Saturday, February 27, 2010

Monochrome Weekend: Spokes

Driving along US Hwy 12, I was drawn to a collection of junk at a shop in Galien, Michigan. I pulled out the trusty Acme toy camera and took a few shots, and thought this was one of the better ones.

Click here for a larger version.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Benchley on Jeopardy

Robert C. Benchley

On Monday, February 22, 2010, the $800 answer in Double Jeopardy was:
Medium of classic communications like Robert Benchley's from Venice: "Streets full of water. Please advise."
The correct question was "What is a telegram?"

The internet's seas of misinformation are perhaps murkier than the canals of Venice, and finding the origin of this brilliant example of Benchley's wit is fraught with uncertainty. Well, maybe not fraught, but at least heavily tinged with uncertainty. OK, maybe not heavily tinged, but reaking slightly of uncertainty.

Well, I guess it's not all that uncertain. Two possible recipients of Benchley's telegram from Venice are cited in cyberspace: his editor at the New Yorker, Harold Ross, or tablemate at the Alonguin Round Table, Dorothy Parker. Either would have been equally amused by Benchley's telegraphic missive, I'm sure.

I found one version of the telegram which added the sentence "Beautiful city" before "Streets full of water. Please advise." I think that lowers the comic power of the telegram considerably, so I choose to ignore that version.

By the way, I discovered during my Googling of Benchley that The Benchley Roundup, a great collection of his essays, is now available online in Google Books. The online version is limited due to copyright restrictions, but a few essays can be read in their entirety. Also, the full text of the 1936 Benchley book, My Ten Years in a Quandary and How They Grew is avaiable at Project Gutenberg of Australia.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Adventures With Acme, Part 4

In previous posts (see links at end of this article), I discussed my introduction into the world of Diana toy cameras. The Diana dates back to the early 1960s, when the Great Wall Plastic Company of Hong Kong manufactured cheap plastic cameras often used as carnival prizes or promotional giveaways. The poorly constructed cameras became popular with artists, who appreciated their simplicity and quirky nature. The cameras were labeled with a number of brand names besides Diana, and the Acme was one of those.

I picked up the Acme on eBay for a few bucks. From the first roll onward, I had trouble with the winding mechanism. The plastic had become brittle over time, and the more I tried to fix it, the more it crumbled to pieces. I tried replacing parts with wood, but then the wood splintered from the torque of winding the film. Then I salvaged the winding mechanism from an old Argoflex 75, which sort of worked, but didn't really engage the film spool, leaving me with a film stuck on exposure number five.

So, I've made one more attempt to fix the Acme. The following pictures illustrate my solution, and also show why I won't ever make a living from product photography.

My previous repair used a 1/4" oak dowel. Since that broke, I thought I would try a 5/16" dowel this time. This necessitated drilling out the hole in the camera to accept the larger shaft. The paddle at the end is made from a scrap of ebony, and the ring next to the paddle is a scrap of walnut. It's all glued together with epoxy. The winding knob I made from 3/4" plywood.


Here's the new mechanism installed in the Acme.


I used a small flathead screw to hold the knob in place on the shaft. Note also the gaffer's tape holding the lens in place.


And here it is, ready to go.



More Adventures With Acme:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Monochrome Weekend: Desert Dome


Cacti
Originally uploaded by david_cory
This picture was taken in the desert dome of the Potawotami Conservatory in South Bend, Indiana, with a Kodak Duaflex II TLR camera, loaded with 120 Tri-X400 respooled on 620 spools to fit the camera.
Click here for a large version or here for an enormous version of the picture.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Manly Blogger Guy Award Recipient

The Manly Blogger Guy Award has languished for months in its parents' basement, awaiting the opportunity to be bestowed on a deserving recipient. It didn't go far after I initiated it last year. Here is an excerpt from the inaugural post:

One of my other blogs, The Marx Brothers, recently received the "One Lovely Blog" award, replete with a logo composed of pink roses, pink ribbons, and a teacup. Obviously, this award was created by a woman to boost the self-esteem of her sister bloggers. One of the requirements of the award is to pass it on to other bloggers, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I toyed with the idea of a more male-oriented blog award, such as a "Blog and Suds" award with a stein of beer for its logo, or a "Silent But Deadly" award, to be awarded only after a blog had received the "Blog and Suds" award. The logo of the SBD award would be an atomic mushroom cloud. I even considered a foldout "Blog of the Month Award." After fellow male blogger Archie also received the "One Lovely Blog" award, I knew it was time for action. Even though Archie graciously accepted and passed on the award, we guys (as men are invariably called in commercials for prostate-shrinking pharmaceuticals) need our own award. Thus I hereby launch the "Manly Blogger Guy Award." The conditions of the award are as follows:

1. The blog receiving the award must demonstrate masculine qualities such as sloth, boorishness, urinary hesitancy, or flatulence. In the interest of equal opportunity, these criteria do not entirely exclude female nominees.

2. No blog which plays background music such as "Somewhere My Love" or "My Heart Will Go On" is eligible.

3. The award should be passed on to as many other blogs as possible, but watching televised sports or taking a nap should take precedence over passing out awards.

For the award logo, I have selected a classic symbol of male self-delusion. Back in the 60s and 70s, Hai Karate aftershave commercials used dialogue like:
GUY: Hey how about a movie tonight?

GIRL: Wow, what's that aftershave?!

ANNOUNCER: New Hai Karate aftershave is so powerful, it drives women right out of their minds. That's why we have to put instructions on self-defense in every package. Hai Karate, the brisk splash-on aftershave that smooths, and soothes, and cools. Hai Karate--aftershave, cologne, and gift sets. Hai Karate--be careful how you use it.
They really did include self-defense instructions with these cheap toiletries. BTW, I bought the product, but never had the opportunity to fight off crowds of amorous girls--or even one for that matter--while wearing Hai Karate.


I have been remiss in not recognizing fellow blogger Matthew Coniam before now. So, I am giving him the award twice--once for his post "Universal Girls Poll Results" at his blog, Carfax Abbey, and once for his post "Marx Mysteries Solved While You Wait! Just ask the council..." at the Marx Brothers Council of Britain blog.

Congrats, mate!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Monochrome Weekend: Ayla


Mary and our granddaughter, captured with a Nikon D90 and a Lensbaby Composer.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Annular Eclipse V


Annular Eclipse V
Originally uploaded by david_cory
I took advantage of a rare period of sunshine and blue sky during the northern Indiana winter to take this picture with a Holga 120N and Kodak Portra 160 NC. This kinetic sculpture was made by South Bend native George Rickey and is on temporary display here.


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Monochrome Weekend: Wheels

This week's monochrome entry consists of two photos taken with an Acme brand toy camera, outside an antique store in Lapaz, Indiana.




Thursday, February 04, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Praying Mantis and Clouds

Ice Mantis

Praying mantis ice sculpture at Heritage Square Shopping Center, Granger, Indiana

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