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Life Is Always Where We Are

Archive for July 2012

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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By the time I recognize this moment, This moment will be gone

But I will bend the light, pretend that it somehow lingered on. Well all I got'sOoh ooh ooh ooh

I'm not swimming with the sharks in New York City, I am keeping  company with the  glaciers in Juneau, The rain, the cold and the glaciers together are able to take every bit of conceit out of me, reducing  my  digital narcissism  to zero.  My analog eyes don’t see our digital world.  Internet or InterNOT? Traveling in places with out electricity are not voyages of discovery, but rituals of reassurance. The wilderness is therapy. God's only voice is nature--- Mother Nature, unconditional, indiscriminate and unbridled love for anyone who arrives here. This is my 2nd week  in a row up here- enough time to be under and within  the influence  of this river of ice that slowly moves its way into the bay, breaking off chunks of ice the size of SUV's.  Quinn The Eskimo, Dylan's song  personifies the inside passage.Traveling is a Life Sentence--We yearn for journeys like prisoners dream of rooms without bars. And we all want time off for good behavior, which we get in a place like now.




I worry, I weigh three times my body
I worry, I throw my fear around 
But this morning, there's a calm I can't explain
The rock candy's melted, only diamonds now remain



- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Being There

Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs.

Nature's living mirror, however is water---whether still or in motion,The most beautiful landscapes are to the nth degree exponentially better with it. 

See the World. Fly Pan Am in search of what you need and return home,North to the future, a land of promise, to find it.The geography of bliss is Alaska, and it's weather. A change in it is enough to reboot the world and ourselves.11,623 Eskimos Can't be Wrong.

  


Good luck and Good work for the happy mountain raindrops,each one of them a high waterfall in itself, descending from the cliffsand hollows of the clouds to the cliffs and hollows of the rocks,out of the sky-thunder into the thunder of the falling riversJohn Muir

As long as I live,I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing.I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood,storm, and the avalanche.I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens,and get as near the heart of the world as I can.John Muir







- - -- by Ed Reif»
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No such thing as good weather here only good clothing!



I find myself in the perpetual company of people who love the rain and love to laugh about it. This may be my definition of true happiness.

It's the locals,some emos, who just get wet,others, poets, who go dancing in the rain, hoping to be struck by lightning.  Chaplin liked to walk in the rain because nobody could see his tears. I don't cry, like the Charlie  because it's over. I smile, like the Big Kahuna because it happened.
To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one's own in the midst of abundance.


Carpe Diem means Fish of the day  8/2011
Last August in Ketchikan

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Marjorie Glacier is one of the most photogenic glaciers in
Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. I had the good fortune to be there today
None of these landscapes are ugly because they are natural and wild! 


I learn about geography by traveling by cruise ship; geology, the day after a  huge event-- They  take place  every day somewhere around the planet--- earthquakes, hurricanes, even glaciers move. 


When I attempt  to pick out anything by itself in Alaska , I find it connected to everything else in the Universe, yet I feel my smallness because of its vastness. The wilderness is therapy: Only by going alone in silence, without baggage and buffets,could I  truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other traveling, including on this ship, is Karaoke traveling-a cheap imitation. But it's still worth doing. I can hear the ice sheet-music of the glacier calving and  the music of the bay  written in ice river lines.

..


Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean-John MUir


Are We Clear? Crystal





- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Heavy Traffic Without The Road Rage
Neil Young sang a song a song in the 70's  about Mother Nature abandoning  the pillaged planet, and going in search of a new beginning ("silver seed"). The Caribbean  is now off-season,  tourists board cruiseships to find a new place to colonize,(or inhabit for 8 hours) called Alaska.
Rust never sleeps.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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I can't English this right now-Speechless
A marvel of nature which lies 2,000 feet above historic downtown Juneau, the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Icefield is the fifth largest icefield in North America. Extending from Taku Inlet to Skagway, the icefield is the birthing ground of 38 major glaciers, including Juneau's Mendenhall Glacier. The icefield is estimated to be around 3,000 years old, but it is in a constant state of renewal and retreat depending on each year's dosage of snow. 

When trying to describe the initial human response to seeing and experiencing the Juneau Icefield, Capt. Eugene Cernan, the last astronaut to walk on the moon, recalled his pre-lunar training experience near Juneau. Apparently NASA chose the icefield as one of the places on Earth that "captured the emotional sensations that one might encounter while walking on the moon." The expansive views, the stark beauty, and the harshness of the ice and rock would have you agreeing with them.  .traveljuneau.com







- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Give me you pale, your pasty and your King-Crab-Salmon-lacking 
masses-at Princess Cruises.

After Monday and Tuesday, all that's left in the Pacific Northwest  is W T F, eh? From the excessively hot weather in NYC, I saw a heat wave, and now I am waving back, here in the cool crispy air.Clothes are vintage, bohemian, and flannel hipster. 
Although, I have embraced my baldness without compromise, The Drudge Rule (Bald men who constantly wear hats to hide baldness) is in effect. I lost my  Marmot Precip(itation)  hat in transit- Now more tan lines but  Now I'm  gonna rust! until I get to a store.  Male Pattern Madness!
Looking forward to a great season up here in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, with or without wearing a baseball cap, although I seldom took it off in  the  2011 season:


Last Summer


Pacific Northwest-I Have Reservations

Doing some eco-tourism in Washington State and meeting people that work for Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon ,those bio tech firms and of course Starbucks.But I would have really liked to talk story with Chief Seattle.Here is his take on real estate. It is not just location, location, location:"Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people." 
"Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth. This we know: the earth does not belong to us but man to the earth.
All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself"

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Denali is not a river in Egypt. It's an ocean of mountains in Alaska.
 Headed there in a few days 
I go to Alaska  to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. I spent last Summer there and am glad to return. It is very difficult to generalize. Everyone's adventure is original. Yet the clearest way into the Universe is through a  Pacific NorthWest and Alaska forest wilderness.  The wildlife, rugged  and awe-inspiring natural wonders I missed last time because of  ( land)work in Ketchikan, are actually on my  cruise itinerary---Juneau, Skagway,  and Glacier Bay.






When you visit  America  you get a ticket to the freak show. When you visit Alaska, you get a front row seat.


"Alaska is a nice place, but it can kill you if you're not careful" was the first words I heard from a  Salmon-Halibut -fishing Boat Captain, when I docked in Ketchikan. 


"One of the most deadliest places to work that's for sure, Alaska is" Yoda ---Just channel surf through reality TV's-Alaska State Troopers, Flying Wild Alaska, Gold Rush Alaska, Ice Road Truckers, Alaska Wild Men (Mini-Series),The Toughest Race on Earth: Iditarod and my personal favorite, Deadliest Catch. These-Gold minin':,Gun totin', Bar fightin', Bear fearin', Beard sportin' and Brain dead characters  are the real wildlife because they have such a wild life!




- - -- by Ed Reif»
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To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower
, Hold 
infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.
Greenwich Village's Golden Age and of the artists, rebels, and eccentrics who make the Village a cultural phenomenon are still present, even on a rainy night Cowboy Sherpa and Sand Painting Artist Joe Mangrum does the heavy lifting.

In the tradition of Tantric Buddhism, painting with colored sand ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. These  "mandala of colored powders." are made with millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks.



Joe
From Russia With Love Students say Good bye
Lesson Impossible-The Italians  Arrive!

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- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Emigrants or Immigrants
huddled masses
I came to America last week as an expat. You know, on a Disney cruise ship, through the Statue of Liberty. And I saw that skyline, not just as a representation of steel and concrete and glass, but as really the bedrock  of the American Dream.
It has  become the statue of my personal liberty. We don't call it the statue of immigration, we call it the statue of liberty. Lady Liberty is stepping forward. She is meant to be carrying the torch of liberty from the USA to the rest of the world. 






With Steve Mars In NYC Today
Empire State of Mind


Jay Z expresses  his personal feelings about  everyday life in NYC.


Statue of Liberty, long live the World Trade
Long live the Kingdome, I'm from the Empire St. that's New York


The black and white opening slide show captures the the upper-crust  landmarks that make Manhattan famous, a far cry from the Marcy Projects that he once rapped about, but more or less expected from the self-described new Sinatra.


 Roll Video:

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Le plus grand faible des hommes, c'est l'amour qu'ils ont de la vie. 
Man's greatest weakness is his love of life. 
Molière.


It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter, Yet, Charles de Gaulle was right, How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese? A group photo was the best solution.Things went smoothly today at Ground Zero with my French English language learner students, thanks to that wonderful GPS system called a cell phone, with homage to text messaging. I managed to wrangle everyone accross and back from the Brooklyn Bridge.Everyone has a photographic memory, but not everyone has film. Who needs film when you have digital.
Brooklyn-A Bridge To Far

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Picasso Paid Them To Leave 
One belongs to New York instantly,one belongs to it as much in 10 minutes as in 10 years I grew up young wanting to leave it, and I am growing old wanting to get back to it. But you cant't go home.(again).The future just ain't what it used to be.

Nobody walks in L.A. but  getting around by subway in NYC is no longer a  pain in the English, since I can ask for directions in almost any language now, and I did, especially in Spanglish.

The Underground is not  some political movement.It's public transpo. "Going to the city" by subway
from Long Island, I can see the resentment and fatigue in the faces of commuters, of the speed  and success of those living in the city successfully.Yesterday there was a sense of togetherness on the train---one guy wanted to share my pants

I caught the M train to MOMA today, and stopped by ST Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center and Hearld Sq today.

The  Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, I felt like a thing from another tax bracket, after all aren't these galleries just cemetery of tax-deductible wealth. Nevertheless, I was stopped cold by the rough beauty and emotional color of Van Gogh's Starry Night. He himself said, A good picture is equivalent to a good deed.   Andrew Wyeth's Magic Realism of Christina's World, and his  everyday farmville scene is saturated  with poetic mystery and  indeed a good one.


Christina's World is a 1948 painting by American painter Andrew Wyeth, and one of the best-known American paintings of the middle 20th century.  This was the first picture that spoke to me almost 25 years ago.The woman crawling through the tawny grass was the artist's neighbor in Maine, who, crippled by polio, "was limited physically but by no means spiritually.".




These art students are a pain in the English!


I met  a guy named Art. I took  him to a museum, hung him on the wall, criticized him, and left. 

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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This  private island in the Bahamas, is a Disney Cruise Line port of call. In answer to the question: "When Is The Copy Better Than The Original?" This would be it.


I am not talking about staged authenticity, like my visit to Papette TahitiMost designers spend their time creating shopping malls. Re-creating the island paradise, however,  is admirable.


Once  used as a stop for  drug smugglers.Think “Snow White” or “White Snow” . There is an airstrip on the island, but it is no longer in regular use nor maintained (I shot some video below) .It's unusual isolation becomes, in its own way, a paradise-somewhere in the Bahamas..


It is not Gilligan's Island but it has also been used for filming; the beach where Tom Hanks first encounters Daryl Hannah in Splash is on the island.If youw ant to read more about the islands checkered and colorful past, here is the link.



Papeete-PolYNesian Disneyland and The Audacity of hYpe
Travels In Hyper Reality-Tahitian Choreo-Musical Performances

Moorea in the distance

Outriggers-
One thing for sure, they all came by boat. So did I!
Reprint from World Cruise 2011 With less than 24 hours in port, the locals and locale  are living up to their sterotypes---the Tiki style roofs, the tropical gardens and swaying palm trees, and more than that, there is still the visual sovenier that, like the Postman, always delivers: The   beautiful  exotic Tahitian Princess with their down-to-the knees long raven hair ---hand-weaving leis  effortless, while wraping themselves  in water-colored flowered sarongs, in the post colonial suburb of Paris, known as modern day Papeete. As the  ukulele soundtrack in the background  is playing , I feel like I am on safari-- Polynesia cannot escape being a human zoo seeking to contain the lives of its star attraction--its 'first'and native  people.

It's A Small World After All
Marketing the definitive view of paradise

Playing the game of staged authenticity in the tourist themed spaces of Tahiti, while it is not the Mcdonald-ization of the South Pacific, it is playing more like a Disney animated feature film----Staged Authenticity! I feel even weird participating in the rituals of sightseeing and taking pictures--Even at the Gaugain Musuem, the pictures are fakes (They can't afford to preserve and curate the orginals). I have seen most of them around the world, mostly at the Hermitage in St Petersburg Russia of all places. But anyway the copies are better thant he orgininals!
The hyperreal world is the world of ‘the Absolute Fake’ where imitations do not only reproduce reality, but try improving it. The French artist Gauguin's  obsession with French Polynesia is still  working!!

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