He was sitting on the roadside in Jerusalem with a small cart of goods for sale. If someone passed him by he refused to let it get to him as he smiled and told passerby's to have a great day in English and at times Hebrew depending on who was present.
Tel Aviv, Israel is the second largest city in Israel, just behind Jerusalem at number one. The city and its immediate neighbors are a mixture of massive and modern along with old and rustic.
Tel Aviv has a population of 438,818 residents. It even has its own Silicon Valley known as Silicon Wadi, which is another name for Gush Dan. The so called valley area is filled with high tech companies, much like the Silicon Valley in California.
It is known as the “Party Capital” of the Middle East with a lively nightly that includes 2.5 million visitors annually, a 30,000 student university,
Prostitution is fully legal in Tel Aviv in the form of brothels. However, to so called act of “Pimping” is illegal. Human trafficking is a big problem for the area, but little is being done to solve the issue. Organized crime is reportedly behind much of the legal and illegal forms of prostitution in Israel, according to a past HAARETZ news article.
While driving into ultra-Orthodox Jewish areas on the Sabbath in Jerusalem are discouraged by the officials due to past cases where cars have been stoned as they pass through, it is not an issue in Tel Aviv. Nor is the need to dress modestly.
The legal age to buy alcohol in Israel is only 18 and there are no set closing times for bars. As for the cost of a stiff drink, expect to pay an added tax of 25%.
OUT Media has called Tel Aviv the “most gay-friendly city” in the Middle East. Other cities throughout Israel are not as open with such activity, even though laws regarding homosexuals were removed from the books in the 1980s.
Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre you see visitor after visitor make their way through the crowds to bend down and kiss or place their face against the sacred anointing stone. The church is said to be one of two holiest sites in Christianity. The church, referred to sometimes as the Church of the Resurrection, sits on the site of where Jesus was crucified.
Within the walls of the church that dates back to the second century AD, you will find five representations of the final passage of Jesus. However, after the crucifixion the building did not start out as a church. It started out as a temple dedicated to the goddess Venus built by a Roman Emperor named Publius Aelius Hadrian.
The Roman Emperor built the temple dedicated to Venus to cover up the cave in which Jesus had been placed in and later arose from. It wasn’t until year 325 that Christian emperor, Constantine the Great, ordered a church be built in place of the ungodly temple. The church construction was finished in year 335.
The Stone of Anointing is where Jesus’ body was laid to rest. It is one of the first items you will come to as you enter the church from an outside courtyard. Some have questioned the stone saying that it was placed in the church during an 1810 reconstruction.
Inside the church is a stairway that is regarded as the site of where the crucifixion actually took place. Also inside the church walls is The Altar of the Crucifixion.
When someone tells you they robbed 17 banks during their prime years… What’s your first thought? I guess mine was – Did you make a lot of money? My second thought… Sure, you can hop in my truck!
My friend Jerry and I were in Nashville when we met 64 year old Frank Webster. He talked about how he once robbed banks for a living while living in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Of course, he only had to get caught once for him to receive a pay cut. Needless to say, getting caught also equals out of work.
Mr. Webster was all smiles and laughs. Hard to believe you could even smile after being in prison for so long and when you finally get released – you are literally an inmate trapped inside your own body.
Mr. Webster was known as inmate 00092428 when he spent the late 1980’s into the 2000’s locked up in West Tennessee. In 2014, he had a stroke while in prison.
After the stroke, Mr. Webster was transferred to the Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility in Nashville. The specialized prison is for those with medical conditions, such as the aftermath of a stroke.
On December 29, 2017, just one day after his 64th birthday, he was released from prison. Finally, he was a free man. This would equal a wakeup call to a brand new world.
Nowhere to go he found himself on the streets of Nashville.
The right side of his body is about 75% paralyzed, so he scoots around on a wheelchair that was given to him. “I don’t have a doctor and I need help with stroke rehab,” he said with a thick mumble due to the stroke affecting his speech.
At night, Webster sleeps at the Nashville Rescue Mission. During the day, he watches cars go by while sitting quietly in his chair.
He pointed down the street suggesting there was a nonprofit he wanted to visit to get advice on where to go for help. It was obvious he could not make it in the wheelchair to 4th Avenue in downtown Nashville. So with a lift into the truck, thanks to Jerry Craddock, we headed towards his destination.
He spent 8 years in the U.S. Army and served during the Iraq conflict. He is originally from Dyersburg, TN, but decided to move to Memphis where he was homeless for quite some time while searching for his life, who he was and who he is...
He is now in his own place and doing much better today. He is also looking into his past... He is part Indian and wants to learn more about his family heritage.
"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows." ~Native American proverb
He held up the small partially painted rock in his right hand and looked at it as he stated, “This is a rock from my home planet.”
He then explained what planet he happened to be from. I could not fully understand the name, but he definitely did not say earth… it was the name of someone or something. I guess that mysterious name would be his mysterious home planet.
After the click of my shutter he disappeared into the dense crowd of downtown Nashville and into the night.
Address at Rice University on the Nation's Space Effort, September 12, 1962:
U.S. President John F. Kennedy said in a speech about space exploration, “There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again.”
He works hard daily doing construction in Birmingham, Alabama.
“If you don't sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice”
I could barely understand his words, most of which were inaudible. He spoke with a sad face and his eyes were hidden by the shadow of his hat. He could barely walk, even with his crutches. I asked his age, but it was just a breath.
As you walked through his gate an air raid siren sounded. Some of the signs on the fence along the road read, “No Trespassing, No Loud Music, No Loitering.” Other signs were simply pictures or stickers of an assault rifle. With that being said, I wanted to meet the man behind the collection of oddities.
As I made my way to the front porch crawling over old refrigerators, tires, washing machines and more, I could hear a television was on inside the house. However, my knocks on the door were unanswered.
I then made my way back to the road, this time noticing some of the scrap metal had been turned into art. Sculptors of old motors were to the left and a sculpture of an airplane to the right. Plastic skulls adorned the fence post along with the heads of mannequins.
“I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird.” - Frank Zappa, American musician, composer, guitarist, filmmaker and more (1940-1993)
Photo taken in the Mississippi Delta region.
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." -George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright (1856-1950)
A quiet place to sit in a big city of noise and music. Love Circle in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it's not because they enjoy solitude. It's because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.” ― Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper
Her prayers were growing more intense as the seconds passed by. She was outside of a church under the shelter of a bus stop that lacked seats, she was on her knees.
She is homeless and was praying for help or perhaps a different life.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” -Meister Eckhart, German Theologian (1260-1328)
“I’m an artist,” he told me. I drove Mark to one of his friends’ home to get some shut eye. He said that he lives in the “Monkey Room” of the house.
“How long have you been doing artwork,” I asked him. Mark snickered and said, “Since mom said I was smearing doodoo on the wall!” We both laughed and I asked, “What kind of art do you do?” He smiled and said, “People’s faces, everything – doggies – I draw everything.”
As I drove I was holding a recorder up to his mouth to make sure I got his story correct and he said, “Damn, I’m glad you got me on that speaker thing right there because then you’ll know me - Once you see my artwork in the world you’ll say damn, I took him down the street.” He then started laughing as he asked if I’d stop at a gas station so that he could buy a 12-pack of beer.
During our drive I asked him, “Are you an alcoholic?” His response, “On that part right there, I can drink you under the table and still be straight, drink you right under the table.”
I asked, “What were your mom and dad like growing up?” He said, “I have no clue - Other brother is from one father, sister and brother are from a different father…” Mark continued, “I’ve been passed off to so many people.”
“Artists themselves are not confined, but their output is.” - Robert Smithson, artist (1938-1973)
Don served his country in Vietnam and in my book, he’s a hero. I couldn’t let this hero drive his new lawn tractor 30-miles alone.
On the way home from work Thursday, I saw Don driving his recently purchased lawnmower down the highway. Knowing he lives another county down (30-minutes away by car), I stopped to offer Don and his new mower a ride.
Don was armed with a can of beef stew and a cup of cold brewski when he helped me load the mower into the back of my truck. We then headed to Bedford County, TN.
Prior to picking Don and his MTD Yard Machine up on Highway 231 South, he told me that he had already been riding it for the last 2-hours, after a brief stop at his favorite bar. His goal was to ride it all the way back to his camper, in the Shelbyville area.
On the trek to Bedford County, he told me about working at MTD Yard Machines in the late 1970’s. Don said, “I worked on the line in Ohio and one day the painter failed to show up… They asked me to move to the paint line and the next thing I know, I was over painting.”
The MTD company began in 1932 and is actually family-owned company.
51 Year old Kimberly Custer was struck by a motorist on the Murfreesboro square Saturday night. The accident occurred as Custer was walking across the street near Marina’s Restaurant.
Custer, who is deaf, could not hear the oncoming vehicle. Evidently, she did not see the car as it neared her.
The local woman who was described as being homeless, was taken by ambulance to St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro. Her leg was broken in about three places, but no life threatening injuries occurred.
Custer was released from the hospital around 10:30, Saturday night (8/13/16).
A Black Lives Matter rally was held on Saturday night in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The woman who organized the event told me something that for the first time, helped me to understand why they take offense when onlookers yell “All Lives Matter.”
Kaymi Butler stated, “Right now everybody’s saying that all lives matter, and that is completely correct. But, you’re not gonna’ go to a breast cancer rally and say, What about skin cancer? You know why, because it’s disrespectful. So… When people are saying to us all lives matter we’re not ignorant to the fact that all lives matter, but right now black lives matter because our black people are getting killed. So that’s why we’re out here.”
"Oh look at how she listens
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out on to Grey Street
She thinks, “Hey,
How did I come to this?
I dream myself a thousand times around the world,
But I can’t get out of this place”
There’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
But all the colors mix together - to grey
And it breaks her heart"
-Dave Matthews, Grey Street
America is going from one tragedy to another, second after second. I don't think people know how to process everything.
This photo is from Orlando in the downtown area about one mile from the Pulse night club where the shooting took place around three weeks ago.
"The world is a crazy, beautiful, ugly complicated place, and it keeps moving on from crisis to strangeness to beauty to weirdness to tragedy." - David Remnick, American journalist
Waiting on a bus… The two traveled from Puerto Rico to Florida together.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” - Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo was known as Saint Augustine. He was a Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy.
Interesting side note, part of Saint Augustine is actually in St Augustine, Florida. The Cathedral Basilica of St Augustine has a small relic of the 5th century bishop stored in an ornamental clear vase made of glass and precious metals. A relic is a part of a holy person's body, usually part of the bone, kept for the purpose of reverence.
"Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer." - William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)
Orlando, FL with the Sony A7SII