Friday, October 23, 2009

Moments with Baxter

Grab the Kleenex. I came across this on the web, and if you're an animal lover (or maybe even if you're not) this will touch your heart.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

YUM - York Street Dallas

Doesn't this look like a dish out of the pages of Gourmet? It's the plate of mussels that A ordered as an appetizer at York Street on Saturday. The restaurant is tiny...12 tables, almost on top of each other...but the food is amazing. I'm still swooning over what I ate, but as good as the food was, the wines (we had pairings) were even better. None of the rest of my pics of the meal turned out (problems with the automatic focus on my point and shoot), but I'll go ahead and describe what we had, starting with a gratis taster of a Riesling that left me wanting more. This was accompanied by salted walnuts that momentarily had me worried. I found them very ordinary, and A agreed...but then we tasted the small green olives that are prepared there and are so delicious they could be addictive. These were followed by the mussels for A and steak tartare for me. The mussels were incredible; the steak tartare was perfectly prepared insofar as the meat was concerned, however, it was a little bland. It was served with dark bread toast points on the side. I would have liked a little chopped onion and I swear I am going to start carrying my own salt, because just a crumble of sea salt would have brought out the flavor, and it needed that. On the other hand, the wine pairing for this was an incredibly smooth Northern Italian red made with Lagrein grapes. That was so good that as soon as I got home, I went online looking for a place to buy it. For the main course, A had sweetbreads with mushrooms smothered in a delicious, light, cream sauce, with wonderful pickled beets on the side, paired with a New Zealand Pinot Noir; I had scallops in a cream sauce that I would happily have crawled right into, with cut up, tossed avocado salad on the side, paired with a white that, although crisp and perfect for the dish, I didn't make note of because I'm partial to reds. We each had dessert, but after such a fabulous meal, the desserts were anti-climactic, for me at least. We also had coffee; it was French press, prepared at the table, but only so so. I admit I'm totally spoiled for after dinner coffee or cappuccinos by the fact that I use Peet's beans to prepare my coffee at home and also by having a decent cappuccino maker of my own. This tiny restaurant is a bit off the beaten path, in an incredibly unassuming building, but the food is superb and well worth the trip. York Street definitely makes my small list of best places to eat in Dallas.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Photo Shoot #59 - 1 Subject, 4 Perspectives

The assignment for Carly's Monday Photo Shoot this week is 1 subject, 4 perspectives. If you want to participate too, click HERE.

I knew right away what pics I wanted to post for this: four shots from my numerous attempts to photograph one of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen: the incredible San Francisco de Asis church in Taos, NM. Many artists have attempted to capture the beauty of this amazing structure, including Georgia O'Keefe, who painted it many times. I am drawn to this place. I don't know how to explain it, but when I see it, my eyes are ravenous for it, and no matter how long I look, I can't get enough. I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get good shots with my point and shoot when I was in Taos in September, going back again and again, at different times of day and in different light, trying to get some shots that would do it justice. This wasn't easy in part because this is an active church; a funeral and a wedding were held there on the first day that I took pics. I could spend days here, shooting, and when I get a digital SLR, I'll go back, with a tripod, and do exactly that. The shot I want eludes me. In the meantime, though, here are 4 different perspectives of this beautiful place:





Sunday, October 11, 2009

the way we were...

Late summer of '76, Colorado...Ali was convinced she could drive.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friday night

Parsons Dance Company at McFarlin with an old friend, followed by chianti, calamari and catching up...good times.

he was playin' real good, for free...

A man sat at a metro station in Washington, DC and started to play the violin. It was a cold January morning in 2007. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later the violinist received his first dollar tip;
a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

In the
45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and listened for a while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever many other things are we missing?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

settled in...

It's been a little over a year since Chris and Stephanie found a big orange tomcat wandering around in a hedge outside one of those sleazy check cashing places on the edge of a grocery store parking lot where Chris had parked his van while he and Stephanie went shopping for groceries. The cat wore no collar, was not neutered, and was dirty, but he was friendly, and meowed and rubbed up and purred until Chris attempted to pick him up and put him into the back of his van; then he scratched and wriggled and protested loudly.

Nevertheless, Chris got him home and put him in their garage, where he had to stay because they have three cats of their own. The next day Chris called and told me about the cat he'd found. He asked me if I'd stop by and check him out. I did, and I ended up bringing him home with me. "I'm not keeping him!" I said, "but I'll foster him until we find him a good home".

Of course the rest is history. Ike (named that because Chris found him the weekend of Hurricane Ike) has turned out to be a wonderful cat. A year later he's neutered, current on his shots, well fed, and apparently quite happy. And on this rainy fall night he's curled up on the couch just across the room from me, secure in the knowledge that he's found the place where he belongs.

Friday, October 02, 2009

the bronze pour at Shidoni

On my day trip to Santa Fe I stopped at Shidoni Foundry to watch a bronze pour. It was very hot. The temperature of molten bronze is around 2100 degrees Fahrenheit, and it takes a long time to heat up to that temperature. The foundry was also VERY loud prior to the actual pour. It was quiet during the pour and everyone was asked to turn off their cell phones so the workers could completely concentrate. That said, these aren't very good pics because I wasn't able to hold the camera still enough and didn't have a tripod with me. Nevertheless, I think they're interesting.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Beauty and The Beast...

This is Samantha Geiner at 13. I found this photo on Google Images. This is what she looked like when Roman Polanski decided to give her champagne and a Quaalude and have sex with her. Mr. Polanski was 44 at the time.

When Mike Wallace caught up with him after he'd fled to France in 1977, here's what Polanski had to say about Samantha in the days before the internet and Google Images: "Well since the girl is anonymous and I hope that for her sake she will be, I’d like to describe her to you. She is not a child, she’s a young woman, she had testified to a previous sexual experience, she was not unschooled in sexual matters, she was consenting and willing, whatever I did was wrong I think I paid for it; I went through a year of incredible hardship, and I think I paid for it…"

I have strong feelings about this, but I wasn't going to post about it. Why not? Because I haven't the heart to read comments defending Roman Polanski, should anyone make them. Which isn't to say you shouldn't make them, if you feel that way. Just that I get a sort of sick feeling, reading them. But after I saw Robert Harris' OpEd article in the NY Times defending Mr. Polanski, I was so disgusted I decided to go ahead and post.

Except that I found myself strangely at a loss for words. And so I decided to post this excerpt from Steve Lopez' September 30th article in the LA Times, in which he comments on quotes from Samantha's grand jury testimony:

Q: Did you take your shirt off or did Mr. Polanski?

A: No, I did.

Q: Was that at his request or did you volunteer to do that?

A: That was at his request.

She said Polanski later went into the bathroom and took part of a Quaalude pill and offered her some, as well, and she accepted.

Q: Why did you take it?

A: I don't know. I think I must have been pretty drunk or else I wouldn't have.

So here she is, at 13, washing down a Quaalude with champagne, and then Polanski suggested they move out to the Jacuzzi.

Q: When you got in the Jacuzzi, what were you wearing?

A: I was going to wear my underwear, but he said for me to take them off.

She says Polanski went back in the house and returned in the nude and got into the Jacuzzi with her. When he told her to move closer to him, she resisted, saying, "No. No, I got to get out."

He insisted, she testified, and so she moved closer and he put his hands around her waist. She told him she had asthma and wanted to get out, and she did. She said he followed her into the bathroom, where she told him, "I have to go home now."

Q: What did Mr. Polanski say?

A: He told me to go in the other room and lie down.

She testified that she was afraid and sat on the couch in the bedroom.

Q: What were you afraid of?

A: Him.

She testified that Polanski sat down next to her and said she'd feel better. She repeated that she had to go home.

Q: What happened then?

A: He reached over and he kissed me. And I was telling him, "No," you know, "Keep away." But I was kind of afraid of him because there was no one else there.

She testified that he put his mouth on her vagina.

"I was ready to cry," she said. "I was kind of -- I was going, 'No. Come on. Stop it.' But I was afraid."

She said he then pulled off her panties.

Q: What happened after that?

A: He started to have intercourse with me.

At this point, she testified, Polanski became concerned about the consequences and asked if she was on the pill.

No, she told him.

Polanski had a solution, according to her.

"He goes, 'Would you want me to go in through your back?' And I went, 'No.' "

According to her, that didn't stop Polanski, who began having anal sex with her.

This was when the victim was asked by the prosecutor if she resisted and she said, "Not really," because "I was afraid of him." She testified that when the ordeal had ended, Polanski told her, "Oh, don't tell your mother about this."

He added: "This is our secret".

NOTE: You can read Steve Lopez' excellent article in it's entirety here, and, if you have the stomach for it, you can read the entire transcript of 13-year-old Samantha Geiner's Grand Jury testimony here.