Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hydrofrack Warning

Saw a very disturbing article whose headline states "EPA sounds alarm on fracking in Wyoming."

Other than being a good citizen of the world (or at least TRYING to), why am I, a resident of NY, concerned about this?

Before I get into that, hydrofracking is short for hydraulic fracturing. It uses a pressurized fluid aiming at the veins of the rock bed with the intent of releasing from the soil & then capturing untapped oil, natural gas, & coal steam.

One of the problems is that the hydrofracking companies haven't exactly been forthcoming in letting the public & regulators know what is exactly in their pressure streams. We know its a chemicalized-water mix but no one is really sure what the percentages are. How can we when the companies are protecting "trade secrets"?

This leads to a bigger question. Is & will our ground water be safe?

Officially, the journey is still out. Unofficially when I witness tap water literally be set on fire by the seeped in gas, I'd say no.

Why am I concerned?

The fracking industry has blitzed all levels of my state government to open new drilling permits in the Marcellus Shale which located in along the entire New York-Pennsylvania border. They tout that it'll bring employment to an economically depressed region. If I lived along the NY-PA border, I'd be extremely concerned about allowing fracking. Yes, you may get (altogether now) "jobs, jobs, jobs" but what good are "jobs, jobs, jobs" if one cannot rely on the drinking water even if its for everyday use (like toilet flushing, cooking, laundry). This effects not only the people but also the businesses & industries who have nothing to do with fracking.

If corporations are people & are thus deserving of constitutional rights (thank you Citizens United), how are these actions one of a responsible citizen?

If my State Government is smart & concerned about anything besides votes, they'll defeat new hydrofracking permits. Considering I know very well how functional they actually are (some would say crooked), I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

In other news...

This is Hannah at the bottom with her friend's child (the mother simply wasn't in the frame) & her little own little one.

Little ones I find are tough to direct, so I simply just kinda let them do their own thing & follow along. I approached the entire shoot with a "Day at the Playground" documentary shooting perspective. It was a refreshing change of pace.

Comment away on any part of this if you so desire.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

I am VERY thankful for each & every person that I've been blessed in working with.

Without y'alls support, I would not be remotely the photographer that I've become.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Tasers and Police Brutality

I live in a small community of 15,000 at most.

Seeing the questionable tactics used by law enforcement to disperse the Occupy Wall Street, one of the better examples is the Channel 4 news video of UC Davis' response to their Occupy protests as seen below:

 ...combined w/ a NYCLU report naming my own localities high use of tasers (aka "stun guns"), its made me question some things.

During the mid-late 90's while serving with the Marines, the use of "deadly force" was ingrained into each & everyone of us. It was seperated into two parts. Defining "deadly force" & explaining when it can be applied (while on post as a sentry). From my US Marine Guidebook (1999 edition)...

"Deadly force is defined as that force which a person uses with the purpose of causing-or which he knows or should reasonably know, would create substantial risk of causing-death or serious bodily harm. Deadly force is justified under conditions of extreme necessity and ONLY as a last resort when all lesser means have failed or cannot reasonably be employed." (emphasis mine)
Yes specific situations & environments will vary on the when, how, & why. But basically, one has to use all possible options BEFORE they pull that trigger.

So what explains the Glens Falls Police Department's high taser usage? Back in May 2010 why did they taser a guy who reportedly had no other weapon on him besides his fists? Could they not have TRIED calming him down before they shot him? If this is how they treat one of their "Brother Officers", I'd hate to see what they do their enemies (so to speak).

Why is it that reportedly 99 out of 150 tasering incidents involved people with no weapons on them?

Granted this incident happened with a sister police department, can they & in what manner do they justify using a taser on an animal?

I'm not remotely saying tasering people is always unjustified.

What I AM promoting is that the Glens Falls Police Department step forward & explain themselves to the public. Specifically their policies on A. when their officers can draw their weapon, B. when they can pull the trigger, C. why doing so is acceptable.

I WANT to sympathize with the tough jobs the Boys in Blue have (Lord knows there are A LOT of whackos) but without having any clue as to what they're thinking, it simply reads as the leadership is promoting a culture of trigger happy cops getting their jollies off on hurting people.

Edit: Another taser fatality this time by a NC Police Department under questionable circumstances.

In other news...

This is Vanessa. "She makes Zombie Killing Look Good!"

You are welcome to comment about any part of this blog if you so choose.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Sizes

I was down in Albany, NY recently where I visited the independent book store, the Book House.

As a lover of books, I saw a juxtaposition w/n the shelves that was very telling. Below are two pictures of the same book (taken from my phone).



I don't understand why the bigger book is priced at $16.99 while the smaller book is priced at $7.99. Nor are they simply different editions. Nor the interior font any bigger. Nor is there any difference in the interior art. Nor is it like there are more words in the bigger one than the smaller one.

Sh** like this is frustrating.

Its similar to what I saw in the early 2000s w/ music downloading & the lack of purchasing alternatives. If the record companies are going to discontinue music singles (a form of which that has been around in some way shape or form since the 1950s) and produce crap albums and press out barely 12 songs then expect us to be grateful we're shelling out (what was then) $15 for an album and then claim poverty while your artists are luck it they make $.50 on every album they sell, why shouldn't they be allowed to download stuff if for nothing else than to get some glimpse as to what our money is buying. Its bullsh**.

Its the same deal here.

I WANT to support traditional paper books. I prefer the tactile experience & the joy I get by passing on a good read to someone else. But if the publishing companies see nothing wrong w/ gouging us, why shouldn't the consumer look at alternative reading mediums?

This is why I support e-readers whether its the Kindle, the Nook, or any of the tablet downloadable apps.

The ones who are hurt by this greed are the local businesses (since they are essentially the middlemen) as well as the artists themselves. But whatever. Such is life & that's a shame.

In other news...

This is Candace participating in my Abandonment series. I was surprisingly please how well this out-take was.


Feel free & comment on any part of this if you so desire.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ode to Red Fox Books

I'm greatly saddened in hearing Red Fox Books, a small independent bookstore in downtown Glens Falls, will soon be shutting its doors.

I've gotten a number of books there. My favorite has been Joseph Heller's "Catch-22". Its sorta become my ritual to mail that to anyone I know who's deployed w/ the military.

Though I like & respect Mr Funiciello, owner of the Rock Hill Bake House, I fundamentally disagree with his public position that "the community didn't support the store." My reasoning is that that reason is to simplistic. One could say that about ANY business folding.

Sometimes there are just outside factors w/ whom the business owner have no direct control over. The dreadful state of the economy is a place to start. Choosing a bad location is another factor. Sometimes the profit margin leave little room for error. Sometimes the hired crew (or the owner) isn't up to the task. Sometimes people bungle the marketing. I'm not saying any these apply to Red Fox's closing, just trying to make a point.

Sometimes a new technology comes along that turns everything upside down. The rise of MP3's killed CD sales. The prevalence of cell phones dug hard into the profits of landline phone companies. In the case of Red Fox, the rise of the tablets & e-readers chipped away at their already small profit margins.

My point being sometimes people can do everything right & still lose.

The implications of the store's closing WILL indeed suck for this book loving fiend. I will now have to drive 20-25 minutes to my nearest Barnes & Nobles to enter any bookstore whatsoever. Nor have I been impressed w/ its selection, it "feels" very one-dimensional. Like if I went into a Barnes & Nobles in Albany, it'd be the same basic selection as the one in Saratoga.

People will adapt, life will go on, hopefully something just as good if not better will fill the void. Such is life.

I'm simply grateful for having met Sue Fox & Naftali Rottenstreich, sympathize their business endeavor didn't pan out, yet curious in seeing what the next stage in their life will be.

In other news...

I never get tired of working w/ Lauren.



Feel free & comment on any part of this if you so desire.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NY's Nanny State

I do not condone texting while driving but this new recently signed NYS law is just plain stupid.

The law allows police to make texting while driving a primary offense. Meaning they can stop you just for that, whereas previously you had to make another traffic violation & then they'd tack the texting onto the other violation. According to news reports, law enforcement will be enforcing this law in unmarked vehicles.

In no particular order, why I think this law (of strengthening it) is stupid...

1. The state already has a "driving while distracted" law on the books. Making texting while driving illegal (or strengthening it) simply to makes it more sexy.

2. If texting while driving is supposedly more dangerous than drinking & driving, how come they do not also include pedestarians mindlessly walking while texting or those riding their bicycles while texting? Would not those equivalents not be the prohibition on open alcoholic containers or "driving while impaired," respectively?

I bring this up because there have been plenty of times where I've slammed on my breaks because some mindless pedesterian walks out in front traffic while they're texting. If god forbid I hit them, MY car insurance rates go up.

I walk to a lot of place locally. No fewer than 3 times since the spring has some idiot bicyclist nearly collide w/ me (or actually has) because, wait for it, he was fiddling w/ his phone.

Considering the Whitehall PD arrested a drunk guy riding a lawn mower, its not like it'd be that far of a stretch. What's the max speed on those mowers, maybe 20 mph at most? My bicycle riding fiend of a brother probably averages a faster speed than that.

3. Below is a picture of my GPS, m phone, & my iPod.

As you can see, they're all pretty much the same size. The officer can legally ticket you because he THINKS you're texting, even though you're not.

Also, two of these devices are legal while the other is not. If I were ever to be taken the traffic court, could the cop be sure that what he saw the driver doing at 65+ mph, really was texting?

4. Why single out texting?

If listening to NPR's Car Talk is any indication, people do everything from shaving w/ an electric razor to pouring coffee from their thermos to fiddling w/ the radio (I'm certainly guilty of that) to changing their clothes to painting their nails to feeding their kid (who's in the backseat) to tying their necktie to reading a map to...well, you get the idea.

All of these done were while driving. Why are the cops not cracking down on any of these practices?

5. I touched on this earlier but I have a problem w/ HOW the state plans on enforcing this measure.

If law enforcement is going by visual sight. Would that not mean they'll be targeting cars that are low to the ground & vehicles w/ nontinted windows?

6. Texting while driving is not something I condone. I admit it DOES take ones attention away from where its supposed to be, on the road.

However, I believe this new application of the law will make the practice worse. Instead of texting at 12 or 1 o'clock on the steering wheel where the driver can be sorta aware of the road using their perphieral vision, it'll be shifted down to 6 o'clock where its below the windowline & basically in the driver's lap.

I also believe we'll shortly see an entirely new industry crop up that will enable drivers to do their texting legally, just as we saw w/ the 2001 NYS law ban cell phone use w/ your hands.

7. The state is trying to change driver behavior by targeting the device that distracts them. This is the latest example of Albany's short-sightedness. Instead of cracking down on the actual behavior (not being attentive at what they're doing) & maybe even strength preexisting laws, they target the method in which drivers are being distracted.

Lawmakers & safety advocates point towards NY's 2001 law banning hand-held cell phone use while driving yet by 2004 the rate of useage was back to pre-ban levels. This simply reinforces comedian Ron White's signature phrase, "Ya can't fix stupid."

8. Its funny in that pathetic sorta way how everything gets compared to drunk driving. Cell phone use is worse than drinking & driving. Texting is worse than drinking & driving. The health effects of smoking impairs you more than drinking & driving. Transfats are worse for the body than drinking & driving.

Drinking & driving has become the bogeyman to be invoked if a DIFFERENT health & safety issue needs addressing. Think of it as someone invoking the "Nazis" or "Hitler" in a political or morality discussion.

9.Let's cut to the chase.

NY State has something to the tune of an $8 billion budget deficit. Strengthening an already silly law of prohibiting a practice people do, will generate fines. Fines generate revenue. New revenue will help close the budget gap. I'm COMPLETELY fine w/ all that.

Just don't try & give a load of BS that "its all for the public good."

In other news...

This was Jenni, doing a random wander-around shoot at the Albany Plaza.


Feel free about commenting on any part of this, if you so desire.

Monday, July 18, 2011

WAMC Fundraising Questions

NPR's WAMC recently held their latest fund-drive for $1 million in listener donations. Considering that they run these infernal fund-drives at least once a quarter (it certainly seems like more), that'd mean they get $4 million a year.

I know they have to factor in for rate of inflation, increased programming fees, decreased financial support from Congress but would that not effect EVERY NPR station proportionally the same? Yet member stations like NCPR (based in Canton, NY) & WRVO (based out of Syracuse) have only sought 1% per quarter than from what they were asking in 2002 yet WAMC has sought a 400% increase than what they were asking over the same time period.

So this begs the question, what exactly is WAMC using all that money for?

I ask because usually when times are tough such as these, nonprofits either make do w/ what they've got (therefore making the money stretch) or they ask for a livable less or cut their bloated overhead expenses.

Because of HOW all NPR stations conduct their fund drives (they keep going whether its for 7 hours, 7 days, or 7 weeks until they meet their goals), the station isn't compelled to take a hard look at their fiances.

Considering Alan Chertock's, WAMC's CEO & Chief on-air personality, ego would put Narcissus to shame, I'd question as whether he really cares. Don't believe me, here's a 3rd party report of the station playing "We Shall Overcome" & "Imagine" when they finally met their latest fund-raising goal. Sorry but I don't think Pete Seeger & Lennon pictured greed in being something to be proud of.

In other news...

This is Brittany, taking part in my "Abandonment Adventure" Series.

Unfortunately, this shoot got cut short from the cops shooing us away. :(


Feel free to comment away if you so desire.

Friday, June 17, 2011

NY's Gay Marriage Vote

I thought I discussed this topic before but sifting through this blog, I cannot seem to find it. Therefore I'm formally stating my position now.

As many New York State residents know, the NYS Senate is trying to muster the votes to legalize Gay Marriage. The last time it was up for a vote (back in 2009), it was decisively defeated as political payback for the then unpopular, "unelected" Governor Paterson.

I want to start by saying state government should completely get out of the marriage racket & simply give everyone who applies a "civil union." That way the religious institutions can keep the "sanctity of marriage" intact & approve or deny those they either deem worthy or not worthy as they see fit.

That's not remotely going to happen though. Religious institutions have convinced themselves that marriage is sacred yet they allow annulments & divorces.

Why do I approve of gay marriage?

If a gay or lesbian couple wish to be miserable for the rest of the lives just like a hetero couple is, who am I to tell them they can't?

Seriously though, withing the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution lies the Equal Protection Clause. The government "must provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction." Unmarried gay couples do not have the legal right to decide next of kin medical issue in regards to their partner. They often cannot legally be put on their partners insurance plans. In many states, they are barred from adopting children. Its modern Jim Crow'ism & a wrong that needs immediate righting.

My favorite argument revolves around the revenue. NYS is facing a $6 billion budget shortfall, if not more. Married couples need a marriage license for their union to be legal. Licenses cost money. Since fickle NY'ers complain about having high taxes yet don't want their services cut, we gotta get the money from somewhere. The windfall from new marriage licenses seems like the perfect fit in helping meet SOME of those budgetary needs.

In other news...

This is Meagan, taken back in December.

It may not reflect in this image but she's a very creative spirit & an accomplished photographer in her own right. Nor does it hurt that her love of books has earned her a special place in my heart. :)


Feel free to comment away if you so desire.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wasted Votes

I have to chuckle.

A friend of mine is complaining about NY's Governor Cuomo's plan for a property tax cap, "reneging" on school aid, & his pro business position at the expense of the unions. These are all positions Candidate Cuomo campaigned for during the recent 2010 gubernatorial election.

Yet the friend still voted for him because "the other guy," Carl Paladino, "was a whacko."

I'm sorry. Though I love him, I have little to no sympathy for the friend. Cuomo made no secret as to what he wanted to do, yet he still voted for him.

An argument I've heard against voting for 3rd parties like Greens, Conservatives, Libertarian, & what-have you, is that its a "wasted" vote. Yet I ask, how is it any more of a waste, voting for a candidate whose beliefs one does not share?

I think that kind of voting is MORE of a waste because the candidate will take those election results as proof of "the will of the electorate", pushing through that agenda.

In other news...

This here is Cassie, during this past Autumn.


Feel free & comment away on any part of this if you so desire.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Payback's a Bitch

Last week after 9.5 years, the US finally killed Osama bin Laden & captured his body.

The death of this individual acted as a national catharsis. Not since the fall of the Soviet Union has any one individual been immersed in our psyche as the bogeyman. Ye unlike the Soviet despots, Osama has actually killed Americans.

There are very few individuals in this world whose death I would openly cheer. Bin Laden is one of those. Though I am, nor was I one of those people who actually celebrated his death, I entirely empathize w/ where they're coming from.

I still remember as if it was yesterday smelling the chemical stench of lower Manhattan when I made my pilgrimage down there 2 months to the day after the Trade Tower attacks. I still remember persuading in vain in to getting my family to go up the Twin Towers (I know I could get a shot of them w/ Liberty Island in the background) after watching our crappy Red Sox get beat by the Yankees that very same weekend. I dreaded losing sleep over being recalled back to the Marines (I'd been "honorably discharge" 1 year minus a week on the day of the attacks). I remember drinking a beer in sorrow upon discovering that one of my Marine brothers (as well as the rest of his C-130 crew) died during a mission in Afghanistan when their plane had mechanical problems & crashed.

A part of me is disappointed we weren't able to (or willing...the reports are kinda fuzzy at this stage) capture him alive. I would have loved to have seen his ass on trial after the Eichmann model, stripping him of his mythology & revealing to the world yet again what has been called "banality of evil". Unfortunately, history will never be able to record that. However I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

All I can say is payback's a bitch. May you rot in hell, Osama.

Below is a scanned image of a print (I was shooting film back then), taken outside Trinity Church in lower Manhattan, Nov 2001:


Below is another scanned image Ground Zero looking north. Again taken in Nov 2001:


Comment away on any part of this if you so choose.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why are we Still in Afghanistan?

This October will mark the 10th anniversary of the start of the US-led war in Afghanistan.

During the debate for the Afghan troop "surge" in 2008(?), I kept hearing rhetoric about "winning the war in Afghanistan". It begs the question because no one has bothered to define it, not W's administration, nor Obama's, nor the Pentagon.

Does it mean crushing the operational capacity of al Queda? If so, we're losing pitifully if the White House's own statements is any account. The Pakistan-Afghanistan border region has the great no-man's land. Furthermore the Pakistani government is becoming more assertive in protecting its own borders from US operations.

Does it mean putting in place a functioning democracy as we know it in the West? That sure isn't it. Afghanistan is still tribally led & (arguably) has reverted back to a narco state. On top of that, international elections observers declared the latest elections held back in 2009(?) to be so flawed as to be invalid, a result of which Kharzi simply ignored.

Does it mean catching bin Laden or his #2, Mullah Omar? If so, they're still very much alive according to the countless video & audiotapes they release.

Does it mean installing a government that will ask us to leave? That sure sure hasn't happened & if the public statements by "President" Kharzi is any indication, he ain't going to. Furthermore Vice-President Biden has publicly stated that unless the Afghanis ask us the leave, US troops will be there until 2014.

We the taxpayers aren't questioning why we're still spending the money on (now) 3 wars YET think nothing of cutting our own salaries, cutting money to fund our educational system, eliminating helping the poor, eliminating the social contracts the government has made w/ the American people since the Great Depression. There's something wrong with this picture.

Do we not owe it to the GI's we're putting in harms to be asking these questions?

In other news...

This is Ally & Nicki, enjoying some inpromptu giggle time.


Feel free to comment away on any part of this if you so desire.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dear Smart Phone Users

Dear Smart Phone Users,

Just because some of us do not answer your texts 10 seconds after they're sent, please do not use profanity or calling us names because you THINK we're ignoring you. That's like the surest way for me to start ignoring to until you're able to calm down & act like an adult.

Some of us have mundane things to do, like shower or get our laundry or *gasp* pack for a trip. There's also the fact that many of us live in dead zones (like much of the Adirondacks). Many workplaces also have policies where its a violation if you use any sort of electronic devices that does not directly pertain to your job duties.

Most importantly, my phone has 12 buttons. Don't believe me? Below is a picture:


I do not have the patience to type out a novel length text in response yours, nor would I have the inclination to do so even if I could. My phone is old, the battery is crappy, but it serves MY needs.

Got all that?

Thanks for understanding.

In other news...

This is Jenna & her fiance Jeremy enjoying one of their moments.


Feel free & comment away on any part of this is you dare.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

No Gas Day Silliness

In this age of mass media, the Internet (as well as social networking sites) can be a breeding ground of activism. We've seen this with the Iraq War protests as well as the activism w/n Tea Party wing of the Republican party. We've also recently seen where members used sites like Facebook & Twitter to organize opposition groups, bringing down the corrupt regimes in Egypt & Tunisia.

The internet can also be a venue for mass stupidity. Case in point, this "No Gas Day". It promotes "sending a message" to the greedy oil companies by not buying gas on SINGLE day.

I have to ask, how does it "send (that) message" when people will just buy gas the day before or the day after? You're also not buying your gas directly from the oil companies, you're buying it from the middle man local gas station owner simply trying to put food on his table. Additionally, profit tallies are measured on a weekly, monthly, & quarterly basis. A one-day boycott WILL NOT effect the overall profit numbers any more than a freak winter snowstorm would.

Actual change requires grunt work.

Pissed off about the gas prices (or simply wish to care more about the environment)? There are a million things you could do & w/ the search capabilities of the internet, probably a gazillion more.

Carpooling, use public transportation, ride your bicycle, actually walking are just a few things that immediately come to mind.

It also can mean writing your elected representatives (or newspaper) urging them to support Green Energy policies. It also means ending the sweet-heart tax breaks that our government gives to the oil companies. Considering companies like Exxon-Mobil made $7.5 billion in the 3rd Quarter of 2010 alone, I don't think they'll be going to the poor house anytime soon.

This "Not Buying Gas Day" is as retarded as a devout, long-time Vegan giving up meat for Lent. They don't already eat meat, so its not like its going to be missed.

Real change means doing something for the long haul & means getting your hands dirty. Not some touchy-feely delusional "I did something" when it means absolutely zilch.

Edit: MOFYC linked to a Christian Science Monitor article listing "10 suggestions in How You can Lower Gas Consumption".

In other news...

This here is my friend Melissa from school. Something tells me we're going to have a grand ol' photo-adventure when she comes up later this week.


Feel free & comment away on any part of this, if you dare.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

NY Redistricting Reform

I wish I could say that the hypocrisy w/n the NY State's legislature surprises me but it doesn't. The latest case in point, redistricting.

The Senate Democrats ran & won on a reform platform that included redistricting reform in 2008 but never got around to it. Senate Republican, then in the minority, in a rush to embarrass the opposition signed Ed Koch's NY Uprising pledge that addresses this very issue.

My how Fortuna is fickle!

W/ the 2010 elections, their positions are reversed. Senate Republicans are the ones stalling on redistricting reform & the Senate Democrats are the ones rushing to embarrass the opposition.

This would almost be comical if the consequences weren't so important to our democracy.

In other news...

This is Nicole, doing a helluva balancing act wearing heels. We were shooting in a place we probably shouldn't have been but thankfully went off w/o a hitch.


Feel free to comment away if you so desire.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Teachers - What I Know

I've been busy lately so I haven't had much of an opportunity to follow the events in Wisconsin. The Governor out there in the guise of "fiscal restraint" is attempting to (what?) decertify the statewide teacher's union.

The Democratic minority w/o the votes to defeat the governor's legislation have used the "quorum" rule to stall & hopefully beat said legislation by literally leaving the state of Wisconsin. Considering I myself decried the buffoonery of my own state legislature using the lack of quorum tactic back in 2009, I'm not sure how I feel about it.

That being said here's what I DO know.

The Wisconsin teachers were not the ones that got the state into the fiscal mess. Nor did anyone point a gun to the administration's head when they blessed off the current contract not more than 2 years ago.

Here's what I also know. Teaching is not your typical 9-5 job.

1. When you're home veggin in front of the TV, they're home correcting papers.

2. Know that Winter Vacation you take w/ your kids, guess what those teachers are reading their student written essays in the frantic hope to get them done before the vacation ends.

3. Know that unruly employee you can fire because they're disrupting production, guess what, not teachers.

4. Try dealing w/ an unsupportive administration or parents who CONDONE cheating (like buying essays) because their child in their zeal to remain competitive is unable to manage their own time.

5. For many of these children, teachers become the defacto parents or at the very least one of the only positive role models they know.

6. They don't get paid for writing their lesson plans late at night.

7. Try dealing w/ statewide requirements & deadlines that fail to take into account the local situation (like the brutal blizzards we've had this winter)

8. Unlike the private sector where a person w/ a Masters degree can easily command $60K+ starting out, teachers consider themselves lucky if they can get even $23K/year.

If anyone in the private sector had to put up w/ this garbage, we the public would applaud them for standing up for themselves. Yet for some reason time & again, teachers are the target of a public hit job. We want them to be the best but when it comes to actual worth, we pay & treat them like crap.

Its part of this do-as-I-say culture, not do-as-I-do culture.

In other news...

This is Cristen, taken back in 2008.


Feel free & comment away if you dare.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pedo Priest Conviction

I originally had a blog discussing the US's historically promoting self-determination directed at our adversaries, only to turn its back on those people if they fell within the territories of our allies. But unfortunately, it was going no where. It didn't help either that events in Egypt got ahead of me...not that I'm complaining. :o)

Last week, Gary Mercure formally a pastor w/n my local church St Mary's of Glens Falls was convicted on three counts of forcible child rape and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child younger than 14.

I say good riddance.

I used to practice regularly but the divide of what they were preaching versus what they were doing was hypocritical. It didn't help that the masses bored me to tears & the sermons simply weren't speaking to me.

The Church spends so much time worrying about what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home (in a secular realm no less!) yet are unable or unwilling to protect their own flock from predators w/n their own ranks.

It sure doesn't sound like they're remotely close to being the Good Shepherd that Christ preached about.

In other news...

This is Georgia shortly before he feet froze while participating in my ongoing Abandonment project. Don't blame me, I told her to dress warm. ;o)


Feel free & comment away on any part of this if you so desire.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Egypt Riots

I swear to freakin' hell! If I hear one more person theorize that the Egyptian riots are being instigated by Islamic Jihadists, I think I'm going to bang my head against a brick wall.

Not every uprising in that part of the world means that outside forces are to blame.

Tunisia politically blew up because one guy lit himself on fire because the government refused him to give him a license to sell his fruit & make a living. Iranians in 2009 were pissed off because they believed Ahmadinejad rigged his own reelection. Yet its supposedly true here. Why?

Actually that last was a rhetorical question. The $1.5 billion of US aid (much of it military) has everything to do w/ it.

When our government is inept & corrupt & not paying attention to the needs of their citizens &/or not doing something fast enough, we in the US can vote them out of office. Egyptians do not have even that choice.

Freedom of Assembly & Speech as well as Habeas Corpus (a person's right to contest their unlawful detention) have no meaning there. Free elections (as defined by the UN) is a completely foreign concept to the current Egyptian regime. Human Rights, especially considering the newly appointed Vice President ran that country's rendition program, you can forget about it.

I'm sorry but the Egyptian people have every right to be pissed & demand change.

In other news...

This here is Rika. She was gracious enough to indulge me in what has been described as my Superman Fetish. :)


Feel free & comment away on any part of this if you so desire.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow Fatigue

The local daily, the Post Star, reported not more than 2 weeks ago how the local snow-mobilers & skiers were unhappy about the lack of snow.

Considering that the area is expecting its 4th major storm in 11 days, I hope this demographic is happy. I know the crappy weather comes w/ the territory of living in Northern NY but I'm kinda getting tired of shoveling it.

In other news...

This is Bree, yet another gracious participant to my ongoing abandonment series.


Feel free & comment away if you dare.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Whackos, Nutjobs, and Racists

In 2000 Newsweek interview, the modern descendants of Franz Ferdinand (the Austrian arch-duke whose assassination) triggered the First World War remarked, "Our family had been involved in politics for over 500 years. Violence is simply a job hazard."

I'm obviously bringing this up in reference to the Tuscon, AZ shootings.

Did the rhetoric have something to do w/ it? Yes & no. Yes because its been proven that inflammatory rhetoric does have an influence on the listening/viewing audience. No because saying incendiary things alone is not enough in our justice system to attach ones guilt. Individuals are responsible for their own actions unless it can be proven that an outside party is making a documented conscience effort to effect behavior otherwise (think the Tobacco Industry).

Lord knows Manson tried blaming the Beatles for his killings. Mark David Chapman tried blaming "Catcher in the Rye" for killing Lennon. Hinkley was convinced killing Reagan would impress Jodi Foster, a person he'd never met before. Hell, Berkowitz took orders from his dog!

Yes, these shootings are tragic. Yes, they probably could've been preventable. But I don't see this as a grand conspiracy to shut certain people up. Its just one of those bizarre but meaningless acts of violence.

Will we learn anything from this? I haven't a clue.

W/ all the whackos, nutjobs, & racists out there, I'm a little surprised that violence like this isn't more prevalent...not that I'm advocating that.

In other news...

One of my lovable headcases Meagan persuaded to go back into the archives & take a fresh look at the material from our first shoot, shot during Aug 2005. It entailed promises of doing multiple "pretty pleases" & future promises of dirty things to come. Little does she know I would've settled for far less in the form of an Italian smack upside the head. =)

All kidding aside, that shoot felt like ages ago & at the same time just yesterday. Seeing these pictures again makes me wince in a way. Think of it like seeing at ones own baby pictures when you're an adult. You know that's you but at the same time its a completely different person.

Anyway, this is one of the shots that recaptured my attention.


Feel free & comment on any part of this if you so desire.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

When Writing Nonfiction

I'm a visual arts person & not a copy editor, so please forgive if I weaken my case w/ bad grammar or what have you.

Its no secret I read a lot of nonfiction (among many other things). Nor is it a secret I've suffered writing many a research paper during my undergrad that quite frankly, I cared nothing about (it comes w/ the territory sometimes). I'd like to think I've picked up on a few helpful tips along the way.

If you're writing about a real event (as opposed to "historical fiction" which is a fictional narrative revolving around real event(s))...

1. Don't create dialogue between two players out of thin air. If there's enough to create a conversation, there's enough to discuss the matter in the 3rd person.

2. Constantly using words like "probably", "may have", "likely" does not inspire reader confidence.

3. If you make a claim, state why you think it & then back it up w/ something. So you think William the Conqueror black-balled Prince Harold when the latter visited the Continent. What are you basing this belief on?

4. Get your dang facts straight! If you're topic is the American Revolution and you consistently write of Charles II sitting on the English throne (as opposed to George III), then you've got problems.

5. Cite your dang sources in some way, especially when referencing documents like letters or diaries.

In other news...

This here is Jenifer.

I was pleasantly surprised w/ the dirth of material I got when working w/ her. She's so down to earth & easy to work w/.



Feel free & comment on any part of this if you so desire.