Brave New World

Meg’s Dresses 1-35

Welcome to the revamped, reconsidered, and resurrected blog that used to be known as “Magic Flute Fine Art Nudes.”  As is obvious, the reincarnation is in different form, with a different name, and in a different place.  (One might almost think I was Hindu!)  Bookmark this location; it’s where you’ll find me from now on.

I’ve imported from Blogger as much of the old blog as I could.  I think all the posts and all the images came through, although I’ve certainly not gone back through the over 1,000 posts to verify.  On the other hand, comments prior to March 14, 2010, did not come through due to issues I had to deal with relating to the existing blog’s size, which I most sincerely regret.  You will find some formatting problems, and if you click on a month in the “Archives” section, you will initially see only an extract from the posts’ first paragraph — click on “Continue reading” to read the entire post and see the image(s).  Links to prior posts embedded in the imported material may not work — if you can’t figure out where to go and can’t find the linked-to post via a search, comment on the post asking me to update the link, which I will do.

I’ve moved as much to get away from Blogger as to gain total control over my content.  As long-time readers know, not only was the original blog involuntarily obstructed by one of those silly Blogger/Google “objectionable content” warning pages, but the blog in its entirety was de-indexed by Google.  I’ve written about this at greater length in “Disappeared by Google,” the published version of which is one of the pages listed under the masthead above, and the longer version of which is a “child” page accessible from within the published version.

Of course, hosting the blog myself, on a site I control and that I’ve paid for, has many obvious advantages, not least of which I’m free of that silly, puritanical warning page.  I have succumbed to current blogging sensitivities to the extent of putting a prominent “NSFW” legend on the blog, but it’s not seen until you get here.  So what if that pisses someone off in the future, if someone lands here from inside some Evangelical Lutheran or Tea Party stronghold and that artistic nude shocks them or someone looking over their shoulder?  Tough shit.

What did this break accomplish, you might ask?  And, I do mean BREAK — I stopped following most blogs, I stopped photographing models, I stopped writing (at least for awhile).  I rediscovered some pleasures that have been suppressed for the past couple years.  I spent time in an easy chair on our screened-in porch, reading,

View from my Reading Chair
(Click to see full sized.)

or just watching and listening to the wrens flitting to and from the wren houses my wife has set in the back yard.

I walked the lake with increasing frequency, probably improving my health in the process.  I cooked a bit more, and a bit more adventurously. Drank about the same amount of wine.  Went to movies.  Attended some of the Metropolitan Opera’s summer encore HD theater presentations.  Basically did things one would expect of someone not engaged in observing and commenting on the issues of our times.

In the end, however, I could not stay away from things that interested me.  I was clipping articles from The NY Times from the beginning.  After about three weeks, I discovered I could not resist writing, so since mid-June I’ve rather “rejoined” the world and events.  In fact, once I re-built this blog here on WordPress in early July (albeit not published), I began writing what I’ve called “snippets” — the same sort of pithy little items I’d been offering on the blog for the past couple years.  I’ll be posting those here over the course of coming weeks (sometimes in special, mid-afternoon posts) — some of them will be rather ancient by that point (measured in Internet time), but perhaps you will have missed the news originally, or I can bring a fresh viewpoint.

The blog’s subjects should not change with this change of venue.  I’m still exercised by the same idiocies, the same hypocrisies, and the same atrocities.  And I’ll still have an occasionally positive thing to say about photography, movies, plays, books, TV shows, restaurants, cooking, and other matters that continue to bring me pleasure.

The immediate future will include a lot of catching up.  My hiatus encompassed a number of developments and events relating to the war on photography and other matters about which I’ve previously written.  I’ve actually already written a number of posts, which you will see in the course of coming weeks.  While I’m doing that, I’ll also hope to keep abreast of matters of current interest.  Stay tuned ….

About the title:  “Magic Flute Fine Art Nudes” just didn’t cut it any more.  Obviously, considering the topics I cover, the blog had come to be about much more than nudes, and in a sense the included photograph was more a footnote (even though appearing first) than a main feature.  (I suppose some will come and/or stay primarily because of the photo, but that should be a smaller number.)  I’m really about “truth,” and I’m really about “justice,” even if sometimes both are as-seen from my personal viewpoint.  Those who consistently disagree with me (which will include Tea Partiers, Christian evangelicals, religious conservatives of any stripe, moralistic prudes, unrepentant police apologists, etc.) probably won’t stay long, since they will disagree with what I consider true and just.  For the rest of you, we’ll continue in much the same vein as before.

A word about the blog’s design.  This is WordPress, which is new to me.  WordPress is probably the most popular — and certainly most impressive — independent blogging software available.  In many respects it totally eclipses Blogger.  I’ve been playing with it for weeks now, so I hope I’ve worked out the kinks.  I used a stock template, but then adapted it, making a few notable changes.  Most important was changing the background color from white to black, because I believe that shows the photography at best advantage.  That has meant having to deal with various text content and fields that had to be changed from darker to lighter color in order to be readable.  This proved to be somewhat a challenge, but I hope I’ve caught them all.  Please, however:  I solicit any and all suggestions, but most importantly any defects or problems anyone observes.  I can’t promise I’ll be savvy enough to correct them, but I shall certainly try.

So what did my time off accomplish?

  • I’m no less cynical — the world is filled with fools, and some of the most prominent occupy high political or “moral” leadership positions.
  • Perhaps I’m a bit wiser — certainly reading some of the books has improved gray matter utilization, like Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, or The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach (see my posts a few days hence).
  • I am still committed to photographers’ rights, including the right to photograph any subject in the street (including buildings, people, police, etc.).
  • I’ve done a little photography, some with familiar subjects (additions to my Lake Harriet Journal), and some unfamiliar (new sets devoted to Mankato Old Town and the Alemar Cheese Company).
  • I’m forced to deal with an overdose of relaxation.
  • I’m a bit thinner — not a goal when I began, but it (happily) developed.

Finally, a word about comments.  I invite anyone to offer comments regarding anything I’ve written.  If you disagree with me, that’s fine — but keep it civil; and, if you do disagree with me, I hope you will present either facts or a good argument on behalf of your position.  I will not tolerate intemperate language, ad hominem arguments (whether directed at me or at others), or plain ol’ nastiness.  If you wish to be nasty, write your own blog.  (If I don’t like your tone, I won’t post your comment — my prerogative — and I reserve the right to apply “one strike and you’re out.”  WordPress has a rather nice facility for that.)  For now, anonymous comments will be accepted, subject to the foregoing.  Oh, and I often do not reply to comments, but if you do offer something thoughtful, and I think it merits a reply in kind, I may post both comment and reply on the main page on a following day.  Too few people read the comments, after all, and if you take the time to give us food for thought it should be shared with the greater audience.

If you wish to follow comments, I suggest you click the RSS icon over there on the right, since I’ve not yet figured out how to enable email notifications.

Note alsoThe “Post Comment” legend on the button following the comment entry space is in very light gray.  This is an unavoidable consequence of the blog’s styling, but apologies if it’s not clear — use the button to post any comment.

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2257 Department

Just a quick note to say that the lawsuit challenging Section 2257 and 2257A was dismissed by the federal judge hearing the matter.  That means that the action will now shift to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Heartstrings Department

On a note more familiar to readers of the blog before it became this Brave New whatever, imagine my frame of mind not long ago when confronted with visits from, first, an electrician, and second, a plumber, in conjunction with advance payments for future vacations.  Then along came this story of two guys, a sister, her eggs, and two new, beautiful babies.  This kind of thing gets me every day.

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Meg wearing a dress, sort of.

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8 Responses to Brave New World

  1. Lin says:

    Lookin’ good Stephen! Glad to hear your break went well, although I’m guessing that you worked (i.e. wrote) for a fair bit of it! Most importantly, welcome back! You have been sorely missed :-)

  2. Welcome back, Stephen. You’ve been missed. The new blog looks great and I’m sure things will work better now that you are out from under the church ladies of blogspot.

  3. Beautiful, Stephen! Congratulations on a new day!!!

  4. Ryan Powers says:

    Glad your back.
    happy no more stupid click through warning anymore

  5. Mark says:

    Glad you’re back. I enjoy reading your stuff and viewing your photography. I enjoyed the Mankato series. Will you be adding to the Lake Harriet series? I didn’t notice any new photos there. In any case, the new blog looks fine and if it’s less trouble that’s a definate plus.

    • Stephen says:

      Thanks, Mark. Yes, I will be adding to the Lake Harriet series. In fact, I have over 100 new photos processed and ready to add — I just need to break free the time and effort to do so. Maybe today ;-)

  6. george says:

    Hey Stephen, Glad you are blogging again, and on your own terms, as always.

    As I’m in Iceland for a couple of weeks, I just saw the “new and improved” blog, internet service in most accommodations here is pay only, just happen to be in a hotel with free WiFi tonight…probably the only one on the island. Just can’t stand spending about $4 for one hour of access.

    If you’ve never been to Iceland, I heartily recommend it. People are great, food is fantastic and some of the scenery is incredible. Only downside is the pay WiFi.

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