September 2009

Posted by Ellen

Yesterday, Tanja Baker noticed this arachnid, named her Thekla, watched her eat three bugs, and got her to pose for a picture.

Thekla is about an inch long from toe to toe. "Too bad I have to work," Tanja says, "and cannot watch this all day." Thekla's name is from the spider in a German children's story, "Maya the Bee."

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Posted by Ellen

In the summer of 1913, Hazel Reiber winds up for a pitch near the ocean in the big sandlot at Long Beach, Long Island. Her bathing costume looks skimpier than the outfits many women wore back then, but her boots would do just fine for a professional wrestler.

That is a baseball in her right hand, but I'm guessing--hoping--that the person she's throwing to is not swinging a bat. It doesn't look safe for slugging thereabouts.

Posted by Ellen

A single picture doesn't tell the whole story, but it looks like it was a pretty good party. And although Ted has cut his hair since then, I'm guessing he can still dance.

Satellite views and computer-generated maps have become commonplace. A bird's eye view of our world no longer seems exotic and magical, the way it did a century or so ago, when only an artist's imagination could sweep us beyond our earthbound horizons.

Before planes and satellites, ordinary people could only dream of seeing the world from on high. In America's younger years, traveling artists fed the dream, visiting frontier villages and bustling cities to sketch and map and reproject the ordinary, creating prints that puahed back the old horizons to open astonishing new visions--what we'd made of the land, what we were hoping to make of it.

The Hole in the Clouds bird's-eye-view project combines old and new for a fresh look at the world around us. Using both high-tech imagery and old-fashioned inspiration, we present views from above that try to capture the wide sweep of landscape and humanscape in our everyday surroundings.


Posted by Ellen

There will come a day when nobody cares about Alabama football any more. True, we're not there yet. We'll probably have single-payer health care in the United States long before the Crimson Tide roll over and play dead.
As I write this, Alabama is losing its first game of the season 16-17, to Virginia Tech. They're playing in Atlanta tonight, in the Georgia Dome, but some sunny Saturday very soon, Bryant-Denny stadium in Tuscaloosa will once again look exactly like this.




Bird's eye views

Cityscapes and earthly scenes


Good mornings

Ground-truthing every day


Posted by Ellen

Avram Dimitrscu's father was a musician in a Romanian concert band, behind the Iron Curtain. In the 1970s, the band toured western Europe, including the Channel Islands, where Avram's mother, a native of Belfast, Northern Island, was working at a resort hotel. They fell in love, and when it came time for the band to return to Romania, she helped him hide and eventually defect.. Avram was born on the Isle of Jersey and raised in Belfast. His parents ran a catering business until the 1990s, when travel to Romania became possible. Then they bought a truck and began operating a charity, collecting donations of food, clothing, and everything else, and driving all the way across Europe every month or so to deliver the contributions to Romanians in need.

Avram grew up during the troubles in Northern Ireland, in a Catholic part of town, and enrolled as an art student at the University of Belfast. He worked at a McDonald's near campus during the school year but spent his summers abroad, in Maine, where he worked as a camp counselor at a boys' camp. It was there that he met fellow-counselor John Stein. Avram and John traveled together, and Avram spent time in Alabama with all the Steins--always with his sketchbook in hand. Eventually, he married an American woman and moved to the town of Alpine, in the Big Bend area of extreme west Texas. He paints, illustrates, teaches art, runs the Dimitrescu Gallery, and surely still keeps his sketchbook close at hand.

This is his "Tiny Chicken #8."

Posted by Ellen

Joe Stein is admiring dinner. It should be tasty, thanks to Joe's buddy Joe Fair, who went catfishing the other night in the Black Warrior River near Moundville, Alabama.. According to one of the Joes, it took an hour to reel in the big guy.



Posted by Ellen

First bike ride. And then, right on down that same sidewalk, first day of kindergarten.