The Disgruntled Lions of Italy

On a recent trip to Orvieto, Rome, Venice, and Bologna, I noticed that lions work hard holding up buildings, showing scrolls, and spitting water in fountains. Most of these creatures look unhappy, resentful, embarrassed, sad, anxious, or resigned to duty that they never dreamed would be theirs for eternity. Here are some photos of the kings of the jungle in their reduced circumstances. I added captions that expressed what they might be thinking. If they weren’t made of stone.

For other Italian photos, some lovely, some bizarre, please see my album on flickr: https://flic.kr/s/aHskBveufg

High in the air among the gargoyles, the lion looks like he's stepping off into space, and he's not happy about it.
Oh crap, it must be four stories to the ground. That’s a long way, even for a cat with wings. (Basilica, Orvieto)
This building is heavy.
Get me down from here so I can eat some more Christians. (Rome)
Piazza del Popolo Fountain, Rome
It’s my job to spit water all day. Sigh. (Piazza del Popolo, Rome)
Natural History Museum, Venice
I’m a hunting trophy from the 19th century. Bite me. (Museum of Natural History, Venice)
Salute Basilica, Venice
Yeah I got a black eye. You should see the other guy. (Salute Basilica, Venice)
Salute Basilica, Venice
Oy oi oi, I’m not even Catholic. (Salute Basilica, Venice)
Venice
If these wings worked, I could fly away. (Venice)
Bologna
It was worse before they put up the pigeon spikes. (Bologna)
Bologna
This is not the worst job in Bologna. Really.
Rome
If I could get down from here, I’d show you who’s king of the forest.
Rome
You wonder why I look demented? I have to spout water all day. (Rome)
Rome
My brother over there is demented. I just need a cigar. (Rome)
Rome
I just think of it as puking on you. (Rome)
Rome
Where’s my incisor? (Rome)
Rome
Ack. (Rome)
Rome
No, I’m fine. Really. Yep. Really. Happy lion. More meds, please. (Rome)
Big Puffy Bunnies

Big Puffy Bunnies

Two-story air-filled white rabbits are decorating Capitalism Central—an area near the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan. Oh the metaphors you could draw from that, but instead, here are some photos of the seven giant bunnies. The art installation is called Intrude, by Amanda Parer. It is at the Brookfield Center—formerly The World Financial Center—on the Hudson River for just a week.

Click on an image to enlarge it, and you can scroll through them all and see the captions.
Easter Parade, 5th Avenue

Easter Parade, 5th Avenue

Here are some of the fantastic people (and one rabbit) who caught my eye. Click on an image to enlarge it, and you can scroll through them all.

The Homeless Gardener

Perry, 57, had been living on the streets of Portland, Oregon, for 26 or 27 years, he told me when my cousin Antonia introduced me in October 2015. A few years ago, he appropriated a big empty lot owned by a small apartment complex in the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood. There he tends plants, builds sculptures out of found objects, and takes care of a cat. Click on a photo to enlarge it and to scroll through the photos and read more about Perry.

People Every Time–Women at Work in Mexico

On cold winter days in New York, I’ve been looking at thousands of photos I took in Mexico last year. While the lovely warm colors of the landscapes and sky and flowers and buildings infuse me with warmth, the photos of women working in small businesses are most compelling. Their faces, their aprons, their hands tell their stories.

I took these pictures for Pro Mujer, a non-governmental organization that provides small loans and health care to women in Latin America. I published a few of the pictures here last year, but I want to share more images of these hard-working, lovely women. They live on on the outskirts of Mexico City and around the states of Hidalgo, Pachuca, Puebla, and Oaxaca.

Click on an image to enlarge it and see the caption and to scroll through all the images.

 

For the photos of Pro Mujer women I published here last year, here’s the link:

Mujeres at Work, more photos

 

Nice little old lady isn’t

A great moment in a great chilly brilliant day in New York:

I stopped in front of the Punjab Deli on Houston St. on the Lower East Side to lean on an iron rail basking for a few minutes in the sunshine. A tiny ancient person, bent over a bubbe cart, passed and said, “It’s nice in the sun.” I said it sure was. She stopped, turned her head up toward me, and out of the side of her mouth, like she was telling me a secret, she said, “I’m going to the corner for cookies.” 

About five minutes later, I headed the same way, and she had just made it to the corner, that’s how slowly she was going. I was surprised that she went into the fancy Union Market. I went in behind her, but the narrow lanes were crowded, so I hesitated as the old woman trundled on. Then came the highlight of the day: She shouted at the good-looking tall people in the way, “Get the fuck outta the aisle.”

I went on to Tompkins Square Park in the East Village where the most magnificent elm is shedding its leaves.

Arnow-01474

Lush Desert

Lush Desert

Last week, after three months in Mexico, we were ready to go home, but home wasn’t ready for us, still icy and blustery. So we came to Tucson, Arizona, where we are loving the desert. Every big saguaro cactus has a big personality. Cholla needles glow. Tiny wildflowers are beginning to bloom. Streams run through the dry landscapes. Here are some pictures, primarily from the marvelous Saguaro National Park, Catalina State Park, and Sabino Canyon, part of a national forest. Thank big government for preserving these beautiful places. Click on a picture to enlarge it and you can scroll through the photos using the arrows.

Cholula, not the hot sauce, and Puebla

In Last Vegas, pathetic retirees Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline and Robert DeNiro run off to gamble and flirt. Why are terrible movies so good on the ADO buses in Mexico? It’s not the dubbing into Spanish–terrible Mexican movies are great on the ADO, too. We took the four-plus hours and two-plus movies bus from Oaxaca to Puebla before the New Year to meet our East Tennessee friends Ann and Bill. A few days later we moved to Cholula nearby, site of a giant, mostly unexcavated pyramid with a church on top.

Kite flying atop the Cholula Pyramid.
On New Year’s Day, dozens of people flew kites on the side of the Cholula pyramid. On top is the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios.
Princess balloon on church ceing.
Looking up at the ornate ceiling in one of the beautiful churches in Puebla, I noticed a pink princess balloon had floated up and nestled against a princess of the church. 
Ann, Steve and Bill, in Puebla doing what they do a lot. Ann taking pictures, Steve waiting, Bill exploring.  They're at a museum/restaurant/jazz club near the zócalo. Is it the only jazz club with a tomb and skeleton? Well, outside of New Orleans?
Ann, Steve and Bill, in Puebla doing what they do a lot–Ann taking pictures, Steve waiting, Bill exploring.
They’re at a museum/restaurant/jazz club near the zócalo. Is it the only jazz club with a tomb and skeleton? Well, outside of New Orleans?
In a Puebla church, a statue with a distinguished face, a lace veil, beautiful light.
In a Puebla church, a statue with a distinguished face, a lace veil, beautiful light, mournful, matched what happened next–Ann had the flu, Steve caught it, then I caught it. So did 4.4 % of the population of Puebla. Steve called it PueblEbola.We are better now, thanks. 
Ann Bill
Bill never got sick. 
Popocatopetl at sunset
Sunset over Popocatopetl, the active volcano near Cholula. There’s a little puff of sunset plume emerging from it in this picture. 

Noche de Rábanos, the Night of the Radishes

It’s a big night in Oaxaca. The zócalo is full of people carving radishes into elaborate scenes. Thousands of people file by to admire the very perishable art. Click on any image to enlarge it.

noche de rabanos
Night of the Radishes sign made from radish parts.
Radish woman
Radish woman
Radish oven
Radish oven
Radish cart
Radish cart
DSC03895
Radish Dragon
Tiny radish dancer
Tiny radish dancer
Radishes pulling a radish donkey
Radishes pulling a radish donkey
Radish roses and their maker
Radish roses and their maker
Solidarity radishes and their makers. The radish sign in front says, "Fuera EPN" or "Out Enrique Peña Nieto," (President of Mexico).
Solidarity radishes and their makers. The radish sign in front says, “Fuera EPN” or “Out Enrique Peña Nieto,” (President of Mexico).
Rock slinging radical radish.
Detail of demonstrating radishes–a rock-slinging radical radish.
Guy Fawkes made of radishes in radical radish demonstration
Guy Fawkes made of radishes in radical radish demonstration
Radish fist
Radish fist

We held a small radish-carving party as a tribute to Oaxaca’s Radish Night.

Steve, radishes
Steve and the radishes.
Steve, Peggy and Christin work on carving
Steve, Peggy and Christin work on carving
Steve's radish bee
Steve’s radish bee
radish sculptures and mezcal
Radish sculptures by Peggy (she did the elf), Christine, Steve and Pat with the help of good local mezcal.
I made a radish clown nose. Steve models.
I made a radish clown nose. Steve models.
Pat's radish nose selfie.
Pat’s radish nose selfie.
Radish sign (not ours--we just aren't that good).
Radish sign (not ours–we just aren’t that good).