Archive for north carolina

USA! USA! USA!

Posted in history with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by cliffmichaels

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I’m a diehard Big Orange fan. I watch every Tennessee football, basketball, and women’s basketball game I can. When my teams win I feel great; when they lose I feel sad…

Now, I know big time college athletics is corrupt, a sacred cash cow with a thousand teats spewing money.  I know most of Tennessee’s football players hale from out of state, just mercenaries here only for the chance to get the big bucks in the NFL. I know its the same with basketball. “Show me the money!” My late (first) father-in-law put it best – he was a huge North Carolina fan – “they may be sons of bitches, but they’re our sons of bitches…”

Somehow, however, once the kickoff happens, or the opening tip, I willfully  forget what I know and avidly root for our brave boys in orange as they struggle against those villains in red, or blue, or gold. Go Big Orange! Go Big Orange!!

I have the same schizophrenic attitude about America. I was born and raised in the good old USA. I love our flag and our other national icons. I grew up cheering John Wayne in countless war and western flicks and reading sanitized history textbooks glorifying  our very checkered past (how amazing it now seems that native Americans were portrayed in popular culture as savages who attacked us without provacation). My country right or wrong! I was your typical flag waving, toy gun toting, jingoistic America kid…

Then I went up north to college and began to learn about a different America. The catalyst was the war – the Vietnam War. I learned our troops weren’t the wholesome samaritans sacrificing to save our brave Vietnamese allies as I had been led to believe…  I learned the Gulf of Tonkin incident – the justification for the massive escalation of the war – was a government lie. Later I learned about My Lai.

Then came Nixon and Watergate; we all learned our government was venal at the very highest levels. Now we know our national legislature is awash in corporate and insider cash that buys influence and more. Now we know our government still lies about the need to go to war. Now we know our nation has caused the death of tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now we know our national leaders have condoned and forgiven torture, sanctioned due process free detention and execution of American citizens.

A near majority of my fellow citizens applaud torture (when we are the torturers). Despite the lessons of Iraq, my fellow Americans want war with Iran and care next to nothing for the Palestinians. Our police beat protesters and spy on Muslims. An alarmingly large slice of America believes our President is an alien (in both senses of the word).

Around the world people are repulsed by our policies: the uncritical support for Israel, our bellicose support of tyrannical regimes, and our smug sense of entitlement on the world stage. But I still love America, its red, white and blue flag, the White House, the Washington Monument, the Star Spangled Banner, apple pie,  spacious skies, and amber waves of grain.

When we invaded Iraq I was aghast. I believed the war to be immoral and stupid – but when the war kicked off I started rooting for the troops all the same. How like a game it was! And our team was winning, really running up the score!

I rooted for our brave boys the same way I root for the Big Orange.

Mindlessly. 

Photo by fusky, remixed by me, both images subject to this creative commons license 

Fusty’s most popular images

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Hurricanes

Posted in fetish, FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, pinup, Sexy, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2011 by cliffmichaels

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Photo by MARKIZA , subject to this creative commons license

I’ve never been in a hurricane; not many of them are robust enough to reach east Tennessee. I do remember, however, the remnants of a hurricane reaching here in the 50’s or 60’s. The sky was marvelous and a bit frightening with jagged deep blue and gray clouds racing madly northeast like frightened animals.

Flickr is fast; here’s a small group of photos taken during Hurricane Irene!

One of the early stories about Irene described the evacuation of Ocracoke Island. One of the barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, Ocracoke is narrow and not very high and gets inundated by any serious storm.

It’s a lovely place. In August, 1984, I fell in mad, passionate love there with a redheaded woman with wickedly captivating eyes. A year later we honeymooned on the island. I nearly met my demise trying to hang glide at Kill Devil Hills at Nags Head. Here’s a lovely photo, by  Jim Grant, subject to this creative commons license, taken on Ocrakoke…

FLICKR GROUP: Ocracoke Island

A set by Jim  

Finally, here’s a woman who, if she were real, could blow me away with hurricane force!

Photo by Connie Arida, altered by me, subject to this creative commons license

Connie’s set Lingerie

FLICKR GROUP: Second Life – Nude & Sex  

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Tremont, in the Smokies

Posted in FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, tennessee with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2011 by cliffmichaels

I’ve shot in Tremont, a part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a dozen times or so. This photo by Ben M reminds me why I need to get there again…

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Subject to this creative commons license 

One of Ben M.’s sets 

Flickr group: Tremont, Tennessee

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You Are There!

Posted in FLICKR, PHOTOGRAPHY, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 2, 2010 by cliffmichaels

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In  mid April of 2006, before I had my Nikon, my wife and I took a short, weekend trip to Asheville, North Carolina. Western Carolina is mostly like east Tennessee but with more money, sophisticated culture and better food.

I brought my then beloved Panasonic DMC FZ5 five megapixel  zoom lens camera with me. I was already addicted to photography and harbored photographic pretensions. I sought out interesting subjects that morning and strove to create well composed, “artistic” photos.

I left our hotel room, and sleeping wife, well before  seven and walked the short distance to the center of Asheville’s downtown. The sky was cloudless and the downtown streets remarkable empty. I discovered I was not alone, however. Another photographer, with an SLR  with an intimidating long lens, was already wandering the downtown streets snapping away.

He of course paid no attention to me with my “point and shoot” camera. I was resentful of his disdain, but I understood. How could I pretend to be a “serious photographer” carrying my dinky little, cheap plastic camera around my neck on its pitifully tiny camera strap?

The shot below is the best I got that Carolina morning. I confess to enhancing the color and contrast with Photoshop to highlight the differing shades of red of the bricks in the wall.  I’m proud of this shot with its mix of color, texture and  window artfully placed in the lower right hand color (rule of thirds!)

Here’s the set of all the shots I thought worth publishing on Flickr.

This Flicker group of Asheville photos is well worth visiting.