Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's baseball time again!


“Baseball is a game where a curve is an optical illusion, a screwball can be a pitch or a person, stealing is legal and you can spit anywhere you like except in the umpire's eye or on the ball.”

- Jim Murray

For 3 months of the year I get to be part of professional baseball. I am the photographer for the Eugene Emeralds here in Eugene. The Ems are the minor league single A short season affiliate for the San Diego Padres.

Photographically it's a pure joy. Socially... I get to hang out with jocks. And I'm grinning as I say that. I play sports (or at least used to) - softball, football and basketball. I ran track and cross-country in High School. Not well, but I liked running and what better way than competing at it and working out on a regular schedule to get to do it. I know my competitive lack of success came not from lack of ability but from lack of application. I didn't take it serious and I didn't care that I didn't take it serious. My gawd! I was a teenager in southern California, there were girls, beer and rock and roll. And tackle football on the weekends...

But these guys... this is serious stuff for them. With enough hustle, skill and a few strokes of luck any one of 'em could make millions of dollars a year and have a place in the limelight.

And really, seriously... as political as I am, as much as I dislike pro sports and the overpriced entertainment industry sports has become, at the pro level these guys are still just playing ball. I'd sure play a game with a stick and a ball and lots (sometimes) of running, for money. Besides, the game may be played by them, but they are watched by us. Because we want to. We like going out to an evening baseball game, sitting in the stands and watching not just the game, but each other. And the kids?

It's magic for them... it's peanuts and hot dogs and crowd roars and the beer guy "COLD beeeer herE! Getcher cold beer!" It's action, it's other kids, pennants and ice cream and color. It's autographs and uniforms and the cracking of bats... and lots of people. It's bugs lit up up as they fly under the stadium lights and foul balls and bigger kids with mitts running to get a ball hit into the parking lot...

For me, as the Ems' photographer, it is a pallette of color and motion and emotion. It's focused intensity...

and occasionally there is a visual twist

And there is always the ongoing teaching. The young guys listening to their manager and coaches. And if they listen well, they will learn what they need to know. This is no different than any aspect of society... the handing off of information, the sharing of knowledge because certainly, this is a game of skill. And those who demonstrate the best skills, will be rewarded.

I'm a fan of the Ems. I'm a part of the Ems and images like these are what they have me there to do. How cool is that? If you like baseball please visit my Emeralds' blog:

Eugene Emeralds - baseball photography


“Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can't get you off.”

- Bill Veeck


Monday, June 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday... on Tuesday... las flores...


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Maryanne Williamson

Ok... I'm a day off. Maybe...

Tuesday, Wednesday... who knows? And does it really matter? The world goes on, calendar or no...

All photos are of flowers from here at the farm, taken in the last week. Enjoy...


“The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.”

- Auguste Rodin


Monday, June 1, 2009

Torturing Democracy...


"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

- Isaac Asimov


I was sitting here at the qwerty last Friday night. I usually have the TV or radio on and depending what is on determines how much I listen. Well, this night the TV was on and it had been turned to PBS. Bill Moyers show is on at 9 and I really like Bill Moyers. Moyers is one of my favorite journalists.

The sound was down low and I was involved in whatever I was reading. But then a few words caught my ear... Bush, Cheney, torture...

The program that was on was Torturing Democracy.

I was never a fan of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal (cartel?). In fact, now that they are no longer in office I can flat out say I despise them. My general lack of harsh criticism of the Bush administration was tempered by the office of President itself. In spite of an election system that has grown inefficient (corrupt, many would say), I still believe our founders left us with a system meant to be a thing of near beauty. But the previous administration was despicable. And the issue of torture is the issue that tips me to the word "despicable."

The program, Torturing Democracy, reinforced all that I had previously heard and learned about Bush and Co.... lies, propagandist manipulation of media and actions that served only to paint our country in a light that allowed those within whom an anti-American passion already burned to hate us even more.

George Bush will not go down in history as a great man and his administration - secretive, arrogant and mean spirited (the Cheney influence) - will undoubtedly have many skeletons emerge from the closet...

But please, go and view that documentary. Powerful stuff. Angering stuff...


My son Alex is in a band - Naked In Alaska - and they have been playing around town here in Eugene, down in Grants Pass, over on the coast in Coos Bay... well they've been passing out flyers for an upcoming show that will be over in the Bethel neighborhood's Bethesda Church Garage (June 11th if you can make it)(and if you do make it? be ready for loud). The show is a fundraiser and NIA is the headliner. The boys have been going around town posting flyers and talking up their show. I saw one of their handbills and saw that the benefit is for a definitely worthwhile cause - the Invisible Children.

The Invisible Children are the child soldiers in Uganda's extended crisis of violence. Here is Wikipedia's breakdown on the story:

Invisible Children: The Rough Cut is a film about the plight of child soldiers and night commuters in northern Uganda. The documentary was filmed in 2003 when three young men from Southern California—Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey and Laren Poole (then 24, 21, and 20, respectively)—traveled to Sudan "to find a story".

Instead, their adventure took them into the depths of northern Uganda where they discovered thousands of people affected by the brutality and attacks of a rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The documentary chronicles their experience as young Americans learning firsthand about a conflict largely unknown to the international community, while also informing audiences about the great humanitarian crisis of child soldiers.

I haven't seen the film, but when I can I will. I may have to buy a copy. And of course I'm glad to see my son and his friends dealing with issues like this one. Surely the plight of children forced to fight as soldiers is a wrong in need of correction.


Anyone who clings to the historically untrue -- and -- thoroughly immoral doctrine that violence never solves anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler would referee. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor; and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.”

- Robert A. Heinlein