Monday, September 19, 2016

Super Heroes and a Flower-Dog

When I went down to Clapham on Saturday to photograph the tube cats in yesterday's post, I ran into this bunch near Clapham Common. They were casually walking across the street as if nothing were amiss.

"Are you going to a party?" I asked.

"We ARE the party," replied Zorro/Batman. They paused for a quick photo and then continued on across the park.

Olga and I had our own party in the park yesterday. We went to Hampstead Heath and took a long walk, even though I didn't feel like walking and in fact felt very light-headed. I think I was just tired. (I slept like a rock last night!) I powered through, and Olga appreciated it -- she ran and ran, and indulged her Flower Child instincts in a patch of asters.

The chestnut trees (or horse chestnuts -- I'm never sure) are changing, their green leaves going curled and dry. They're always the first trees in the forest to start looking like fall.

I finished "Hillbilly Elegy." It was an interesting book, but it didn't answer all my questions. Although the author critically evaluates the behavior and feelings of his "hillbilly" family members and neighbors, and discusses why they act politically out of anger and frustration, he didn't get into why he apparently remains conservative, and religious to boot. I would have thought he, as a Yale Law grad living in San Francisco, might have re-evaluated his own political feelings. He has moderated them, but I'm still vague on how much. He's critical of the ways that government treats extended families, and he's critical of the welfare state, which he believes fosters a culture of dependency and exploitation. I'm assuming that's where his objections lie.

Anyway, now I'm starting a book about garbage, and the disposal thereof. You know how obsessed I am with our garbage and trying to discard things responsibly. I suspect it's going to tell me that everything -- recyclables and non-recyclables -- gets poured all together in a big truck and buried. That's always been my suspicion!

Have you heard the kerfuffle about the Great British Bake-Off, which is abandoning the BBC in favor of another channel offering more profitable terms? The comedians who host it, Mel and Sue, have quit in protest. It remains to be seen what will happen with judges Paul and Mary -- it certainly won't be the same show if they jump ship. But bravo to Mel and Sue for backing the BBC!


  1. The fellow on the right looks like Superman's obese cousin. He'd have been better off going to the fancy dress party as a pie.

  2. Steve, where/how do you get the ideas for your to read book list? Only from your school library? So many different topics! Interesting!

  3. The bad blonde in the middle looks like my auntie ivy

  4. Quite a spread of topics here.
    Mostly I like Olga and the trees.

  5. i love the baking show and for sure will be sad to see Sue and Mel leave.

  6. Love the park and dog photos...

  7. I did hear that story about the Great British Baking show and it worried me that it would no longer be shown on our public television. Hopefully it will because I do enjoy watching it. Those people on the street are fabulous. You just never know what you are going to run into.

  8. I'm about 3/4 of the way through Hillbilly Elegy right now, and I agree it raises (but doesn't necessarily answer) lots of interesting questions. I think it's messy because Vance is simultaneously trying to make sense of his own personal trajectory (i.e. how did he go from a messed-up hillbilly family to the Ivy League) AND the larger cultural forces behind social ills such as the opioid epidemic, conspiracy theories, and Donald Trump.

    He's trying to accomplish a LOT in one book, in other words, and I'm not sure he completely succeeds...but I'd rather read an ambitious attempt at a complicated problem than something over-simplified and trite.

  9. I love the Olga shots!

    Do you ever ask people if you can take their photo and have them refuse? I'm too afraid of rejection to even ask!

  10. I love that picture of Olga in the asters. and the roaming super party is a hoot.

  11. The Hillbillys criticise the welfare state but are there with their hands out for their got check. That's one that really mystifies me.

  12. The top photo made me laugh. People like that bunch brighten up your day (and mine).


  13. YP: I think it was a sumo wrestler costume with a Superman cape. The point of which I do not understand.

    Kaki: It's hard to say! Some of them I just read about, some come through our library purchases. In these two cases, they were books I read about elsewhere.

    John: I'm sure he'd be thrilled to hear that! LOL

    Ms Moon: Olga and trees are a hard-to-beat combo.

    Vivian: Me too! I hope Paul and Mary don't leave. That will really alter the show beyond repair, I think.

    E: Thanks!

    Sharon: I wonder how it will affect the broadcast in the states? I hadn't thought of that.

    Lorianne: I think you hit the nail on the head (and described the problem much more eloquently than I did). The books feels a bit conflicted about whether it's a memoir or a wider sociological/political/cultural examination.

    Jenny-O: Sometimes people refuse, but sometimes they're happy to be asked. And sometimes I don't ask. It just depends!

    Ellen: Olga loves tall grass and weeds. She's a dog of the veldt!

    Red: Well, the book tries to get at that contradiction. The author acknowledges it, and he is critical of people's dependency on the welfare state.

    Alphie: Mine too! I got such a kick out of them.

  14. That last photo is just stunning. What a majestic tree. Olga of course makes the photo.

    And I have yet to watch the great British Bake Off. Im sorry I won't now get to see it in its original, much talked about incarnation.