Wednesday, January 3, 2018

My Year (more or less) In Snapshots

It is a Too-Cold-To-Go-Out-Unless-I-Absolutely-Have-To day which, I suppose, is also a reminder of past frosts when I used to think nothing of a 5 mile trek to school through the snow, up hill in both directions, carrying a sack of rocks and our orphaned goat. But that was another time and has nothing to do with this post.

This morn I have been idly scrolling though past snapshots, my year in song as it were, and decided to post half a dozen random favorites. I am pretty sure most have been up on this blog over the year, so I won't bother with captions; if you really need to know, just scroll down. OK, one note: the babe in the first frame was a dancer at the dance parade who I never met before (or since) but who I remember fondly on account of she came up to me with that beautiful smile, kissed me then danced away.  A great moment in photography.

And finally, a note to those of you who I somehow managed to miss when it came to extending my wishes for a joyful new year: better luck next year.

Remember The Maine!

............and yeah, smart ass, there are 8 shots, 
not half a dozen, 
but it's my blog and
 I can spell it any way I want!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Times Square New Year's Eve 9:15 AM

According to the last report, it was 14 degrees in Times Square this morning when I got out of the subway. I am not really sure of the temperature, but within 10 minutes any exposed skin was numb, my camera was starting to freeze up and my eyes hurt. And I made these snapshots of some really hard working folks.  I would have shot more, but it really was too painful. Meantime, on the other side of the Square, lines were just starting to form. These were not working people; they were the unfortunates who intended to stand at the barricades for the next 15 hours. I believe most are Trump supporters. There are no restrooms for them to use.  If they leave, they will not be permitted to return. They are demented and therefore should not be mocked. With luck, they will not be contributing to the gene pool. It was too cold to hang around shooting any more. If you are interested, they can seen between commercials on tonight's TV coverage.

Special directive by the New York City Police Department to cops assigned to New Year's Eve in Times Square: “A winter knit hat is now authorized as an optional uniform item for all uniformed members of the service.. The approved optional winter knit hat must be navy blue in color with ‘NYPD’ embroidered on the front in white one inch block lettering,”
(Presumably knit caps adorned with pom-poms, team logos or furry animal parts will once again not be allowed)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Ancient Catskill Site

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ask Alice

These are some snap shots from the underground at MOMA (yes, it really is down there), and a music video that sort of goes with them, my addition to the show even though such things were yet to come........ And if you were in the right place back then, and if a bit of it is still working for you right now, well then you just might enjoy the trip............:

Thursday, November 2, 2017


union square, yesterday, and no, i did not set this up:
 they were there and so was i.  make of it what you will.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

It Ain't Like It Used To Be!

There was a time when I used to look forward to Halloween for a chance to wander around my neighborhood, shooting the 'street scene' that partied on well into the wee hours of the next morning. Invariably, I ended up on Christopher Street. It was always a zany, explosive celebration of some of the most spectacular costumes ever. One evening I took Janis with me. I remember her staring at the passing revelers and remarking that she would probably never own a gown as elaborate or have her hair done as elaborately as what some of these guys were were turned out in. It was that kind of an evening.

Unfortunately, the scene turned in later years. Lots more teen bangers showing up, more 'scuffles' and assorted unpleasantness and a totally less appealing evening.  Anyway, this Halloween, a dozen or so years later, I decided to see what things looked like.

First disappointment: Christopher Street was not closed off to traffic! That used to be party central for the evening; apparently, not any more. Actually, by 11:00 or so, there wasn't all that much of a party anywhere in the neighborhood. A definate absence of serious zany. In fact, hardly any really creative outfits. Mostly lots millennial types, mostly drunk, loud and trying to find the subway.

 I was heading home before midnight. My corner, which back in the day and at that hour would have sported the really weirdly costumed was empty except for a lady, around my age, walking her dog. As we passed, she remarked on how our local celebration had changed: “Kids these days have no stamina!” Right on, Babe!

Monday, October 30, 2017

" Spiritus Sancti"

The Celts celebrated Samhain on the night of October 31, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. They marked the event by building bonfires, parading around in scary costumes and sacrificing a few animals. A few centuries later the Christians moved the date up to November 2nd and called it “ All Souls Day.” They kept the bonfires, costumes and parades and maybe a few heathens did get burned at the stake, but it was for all the right reasons. Here in America, we again changed the fearful date, this time to November 7th. In preparation, we also light bonfires, parade in scary costumes and engage in rituals that we fervently hope will expel evil spirits and protect us in the year to come.

Who knows, maybe this year it will work.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Another Sign?

"And I saw another wild beast ascending out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb,
 and he spoke like a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first wild beast, 
 and causeth the earth and those, who dwell in it, to worship the first wild beast or faileth 
of the class.  And he performeth great signs, so that he causeth fire to come down 
from heaven into the earth in the sight of men. And he deceiveth those, who dwell on the earth, 
saying, that they should make an image to the wild beast, that  had the wound by a sword,
 and thus do we have it unto this day Gym Teachers.." 

-- Rev.13:11-14.  

Friday, September 29, 2017

My Spy Camera!

I now own a genuine piece of Cold War history: a Minox Spy Camera! And it is jewel! And has got to rank as one of my top flea market finds: yes, I found it at a junk sale. Pays to rummage.

Anyway, I did a bit of research on this particular model and found it was made in the mid 1950's - smack in the middle of the Cold War. And it was a best seller: intelligence services all over the world were buying them. And spies really used 'em. And not just movie spies, but real life break-in-to-the-office-and-shoot-the-secret-documents-before-the-guard-comes-back type spies! Back in the day, this camera was standard equipment for any self-respecting spy. Now, it is mine!

It is probably the smallest precision film camera ever made. Measures a bit over 3” x 1” and a shade under 3/4” thick;  in that space the Minox folks managed to build a camera with 373 parts. Film was in a tiny cassette that held 40 shots. This camera was invented by a guy named Walter Zapp and first made in the mid 1930's in Estonia and then Latvia (or maybe they were made in Latvia first and, whatever). He was, he said, out to make a camera that was easy to carry and use and be a camera 'for everyone.'

Turned out it was not quite for everyone, just the ones who had some big bucks to toss around. Figure one of these babies went for close to the cost of a car.  Or a bribe to get out of Nazi Germany. So, it became a luxury item. No worries for Mr. Zapp because we had WW II. And spying was suddenly not only big business, but also a venue – and market! - for high tech gadgetry, and Minox cameras were suddenly very desirable. The war also put a crimp on stuff coming from that part of the world to our side if the Atlantic including those same Minox cameras, so the government (that is, OUR government) bought up as many as were on the market and then tried to 'appropriate' as many as they could find. For the war effort.  

The history of this particular one is appropriately amazing.  As it was passed on to me, this camera was for many years the personal property of an Eastern European lady (code name: Boom-Boom) who fell on hard times and hocked it. Back in the day, she freelanced for both sides during WW II. Later on she went on to work for one of those three letter agencies that doesn't exist so I can't mention it. For many years she used this camera to surreptitiously shoot a whole lot of embarrassing snapshots of some famous people who were then induced to make large payments to her personal charity.  Needless to say, this pissed the off royally. Details of her exploits are sketchy and probably better left that way. Fact is, much of her 'service' is still classified. One top secret file mentions her as a confident of Baron Heinrich von Sheiskup, the infamous German kosher label counterfeiter while at the same time working as an escort in Yorkville and an heading up an all female outlaw Hassidic biker gang in Williamsburg where she .........OOPS! I was not supposed to mention any of that. Please ignore that reference. In fact, forget the whole thing. There is no such camera. And no Ms. Lipshitz. I made it all up. Photoshopped the photos from an ad in Fake Spy Magazine......

tatsu, as usual, is not impressed

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Tribute

" Image of Rampant Stupidity" (as encountered on University Place yesterday), in fitting tribute to those millions of un-repentant Women Of America who set aside any consideration of moral values, self-respect or concern for the future and voted into what is arguably he most powerful office in the world a pandering, paranoid, vindictive, Nazi-loving sexist, hateful, and dangerously out of touch old man who has lied to America so often that can no longer separate what is true and what is his own delusionary nightmare version of reality, who consistently embarrasses every American every time he speaks, and who is well on the way of creating a nuclear holocaust of his very own that will kill millions of people (a fact that probably doesn't trouble these Women who would rather see America destroyed than admit they made a mistake), to them I dedicate this photo.

Ps: Hmm,think this might get some people thinking about revisiting that pesky 19th Amendment.........?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Fill In The Blanks

Chinatown Fortune Tellers.
Did they know I was going to take their photo that day?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Labor Day Weekend

This is what happens when my Wife leaves me alone for the Labor Day Weekend and goes off to visit her sister at the Jersey Shore. I have been to visit here sister at the Jersey Shore before. This time, I decided to stay here. High points of my weekend were eating meals of multi-ethnic street food on Roosevelt Avenue, doing a load of laundry, and wandering around Union Square and Times Square. In the rain.  On Saturday night. Photos shot wandering in the rain are more interesting than the others. Actually, I didn't shoot much of the street food and none at all of my laundry, so here we are.

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Day Dreaming Day

As best as I remember it, I left my parents house right around midnight. We lived in a miserable part of Brooklyn and it took a bus ride just to get to the subway stop. Then I needed to take 2 subway trains to get to my girlfriend's parents apartment on the Upper East Side. Her parents were awake and with some reservations and a number of admonishments on her care and safety, turned her over to me for the trip back downtown to where we were meeting our chartered bus.

 I had also volunteered to pick up donuts for the bus ride, so on the way got a few dozen still warm from an all night place. Probably added a couple extra for the subway trip to the Village.

Anyway, it was still dark when our bus pulled out, through empty streets and the tunnel to New Jersey.  As the sun came up, we saw another bus on the highway. Enthusiastic waves were exchanged. And then there was another bus and another. Pretty soon, it seemed the road was solid with chartered buses and cars and vans filled with people all waving at each other. We all hoped for a good sized crowd that day, but right then we began to realize that his was going to be big, really big.

Most of my memories of the rest of the day's events tend to run together. I know DC police were genuinely afraid that we were going to wreck the place, which was the reason given for suspending the sale of liquor for the day. They also had the chartered buses lined up around the Capitol and the White House, parked nose to tail to form barricades which, while it might have made some politicians feel better also had us wondering how the hell we were going to find out bus again. There must have been other weird stuff going on, but those two stick.

Anyway, we have all seen the newsreel footage of the crowds and speeches. I know that we marched from someplace and ended up at the Reflecting Pool. We were down at the far end, far away from the speakers stand. I heard the speeches and I must have heard Dr. King's “I had a dream” speech. I am pretty sure I did, but it must have been afternoon and we were all pretty marched out by then.

Somewhere along the way, I purchased a button to wear. Amazingly enough, 54 years later me and that button still here. I got the button out today for this photo. Maybe I will wear it later.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Untitled....... although:

........I couldn't help coming up with a few (typically) irreverent captions for this scene as seen this morning, in passing, somewhere in Mid-Town. Anybody have an original one they want to share? Consider it a contest: winner gets a file of the shot to print and ponder. Or use for this year's Christmas card. Hint: Good taste is probably not going to be a deciding factor.  Solution to damage caused during the last 200 or so days would also be most welcome. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Stop And Listen..............

A week of peaceful photos. I am not sure if this means I am mellowing or just retreating deeper into denial. Actually, I am not really sure what either of those means. How about I just share this image and let people decide?


.......... And if you decide it means that our Commander-In-Cheeto is a demented, lying, Nazi-loving criminal ego maniac who is determined to turn this country over to his billionaire cronies and destroy our healthcare and the enviorment - along with our National Parks! - and who's hard core jack-booted sycophants would rather see this country destroyed than admit they were screwed, then who am I to argue?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

August Rain

Rained last night and my block became an even nicer, softer, gentler place.

 This morning, not so much, so I will only share these snapshots. 

 Consider them a softer, gentler protest. 

 There: I feel better. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


I am in danger if turning into a Pictorialist. A quiet afternoon in Central Park with my $5.00 flea market lens* and this is what happened.

 Supposed to be a bit overcast tomorrow, maybe rain; we may well be out again. Will add more as they happen. Peaceful! Pastels!  Totally different from any past photos and I am not sure how these will effect my painstakingly crafted macho/graphic-persona image. 

I am not at all sure what that means, either. 

Just check this posting next week.

Friday: it rained lots this morning.  This is what happened:

Monday and my Pictorialist bent continues: rainy afternoon around the corner from my apartment on my way to the Union Square Subway.  Stopped to check on  just how water resistant the camera and lens really were......  

* My "new" Taylor-Hobson Cooke Kinic:
 Scroll down a couple of posts for more
(if you care about stuff like this)

Jake The Pictorial Kat!