Burt Shavitz, Dead at 80


So, Burt Shavitz died at 80. Another photographer dead, before I could talk with him. I’d like to know what he saw, why he shot what he shot and why he gave it up. I will have to settle for the movie, Burt’s Buzz. And Burt, he probably would not have been too much fun to talk with, even though he was a great man with a big personality who chafed at uniformity and changed the world.

Me. I turned 68 today. I’m alive and well. Couldn’t be happier, as my past drifts farther and farther into the long ago. My wife loves me. Don’t need much more than that.


Who’s Burt? He’s the guy on the box, at least partially. Everyone knows Burt, from his face. But before he made lip balm and other holistic products, he was a photographer who shot the Civil Rights movement, in addition to the street. Another one of those Jewish guys with the photojournalist gene who left the world better than he found it.

Tired of the rigamarole, he moved to Maine, raised some bees and made cosmetics which could be sold to hippies in health food stores. He cared about the environment and hated hypocrisy. Died rich, despite not needing money. He had land and a family. Me, I got no family, except for Sharon and her relatives. Failed living in the Northern New England way. I have toys to play with and a place to live. Still have some friends, though even though they aren’t close by. Now, I just need to be healthy.


Paris Jews on the Mend – #2

Pere La Chaise Statue-3

Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris has several areas honoring Jewish dead. The French didn’t do enough to save Jews when the Nazis invaded. Selfish and self-absorbed, some helped load the trains headed to the death chambers. Somber as it may seem, this sculpture of a death procession reminds us, “never again.”

So, what does this have to do with today, DuckToday? I am sad and depressed about the killings in Charleston. A friend brushed it off saying that had there been a Temple near-by, Jews would have been killed. To me, that avoided the point. Racism and anti-semitism, while rooted in hatred, irrational hatred, aren’t the same things. Hey, we were all slaves! But to hate because of the color of one’s skin, thinking one person is better than another, that their bloods shouldn’t be mixed, that they don’t deserve a place on the planet, in the valley of human kind, that is unfathonable.

I mourn the 6,000,000 as much as I mourn the 9 who died needlessly. Acts of terrorism, both, man’s hatred of his fellow man never abates. Very sad.

City Hall Park Art

Larry Glen and Kevin couldn’t decide if the pieces which look like furniture were art. They had no trouble deciding that, on this cold day, it wasn’t a good idea to sit on either the sofa or the chair. Both are made of metal and it was 5 degrees.

I mean, what is art? The chair image ain’t the chair; it represents the chair, lacks the function of the chair, has its design, but it ain’t real. It must be art, eh? Too cold, though to talk with these connoisseurs about the topic. It was too cold to even have a camera; I shot with Canon S90, which I kept in my pocket where it fogged up.

Kevin came from Barre. “Don’t drink the water there,” I was told when we came to VT. He has stage 5 colon cancer. In town to go to the doctor and see his social worker, he hopes that Make a Wish will send him to Japan for his last fling to see amime and the life there. He don’t care about cold. He’s still alive. Go live, my man. You have courage.


Larry and Matt Sweet have a tent. No way these guys do the shelter thing; too many rules. Know how to camp in the tent. Keep out the drafts and cold air.

Joe knows some kids, maybe college kids, who let him sleep in a utility room. They give him beer, pot, and food. He offered me some of his pina colada. Not exactly a drink I would drink, assuming I would drink in the park on a day like this, even if I were thirsty or going through withdrawl. I associate pina coladas with warm weather and tropical breezes, not sub arctic cold.

Connor and Country. I cannot be sure. They were looking for someone or something, they thought.

Keith came out for tobacco. I could not see coming out for something to smoke. A hospital appointment, sure; you got nowhere to go or you don’t know where you are, sure; but tobacco …. What a country. We all get a vote, too.

Damn, it was cold. And the cold doesn’t usually bother me. Tomorrow, colder. Joe said only the really hard core would be out tomorrow. We will see.