Today is one lovely early summer’s day. After all the cold and rain, this is the kind of day you hope for. It’s the first beautiful day in a quite a while.

It’s also the day James Comey — America’s former FBI Director — is giving live-on-television testimony about his relationship with America’s president. We are expecting a great television experience.

For a goodly number of us, it brings back nostalgic waves of memory for the Good Old Days of Dick Nixon and Watergate which oddly, doesn’t seem like nearly as big a deal now as it did then. Time puts everything into perspective.  I do not have my popcorn ready because it is too early in the morning for anything quite that salty and crunchy.

Later, after the Big Show, I’m sure I’ll have something more to say on the subject. Or not. It’s hard to know how I’ll feel. Later.

To keep your visually occupied,  these are some very crisp photographs I created last night while I was messing around with pictures. That’s what I do while there’s stuff on television in which I’m not terribly interested. I go through the files of pictures from the past few months to see what I’ve shot, but never did anything about.

These were originally photographs of young, leafy oak trees on a very bright day in May.

I love shooting upward towards the sun, but I’m never sure what to do with the pictures. Unless there’s a special set of clouds or birds or something, well. There are just so many pictures of leafy trees that anyone needs, so I wanted to find something different for these.

I think I would call these pictures crisp. Let me know what you think. They are a highly filtered form of line drawing or sketch. I think I like them.


I get it! I finally have some understanding of Trump and his followers. It’s not pretty, but at least it’s something I can wrap my head around.

David Brooks wrote an editorial in the June 2, 2017 New York Times called “The Axis Of Selfishness”. He posits that Trump has a very dark view of humanity and the world. Trump believes that man is motivated solely by selfishness and self-interest. Life is merely a competitive struggle for gain and dominance at the expense of others.

There are only winners and losers. There is a limited amount of ‘stuff’ to be had and everyone has to try to get as much as possible for themselves. You are either on top or you are on bottom beneath someone else’s heel. There is nothing in the middle. No area of compromise, no mutual interest, no sharing, no neutral zone where people coexist in peace, prosperity and equality.

This explains a lot. He is sympatico with brutal dictators because they share his philosophy of life. And they are ‘winners’ who have come out with the most power and the biggest piece of the finite pie. It’s every man for himself, us against them, eat or be eaten, dominate or be subjugated in a dark world with no humanity or humanism.

No touchy feely stuff like morality, good, selflessness, compassion, caring, or justice enter his world. It’s as if those qualities don’t exist for him. That really is sad. If he weren’t screwing up the entire free world I might feel sorry for him — another squishy emotion that he doesn’t recognize.

If this is how Trump sees the world, his behavior almost makes sense. No wonder he’s such a dick! No wonder he’s paranoid. No wonder he thinks all Muslims are out to kill us, that Western European democracies as well as Canada and Mexico are out to cheat us, that all non wealthy, non white Americans exist entirely to mooch off everyone else — and all liberals want only to destroy him.

No wonder Trump can’t let anything go — or stop tweeting. He has to be right and everyone else must be wrong. No wonder he has to demean others. In his mind, the only way you can lift yourself up is by denigrating others.

Brooks says the problem is that Trump’s worldview is self-perpetuating. If you act aggressively, competitively, and selfishly towards all others (people or nations), they will respond to you in kind. Thus your misanthropic attitudes are confirmed and the vicious circle of the worst humanity has to offer goes around and around.

The rest of us acknowledge the existence of greed and venality, but we believe social evolution pushes mankind to be cooperative, empathetic, idealistic, loyal, and righteous. We believe humanity is designed to strive for these ideals in our personal and public lives. We can see the wonderful world we can make if we work together and care for one another.

In our world, Harry Potter beats Voldemort every time. In Trump’s world, Harry Potter is a minor character with little power or even influence. Voldemort is the undisputed king.

I don’t want to live in that world! Neither does most of America.

We have to hope the people who share our better view of life can muster the strength needed to banish Orange Voldemort’s darkness, and bring back America’s light. We have to fight to reinstate compassion, decency, justice, and right as the guiding forces for America.



Longest shot


From Paula: Today you are invited to post a portrait and landscape format of the same scene. You may be surprised at how much different they look and what each one reveals. That’s the only requirement for this challenge. The subject is up to you. Have a great day!

Long view of the back of Boston’s State House.

Same picture, close!

jupiter najnajnoviji


The thing about “senseless violence” is that it implies there’s some other kind. The sensible kind. Everybody talks about senseless violence … but what about the other kind of violence? How come no one talks about sensible violence?

sensible violence

Reasonable, well thought-out violence.

  • “He needed killing” is still accepted in some American courtrooms as a defense against a charge of murder. If he needed killing and you kill him, you have committed an act of sensible violence.
  • “No one was supposed to get hurt.” You found yourself short of money, so you held up the bank. Using automatic weapons. You had a perfect plan which went unaccountably wrong. “But your Honor, no one was supposed to get hurt!”
  • “I had no choice.” You could have gotten a divorce, but you were put off by all the paperwork, lawyers, and courts. Not to mention having to share your stuff. So, you killed your husband and shoved his body in the clothes dryer. Sensible and tidy.  “Your Honor, he really pissed me off. And it wasn’t easy getting him into the machine. And, I was selling dope, so I couldn’t call the cops. He was being really mean to me, so what choice did I have?
  • “Anyone would have done the same thing.” Really, no kidding. Anyone. It was the only reasonable response. “Your Honor, she burned the roast. I had to kill her. Anyone would have done the same thing.”
  • “I lost my temper.” You said I wouldn’t like you when you’re angry. You were right.

So you see? Not all violence is senseless. If you didn’t mean it, you had no choice, your plan went awry … it’s all good. Sensible.