« October 2021 | Main | December 2021 »

November 29, 2021

Phil Saviano Dead At Age 69

Phil and I met well before the time of the Boston Globe Spotlight stories, and I recall him telling me that personnel changes at the Boston Globe might finally make it possible for him to get his story out there.

His Boston Globe obituary.

The NY Times obituary.

From Facebook:

Wednesday, December 1: Wake from 4PM - 8 PM at Mann & Rodgers Funeral Home, 44 Perkins Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Thursday, December 2: Wake from 4PM — 8PM at Jackman Funeral Home, 7 Mechanic Street, Douglas, MA 01516
Friday, December 3:” Funeral mass at 10AM at St Denis Church, 23 Manchaug Street, Douglas, MA 01516 followed by burial

Filed under Gay Issues,History,Religion | permalink | November 29, 2021 at 09:08 AM | Comments (1)

November 26, 2021

Looting Union Pacific

It's an interesting story that railcars carrying packages (FedEx, UPS) are being looted on the tracks in East L.A. and Union Pacific knows about it. There's no further word in this short item about Union Pacific's responsibilities in the matter. But the most interesting part is when all-knowing Sheriff Villanueva makes an appearance and is shocked, shocked I tell you that this is going on. He claims total ignorance of the problem and says he will put someone right on it. I've read about this looting a couple of times over the last few weeks, but I don't recall where. The Sheriff needs to broaden his sources of information.

Filed under Public Safety | permalink | November 26, 2021 at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

Bicycling The Triboro Bridge

The GNI Gatherings are in August in northeastern Pennsylvania. I bicycled to the event from Boston several times. The first time I rode with Michael and we took the inland route which had us make a big curve north of the NYC area, but that made the route much longer than necessary. In subsequent years we (or I, solo) took the shorter, more direct route which was to cycle from Boston to New London, Connecticut, ferry from there to the eastern end of Long Island, and then ride from there directly to and through New York City. The usual way into Manhattan was via the Queensboro Bridge, but then the city closed the bike path on that bridge for a construction (or rehab) project, so I decided to try the Triboro Bridge (RFK Bridge) in August 2000 which, according to the information I had, also had bike routes (sidewalks) on it. It became an adventure. I arrived at the bridge just before sunset so I could get a few photos. I managed to get onto Randall's Island okay, but the gates on the pedestrian path on the bridge (on the north end of Randall Island) that would actually take me into Manhattan were locked shut. The city probably wanted me to go to the south end of the island and take the Wards Island Bridge, a pedestrian bridge used in The Wiz. But by then it was dark and I didn't relish the idea of trying to find my way to that bridge, plus I had a friend waiting for me on 125th Street in Manhattan. So I simply took my panniers off my bike, lifted the bike and then the panniers over the gate, climbed over it myself, put it all back together and then rode towards Manhattan. Along the way I came across a bum who was sitting on the bike path while injecting himself. He apologized and pulled his legs out of my way. There were more locked gates at the Manhattan end of the bridge, which I got past in the same way, and then continued my ride into Manhattan.

All photos are Ektachrome.

RFK Bridge (2)
Facing northwesterly

Hell Gate Bridge Viewed From Triboro Bridge
Hell Gate Bridge
, the railroad bridge that parallels the Triboro Bridge here.

RFK Bridge (3)
Facing mostly east, into Queens

RFK Bridge (5)
The view back into Queens

Filed under Cities/Urbanism,Photography,Travel | permalink | November 26, 2021 at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

Wolf OR-93 Found Dead

Wolf OR-93
Wolf OR-93, photographed by Austin James, Jr., Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs

The body of gray wolf OR-93 has been found just off of I-5 in Lebec, California. He had been hit by a vehicle.

Filed under California | permalink | November 26, 2021 at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2021

Presidential Venn


Filed under Politics | permalink | November 23, 2021 at 07:51 PM | Comments (0)

Eggs For Foxes

| permalink | November 23, 2021 at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

DPReview's Broken Gift Suggestions For Film Photographers

DPReview.com has shared its Buying guide: The best gifts for film photographers in 2021 and since DPReview is among the more reliable photography websites, I thought I should see what they listed.

  1. Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow Film: 400ASA black & white film. It's priced in British Pounds (£5.00 = US$6.69), but it's not available from the company website which seems to be the only place selling it. You can only pre-order it now. They claim it will be available for shipping in November, but it's already the 23rd. Chances of actually getting this before Christmas are indeterminable. It used a Kickstarter campaign for funding. They say the film itself is "made by a company with more than a century’s experience in making film." It's probably not Kodak, so that leaves Ilford as the manufacturer. Finally, the descriptions do not mention if the film canister is DX-encoded. If it is not, then the photographer will have to set the ISO manually. Does the photographer who is the intended recipient of the film use a camera that can manually set ISO? My suggestion? A roll of film, but not this one and not the kind you can buy at your drug store, unless your drug store is Hunt's Drug in Melrose, Mass., and I don't think they sell drugs anymore.
  2. Tetenal tablet developer. Does your photographer develop their own film? If not, then this would be useless to them.
  3. Kodak-branded metal travel cases for film made by Retopro. (Note the spelling: Retopro, not Retropro). Comes in two sizes. One for 35mm film, $25, and one for 35mm and 120 (medium format) film, $29. Does your photographer friend shoot solely 35mm or do they shoot 35 and 120? These could be useful to some, but I like film containers where I can see what kind of film it is without having to open up a box.
  4. LomoGraflok 4×5 Instant Back. Does your photographer friend use a Graflok-equipped 4×5 camera? Then they might find this $149 item to be useful. Unfortunately, the Lomography website is accepting only pre-orders with a promise to deliver (in the USA) in December. European orders won't be delivered until January.
  5. The Pixl-latr, a device to hold negatives or slides so they can be scanned. This gift could be for anybody who has negatives or slides that they want to scan. The Pixl-latr alone is not sufficient for the task. One also needs a DSLR camera (at least 20mp, I'd say) and some device to hold that DSLR (a copy stand or a tripod) and a light source. The Pixl-latr is £37.49 (US$50.16) and ships from the UK. They suggest you could use a smartphone instead of a DSLR, but I have serious doubts that a smartphone could focus on an image that is close enough to the lens to fill the frame. Myself, I use the Essential Film Holder which also ships from the UK and is more expensive. When I bought the Essential Film Holder, the Pixl-latr wasn't available yet. One advantage I can see for the Essential Film Holder is that it is lined with a low friction material so you can slide strips of negatives through it safely. The Pixl-latr requires one to lift up a piece of it before sliding the film or your precious, irreplaceable negatives will be scratched. A bit of a design weakness.
  6. The Analogue WonderBox - Film Subscription Box which is six rolls of 35mm film sent every other month for £50.00 (US$66.91) per shipment. Yes, this is another UK site, even though DPReview is not a British site. It's owned by Amazon and uses American English, but some Anglophile must be picking these gift suggestions. There is a shipping charge for orders outside the UK. These films will cost you more than $10/roll which is expensive. You can get a better price from any ordinary film source like B&H where you have 542 films to choose from at prices ranging from $4.49 to $561.50 (for a 50-pack of Ilford XP2 film). The highest price there for a single roll of 35mm film is $28.95 for REVOLOG Snovlox, a black & white film "characterized by a white color effect reminiscent of snowflakes." Here's a review with some sample images. I'd suggest NOT buying either the Snovlox or the Analogue WonderBox for any of your photographer friends.
  7. Polaroid Now+ i‑Type Instant Camera for $149.99. This looks a little more interesting than the popular Fujifilm Instax cameras. The photographer has more means to control the Polaroid by connecting it to a smartphone, and it comes with five actual, physical filters—not the internal, digital filters found on other cameras. Film prices start at $16.99 for a single pack (eight exposures) of color or black & white film.
  8. Chroma 5x4 Field Camera. WTF? This is an inexpensive large format camera and you need to know your photographer friend very well before you try gifting this camera. First, I'm not sure it's actually available to buy. DPReview links to the camera's Kickstarter campaign from 2018! There it appears to be £250 (US$334.48), but there is no way to order one. The last update on Kickstarter is dated October 4, 2021, and it sounds like he's still working off the backlog of existing Kickstarter orders from more than two years ago. Here's a review of the camera. The Chroma 5x4 Field Camera is not to be found on Chroma's website.
  9. Intrepid Compact Enlarger, if your photographer friend has a darkroom. Available for £280.00 (US$374.61). Another UK product, and this one says it's available for pre-order with a current lead time of 12 weeks, so your holiday gift will be delivered next spring.

Filed under Photography,Shopping | permalink | November 23, 2021 at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2021

Four From Here & There

Chicago Public Library (1A)
Chicago Public Library
, Ektachrome, 2000.

Bird of Paradise Flower (2)
Ektachrome, 1989

Kodachrome, 1991

The Scout - Kansas City (2)
"The Scout" in Kansas City
, Kodachrome, 1991.

Filed under Photography | permalink | November 18, 2021 at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2021

Four Infrareds In Palm Springs

Our Lady of Solitude Church (1264)
Our Lady of Solitude Church

Our Lady of Solitude Church (1268)
Our Lady of Solitude Church

342-344 N. Palm Canyon Drive (1313)
342-344 N. Palm Canyon Drive

Water Feature In Downtown Park
The fountain in new Downtown Park (click for video)

Filed under Architecture,Coachella Valley,Photography | permalink | November 14, 2021 at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

For Your Consideration

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Filed under Politics | permalink | November 14, 2021 at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

Trump Sells Washington Hotel

Trump will sell the rights to operate the hotel (which remains owned by the federal government) for $375-million. It will become a Waldorf-Astoria. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform says the hotel has lost $70-million since Trump began operating it.

Filed under Politics,Travel | permalink | November 14, 2021 at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2021

Cannabis Joins California State Fair

Beginning in 2022 there will be a cannabis competition at the California State Fair in Sacramento. There will not, however, be any consumption. The winners will be judged based solely on laboratory testing. All the details are here. Competitors must be California licensed cultivators which would seem to rule out those bright 4H kids. Minimum charge to enter the competition is $670.

Filed under California,Marijuana | permalink | November 13, 2021 at 06:42 AM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2021

Plessy to be Pardoned

Ferguson, however, will not be so fortunate.The Louisiana Board of Pardons voted unanimously to recommend a pardon for Homer Plessy who died in 1925. The final decision now is up to the Governor..

Filed under History | permalink | November 12, 2021 at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2021

Four More Photos

Palm Tree Silhouettes (1)
Ektachrome, 1991

Then Shall The Earth Yield Her Increase And God Even Our Own God Shall Bless Us
Part of a frieze on the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City
. Kodachrome, 1991.

Copa (7137)
Part of the neon sign at Copa in Palm Springs
. Digital, shot just six days ago.

Forever Marilyn (7152)
"Forever Marilyn,"
also digital from just a few days ago.

Filed under Art,Coachella Valley,Photography | permalink | November 11, 2021 at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2021

Burning Man's Gatekeepers

A little (5 minutes) documentary about Gate, Perimeter & Exodus, a crew of volunteers at Burning Man that control and monitor Gate Road, the gate itself, and the entire perimeter of Black Rock City outside the trash fence. They are not the Greeters, an entirely separate, friendly, huggy crew of volunteers.

I volunteer for Box Office, which is most certainly not GP&E, but we are friendly neighbors. The two camps are adjacent inside Black Rock City and we Box Office people walk over to GP&E to catch their bus out to the gate where our Box Office is also located. For me, the hugest difference between the two crews is that in Box Office I get to sit inside an air conditioned room for six hours while I work. GP&E volunteers work outdoors for six hours in whatever kind of weather the Black Rock Desert decides to dish out. The only break they might get would happen if weather (a dust or rain storm, usually) got so bad they had to actually stop all traffic.

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | November 10, 2021 at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

The Zen Of Downhill Racing

The "Wooden Car Race" (no wood to be seen) in Ambato, Ecuador. The vehicles are powered only by muscle and gravity.

Surprisingly well behaved participants and spectators. No crashes to be seen. Only one stray dog and one stray pedestrian wander into this long downhill route.

Filed under Sports | permalink | November 10, 2021 at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

November 9, 2021

Woulda Been Helpful...

...thirty years ago for me. New York State now has the Empire State Trail, a system of bicycle and pedestrian paths and routes that reach from Manhattan to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo.

The Empire State Trail.
Empire State Trail map

Filed under Cycling | permalink | November 9, 2021 at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

57° Is Just Fine

Arthur C. Brooks is a Bostonian who has has written an article for The Atlantic to try to convince himself (and others, I suppose) that the weather there is ideal and people should not be moving from there to warmer climates like, say, Desert Hot Springs, California. He has even found a study that claims 57° is the optimal outdoor temperature for happiness.

He is very, very, very wrong.

If all else fails, you can simply give up and decide to stop complaining. I have lived in sunny places (Boca Raton, Santa Monica, Barcelona) and gray places (Seattle, upstate New York) in roughly equal measure and have been keeping careful track of my happiness for decades. Despite it being a convenient grievance, the climate has not affected my well-being in any systematic way. Confronted by the data, I have simply given up whining about the Boston winters, and that has helped me like them better. I focus instead on the things I live here for, such as a university teaching job I love.

I wish we could get an objective measure of his "happiness." Sounds like depression to me. Brooks is "the William Henry Bloomberg professor of the practice of public leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, and a professor of management practice at the Harvard Business School."

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | November 9, 2021 at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)

Pledge Of Allegiance, Huh?

I've never seen anything quite like this before. Requita Grant, who has been on the Planning Commission since January 2021 and who was on the Community and Cultural Affairs Commission before that and has attended (or Zoomed into) many other city meetings where the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, does not know the words to the Pledge and is embarrassingly caught out when asked to lead the Pledge at a meeting of the Desert Hot Springs Planning Commission.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | November 9, 2021 at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

November 8, 2021




Filed under Shopping | permalink | November 8, 2021 at 05:11 PM | Comments (0)