Delilah Jones

Delilah was the wife of gentle Jack Jones who worked hard plowing the fields, but they were not yielding crops like they once did and when the ox died, this labor became so strenuous that it caused Jack to start drinking.  He was a handsome man and the ladies always chased after him, and even though he was a religious family man, sometimes he was tempted to stray.  He started drinking whiskey from the jar in the 1920s, but when Prohibition came around, he decided to make his living by selling red-eyed gin.  He sold this for two dollars a bottle and it burnt like hell, and if you were able to drink down a whole bottle, you would be ready to kill.  Delilah Jones bore two sets of twins and all together she raised eight boys, however some of them were conceived out of wedlock when her husband was not around.

Seven of the boys turned out to be outstanding citizens and one turned bad, because he didn’t get the beatings that the others did.  Over time their house started deteriorating, till one night when it snowed so hard that the roof caved in and it was nothing more than a tumble-down shack in Big Foot County, or you might call it a folly.  Delilah Jones died that year and gentle Jack was never the same again.  I missed my mother because she never hit me, however I was the boy who turned out bad.  I ended up living in the folly after taking over the still for my old man and I kept making that clean liquor, while chasing after brown-eyed women.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – The Folly – Image by KL Caley.

Photography Class

Shadows and reflections are the effects of light.  Without light, there would be no shadows.  Shadows are formed when objects block a source of light, so this is an is an absence of light, when light cannot get through an object.  Reflections are caused by light bouncing off objects.  Reflection has the ability to alter your images from something that may otherwise seem ordinary, such as a lake, a window, a mirror, or even a puddle and turn it into something abstract and creative.  Reflective surfaces exist all around us and utilizing them in our images can make for some truly beautiful works of art that draw viewers into the scene and allow them to see the world slightly different than before.

Students in the image that we are working with today, you will see a puddle with leaves and trees that are above it, reflected in the surface of this puddle.  If you get low to the ground and try taking your picture from different angles as you’re shooting into a puddle, the reflection becomes a viewfinder (the part of the camera that is used to frame and setup a photograph) and this provides a different perspective for your photographs.  A digital camera viewfinder allows the photographer to see the image that will be captured.  This tool quite simply helps you find the view that the picture should be of.

Puddle photos are captivating because they’re like mirrors, and they allow the world to be seen differently.  These photos also attract a lot of attention and can even be conversation starters because they produce painting-like effects.  Today we will be working with a puddle that is smooth and still, and eventually we will work our way up to those that have ripples.  Our photo was taken right after a rain storm, so it is littered with twigs and leaves and this adds natural context to the picture.  This photo was taken with the Sun behind the photographer as you can see its light shining on the tree leaves and the bright blue sky that is above it.  Notice the effect that the trunk of this tree’s shadow has on the reflections in the puddle, as the picture looks clearer in this area.

We had rain last night and I am certain that you can find puddles out there if you look hard enough, so I want everyone to get outside and shoot some puddles and bring them in for the next class where er will talk about them.  Try to capture nature at its best and I don’t want to see any cigarette butts or other trash in the setting that you choose.  You will also be required to write 100 words that describe what is contained in your picture.  We didn’t have a whole lot of rain last night, so most likely you will only find shallow puddles, so make sure to adjust your camera and have it focus on the actual subject (not on its reflection) first.  Then slowly bring your camera back to the puddle and lock its focus.  Also, be carful and try and keep your camera dry, but other than that, find your puddle and make a big splash, as this will be your midterm grade.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Portal concerning image by Rebecca M. Douglass.

It’s Not Simple

“It is that simple, you walk through the stone archway and the alligators will be waiting for you in the pond.  This is your first test to see if you have the right stuff”, said the one-armed man.  Lefty went on, “You are not going to roll around on the ground with the gators, even though this is called wrestling, all you need to do is try to coax the gator to open its mouth, tuck its head against your neck and hold the gator’s mouth open with only your chin, while your arms are outstretched.  It is a series of properly planned moves and that is why it is called wrestling, but these moves take strength, finesse, and you will need long, strong legs to straddle and hold down an eight-foot gator.  The gator will never give in willingly, so you have to put your heart into this, as not everybody has the right combination of skills.  Scars are part of this life and in case the gator gets you, don’t worry, as I will be standing by holding a crowbar to pry his mouth back open.”  “Oh, its that simple”, said Joe “I don’t want any part of this.”

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Arch.

The Mares Tail

That is not a feather cloud, it’s a mare’s tail and I ought to know as I carefully lifted many horses’ tails and I wondered what purpose they served.  I noticed that when it was swung around, it would deter flies from biting its ass and this was their defense in their war against insects.  This is a part of the horse that must be respected, as a tail can be used like a whip and it is a formidable weapon, especially when it is frantically swished and swayed around.  Animals’ butts may seem mundane to most people, but only creatures with an anus are able to physically segregate the acts of eating and defecating, so they don’t have to finish processing one meal before ingesting another, allowing their bodies to harvest more energy, so they can grow bigger.  People may joke and say that a moron or an unlikable person is a horse’s ass, but a horse’s tail can reveal a lot about the horse, as when it is moving the horse is thought to be frisky and energetic.

In 1581, when Galileo was studding motion, he was fascinated the regular movement of a pendulum.  A horse’s tail swings like a pendulum, but unlike the pendulum, which exhibits a periodic motion about its mean position, it does not swing at natural frequency.  Galileo discovered that for small amplitudes, the period and frequency are unaffected by the amplitude.  This breakthrough came while he sat bored during a church service in Pisa.  The chandelier overhead would swing gently back and forth, but it seemed to move more quickly when it was swinging widely (after a gust of wind, for example) and more slowly when it wasn’t moving as far.  Intrigued, Galileo decided to measure how much time it took for each swing, using the only approximately periodic event to which he had ready access.  Since clocks with second hands didn’t become common until the 18th century, Galileo used the beating of his own pulse.  He found the number of heartbeats between swings of the chandelier was roughly the same, regardless of whether the swings were wide or narrow.  Thus, the size of the oscillations pertaining to how far the pendulum swung back and forth, didn’t affect the frequency of those oscillations.

The discovery of this natural frequency is what made the pendulum an extremely reliable source for telling time.  It is also this natural frequency, this motion at resonance, that allows a grandfather clock to use so little energy.  A single winding keeps a clock running for days.  Since animals are swinging their tails nearly all the time that they are awake, one would expect that they would want to swing them at their natural frequency to save energy.  Shockingly, horses swing their tails once per second, which is three times faster than the expected natural frequencies based on their tail length.  By swinging their tail three times faster than their natural frequency, they expend 27 times more energy than necessary, but this allows them to shoo away many more flies.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Feather Cloud.

Arms Wide Open

They are on this planet and although they are not alive, they are filled with affection, readily giving you hugs and kisses to express their love, and show their physical and emotional warmth.  Everybody needs a friend or two, and better idea would be to adopt a whole community of these lovable characters.  Hillary said, “It takes a village” to enable your children to become smart, able, and resilient adults, but if you purchase these toys for your kids to play with, you are well on your way to building a village.  Each one comes with their own story and the captain who is dressed in white has just come back from a sea adventure, and he has loads of stories to tell your children about his adventures.  The mechanic is dressed in red wearing glasses and a blue cap and he checks your oil with his towel and adds another quart when you get low.

The school crossing guard is wearing a green top with a blue skirt and she will always check all the students to make sure that they packed their lunch and if not, she will call your mom.  The train conductor is wearing a light blue hat and he has a red bandana tied around his neck.  He is holding up a clock and he wants to teach everyone how important it is to be on time.  Sally sunshine is holding an ice cream cone and she wants you to come out and play with her.  Not shown in the picture, but available for purchase is the baker who is dressed in white and he bakes the bread and makes the cakes, which all children love.  You can also get the astronaut, the cowboy, the fireman, the rock star, the librarian and the graduate who doesn’t look like Dustin Hoffman.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Community.

Cajun Swamp Chicken

The Cypress tree tunnel is a dirt road, where the trees on each side form a continuous overhead canopy, giving the illusion of it being a tunnel.  It is a glorious place for photographers to go and take pictures, but because these trees grow best in swampy, wet soil, an alligator took over this tunnel and claimed it as his territory.  The good news is that the gator was captured today and tonight there will be a barbecue.  The chef will be serving Cajun Crawfish Twice Baked Stuffed Potatoes along with some Cajun Cornbread Dressing.  We have utensils, but you will need to bring your own drinks.  The bluegrass-country singer Alison Krauss will be bringing her fiddle and it should turn out to be a real hootnanny.  The ducks have come back now that the gator is gone, but don’t try to eat them, as they are pets.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Tunnel.

Where We Met

I will never forget the day that I first met you as I climbed up those steps and saw you on the bridge wearing your decorative bra, or bralette without a blouse.  You were the first to make this bold fashion statement challenging the style of what was acceptable.  I thought that you were unapologetically being yourself, doing your own thing and it was amazing.  You put yourself out there by being unique and not following established trends.  You were totally badass, and even Madonna didn’t make her cone bra statement till 1990, which was five years after you were doing it.  This was the perfect summer look and it made everything that you wore with it seem that much more exciting.

Before you started rocking this look, lingerie was only seen in the bedroom, but now this look has made its way into the streets and it allows women to feel more daring.  Lingerie will always be a secret weapon for seducing men and you won my heart from the instant I saw you that day on the bridge.  You were exuding confidence and this was a big step from the tank tops and tube tops that girls were wearing in the 1970s.  With out your influence, girls wouldn’t be wearing those cute handkerchief tops and bandana tops that became fashionable in the 90s.  The fashion industry is completely enamored with the bra top look and they are flying off of shelves in many stores and it keeps gaining momentum.  It is no longer controversial, but you still have to be brave to dress this way.  This look obviously draws the attention of anyone who sees it, because it is so difficult to ignore.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday photo prompt – Steps.

Unwanted Houseplant

Jim said, “This looks like a great conversation starter, but sadly I can’t keep it, as my inquisitive and playful cats will most likely destroy it.  They won’t be able to resist the long, shiny green leaves on this plant, which will quiver in the gentlest breeze.  It may not be toxic to cats, but if they were to ingest it, they would most likely end up win an upset stomach and then they would be puking up those nasty fur balls all over the house.  The flexible ornamental trunk would make it a tempting invitation for them to start climb on and I could just see all of them up there jumping around on their new toy.  With those multiple trees planted and their trunks entangled together, this would provide the perfect ladder for my curious cats, so I just can’t accept your thoughtful gift.”

Kathie said, “Jim nobody turns down a money tree, that is like spitting in the face of Tyche, the Greek goddess of fortune.  Good fortune can easily turn to bad, as the ball of luck is capable of rolling in any direction and a path toward riches and wealth could suddenly change and you would end up on the path of misery and bad luck.  The Crassula ovata is not toxic to cats and it is commonly known as a jade plant, lucky plant, money plant or money tree.  It is a succulent plant with parts that are thickened, fleshy, and engorged, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions.  It is the most popular plant for “Feng Shui” meaning “wind” and “water”, a concept derived from an ancient poem that talks about human life being connected and flowing with the environment around it and thus it creates positive energy (Chi or Qi).  They can grow quite tall, up to seven feet and each tree is actually four to five separate trees with their trunks braided  together.  Supposedly a poor man prayed for money, and then he found this odd plant, took it home as an omen, and had great fortune in selling plants grown from its seeds.  It has small pink or white flowers that is native to the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa, and Mozambique.”

Jim said, “I don’t know your goddess Tyche, but I am sure that she is no match for my God.  My God is the real God and if I wanted to know my future, then I would consult with my true God.  I have never heard of this Feng Shui chop suey nonsense before and I think that some people go around telling everyone what they want to hear, just to make them feel good.”

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday photo prompt – Money Tree.

Throw Down Your Hair

Gilliame of the Green Woods approached the tower where Lady Marable was locked away and he shouted, “Thrown down your hair Marable, I am here to save you.”  Lady Marable looked out the window of the tower and she said, “That didn’t work so well the last time, as when you tried to climb up my hair you were shot with an arrow and I had a throbbing headache for a whole week after, and besides, my father made me cut my hair, so you will need a ladder to reach me.  There is another problem Gilliame, as my father has me wearing a chastity belt and it is extremely uncomfortable.  It is a very inconvenient device, and my father just wants to ensure my virginity, so I will have to lead a chaste life, till he can find a suitor for me.”

Gilliame shouted up at Lady Marable, “Your father can’t stop the cycle of life and he can’t keep all the evils of the world from harming you.  I am not afraid of your father and I am wearing a suit of armor today, so no arrows will deter me.  I can get a ladder and I know a blacksmith who can remove your chastity belt.  Your father is a big jerk for thinking that he can enforce fidelity on you, as I feel that you should be able to date or have sex with anyone, even while you are in a committed romantic relationship.  Monogamy is only a temporary state, until you see that the grass may be greener on the other side.  Most marriages don’t last because sexual satisfaction declines if you stay with the same partner, so you have to flirt and find somebody new, to get that excitement back.  I think that we should be faithful to each other, but an occasional extra-marital affair has never hurt anyone.”

Lady Marable said, “I don’t think that my father would ever approve of you, but I hate the bastard for locking me in this tower and making me wear this damn contraption, so go get the ladder and alert the blacksmith that we will be coming, as I can’t stand wearing this another minute.”

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday photo prompt – Tower.

Written In Stone

Stones have been used as markers all over the world and in every culture from the beginning of time, and as long as people have been alive, they’ve have been buried after that were dead.  By their very nature, stones are cold, and so are the dead people laying in their graves in cemeteries.  Mourning the dead, marks a big difference between us humans and animals, as people enjoy remembering their past and they often imagine a future in which they will also die.  Stones were originally used by prehistoric man to keep wild animals from digging up the gravesite.  Burial has been a part of Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions surrounding death for as long as the religions have been documented.

Grave markers changed over time and many of the early ones were megalithic monuments that were used to mark an entire burial chamber rather than a single grave.  In earlier times cemeteries did not exist and people were buried near their homes in plots where all their family members would be buried together in a group burial site.  A grave stone was thought to have the ability to keep the soul down in this world which some people found comfort in.  Other people felt that the stones would be able to keep demons and golems from getting into the graves.  Since stone is grounded in the Earth, it has a stabilizing presence, which offers a permanence of memory and leaves us with the feeling that it will not die.

Within a great slab of stone lies all the mystery of the universe offering us a kind of capsuled history of something noble.  This becomes a reflection into the past, something that is not easily understood and remains open for interpretation.  Stones have this solidarity of permanence about them, because they remain both immutable and unchanging.  People wanted to know where their loved ones were buried and since stones last a long time and they mostly stay where they are placed, using stones for grave markers helped to establish a great rapport between man and his environment.  Over time man was able to improve on their stone craftsmanship to honor their dead.

This elaborate unmarked stone slab in Rouen, the English-controlled Normandy has been a curiosity for centuries.  Recently archaeologists, historians, geologists and forensic experts have petitioned to get permission to investigate the remains buried below to see what it would reveal.  This historical marker is thought to date back to the 1400’s and when the stone was lifted, French scientists were hoping to discover a skeleton, but they only found ashes and a piece of clothing.  One of them surmised that these could be the ashes of Joan of Arc, who was burnt to death as a witch by the English.  They also discovered the femur of a cat in this grave and it was a common medieval practice to throw a black cat on a witch’s pyre in order to appease the devil, however this femur was not burnt, which opens up another mystery.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday photo prompt – The Secret in the Stone.