Category Archives: Elbow

The category, Elbow, is for posts that make us laugh.

I Will Never Be As Good As Araki

I like to think of the Japanese photographer, Araki, as (among other things) the grandfather of the modern selfie. Photographers have been taking self-portraits since the camera was invented, but Araki makes a regular habit of including himself in his images, and was doing so long before digital photography became a thing. Maybe he wanted to underscore his assertion that the photographer’s subject is never anything but him/herself. Many of his self-inclusions are benign. Others have been racier–like the shot he took on his wedding night of his bride fellating him.

At the beginning of the month, I drove through Sleeping Giant Provincial Park on the north shore of Lake Superior & hiked the shortest trail I could find, Ravine Lake Trail. Still off-season, the place was empty. Once I got into the ravine, I decided to take a selfie. Did I mention that I was alone? I set up the camera on the tripod, took the remote and leaned against a mossy rock. Good enough, I thought, and went on my way. Not until I got home and started processing my photos did I realize that I’d been standing there with my fly wide open. If I’d been Araki, I would at least have exposed myself (photographic pun intended).

Selfie on the Ravine Lake Trail, Sleeping Giant Prov'l Park.

Selfie on the Ravine Lake Trail, Sleeping Giant Prov’l Park.


The trail to Ravine Lake.

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Times Square – Mecca of Cheese

All the tourists go to Times Square in search of the real New York. What they find is each other … and people hustling them (which may, in fact, be the real New York).


They’ll hustle you for your money, or your soul … probably both.


Proselytism can be an aggressive sport.


The Naked Cowboy sings with a cheesy sincerity.


Like vampires, all the tourists come out at night.


There’s a calm that settles over Times Square in the morning.

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Street Photography in NYC – Money

This is related to my previous post about “commerce on the ground” only, in this post, the money is more obvious.


Cigar-smoking inflatable rat holding money bag.


Vendor examining a bill.


Princess in Times Square counting his cash.


Patriotic lady holding a wad of cash in Times Square.

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Young & Full of Beans

Remember that scene from Unforgiven when Will & Ned are talking by the fire about the old days when they were outlaws? Will is a puzzle, even to himself, because he usually killed for no particular reason at all. Then Ned (Morgan Freeman) comes out with his “we was young and full of beans” line. Referencing that scene has nothing to do with anything, but what the hey! I dedicate this post to street shots of the young and full of beans.


Pulling a suitcase up Yonge Street.


Maybe literally full of beans?


Skateboarding past OCAD.

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Bullet Proof Vest at an Art Show

So Saturday we’re driving down Highway 27 from Haines City towards the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at the corner of Thompson Nursery Rd. It’s 32 degrees Celsius which is a far cry from the sub-freezing temperatures we left behind in Toronto. We pass a sign advertising a gun show this weekend. Hey, I’ve never been to a gun show before; I bet we’d meet some interesting people there. Tamiko frowns at me and we keep driving. Meanwhile, the news is overrun by pundits debating the local hot-button topic — college students packing sidearms on campus. Clearly, we ain’t in Canada anymore (though if PM Harper had his way, Cda would look a whole lot more like Fla).

On Sunday, instead of a gun show, we go to a massive outdoor art show in Winter Park which is kind of like a suburb of Orlando the same way Thornhill is kind of like a suburb of Toronto. Did I mention it’s 32 degrees Celsius? I don’t say that just to rub northern noses in it. I say that to underscore the fact that it’s awfully hot to be wearing a black bullet proof vest. And yet a bullet proof vest is exactly what I see some old guy wearing at the art show.


We’re not talking about some private security personnel strolling the grounds to ensure public safety; we’re talking about an ordinary guy out with his wife, wandering from booth to booth checking out the sculptures and paintings. When I first see him, I rub my eyes in (naïve Canadian) disbelief. I start to stalk him. Then, naturally, I shoot him. There may be such a thing as a bullet proof vest, but, so far as I’m aware, there’s no such thing yet as a photo proof vest.


A few things occur to me. First, this must be uncomfortable, especially in this heat. Second, this is an art show. I mean, really, what’s he afraid of? Getting caught in the cross-fire between rival landscape painters? Third, I wonder at what point fear becomes, not paranoia, but self-parody. Yet there’s a whole personal security industry down here that encourages people to engage in this self-parody.

As an after-note, I don’t know how to categorize this post. I have categories based on body parts. Heart, Elbow, Head, Spleen, and Hands. i.e. Emotional, Funny, Intellectual, Angry, and Technical. My first impulse is to categorize this as a spleen post. It makes me angry that people can be enticed to be so fearful. But I think I’ll stick it in the elbow category. It’s sadly funny that a grown man can be tricked into believing that his life is in danger at an art show. Or maybe he’s one of the exhibits. A piece of performance art.

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Canadian Drinking Fountains

In the middle of winter, public drinking fountains are pretty much useless.


Forget about a drink of water in Nathan Phillips Square.


The Brickworks drinking fountain is dry … or at least chilly.


Drinking fountain in Barbara Hall Park.

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My Perviest Photo

At Parliament & Mill Street, at the northwest corner of the distillery district, there’s a wedge-shaped building, and right at the pointy corner of the wedge is a lighting store, and on display in that lighting store is (or was) a mushroom-shaped lamp.


The mushroom-shaped lamp inspired me to take pervy photos. I stood on one side of the wedge, with the lamp in the foreskin, I mean, foreground, and waited for people to pass in front of the far window.

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Retail Lurking

Sometimes I wonder what the mannikins think of us as we walk by their windows. I’ve tried to put myself in their position (to empathize, if you like), but store clerks don’t like when I do that.

Calvin Klein mannikins

If a mannikin is young, shouldn’t we call it a kiddikin?

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Koala Beavers invade Toronto

Koala Beavers have taken over from the Love Bots as the latest invasion in Toronto. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that there are lots of them scurrying around underfoot. They even have their own web site. A whois search reveals that the site was registered 2013-04-08 and the registrant has an address in (surprise, surprise) Australia. Which, I guess, makes this a foreign invasion?


Some of them are more genetically confused than others. This one looks more like a koala duck:

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Dada Is Alive and Well

It’s good to see that Dadaism is thriving at construction sites in downtown Toronto. I call it Canadada:

dada is alive

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