Monday, June 23, 2008

The World's a Little Less Funny Today

George Carlin was to have received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in November of this year. I would like to have heard his acceptance speech, but we won't have that opportunity now. Carlin died suddenly of a heart attack last night after checking into a Santa Monica, CA hospital with chest pains. For those of us who grew up in the 70's it was nearly required that we memorize the "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television". "Class Clown" made us howl, "I Used to be Irish Catholic" made us convulse and best of all our parents hated him.

But there's a little bit less laughter in the world today, and that's sad.

Next time, Paper
When my tax software asked me if I wanted to get my "Economic Stimulus Payment" by direct deposit, it sounded like a good idea. It's more environmentally friendly, and it ought to be quicker, right?

Wrong. Next time, the tree is history. I filed on time (a day early in fact!) and it only took the IRS about a week to siphon the funds out of my bank account. Two months later, I still haven't seen the $600 I'm supposedly eligible for. Hey, that's two tanks of my gas they're holding up there in DC. And I need it!

This Old House - another Carmi-inspired post

You might recognize this as the "old-age home" in the Tom Hanks movie The Green Mile. It is, in fact, the Moses Cone Estate situated somewhere near Boone, NC. I took this shot on a brilliant afternoon in February of 2001. The house itself is closed during the "off season", but is open for tours and such during the spring and summer. Even so, it offered some interesting photo opportunities. Especially a couple of days when this shot was taken. The night before I took these shots the area got hit with a weather event that I'm sure has a real official name, but I don't know what it is. Overnight the bottom fell out of the temperature resulting in about six inches of snow in a two hour period and something called "rime icing" on every exposed surface in the area. This phenomenon apparently occurs when a supercooled cloud drags along the surface leaving behind micro-sized droplets of water that freeze together forming a crystal structure kind of like the rock candy you made in third grade science class. Here the crystals are easy to see because the icing is fairly light. But with enough moisture and wind this kind of event can pile up some pretty impressive formations. The middle shot here is a strand of horsehair caught in a barbed wire fence. Not usually something I'd usually think of as photoworthy. Amazing what a little bit of water and subfreezing temperatures can do, ain't it?

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creme brulee aka GH said...

mojo, your photos are excellent

the icy strand allows you to stop and actually count crystals. makes time slow down. and the curved line in an adjacent photo (stream, path?) leads around a corner - the eye keeps moving. great contrast.

good words about george. I always liked the way he thought. i remember the first time I heard 'the seven words' at the university library with my roommate. we laughed until we cried, exhausted.

moments when we cross into new territory are well-remembered and we should stop and thank our 'pioneers' when we have the chance.

Gord H.

Mojo said...

@Gord: Thanks much! And now that I've fixed the links so they actually point to the full size images, you can count the crystals even better.

What always struck me about these shots was how something so ordinary could be so dramatically transformed by a simple event. Sort of a metaphor for all things, eh?

That curve in the wide shot is supposed to be a riding trail. But since it's paved I suspect it's intended more for use as a sidewalk.

I saw George back in 2000 when he came here to Raleigh and one of his bits was, "I don't need parts that bad, I'm not that sick". Ironic... I imagine he was edgy right to the very end.

db grin said...

Great photos - I saw that place on my 2nd ever visit to the Old North State last October. Didn't go in, but we circled around it a couple times. No photos though, I'll bring a decent camera next time.

True on George - too bad he didn't get to enjoy the award. At least he enjoyed huge success and will be remembered well by almost everyone.

Kristen Howard said...

I miss George Carlin already, I want to go to Boone (I've heard it mentioned in more conversations in the last month than I have since moving to NC), and I like your blog. Still taking some great photographs, I see :)