Sunday, November 6, 2016


Looking like some odd portrait for a family
of circus acrobats, these chairs are stacked in a backyard
on Indy's Old Northside neighborhood.
The neighborhood is made up of numerous homes
in various stages of restoration, renewal,
and remodeling.

These pictures were taken Wednesday evening
as I walked a couple blocks from 
the bus stop to the Indiana Landmarks Center.
At one corner, a contractor who obviously
 took pride in his work, had embedded
a small plaque in a sidewalk he had installed.
While I couldn't find information
related to the sidewalks in this neighborhood,
Mr. Foster was responsible for the
construction of sidewalks, about a half
mile away, in July of 1893.
Here, nearly 125 years later, the quality
of the man's work is still apparent
in that it is still in use.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November Theme Day: Out of Focus

My little camera is too small to take super-sharp 
action pictures. It's too dark in the Natatorium to get
clear shots of the swimmers at speed: 
in natural light, they appear blurred, but when I
adjust the shutter speed, the light goes away.
However, I actually like some of the results, which I
use as reference for my drawings.
At times, the swimmers seem elongated,
 becoming even more a part of the water.
I like to watch how the liquid moves and flows
around their bodies, separates and then
rejoins its fluid self as the swimmer
passes through.
When I am swimming myself, I like
to see the water flowing past my goggles
when I turn to breathe; the more correctly 
I am able to swim, the more
quickly the water seems to pass.
I actively look for it and know to adjust 
my technique if it isn't happening.
And then ... and then, when I look at the bottom,
the water breaks the gridded tile into
facets and even the long black stripe becomes
diamonds, drifting away into a blur.
The theme for the first day of November, 
in case you haven't figured it out,
is Out of Focus. To see how other members of
the City Daily Photo portal have
interpreted the theme, just click on the
nearby link, or on the CDP badge
to the right of this post. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Abstract with Red Splotch and Little Green Seeds

More street art, where the red splotch
took on a batch of tiny seeds,
reminded me of the work of abstract-
expressionist artist Robert Motherwell.
Maybe its appropriate, because
I was just leaving the Herron School of Art
when I saw this tiny bit of color
on the granite steps to the building.

Beside the Sea, no. 45. 1967
Acrylic and ink on paper

Monday, October 17, 2016

Gone Swimmin'

I got up early Saturday morning to be able 
to get to a swim meet on time. Afraid I'd sleep through 
the electronic beep of my radio alarm, 
I hadn't slept much the night before, so I was up
at 5 a.m., showered, had breakfast, made certain
my backpack had all the stuff I needed,
then left to catch the 5:45 bus.
A few minutes later, the bus rolled up, a giant
black box on wheels that held its light inside,
a lantern I could sit inside as the beacon
made its way downtown.

After transferring to a second bus
I arrived at an intersection where I walked
a few blocks east to the Ruth Lilly
Recreation Center found an outside entrance 
to the pool then sat down to watch the U of I
swim team's morning practice. 
On the way, I saw a lot of sculptures
dotting the campus grounds, some of them swooping
into space, others coming out of the ground,
as though born there.
The just emerging dawn lent a fresh feel
to the atmosphere and I felt as though I was
the first to see the world that day,
clean and new, unspoiled by greed and
current events.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

It Ain't Easy ...

It's rained off and on nearly all weekend,
sometimes a gentle, misting shower, other times
a drenching downpour.
This was indicated by the way the rain
had soaked the utility pole on West 86th Street.
Wind had blown the precipitation nearly
around the pole, leaving a long, dry streak on
its north side. The result was a lovely,
jade green band in the middle of a field of
almost olive green. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I Didn't Want to Look ...

I almost didn't.
I went to a morning swim practice
Monday at the Riviera Club, then took 
the bus home. While headed west on 10th Street,
I saw two young women standing in the middle of 
the street. As traffic passed on both sides
of the women, I wondered, "What the hell?"
because the street is narrow.  
"What the HELL were they doing there?"
The bus slowed down and,
just before it reached where the women 
were standing, the bus driver screamed, 
braking to an immediate halt.
She unbuckled and leaped from her seat,
and was quickly on her phone to call for help. 
An oncoming driver had hit one of the women. 
I couldn't bring myself to look ... I don't have 
the emergency skills to assist an injured person. 

But when I finally looked ...  
the driver of the truck had come to a stop 
on the sidewalk and was out to check on the person
he'd hit. Other cars had stopped, the drivers had
gotten out to assist the victim and to
direct traffic around the scene. One of the bus
passengers was a practical nurse on her
way home from work. She pulled an
extra pair of surgical gloves from her pocket,
putting them on as she went to help.
On of the passers-by was an EMT who also
stayed on the scene.
It seems that anyone who had a phone
had called 9-1-1.

I see hatred and prejudice every day reflected
in the posts on FB and other on-line outlets.
But I didn't see it there, in the middle of the street
on Monday afternoon. All I saw was people,
black and white, working to help someone who'd
been injured. She was crying, scared, and hurt, 
but she wasn't alone.
Strangers had stopped to help.

I was reminded that I need to 1) take first aid classes;
2) people are generally decent and will do the right
thing; 3) never stand in the middle of the road 
to wait for traffic to pass, and 4) no one, except for
the POTUS or his equivalent, or a doctor, needs to be on
their cell phone while driving.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Wannabe Terrazzo

These spots of sidewalk are located just outside 
the entry to the IUPUI Natatorium,
heaved above the level pavement by the winter cold.
 Rather than dig them up and replace them,
crews have taken to smoothing down the
uneven edges to match their mates.
You can see the arcs made by the grinders, 
reflected by the light from the wet pavement.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Library: Theme Day, Three Days Late

Just short of a year ago, I posted about a series of art 
installations called The Public Collection.
You can read these posts here, here, and here.
They have proved to be popular, so much so that
the library is asking the public for donations of books
in order to replenish the sites' offerings.

Originally there were nine stations opened 
at various sites around the city.
Recently it was announced that a tenth
site will be added early next year
and that one of the installations at the IMA
will be moved to the 
Marion County Juvenile Center in order to
provide more books and art for the 
children at that facility.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

IN Light IN

Friday and Saturday night saw the presentation of
IN Light INan exhibit of twenty-four light installations
designed by artists from all over the United States.
The event was to honor the 100th anniversary
of The Indianapolis Foundation,
Indiana's oldest and largest community 
foundation meant to continuously improve
the quality of life for the people of Marion County.

Although it was a "rain or shine" event,
IN Light IN was hit by heavy rains a few hours
before the lights were to be switched on.
As thunderstorms blew through, flooding many
intersections, I was still at home, but decided to go
as soon as the rain turned to sprinkles.
I'm glad I did and that feeling was probably
shared by the other folks who came, too.

While some of the installations were 
literally washed out by the rain, most were
up and running on cue, their lights pulsating,
changing, and glowing in response
to both music and the movement of the crowds.

Performers and models in lighted costumes 
walked among the spectators, laughing, chatting,
and posing for pictures. Of course there was
food and music. A first-rate gospel performance by
Rodnie Bryant and the Indie Singers were
part of an installation involving the Bethel A.M.E.
Church, and Projected Visions was presented by
a pair of artist/musicians from Los Angeles.

As the evening dried out, more and more 
people showed up, in some areas they were 
shoulder to shoulder. More performers
were in evidence and, as the connections
dried out, more of the exhibits were
 activated. Sadly, I couldn't stay longer
to enjoy the additional fun.
I only hope that this is just the first,
the inaugural IN Light IN.

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Contrast in Grids

A couple days ago, I came upon 
this lovely tangle of knotted nylon.

The red tile and gray, gridded mortar 
on the wall provided a controlled contrast
to the sinuous coils of an unused 
volleyball net.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Wire Nuts

The most mundane things can spark my interest ...
These little red berries, sprouted at the ends of wires 
in digital phone lines, hang open to the elements.
They are street-side, near the bus stop 
I use to go downtown. I Googled "wire nuts"
to make certain I had the right term,
but there were none of these little red berries
shown among the images. However, they serve 
the same purpose, connecting tiny wires 
inside a mess of themselves in a small area.
I think they're cute.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Oh, Yeah, It's Theme Day: Doh!

It's another theme day and I've been rushing around, 
home-job-swim-repeat, for what seems like months, 
but has really only been a few weeks.
Gee, I even recall looking at the CDP page 
to find out what the topic would be for August, 
then promptly forgot about it.
Oh, well, here it is - a short presentation
of pictures of one of the many apartment buildings
that are being constructed in the downtown area.

I caught this moment as workmen were directing a crane
as it flew in some trusses for a floor in the new building,
just outside the Downtown area, at the corner 
of Massachusetts Avenue and New York Street.
The rents of most of the buildings starts at just over
a thousand dollars a month for a small, one bedroom
apartment. I have to wonder about this because
the property owners don't expect their tenants to become
long-term residents of their buildings; no, they
expect them to stay a year or to, then move on to
bigger jobs or to finish school and go on
to other places. In a state where the government
isn't exactly known for attracting businesses that
pay their employees a substantial wage,
who is going to be living in these buildings?
Where are the jobs and where are the educated 
workers who will be qualified for those jobs?

I also noticed that most of the crew working 
on this project are Hispanic. 
This is progress: earlier migrants seemed
to form the backbone of roofing crews who came
into the area during the summer, going from
town to town to put roofs on houses all
through the Midwest. And they do drywall
work, and they paint. Those that do good work
go on to have their own businesses, laying
the foundation for the new wave of immigrants
who will eventually become they mainstays
of their American working communities.
They are, perhaps, in the process of maintaining
and building the very neighborhoods
of which they will eventually be a part.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Reflective Moment

This past weekend, I worked as a timer for 
the 2016 SwimFest, the long course championships 
for age group swimmers from clubs all over
the state of Indiana.
It is frenetic, crowded and noisy
with the shouts of family and friends
drowning out the sounds of the swimmers' 
rhythmic splashing as they swim
the length of the Natatorium's 50-meter pool.
Their slim, fit bodies belie the image
we get of the obese, couch-bound teenager;
these kids are fit, confident, and motivated. 
I am pleased to be able to help them
with my time because they also
serve to keep me motivated --
you have no idea how embarrassing 
it is to know that a 12-year-old can swim
any of their events in one-half the time
it would take me to do the same.

This pictures were taken after the meet Saturday night.
I was waiting for the bus as the sun set, 
and was able to catch the reflections of the fading light 
in the windows of the IUPUI Student Union 
building across the way.

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Bit of Macadam Plaid

Earlier this year, the street department worked 
to repave New York Street, just outside the Natatorium.
They made islands, installed new lighting, and
reoriented the stripes in some parking areas.
Of course, this has resulted in an area of nice gray
tweed, interspersed with a pattern of black and yellow
bars at right angles.It makes a fine clan tartan
for the families of all street workers,
spiritual descendants of John McAdam,
inventor of the method of paving
that led to the asphalt surfaces that now
cover our streets and highways.

Friday, July 1, 2016

July Theme Day: Look Down

The street maintenance department of Indianapolis
may not be so great at making sweet, 
tidy repairs, but they somehow manage 
to be sublime street artists 
in the Abstract Expressionist manner. 
Compositions such as these exist all over the city; 
I've taken enough of these sorts of photos 
to be able to mount a large exhibition. 
Consequently, today's theme, Look Down 
was right up my alley, so to speak.

City Daily Photo is a portal whose members 
post images every day, allowing
viewers to see the world through the eyes
of the people who live in cities
all over the world. To see their contributions,
just click on the above link or
the CDP badge to the right of this post.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Awww ... Urban Wildlife Watching

A couple years ago, construction workers converted 
a ditch near work into a marshy retention pond.
It's meant to hold overflow rainwater from surrounding
neighborhoods, preventing homes from flooding.
Last summer it seemed to be a wasted effort
because we had so little rain, but this year 
the reeds and cattails are happily standing in water, 
providing shelter for redwing blackbirds,
mallard ducks, and Canada geese.

A couple weeks ago, I noticed this goose roosting 
on a spot not ten feet from the road.
Last week I took another look and saw that
she had little bits of yellow fluff peeping from
beneath her own gray feathers.
Babies! She'd hatched her little goslings!
I could only see four.

A few days later, I saw she had gone.
I figured she's taken her babies to another, safer spot,
away from the dangers and distractions of human
intervention and annoyances.
Another coworker went closer to the nest 
and saw there were eggs.
Would she have just abandoned her eggs
or had she realized they weren't going to hatch
and taken her little family to a new home?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Dunno ... I Just Dunno

It rained all day Saturday.
When I first saw a group of these
guys walking down Pennsylvania Street
towards Monument Circle to ... who knows where?
I at first thought they had wrapped themselves in towels 
because they lost their clothes as participants
in some sort of mud fest

There were hundreds of them clad in various
styles of frocks from faded chiffon concoctions and
sequined mini dresses to "little" black dresses.
I laughed and shook my head; after all,
there is something disconcerting about a frilly tulle
skirt wafting around above a pair of stocky,
hairy calves. Every one of them needed instruction
in the niceties of wearing a gown. They reminded
 me of Vincent D'Onofrio as Edgar the bug
from Men In Black, who tries to master the actions
and mien of the human whose body
he had just taken over. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Theme Day: Smell

The Theme for the first day of May is "Smell."
I posted another image of this same tree some weeks
ago showing its tiny buds against a background
of brown stucco. Since then, the flowers have come
and gone, too soon. All around, bunches of pansies
 have been planted in beds, against a background
of black mulch. Tulips have opened their
crowns to the sun and fallen away.
Today, hidden among the branches of its bush,
I saw the first rose opening, its aroma 
a promise still hidden amid the folds
of its petals. 
But I have smelled the rain,
those "April Showers" that bring
all the delicate colors I love so much.
And the scent of just-mowed grass
has wafted through the neighborhoods
in recent days as homeowners
wage a battle to keep their lawns from
turning into little jungles.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

At the Car Wash

I pass through a nondescript car wash
on my way into work each morning.
Although it functions, it's rather dilapidated
and faded. There's no accounting for
some of the things I've seen in the half dozen bays - 
one time I saw a full-sized set of
mattress and box springs. One morning,
an engine block from a small car lay
on the floor of another.
Most mornings, I find myself
fascinated by the way sunlight illuminates
the yellow walls. A few days ago,
the floor caught my eye; the seams in
the concrete angled away from 
the wood-covered pit and tiny gouges,
made by the water from the pressurized hose, 
seemed to dance in space.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Stapled, Stabbed, Skewered, and Tagged

Where would we, the collective citizens of 
Earth's neighborhoods, be if all 
the utilities ever do go underground?
No longer would we be able to post news
of neighborhood yard sales, "wanted" posters
for lost pets and/or humans, directions to 
baby showers and weddings (often in that order),
cars for sale, and parties of all sorts --
Yahoo! Ain't it nifty! The big day's come!
Big John is FIFTY!
These poles have served us well; not only
have they carried news via their 'phone
and electric lines, they've served as
neighborhood news kiosks, posted with vital
messages made up from paper and pens
from a bygone era - the 20th Century. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

April Theme Day: The Beauty of Simplicity

T'ain't much, but I enjoy the way the vines 
are meandering across the silvery boards,
creating a line drawing contrasting 
their wandering ways nicely 
against the vertical fence.