Category Archives: Write your own caption

Disclaimer regarding the current header

If you’ve on the main page of this blog, you see a header image with me standing on the convention floor, next to the South Carolina delegation’s sign, at the RNC in New York in 2004 — the last convention I actually attended. At left is the uncropped image.

The photo was taken by current SC Speaker Bobby Harrell, using my camera. My left hand hovers over the head of the then-speaker, David Wilkins.

I just say that to make sure no one thinks I’m trying to fool you into thinking I personally attended the recent conventions. I did not. I just figured that, with Labor Day being behind us, this was more seasonal than the picture of the Surfside Pier I had up before.

Also, I currently have a beard, so I look like that again. Just older.

“Chuckles!” Where you been at, man?

That's "Chuckles" Gidley in the background, during a 2006 editorial board meeting. See how he got his name?

I was delighted to see this passage in the paper this morning:

Santorum will boast of his focus on the Iranian threat to peace while other lawmakers were fixated on Iraq. He will brag that during his 12 years in the U.S. Senate, he never voted for a tax increase and pushed for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
And he will note he did those things while representing Pennsylvania, a sometimes liberal state, without “giving up his conservative principles,” according to Hogan Gidley, Santorum’s national spokesman.“He did not have to morph and change himself to win elections,” Gidley said, a not-so-subtle jab at GOP front-runner Mitt Romney’s record while governor of Massachusetts.
Hogan Gidley! Chuckles! Where you been at, man?

My calling him “Chuckles” dates from when he was handling Karen Floyd’s campaign for state superintendent of education. I’ve seldom had a campaign aide glower at me in quite that way before. Karen hated the camera, but at least she smiled for it now and then.

All in good fun. Chuckles likes his nickname. At least, I think he does. Of course, I once forgot that he was executive director of the state Republican Party, so I might have forgotten his opinion of the nickname, too…

I’m seeing inspiration for yet another really tacky Christmas song here

An alert source whom I shall keep anonymous shared this with me via email over the weekend. I wrote back to ask, “Is this a real Santa, or a mannequin?” and I was assured it was a real guy. My source was NOT going into the club in the picture, but was attending to important business across the street at the Central Midlands Council of Governments. Or so my source says, and I believe my source.

There’s a really tacky Christmas song in this somewhere. Something like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” or “Santa, Baby.” Something really, really not in the spirit. Something like the thing I heard this morning for the first, and I hope, the last, time, which I think is called “Gonna Get Drunk, Drunk, Drunk on Christmas.”

Just an interesting, semi-seasonal image

On Sunday, my youngest grandchild had her 2nd birthday party at The Columbia Marionette Theatre. I liked the above image I shot when she and a friend were exploring backstage. Then I shot another, with the hanging marionettes above, which I think was better-framed, but lacks the kinetic element of the little intruders in the puppet kingdom.

I couldn’t make up my mind, so I gave you both.

You’re wondering about the huge figure that looks like a malproportioned cross between a Madonna and Child and a Pietà. That’s part of a set of figures owned by a local church, which the Marionette Theatre is refurbishing. It’s what makes the image.

On the whole, it’s slightly more… disturbing… than your usual holiday image. Maybe it’s that scary guy on the throne up above the huge Madonna. Maybe it’s the shadows. What do you think?

Portrait of the Artist as an Arrogant Old Guy

Jim Hammond sent this to me today, from the Nephron announcement Friday.

I don’t know what I’m smirking at as I line up that shot on the iPhone. Perhaps I think I’m catching someone in a compromising attitude. Or maybe it’s that I realized Jim was shooting me as I made that shot. Who knows why I smirk? The Cartesian take on it would be, I think, therefore I smirk.

And I’m not turning up my nose at anyone. I mean, I do turn up my nose, sir, but not at you, sir. It’s just that I wear bifocals, so I do that a lot.

I’m kind of jealous of the quality of Jim’s camera. It does a good job with a backlit subject.  I have a really good camera, too — really good — but it uses film. And that’s just too much trouble and expense these days for everyday use.

Oh, and here’s a picture from way back of me biting my thumb — I mean, turning up my nose — at Dan Quayle. It’s from a chance encounter at a banquet years and years ago …

ME: "I'll have you know, sir, that in South Carolina, we DRESS for dinner!" QUAYLE: "All I want is a potatoe."

Portrait of America on the 10th anniversary

OK, so I shot this on the day before 9/11/11, and I’m posting in on the day after, but I think it still works. I’m thinking this view of Charleston was pretty similar on Sunday.

This was something I shot spontaneously while waiting for traffic to move, coming out of a side street onto King Street in the Holy City on Saturday afternoon. I didn’t think much about it at the time. The image just seemed worth grabbing.

Not until late last night did I happen to see it on my phone, and really like it. I tried to post it then, while it was still 9/11, but I had trouble with my Internet connection. Eventually I went to bed.

But here it is now. How does it strike you? (Try clicking on it to blow it up and get the full effect of the blue and the gleaming buildings and the flag setting them off.)

“Where are all the protesters?”

Boyd Summers, chairman of Richland County’s Democrats, got even with me for posting his picture Tuesday by sending this one out via Twitter yesterday.

In the pic, taken at the “Reinstate Darla Moore” rally at the State House, I’m going, “Where are all the protesters?”

Maybe there will be a bigger crowd when Darla speaks at the Russell House today at 12:15. Whether there’s a crowd or not, I’m curious to hear what she’ll say, and plan to drop by if I can. (And if they’ll let me in, since I don’t think my student ID from 1971, the one semester I went there before transferring to Memphis State, is valid any more.)

Freedom, man. Just freedom…

Thought I’d share this with you. Saw this dude going east on Gervais today.

Figured he was making some sort of a statement. Thought I’d amplify it for him. Not sure what it is, but I figure it’s just, “Freedom.” So, to all my libertarian friends — don’t say I never gave you anything.

As Jack Nicholson said in “Easy Rider,” “They’ll talk to ya and talk to ya and talk to ya about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it’s gonna scare ’em.”

Speaking of that movie, I called this guy a “dude” above. Here’s the definition, as given by Captain America: “Dude means nice guy. Dude means a regular sort of person.”


Uh-oh — I posted THIS on Facebook. Will I have to resign from the blog now?

Foster Village, overlooking Pearl Harbor, circa 1970-71

Well, this is ominous:

Rep. Christopher Lee of western New York abruptly resigned with only a vague explanation of regret after a gossip website reported that the married congressman had sent a shirtless photo of himself flexing his muscles to a woman whose Craigslist ad he answered.

“I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents,” Lee posted in a surprise announcement Wednesday night on his congressional website. “I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.”

A woman described as a 34-year-old Maryland resident and government employee provided the Gawker website with e-mails she said were an exchange between her and Lee in response to an ad she placed last month in the “Women Seeking Men” section of Craigslist.

This guy Lee sent a shirtless picture of himself to one woman, and he’s ruined. I posted the picture above on Facebook last night — that’s me with my board in late 1970 or early 1971 (we were vague about time in Hawaii), back when Burl and I were in school together — for that woman and every other woman in the world to see (so far, only one of them has made a saucy remark). Burl, by the way, had nothing to do with this photograph (I can prove it: this was obviously taken on a Kodak Instamatic, and Burl had a way better camera than that). These scandals have a way of pulling people in like black holes, and I don’t want him getting in trouble, too.

Oh, yeah, let me hasten to add: Barack Obama was on the island at the time, too, but he had nothing to do with it, either. I promise. I never even spoke to the guy until 2007.

Big Lindsey is watching you…

Today I was cleaning pictures from the last couple of months off my Blackberry, and ran across this one, which appealed to me — the colors, the looming image of Sen. Graham, the worship attitudes of Steve Benjamin and the other much-smaller dignitaries on the dais at right, some other undefinable qualities that perhaps an art major could better describe. There are certain tensions, or something.

It seemed like a good one for my much-neglected “Write Your Own Caption” category.

Anyway, I shot this at EngenuitySC’s IGNITE! program in the Innovista on the evening of Nov. 17 — which was a great event, by the way. The emphasis was on entrepreneurship, and the keep the energy going, there were 9 speakers, each of whom was kept to six minutes and 40 seconds, so it never got dull. And there was free beer, and there were these tasty sausage things.

To learn more about it, you can check out this Powerpoint presentation that Neil McLean gave at the conference:

It’s “a great statement” all right, Senator

I found this photo on, courtesy of Thomas C. Hanson. If either The State or Mr. Hanson has a problem with my running it, they should contact me at I just felt it was important to give y'all a chance to discuss it.

Glenn McConnell says the above photo is “a great statement as to how far this state has come.” It certainly is, Senator. It shows that in the past 147 years, South Carolina has advanced at least several days, perhaps even a week, past 1862. I look at this photo, and I know in my bones that in South Carolina, 1863 has finally arrived!

I’ll say one more thing. The issue to me isn’t whether re-enacting or “interpreting” history is a good or bad thing. The issue for me is how into this stuff the senator, who is arguably the most powerful politician in our state, is. He was really pumped, wasn’t he? He really does love dressing the part.

You may have other things to say.

God showing off, again

Just thought I’d share a bit of last night’s glorious sunset, as I shot it on my Blackberry.

Actually, I guess that’s not technically a sunset — more of a dramatic interaction of sun and cloud independent of the time of day. One usually thinks of something like this in connection with the term, “sunset.” But then again, maybe it is a sunset but only technically, in that it occurred as the sun was setting.

Anyway, sights such as this beggar language.

Greene media juggernaut cranks up (snicker!)

Two things to share…

First, this photo, which may or may not be legitimate; I have no idea. It was brought to my attention by Scott English, Mark Sanford’s chief of staff, via Twitter. He got it from the Washington Examiner. PhotoShop or reality? Either way, it’s a primo example of the current rage in political comedy, the item that allows us all to sneer at Alvin Greene. (Speaking of PhotoShop: I not only cropped the picture before posting it here; I also lightened it up and increased the contrast. We have standards here at The knee-slapping cutline that came with the picture:

This sign is from US 521, near Greene’s hometown, and hotbed of support, in Manning, SC.  No signs for Republican Sen. Jim DeMint were spotted anywhere near the area, suggesting that Greene has opened an imposing lead in the early-advertising race.

Yuk, yuk, chortle, snort.

Which brings me to my second point: At what point does mocking Alvin Greene simply becoming mocking a man for being poor, black and unemployed and from a small town in South Carolina? At what point do the Republicans who are LOVING this, or the mortified Democrats who hide their faces in shame that THIS is their nominee, or smart-ass bloggers who post satirical photos (real or fake; irresponsible bloggers just don’t care, do they?) get called on the carpet for the so-far socially acceptable practice of running down Alvin Greene?

Food for thought, there…

DeMint gets face time

Here's an irony for you:

The story today on the stimulus bill is about how such Senate moderates as Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Republican Susan Collins of Maine are reshaping the legislation. And yet who's getting his picture in the papers? Jim DeMint, who is nobody's notion of a moderate.

He appeared, looming large, on Page 3 of The Wall Street Journal with a story headlined "GOP Wields More Influence Over the Stimulus Bill." That's the picture above. Which sort of makes you think Jim DeMint is one of those "wielding more influence." In fact, his image is being used on the promo for "top stories" on the paper's Web site. But… he's not mentioned in the story. So the picture, apparently, gives a false impression.

I haven't looked at the print version of The New York Times today, but I saw this story on the Web, headlined "Centrists in Senate Push to Cut Billions From Stimulus." Guess whose picture adorns it (along with others; it's a group shot)? Yep — non-centrist Jim DeMint. Then guess who is NOT mentioned in the story? You got it.

Hey, fellas — you want to try coordinating with the guys in photo next time, so that your art actually GOES WITH the story?

In case you wondered how this happened: Well, it's a story with a lot of moving parts, and different media folk are following different parts of it. Those photos are from The Associated Press. The running AP story on the stimulus DOES mention DeMint — as having played a leading role in an unsuccessful effort…

Despite bipartisan concerns about the cost, Republicans failed in a series of attempts on Wednesday to cut back the bill's size.

The most sweeping proposal, advanced by Sen. Jim DeMint, a Republican, would have eliminated all the spending and replaced it with a series of tax cuts. It was defeated 61-36.

… which means he's no longer a part of the story of the developing bill. But the picture remains.

This marks one of those rare occasions when our junior senator steals a march on our senior one, mediawise. Our senior senator was at the same press conference as DeMint (see below). But he wasn't in either of the pictures chosen by the two aforementioned papers. Nor was he mentioned in either of their stories, or the AP story.

So much for Lindsey Graham, media hog extraordinaire.

Just an interesting little irony that I noticed in all my reading on the subject, and thought I'd share…

How can you tell who that is with the bong?

One thing I'll say for Michael Phelps — he had plausible deniability on the bong photo, which I didn't actually look at until today, and which you can see here. If he hadn't admitted that was him, I wouldn't know.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that…

… except this: The Brit tabloid said, "THIS is the astonishing picture which could destroy the career of the greatest competitor in Olympic history."

Which made ME think: Hasn't he sort of already had his career as a "competitor in Olympic history"? I mean, he won the 8 medals, right? Did we think he was going to win 8 gold medals again, or what? Are we then talking NOT about his career as a competitor in the Olympics, but rather his career as what? An endorser? What?

I don't know. The whole getting-excited-about-people-as-celebrities thing is something I don't get anyway. The News of the World, judging by its Web site, probably knows way more about that stuff than I do.

Everything’s up to date in Pelosi city

Obama finally has his genuine, official presidential seal to speak from behind, but when I saw what Nancy Pelosi did yesterday, the president's trappings looked oh so last century.

Nancy's hep. She's with it. She's on the information superhighway. She's a Cyberspeaker.

Kidding aside, it's smart. You might only get a few seconds on the evening news, but it you can get somebody to go to your Web site, you can unload a truckload of your worldview on 'em. Which she does.

The presidential seal, like a royal coat of arms, communicates traditional authority. A URL communicates information, all you want…

What would happen if Ben Bernanke shaved?


We are often unmindful of the pictures that other people carry around in their heads of us. For instance, I’m always running into people who say, "You shaved your beard!" when I haven’t worn one in a year or more. A lot of Republicans, for instance, think of me that way because they saw me lot at the GOP convention in New York four years ago, and I had a beard that week (as in the shot of Jeff Miller and me on this post).

Separate from that, two people have said it in the last couple of weeks. One of them was Kathleen Parker (at this event), and the other one I forget.

The fact that people will, however belatedly, notice something like that about ME got me to thinking over the weekend…. We all know how skittish markets are. Whatever you think about what Phil Gramm said, the fact is that the health of our economy is largely a phenomenon of mass psychology (which is why I posted the FDR picture). If we believe stocks have value, they have value. If enough of us believe the economy is healthy, it will generally be healthy. (This is why I don’t like dealing with the economy; so much of everything, right down to the value of money and gold themselves, are a smoke-and-mirrors thing that only works if you close your eyes and BELIEVE. Except of course for the land, Katy Scarlett…)

And you know how the merest word or smallest gesture on the part of a chairman of the Federal Reserve can have, even in good times: The chairman said "irrational exuberance"! We’re exuberant, but is it irrational? Could he be right? Next thing you know, the bubble bursts. Sure, those stocks were overvalued, but the bubble lasted as long as we were able to fool ourselves otherwise.

So it occurs to me that, with everything so precarious on the Street, and Paulson and Bernanke speaking to Congress in such hushed whisper of awe and fear and the pending collapse of our credit markets…

What if Ben Bernanke shaved off his beard?

Why, Wall Street would go berserk! But would it be good berserk, or bad berserk? Could this be the bold stroke that is needed to jolt the economy back to where it should be? Or would we find ourselves living in the Stone Age before he could get a Don Johnson stubble going again?

It’s probably not worth the risk. If I see Ben Bernanke even LOOKING at the Schick Xtreme 3s in a checkout line, I’m going home and stuff all my baseball cards into a mattress.

I’ve probably made enough trouble even suggesting the possibility. For that reason, I won’t even go into the fact that…

Henry Paulson looks disturbingly like Daddy Warbucks!


From our political family album


earching the AP Archives (a dangerous thing to let me do, given that I’m the World’s Most Easily Distracted Man) for a suitable picture of Fritz Hollings for the Sunday op-ed page (which in the end I didn’t use; Robert volunteered a caricature instead), I ran across the one above, which has the following caption:

State Sen. Edgar Brown, D-Barnwell, left, Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, D-S.C., center, and Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., leave the Darlington Presbyterian Church, Sept. 20, 1972, after paying their final repects to the late state Sen. James P. Mozingo. (AP Photo/Lou Krasky)

Note the hats — evidently, Strom and Sen. Brown had still not received the JFK memo.

Riffing on that as I am wont to do, just out of curiosity to see what an Edgar Brown search would turn up, I found the one below. I like it as a sort of alternative moment from the convention for which Abbie Hoffman and Richard Daley pere are better remembered. The caption:

South Carolina Gov. Robert McNair, right, listens as he and Sen. Edgar Brown, left, and Gov. John West hold a private conference on the fire escape of their Chicago Hotel on Monday, Aug.26,1968 in Chicago. The three men are part of the South Carolina delegation to the Democratic National Convention which gets underway Monday. (AP Photo)

No, this post doesn’t have any point; I’m just sharing…