3 Imaginary Girls

RED RIVER GORGE, near Copperas Creek —My plan is to keep photographing these girls for as long as I can hold a camera.

Where did I go?

IT WOULD BE NICE to have something profound to say, but the short version is: Life and technology got in the way of the Mingle Freely blog. Not at all in a bad way. See, I had another kid. I made a blog for her. Then, for silly technological reasons (as well as dazzling adulation), that made it hard to post to Mingle Freely.

The bliss of performing with MMMB (photo: Estill Robinson)

Very happy to return my 13 year old blog (over 2,300 posts)  to active service, with all posts dating back to 2005 (relatively) intact! AND get into the wonderful world of WordPress!

Impossible thanks to Nick Warner, my friend, for helping this to happen. Nick does lots of amazing stuff, just by existing, and the world is a richer place with him in it.

Post-Election Meditation

Like a lot of people I know and love, I feel like I need to say something. So here it is: I believe in the Essential Rightness of the Universe. I believe that the universe is actually, literally, made out of love. I believe that we are made of moments — a continuum of moments — in a never-ending slog towards enlightenment that has been under way ever since a sentient creature first poked its head out of the primordial ooze. It’s the same struggle. And enlightenment and love will win. Because it is what we are collectively — every single atom of anything — made out of. Zoomed in, close like we are, it looks ugly. As ugly today as I can ever remember in my sheltered and wildly privileged time on Spaceship Earth. Today, I’m reminded of classic pickup truck bumper sticker: “Freedom Ain’t Free.” I’m reminded that my efforts are required — more than ever — and today that clarion call for me is louder than it’s been in a long time. But no matter what, here’s what I believe: Good will win. Maybe not today or tomorrow or next year or next century. But Good will win, and hatred, bigotry, ignorance, and suffering will lose. Why? Because. Beyond all the horrible things, there is Life, an inexplicable condition that we all share. And I’ll continue to celebrate Life every day I’m lucky enough to soar, glide, crawl or drag my way through it. Including today. And I’ll work in my own ways, minuscule as they may be, to help others celebrate Life, too. And to find Love and Light inside themselves. That’s all I’ve got for now. It’s also all I need. So I’m logging off for a while now.

Capsule Reviews of Timeless Classics for Kids

On vacation, we’ve spent a little bit of time indoctrinating Libby Lee into the canon of classic Disney. Not that it’s our religion, but more that it’s that thing that many parents do: showing your kids all your favorite childhood movies, so that they can be mildly impressed and you can see how well or poorly those “classics” hold up over time. So here’s a few:

  • Malificent — I know, not a classic. Saw it by accident. Happened to be on a channel and we lingered there too long. Terrifying to adults and children alike, but Libby Lee was entranced the entire time. A reminder that movies today leave almost nothing to the imagination, which is too bad, because Malificent portrays cruelty, betrayal and vengeance in expert detail. As evidenced by trying to explain to my daughter who cut off Malificent’s wings and why they did it. At least they give The Prince the boot.
  • The Jungle Book — Incites peals of laughter from a four-year-old. You don’t need more of a review except to add the golden words “Louie Prima.” A true classic.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Ian Fleming + Roald Dahl = Why didn’t we hire a better editor? At 2:24, it’s full of greatness but somewhat overlong. Sally Ann Howe’s Julie Andrews to Dick Van Dyke’s Dick Van Dyke. In the incredible marionette dancing scene, LL insists that DVD is disguised as Michael Jackson. The Child Catcher elicited the most probing questions afterward (and an ensuing an explanation from me loosely themed “People” In Movies Aren’t Real.”)
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — Impossibly great, impervious to the ravages of time. Because: Gene Wilder, Roald Dahl. Because: Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregard. Having (accidentally) seen the more recent Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, first, Libby Lee reasoned: “That was when he was younger.”
  • Peter Pan — Surprisingly racist and sexist, which wouldn’t matter so much if it wasn’t also kind of dumb. My memory of this classic was almost completely wrong. The crocodile is hilarious. I didn’t remember Captain Hook being such a psychotic pussy, though. It’s kind of fine because I don’t think kids movies should be actually terrifying (like Malificent). Peter Pan pretends to be scary sometimes, which makes a weird sort of sense. But it’s also kind of dumb. It’s hard not to want to smack Wendy. And Peter, for that matter. Really, most of the characters. Except that funny crocodile.

Text to Chris: “Mission Control to CM, come in CM”

After being regaled with stories of the golden age of NASA by original aerospace engineer Alex McCool, I had to have a photo. Underneath the 3rd stage of a Saturn V rocket, which he worked to design, no less.

I may not be in Australia, but I did hang out with NASA aerospace engineer Alex McCool, who helped design the Saturn V for fucking Wernher Von Braun. I cried, I’m not kidding. This guy knew Glenn, Shephard, Grissom… all of them. Wally Shirra, Jim Lovell… ALL of them. How did I only make it to the US Space Center in Huntsville at the tender age of 50? Been riding by since we were tykes in the back seat; Always wanted to go.. almost forgot. It was a religious experience.”