Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

Saturday, January 31, 2015

How Males Find Their Way

Led mostly by our penis from the onset of puberty, we find our way.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, January 30, 2015

Food (More Like Snacks) For Thought

—A place where water tastes like wine and the trees you water grow bigger than anywhere else is likely a toxic waste site.

Flamingo’s Dream is not actually a color—no matter what the paint store salesperson says.

—You can’t always get what you want, but with little to no effort, you can contract a venereal disease in Mexico.

—Many bad ideas start with the thought: I wonder if my cat would like…

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nucleotides versus Salma Hayek

Nucleotides are little organic building blocks made of chemicals.  The DNA strings found in some flowing plants are comprised of several hundred-billion nucleotides; whereas, the DNA chains in the sportiest-looking supermodel human number only about three-billion nucleotides.  Though I have no scientific proof, I think Salma Hayek has DNA chains that are comprised of a bazillion-and-one nucleotides.  

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Most Incredible

The other day, I chanced upon a set of photographs that impressed me beyond measure.  I urge you to take a minute from your day to enjoy them.  Please click on the link below.  If that fails to take you there, cut and paste the link to your browser.  

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Girl Meets Porcupine

On rare occasion “first meetings” of import are captured in photograph.  Perhaps you recall the photographs of a stiffened and somewhat baffled President Richard Nixon meeting Elvis Presley—Elvis wearing a purple jumpsuity thing and a belt more conspicuous than the WWE wrestling championship belt.  We have all seen the ubiquitous photos of a nervous father meeting his newborn boy or girl for the first time in a photograph captured by another family member.  Yesterday, by sheer luck, I happened to be there with my twice-as-smarter-than-me-phone when CM met her first porcupine.

A beautiful, though cautious, moment as girl met porcupine.  At first, the porcupine ignored CM and her smartphone and me with mine.  But once my shadow drew too near for comfort, the porcupine began to waddle off.  A porcupine has top speed something akin to a baby crawl.  Fortunately, I managed to snap a pretty clear image of the slow-motion flight to the tall grass.
According to CM, the porcupine “had a cute face.”

I captured the image while we were hiking at Missouri Headwaters State Park.  This is the very place in Montana where the Gallatin, Madison, and Jefferson rivers all join at once to form the Missouri River.  The temperature yesterday reached a balmy sixty degrees by midafternoon.  I am also posting a photograph of the sun above the Gallatin Valley.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Message in Ice-Cube Trays

I realize that my life has become mundane, maybe unimportant, as I empty and refill the ice-cube trays because the run of defrost cycles in my freezer has shrunk the cubes slightly.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Expression of Love

If you really love someone, you’ll make them your smartphone wallpaper.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Running a Temperature

Odd, how memories rush in unattended the instant you stop concentrating on something.  I worked most of yesterday here at home, grinding away at the National Electrical Code and developing training materials on my new computer.  Late in the afternoon, exhausted, I flopped onto my sofa to stop and rest for bit.  At once, as I sat there in a swath of sunlight, a memory from years ago filled me entirely.  In the memory, I had been home all day, running a high temperature and watching cloud racks unravel above the greenblue Elkhorn Mountains.  For that whole day I sat on my sofa, thinking about how—when my wife came home from work—I had to tell her how much I loved her.  

--Mitchell Hegman 

Friday, January 23, 2015


Yesterday, on the same day that the king of Saudi Arabia died and the leadership in the troubled country of Yemen, a hotbed for radical Muslims, abdicated power to rebels, all of the news programs I watched led their news with a story about how much air was in a football during a game last weekend.

--Mitchell Hegman 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Coal-Fired Spacecraft

Recently, I have seen quite a few opinion pieces criticizing solar PV energy sources.  Some of the pieces compare coal and oil to solar PV based on relative cost.  Other pieces focus on the (unfair) subsidies associated with some solar PV array installations.

On occasion, valid objections to solar PV are raised.

I figure—at least for the short term—we have need for all forms of energy—from coal all the way up to solar PV.  Still, I see a great deal of solar PV in our future and comparing sources is not always helpful.  We cannot deny that producing solar modules is very energy-intensive, but the “energy payback” is often estimated at somewhere between one to eight years once the modules are put into energy production.  Modules are designed to produce for thirty years and can produce for much longer in some instances.

I have a comparison.  If the coal and oil interests want to make a valid point, why don’t they send a spacecraft into orbit that will be powered by fuel oil or coal for the entire time they are in space so we can compare that to all the craft presently powered by solar modules?

--Mitchell Hegman 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Wise Farmer

A wise farmer, when plowing his field, shadows the rolls of landscape rather than forcing squares into his till.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

F#@% You, Barney

Though I don’t know of any measurement definite, I suspect that I like a purple dinosaur as much as the next person.  I can watch a few televised episodes of Barney, the purple dinosaur, without going completely nuts, but I don’t think a steady diet of Barney would settle well with me.  I certainly can’t imagine being forced to watch Barney for years and years as was Martin Pistorius.

Something bad happened to Martin Pistorius in 1988.  Then, at age the age of 12, just when most boys determine that girls are not entirely annoying and anything with an engine is cool, Martin began to fade away.  At the time, Martin Pistorius was living in South Africa.  He came home from school one day—complaining of a sore throat—and never went back.  Over the course a few months he ate less, slept more, and his body gradually stopped working.  He eventually became completely unresponsive and dropped into a deep coma.

Nobody knew why.

After two years of trying to figure out what ailed Martin, the medical community gave up and suggested to his parents that shoving him into a daycare center and allowing him to finish fading away might be best.  For many years he spent lost days in the center and lost nights at home with his family.  The first years are a black hole to him.  Nothing.  But then, at some point during the age of 16, he started to slowly awaken.  Consciousness came in bits a fragments at first.  Martin recalls a few events from his slow awakening: the death of Princess Diana, for instance.  He vividly recalls that the center had daily re-runs of Barney, the purple dinosaur, playing on the television.

Though he had awakened inside his frozen body, nobody outside his body took notice.
By the age of 19, Martin was fully aware again, but trapped hopelessly in a dead body.  He could not signal anyone that he was there.  At one point he heard his mother whisper to him: “You have to die.”   His father, cared for him every night—washing him, clothing him, waking every couple of hour during the night to turn Martin in his bed so that he did not develop bed sores.

Eventually, a therapist named Virna van der Walt, noticed hints of consciousness and attempts at communication with small movements made by Martin.  At her insistence Martin, then the age of 25, was sent to the University of Pretoria for deeper testing.  Medical researchers discovered Martin Pistorious trapped there within his own body.  Soon, with the help of sophisticated software, he began to communicate by means of a computer.

Slowly his body awaked a little more.
Today, Martin Pistorius has regained some use of his arms, though he is still unable to speak.  He is now a web designer.  He married in 2009 and moved to the United Kingdom to live with his wife.  He co-wrote a book called Ghost Boy that saw publication in 2011.  Martin has forgiven his mother.  His rare and still mysterious illness is simply called “locked-in-syndrome.”  Only a few other such cases have ever been documented.  About the only thing that bothers Martin, is Barney.

He really hates Barney.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, January 19, 2015


Girl, I have been thinking.  If I tattoo mountains, valleys, and trees on my skin and you tattoo clouds and sky on yours, our lovemaking will be like rain across the land.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, January 18, 2015

20 Pounds of Housecat

Me:  “Hey, Buddy, whut up?”

20 Pounds of Housecat:  “Dude, you are dangerously close to blocking my sun.  If that happens, we are going to have a problem here.”

--Mitchell Hegman 

Photo taken with my twice-as-smarter-than-me-phone

Saturday, January 17, 2015


There is a hot new actress on television who has invented a new way to pronounce “pink.”  Her pink ends with a fiercely strong “k.”  Her “k” is like a club with which she strikes you after whispering into your ear, like a big bottle that filled three small cups sitting beside it, like the death scene in a Western movie where the wrong man dies after a long ride through blistering desert heat and the film format changes making the lone saguaro grow eerily tall.

Her “k” is the beginning and not the end. 

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, January 16, 2015

Next Minute

Imagine for one minute the ways in which the world might be a better place without you.  What are your thoughts during the minute that follows?

--Mitchell Hegman 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fragments of Possibility

…so green it hurts to look
…fishermen give way to speed
…knowing she is pretty
…as soon as you are able
…one size bigger

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


For two days now, a temperature inversion has squashed damp and frigid air down into our valley and held the cold here.  A dense fog and heavy hoar frost developed the night before last. Both remained throughout the day yesterday.  Today, I am posting two photographs I captured with my twice-as-smarter-than-me-phone on my drive home yesterday afternoon.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

If the Rules for Snow and Snowstorms Were Governed by the National Electrical Code

As I watched a somewhat incompetent snowstorm sputter and fumble around my house (and then finally give up and crawl away) yesterday afternoon, the thought occurred to me that snow and snowstorms suffer from a lack of oversight and standardization.  Having worked with the National Electrical Code (NEC) for some thirty years, I am of a mind that snow and snowstorms might do well if adopted and administered by the NEC.
The NEC works well for governing electrical systems—why not snow?   I think that an Article between Motors and Transformers in Chapter 4 would suffice.  Here are a few provisions of Code I would like to see for Article 444: Snow and Snowstorms.
·         All forms of snow (from sleet to fluff) shall be tested and listed by an independent testing agency such as Underwriter’s Laboratories
·         Snowflakes shall be standardized in size and shape, dependent on the type of snow
·         Snowstorms shall operate on firm schedules governed by astronomical timing devices and the timing devices shall be provided with holiday setbacks
·         A lockable disconnecting means for snowstorms shall be located in a readily accessible location
·         Snow shall not be allowed in Classified (Hazardous) locations as defined by the local authority having jurisdiction
·         Snow shall not suck unless expressly permitted in other Sections of this Code

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015


In the seamless calm of predawn,
my home is filled with blinking electronics
and nothing else.
We are calling the mothership.
Mothership, come in.
blink, blink.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Pricing Point

If ever I find two brands of the same item and one is priced at $19.99 and the other is priced at $20.00, I am going to purchase the one priced at $20.00 just because.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, January 9, 2015

Like a Plane Crashing

When rescuers and searchers arrive at the site of a jetliner crash where the plane has plummeted to earth or into the ocean after a breakup in midair, they often find victims stripped of their clothing.  The sudden violence and abrupt exposure to wind speeds of hundreds of miles-per-hour is sometimes enough to peel-off shoes and socks.

Apparently, I sleep like a plane crashing.

The other morning, I woke sprawled across my bed at an abnormal angle.  When I came fully aware of my surroundings, I discovered one of my pillows fully naked beside me—the pillow case for the pillow was crumpled against the headboard and far from my reach.  The rest of my bedding appeared to have been frozen while caught-up in a tornado beside me.

I have noticed that my 40 pounds of housecat often refuse to sleep in my bed…maybe they have developed a fear of flying.

--Mitchell Hegman 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sunset, January 7, 2015

A spectacular sunset marked the end of our day in Helena, Montana yesterday.  My brother-in-law called and urged me to grab my camera.  Posted today are two photographs from a trip I took out onto the snowy prairie in front of my house while I was wrapped in a blanket and wearing a pair of fuzzy slippers.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Two Dogs

From the light came William Wordswoth and from midnight came Charles Bukowski.  Two poets.  Two dogs fighting to fetch the same stick.
From Wordsworth: Daffodils
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine...

From Bukowski: before Aids
I’m glad I got to them
all, I’m glad I got so many of them
I flipped them
poked them
gored them.

…I picked them off
the barstools
ripe plums.

And remember, it was Wordsworth who said: “To begin, begin!”   And Bukowski is widely regarded as having said: “Find what you love and let it kill you.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Window Box

On most days I will, just the same as anyone else, choose a window box filled with sunflowers over two acres filled with weeds.  This is the error of short-term thinking, the mistake in potential, we all tend to make most of the time.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, January 5, 2015

Once Was

Since the crash of my old computer, I have been forced to save, shuffle, or delete hundreds of files from my machines (these include two computers and two external hard drives).  If nothing else, I have been provided with an opportunity to glance through a plethora of old photographs.
Today, I am posting a couple photographs I captured a while back.  One is a photo of some lady slippers I found near my cabin.  The other is a photo of some foxtail I captured in field near Helena.

--Mitchell Hegman 

Sunday, January 4, 2015


For the males of our species, the universe is not decaying at nearly a rapid enough pace.  We do our best to accelerate the chaos and annihilation through wars, demolition derbies, and our failed attempts at automobile repair.  On occasion, I am willing to do my part.  If the end is fiery and punctuated by roiling plumes of smoke and ash, move me to the front of the line.

I love a fire.

The other day, I drove to my mountain property to burn a pile of junk: warped lumber of odd lengths, swollen and flaky squares of waferboard, and deadfall.  Though mold and bacteria and plain-old moisture has for many years been prying apart and destroying the orderly molecules of the various items I fancied as junk, I am not interested in standing around for the next forty or so years to wait until natural forces gradually suck everything back into the ground.
Not when I have fire to tear it down.

Generally, bigger is better, especially in matters of combustion.  Having chosen a day with fresh snow and no chance of my fire galloping off through the forest, I put an entire stack of wood nearly as tall as me to flames as a starting point and then danced against the blue sky, green trees, and flames.  As the flames gripped the butt-ends and crooked cuts, I circled around, poking at the jumble with a long stick.  The flames blossomed and then church-steepled up into the sky, starkly orange and yellow.  I soon began to tepee longer boards into the flames and then tipped whole cabinets and sheets of wafer-weld sheathing into the ever-growing fire.
One the molecular level, this kind of bonfire is something akin to the riot at the end of a soccer match between Venezuela and Brazil.  It doesn't matter which team won because, frankly, the other lost, and some angry fans soon pour into a spectacular melee on the field to engage while others flee over under and right through all obstacles in the way to escape.  On a human scale, well, holy shit!


Bigger is way bigger.

For a while the flames scissored fifteen feet into the air.  I stood ten paces back from the squirming heat waves.  The snow, about four inches of cover, melted away from a hillside twenty feet away from the flames as my fire brawled with everything I heaped onto the convulsing mound of coals from the matured inferno.  Green flames flared from metal hinges attached to cupboards doors.   Pink flames squirmed through tangles of barbed-wire.  Sun-colored flames flagged from the heart of old dimension lumber and posts.  I stayed there under the winter sky until the flames collapsed back into the red coals and the snapping coals gradually settled and faded to black and gray ash.

A sincere emptiness overcomes you as flames die out if you are watching a fire of your making.   I thought about how even in some remote and nomadic tribes today, they carry fire with them wherever they roam with their livestock, never allowing the last ember to die out.  We are far less sophisticated now, having our matches and lighters to take along.

When I arrived at home again, I discovered that the fire had burned my face pink.   I found several holes scorched through my heavy sweatshirt.  All of my clothing smelled of the end—of sweetness and sulfur at the same time.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Electrical Quiz

Following are two questions to test your general knowledge of electrical systems.  The answers will be found at the bottom of the quiz:

1.         What color of insulation is used to indicate that a wire is the “equipment grounding” conductor?
a.         ____ not green
b.         ____ green
c.         ____ not green
d.         ____ not green

2.         In grounded electrical systems, which wire is an equivalent to Salma Hayek?
a.         ____ this answer has been intentionally left blank
b.         ____ look down
c.         ____ the ungrounded or “hot” wire
d.         ____ look up

--Mitchell Hegman

Answers:  1. green,  2. Salma Hayek is seriously hot!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Suspicious Sources of Heat

My home is heated by a propane boiler.  During spells of cold weather—especially when the price of the LP gas is driven high by demand—I may burn through several hundred dollars-worth of fuel in a mere handful of weeks.  Part of my thinking when I installed my solar PV array was that I could supplement my heat with electric sources, which are virtually 100% efficient and would consume the electricity I am producing.

When I constructed my home, I installed, and have often used, an electric toe-space heater in my kitchen.  This winter, I purchased a couple of plug-in electric utility heaters.  The heaters are each rated for 1500 watts (at 120 volts) and are of the type that will automatically shut-down if they tip over.

Twice, in the last month, I have had different people unplug the heaters almost the instant they saw them.  Naturally, I asked these people why they unplugged the electric heaters.

“Fire,” came the answer.

“You realize,” I said to the last person, “that I have a propane boiler that actually runs on fire.”

Just for fun, I checked some recent National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) records to see what they show for the cause of home fires.  Between the years 2007—2011 something near 43% of the recorded home structure fires were the result of cooking equipment.  Heating equipment (of which electric heaters are but a smaller fraction) accounted for only 16% of the home fires.

Unplugging the coffee maker, anyone?

--Mitchell Hegman  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

100 Years Ago

News from 1915:

January 1—Jihadists attack a train at Broken Hill, Australia
January 12—U.S. House of Representatives rejects a proposal to give women the right to vote
January 27—U.S. Marines occupy Haiti
February 7—Very first wireless message sent to a station from a moving train
February 17—First American dies in combat fighting in World War I
March 19—Pluto is captured in a photograph for the first time
March 27—Typhoid Mary is arrested after years of spreading outbreaks of typhoid fever
April 22—German military uses poison gas (for the first time) in World War I
May 6—Babe Ruth pitches his debut game for the Red Sox and hits his first home run
May 7—Lusitania sunk by a German submarine, causing the loss of 1198 people
June 2—Erich Muenter, a professor of German from Cornell University, sets off a bomb in the U.S. Senate reception room
July 24—The Eastland (a passenger steamship) rolls over into the waters of Lake Michigan while at dock in Chicago, killing 844 people
August 17—275 people die in a hurricane that strikes Galveston, Texas
September 11—The Raggedy Ann doll receives a U.S. Patent
September 29—Very first transcontinental radio-telephone message sent
October 3—Magnitude 7.8 earthquake strikes Nevada
October 21—First transatlantic radio-telephone message sent
December 12—Germany conducts a test flight for the world’s very first all-metal aircraft

--Mitchell Hegman    (Thanks mostly to Wikipedia)