Mona Lisa Smile


OLYMPUS FE115,X715; f/3.8; 1/40 sec; ISO-125
Dead Girl – Tucson All Souls Procession 2008

I’m particularly fond of this shot. Dia de los Muertos is a big deal in Tucson. Streets are closed and anyone who wants to march in the procession is welcome to do so. I saw this young lady in 2008 and was lucky enough to get a shot I really like with a point and shoot Olympus. I like the way she is looking directly into the camera. I like the “red eyes”. I like her outfit and homemade death mask. Just way to many good things make up this photo.

I regularly rotate this photo through as my header image on this blog.


Dead Girl Uncropped
Dead Girl Uncropped

I Got Plenty of Nut’in


“Hey Rita,” Jimmy said, “wanna go downtown?”

“And do what?”

“I dunno, nuthin, I guess.”

“Nothing doing!” Rita answered, “I’m not going to go downtown to do nothing. I can do nothing here.”

“Cool, can I do nuthin with you?”

“Sure man. Have a seat.”

Jimmy sat down at the table with Rita but soon began to fidget, “Wanna sammich Rita?” he asked.

“No because then we’d be eating. We’d be doing something. We’re supposed to be doing nothing.”

He nodded his head, “Yeah, right; but how long we gonna sit here doin’ nuthin?” he asked.

“Well, see – that’s the problem; isn’t it?” Rita replied, “It’s not easy to do nothing because you’re never sure when you’re done. Usually you just get interrupted.”

They just sat, doing nothing till the kitchen door opened and Rita’s mom breezed in, a bundle of energy. “Hey kids,” Mom said. “Jimmy, how ‘ya been? I haven’t seen you for a while. How’re your folks?”

“They’re good. Thanks, Ms. Selcheck.”

“Make sure you tell them I said hello.”

“Yes ma’am – will do.” Jimmy pursed his lips and looked up at the ceiling and then at the prints on the wall.

“What’re you guys up to?” Mom asked in an effort to get some conversation going. She had the uncomfortable feeling that she had interrupted something.

“Nothing, Mom,” Rita volunteered. “We’re doing nothing.”

Mom whistled low and offered her observation, “and, they say that nothing is impossible. But you kids do it all the time. I guess the world is your oyster, huh?”

Rita stood up suddenly, “Damn it Mom! Can’t you see we’re busy here?” She grabbed Jimmy’s hand and pulled him out of his chair. “Come on Jimmy, let’s go downtown.”



Photo Challenge; On the Way

Photo Challenge; On the Way

 In-between moments can be just as memorable as grand finales. This week, share a photo you took on the way to something else.


NIKON COOLPIX L20 f/4.8, 1/184 sec., ISO-64
On The Way


Random Scribbles · writing

Picture Prompt #13: Other Realms


Doctor Randall Holtorff and his team had been researching for years; searching for a cure, financed with grants from the bureaucracy. Sometimes it would seem as though they were close and they would chase a thread for weeks, or months even, only to discover that it went nowhere and then it was back to square one. Effectively they were no closer to a cure today, than they had been when they started.

When they had received their last round of financing it had been made clear to Holtorff that if no quantifiable progress was made; there would be no additional funding.

“Perhaps,” the bureaucrats said, “there was no cure. Perhaps, we are financing the wrong team.”

Doctor Holtorff had not given that grim revelation to his team. Morale was low enough without the thought of losing their jobs hanging over their heads.

They continued to work, a team of dedicated scientists, doctors, and lab techs with the conviction that their task was worthwhile and a frustration that they seemed to be missing something, missing a key piece of the puzzle that would make everything clear.

With the end of the fiscal year looming Randall called a meeting with his top scientists.

“I have been advised that we’re going to lose our funding if we don’t start getting results,” he told them. “We need something to show the bureaucrats before June or they’re going to close the lab.”

Jenkins spoke up, “I’ve been revisiting that enzyme theory we had a couple of years back and I’ve confirmed that it was a dead end, but I might be able to induce some inconsistencies into the spreadsheets that would modify the perception of the bureaucrats.”

“They’d see right through that,” Holtorff said shaking his head, “they’ll remember the enzyme theory. Anybody else have an idea?”

“We have that new accelerator,” Marie Curree said. “She pointed her pencil at Dr Holtorff. “When the calibration is just a bit off it can yield unpredictable results, let me work with my intern, Josh, and see if we can get it to log some data that will support a conclusion more in line with a favorable outcome for us. Josh needn’t  know what’s going on.”

Jenkins was nodding his head, “She might be on to something there, Randall. Let me pull Norton in on this too. His ‘Rambunctious Virus Algorithm’ coupled with carefully chosen data from the re-calibrated accelerator might paint a picture that will secure continued funding.”

“Make it good,” Dr. Holtorff admonished, “If it’s really good I can write the grant for seven years. Hell, by then we’ll all be able to retire and, who cares? It’s agreed so, let’s get to work and hash out the details. We’ll need data that will withstand the scrutiny of peer review. In two weeks we’ll meet again to discuss the feasibility of this thing. We can pretend to uncover the calibration problem in six years and write a retraction. No one will blame us.”

The meeting broke up and the three co-conspirators headed back to their laboratories and offices. When Marie went into her lab she saw her young intern, Josh Davis, hunched over a keyboard, studying the monitor. Damn, she thought to herself, he has a great ass. If we do this it will ruin his career. She stared at him for a while longer before walking across the lab and unlocking the door to her office. Screw him. She thought and she opened the accelerator control program.

Photo Courtesy of The Blog Propellant
Photo Courtesy of The Blog Propellant


Random Scribbles · writing

Breakfast of Champions


You’ve never seen Oscar Gretzky’s picture on a box of Wheaties and you probably never will. I’m gonna tell you why.

Oscar didn’t choose Hockey. Hockey chose him. Maybe it ran in the family, his cousin Wayne, who lived up north, was a pretty good player too but not as good as Oscar. Oscar was a natural forward, with a blistering right hand shot, puck handling skills that confounded his opponents, and he could fly when he strapped on skates.

He had his first 50 goal season at the age of eight. In fact he notched up 109 points that year. Not too bad for a kid growing up in the high deserts of the American Southwest. That summer; representatives from Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary and Fargo visited his small town and tried to convince his parents to move so that he could play for their teams. The family was having none of it though and he continued to play for the Jackalopes. He just got better too.

When he was ten he took up smoking because it made him look cool. In those days smoking was still cool. You saw it in the movies and on TV. It was something grownups did and it was not expensive. A pack of Lucky Strikes could be purchased for a quarter at the local ‘Food Corral’.

I don’t think Food Corrals exist anymore, but they were like a Circle K or a 7-11. Convenience stores would be the label we would put on them now.

For about two years, Oscar successfully hid his habit from his parents but not from his peers (what’s the point of looking cool if nobody sees you looking cool?). Then his mother saw him looking cool when she came to pick him up from practice one night. Oscar Gretzky was well and truly busted and he heard about it all the way home. They lived about 45 minutes drive from the rink so he heard about it a lot. As she yelled, she lit one cigarette from the butt of the last and puffed furiously all while lecturing him and schooling him on the reasons a boy of his age should not smoke.

When they got home she told his Dad and that was the end of a promising hockey career. That was his punishment. They took away the one thing that he truly loved and was good at. It embittered him and he continued to smoke but now he smoked at home too. There was no reason to hide it anymore and his logic ran along the lines of: if you’ve already gotten in trouble for stealing cookies from the cookie jar, you might as well keep eating them.

Oscar’s cousin Wayne had a pretty good career in the NHL

Oscar lives in a double-wide outside Barstow. He ex-wife has moved back in and there’s a lot of yelling coming from that end of the trailer park.

There’s probably a moral to this story but, for the life of me, I can’t figure out what it might be.

Random Scribbles · writing

Looking at the Sun

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul and when I looked into her eyes I saw the stars.

When I first saw her from afar, her eyes captivated me. I swear I could see galaxies reflected there, and I ached to look closer, deeper into those cerulean orbs.

I approached for a closer look, perhaps a word; but her minders kept me at bay before turning me out. It was too late though; I had glimpsed the Milky Way and knew I had to get closer – I had to get past her guardians.

I obsessed, I schemed, I plotted until months later when I found myself across a handbarrow from my Beloved in a stall at the market. I stared into her eyes and saw the great constellations. I think she saw something in me that day as well, because our next meeting was easier.

Somehow she had arranged a brief time alone, without her crew, without her protectors. We stared into each other’s eyes. In the night sky that I saw reflected there I watched the planets, their consistent and steady orbits true, and safe. We arranged a tryst in two night’s time and then we parted.

The last time I saw her we were lying together. Limbs entangled. Spent. Her eyes were mere inches from mine when she opened them and gazed at me unabashedly. I saw the Sun there, the closest of the stars. Struck blind I closed my eyes to deepen the darkness, and smiled. I have my memory. I have seen her soul.

Thanks guys!


Random Scribbles · writing

Looking for Richard


Photo Courtesy of Barbara W. Beacham
Photo Courtesy of Barbara W. Beacham

“The only residents remaining in the small town of Miner’s Hill are spirits. We’re on our way there. We’re looking for my late husband, Richard.” Lillian’s hand shook with the Parkinson’s as she lowered her cup to the table. Janet helped to steady her hand so she wouldn’t spill any of the hot liquid.

“No that’s not right at all, Mother,” Janet said, “they’re spiritualists. I don’t expect to find Dad; but hope we can find someone who will help us speak with him – through the veil, as it were.”

Irene, the waitress, topped up Janet’s coffee and asked, “Folks in Miner’s Hill talk to dead people?”

With a slight tremor Lillian looked at Irene, “That’s what we understand, uh huh. We hope to talk with Richard.” Then she smiled and her gaze drifted away.

“That’s kind of an oversimplification.” Janet said. She and Irene looked at each other. “But Mom is hoping for some…” she grappled for the word, “…answers.”



Random Scribbles · writing

Picture Prompt #12: Art & Plastic Surgery

The Blog Propellant

Lawrence Gibson, the lawyer for the plaintiff, stood and cleared his throat, “Your honor, my client is seeking damages from the defendant. We are seeking $120,000 reimbursement of the fees paid, in good faith, by my client. In addition, we are seeking $999,880,000 in punitive damages for pain and suffering caused. Pain and suffering caused by the defendant who was, egregiously negligent and cavalier in his treatment of my client. Said damages are being sought as a result of botched cosmetic surgery in the defendant’s art and plastic surgery clinic on the 17th of January, earlier this year.”

Counsel for the defense rose, straightened her skirt, and addressed the court. “Your honor, my client would like to file for dismissal of all charges. It is the contention of the defense that this case is frivolous and without merit. The plaintiff came to my client for a face lift and breast reduction surgery. Both of which she received, as contracted.”

Lawyer Gibson rose again, “Judge,” he said in a confidential tone, “My client admits she should have better researched Doctor Picasso. Both his studio work and his clinical work, but the defendant had great reviews on line. My client was a good looking woman who, in her vanity, only wanted to be a better looking woman. After the surgery, she complained to Dr. Picasso and his office staff. Unfortunately, on the day she filed her complaint only the gallery staff was working. As you know, your honor, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Dr. Picasso’s staff continually expressed their belief that she was indeed more beautiful than she had been pre-procedure. I should mention, at this point that the doctor’s staff are all cubists.”

Counsel for the defense remained seated this time when she spoke to the court. She shrugged her shoulders and held both hands, palms up, in front of her, “Your honor, this is my client’s point exactly. Beauty is subjective and he contends that the plaintiff is even more beautiful today than she had been before trusting him with her treatment.”

Lawrence Gibson , “Your honor, I would like to enter this photograph of my client taken yesterday. We seek your honest opinion and ask that if you truly find her more beautiful you award this case to the defendant. However, if you find the results of the procedure to tend more towards the hideous, then we ask that you award the case to my client.” He approached the bench with a brown envelope in his hand, “I would like to enter this ‘post op’ photograph of my client, as Exhibit 1.”

The judge opened the envelope and stared at the photograph for a minute or two. He pounded his gavel on the table top, in front of him, “This court rules in favor of the plaintiff.” He held up the photograph to show the gallery.


1960 Pablo Picasso (Spanish artist, 1881–1973) Portrait of a Sitting Woma
1960 Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist, (1881–1973) Portrait of a Sitting Woman