December 26, 2014


"Baum + Whiteman sees a big future for this mouthful of a concept, which it describes as 'how our senses cumulatively react to food'.”

December 18, 2014

Above the mandala on the floor, is the sky.

National Museum of the American Indian,
Washington, D.C., 12/13/14,
FujiFilm X100S, B&W, 180° panorama mode
(click image for full-screen).

December 6, 2014

"... the essence of the thing ..."

"To become some other thing, you have to not be that thing in the first place, and, if you are that thing, then it is hard for you to really believe that anyone else can become it, since the essence of the thing is having been it all along."

-from The View from a Bridge by Adam Gopnik in this week's issue of the New Yorker.

October 30, 2014

Heraclitus, revisited. (Or, sorry I haven't written lately; what's been happening this month?)

I've written recently about Heraclitus, and my goal of taking photos of Bucky that are distinct.

Sometimes, though, like when he stands in the window-light at the top of the stairs and looks into my portrait lens, images from different days can be pretty damn similar:

(19 October 2014)
(27 October 2014)

So, it was nice to get a chance (at bedtime) to snap a shot that is different:

(25 October 2014)

Thanks, Bucky.

(Click on any image for full-screen.)

October 3, 2014

Cubist, but operational.

Last night, a train pulled into the Forest Glen Metro station just as I was rotating my iPhone to take a 180-degree "panoramic" photograph of the platform:

Here's a closeup of the train:

I boarded that train and can report that in spite of its shattered appearance, it ran just fine.

Okay, one more crop:

(Click any image for full-screen view.)

September 12, 2014

"...close to music..."

"The true content of a photograph is invisible, for it derives from a play, not with form, but with time. One might argue that photography is as close to music as to painting."

- John Berger, from "Understanding a Photograph" (1968).

Bucky, December 2010. (Click image for full-screen.)

September 4, 2014

September 2, 2014


I am a biophysicist who is married to a biochemist.

A biophysicist is someone who knows less about physics than a physicist, and less about biology than a biologist.

A biochemist, on the other hand, is someone who knows everything.

September 1, 2014


(seen this morning in Rock Creek Park)

August 23, 2014

The Bucky Variations*.

Heraclitus said that "Everything changes and ... you cannot step twice into the same stream."

If, however, you take several photographs of the same stream – or dog – they may not look all that different.

But what if you use different lenses?

Here is Bucky standing at the top of the stairs, as seen through three different lenses** (click any image for full-screen):

Fuji X100S***, 5/28/14.
Nikkor 105 mm f/2 "defocus control" lens****, 8/9/14
Lensbaby LM-10*****, 8/12/14.

And there you have it: Three different views of Bucky at the top of the stairs.

I admit that these may not reflect three different ways of being, a la Heraclitus, but instead may depict three different ways of seeing, a la John Berger. But, for most of us, ways of seeing are ways of being. And, as for me, I am grateful to Bucky, who has taught me new ways of being, and of seeing.

        *  With footnotes.
     **   And cameras.
   ***   Built-in 23 mm f/2 lens (35 mm equivalent focal length = 35 mm).
 ****  On a full-frame Nikon digital SLR.
***** On an iPhone.

August 19, 2014

August 12, 2014

Sun, & Autumn.

Two analogies from the Mountain Goats:

"...the sun peeks in like a killer through the curtain..."
-from "The First Few Desperate Hours" from the album "Tallahassee" (2002).

"...Autumn came around like a drifter to an on-ramp..."
-from "In the Hidden Places" from the album "Get Lonely" (2006).

August 8, 2014

Late-Summer Dog-Blogging!

Bucky, yesterday morning. Click image for full-screen.

August 7, 2014

"... you often saw them lying open on the sofa…"

"Their house had real hardcover books in it, and you often saw them lying open on the sofa, the words still warm from being read."

-from "Loggerheads" by David Sedaris, from his 2013 collection "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls: Essays, Etc."

August 2, 2014

Every garden should have one!

Sentinel hummingbird, backyard, 7/30/14.
Click image for full-screen.

August 1, 2014

Down-in-Florida Summertime Flower-Blogging!

Hibiscus in Palm Isles, 7/26/14.
Fuji X100S, f/8, macro mode, Velvia film simulation.
Click image for full-screen.

July 31, 2014

July 30, 2014

A pair of pairs.

We get most of our vegetables from the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative.

(Photos: July 10th; click image for full-screen.)

July 29, 2014

July 28, 2014

“This is the only reality there is.”

“Everyone has his own reality in which, if one is not too cautious, timid or frightened, one swims. This is the only reality there is.”

-Henry Miller, from Stand Still Like the Hummingbird (1962)

(photos: backyard, July 18th; click image for full-screen)

April 24, 2014

March 25, 2014

"As far as I could tell, I didn't mind…"

"As far as I could tell, I didn't mind the way the date turned out, though I started crying the next day in my car on the way to the drive-in bank."

- from "The Professor" by Lydia Davis.

March 23, 2014

"…the pictures come to you one by one and you look at them, some of them last longer than others…"

"I'm beginning to lose it, you're afraid of how weak you are, that you can't get her all back into you again and now the whole thing is going out of your body and it's more in your mind than your body, the pictures come to you one by one and you look at them, some of them last longer than others, you were together in a very white clean place, a coffee house, having breakfast together, and the place is so white that against it you can see her clearly, her blue eyes, her smile the colors of her clothes, even the print of the newspaper she's reading when she's not looking up at you, the light brown and red and gold of her hair when she's got her had down reading, the brown coffee, the brown rolls, all against that white table and those white plates and silver urns and silver knives and spoons, and against that quiet of the sleepy people in that room sitting alone at their tables with just come chinking and clattering off spoons and cups in saucers and some hushed voices her voice now and then rising and falling."

-from "Break It Down" by Lydia Davis.

March 22, 2014

"…her eyes seemed to her to be wide open behind the closed lids…"

"She thought about the opening and closing of her eyes: that the lids lifted to reveal a scene in all its depth and light and dark that had been there all along unseen by her, nothing to her since she did not see it, and then dropped again and made all that scene unseen again, and could anytime lift and show it and anytime close and hide it, though often, lying sleepless, her eye shut, she was so alert, so racing ahead with what she was thinking, that her eyes seemed to her to be wide open behind the closed lids, bugged, glassy, staring, though staring out only into the dark back of the closed lids."

-from "Liminal: The Little Man" by Lydia Davis.

February 14, 2014

"What a deal of cold business…" [Snowy Valentine's Day Repost!]

"What a deal of cold business doth a man misspend the better part of life in! In scattering compliments, tendering visits, gathering and venting news, following feasts and plays, making a little winter-love in a dark corner."
-from Ben Jonson's Timber, 1640 (p. 5 of the 1892 edition, ed. Schelling).

[reposted from June, 2010]

February 5, 2014

Ice-Storm Indoor Dog-Blogging!

Bucky at the top of the stairs. (Click image for full-screen.)

January 31, 2014

Have you ever looked _down_ on one?

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth."
– Genesis 9:13

On Tuesday, while flying over the Atlantic, I looked down at a rainbow:

(iPhone photo; click image for full-screen)

January 19, 2014

Under the influence.

Heraclitus said that you can't step into the same river twice, but sometimes I wondered whether I was photographing the same dog twice, thrice, and more.

I like to photograph Bucky. Sometimes, though, I found that I would take a photograph of him, and it would look very familiar:


(Click any image for full-screen.)

Old dog, new photo. If you photograph the same dog, repeatedly, how different can any new photo be...?

Last weekend, I visited the Yousuf Karsh exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (USA). In spite of my familiarity with some of Karsh's truly iconic images (his portraits of Churchill & Hemingway, for instance), looking at his prints moved me. Wow. What exquisite compositions! What use of light - and darkness - to frame, and to highlight!

After visiting the exhibition, I took these two photos (click any image for full-screen), indoors, by available window-light; I think they are different from all my earlier photos of Bucky:

Thank you, Mr. Karsh!

And thank you, Bucky.

January 5, 2014

Such ugliness should be an opt-in, not a secret vice. (An open letter.) [Puzzling color corruption in uploaded images turns out to be Google "auto-enhancement."]

Dear Google, please consider making the "auto-enhancement" of uploaded images an opt-in choice, rather than a hidden default.

I like your picasaweb cloud-based photo-hosting service, which I've been using for years. Recently, though, I discovered that I had a problem: newly uploaded photos had corrupt colors. Ugh. I tried deleting and repeating; same problem. What could the issue be? Was this a color management problem for which I was somehow responsible? Actually, no. Turns out, it was something that you, Google, see as a feature.

A few months ago, I found that it was necessary to upgrade my Google account to a "Google plus membership," in order to attend a meeting via a "Google plus video hangout." So, I did. Turns out that you processed all my image uploads thereafter using a feature that you, Google, call "image auto-enhance." Those bad colors were your idea of "enhancement:"



I've now cancelled the "enhancement" of those photos (individually, as you gave me no way to do so en masse; I was relieved that I did not have to re-upload everything). And I've also turned off the "auto-enhancement" of newly uploaded photos, going forwards.

In general, I do not alter my photographs. Light goes through a lens, and hits a sensor, and electrons get happy, and a file is written; that is what I want to see. How dare you, Google, presume that you should "auto-enhance" any image that I entrust to you for storage? And how dare you, Google, presume to do so without even telling me?

In closing: Dear Google, without mentioning that you would modify the images I uploaded, you made them ugly. I've fixed this issue with respect to my own image uploads. I respectfully suggest that in order to spare other people similar ugliness, confusion, and delay, that you please make image "auto-enhance" an opt-in choice, rather than a hidden default.

Jim Pekar
Kensington, Maryland, USA

January 1, 2014

Cooking with NeuroCooking 2!

Last year's Cooking with NeuroCooking was so popular that we are updating it with this season's best new dishes. And wishing you, dear readers, a new year filled with good fun, great food, and healthy brains and bodies!

Here are some of the tasty recipes we enjoyed this holiday:

Banana Rum Cream Pie
Basic Spaetzle
Cricket Ball
Dan Barber's Braised Short Ribs
Kale Salad with Kabocha Squash, Pomegranate Seeds & Toasted Hazelnuts
New York Sour
Pomegranate Roast Lamb
Porcini & Rosemary Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Sauce
Va Va Rouge


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