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Thursday, March 18, 2004

Added a new image spot on the home page, working under the assumption that this is really like publishing a daily newspaper.  I guess I have a circulation approaching that of a small town paper of about 1500 per day with an average time spent of about 8 minutes.  Maybe I should add some other newspaper features such as a daily word jumble and a crossword puzzle, not to mention comics.

And sales picked up considerably during the last week.  I have no idea why.  They come and go like asteroids, which I heard there's one headed towards us.  My friend, Andy wrote a song about how we were going to be destroyed by an asteroid call the The Farewell Ball to some dirge type music I wrote  which is pretty funny, but I don't see it climbing the charts.

"Good-bye old friend, well soon be witnessing the very end
Sky will fall, there wont be any sorta warning at all
Well catch on fire, and almost everything will soon expire
Well all be dressed up in our black attire, at the farewell ball." Copyright Andy & Dave

If you want to hear a messy version without vocals here you go: Farewell Ball

6:30:56 PM    

I awaken from a Kafkaesque nightmare which goes something like this: I'm in a hospital talking to an officious clerk who is telling me that the operation has gone fine and that I should go home and wait for Doctor Blank to call me. Who, I ask is Doctor Blank? Dr. Blank, he says, between other phone calls, will be in touch with you. He's your doctor.

No he's not. I never heard of any Dr. Blank.

Then he asks, are you -- some name that I never heard of?

No, I say. That's not me.

Now he stops what he's doing, and looks through some paperwork, but he insists that the operation went fine.

Again, I ask -- what operation? What went fine?

He looks through his paperwork, but he's not sure. Well, he finally says, I'm about to go on my lunch break. How'd you like to come along with me to Coney Island and we'll see if we can get this whole thing straightened out.

So we go and eat at Nathans, or some place like that and he is asking me what the last thing I remember was and I'm telling him I remember drinking a lot of water and getting my system flushed out and that the next thing I remember I was waking up in a little dark room. I found my clothes and came out to the desk to see him and that was all I remembered.

Very strange, he says. Probably some mix-up with your social number. Anyway, hold up -- there's my very good friend Tom Hanks.

Tommy, he yells, how the hell are you?

And it is Tom Hanks. He comes by, shakes hands with the clerk, and then moves on.

The clerk tells me that Hanks is in this new movie, Ladykillers. Maybe we should go.

I'm wondering -- that's a remake of an old Alec Guinness movie -- British -- pretty good movie. I ask the clerk why did they make it again?

He tells me that they made some substantial changes to it.

Anyway, as dreams go, the next thing I know I'm in a movie theatre, but it is one of those theatres where they project holographs around, and there is this larger than life size Tom Hanks, somewhat transparent, standing next to me.

Oh, I think. That's the new gimmick. Pretty good. The characters are all out floating around the audience.

I reach out my hand to touch him and surprisingly, he's solid, and he looks down at me and says, "careful kid, I'm trying to concentrate here."

You're just a projection, aren't you?

Under his breath he says, I'm a projection, but of the real thing. They project me all over the place, but this is a live performance. Pretty weird, he concludes but you gotta go with the flow...

At which point, thankfully, the cat jumps up -- purrs loudly and I wake up. I go to the pc to check my mail and find the following email:

Hi Mr. Beckerman!
My name is J. and I am a photography student in high school. We each have to do extensive research on the photographer of our choice and present it on April 5th. After much searching, I have decided to do my presentation on you, if you don't mind. Anyways, I was wondering if you could answer some questions for me. First, I was wondering if you could just give me background information on yourself. (i.e. parents, their jobs, how it was like growing up when and where you did, birthday and place...etc...) Next, I would like you to answer the following quetions:

1. What sparked your interest in photography?
2. How long have you been taking pictures for?
3. What do you think your style is and how long did it take you to figure it out?
4. What are your favorite things to photograph?
5. Do you do a lot of digital altering with your pictures?
6. When you first started out, was there a certain photographer that you looked up to?
7. If you could convey a particular message through your pictures, what would it be and why?
8. What advice you would give to amateur photographers?
9. Are there any other techniques besides digital altering that you do?
10. In the picture of the cat with gauze, did you cover your lens with gauze?

I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. I need to type a full page on you, so any other information you would like to give me that you think would be relevant to my project would be great. Thank you so much!


To which I respond:

Sorry Jessie,

I'm not doing the interviews anymore. I get about ten of these in a row from high school and college students around this time of year. Most of what you want to know is on the site.

Click here and you can read my bio, and various articles about what I do and why?

The one thing you won't find is the technique for the picture of the cat... No gauze on the lens, I was simply shooting the cat who was sitting behind a curtain.

Best regards,


I jot all this down in the journal -- thinking it might all mean something -- and then go back to sleep. But what it means is that a)

I probably wouldn't be much good as a high school teacher and

b) I'm thinking of that John Houseman line: You come here with a brain full of mush and you go out thinking like lawyers.

But as I'm falling asleep I'm thinking: "You go in with a brain full of mush, and we take away any imagination you ever had."

And really, when you think about it, isn't it man's imagination that separates him from the rest of the natural world? I know, they say it was the opposing thumb. Or the brainpan. But what it all adds up to his man has been able, unlike most other animals, to alter the natural world, with his imagination. And this is what we are so quick to kill off in the schools. I can work with kids who are 8 or 10 because they still have that spark, at least some of them do, of wonder. But by the time they're in the 5th grade, everything is about giving the so-called correct answer and then playing video games or something...

And speaking of schooling -- how about a program called No Parent Left Behind where parents are rewarded for reading to their kids?  And how about, instead of crazy nuts taking off their clothes during the superbowl, we have a march of parents who have read stories to their children at half-time, and a ticket bonanza of some kind where the 10,000 parents who have signed up for the Read to your Kids program get good seats at the superbowl, or some other award program.

It's just that -- everything is put on the teachers.  My grandmother, who spoke little or no English when she arrived here, was still taking English classes at night school when she was in her 70's.  When I would visit her, she would show me little essays she had written in her shakey handwriting, proud of what she had accomplished.

4:17:53 AM