Friday, September 28, 2007

Men in Hats

For the time being, I shall stick this post at the top of my blog, not only because I like it, but also because new photos will be added to the slideshow ongoing. So take a peek every couple of weeks or so to see new faces. Maybe you will have been added to my (charming) Rogues' Gallery. Check for new posts behind this one too - I actually do write new stuff from time to time. Thanks for reading!

Most of my friends are used to me obnoxiously poking a camera in their faces when they least expect it. And many of my friends are performers who are quite willing to perform for my lens. So, one day, I was sitting in a chair outside my favourite coffee shop when it struck me that the men sitting in a row on the brick planter opposite me were each wearing some form of unique headgear. Inspiration! Thus was born "Men in Hats".

What began as an interesting thought has progressed to obsession. I am now accosting complete strangers in the street and asking if I may take their pictures. So far, only one man has refused me, and he is someone that I do know. The rest ask me where they should stand and how they should pose, and beam away like Cheshire cats.

Don't know quite what to do with these, but I love them. Hope that you do too. Men in Hats:

If you would like a closer look at all these lovely men, go to

Wall by Wall

Almost Done
Just as nature tries to fill a vacuum, local graphic artists have looked at the blank walls in town and work at filling them all. Flatmo, Spicer, the Rural Burl Mural Bureau, graffiti artists, and all of the anonymous, unknown, or unnamed, have dotted the town with colourful larger-than-life realistic and comic invention. In obvious view on busy streets, hidden in the backways, byways and alleys, bordering parking lots, they are painting the town - one wall at a time.

To view the slideshow in larger size format, go to

Saturday, September 22, 2007

War, Bloody War

Like the wars themselves, everyone who looks at this picture will have a different response, and a different opinion of what they see. Two American soldiers who probably never in their young lives thought that they would one day shake the hand of the President of the United States! Two strapping young men - the parts that aren't missing look strong and healthy. They were probably proud of their country and ready to sacrifice for it, and I'm sure that George is congratulating them for their valour, expressing regret for their losses, and telling them how grateful we all are. We are twice as grateful to you on the left. (That's your right, George, in case you're trying to figure it out. You know - the one who appears to be leaning rather heavily on your shoulder as if he's not quite steady on those new pins yet.)

George certainly looks fit, possibly going for a run (solo, I assume) as soon as he's done here. Actually, his trademark smirk looks a little sheepish, like maybe this isn't the best photo-op in the world, like he's anxious to be on his way. Maybe we could publish it alongside a shot of Bin Laden spattered by the human shrapnel of one of his suicide bombers. Would that make you look better, George?

I remember your stirring pronouncement, George - "Mission accomplished!" Well, Amen! to that. But refresh my memory, if you will. What was our mission there? Seems like it kept changing, and I lost track somewhere along the way. Oh yes, we were going to bring peace to the Middle East, and thus to the world. I'm sure that was it.

Of course, in retrospect, my favourite from you is "Bring it on!" Boy, you sure told them. And they took you at your word. Proof positive right there at your hand. I must say though, that you stood up to it all without a scratch. One tough hombre you are, George.


They made promises to me –
“Be all that you can be!”
they said.
I didn’t know that all I could be was dead.

They trained me well –
I learned to kill;
to fight
to protect my country - for God and Right.

I was sent off to war
on a foreign shore
far away.
They said we were buying freedom, and I was to go and pay.

So, valiantly, righteously,
for God and glory,
I fought.
Against the wrong enemy, but it was what I had been taught.

I died a hero’s death;
and with my final breath,
I cried,
“When will this end?” “For you it’s now,” the blood-red sand replied.

Now my Mom and my Dad weep aloud,
even though they’re still proud
of me
and the medals I won – posthumously.

But I have to say
it’s better this way –
I just died.
Others must live on with their bodies in pieces and pain inside.

These young fathers, mothers, children, husbands, wives,
with broken minds and broken bodies to broken lives
they come,
walking, wheeled, carried, sealed in hidden coffins and shipped home.

"Did we win?" we ask.