Sunday, December 18, 2011

Goodbye Vaclav Havel

The namesake for this website and many of my creative endeavors has passed on. Vaclav Havel had           died. I made the name Vaclav's Hovel as a pun on his years ago to first hang over a sheep shed, and then used it as a company name on order forms as a joke. Since then it has come to mean what he symbolized for the world: if a playwright can overthrow communism in his country, why can't a girl sail around the world, an actor be president of the United StatesFormer Czech Republic president and playwright Vaclav Havel (C) pictured on March 22, 2011 in Prague.

It's not just the seeming impossibility of the ideas that appeals to me. It's the idea that people are not limited to what they are labeled to be. It's the idea that what one does in one discipline may very well inform and make them better in another.

Havel was also friends with and a great admirer of Frank Zappa. Havel asked Zappa to be a cultural ambassador to the new Czech republic, but the Bush administration refused. I admire both men, and the name Vaclav's Hovel is a tribute to both. Zappa died in 1994.

Goodbye, Mr. Havel, and thank you for your work in freeing the Czech people.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pictures From the Revolution #N17

When Cara said she'd be going to the #N17 event, I was thrilled. There's something in my family about causing trouble and being part of the protest - from tearing down papal bulls to kicking the Redcoats out of New England - and Cara continues the tradition. Hell, even if it was just a long walk with a lot of people, it was FUN for her.

Mom was not as thrilled so I told Cara that if she gets arrested she should call me. Thankfully, that did not happen. 

I was out with some  friends from work last night when she started sending pictures. She said at one point that they were about to go on the Brooklyn Bridge so I warned her that the police arrested people en masse the last time that happened. She assured me she was with a large group from her school and that they were all sticking close to legal observers who wear green hats to be easily identified in case of trouble. 

These are the few, confusing pictures she sent, and one video. Just to show you she was there. 

Hope your feet are OK this morning, Cara. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nesting Dolls (Matryoshka)

In Wappinger Falls there is a bright pink store at the corner of Routes 9D and New Hamburg road whose sign merely says, "Nesting Dolls". Nothing could be more descriptive. The store is full of matryoshka, the Russian stacking or nesting dolls. One might think this could get a little repetitive but the variety of the different designs available there proves otherwise.

The range goes from traditional to modern motifs. Aside from these ones of musicians, they also had some of political figures, movie stars and football players. Name your NFL team, they probably had a few of that team's most famous players nesting together.

There were these of cats, birds, and other animals as well.

Motifs from different cultures

The owners, Halina and Frank, are very friendly and always strike up a conversation. They are world travellers with many stories to share.
Open every weekend!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Around Beacon

Some scenes from Beacon the week before Halloween. Today was the Halloween parade, among other events. We stopped at the Farmer's Market and went to our favorite store, Mountain Tops

The dogs at Mountain Tops were dressed for Halloween.

The owners of Moutain Tops

Farmer's Market, Beacon waterfront.

Freshly cut sprouts.

Halloween Parade.

The police take up the back of the parade.

New Restaurant in Beacon: Tito Santana

A new restaurant called Tito Santana opened in Beacon about a month ago. It's right next to Mountain Tops, on Main. For those who knew the Barking Dog, this is what replaced it. We're glad.

The owner was outside the restaurant for the Halloween Parade. I got a shot of him and then we all went in for lunch. I had beef tacos, Cara had chicken tacos and corn, Jennifer and Mike got quesadillas. We were all satisfied. More than anything, we thought the owners were gracious and welcoming. We wish them well.

Don't let him scare you, he was just having fun for Halloween.

With the mask off he looks serious but don't be fooled, he's one of the nicest guys around. 

Cara enjoys her corn.

If the place looks a lot like the Barking Dog, it was the Barking Dog.  Aside from the food, the big difference is in the atmosphere and the friendly host. 

The owner had just finished a flan. This is about 12" around. I had always thought that flans were made in small dishes but he explained that this was how his family made them. He also said the recipe used for this particular one was a secret recipe in his wife's family.

Here's both side of the menu in case you get interested. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Drummers

The drummers at Trinity Street, another movie made from many still shots taken in rapid succession.

Hula-Hoop Woman

At the Occupy Wall Street protest, like any other, there are often entertainers. Hula-Hoop woman was as engaging she was entertaining, involving a doze or so audience members to participate as she gyrated with the hoops to the sound of the drums behind her.

She not only asked several of the audience members to try and twirl with a single hoop themselves, but then asked them to ring her with them so she could catch them. She told them not to warn her, just to throw them when she thought the time was right - and she caught a good deal of them. 

This short video was created from several shots taken in rapid succession on my digital SLR. 

9-11 Memorial

I visited the 9-11 memorial with Cara. Admission is free, but a donation is suggested. You must get a ticket for a specific time and day online at the 9-11 memorial website.

When you go, be prepared to show up on time. Snooze, you lose.

Don't carry a lot of crap with you. Your bags will be searched. Security found a small Victorinox knife in my camera bag that I didn't even know I had.

You will be asked to show your ticket repeatedly as you walk through the entrance. You must carry photo ID, for you will be asked to show that, too.

For this small hassle, you get to see this stunning memorial. It reminds me of Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. - the wall. I have always liked that because it seemed like a gash rent in the earth from some traumatic event. This one is no less elegant nor poignant. Two holes where something mammoth once was. Perhaps the title or the idea of the endless tears is maudlin, but what I find most striking is that you cannot see where the water goes. I'm 6' tall and I could not see far enough into the bottom square to see the water collecting. I think that reflects the feeling many have of this event - that of a hole into which so many disappeared, whence they will never return, into which we can peer but never see the end.

This is the corner of Albany and Greenwich streets, where you must enter.

After wending your way through security and the entrance, this is the first view you get .

The South Tower/

The names are demarcated by places where the victims perished, or the name of the  agency for whom they worked.


If you are thinking of leaving a tribute to someone, please see the rules on the  memorial website

There was no plaque to tell me, but I think this is one of the trees that survived the disaster and has been carefully nursed  to live on defiantly, persistently.