The joys of cropping

“Why don’t you get a haircut? You look like a chrysanthemum.” P. G. Wodehouse

A person with unkempt long hair will benefit from a good haircut, and so will your pictures.

Cropped version

In the days of the ubiquitous “smartphone”, there is an orgy of snapshots or selfies. But when you do so, you only get a raw product, something like a debutante who needs polishing before being introduced to society.
To make your pictures more interesting, you need to focus on the main subject and remove distracting details; cropping is your ideal chiseling tool to do this.

 “Cropping is the removal of unwanted outer areas from a photographic or illustrated image. The process usually consists of the removal of some of the peripheral areas of an image to remove extraneous trash from the picture, to improve its framing, to change the aspect ratio, or to accentuate or isolate the subject matter from its background.”

 You will better appreciate the value of cropping, after looking at before and after picturesA shot that looked dull and uninteresting suddenly comes alive after some skillful trimming.

Before sending or posting a photograph, ask yourself: do I want to keep it as is or should I improve it? If so, what do you want to emphasize? The man’s mustache or the building behind him? And do I need to show the entire body of this person? Unless it is a woman with Betty Grable’s legs, probably not.

When taking selfies, women (don’t deny it) try to emphasize their best assets. Nothing wrong with that, but before sexting a selfie to your admirers, watch the surroundings. Remove (crop) the dirty laundry on the floor or the naked man in the shower. Carelessness can be quite embarrassing.

Just about any photo software now includes some editing tools. Some are more intricate than some others, but all offer basic editing means.
Trimming and correcting an image can be time-consuming, but it is well worth the effort.

Sometimes, years after a picture has been taken, you glance at it and you realize how dull it looks. In a matter of minutes, you can rejuvenate it and make it attractive again.

Before posting anything anywhere, take a few minutes of your time to experience the joys of cropping. It sounds kinky, but it is not.

Trust me, crop before you flop.


United we stand…

“E pluribus unum”(One out of many) was the original motto of the United States adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782. It clearly indicated that the nascent country yearned to unite and cooperate with its various states and interests.

This inspired motto was highjacked in 1956 when, under pressure by religious zealots,  Congress adopted “In God We Trust” as its new official slogan.

This move flagrantly violated the First Amendmentwhich expressly says that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”

As an agnostic, and a confirmed believer of separation of Church and State, I strongly object to this outrageous appropriation. In our troubled times, mortals would be better off relying on laws and unity than banking on divine intervention.

“United we stand, divided we fall” is still a pertinent dictum.

Great civilizations that flourished for centuries collapsed suddenly due to internal struggles, and that what our Disunited States are facing today.

By opposing crucially needed gun control regulations, our PresidentMitch McConnell, and the NRA have shown themselves to be enemies of the people.
Their hypocrite condolences and weak signs of contrition does not mean much. No matter what the carnage, they will stick to their guns and ignore the grief of thousands.

Despite what the President is saying, guns don’t have a say in all these massacres. Guns don’t make decisions. They are just obedient servants of depraved individuals.
Take automatic firearms away from them, and you will reduce mass killings by 95%. It is that simple.

In a democracy, leaders have to lead or get out of the way. If they don’t, it is time to throw the rascals out. At the polls, vote for the Devil himself if he solemnly promises to ban assault weapons, large magazines and insane amounts of bullets.

“As of Monday morning, there have been 255 mass shootings in the U.S., according to figures kept by non-for-profit group the Gun Violence Archive. A mass shooting is generally accepted as an incident in which at least four people are shot.”

 America is the laughing stock of the world when it comes to gun violence.

 To be effective, you need to know and pressure your elected representatives. In California, we have 2 senators: Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.

Petition them relentlessly to make gun control a reality.


Marin has talent

« Aux âmes bien nées la valeur n’attend point le nombre des années. » Pierre Corneille

“For souls nobly born, valor doesn’t await the passing of years”


I could not have said it better. You don’t have to belong to a specific age bracket to show talent.
Yesterday, on the pétanque field, I played with an amazing little girl. She is only 10 years old, but she is oozing brilliance.

My talent-detecting radar started to buzz just a few minutes after I started to play with her. The first time that she shot and hit her target, I registered this as a lucky happening. The second time she did this, I continued to believe that she was extremely lucky. The third time though, I had to stop and recognize that this was unusual.
She is still young and plays a little too fast, but by George she sure is gifted.

If I were a talent scout, I would take her under my wing right away, before anybody realizes how good she is. I predict that if she keeps it up, in a few short years she is going to be a dominating force on our court(s).

A while ago, I was starting to despair about our club’s “relève” (taking over from somebody), but now, I am convinced that someone will be there when we are gone.

Pétanque does not discriminate. You don’t have to be of any specific gender to participate and be good at it. As long as you have the will and the dexterity, the field is open to you.

And this little girl (her name is Tait) seems to have both. She has a good lineage. Her entire family is athletic and sports-minded and it must have something to do with it.

My dream is to have this little girl play with us regularly, AND bring her little friends with her. We need to have youngsters playing with us, challenging us and beating the crap of us. I always said that pétanque keeps you humble; the minute you start thinking that you are hot stuff, some kid will show up and shatter your fragile image.

Pétanque is not an old man’s sole domain. Everybody can play and be good at it. The only thing that you need is practice.

Science is the captain, and practice the soldiers. Leonardo da Vinci

Like Charlie Brown, I long to play with the little red-haired girl again. Brigitte, I want to play Tait à tête!

You must bring her back… or I will send my goons to do that.