Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for February 11th, 2022

A new place for icicles

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On my way back from photographing ice at Bull Creek District Park on February 5th I just missed the green left-turn arrow to head home the usual way. Rather than waiting through an entire cycle of the light for the next green arrow, I continued north on Capital of Texas Highway and made the left turn onto Great Hills Trail. From there it was natural to continue along Rain Creek Parkway, where I discovered that an adjacent stretch of the creek hosted a couple of great icicle displays. The top picture shows one of them from farther back, and the bottom picture from much closer to create an abstraction. The formation reminded me of Dale Chihuly’s glass art, and I wondered to what extent icicles might ever have inspired him.


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The Covid-19 pandemic we’ve been living with for two years now has generated plenty of hypocrisy. You’ve probably seen or heard about at least some of the many people who’ve said they favor mask mandates—or in the case of various politicians even imposed mask mandates on their constituents—yet were then caught violating mask mandates. In an example from the February 6th NFC Championship football game in Los Angeles, the mayor of that city, Eric Garcetti, appeared without a mask in photos taken during the game. Garcetti “said he held his breath when he took off his mask to pose for a photo with NBA legend Magic Johnson.” If you believe he really held his breath, then I imagine you also believe in the tooth fairy, and in what presidential candidate Bill Clinton said in 1992: “… when I was in England I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale it, and never tried it again.” [For those not in the know, be aware that there’s zero reason to smoke marijuana if you don’t inhale the smoke.]

And in an example from February 4, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams visited an elementary school and later posted a picture of herself sitting in front of a class of children. Every child was wearing a mask; Stacey Abrams was not. I guess it’s my duty as a writer to remind you that children of elementary school age are at very low risk of harmful consequences from catching Covid-19. Abrams, on the other hand, is obese, and therefore at high risk of harm if she catches the virus. And I can’t resist mentioning that even though every child in the classroom wore a mask, CNN’s version of the photograph “masked” the children even further by blurring out the upper part of all the kids’ faces.

Hypocrisies of this sort have generated the slogan “Rules for thee but not for me,” which makes the linguist in me happy. Because thee and thou are archaic, few English speakers now know which of those two forms to use when. Thou functions as a subject, thee as an object: “Thou art trying to hide but I see thee.” Therefore “Rules for thee but not for me” is correct in its grammar as well as the point it makes.

In a related development, New York’s governor has lifted the state’s “mask-or-vax” mandate for indoor dining at restaurants but not for attending school. That has created the incongruous situation in which a bunch of 80-year-olds—who because of their age are at high-risk of serious consequences if they catch Covid—can share a maskless dinner at a crowded restaurant, while a bunch of 8-year-olds—who because of their age are at practically zero risk of serious consequences if they catch Covid—must spend their 3rd-grade day at school fully masked and spaced apart.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 11, 2022 at 4:31 AM

Posted in nature photography

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