Heavy Reading: Too Fat to Fly [Audio]

Heavy Reading

Books are just too fat.

I usually go to a bookstore before I head off on a long flight, even though, except at airports, they are bit hard to find these days. My nostalgic favorite is a century-old shop in San Francisco with so many volumes on the second floor that I always feared it would collapse and I would perish under several tons of weighty words. When my kids were small we did family outings there where we disappeared into the stacks and our own private universes.

I paid a visit a few weeks ago, wanting to finally take the plunge into Christopher Hitchens’ briar patch of lush verbosity Arguably. But I picked it up off the display table and muttered “uh-oh.”

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Moving to Wine Country: Sonoma, California

Lif eIn A Tourist Town: Sonoma, California

After spending most of my life as either a city dweller or a mountain hermit, I have now opted for the in-between, the idyl of small town life in a tourist destination in California’s Wine Country. I have moved to the middle of a city block. There are houses to the right of me, houses to the left: a retired car dealer, a widow, a forty-something executive couple, a retired diplomat, a few clowns and jokers, notably a gang of 20-somethings that parties every weekend night until someone throws up and guests roar off on their motorcycles. There is a local radio station that mixes small town news with “hey dude” commentary about the 70s drug and rock scene. Recently the local newspaper featured a story about an encounter between a vehicle and a very large sow.

Over the past 20 years or so, Sonoma, California has gained the status of “tourist town.”

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Photography As Theater – Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008

Vanity Fair Photos

Most travel photographers work casually, keeping an eye out for the serendipitous or waiting for a mashup of subject, action and light in one magic “aha!” moment. Unlike Disney, I have never chased lemmings over a cliff or like Geographic, lit a cave with a thousand flashbulbs. My highest level of management is usually simply waiting for something to happen: for the light to change color and move across a landscape, or two tots on a teeter totter to teeter just right (the fat kid on top and the skinny on the bottom). Sometimes I anticipate a moment and prepare for it, rushing in front of an oxcart so it will line up perfectly with a temple when it passes by.

Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art  illustrates a different kind of art: photography as theater.

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