Speaking of boobs

Celebrating boobs is nothing new.

Celebrating boobs is nothing new.

Googling boobs brings back lots of entries. Some of them are quite informative. An example of that is the New York magazine article that quotes many famous women on their assessment of theirs.

I am not trying to argue for mandatory toplessness, or even bralessness. What I am arguing for is a woman’s right to choose how she represents her body — and to make that choice based on personal desire and not a fear of how people will react to her or how society will judge her. No woman should be made to feel ashamed of her body.” —Scout Willis, xoJane, June 201

Until today I had not heard of Scout Willis. I need to get out more. Daughter of Demi and Bruce.

I have had the good fortune to photograph many bare female breasts. The ladies seem to know how much delight men derive from the experience. We have no equivalent delight to offer the ladies, but they seem pleased enough just knowing how happy they make the photographer. I totally relate to that. I enjoy being delighted.

One of my favorite contexts is photographing nursing infants. I don’t know what could be more real than that. Often the children grab mom’s hair, and they sort of hum to express their joy. Life at its best. I have a Blurb book in my library that contains many photos of a happy baby nursing and a happy mom feeling the little hands tug at her hair. Sweet.

The lady and the dog

img005My wife sent me on an errand this morning, and as I turned north on 1st Avenue I saw a woman standing on the median strip.

I resolved that if she was there on my return I would offer her some cash. She was there, and I discovered that she was holding a small dog. I could tell by her grooming that she was not living the good life. She shared with me stories of her difficult encounters with government services that could reduce her pain to some extent should they choose to do so. She was very appreciative of my interest in her plight. I gave her a very modest amount of money. I keep money in the ashtray for such encounters. She received seven dollars.

Something is wrong with us as a society. We feel detached. I experience it myself. No comments on this blog. No inquiries into my master’s degree and the abilities associated with it. No conversations about possibilities and challenges.

I welcome any thoughts you might have. I will keep my expectations modest.

On baby boomers

I was born in 1947. This qualifies me as a baby boomer.

I was born in 1947. I am a baby boomer.

Robert Bly taught us about the differences in generations of men. In his book Iron John he cites Michael Mead’s reference to the ancient rule that we should never give a sword to man who cannot dance. We have long scorned that advice. Bly wrote, “We notice that the Marines take the boy without that provision; they offer a sword to a man whether he can dance or not.”

Men in my generation think of dancing as lounging on a luxury sea cruise. They do not associate dancing with joy, creativity, or community in the meaningful sense of the word.

Almost exactly nine months after World War II ended, “the cry of the baby was heard across the land,” as historian Landon Jones later described the trend. More babies were born in 1946 than ever before: 3.4 million, 20 percent more than in 1945. This was the beginning of the so-called “baby boom.” In 1947, another 3.8 million babies were born; 3.9 million were born in 1952; and more than 4 million were born every year from 1954 until 1964, when the boom finally tapered off. By then, there were 76.4 million “baby boomers” in the United States. They made up almost 40 percent of the nation’s population.History.com

Men my age, so far as I know, do not talk to men my age unless it is about some current event. We do not delve into the mysteries. We apparently do not revere our own learning experience. Young men would do well to recognize that. You young folks are not getting our best, whatever that might be. We don’t know what our best is. Caution is a learned behavior.

I’m not saying boomers are not cute, or sweet, or fun to have as dinner guests. What I am saying in this post is that they do not model respect for wisdom and experience. This is different from honoring obedience and conformity. We do that quite well.

Mr. Bly discusses in his book the experience of being lifted up to what is great in us (page 56). We dismiss the Wild Man as a source of danger.

We have lost that magic of working with the Wild Man. That is how Donald Trump ascended to prominence. We have created a vacuum, and anyone can ascend within it.

Boomers, in my opinion, are collectively a disappointment. We were taught to seek security, and in service to that goal we abandoned most of our wildness. The last example of wildness may be the hippies. I loved the film that recorded the Woodstock music fest. Charming and daring and reckless. Those were the days.

I enjoy the online photo galleries of naked ladies that abound these days. Men are unable to participate in any way that I consider meaningful, and I see no comments on that behavior.

Your thoughts?

Good teaching films

Parker PalmerI don’t know how attentive people are to older films. In this post I offer you a list of some of my favorite films that emphasize lessons in appreciating ourselves, and by extension, appreciating life. I included a couple of them in a previous post. The list is in no particular order. I have watched these films many times. They never wear out their welcome.

  • Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, 1993. The theme is appreciating people, especially those who are watching out for us.
  • We’re No Angels with Humphrey Bogart, 1955.  He and his two buddies escape from prison and start doing good deeds. It’s a wonderful study in positive attitudes, friendship, and trust.
  • The Wizard of Oz, 1939, with a great cast. A truly marvelous teaching film.
  • Love Actually features several of my favorite actors, 2003. Please note Hugh Grant’s short and charming dance routine.
  • Sirens, Hugh Grant, 1993. A charming instruction in not judging people. It includes several tasteful nude scenes that feature Elle Macpherson in all of her glory.
  • Doc Hollywood, Michael J. Fox, 1991. We watch his character turn from self-serving greed to the genuine appreciation of well-meaning people.
  • The Sessions, Helen Hunt, 2012. She fascinates me, and she appears nude in this movie. In his review Roger Ebert said, “This film rebukes and corrects countless brainless and cheap sex scenes in other movies. It’s a reminder that we must be kind to one another.”

Let me know if you add any of these to your list of favorites.

On working with sadness

preacherWhen I was a teenager I took up the study of astrology. My dad studied the subject, and it seemed like an interesting thing to do.

I cast my horoscope and discovered that I have an afflicted moon in Pisces. Both the moon and the sign relate directly to feelings. My problem was compounded by the double whammy. I don’t know if astrology works or not, but this afflicted moon is a remarkable coincidence.

I’ve known some sadness. My younger brother, my dad, and my favorite uncle all committed suicide. I acquired some notions of my unworthiness by reflection. My first wife confirmed my expectations of myself. Another uncle dragged me to church, and they fueled my fires of self-doubt.

As a society we are, I believe, inept in the study of sadness and what to do about it.

Perhaps the most crucial step is to distinguish between sadness and depression. Kevin Breel provides a brilliant distinction in his TED Talk. It’s well worth your time to hear his message. And share the link with your friends.

My grandmother saw god as a jealous and vengeful male figure, and she advised me to be alert to my offenses against him. TED Talks did not exist in grandma’s world.

I read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament many times early in my life. In chapter 4 of Matthew, Jesus, after fasting for 40 days, is tempted by the devil. The devil wants to embarrass him, and to be worshiped by him. It was at that time, the verse says, that Jesus began advising people to repent. He also worked hell into his sermons. This passage makes a case for the devil and his priorities.

The bible contains a mix of encouragement and threat that confused me then, and it still does.

I think we collectively think of sadness as a weakness. I have come to view that conclusion as an error. The whole world is a study in sadness. We try to avoid that view thinking that sadness is some kind of mark against us. I can say with confidence now that it is not. Sadness is mercy. Sadness is compassion. Sadness is the way we invite people to share themselves with us.

We are collectively judgmental and impatient with the discomforts of others. I think our tolerance of homelessness illustrates this attitude. We are also quick to judge and condemn celebrities who have, in some way, lost their edge.

I no longer consider sadness to be an indicator of weakness. It is a way of honoring life and the creatures that share it with us, both man and beast.

My suggestions:

  • Distinguish sadness from depression, and act accordingly. Recognize how sadness defines your definition of life.
  • Minister to people who are sad. Don’t scorn or judge them.

I’ve read many books by people who identify themselves as gurus. I’m still sad after reading their work.



What we need most

booksI have two college degrees, and I have been reading the news for several decades. In this post I share what I think we need most in this country. Our current presidential election, a significant crisis, emphasizes the need for this.

What we have not learned as a society is how to break the rules, and when to do it. There are many, many wonderful books that guide us in this area. Our dumb condition as a nation is not due to a lack of resources. It seems to me to be due to a lack of spirit and resourcefulness.

Your thoughts?

A modern resumé

DanMy two blogs contain about 1,000 posts that express the things I care about and which demonstrate my ability to explain those things. Organizations usually, in my opinion, struggle to explain the things they care about most.

I have a master’s degree from Chapman University in organizational leadership. I’ve worked for Boeing and Raytheon, and I consulted for Remington Arms for a time.

Do I need to validate myself more in writing? Reach out to me. We can talk. You can decide if I’m real, and if I can provide a service to you.

I would like some paid work. I’m not Beverly Hills expensive. We can work something out.

Thank you.