Thursday, February 22, 2007
I intended to build a medium format pinhole camera, but the other day photographer Todd Griffith came in with a Zero Image 2000. It's a beautiful wood and brass, hand-made, 6x6cm format pinhole camera. The Zero Image cameras were the ones that inspired me to build my 4x5 pinhole camera. When I saw the images Todd has shot with his camera, I was hooked. I ordered the camera on a Thursday, it shipped (from Hong Kong) on Friday, and it arrived on Tuesday. (It may have arrived on Monday if it hadn't been a holiday.) That's phenomenal. I haven't had a chance to shoot anything with it yet, but I guarantee you'll see some shots here soon.
Monday, February 19, 2007
President Bush has been asked a couple of times about what he thinks his legacy will be, to which he's replied that historians are still debating George Washington's legacy 200 years later, so he's not going to worry about it. I agree it's a stupid question, but there is overall agreement among historians about past Presidents and their legacies. Washington was a nationally-known figure the whole country could get behind; Jackson ushered in the era of democratic government and a great increase in executive power; Pierce and Buchanan are berated as do-nothings who simply watched the country slide toward civil war; Harding is generally regarded the worst President, whose administration was even more corrupt that Grant's; Lincoln held the union together and ended slavery. The crux of Bush's Presidency is Iraq, and as more and more evidence piles up about the manipulation of intelligence, intelligence failures, failure of planning, and outright lies, his legacy is going to be Iraq, a pointless and avoidable war.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Thursday, February 15, 2007
In the House debates about the non-binding resolution opposing the President's troop surge, it was only a matter of time before someone would stand up and make the Toby Keith-like, flag-waving, knee-jerk, pseudo-patriotic speech. One representative essentially claimed that a vote opposing the surge would give aid and comfort to terrorists. The representative obviously feels that she must unquestioningly support anything the President proposes; thinking about all that complicated stuff would cut into her free time... Every time there has been any questioning of policy, some demagogue jumps up and decries the questioner as "not supporting the troops." I support our troops; I voted against this President twice.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Friday, February 09, 2007
In times past, before presidential candidates shamelessly promoted themselves, it was left to others to propagate their candidacy. The candidates would draft a letter or speech explaining that they were not seeking the office, but would accept if it were thrust upon them by the voters. Thus, the "disavowal" speech. Probably the very first was from Andrew Jackson:
"The voice of the people, I am told, would bring me to the Presidential chair, and it is probable some of the legislatures may bring my name before the public...I have long since determined to be perfectly silent. I have never been a candidate for office; I never will. The people have a right to call for any man's services in a republican government, and when they do, it is the duty of the individual to yield his services to that call."--(from Andrew Jackson, by H.W. Brands)
In 1960, Walt Kelly satirized the disavowal speech in his Pogo strip with a character named Congersman Frog. Frog instructs his speech writer "Make it look like I'm very reluctantly rejectionable, tho' willing if drafted." The speech writer comes up with:
"I cannot now prognosticate just whom the candidate nor whom will be my running mate."
He modified it to:
"Whomever is the candidate, I'll never be my running mate,"
which Frog realized was talking himself out of both the presidency and vice-presidency, so he ended up with a poem:
Tho' I'm not now a candidate, I really must reiterate I have in mind my running mate
Who must bestir his addled pate.
Astutely, stoutly, strongly state he'll maybe join the proper slate and holding back, not hesitate to random ride our tandem fate.
April 29th is World Pinhole Photography Day. People all over the world will make pinhole images on that day, then upload them where they will be put in the 2007 gallery. Anyone can participate. It's about as low-tech as can be, and you can be part of a world-wide event! Hop to it! The url: www.pinholeday.org.
Friday, February 02, 2007
"There are, perhaps, a few men who can for any great length of time enjoy office and power without being more or less under the influence of feelings unfavorable to the faithful discharge of their public duties. They are apt to acquire a habit of looking with indifference upon the public interests and of tolerating conduct from which an unpracticed man would revolt. Office is considered as a species of property.
The duties of all public officers are, or at least admit of being made, so plain and simple that men of intelligence may readily qualify themselves for their performance. I can not but believe that more is lost by the long continuance of men in office than is generally to be gained by their experience."
President Andrew Jackson, in response to his policy of rotation in office, often called "the spoils system."