The World has REALLY Come to an end!!!

At least the idea of professional photographers. On Thursday the new issue of Sports Illustrated dropped through my mail slot. As I picked it up. I saw a nicely composed, adequately lit portrait of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on the cover. It had a littler pixelization but overall a nice picture.

I opened to page three and there was an “Article” titled “Behind the Cover.” At the top of the page was a picture of the photographer shooting with a smart phone. Looking closely at the “article’” I realized that it was an ad for the Moto Z Droid and that Sports Illustrated had sold the cover shoot to Motorola to hype their new phone/ Camera!!

The photographer, Michael J. Le Brecht, was quoted as saying, “I really loved the zoom. It’s a 10x Optical Zoom, not a digital one like you’d find on a typical smartphone.”

So, maybe I can get a few bucks for all of my Nikon equipment. I’ll just carry a cell phone around with me from now on.

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Drain the Swamp

The Donald spent the whole campaign slamming his competitors. Now he is putting them all in his cabinet! Did he tell the truth about anything during the primaries? He slammed Mitt Romney, now he wants to make him secretary of State!! He slammed Ben Carson. Now he wants to make him Secretary of HUD!! Looks like he is building his own swamp.

So, are his backers ever going to believe that he told them anything they wanted to hear just to get their vote!

He also said he did nothing wrong with the Trump University scandal, and would fight it all the way. Last week he settled- guess the idea of a convicted felon in the White House would have been too embarrassing.

I read a music blog by a guy named Bob Lefsetz. Most of the time he is pretty much a blowhard. But he had a great analysis today:

I’ll argue all day long that the right wing labeled Hillary Clinton unfairly. But I’m hard pressed to say her status quo agenda made me hopeful. Bernie Sanders may have promulgated policies that had no chance of passing but at least he channeled people’s frustration and spoke the truth. But the media blasted Bernie and said hosannas for Hillary. Meanwhile, Trump sneaked to victory between them.

Just food for thought.

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Time Magazine

Time Magazine has a very interesting issue out this week. It is titled:

“The Most Influential Photos of all time”

Pretty tall order! I saw the editors on a morning news show this week, and they explained that it took three years to edit down to 100. Most of them are very good, some are Ok and some have some historical significance ( cellphone photograph of a guys newborn that was the first photo tweeted out! So I guess we can blame him!!!)

There is one that is really bothersome.. It is titled “The Ultimate Appropriation.”

Richard Prince was working in the Time Magazine Tear Sheet Department, deconstructing magazines and filing the articles in appropriate file drawers. His eyes were drawn to the advertisements, one, in particular, the Marlboro Man riding across the plains. In a process that he called “rephotography” he photographed the ad, cropping out the type.

As the magazine says, “That Prince didn’t take the picture meant little to collectors. In 2005, The image, titled: Untitled (Cowboy0 sold for $1.2 million at auction!!!!!!!!

Prince started a new art form- he titled it photography of photography

Prince went on to gain fame for stealing Instagram photographs from the web, enlarging them to 3 feet square and selling them in galleries. (He became very rich doing this)

As he said on Twitter just 15 hours ago:

Being sued: They say I don’t care. That’s not exactly true. I just don’t care about what they want me to care about.

What a country we live in! He has been sued many times, and always wins for some reason.

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Why Donald Trump won

Just saw a great piece on CBS Sunday Morning by Ted Koppel. He went to a small town in West Virginia that was decimated by the demise of the coal industry. They voted 4 to 1 for Trump last week, because he told them he was going to bring back coal mining. He actually stood on a stage during the campaign with a coal miners helmet on his head and said “I dig coal.” Nobody that Ted interviewed could tell the camera what Trump was going to do to accomplish this, or why coal mining was needed. All they heard is that he was going to get them their jobs back. They all sounded like they weren’t sure what he was going to do, but were willing to giuve him their vote to see what was going to happen. The most gut wrenching story was a young single mother of three children who said that she was so so sick of all the talk that she did not vote for either one of the losers.

Meanwhile, Hillary is now blaming FBI Director James Comey for losing the election for her by reopening the email scandal two weeks before the election. Maybe she should blame her staff for the fact that she did not set foot in Wisconsin from April to November, causing that state to put Trump over the top in Electoral votes.

I have always told myself not to vote for the lesser of two evils, but this year I voted for Hillary, and felt bad for days for doing it. Trump told the people what they wanted to hear (with no plan to accomplish anything he talked about) and the people listened. Who knows what is going to happen next. There are people marching in the streets, and Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus (both ironically from Wisconsin are kissing up to Trump to try to get jobs in his administration. Kellyanne Conway, who seemed to appear on every morning news show for the last month (and who also appeare3d to be a totals blond bimbo) is now seen as the mastermind of this debacle, and will probably be running the country come the end of January.

Final note: Trump is scheduled to testify a few weeks before he is inaugurated in the Trump University fraud trial in California. Should be great TV watching!!!

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We Did Not Suck

This summer, Joe Maddon’s famous clubhouse speech- “Try Not To Suck_ became a rallying cry for the Cubs and their fans. T shirts and signs everywhere. This past Friday, Manager Joe was wearing a new black shirt. It said WE DID NOT SUCK, and they did not! They won the World Series in seven games, and they did it in a crazy, edge of your seats kind of way- extra innings in the seventh game.

One of the great sports stories of all time was Kyle Schwarber- catcher and outrfielder, who had a devastating injury in a collision with Dexter Fowler in the outfield in the third game of the season. He was told he would be back sometime in 2017, but that didn’t work for him. He rehabbed his leg all season, cheere3d the team on from the dugout, and the day before the World Series started, after testing out his body for two days in Arizona, the Cubs flew him to Cleveland in a private plane to become their designated hitter in the World Series. He went 7 for 17 for a .412 average in the series, and gave all of Chicago a story that wasn’t to believed unless you saw it with your own two eyes. The only question left is Who is going to play him in the movie of his life?

There was another great story that has unfolded over the last few years. I got in this business to work with and meet some of my favorite musicians. I met Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, and the Rolling Stones. One kind of obscure guy that I used to see perform around Chicago was Steve Good, a diminutive singer songwriter with a very large talent. In 1984, he wrote a song about his beloved sports team, called Go Cubs, Go. He passed away from Leukemia in September of 1984, never seeing the Cubs win a Championship. In 2007, the team started playing his song over the PA system after every home win (there weren’t many of them). The crowd would sing along, and Steve, up in heaven must have been really happy.

This year, the song had 1.19 million on demand streams through October 27th. So one of the unlikely by products of the World Series win was a hit record for one of the nicest guys to ever pick up a guitar!

One more note:

Someone posted this on my Facebook page this week-

http://petapixel.com/2016/11/03/chicago-tribune-sun-times-covers-world-series/

It shows the covers of the Sun Times (A really lousy wraparound picture) and the Tribune (a great celebration shot). The article goes on to explain that this is what you get when you fire your whole photography staff and pickup a photo from a wire service to illustrate the most important sports story of the last 100 years in Chicago!

Way to go, Chicago Sun Times.

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Trump and Andy Kaufman

In last weeks Newsweek, there is an article discussing whether Donald Trump is really Andy Kaufman, playing a trick on America. This is a pretty good supposition, except that Donald Trump is nowhere near as smart as Andy was. Andy was a brilliant performance artist who planned everything he did to the utmost degree.

In 1982, I was asked to shoot a performance of Andy’s at the Park West in Chicago. As was my usual MO, I stopped for dinner at a little Chinese restaurant called Lan’s just down the block. I was seated with my back to a table full of loud laughing people. Trying not to eavesdrop (impossible to do) I soon realized that it was Andy and his crew meticulously planning the show for that night. It was a brilliant meeting, (he should have worked for an NFL team- he would probably have a better game plan than the Bears have these days!!)

Andy Kaufman on 9/17/78 in Chicago, IL. (Paul Natkin/Image Direct)

 

I felt like I was cheating, as I knew exactly what everyone was going to do before they did it! They performed the show brilliantly- Andy’s Elvis impression was spot on, and the audience went home happy.

Donald Trump is not smart enough to pull off anything this smart!!!

Andy Kaufman on 9/17/78 in Chicago, IL. (Paul Natkin/Image Direct)

Andy Kaufman on 9/17/78 in Chicago, IL. (Paul Natkin/Image Direct)

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Christopher Guest is a genius!!!

His new film, called “Mascots” is out on Netflix this week, and it continues his unrivaled genius for taking a small weird subculture of our society, and turn it into a hilarious mock documentary. This time, he sets his eye on sporting team mascots, using his usual cast of amazing comic actors.

He reprises his role as Corky St. Clair (From Waiting for Guffman) as a manager of a mascot

Jennifer Coolidge plays an escort who marries a client, who buys her a team, which allows her to cheer for the mascot for that team, while commenting on her husband’s (Bob Balaban) sexual idiosyncronies.

Parker Posey, hilarious as Alvin the Armadillo, is tragically felled by a bout of food poisoning (Bad Shrimp) and her sister has to step in to the competition.

The film takes place around the Fluffy Awards (9th annual) which is in the running to be picked up by the Gluten Free Network. A lot is on the line!!

Zach Woods, always hilarious in the HBO show “Silicon Valley” is followed around by his wife to make sure he doesn’t have another affair with Cindi Babineaux (Parker Posey). Of course he does anyway!!

Ed Begley, Jr. and Jane Lynch as the judges are hilarious

The film ends with the competition. Redemption was had as Owen Golly, Jr. did not follow his fathers advice, and instead, came up with a new twist to his act and ran away with the prize!! It was hard to keep from falling off of my chair, I was laughing so hard.

All in all a great way to spend 90 minutes waiting for the Cubs to kick the Dodger’s asses and qualify for the World Series!!! First time in my lifetime.

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Is Trump finally done?

Cover of Time Magazine: Total Meltdown. I guess he likes assaulting women! Who knew? The only thing that matters in this election anymore is if the Republicans will Lose the Senate (good chance) and the House (probably not).

The Republican party seems to be over- thanks Donald!! Paul Ryan seems to be twisting in the wind- having to back his party’s candidate, as much as he doesn’t want to. If anything, Trump is unifying the country with it’s hatred for him.

Yesterday, Trump “suggested” that he and Hillary take a drug test before the next debate. That came way out of left field. She should call his bluff and agree to it. Would love to see how that works out for him.

It is easy to see how this all came about. The country is pretty dissatisfied these days. People are being shot down for the color of their skin (or just because they are standing in the wrong place).

John Legend has a great piece in the new Time. He says that people in America are finally seeing what Black people see every day- discrimination and racial profiling. If you are black you have less of a chance of getting the job you are going for, but more of a chance of getting stopped on the street because of the color of your skin.

Meanwhile, 7 people killed and 21 shot on the streets of Chicago this weekend, and it is only Sunday morning.

America the Beautiful!!!

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Ooop’s He Did It Again!

Donald Trump is a moron. He had to know that all of that stuff about disrespecting women was out there. Nothing goes away in this world. Maybe it means that nobody can ever run for President anymore? So now the Republican Party is bailing and running away from him as fast as their little legs can move. People are predicting the end of the Republican party. And still, the “Basket of Deplorable People” still stands behind him! Many Republican leaders have now said that they know he cannot win, and are planning for 2020.

WOW, I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime. It is fascinating theater, better than any baseball or football game (although the Cubs are kicking ass this week!).

Newsweek has a cover story this week titled “Hers To Lose- Here’s why Hillary Clinton should win and may not.”

  1. She is still perceived as a Washington Insider, making corrupt backroom deals.
  2. She has lied under oath about her emails, saying she didn’t understand the word Confidential (kind of reminds me of her husband debating the word “sex” when he was getting impeached!
  3. She has gone back and forth supporting and then not supporting trade deals.
  4. Even the evil Koch Brothers have disavowed him.

I still think she has it in the bag, and as long as more dirt doesn’t come out in the next 30 days, she should be OK. John Heilman, of Bloomberg News, just said on television that so many shoes are going to drop in the next 30 days it will make Imelda Marcos jealous. Great Metaphor!!!

I have never voted for president, because in Illinois, my vote doesn’t matter (Electoral College) We always have a landslide for the Democratic candidate. I was taught in school that you should never vote for someone you don’t believe in. I don’t believe in either one of the candidates this year, but Donald Trump represents a “Clear and Present Danger” as Tom Clancy put forth. So I will go to the polls this week and vote for Hillary, as the alternative is too reprehensible to imagine.

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One More Time

The Colin Kaepernick story just never ends. He is on the cover of Time magazine this week. The story talks about how the movement is spreading rapidly through the sports world. The Miami Dolphins, the US women’s soccer team- most notably Megan Rapinoe, The New york Liberty (Women’s professional basketball, The Minneapolis South High School girl’s Volleyball team, The Seattle Seahawks Jeremy Lane and the Denver Bronco’s Brandon Marshall, to name just a few.

Jerad Odrick, Jacksonville Jaguar’s defensive end, starts out an essay in Sports Illustrated with a quote from James Baldwin, which reads:

“To a black child in America, it comes as a great shock around the age of five, six or seven, to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance, along with everybody else, has not pledged allegiance to you.”

 He goes on to say:

As an NFL player, I’ve asked myself on multiple occasions, Do I want to speak the truth or do I want to make money? (Athletes are losing endorsement deals over this issue).

Then we have that brilliant philosopher and Chicago sports icon Iron Mike Ditka (avid Donald Trump Supporter), who, when asked about the issue, gave this reply:

 “I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick. He probably has no respect for me, that’s his choice. My choice is, I like this country, I respect our flag, and I don’t see all the atrocities going on in this country that people say are going on.” Colin Kaepernick get the hell out” of America if he doesn’t like it here.”

 There you have it- the moron speaks!!!

Yesterday, I went to an all day Rap and soul festival. The day was filled with many odes to bling, degrading women, and enough bad language that it could never be aired on television. What stood out for me was a moment when John Legend brought Common out on stage to sing the anthem that they won an Academy Award for last year- the song Glory, from the film Selma.

john-legend_0068

 

Hands to the Heavens, no man, no weapon
Formed against, yes glory is destined
Every day women and men become legends
Sins that go against our skin become blessings
The movement is a rhythm to us
Freedom is like religion to us

comman_0004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000 people in the stadium, black and white, young and old stood side by side with their fists in the air as these words came out of the speakers, and Mike Ditka and his kind meant nothing.

There was also a great moment early in the week when Chance the Rapper, who put on the event, went to ticket scalpers in the city and bought up all the tickets that they were planning to upsell and gave them out to kids in Chicago.

Maybe the world can change for the better after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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