Author Archives: flyingmonk


No filter

New York was not in the path of the eclipse but the weather was great and it was a spectacular astronomical show. For me at least it was probably the best eclipse I’ve ever have seen.

Eclipse filter

We shot the eclipse in Great Neck, Long Island, in Stepping Stone Park full of people sitting in chairs on the lawn for the great nature show. We were able to shoot photos as well and very good video. In New York the sun coverage was supposed to be at its peak at around 71%.

No filter

Eclipse filter

Eclipse filter

Comments Off on Eclipse

Posted by on August 21, 2017 in Blog, USA



In the morning I woke up in a terrible dream. Actually it looked like a nightmare. I rubbed my eyes, tap my cheeks to make sure that I am not sleeping and I realized that I was not dreaming. I was fully awake.

I watched like all of you the stupefying events that happen during the weekend in Charlottesville, VA. We all could see how the sewer of the society, the actual “deplorables” that Hillary mentioned came out in hordes to the streets ready for action. I saw later the interviews on VICE with some of them and the repugnant feeling became overwhelming. I never fooled myself to believe that this vermin is extinct. They were always there, somewhere, but a strong position of the civil society pushed their presence to its periphery where they can stay and drink unhappy in bars. For years we liked to believe in the US, or at least in New York, that we live in a society where acceptance is the norm and not the exception. Where we can live together and cherish the diversity that surrounds us, a diversity created by God as our more religious friends would say. We always tended to believe that racism and the xenophobic policies are happening in other societies. And in the end the events in Charlottesville burst our bubble and seeing all of these human refuse coming back to light, these creatures of darkness, was appalling. But not surprising.

We watched the expected results of the open arms immigrant policy of Angela Merkel in Germany that created a huge backlash and woke up the far right and together with it the spike of the AfD popularity with their ethno-politics. In the US we witnessed how a know-nothing narcissistic moron who talks like a drunken in a bar can bring to life these dark forces who are finally finding an ally inside the White House. I wrote a number of posts after the election and I fought with friends who for various reasons that I am tired to argue about voted for the tough-talk-no-brain. I stopped writing and discussing about it when it became very clear that my worst possible predictions materialized in fact. Nothing that happens now is less than I expected.

In the same time, as a reaction or not to the political developments in Washington I read a lot about several events that happen on the East Coast campuses of the Ivy League schools where students have risen against the establishment and decided that some statues or symbols had to be removed because they might not fit with their new dream of politically correctness. The names of the people who funded various halls of the Ivy League schools and their statues were deemed to be removed because they were slave owners. Even the name of Yale University came under discussion. The debates became acrimonious at least, peppered with aggressiveness and attitudes that belong to the fish market and not in an academic campus. So it came to my great shock to learn now about the drive to remove the confederate statues as symbols of …what?

I lived in Romania during the Communists who decided when they seized power under the tutelage of Stalin’s tanks, in their grudge to the old society they wanted to destroy, to remove all the old symbols of the Romanian society. The statues of the creators of the country, kings, princes, politicians, intellectuals, philosophers, writers and composers were replaced over night by the statues of unknown workers with a four grade education, many of them Stalin’s pawns, whose only contribution was that they were jailed together sometime by the ones defined at that moment as oppressors. I walked among these statues during my childhood and I never knew who they really were because nobody from my surrounding had any ideas or interest to learn about them. Time passed and little by little the new manufactured “heroes” died and with them some of the new statues disappeared leaving behind an empty pedestal and when Romania shed the yoke of Communism all statues that were still standing were removed over night and the old statues and symbols started to come back. History reconnected its course after the unfortunate hiatus. Removing statues does not eliminate neither the discrimination nor the bias. To remove a statue is just a cowardly act forced by the ones who refuse to fight the real situation and prefer to fight the invisible windmills of Don Quixote. Because it’s easier to break a stone or topple a bronze than convince a mind that what he does is wrong. There are so many causes to fight for in our society riddled by a profound inequality, with a corrupt political system bankrolled by lobbyists and corporations, with a lack of sustainable medical coverage for the working middle class, with rabid violence of the police that shoots to kill people like in a video game. And all these guys are looking for instead is just to topple a statue. Isn’t it quite a cheap shot?  The history is there and nobody can change it and even if we like it or not we have to live with it as is, with or without statues. But the statues represent a reference to a past that we don’t want to bring back, forgotten otherwise.

And what was exactly my nightmare? I realized reading the morning news that for a reason or another I actually agreed with The Donald on this issue. But even if we finally agreed on something we still have to fight to remove him, and not a statue, from the White House. The chaos he’s creating is way too dangerous for the world we live in.

Comments Off on Statues

Posted by on August 17, 2017 in Blog, USA


The tip of the island

Orient Point Beach, the northern tip of Long Island

No summer in Long Island can pass without a drive to Greenport, the northern tip of the island. The moment you get off the highway in Riverhead the road passes numerous vineyards whose wines you can find in the local stores across the entire island and beyond. The farms and the vineyards that pepper what the locals call the “North Fork” are a world apart from the busy western side of the island. After another half hour drive you reach Greenport where bands play on the docks in a continuous invitation to join the dance by the water. If you continue just a little bit outside the town you reach the tip of the island from where the ferry can take you to other smaller islands that swarm with visitors in the summer months.

Greenport, Long Island, NY

Comments Off on The tip of the island

Posted by on August 13, 2017 in Blog, USA


Theater of disappearance

Cantor Roof, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas created a world of dreams, or nightmares, on the top of the Met. Scanning various works of art from diverse historical periods from the museum collection, he combined them in collages that are crafted seamlessly creating an otherworld reality. On a pleasant Friday night the roof was full of museum goers enjoying this skewed reality while sipping a drink.

Great night for a cocktail on the Cantor Roof, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Comments Off on Theater of disappearance

Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Blog, USA


Sunset at Tobay Beach

Tobay Beach

Located close to Jones Beach and on its sound side Tobay Beach is charming in the sunset. You can ride your bike all the way along the Wantagh Parkway bike to the Tobay beach where you can refresh with a drink admiring the setting sun.

Playing in sunset, Tobay Beach, NY

Comments Off on Sunset at Tobay Beach

Posted by on August 6, 2017 in Blog, USA


Fire Island

Atlantique, Fire Island, NY

Hopping from the West Coast to the East Coast and exhausted after trampling in Alaska, with almost 24 hours of day light, and the Pacific North West, with less day light, I planned to spend the summer in Fire Island, my favorite spot out of all the fancy places advertised around the world. Just reading on an empty beach, drinking a beer and watching the boats go by till September.

Fire Island Bridge

Comments Off on Fire Island

Posted by on August 3, 2017 in Blog, USA



Seattle Space Needle

After chilling in Vancouver I was really curious to discover its closest neighbor city, south of its border. I never have been in Seattle before and I was wondering if I would find the same relaxed atmosphere that I found in Vancouver but it did not take me too long to discover just the opposite, a hectic rhythm prevalent for most of the American cities. In a way this should not have been a surprise for a city that hosts some of the most famous American high tech companies that made the first and second richest men in the world. However both Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos understood that is not too much you can usefully do with the huge pile of money they earned and they started to offer them in breathtaking programs that serve humanity at large.

Downtown Seattle and Mt Rainier

Seattle was clogged by traffic. If you want to cross its midtown you encounter the classical traffic jam that makes you drive at snail pace, being swiftly passed by bikes and pedestrians. The traffic on the highway that crosses close to the waterfront was snailing also giving you the opportunity to admire the snow capped Mount Rainier that offered a magnificent background for the Seattle’s skyline.

Chihuly and the Space Needle, Seattle, WA

Spread between a lake and a bay, the city looks airy with large open spaces that will soon be plugged by tall buildings. Just near the slick Space Needle, is the Museum of Pop, hosted in a building designed by Frank Ghery like a crashed guitar has inside the entire collection of popular genres, from sci-fi writings and movies, to rock and roll, video games, fantasy, horror, etc. A Science Center is right across the Gates Foundation but the highlight is for  sure the spectacular exhibit at the base of the Needle of the glass work of Dale Chihuly, a native of Tacoma, WA, a town just several miles to the south.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA

Pike Place Market, in spite of being quite interesting is not the real thing as the Public Market is in Vancouver. Here in Seattle most of the vendors sell art and artifacts instead of food, like a real market would do. But the Seattle coffee spirit is alive and well. Many coffee places abound and The Starbucks in Pike Place, the first ever in existence, is so crowded that line snake out of it and blocks the entry in all the other stores around. Maybe the coffee is for free….

The first Starbucks, Pike Place, Seattle, WA

On the weird side, just steps away, is the Gum Wall mobbed by tourists and locals who want to leave a mark on the city by sticking their gums for posterity.

The Gum Wall in Pike Place, Seattle, WA

Comments Off on Seattle

Posted by on July 17, 2017 in Blog, USA