Friday, February 27, 2015

Rev. Theodore Hesburgh

Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, past president of Notre Dame, died yesterday at the age of 97. I never had an opportunity to meet the great man, but I attended two events where he was also present. One was a a fundraiser for a South Bend nonprofit where Father Ted spoke. I don't recall the exact organization involved--possibly the Center for the Homeless. The thing I remember was Hesburgh quoting Matthew 25:40--"And the king will answer and say to them, verily I say to you, inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me." 

Thanks to the internet, I am able to retrieve the details of the other event that Father Ted and I both attended. This was the 20th anniversary Red Smith Lecture in Journalism on Oct. 16, 2003 at the University of Notre Dame. The lecture was delivered by Frank McCourt,  author of the memoirs “Angela’s Ashes” and “’Tis.” One of the things McCourt talked about was how, as a child in Limerick, Ireland, he was enamored of the Fighting Irish football team of Notre Dame--until he encountered an American tourist who told him the Fighting Irish weren't really Irish, but just "a bunch of Goddamn Polacks." I was a little surprised that McCourt told the story in front of God and Father Ted and everybody, but it was pretty funny.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

New Blog

Since I'm concentrating on photography now, I have started a new blog, I will keep Lugubrious Drollery online and may occasionally post non-photography stuff here. Also, I have a website, with examples of my photography. My blog can also be viewed there.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Maholy-Nagy on Photography

László Maholy-Nagy 1895-1946

"The enemy of photography is the convention, the fixed rules of 'how to do.' The salvation of photography comes from experiment."

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Doesn't Anbody Review This Stuff Before Publishing?

I have two problems with an advertising section for Montefiore Medical Center in the New York Times Magazine for Sunday, November 3, 2013:

1. In not one, but two pictures, films of a brain MRI are upside down.
2. Nobody prints films of MRI scans anymore. The images are all on computer monitors.

Even if no actual physician was involved in the production of these photos, it's not hard for the people involved to see the text on the films is upside down.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

The Essence of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Assembly of Japanese bicycle require great peace of mind.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Morning

Running the juicer
this morning
a memory
bubbled up
from my subconscious:
my father
drinking grape juice
mixed with milk.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ralph Eugene Meatyard

I've sworn off Facebook, at least temporarily, which frees up some time for doing something constructive, like resurrecting my blogs. In connection with the publication of my photographic portfolio "Revolution," I've written an essay about the optician-photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard for the blog of F-Stop Magazine.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Dad's Social Security Card

In my last post, I enumerated the contents of my father's wallet when he died in 1989. The Social Security card he was carrying at the time was printed in 1961 or later, so I inferred it was a replacement. Now I've located the original. It was in with a package labeled "My Senior Days" produced by the Camp Publishing Company of Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Inside the paper sleeve was a booklet that included a class picture of Milford's 1937 graduates...

and Dad's senior portrait.

There were some snapshots stuck in the booklet, including this one of Dad in cap and gown, posing by what we called the brick building, as it was the only brick structure on my grandparents' farm. I remember it as the place they kept their large deep freeze. I also recall an old radio that was stored in there which would no doubt be quite a collector's item if it still existed.

A program from the 1937 Milford High commencement was also stuck in there. The graduation occurred on April 30, quite early in the year by current standards.

Grandpa Cory gave the invocation.

Some of Dad's report cards were also stuck in the booklet. I won't scan those. Suffice it to say that he got a few A's in music and manual training (shop class). If you knew him, that shouldn't be surprising. I still have a bed he built in manual training class stored in the basement. He was a very smart guy, but I don't think he found school that interesting, and therefore didn't work very hard to get good grades.

But, as usual, I digress. Here is his original Social Security card.

Note: I have removed the image of the Social Security card. Someone stole the photo and information from an image of my dad's driver's license I had used in another post. They used them to set up a fake Facebook account. So, alas, I have removed that image as well as the Social Security  card image to prevent future mischief. -- DAC, November 30, 2015

It was never detached from the stub upon which is typed the name of his employer, Mogul Rubber Corporation in Goshen, Indiana, and his home address. Note the card was issued a week after his high school graduation. Nineteen thirty seven was the first year for Social Security.

So I guess he never bothered to carry his card with him. At some point in 1961 or later, he must have needed to have the card. By that time, I'm sure he forgot he had stuck it in with his graduation memorabilia and had to request a replacement.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Father's Wallet

Update November 29, 2015: In the original version of this post, I included an image of my father's last driver's license. Now I have discovered that someone has apparently appropriated the photo and demographic information from the license to set up a phony Facebook account. Below is the exchange which occurred after I reported this to Facebook.

Life is full of surprises. As a consequence of inheriting the family farmland, I am about to be the recipient of a settlement in a class action lawsuit. In the 1980s, various telecommunications companies started laying fiber-optic cable along railroad rights of way. Apparently, some clever lawyers figured out that the companies laying the cable should have gotten permission from landowners along the railroads. As luck would have it, CSX (formerly B&O) tracks run along the north border of our farm. Now that the case has been settled, I'm eligible to get a few hundred bucks. The catch is I have to provide documentation of ownership of the land, which I inherited from Mom in 1995, as well my parents' ownership of the land before that.

Digging through records in the basement, I was able to locate a copy of the deed recorded when my parents bought the property in 1953.

I also found the contents of my father's wallet, which were in an envelope with his estate papers. The wallet itself, and any cash that may have been in there when he died on October 5, 1989, were not in the envelope. What I found were the plastic inserts containing cards, photos, and so forth.

He carried school pictures of his grandchildren, and my mom, taken when she was a cook at the school.

He was a long-time State Farm customer, as am I, and he carried insurance cards for the cars he kept running against all odds--a '69 VW Fastback and a '78 VW Rabbit.

On a small slip of paper, he wrote reminders, some of which are obvious, like the church tax number (I think he was treasurer of the men's group at some point) and our zip code. I'm guessing the slip of paper dates back to the sixties, when zip codes were introduced. Other numbers are more cryptic:

E 28 38 24
W 17 27 5
N 10 16 26
S 22 8 2
HOME 22-36-18

His Medicare Card was activated on 4-1-84.

His blood donor card showed he was Type O, and recorded only two donations, on 12-4-53 and 8-31-60.

He graduated high school in 1937, the same year Social Security taxes began, but the card in his wallet was printed sometime in 1961 or later, so it was probably a replacement.

He carried a discount card for Perry Drug Stores, which have since been acquired by Rite Aid.

Neither of my parents carried credit or debit cards. The only plastic card Dad carried was his driver's license. It reminds me of a poignant moment when I was riding with him at night and it became obvious that he couldn't see the road. He had become diabetic in middle age, and the disease was taking a toll on his vision in his sixties. I had to ask him to pull over and let me drive, and it wasn't an easy thing to do.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Hiroshi Watanabe

"Pipe-cleaner Flower Arrangement in Gallon Jug, Tule Lake, California 1" by Hiroshi Watanabe

Gentle readers, after an absence of lo these many months, I feel it necessary to delve once again into the subject of fine art photography. As usual, I have no right to pontificate on this subject, save for the fact that I have spent some minutes Googling the California-based photographer Hiroshi Watanabe. Do not be deceived. The urge to inform you about this talented photographer does not derive solely from the fact that I know how to spell Hiroshi, a skill I acquired when I became fascinated by the work of another genius of the photographic medium, Hiroshi Sugimoto.

I believe I first heard about Mr. Watanabe from a podcast by Martin Bailey. After Mr. Watanabe's name rattled around the dank recesses of what remains of my mind for several months, the time for further research had arrived.

When the name of Hiroshi Watanabe bubbled up from my subconscious, I went to his very impressive web site. Among the many galleries of his brilliant work on display there, I was particularly taken with the portfolio titled "Artifacts - Things from Japanese Internment Camps." The photos are of items Mr. Watanabe found at the Japanese American Museum in San Jose, California, and at a dump site from a California internment camp where Japanese Americans were detained during WW II.

I believe the photo above, of a flower arrangement inside a gallon jug, made from pipe cleaners by a resident of the camp, and subsequently left in the dump when the detainees were released, is one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful images I have ever seen.


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