Monday, June 16, 2008


I do not expect to be making any new entries to this blog, although as in all things, I could well be mistaken. I have had little taste for writing lately (I spend most of my spare time taking nature photographs), and in my opinion fwiw the best writing on this blog was at the beginning, when I had several years worth of accumulated ideas (and in some cases, previously written stuff to upload.) So, in the unlikely event you are a new person coming to this blog, I suggest you go posthaste from this entry to the first, rather than read any of my recent posts, which have deteriorated toward the political and the opinionated in keeping with the times. To such a hypothetical reader I especially recommend my obsolete travel notes, found here and there in the early months of this blog.

I started a test blog once, called Brass nor Stone, which I am now thinking of using for any stray impulses to write, if they arise. The reason is that its template allows larger photos. I could try to re-format this blog to use a new template, but that way lies madness, or disaster, or both, so I think it is better to refer readers, if any, to more interesting material toward the front end of this blog, and to new material, probably mostly photographic, at Brass nor Stone.

Checkered skipper

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yesterday's rabbit

Yesterday's rabbit

My yard is regularly visited by a couple of rabbits, and I sometimes have a moment to snap a picture of one before my little dog Bella goes crazy when she catches the scent or--occasionally--actually spots it, and begins a frantic and yapping pursuit, always with the same result, of course, which is the rabbit disappearing through a small hole in the back fence which, for better or worse, is too small for Bella to get through. This ritual effectively constrains my rabbit-photo-op window of opportunity to one click, because when Bella hears it she knows that I am taking a picture of something, and charges off to investigate.

Occasionally two clicks.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Everyone loves a parade

As you get older certain things lead to a sense of time standing still, or what year is this? It can be disquieting. Especially when you leap whole decades and at least for a second it feels like 1968 except for the old people whom I unaccountably resemble marching beside me in the peace demonstration. (In 1968 we were all young, as all of you old enough to remember will know.)

Yesterday's springtime (well, technically, late winter) peace march in Austin was almost a duplicate of last year's, and the year before, and the year before that, with many of the same faces, immeasurably more geriatric, perhaps. The parade was billed as the Million Musicians' March For Peace, and although it came up a little short numbers-wise, it was a loud and robust event musically, with a brass section at the front (which someone in the crowd, not me, joked had been provided by AARP) plus drums, tambourines, tin whistles, ukuleles, cowbells and supposedly a pots-and-pans rhythm section bringing up the rear in memory of Molly Ivins, though I was closer to the front and can't vouch for that. Just as last year, the mainstay tune of the brass was When the Saints Go Marching In, which gave several musicians opportunity to display some outstanding tuba and trombone virtuosity.

In the middle of the throng we had a guy in a kilt playing martial airs on the highland war pipes. I am not sure what to make of that.

Our parade went through the middle of the entertainment district, which this week is the same as South by Southwest. One of the first posts on this blog, in 2005, is an account of what seems, upon re-reading, to be this year's parade.

I also wrote a post on last year's event. If I were lazy I would simply link to the two earlier posts and be done with it.

Small differences are what I am left to write about, which leave me with a certain optimism. I didn't have the feeling that any onlookers along the route considered our actions unpatriotic, even when we passed by the Salvation Army soup kitchen. (Down and out alcoholics tend to be more sentimentally patriotic than the rest of us, I dunno why.) If Bush's war has lost its appeal to drunk people, maybe our country is on the road to recovery.

Just as in previous years, the street crowd, already festive at one in the afternoon, seemed a little unsure what the hell was going on, but whatever we were doing, they approved of it. Some guy came running out of a pub with his electric guitar, and feigned consternation at discovering it unplugged and thus useless for joining in.

We walked a circuitous route from the capitol building to city hall, where various post-march performances were booked on the front steps. Even if there hadn't been a parade, a free venue during SxSW will always draw a crowd, so several hundred stayed for the music, shading themselves from the unseasonable heat under the awning of solar panels.

A few photos of the event follow, plus one of a runaway bride.

Click on any picture for a larger view on flickr.


Singer songwriter in front of the capitol building, before the parade
Austin peace march 3-15-08

The march begins
Austin peace march 3-15-08

The trumpet section
Austin peace march 3-15-08

Code pink
Austin peace march 3-15-08

Stereotypical tuba player

The bagpiper
Austin peace march 3-15-08

Afterwards, on the steps of city hall
Austin peace march 3-15-08

Now, the runaway bride was before the parade, on the capitol grounds. As the marchers gathered, I spied this young woman taking to her heels and departing. (You can see anything at our state capitol building.) If our gathering march had frightened away the wedding, the groom had apparently bolted in another direction. We will never know.
Runaway bride