Trees at Walden Pond, Concord, MA. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2007. Originally, I thought this was an obvious homage to Ansel Adams' "Aspens," but after taking another look at his photo I'm not so sure about how blatant that connection is. It's what I thought of when I was shooting it. Now, it's become more clear that my memory of an image has distorted how I see another one with similar themes yet a completely different composition.
Choking off Evil at the source, Salem, MA. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2007. As modern Americans, we should all be proud that we've moved beyond the time of a farcical legal system, jailing people for reasons no thicker than soap scum and fear-mongering and sentencing criminals without due process and other overrated trappings of a fair trial.
The Longfellows Bridge, from Cambridge, MA. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2007. I shot this on a bluish afternoon as the sun was about to drop behind the ice-encrusted Charles, like some demented child playing hide-and-seek. The sky had turned the color of matte steel, and the ice, out of the shot on the right, shone blindingly, making it hard to even look towards the sunset. It's hard not to like the Longfellows Bridge, connecting Cambridge and Boston. Some may appreciate the aesthetics of the architecture; I'm much more fond of the way that it looks like a dirty old soldier turned into brick and metal. The rust, the way it looks like it hasn't had a bath in ages, the white caps on its towers and the rigid back on which everybody travels strike me as a resigned harumphing of something that might have aspired to greater achievements a long time ago.
Regina's Pizza, North End, Boston, MA. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2007. In my life, there's two kinds of pizzas: there's the kind where the people affect the pizza, and then there's the kind where the pizza affects the people. No matter where I've eaten pizza, in America there's only been one place for me: Tomasso's, in San Francisco. I've been eating there thanks to the good taste of my Parental Units since my pre-fetus days, and in a city of amazing restaurants, I've never had a bad meal there. The few folks I've known who dislike Tomasso's down-home Italian cooking, from their "coo-coo" clams to their marinated veggies to their ahi tuna and monthly specials... oh wait. This is about Regina's, right? I learned about Regina's before I first stepped foot in Boston, and I learned about it from Tomasso's. The owner of Tomasso's had told my family that they had come in third in a nation-wide pizza rating, and Regina's was either first or second - I can't remember now. So you'd think that after seven years of living and presumably eating in Boston I'd have been able to hit up the famous North End pizzeria. You'd be wrong. Finally, though, as my friend Dawn and I were taking my Financial and Menu Adviser on a walking tour around the Beacon Hill and the North End, we came across a line of a half-dozen people and we got seats in less than 10 minutes. This was unheard of; neither Dawn nor I had ever seen such a short line at Regina's. They sell a limited number of lunchtime slices and pies, and that's it. The evening crowds always spill out onto the narrow alleys of the North End, regardless of the weather, no small feat in Boston. The times when I'd planned on going there, the size of the line and the growling of my stomach made me turn away. We randomly walked by, saw our opportunity, and jumped. Once settled into our booth, I was a little disappointed at the limited menu. We decided to eschew tradition and go with one of their more creative pizzas: prosciutto, broccoli and ricotta cheese. When dinner finally came, the crust was thin, the toppings were steaming hot and we were all ready to eat our right forearms. So how was it? It was good. It was better than good; it was one of the best pizzas I've ever eaten in my life. It was that good. But it wasn't Tomasso's. Part of that difference was in the atmosphere. Regina's looked no different than any other undecorated Italian and/or sub joint, and the waitress was a charming curmudgeon. Tomasso's feels a bit more like you've walked into somebody's large but crowded dining room, and it had about a third less seats than Regina's. There's no neon inside, and I was a bit saddened to see the interiors of Regina's tinted with those harsh beer-sign lights. One thing I did like about Regina's was that, like Tomasso's, there were families there with kids of all ages, but it wasn't a "kiddie" restaurant - a true "family" joint, before the word was appropriated to mean that the waitstaff were equally capable of twisting balloon animals as they were in taking your order. Other menu items I looked for that were lacking at Regina's were things I consider staples of Italian restaurants: espresso, a cannoli if not a tiramisu, a baked ziti or manicotti. These things were not in evidence at Regina's. However, with pizzas as good as theirs was, you come for the pie and you stay for the pie. The rest, meh. It's not so important...
Steeple at dusk in February, Cambridge, MA. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2007. On a walk around an icy Cambridge, MA, my Financial and Menu Adviser marveled at having to take baby steps to avoid toppling over like, well, an Australian in a New England winter. As amusing as the scene was, posting those kinds of photos around here could get me into some fiery trouble, so instead I present something far more aesthetically pleasing and life-lengthening... at the same time! Arvo, for those non-Australian readers, is one of those slang words from Down Under that shares few letters with the word from which it's been shortened. In this case: afternoon. I've never really understood how a word with such an obvious meaning can be decimated into such an obfuscating abbreviation, but that's kind of what Aussie slang is all about, right?
Vietnam vet begging on Newbury St., Boston, MA. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2007. Whether you support the idiotic war in Iraq or you just don't do enough to protest against it, it's hard to argue that the highest American cost has been anything but the lives of our soldiers. Not only counting the dead, but the ones who make it home crippled, with a complex bouquet of mental, emotional and physical problems that go untreated. Although I shot this in Boston, it could've been taken in New York, San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis or any other American city. Given the Walter Reed scandals that broke on Salon.com in 2005 and in the Washington Post last week, it should be shockingly clear that the "support the troops" slogan is nothing more than empty rhetoric to the current power occupying the White House.