Friday, August 29, 2008

New Orleans VooDoo Museum

A few weeks ago I spent some time in the New Orleans VooDoo Museum.
Voodoo became of interest to me as I discovered it roots deep in African religion.
So here I will present a number of visual images from the museum. The museum seems to have a number of active and functioning alters. I will show these as well.
I will not, however, attempt to explain or interpret any of this.
Voodoo does not have an orthodoxy, a single story, a single path, or a correct interpretation.
If anyone tells you they are telling what Voodoo exactly is, then they are wrong.
So, enjoy the images of the alters, lessor entities, and saints of the belief.

Remember to see the details in these pictures click on them.
They were all taken in very low light, so clarity may be difficult.

The New Orleans
Voodoo Museum
724 Dumaine Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

Oklahoma's "un-offical" hurricane August 19, 2007

My daughter is preparing for Gustaf to hit Louisiana. That reminded me that last year Oklahoma had its first Category I Hurricane. I think its name was Erin. Not sure if it kept the name it originally had because it rolled across Texas hit a frontal system and was pushed up SE New Mexico across the Texas Panhandle and reformed over Oklahoma.

With sustained winds of 75 mph and gust up to 100 mph and a well defined "eye" it was the first, maybe only, "hurricane" Oklahoma has ever had.

(click to see motion)

Now we really should be immune from these things, I mean, well, we have tornadoes up to F-5. we do not need Hurricanes as well.


Walking a path through the dim afternoon light of the Northern California redwood forest I thought I saw movement. Bear I thought, so I froze. I put my camera on a low light high speed setting and waited. But nothing moved again. As I walked towards the object I could see that it was much larger than I first thought. I was releaved to discover that it was a tree trunk that was turned over on its side. In the light it looked like an illusion of some mythical creature. I named it Orc, and went on my way before others of its kind came to its aid.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Far From The Madding Colorado Crowd

There is fun to be had in the mountains, any time of year.

Everybody leaves Denver on Friday afternoon. Everybody returns to Denver on Sunday afternoon. Now this may not be "exactly true", but it is close enough.

So a trip from West to East on I-70 on a Sunday afternoon starts out deceptively calm enough with your normal 80 mph past the groaning truck and overloaded SUV and pickups hauling boats and shit.
The Tunnels are clear and the going is smooth until..........
Until you get about 50 miles out from Denver and then everything coagulates. All those pickups and SUVs and trucks and cars and the entire population of Denver and environs are compressed into two lanes of traffic moving from zero to maybe 15 MPH down towards Denver and home. On all side of you are mountains and trees and other natural stuff, but you are sitting in a traffic jam. We creep by Silver Plume, and on down past Georgetown. Most of the people are reading or eating or talking on their cell phones or mixing their music together through open windows and all are inhaling the Rocky Mountain air mixed with carbon monoxide and the smell of burning oils from the engines and transmissions.
Now people, I have encountered madness in may forms, but this, and the seeming acceptance of it by the participants is one of the craziest things I have ever seen.
Am I exagerating?
Has anyone else out there in ignorance trap themselves in this migration on Sunday afternoon?

Pelicans of the Oregon Coast

It may seem strange to people but Pelicans are common to Oklahoma where I live, and have been since the Pleistocene.
So I've had a long term affection for them and the beauty of their flight.
I must admit that the light is much better for photographing them along the Oregon Coast however, and of course these are a different sub-species. Oh yes, and believe it or not, the wind is calmer along the Oregon Coast.

The first and the last two photographs were taken along the Southern Oregon Coast at the Whales Head State Park Beach. It is a secluded cove, with a steep and seriously rough road down to it.

This fellow is just touching down for a landing.

The second and third photos above were taken along the Pistol River State Park near where the Myers Creek empties into the ocean. There seemed to be a small shoal of fish that attracted several kinds of birds there.

I was able to get several silhouette pictures like this one.

This is my favorite picture from the trip. It was taken near sunset at Whales Head beach with a 15X telephoto and a digital Sony camera. I just love the light.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oregon Myrtlewood Tree: The Ent of Agness

Up the Rouge River there is the "town" of Agness(,_Oregon). It is small and apparently half of it is on one side of the Rouge River and half is uphill on the other side. It does have a post office that is served by the jet boat mail service ( more for the benefit of the jet boat trade than for the necessity, in that there are roads leading to both halves of the "town".
We drove up one of those roads to the more remote upper Agness( yes it has two 'ss's) and stopped at the Agness Store. Now that was an adventure in cultural abrasion all by itself, but that is not this story.

East of Agness Store was this rather large Oregon Myrtlewood Tree (

It seems that this tree had grown from a very large stump of a tree that was no longer there.
This picture is of the inside of the tree's trunk the level of debris and soil is about two feet higher than the outside ground. Based on my best estimate the tree was eight to ten feet thick and over 25 feet around.

For what ever reason the tree felt, well, different. Maybe spiritual, or something encompassing.
Also I kept getting these flares when I took a digital picture, I have a Zeiss lens on my camera and I cleaned it but the flares persisted regardless of from where I took its picture. I had not had such a problem before, and I have not had such a problem since. What a wonderful tree for a tree house I thought, and although there were kids playing just down the street there was no tree house, nor rope swings, nor toys, nor other evidence that the kids played here at all. The ground was covered with a large undisturbed amount of the tree's fragrant (smells like a mixture of camphor and bay) leaves. The lone picnic table nearby, where we ate our lunch, was covered with the leaves as well, as though nobody had disturbed the area in a long time.

I took this picture by holding the camera inside the tree through a space between the trunks. There are 19 separate "trunks" making a circle but all are joined into the one tree, for the first two or three feet from the ground. This shot took several tries as well, due to the flares.

This is a very old tree. How old would be impossible to tell, in that the original tree itself, which was maybe as much as four feet thick, is long long gone.. If there was ever a tree I thought might have earned the title Ent, then this one fits the bill. Thus I name this special tree:
The Ent of Agness.

Strawberry Hill Art or Vandalism?

So here we were climbing down a steep path from the parking area of the Strawberry Hill Wayside on the Coast of Oregon. At the bottom after it was safe to stop watching my every step lest I should take a tumble rather than a walk, I was able to look around. At first I saw all of the seals and the life in the tidal pools. Then I became aware that behind me out of sight from above, but clearly visible from the beach and rocks below was some elaborate carvings in the soft sandstone of the cliff.

Now the names and obtuse words carved into the cliff are in almost everybody's analysis are graffiti and are an act of vandalism. Unless, of course, they were carved by Lewis and Clark or Abraham Lincoln or some such which would raise them into the realms of historical artifacts and make the area worthy of National Park status.

I did not recognize any names of that caliber. Nor did these items rise to the level of aboriginal petroglyphs. I did marvel at the carved face however. It seemed oddly appropriate. I wondered if the seals on the rocks ever noticed it.

My family said, vandalism is vandalism. I'm not so sure myself.
So how vote you?
Is this Vandalism or Art, or something else?

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Fiction Contest
2008 Results

The following is from the web page of:
Dept. of English & Comparative Literature
San Jose State University
One Washington SquareSan Jose, CA 95192

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, an international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the expression "the pen is mightier than the sword," and phrases like "the great unwashed" and "the almighty dollar," Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words that the "Peanuts" beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, "It was a dark and stormy night."

Here is the over all winner:

Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped "Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J."

submitted by: Garrison SpikWashington, D.C.

Most entries are submitted electronically through the Contest's Web site: A new collection of previous winners was published in August 2007 by The Friday Project. It is available through

Runner-Up"Hmm . . ." thought Abigail as she gazed languidly from the veranda past the bright white patio to the cerulean sea beyond, where dolphins played and seagulls sang, where splashing surf sounded like the tintinnabulation of a thousand tiny bells, where great gray whales bellowed and the sunlight sparkled off the myriad of sequins on the flyfish's bow ties, "time to get my meds checked."

---Andrew Bowers

All of the winning submissions may be found at:

Kuddos to who pointed this out.

Now here is the assignment of my readers.
Write an an example of a contest entry for 2009.


Mine is:

After Snoopy re-read the Bulwer-Lytton entries for 2008 he stomped around his dog house so hard that a trench formed and then filled with water during the dark and stormy night creating a moat that caused the Spad to nose down into the mud and crash the next morning on an attempted take off.

I floated this on ER's blog but it was ignored like a cow peeing in the barn yard.

So what is your creation?

Deadline for entry is September 3, 2008.

All entries will be judged by impartial, unbiased, nonpartisan, fair, intelligent, and knowledgeable judge.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Redneck Homage

I ran across this Redneck cafe in Eastern Oregon a little while ago.
I decided to post it as a homage to my buddy the Erudite Redneck, cause if you look closley, it ain't just a Redneck's cafe but a Redneck that serves ESPRESSO! Now that's Erudite as well.
Food weren't half bad neither.