I’m sort of scared of being attacked by possums in the night. So I camp out in my garden at least one night a year. It’s good to face your fears. Last night was the night, the sweet smell of peppermint lingering on my feet. (Truth: I actually tried the night before but chickened out.) Fun fact: birds don’t start chirping until 6:42 a.m. Not really early birds, are they? I did hear something gnawing earlier than that. A possum? I’ll never know.
Damn, Louisiana can’t buy a break. I saw this license plate today, and I met an 11-year-old girl a few days ago who was born on the side of the road while her mother was evacuating from Hurricane Katrina. The girl was helping loading a truck with supplies to help current flood survivors in Louisiana. I hope to interview her mom. I don’t think it’s been The Big Easy since then. Damn.
Here is an outtake from my (impromptu) photo shoot today with my dear friend David Skoke of Helping Feed Atlanta. It really should be called a “take out,” since what he does is take out thousands of pounds of perfectly edible (but somehow unsellable) fruits and veggies from supermarkets to donate to those in need. He’s a good guy doing good things, and he knows how to have fun. I like that in a person.
Pssst. I’m actually writing about this on my other blog tomorrow. But I thought I’d give you sneak peek. It’s so silly.
So I’ve been going crazy trying to get a copy of Gay Talese’s first book, New York: A Serendipiter’s Journey. It’s the one that sounds most like me. It’s just stories about people Gay met out and about, about curiosities he had, about questions he wondered and answers he discovered. Like, kind of my life story. There are two copies available, seemingly, in the world, and they run more than $600 each. So I decided maybe instead I simply have to write my own. About Atlanta. Well, okay, then. (The funny part, of course, is that I’m from New York.)
This is (a posterized photo of) the iconic “new journalism” writer Gay Talese’s hat. I took it almost exactly a year ago when I met with him at his home in NYC. (See What to Wear When Meeting with Gay Talese.) He had just come back from a very important trip, along with a documentary filmmaker (whom I met that day as well), which will prove to be momentous in the next year or so. You’ll see. I’m working this story (after just reading his new book — and all of them in fact, except the Mafia one and an elusive one that’s out of print titled New York: A Serendipiter’s Journey). Stay with me on this . . .
If you want to know one business that’s taken a licking, it’s the shoeshine biz. I took this street photo last year in NYC. After talking with the guy on 42nd Street by the New York Public Library (where there are no longer any books, if you can believe it), plus another guy at a shoe repair shop next to where I used to live (the previous owner used to accept my deliveries and kept a spare key of mine), I realized that “business casual” has not been a friend to spit-shines. So my ears perked up when I read just now that the Atlanta airport is pretty much assuring its long-time shoeshine guy gets the boot by bidding out a 190-page contract for new shoeshine services. That’s just wrong. There has to be a better way.
There’s a book by a children’s writer/illustrator named Mo Willems titled Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. My kids were too old by the time it came out, so I didn’t find out about it until I saw an excellent exhibit at the High Museum of Atlanta about Mo Willems. I thought of it today after I left the High and waited on a train platform to change trains, and the pigeon walked by. I call this Don’t Let the Pigeon Ride the Train, in homage to Mo. By the way, pigeon photos are, like, a thing for street photographers because there a few very famous ones. I have taken one or two of which I’m particularly proud. This one isn’t my favorite, but I like it. The pigeon seemed like a real character.
The corner of Ralph McGill Boulevard and Courtland Street in (almost) Downtown Atlanta hosts folk art on all four corners, installed for the Centennial Olympic Games twenty years ago right now. It’s kind of a spooky corner and I have never once stopped the car while passing and checked it out. I don’t know why it felt safer on a bike today, but, well, it did. And I stopped. And I was, like, wow. The whole shebang has fallen into disrepair and looks really unloved. But I loved it. And I think I will keep loving it. Maybe Attica and I can even help make a difference for these little piggies.
This is my 100th sign photo in my Signs street photography album. I wish it weren’t. I wish it didn’t exist. This flood stuff is not good. But, gosh, this kid was sweet. She even got on TV. I’m actually trying to find her mom. My research indicates her name is Bianca Doucette. I have a funny feeling we’re supposed to meet.