Fall Reading

autumn-books-cozy-fall-Favim.com-2078854Officially, the Fall season is a little more than a week away. However unofficially, Labor Day kicks off the beginning of Fall in the arts. We read in newspapers and magazines about all the new films, television shows, theater, music and of course books that will be coming out over the next few months. Similar to what I did back here for summer reading releases here are some of the books currently on my list to read this fall. Continue reading “Fall Reading”

Depression Blues and the Dance Marathon

they-shoot-horsesDance marathons were phenomena that began in the 1920’s. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Horace McCoy’s 1935 novel is a dark tale of losers desperately attempting to hang on to impossible dreams. Just like in Nathaniel West better known novel, Day of the Locust the characters all have unreachable dreams of being in the movies. Continue reading “Depression Blues and the Dance Marathon”

The Wrath of Hurricane Irma Comes to Florida

hurricane-irma-track-as-of-saturday-sept-9-2017

 It’s been a stressful week for everyone in Florida lately and it has been getting worst with each passing day. This morning, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys as a category 4 with wind gusts up to 130mph. Last week, it was on course, according to hurricane trackers to head up the east coast. However, as the week went on, it has continuously moved in a more westerly direction and is now creeping up the gulf coast side of the state. My wife and I, and our cats, live just north of Tampa and are now almost in the storms projected path. At best, we are hoping that Irma weakens as it travels on land and gets down to a Cat. 3, even better a Cat. 2. We can only hope.

All week we have been making plans: buying non-perishable foods (healthy, and not so healthy stress relief stuff, stocking up on water, batteries, etc., and putting up shutters, thanks to some amazing help from my neighbor Larry.  

Rollo Hunkering downWith the outdoor furniture in the house, Rollo has hunkered down and taken shelter from the storm.

Currently, it about 1:30 PM and the rain bands have picked up. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning. Irma is the first Category 4 hurricane to hit Florida since Charley back in 2004. It’s also the first time that two category 4 hurricanes (Irma and Harvey) have hit the U.S. back to back. Dubious distinctions to say the least.

Fortunately, we are far enough away from the coastal waters that we do not have to worry about storm surge which is expected right now to be 5 to 9 feet. Many folks like to live right by the water. I understand that, it’s beautiful and serene, but there are risks. It doesn’t take a category 4 or 5 for storm surge to come rolling into your neighborhood and home. We are not that far away from the ocean but just enough to be out of any flood evacuation zone.   

For us here, the weather folks are predicting the worst part of the storm will arrive later today and continue overnight before things begin to improve on Monday. Hopefully, without much or any damage.  The entire state is under Irma’s siege. It’s a massive storm leaving nowhere in Florida safe from its wrath. 

One final note. Today (September 10th) is generally considered the “peak” of the hurricane season. Hopefully, it quickly goes downhill from here, but it last until November. Floridians stay safe.

    

More Photos From The Palouse

Here are a few more photographs I took during our recent trip to the Palouse. Getting up extremely early (3AM) to catch the right light was worth it. All photos and more are available for purchase by clicking on my website right here.

FYI – Photographs are available in many formats: T-shirts, greeting cards, coffee mugs, cellphone cases, Tote bags, towels, and more. Check it out.

Artisans at Dahmen Barn Uniontown-CW Final-2

 

Early Morning in the Palousecw-1202

 

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Sunflowers - Palouse-cw-0720

 

36. Your Show of Shows (1950-54)

This is my second article included in Wonders in the Dark’s TV Countdown. My first, The Odd Couple, can be found here.

Wonders in the Dark

by John Greco

Your Show of Shows premiered on Saturday, February 25th 1950. It was a live 90 minute variety show consisting, for most seasons, of 39 episodes. It was the equivalent of putting on a new Broadway show every week. The show starred Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca with Carl Reiner and Howard Morris as regulars. James Starbuck would join the cast in 1951.    Among the show’s writers, were Mel Brooks, Neil and Danny Simon, Mel Tolkin and Lucille Kallen. One of the misconceptions is that Larry Gelbart and Woody Allen wrote for Your Show of Shows. Gelbart actually wrote for Caesar’s Hour and Woody Allen worked on a few episodes of The Sid Caesar Show.

The man behind the idea was Viennese born Max Liebman who for years before the show’s premiere was in many ways priming himself for his big moment. In the 1930’s Liebman worked…

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Visions of the Palouse

The Palouse, about 70 miles south of Spokane, Washington is a majestic region especially during the harvest season. Sometimes called the Tuscany of America, there are patterns, designs and strong lines creating a visual palette of colors. Below are a few of the photos I have processed so far. All are available for purchase by clicking here.

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Sunrise in the Palouse-CW-

Abandoned Barn in the Palouse-CW-1028

Grasshopper in Sunflower-CW-0686

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The Palouse

Group Photo 1Our recent trip to the Palouse in Washington State was a visually exciting and memorable trip. My wife (Dorothy) and I went with a group of six other photographers led by Jennifer King along with her associates Jeff Silkstone and David Culp. The group was a diverse and fascinating bunch of folks ranging in age from the thirties to the eighties. We had an artist, a cardiologist, a former publisher and a nun! My background and Dorothy’s (accounting) is rather dull compared to all that. More importantly, from the review of our photos that were shared on the final day, all were excellent photographers.

It was a trip filled with intense heat (upper 90’s), plenty of driving (800 miles in five days), extremely dusty dirt roads where you sometimes could not see the car in front of you, and only a few hours’ sleep each night. We were not deterred! After getting up at 3 AM, and a quick snack, we left the motel around 4 AM each morning, resulting in some wonderful sunrise photos and great light until we generally took a break around 9AM for breakfast, a nap or other personal stuff before heading out again around 4PM until the sun came down.

We photographed the majestic rolling hills of the Palouse, sometimes called the Tuscany of America, old barns, many that may not make it through another winter, wind turbines, garbanzo bean, wheat and sunflower fields. You will see many of my photos in future posts.

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The most unexpected, illuminating, and even heartwarming part of the trip was an unexpected stop near a wheat field. Just off the road sat an older man, a woman and a young teenage boy. They were sitting nearby a truck and some other equipment drinking beverages to help ward off the heat. For some reason, our lead car with Jennifer pulled off the road nearby. We sat there for a moment or two wondering what was going on. We later found out the farmers were thinking the same thing. Our own personal nun, Sister Rose Marie, walked over to the people and began talking to them. We all soon joined and began a wonderful interaction. First let me say, they were a warm, engagingly friendly and welcoming family. They talked about their harvesting of the wheat, the long hours and dirty work. The woman’s name was Heather Marie, the daughter of the older man who originally owned the farm, now run by his son. As a child Heather Marie worked on the farm. She now lives in Key West, Florida with her husband cinematographer Jaime Reynoso (Bloodline) and has three young boys.  IMG_5171                                                                   Soft White Wheat

Every year Heather Marie brings her boys up to the Washington farm for the harvest season, not only to help out, but to show them her and their granddad’s roots. The work is hard, the days are long, the sun is hot, and the combines kick up dust as they harvest the wheat. As we continued to talk, they invited us to ride up to where they were currently doing the harvest. This even though, it was quitting time for them. We rode up in their trucks and met the rest of the family and a co-worker. They answered all our questions and happily posed for photos. Before leaving Sister Rose Marie gathered the farming family in a circle and said a prayer blessing them.IMG_5182                                                Sister Rose Marie, in the hat, leading a pray

Needless to say, this was not part of Jennifer’s schedule. It was just one of those unplanned happy and memorable accidents.

Now, back home, begins the task of post processing. I will be sharing some photos here and on my photography page on this website, as well as on my Photography website. Hope you will join me.

 

 

Flowers From the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden

The Coastal Maine Botanical Garden in Boothbay Harbor, Maine is a must see stop if you are ever in the area. My wife and I   spent four and a half hours there recently and we saw only the tip of the iceberg. There are multiple gardens, waterfalls, walking trails, sculptures and more. The photographs of the flowers below represent just a small portion of what there is to see.

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Chives

Dahlias _CW-0286Dahlia’s

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Peony

Lady _CW-0194Lady Slippers

Delphinium _CW-0218Delphinium

Iris_CW-0163Iris

Calla Lily _CW-0235Calla Lily

Ornamental Onion aka Alliums_CW-0175Ornamental Onion aka Allium

Peony_CW-0155Peony

Russell Red Lupine _CW-0246Russell Red Lupine

Tumbleweed Onion _CW-0288Tumbleweed Onion