Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vatican Entrance Court

Vatican 4, originally uploaded by leica_camera.
Whether you agree or not to the politics of the Vatican, this entrance court designed and built by Bernini is pretty beautiful. And this photograph taken with a Leica M9 by Jean-Jacques Karatchian brings out the gorgeous details.

Friday, October 23, 2009

LA Morning Fog

Morning sunrise overlooking foggy Los Angeles/Century City :-)

The mighty Century high-rise towers in the distance look like low-rise office park buildings.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Orson Welles on Acting

Great advice from the master!

Detroit - A Vanishing City

(If you've seen this on my Facebook Page, please excuse the repetition. I clicked the wrong button thinking I had put this in my blog. And of course, I didn't.)

If you ever wondered how civilizations disappeared, then take a look at this photo essay: Detroit's Beautiful, Horrible Decline, documenting Detroit in the process of vanishing.

It's all about whether a city's purpose, values, achievements and aspirations are relevant to its citizens. Sadly, it looks like 'Motor-City' Detroit over estimated its importance and forgot about the future.

URL for Detroit's Beautiful, Horrible Decline
Photos by: Yves Marchand, Romain Meffre

Visual Effects: 100 Years of Inspiration

Amazing to see how far we've come.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Steam Punk Art

Here is a cool trailer for a steampunk book that's out this month titled Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.  I haven't read the book but the artwork is beautiful. I love this Monty Python/Terry Gilliam-esque trailer.

The book premise is also interesting. Written for young adults, it is a alternate universe of the retelling of World War 1.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Boycott Jay Leno Show and Chris Rock

I just saw an outrageously shameful clip from The Jay Leno Show with Chris Rock, Oct 1st segment.

You can see it here:

Here are the specific quotes if you don't care to watch:

Jay Leno: "It's amazing to me that you mistreat a dog and you lose your career and go to jail for two years."  

Chris Rock: "What the hell did Michael Vick do, man? A dog, a pit bull ain't even a real dog. A pit bull, that's the white stuff. Dogs are white mans best friend - dogs have never been good to black people."  

I cannot believe that a public personality like Jay Leno, who knows he is a role model for all people, would make a flippant comment about justice being done on behalf of those who don't have a voice. Those dogs that he cluelessly talked about were cruelly mistreated, beaten, abused, and injured in staged dog fights for the sake of betting by heartless humans. As for Chris Rock, he sells himself as a bitter has been grasping at the lowest of low on the show. So the words were not surprising coming from him.   

Shame on Jay and shame on Chris for condoning criminal acts of Mike Vick. And even Mike has come out and said he was wrong and paid for it. I hope Mike calls them out for that, because it belittle's nature's life, justice and the price that he paid. It's not just jail time but humiliation and having to struggle back with his career.   

At issue here is that Jay has no respect for life - for animals. He also has no respect for when a fragile justice system like ours in America, finally works in favor of the victims. In this case, dogs who cannot defend themselves. And more shame to Chris for his comment that dogs have never been good to black people. This is just simply pandering to an audience at the very lowest level as well as building more on the racial divide.   

We don't need people to build more prejudicial walls. We need people who break them down. It's people like both Jay and Chris who do nothing to help society move forward but instead pull society back into the dark ages.  

It's a wonder that Jay's relevance is slowly revealing itself in lower ratings. He's marginalizing himself. As for Chris, after his comment, he's no longer relevant as far as I 'm concerned.  

On a cheerier note- check out the dogs who were saved from Mike VIck's dog fighting facility and their second chance at life. 

Click here:  

Photo taken of Iggy from

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Drinking Fountain

On my neighbors' property, right next to the street curb, is a water fountain shaded by Sycamore trees. I always wondered if that was a public park fountain from an era past when perhaps the street I live on was a wilderness trail.

Well I found out that my neighbors had installed it, along with a stone seating area decades ago. J and A wanted to provide a resting place and cold water for anyone who was weary after walking up the hill on a hot Los Angeles day. How cool a thought is that?

Good deeds are sometimes not rewarded. Over time, trash started to pile up. J and A  had to remove the stone benches when vandals continually sprayed graffiti all over them. You can see remnants of some of the graffiti on the bottom of the stone pedestal.

I'm glad they didn't dismantle the fountain. It would have meant they gave up. It's still working today, surviving the harshness of careless thought. It's a good metaphor for our lives. No matter how much you have to fight for what you believe in, don't ever give up. Even with a few bruises, you will always prevail. Just like J & A.

I relish the idea that there is still public philanthropy. It just happens it comes from my neighbors. How double cool is that?