Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween bi-plane

This card came in the daily e-mail from How to Be a Retronaut, and I recognized the shape and general mechanism. I had seen one just like it many times, though not made of playing cards. Wood and canvas, steel and rubber.

Other images from that set of cards are here:, and the blog notes that they are from The New York Public Library Picture Collection. There wasn't a date, but the biplane was 1914. The card was probably made within ten years of the Wright Brothers first flight in 1903, so it's not a card of a witch in an old airplane. It was a picture of the very newest, most modern technology!

The plane is in Albuquerque; I see it pretty often. The photos of the plane, I lifted from an online search, and if you click the second one, you can see more image of the plane and information on its history and why it's at the Albuquerque Sunport.

Because of the internet, they can be set beside one another all over the world on Halloween! Ta-daaa!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shadows and graffiti

One of my favorite things lately is the daily mail that comes from a blog called "How to Be a Retronaut." There are several topics per day, but today two cool things arrived, and one reminds me of a stop I made in my home town a couple of weeks ago specifically to photograph the bar where my mom used to "live." (For a while she literally did live in the apartment above and behind it, but for many years she was there all the time it was open, drinking and hanging out with her friends.)

First, this teenaged photo of Robert Mapplethorpe, in a collection of photos of young artists. The shadow of his hair is awesome. They don't say whether he took the photo himself. I think that first because Holly has taken some of the best photos of her, herself.

Here's a piece of graffiti inside an abandoned factory in New York. The article isn't about the graffiti, it's just images of that factory. They say nothing about who or what, but that graffiti, in that place, is striking.

So my mom used to drink in a bar called The Mel Patch Lounge. It was one of the only bars in my hometown that was all-English. So it was where cowboys and Indians went. Most of the other bars had Hispanic owners, managers and patrons, and as they would get drunker, they would speak less English. (Generally speaking.)

My mom has been dead for several years, and the bar has been closed longer than that, but I thought I should take some photos of the building, when we passed through EspaƱola recently. It doesn't look nearly the same. :-)

Here's a picture with a good shadow in it:

My sister, who has connections with the local art scene, says it is being set up as a studio for various forms of graphic and performance arts. That's nice. And they call it "the old Mel Patch," still, informally, she said.

(I think this was to save that part of the wall for one particular purpose, not a message to all painters for the whole building; it was just to the right of the entrance, so it might have been saved for the name and address and hours or some such... don't know.)

It says "Only the best are crowned." This is very much a Catholic town.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

trail, trailer, wagon, fender

When I was 13 or 14 or so, one day I couldn't remember the name of that wide path paved with asphalt, for cars, outside my house. I thought and thought, and all I came up with was "trail." Okay, maybe I was 15 and I was stoned. But before long I remembered "road" and "street." They had just escaped me, temporarily.

But when I thought about "trail" I thought of "trailer" and the idea of something following something. A trailer trails behind a car (or truck, or tractor). And the trail itself is something people follow. Nice.

When I was 58, I saw or heard the root of the word "wagon" (it was being "waggon," the UK spelling at that moment) for the first time. It wags. It's like a trailer, often, but it has a single point of connection. Huh.

So "fender" came to mind. It fends off bumps or damage to or disruption of the wheels, on a wagon, or trailer, or truck. Nice. Plain old (really old) English words were just sitting there being meaningful antiques, and I had only heard them as sounds and pictures, without really looking.

A beautiful matching car and trailer spotted west of Albuquerque in August, 2011:

I like the reflection best (click for a better view of the car itself):

An interestingly parallel car and trailer I saw south of London (nearly to West Wittering, outside a butchershop where we stopped for meat pies for lunch, next to this place) in May, 2011:

It's a car and a half.


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