Saturday, October 30, 2010

Team Zissou!

It's Halloween Eve... do you know where YOUR local Team Zissou member is?

Could he be lurking around your local library?

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Guest Blogger at OneTravel!

Hey Everyone!

I wanted to announce that on Tuesday, November 9 I will be a guest blogger over at OneTravel Bloggers. Check them out here! Also, visit George's super-awesome travel site, Cheap-O Air, for cheap tickets and that other great deals on all kinds of travel all over the world! Could it be time to start planning for that exciting winter getaway?

So check out these sites on Tuesday to see my guest article!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Portrait Gallery

The Portrait
Simple, illuminating, a hidden idea out in the open, exposed
A still in time that can make the subject seem timeless
A single moment, a single emotion, a single glance, a single smile
A facial expression, a stance, translated into pixels and shades and art
Translated into something tangible
A still life from a dance
A single frame of an insatiable life

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kicks in Wyoming

Friends help friends, especially when there is free mulled cider involved!

The 4 cords of woods that brought all of us together to stack and carve pumpkins!

The best way to celebrate the first genuine not-80-degree day this season

This is what people do for kicks in Wyoming.

Pumpkin Carving in Lander

Apparently, I am the only person in Lander, WY who eats raw pumpkin...

And then there's Lander Brewing Company (find them here!) brewmaster Ted who carves, freestyle, a perfectly appropriate pumpkin: a beer mug!

So for the first time in 8-ish years, I buckle down and carve a pumpkin!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beach Ball

The sun lounged low to the ground, and it was still chilly in the early spring, but the cold frost of winter, which tiptoed to the coast on the coattails of the inland breezes, had turned to hints of warmth. The sun warms the ground and the morning fog snakes through palm trees and early joggers.

They play with a ratty old ball one of them found in ocean-washed driftwood. There are real footballs here and there, but this is the now, and this is the easy fun. This is how you play football on the beach in Morocco.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Tale of a Life in Rabat

Music unfurling through windows and seeping from cracks in doors and whitewashed walls

Laughter, furtive giggles, suggestive glances through veiled eyes

Smells of curries and saffron and orange blossoms

And of diesel engines, smoldering refuse, tobacco and the human condition

Revolution, progress, tradition, a call to prayer that often goes unheeded

Bakeries of fresh bread and Parisian pastries, cafes heavy with coffee and intimate couples

And an ocean that roars against the sleepy bulwarks of a 1000-year-old walled city, ready for tomorrow.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Romani

I know I don't usually post political statement in my blog; I try to just stick to travel and photography. But the issue of the Romani in Europe hits a soft spot as someone whose masters dissertation (UK speak for thesis) focused on indigenous people (who were largely nomadic still in the mid-1900s) and how their state governments dealt with them as a culture.

This article (found here) in the Economist addresses the issue of (probably illegal) deportation of gypsies from France. It insists that this whole process is a disgrace to the European Union and only serves to further isolate a people that has been marginalized since, well, forever. It charges that the only way to deal with the economic and social divides among the Romani is to actually deal with the problem instead of just making them someone else's problem. To France's credit, this isn't just a policy for the Romani; this is how they treat anyone who isn't a honky Frenchman (or who isn't at least willing to pretend he's a honky Frenchman).

The Economist goes on to suggest that the only viable situation is to educate them. Force them to attend school and enforce all those silly little rules France has about non-discrimination in the educational system that have, up to this point, been taken as merely suggestions.

"Education" has, unfortunately, become a cure all for the world's problems, which is where I believe the Economist has it wrong. In the 1800s, the US thought that the best way to deal with Native Americans (largely nomadic, much like the Romani) is to put all their children in school. In the early 1900s, Egypt thought that the best way to deal with the Bedouin was to put all their children in school. In the mid-1900s, Algeria thought that the best way to deal with their nomadic Berber populations was to put all their children in school. In the later 1900s, Australia thought that the best way to completely stamp out Aborigine culture was to strip Aboriginal parents of their children and put them into boarding schools so we could educate-out any trace of Aborigine. Sounds great, right?

Except how immense was the disaster with the Native Americans? We stripped them of any cultural identity, stole them away from their parents (who largely wanted to remain at least semi-nomadic, which didn't jive with the concept of "school years" in one place, so we simply put the children into boarding schools under horrendous and often torturous conditions), attempted to make them as white as possible, and then left them nothing but the burnt embers of a razed identity, soul-consuming poverty, and a great deal of confusion. These steps were repeated with the Bedouin, the Tuareg Berbers, the Aborigine. In each case, the ethnic minorities in question fought the system and the education they considered to be irrelevant to their cultures and needs by attempting to take back their children, simply refusing to send their children and trying to evade the law, resorting to acts of violence in protest, or any number of foot-dragging and largely illegal acts in order to retain any shred of honor and identity that they had left. All with the same catastrophic results that leaves us all with a new set of problems: Now that we've virtually destroyed the ethnic identities of previously self-contained and sufficient peoples, how do we now deal with identity-less minorities that are vastly uneducated (despite our ill-conceived attempts), isolated, and at the bottom of the economic and social food chain? These people remain poverty stricken, illiterate and itinerant and are called by governments violent criminals, drunks, and harborers of terrorists.

But the Economist is suggesting that Europe do just that: force an at least semi-nomadic group of people to submit to a "modern" model of education that, at best, simply doesn't fit their lifestyle and, at worst, would attempt to completely undermine and erase all unique cultural identity in order to assimilate them into mainstream European culture (which, as I have demonstrated with Native Americans, Bedouin, Tuareg, and Aborigine, never backfires, right?). It seems the Economist has ignored history, and the lessons-and ghosts-of American, Egyptian, Algerian and Australian pasts remain unlearned and forgotten. If Europe attempts to force Romani children to attend schools in static locations with curricula that are not tuned to Romani cultural and social needs, history will once again repeat itself, and instead of creating productive and integrated members of society, Europe will have yet another abandoned, impoverished division of society full of anger and hate. There must be another solution to this cultural intolerance. France is well on its way to segregating Muslims and black Africans within its borders; do they really need any more bad press?

The Roatan Spiny-Tailed Iguana

Introducing the very rare and threatened Roatan Spiny-Tailed Iguana!

Endemic only to the Island of Roatan off the coast of Honduras, they can be found all over the beaches on the eastern part of the island.

Their population is dwindling due to habitat loss and hunting as an island delicacy.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Grand Tetons

They come complete with fall and a forest fire!

All the haze you see in these photos is from the Elbo Fire, a prescribed burn in Grand Teton.