The unpredictable lives of statues

Statues (aka idols) are everywhere. They are familiar parts of urban landscapes, and generally speaking, passersby pay little attention to them. In my hometown, there were plenty of those and as a kid, I never really bothered to find out who they were or what they stood for.

El Cid statue. Balboa Park, San Francisco

Statues are usually funded by partisan groups, and erected to glorify their champions… typically, military leaders or significant national personalities. But popularity can be fleeting… Due to shifting political winds, yesterday heroes can suddenly become today’s pariahs.

Pigeons are more impartial. They like all statues and find them a nice place to socialize or to relieve themselves. In French, it is called « Joindre l’utile à l’agréable. » Combine business with pleasure.

 Lately, righteous activists have been scrutinizing statues’ past to determine if their presence is warranted. It is their prerogative, but judgements are subjective, influenced by personal feelings.

Regardless of his/her accomplishments, you will find flaws in just about anybody’s career. When evaluating somebody’s journey, the good and the bad deeds should be tallied. If the positive is substantially superior to the negative, this person should be getting a passing grade.

I heard that Winston Churchill’s statue in London was defaced. I am aware that in his early years Churchill was a fervent colonialist, with all evils that it implies. But the world should be eternally grateful to this man for his role in WWII.
Without his dogged resistance to Nazi’s aggression, today’s protests could be totally irrelevant. All opposition would be fiercely crushed and totally anihilated. Despite his youthful misconceptions, this man saved the world from an unthinkable Nazi enslavement and deserved to be honored!

On the other hand, a politically tainted figure like maréchal Philippe Pétain of France  have had all his statues taken down. In 1940, after the invasion of France and most of Europe, this former World War One hero threw his lot with the Germans.  He was responsible for the deaths of countless French citizens and displaced people.
Tyrants, conquistadors, slavers, traitors  don’t deserve a statue; if they have one, their time in the sun is up.

How many statues can pass the test of time? As an artist or as a health professional, you are fairly safe, but otherwise, your fate depends on political conditions. Should a dictator prevail, many seedy characters might be honored. If a decent man (as it is hoped) takes the reins of state, he will hopefully revoke some dreadful policies and help to re-unite the nation.

Just keep in mind

“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it…” Leviticus 26:1


Speak softly and carry a selfie-stick

After years of making fun of it, I finally purchased a selfie-stick. Yes, I got one… and yes, my cat made me do it.

The two and a half musketeers

She is so photogenic that I cannot stop snapping pictures of her. My computer is full of her lounging, sleeping, stretching, yawning, even posing in the raw…
There are now exactly 23,439 pictures in my photo library… with probably half of them showcasing the diva. But I cannot help it… I am mesmerized by her beauty.

So, I have plenty of Kate’s snapshots, but since I am the photographer, I am seldom part of any picture. And when I am, I am rarely pleased with what I see. Modesty aside, I daresay that I take better pictures than most of my friends.
My fans (read my vanity) demanded to see better pictures of me and I decided to do something about it. I resolved to buy a selfie-stick.

When I need something, I usually turn to the Internet. By the way, I also subscribe to Consumer Reports and before committing to anything, I want to check their ratings . As it often turns out, they never bothered to investigate that product. So instead, I went knocking at the door of Amazon, my favorite merchant.

Come in, they said… we have plenty of sticks… wipe your feet and don’t forget to wear a mask.
-I am a friend of Jeff, I started to say…
-If you are a friend of the boss, don’t bother with the mask. What is good for the White House people is good enough for us. Step right in.

Yes, Amazon had a wide variety of selfie-sticks, but the problem as usual is an embarrassment of riches. Too many choices. Which one should I get? When I shop for anything, my primary concern is quality, because I am too poor to buy cheap stuff. But no matter what, picking the right item is challenging.

I finally settled for the Mpow Selfie Stick All in 1, a compact multifunctional gadget. Until I got the gizmo, I didn’t realize how handy a selfie-stick is. Especially for taking (including yourself) of a small gathering,. What is also extremely handy with this particular device, is the detachable trigger switch. It allows you to hold the stick with one hand and the trigger with the other hand.

The rarest thing in the world is a photographer (or a woman) who is pleased with a picture of himself.

It is true. When somebody snaps a picture of you, it is a one-time deal. Satisfied or not, you have to live with the outcome.

The advantage of the do-yourself job is that you can take as many pictures as you want, and I usually fire at least three times when taking a single snapshot
As you become a little more experienced with photography, you become extremely picky with the details.

You might not realize it, but pictures are extremely important. They are a living account of your life. Long after you are gone, you will be remembered (or not) through the snapshots that you left behind.

I don’t know how you feel, but personally I would turn in my grave if somebody made derogatory remarks about the way I looked. I might even come back to haunt that nogoodnik. To avoid this embarrassment, try to memorialize decent pictures, instead of leaving blurry, sloppy snapshots behind.

The photo whisperer…


WTF: Where’s The Food?

Your money… after the pandemic

Cash flow: The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.

Need some financial advice?

Bear market: A 6 to 18-month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.

Value investing: The art of buying low and selling lower.

P/E ratio: The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.

Broker: What my broker has made me.

Standard & Poor: Your life in a nutshell.

Stock analyst: Idiot who just downgraded your stock.

Stock split: When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.

Financial planner: A guy whose phone has been disconnected.

Market correction: The day after you buy stocks.

CEO: Chief Embezzlement Officer

CFO: Corporate Fraud Officer

Yahoo: What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.

Windows: What you jump out of when you’re the sucker who bought Yahoo @ $240 per share.

Institutional investor: Past year investor who’s now locked up in a nuthouse.

Profit: An archaic word no longer in use. ☂︎