Was out with my camera for the express purpose of just taking pictures for the first time in well over two years. I take this as a good sign. (Click image to embiggen.)


high priestess

It's that time of year again.



Elisabetta Cassari - Self Portrait - 1989.

A footnote from Frank Jensen's 1990 Manteia article, The Strange Tarot World of Elisabetta Cassari:
***) I attempted to contact Elisabetta Cassari several times during the last few years, but in vain. I have not been able to locate her. Not even Vito Arienti shortly before his death, knew her present address, nor did other people I contacted. Unconfirmed rumors say, that Cassari left Italy and moved to France or Spain (likely the latter since she speaks Spanish). If anyone knows about her current whereabouts, I'll be pleased to learn about them!



I have, for reasons not entirely clear, started yet another tumblr. It's here.


a good couple of weeks for the sun

Just a few weeks after the partial eclipse, we get the last transit of Venus for another hundred years or so. Seeing that it was definitely my last chance for one, I got my telescope out of the garage for the first time in quite a few years, attached a solar filter, and caught the sun pretty much mid-transit. On a lark, I decided to see what would happen if I held my phone up to the eyepiece and tried snapping a picture. This is the result. 
It wasn't all that long ago (in geologic time, at least) when it would have taken an elaborate astrophotography rig to get a shot like this. We truly live in the future.



In the palm of my hand.


the avengers

Man, this is one movie I'm really looking forward to seeing. (So far, I've managed to avoid reading any spoilers.) Photobucket



From this afternoon's bike ride. The camera never lies.


best campaign email ever

I promised myself I'd stay away from political posts in deference to my blood pressure, but this is just too good to pass up. From Al Franken, via digby:

Hello, I'm Woman Picking Out Fruit In Supermarket. And I'm writing to you today on behalf of Al Franken—a Senator who stands up for real people (including those of us who make a living posing for stock photos).  
You've seen us shaking hands in business suits, posing together on college campuses, and laughing while we eat salads. You've seen us on billboards, in magazines, and on pretty much every political website. We are the people in stock photos.  
I know the people in stock photos don't typically write emails, but Al isn’t your typical politician—he's a progressive fighter who puts people first. Will you stand with us by making a small contribution to his grassroots campaign right now? 
There's a reason I'm standing with Al. You see, I'm not just Woman Picking Out Fruit In Supermarket. I am also an actual woman worried about the right-wing attacks on my access to health care. 
And when Republicans tried to put my boss in charge of what health care treatments I can and can't get, Al stood up and fought back— just like he did when Republicans tried to destroy Planned Parenthood, and just like he has every time Republicans launch an attack on my rights.  
Al's a Senator I can count on to stand up for all women—whether they're walking a golden retriever in the park, pointing at a chart in an important meeting, or simply staring into the camera.
Your contribution will help keep Al's campaign strong so he can keep fighting for us—click here to give today! 
I hope I can count on you for a contribution. After all, the rights to stock photos aren't cheap. And neither is the actual grassroots organizing Al’s team does every day, fighting to keep progressive values -- and the middle class -- alive and well. 
And whether you're a Tattooed Guitar Player, a Guy Wearing Hard Hat, or an Elderly Couple Sitting At Kitchen Table, there's no better way to show your support than by making a contribution today. 
Thanks for standing with Al. 
Sincerely, Woman Picking Out Fruit In Supermarket 
Co-Chair, People in Stock Photos for Franken (PSPF) 
P.S. As someone who eagerly reads every email I get from Al, I have to be honest: I don't really understand why he's under the impression that adding an "extra ask" in the P.S. of every message is helpful. But I asked my friends Scientist Looking At Line Graph and Doctor With Stethoscope Hanging Around Her Neck, and they both agreed it works. So: Would you click here to make a contribution of $5, $10, or $25 today?
So yeah, I love Al Franken.


one less bozo on this bus

I was first introduced to the Firesign Theatre when I transferred to UCLA in 1968 and a dorm mate insisted that I listen to his copy of their first album, Waiting For The Electrician Or Someone Like Him. I had never heard anything like it in my (admittedly then short) life, but I immediately recognized them as speaking a language that resonated with me like nothing I had yet encountered. I bought every one of their iconic albums: How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All, Don't Crush That Dwarf Hand Me the Pliers, I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus, and the rest, and listened to them over and over to the point where I could recite most of them from memory (Dr. Memory, that is).

Forty-four years later, I still can't point to any cultural entity that has had as strong an impact on my personal worldview as the Firesigns. In spite of the fact that I could never convince Rocket Girl to listen to them (a profound regret), she knew many of their innumerable catch phrases from my constant insertion of them into conversations over the years.

This past Wednesday, I finally succumbed to temptation and ordered one of the new iPads directly from Apple. Discovering that they offered the option of two free lines of custom engraving on its back, I had it engraved with:

Shoes for Industry!
Shoes for the Dead!

 Then, yesterday, Twitter told me that Peter Bergman, one of the founding Firesign members (he's on the far left in the photo above), had died at 72 from "complications of leukemia." In the many tributes that sprung up around the web, it was most common to see people greeting the sad news with one or more of the many Firesign snippets that could be interpreted as appropriate for his departure. As tempting as it is, I'll refrain from succumbing to that particular temptation (apart, I guess, from the post title). In any case, you can read the LA Times obit here.

Thanks for everything, Peter.


shocking report: iran deploying IUDs

Over at Jesus' General, JC Christian ("an 11 on the manly scale of absolute gender") reports:
According to sources close to House GOP leadership, the House and Senate Republican caucuses are scrambling to craft a war resolution after learning that Iran is deploying intrauterine devices (IUDs) against the U.S. "This is the gravest threat our country has faced since the introduction of fluorescent lighting," noted one highly placed Fox News executive. "It's an existential threat. Gosh, I hope we go nuclear," he continued.
 And he's got proof:
Read the entire terrifying report here!



Was going to post pictures again. But just don't have the heart for it.