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August 27, 2009

An Eye Out
Thursday. The cough is on its own schedule, best to just sit back and let it take its course. I have an annual physical coming up in October, even I assume it will be long gone by then, nothing to do but go with the flow. Not much sleep last night, but I'm awake, reasonably clear headed after an hour and a quarter of reading the morning papers over a waffle and coffee (no butter or syrup), the day ahead. The DVD burner is due to arrive tomorrow, so that's good, there's plenty left on the plate to keep me busy whenever any of this stuff arrives. So.

Lots of Ted Kennedy in the news for obvious reason. I was a junior in high school when Jack Kennedy was elected president, a junior at the University of Washington when he was assassinated in November 1963. He'd given our graduation address at the University that June, a big deal at the school and for Seattle as presidents didn't visit the outlying areas all that much back then, and perhaps the excitement and pride in his recent visit caused the assassination to mean more to us than it otherwise might.

What in the hell was going on? Robert Kennedy was killed two months after Martin Luther King was assassinated, Kennedy just after I'd arrived in Korea in the army. Everyone was walking around in a daze: the Vietnam war was pulling the country apart, the civil rights revolution was well under way and these together were flushing the crazies out in droves. Ted Kennedy ran off the rails at Chappaquiddick in 1969, barring the name from further consideration as a presidential candidate and again, it seemed the world was wobbling, on its way to god only knows.

By “in a daze” I mean at my age in my early twenties I didn't know enough to even think to ask what any of it meant. It was life, it was happening and it made very little sense. Life was weird, but without much experience with life, weird wasn't even questioned, weird was evidently the way it was. So the Kennedys were a central part of that period for the baby boomers (I missed out on being a member by a couple of years, to my advantage I might add) and I'm sitting here following some of the news, reading some of the news, but avoiding thinking about it very much or following closely. Maybe the fist in the stomach aspect of losing the Kennedys was lost some time ago, ending to some degree with the first two brothers, hard to say, hard to know.

This current environment worries me a bit, thinking of that period during the Vietnam war. The rhetoric is cranked up pretty high at the moment, there are less than rational wars raging in Iraq and Afghanistan, the country has pretty much drawn a line in the sand with a divided nation facing off on either side. We have a black president who was elected to save us from this mess and yet things are not necessarily looking all that good. Creepy, a bit. Not something you want to think about, let alone write. A time like that time then when thinking about it didn't seem to do much good.

Later. Back from the downtown having completed what will have to be today's walk. It's one in the afternoon and I'm thinking a nap. I took along a camera with a 50mm lens with the carrying strap wrapped around my right wrist, making it a compact and unobtrusive package to carry as I walked. You can't shoot a picture on the street without a camera in hand. I often wonder about people I pass who have a camera over their shoulder or around their neck (the neck a little better), but with a lens cap on the lens. By the time you had it up to your eye and the lens cap tucked away, whatever you were hoping to shoot would be two blocks away. Unless you photograph buildings and mountains and such. In which case, well, my rule doesn't apply. But in a crowd? At a street fair? With the lens cap on? That, of course, does not mean that I, ever prepared I, got anything of note, but I was hoping, I was aware, I was keeping an eye out.

The photograph was taken at the Oakland 2009 Chinatown Streetfest with a Nikon D2X mounted with a 180mm f 2.8 Nikkor lens at f 2.8 at 1/320th second, ISO 100.