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Oakland Sistahs Steppin' in Pride Parade

January 7, 2007

A Journalist
Sunday. I'm wondering why (at the moment) I seem to listen to music, my own off the shelf or off the iPod music, mostly when I'm drinking. There was a time, a time measured in decades, when I listened to music stoned or sober whenever and wherever I could, most often in the evenings, because that's when it was most convenient. Now I only seem to listen with real connection when I've been drinking.

Now I wrote that last night as I was finishing up the sake I'd purchased after work on Friday, of course, something I've talked about in the past. The question about the music, well, as I said, I've asked myself about it before and who knows, really. I've heard it said it happens with age. I can see the drinking aspect, however, becoming problematic when I've retired and have more time on my hands. Every day a weekend, in other words, the soft call of alcohol suggesting one or two in the afternoon might be a good time to crack another bottle.

I've always assumed the writer Hunter Thompson didn't actually do all those drugs he was famous for writing about while he was writing, that he didn't do them daily, since I once wrote a humor column for my college newspaper where I too described antics with alcohol, but wrote them, always wrote them, stone cold sober. I did partake, of course. I was a college student, after all, and drinking was one of those really fun things you could do as a college student.

Now I learn, through reading and listening to the various Hunter Thompson remembrances, the most recent being Ralph Steadman's book The Joke’s Over, that the doctor not only did the drugs he described (which I assumed), but did them while he was writing, did them every debilitated day and night during those last twenty years of his life. Reminds me of thoughts I had when I was learning about writers during my early days in the fifties. Hemingway and how you evidently had to dodge bullets and drink strangely named alcoholic beverages to be considered “serious”. Dancing with bulls with naught but a cape and a sword was another part of the package. I can still remember the name Manolete, probably the most famous Spanish bull fighter ever, who died in the ring in the forties. Bull fighting. Bullets. Shit. One reason I never considered attending the Vietnam war as a journalist.

The photograph was taken at the Oakland Sistahs Steppin’ in Pride parade with a Nikon D2X mounted with a 70-200mm f 2.8 VR Nikkor lens at 1/640th, f 2.8, ISO 100.