempt. Does this make sex spicier?
   Let's ask Mitt. And his wife.


farmer with a beef

This picture is completely unrelated to the entry below except for being green.
The locavore thing has finally hit Block Island. I sent an article about Block Island beef to a friend who runs cattle in the Ozarks that made her tear out her hair. The movement there has gotten as far as buying heirlooms at the farmer's market, but there is not yet a huge market for organic anything.
     There is a large "organic" ranch there, but she reports: "All they have to do to certify their beef as "all natural" is to go to a sale barn, purchase cattle, take them back to the ranch & turn them loose for 3 months to graze. Most farmers put growth pellets in the calves' necks, and the organic people buy these same calves. They don't dig the pellet out of their necks. To me there is a huge difference between my calves which have never had ANY hormones/antibiotics & corn fed calves that have implanted hormones." She concludes, "Here I am plodding along & the most I get is $1.50/pound for true grass fed, all natural beef. Everything is marketing!"
   So I had this thought. If I had a market for her beef here in New York City, I could run a load back when I go out there. Might not be local, but the quality and price point could make up for it. Then I had this same thought about a friend's organic heirloom tomatoes in Alabama.
 And then I had this vision of myself in a refrigerated truck highballing it into the city with a load of frozen beef or perishing beefsteaks (or rather Brandywines). Want any?


photo news roundup

There is a lot of action among Foto Friends. Here are a few links.
Maggie Steber has an incredibly moving project about the death of her mother on MediaStorm, which is floating the concept of pay-per-view. You can watch the trailer for free or pay like $1.99 to watch the 15-minute short.
   Our favorite National Geographic photographers have banded together to promote their work, as reported by Joe McNally, the same man who, tearing out his hair in a dark concert hall with Travis Tritt on stage said, "Light, Claudia. Photography means engraving with light!"
  Speaking of Geographic, Lynn Johnson got the main feature this month with a beautiful portfolio about languages that are disappearing.
  Chien-Chi Chang is making a video of a recent Magnum shoot in Rochester to memorialize the death of Kodak. And on a more personal note he is now the father of Emily Yuming Chang, 張羽明.
   And in my own personal photo news, my granddaughter Camilla (above) is pictured en route to her first day of preschool.
   Which she loved.



rockin out

Emerging band Alabama Shakes rocked Central Park yesterday in a free concert, collecting a wildly enthusiastic and for the most part very young crowd. It was also Gay Pride day, so some audience members had hiked uptown from the parade.



Alas for H & H Bagels, brought low for another storefront bank.
Just what we needed.


an exciting new title!

I am announcing the debut of a new blog, President of the Garden Club! As many of you know, my sister has been an avid gardener and active garden club member for many years, producing garden club cookbooks, garden club events, bedding out public plantings with other garden club members, teaching schoolkids about plants and etc. All very worthwhile. I have, however, cruelly teased her about these activities for years, going so far as to call her the President of the Garden Club.
   She has finally earned the title! She is the real, actual living President of the Garden Club! For me, this is fertile soil.
   She knew what would happen. She warned me that the moment I had been waiting for for years was about to arrive, then had arrived, and she steeled herself for the inevitability of my reaction. I hope she is ready for this. It is my hope that she will join with me in producing the continuing one-sentence adventures of the President of the Garden Club, already a Facebook sensation. I think she could bring real authority to this, er, post.


street life

Usually on the first day I am back in New York after an absence—or Ed is back in New York after an absence—we do lunch. Sometimes it turns into supper. Like yesterday, which was actually the second day I was back. We started on the shady side of the street and then followed the shade across to a cafe on the other side of the street. He explained Syria.


the weather station

I haven't photographed anything in New York yet, so here's an offering from my last evening on Block Island.
   A handful of these weather stations designed, I  believe, by Thomas Jefferson were built along the East Coast. This one has recently been "restored" in Azek, plastic lumber.


change of venue

This is a picture of where I was yesterday morning.
This morning, when I woke up and opened my eyes, I couldn't remember where I was. Usually, I keep my eyes shut until I remember where I am and then open them, which works better. However, I eventually realized that the unknown location I found myself in this morning was home in New York City.



Auntie Barbie and Bro chow down (2010)

Summer porch

Many a summer was spent on this porch in Alabama, first Grandmother's and then Auntie Barb's.

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The necessities

Traveling lite.

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The difference a day makes

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beach babies

Camilla takes over Block Island, and I'm outta here.



Nephew Noah is a graduate, the saluditarian (sp?) of Block Island High on Saturday, off to UVM this fall. My friend Ivy's daughter is a bride, celebrated in the Vows section of the New York Times on Sunday. And my Auntie Barbie died yesterday, with my father present. We need a birth today.


Now in a new location

We are now at the famed House of Hat, an elegant manse just across the tidal pond from Claudia's Surf City (barely visible at right). We are Internet challenged here, so forgive the brevity of this post.

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look and read

Today Look 3 opens, a festival of photography that headlines our own Donna Ferrato and features a National Geographic exhibit of Lynn Johnson's work. Don't you wish you were there in Charlottesville, Va.? Well Donna and Lynn and our own Mason are.
  A little Ozark news. Writer and musician Marideth Sisco, who performed in the film Winter's Bone, spoke at her former high school at graduation. The text is here; the message, that it's never too late to capture your dream. Which actually is about the same message you can get from the recognition that our aging photographers are receiving.


go with the flow

Transitions are tough. It seems like Block Islanders are always packing or unpacking; always with the luggage and boxes by the door. We don't move far, but you can't help trying to make your baggage a little lighter every time.
  Today is a big transition, the Transit of Venus across the face of the sun. "From the Eastern U.S., Contact I should occur around 6:03 p.m. EDT," according to some website or other.  "Contact I will occur between the 11:30 and 12 o'clock position. Venus will then progress along a track that will run diagonally from the upper left to the lower right." Or check out this site. (For a totally nonscientific take on the Transit of Venus, check out the horoscope link on the right.)
   Jeez, now is when I should be on the West Side. On the other hand, it's blowing like stink (as they say in Hawaii) and totally cloudy, so probably won't be able to see it from anywhere.  They call it off season for a reason!


so shoot me

You guys are always ragging on me about my morning pictures. But come on—these skies are amazing! And I also got a silhouette of a deer out there, though I am not posting it for fear of reprisals.
    And let me just add that I am peeved—even miffed—that Ikea fixtures only use Ikea halogen bulbs in their spots. And don't ship them. You have to go to the store.
   Give me natural light any day.


it never happened

Today it was as if there had been no rain at all.
 The sun was shining sweetly in the morning, like a lover who has completely forgotten the quarrels of the night before.


my charmed life

Some people have it good. Just as they are exiled from their homes while writing a story about the Seminoles at the turn of the 20th century, they are offered the once-in-a-lifetime chance to inhabit a jewel box, a little artist's cottage filled with gems and trinkets from decades of collection. Or maybe assemblage is the right word.
   It is so quiet here on the West Side of Block Island, a different world from the beach, where I usually live. Perfect place to write. Private. Write, hell, maybe I'll take off all my clothes and scamper around in the sunshine! This idyll is available for much of the summer to people who appreciate a tiny, fragile collage of a cottage and are willing to treat it reverently, as it deserves. Check it out here at Offshore Property. Tell them Claudia sent you.