Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

...because some of it is pretty and some of it is not.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Good Parenting

Good parenting is often 90% parenting and only 10% good.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Afraid of Ghosts?

I think I saw the ghost of a mouse just outside the door of my house yesterday morning…and, as I write this, I really wish that I was kidding.  There out of nowhere.  Very fast.  Vanishing into thin air.
Is that possible?
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mr. X and His Driving Trick

Finding success as either a stand-up comedian or as any form of obnoxious ass requires very nearly the same dedication to detail and timing.  A while back, I wrote about a certain Mr. X.   Mr. X had invented a rather unhandy electrical trick in which he purposely shorted live household electrical circuits to make sparks fly just as people were looking over his shoulder to either snoop or make a suggestion to him.  Today, I will tell you about Mr. X and his infamous driving trick.  And, no, this trick did not make him a successful comedian; this one landed him far on the opposite end of the scale.
To perform his driving trick, Mr. X required the following elements: long lines of traffic backed up on each side of a train crossing, a shop truck with the name of our employer in bold graphics on the doors and perfect timing.
Timing often turned out to be the undoing of the driving trick.
As luck might have it, though, Mr. X regularly had a chance to practice his driving trick because the electrical shop that employed us happened to be located very near a railway crossing that often saw trains blocking a busy street.  On many occasions, I was in the passenger seat to experience both the successful execution and the not-so-successful attempts at the driving trick.
This trick required Mr. X to watch the train at the crossing and estimate how long it might take for him to escape from his place in the long line of stopped automobiles, blast down the empty left-hand lane for traffic going the opposite direction (passing all of the other stopped cars ahead of him) and arrive at the rail crossing just as the barrier arms lifted.  If Mr. X arrived at the proper time, he could drift at angle across the railroad tracks (at or slightly above the speed limit) and end up in the proper lane on the far side, sailing by the string of stopped cars waiting for the first car in their line to move.
As I said earlier, timing often proved problematic.  If we ended up with more than a twenty cars ahead of us, our arrival time at the crossing might fall into question.   Often, more than one car in the mix had to give way so Mr. X could maintain forward momentum.  On occasion, we ended up more-or-less parked at the crossing in the wrong lane.  More regularly, a Doppler chorus of automobile horns accompanied our rocketing escape from the traffic stoppage.  All of the attempts were usually followed by incensed phone calls to our shop, the irate drivers having captured the number off the side of the truck as we raced by.
Nice trick, Mr. X.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Guitar Store

Here is another video that will speak (sing) for itself.

--Mitchell Hegman
Please click on this link if the video here fails to launch:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tweet and Shout

We have entered a brave new world of full exposure—more like full self-exposure.  Social media has presented all of us with the opportunity for (maybe the illusion of) fame.  If not given the full fifteen minutes of fame Andy Worhol predicted we would all get, most of us can achieve at least few seconds of notoriety.  If by design we don’t desire our lurid-selves to last, we can Snapchat a fleeting image that flares but for ten seconds and vanishes like a shooting star.
So here we are, Andy.  Here we are Marshall McLuhan.  Here we are Marshall Mathers.  We post thoughts on Facebook, quip on Twitter, share photographs on flickr, present blogs on Blogspot and likely share in a dozen more openly public ways.
We have become a spectacle in ourselves.
We cell our selfies and send them off in seven directions.
We tweet our clever this-and-that’s.
We twerk and flash mob in the glow of light—hoping someone notices.
We text and sext and hook-up and link-in and maybe it is not all bad, but at the end of the day  we sometimes end up more lonely than when we started.  We have, as we turn off the lights, only our thoughts and our electronic devices nearby—all of the devices charging-up at half-glow and awaiting the press of a button so they might burst with a new color or discharge a word or two in upper case letters.
And by the simple fact that two or more of us have reached this exact spot of reading in separation… my point is made.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Street Sounds (Incredible Guitar)

Not the best quality of sound, but truly astounding guitar work!

If the video here does not launch, please click on this link:
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Not That Kind of Waterfall

I have had many people tell me that I have a lot to learn about sex, but I figured out on my own that attempting the Waterfall position from the Kama Sutra while drinking a cup of hot coffee is a pretty bad idea for at least one of the partners involved.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, January 24, 2014

Another Sunset (January 23, 2014)

Well, here we go again.  This sunset is soft and filled with wisps of color.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Reason

Some people say there is a reason for everything.  I am trying to find one of those people so they can tell me the reason that so much hair is growing out of my ears.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Driving 250 Miles of Montana

At 20 miles the rising sun makes bronze and silk of the low hills you know so well.
At 30 miles a metallic river unfurls from a nearby mountain range and curls across a small plain to meet you.
At 70 miles a coyote bounds across the open road in front of you and streaks across a seemingly endless field of wheat stubble.
At 100 miles several mountain ranges gather around you—their profiles like steamships crossing on an ocean of grass.
At 105 miles you roll down your windows and allow the sharp smell of sun-warmed sage to swirl through your car.
At 120 miles it is all sky.
At 140 miles a new river has drifted across the landscape and now gently oscillates alongside you.
At 170 miles you cross through a tiny cowboy town that you have always liked.
At 200 miles a truck stacked with a skyscraper of hay passes you in a mist of alfalfa flecks and Timothy stems.
At 250 miles you arrive in Billings but are only halfway there.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Butte, America (On the Irish Side)

In addition to reckoning a U.S. population of 308,747,716 persons, estimating a mean travel time for work of 25.4 minutes (for those older than 16 years) and discovering that an average household has 0.58 of a person living there alongside 2 other whole persons, the Census of 2010 revealed that Butte, Montana is the most “Irish-American” city in America.  Something just below 24% of the residents of Butte identified themselves as having Irish ancestry.
No small accident caused Butte, Montana to have a higher percentage of Irish-American citizens than any other city.  In fact, a census taken as the 1900’s dawned also saw Butte with the highest number of citizens identifying themselves as having Irish lineage.
The Irish flooded to Butte near the end of the 1800s to work the rich copper mines at the dawn of the age of electricity.  Many of the immigrants were still trying to recover from the famine that had gripped Ireland only a decade before the mining boom in the American West.   Remote and hungry for men to work underground, Butte made room for the Irish immigrants.  By the turn of 1900s, Butte, with a population of something around 50,000, boasted 1,200 Sullivans in the mix.  If you start counting Sullivan families in Butte today (present population about 40,000) you will garner something near 100 Sullivan families.
The influx of Irish immigrants to the remote Rocky Mountain outpost of Butte shaped its growth as a city.  New arrivals from the Irish homeland found familiar faces on the streets when they arrived in the mining city.   George Everett notes, in Butte, Montana: Ireland’s Fifth Province, that identifying yourself as being Irish in Butte soon had enough appeal that a an Arab rug merchant named Mohammed Akara legally changed his name to Murphy for “business reasons.”
I once heard that Butte, Montana also boasted the most taverns per capita of any city in America.  I have not confirmed that information.  But here is the math:   Heaviest Irish Population + Most Taverns = ? 
Even in the present, more than 30,000 people gather annually to celebrate St Patrick’s Day (March 17) in uptown Butte.  On that day, everyone in the crowd, including the Native Americans and the Samoan football players from Carroll College, will claim some form of Irish heritage.  And, yes, more than a few glasses of Irish whiskey are raised.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunset: January 19, 2014

I can’t stop myself.  If a pretty sunset begins to stain the sky and landscape outside my bay window, I rush outside with my camera and go to work trying to capture what I can of the fleeting colors.  This is my sweet addiction.
Today, I am posting some photographs of the Elkhorn Range and the Rockies as the sun lowered into a bath of orange and red clouds.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I am not opposed to work; it is the hours that bother me.
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Surprising Talent

If you have ever heard me sing in the shower—which is pretty unlikely—you know that we are not all natural born singers.  My singing is bad enough that my 40 pounds of housecat typically scatter and hide in the nearest open closets or distant rooms before I hit the second verse of anything I sing.  Some people have a natural talent for singing that is nothing shy of astounding when you first hear them.  This is especially true when you know these people for something other than singing.
The video posted today is one of those surprise talents.

--Mitchell Hegman
If video posted here does not work, please click on this link:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Roses are Un-red, Violets are Un-blue

We have been lying to one another all along.  A leaf is not green.  A red rose is never actually red and violets are most certainly un-blue.
The simple fact is this: the colors we see when we look at a thing, let’s say a green leaf in this case, is actually the very color it is not, which happens to be green.  We see the leaf as green because the leaf absorbs all of the other colors in the visible spectrum of light and rejects green.  We see the leaf as green because that is the color reflected into our eyes.  The color of a leaf is actually violet-blue-yellow-orange-red—the remaining colors on the spectrum.
I only bring this to light (pun fully intended) because I got to thinking about what impact honesty in our descriptions of color might have one everyday life.  Clearly, if we began using the actual colors for describing things, our language might suffer greatly.  Imagine someone peering up at the sky and exclaiming: “Have you ever seen a sky so violet-green-yellow-orange-red!”  This may be most problematic with what we perceive as black, which is produced by surfaces that absorb all colors of visible spectrum.  You may hear, as a result of this: “That crow I saw was as violet-blue-green-yellow-orange-red as midnight in a coal mine.”  And since white is produced by objects that reflect all the visible colors of light, we would need to change the name of the fairytale to Snow No-Color-At-All and the Seven Dwarfs.
I think, this late in the game, we might be better served to keep lying to each other.
Much simpler!
And will you just look at that orange sunset!
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Spring Takes a Winter Vacation

A spring-like warm spell has decided to take a winter vacation in Montana.  Yesterday, the noon sun minted shiny new coins of water from melting snow on my driveway and cut golden pathways of wintering grass through the fields of white snow.  My resident bird, a certain Mr. Townsend B. Solitaire, tap-danced with sheer joy (clickity-clickety-clickety-click) across the metal roof on my house.  My cats, warmed by the sun, developed a very-near-friendly attitude for the better part of a full hour.
I sat outside on my front step taking in the sun and the steady thrum of water threading into my rain gutters from the last banks of snow melting from my roof.
Happy the sound of melting snow.
A warm blanket about me the high sun.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Seven Marriages

If you have been married seven times, you are either very good at marriage or you are very bad at marriage.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter White

I have been making fun of snow and winter on recent Facebook postings.  In all honesty, I like many aspects about winter—most aspects.  For one thing, winter can attain an all-encompassing (nearly monochromatic) beauty that evades summer.  Today, I am posting two of my photographs that I think capture this. 
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, January 13, 2014

Outside, Inside

On the outside I probably look just the same as any other aging, gap-toothed man standing there; but on the inside I am seven big dogs and one small cat all piled-up as they  try to rush out a single small door all at the same time.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Back Against the Wall

Cage The Elephant is one of my favorite indie rock bands.  They are among a group of many brilliant newer American bands and have produced more than a few innovative and enjoyable songs.  As I watch this video I am reminded of Eric Burdon and The Animals from a half-century ago.
Yes…it has been that long.
--Mitchell Hegman
If the video posted does not launch, please click on this link: 

Saturday, January 11, 2014


“Forty-one, ninety-nine?” The kid asked incredulously.
I nodded. “Yep.”
He continued: “And that is for just the razor heads, not the whole razor?”  He studied the small box I had handed him at the check stand.
“A true fact,” I said.
The kid was about nineteen and had just a bit of peach fuzz for whiskers on his face.  One of the linear fluorescent lamps directly above us in the giant box store pulsed with bad light.  “Buying this kind of stuff doesn’t really bother me anymore,” I told him.
“No?”  He asked as he punched keys on his cash register.
“Not much,” I said.  “I have become practical in middle-age.  I am just happy that I feel like shaving and happy to still be here buying anything.”
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, January 10, 2014

Of Music and Certain Sunlight

Yesterday, I spent part of the morning writing a very detailed section of a technical document I am trying to put together.  Such work often requires me to step away for a while so that I can stack my thoughts and concepts into a decipherable order.  Sometime, I go for a long walk outside.  Yesterday, instead of walking, I dragged my camera and a pile of compact disks into the sunlight and played with point-of-view and angles of light.  Photography is an activity that always clears my mind.  Posted here are two photographs from yesterday.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, January 9, 2014

TO DO LIST (January 9, 2014)

—Learn to say “hello” in a new language.
—Kiss someone on the lips.
—Dust the top of the refrigerator.
—Tell a dog that he is a “good boy.”
—Watch a movie about sharks.
—Tell two women (no matter what they look like) that they are lovely (because they are).
—Listen to a song about cowboys pushing cattle.
—Work for at least fifteen minutes.
—Work for an entire hour.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Of Bird and Deer and Broken Fruit

Setting aside the legitimate argument over whether pigs are actually pigs, deer are definitely not pigs.  I am speaking about eating habits, of course, not genetics. 
Deer tend to go about their eating in the same way they live life—ever cautious and never standing still for long   Deer normally pick at things a little and then move on.  This time of year, I receive daily visits from the local mule deer.  They rather drift through my yard, nosing and nipping at a tuft of this and a branch of that before fading off into the landscape again.
This winter, I also have a bird living almost fulltime in my yard.  I think the bird is a Townsend’s solitaire.  Every morning, the solitaire flutters from tree to ground and ground to roof and roof to ground again, eating seeds and unknown bits, resting and eating again.  In the evenings, when I go out back to soak in the hot tub, the bird flaps up to the rain gutter on the roof of the house nearby and sits there watching steam rise into the air all around me.
Maybe we are buddies in some kind of solitaire way.
I have taken to leaving things out on the ground for the bird: blueberries, blackberries, almond slivers or any other sort of morsel a bird might eat.  About a week ago, I split into various sections a fresh pomegranate and thumbed the seeds into a bowl for myself.  I purposely left a few seeds in the peel and pulp.  After eating my share of seeds, I took the broken fruit outside and placed the chunks of fruit on the snow-covered ground so the bird could work at the remaining kernels.
For several mornings the solitaire spiraled down from the winter sky and gleaned neon red seeds from the fruit.  After a few days, I noticed that one of the mule deer also began to visit the fruit.  A smallish doe, the deer would approach the fruit, nose at a single piece, gobble the piece down and then drift off to the next point of interest.
For several more days this continued—bird and deer sharing a pomegranate.  Just yesterday, the bird picked free the final red seed and a little later the doe drifted through and selected the final chunk of broken fruit from the snow.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Danny, Dakota & the Wishing Well

A song by A Silent Film

--Mitchell Hegman
If the video does not launch here, please click on this link:

Monday, January 6, 2014

Irish Whiskey

I honestly think that if some smart Irishman could figure out a way to make steel by mixing iron with booze they would do so.  The final product of this mix would be—as some of you have already guessed—Irish steel.  To make something Irish you simply add booze.   Irish cream is an example of this.  Irish coffee is a further extension of the same idea.
Irish whiskey is something of a shortcut on the making-a-thing-Irish process.  Here, the spirit is the direct thing.  As a point of interest, the word “whiskey,” as derived from Gaelic, means “water of life.”  This seems almost too convenient.   Out of profound respect for my many Irish friends in Butte, Montana and beyond, I will forgo all the jokes that naturally follow that knowledge.  You are welcome to run with those on your own.
Irish whiskey is made from barley and is distilled using many of the same processes as those used in making Scotch.  Some differences do distinguish Scotch and Irish whiskey.  The Irish spirits, as example, are seldom distilled with the use of peat in the process.  Peat is what introduces the earthy to smoky flavor that defines Scotch.  Perhaps most importantly, Irish whiskey is distilled three times as compared to only twice for Scotch.  The extra distillation tends to smooth the flavor.  Finally, Irish whiskey must be distilled in Ireland to earn the name.
According to Wikipedia, Irish whiskey was at one time the most popular spirit in the world.  Popularity declined for most of the last century, but in more recent years Irish whiskey has seen a sharp upswing in favor again.  Since 1990, Irish whisky has witnessed more growth in popularity than any other spirit.
Good for the Irish, that!
I realize that unsolicited advice is usually not welcome.  Just the same, in closing, I would like to advise those of you driving an Irish coworker to your shared workplace in the mornings to take only small sips of any coffee if your Irish coworker makes an offer.  If you drink too much, you might end up being an Irish worker by the time you arrive at your job.
--Mitchell Hegman
All apologies, Mary…

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Family Lineage

Today, I am posting a series of drawings I made that represent a few family lines.  Given the statement: “I come from a long line of __________,” try to successfully match the family lines in the panels (A through F) with the families listed below (1 through 6).   NOTE: the correct answers are listed below my name at the end of this blog.
--Mitchell Hegman
A = 3(Nomads), B = 4(Cliff Divers), C = 1(Race Car Drivers), D = 5(Engineers), E = 6(Archers), F = 2(Electricians)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Whiskey is not Whisky

We shall begin with the simple premise that I am “a bit slow on the draw,” as the saying goes.  I often fail to pay attention to important details.  Over the years my friends and family have learned to advantage my mild form of idiocy by having me open bags of chips and boxes of whatnots.  I am apparently funny to watch.  I tear apart the wrong end or pretty much dismantle the packaging while ignoring the instructions on “easy opening.”  At the grocery, I have largely given up on opening the plastic bags dispensed from the rollers at the produce section.  If we further consider that I pronounced rotisserie as “row-tiss-er-rare-ee” until finally corrected about ten years ago, everyone will grasp how I skip right through details at all levels of human pursuit.
Now, just yesterday, I discovered that whiskey is not the same as whisky.  Mind you, this is not one of those snooty proper English snits that has seen Americans pit color against colour or flavor against flavour.  Whiskey and whisky are not merely separated by a suspiciously missing “e”.    These two beasts are justly separated by a kind of distilling gulf.

Here we go.
Whiskey is generally distilled in Kentucky or Tennessee (USA) and is made mostly from corn mash aged in new oak barrels.  Whisky, more commonly called Scotch, is distilled primarily from malted barley in Scotland.  Scotch is aged in barrels previously used for aging American Bourbon whiskey.
Additionally, in my way of thinking, whiskey tastes like licking the seal of a one-hundred-year-old envelope.  Scotch whisky, however, tastes like a day of lying against a green mountainside while sheep graze in a nearby meadow after you just finished French-kissing someone you deeply love.   
Irish whiskey is yet again another beast…a rifle and a fistfight may be required for explanation.   I will look into the details for you.
--Mitchell Hegman
Thanks, Ariel.


Friday, January 3, 2014


Over the years, NASA has successfully parked several landers on the surface of Mars.  This is no small feat.  The travel distance required for simply reaching the parking lot is about 300 million miles.  The highway has neither a single rest stop nor a single sign of direction posted.  The minimum time required, from Earth launch to Mars landing, is 150 days.  The distance and time traveled may be considerably greater than the minimum, dependent upon launch details and speed of travel.    These details are associated with finding the best parking spot, which may be a wide crater or a frigid plain.   Additionally, there is the tricky part of entering a hostile atmosphere at a speed of several thousand miles per hour and not crash-landing at the end of that.

I find the fact that NASA can accomplish this successful parking maneuver while driving the vehicle from millions of miles away astounding.  I am especially appreciative of the feat every time I drive through a parking lot in Helena, Montana and see dozens of cars taking-up two spaces, the drivers having clearly parked their vehicles sideways across the brightly painted demarcation lines there to neatly land them.  I imagine the drivers of these vehicles exiting their ride and hopping right over the lines on their way to purchase nasal spray or a bag of potato chips.  No rocket science there.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Winter Parking

I honestly believe that beauty can be found in almost any place or any situation.  Today, I am posting three photographs I have taken of parking lot pole lights during the winter.  I find a certain stark beauty in the angles and the mix of dark and light.  The falling snow and the mist make for a softer image.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Good on Paper

We are just around the corner from the Winter Olympics.  While watching the news, I witnessed a sportscaster remarking that the American Olympic athletes are “very good on paper.”   Actually, that may be a bit unfortunate for those athletes about to hit the snow and ice.    
--Mitchell Hegman