Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Old and New

Today I am posting two photographs from the summer of 2008.  The photos are from a mountaintop elevation of about 8,000 feet.  The first photograph is a green gentian.  The second is the drawn-in focus of a deadfall log on a windblown slope.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, February 27, 2015

How Babies Are Made

Young Boy (looking up at his father)“How are babies made?”

Father: “That’s easy, son.  What you do is hand a shovel to an electrician and tell him he needs to dig a ditch.”

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, February 26, 2015


I met a woman yesterday.  The woman was the friend of a friend.  We met quite by chance on a sidewalk in Helena.  The woman was holding a cup of coffee when I met her.  I found myself immediately transfixed by her hand—soon both hands.  Each of this woman’s fingernails was painted a loudly different color.

I found the woman’s fingernails beautiful in a way.  I told her exactly that.
After we parted ways, the thought struck me that I did not even bother to notice if she was wearing a wedding ring.  In fact, I have never in my entire life bothered to look for wedding rings, though I regularly hear men talking about doing such.

Apparently, some form of miswiring inside me has left cold the circuits that trigger normal men to watch football and look for wedding rings on women they meet.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why not a Cloud?

Why not a cloud?
That, rather than trapped in a web of veins
Or fenced in by pickets of white bone.
Why not sail on where gravity has set no hooks?
The human heart is too heavy for this thin winter sky
And the thought freedom is not freedom true.
Why not a cloud?

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snorting Chocolate

So you are now wondering… are we talking about a bar of chocolate or perhaps a chocolate cake that is wheezing and snorting, having come alive in some form of genetic engineering run amok?  Or are we talking about human-type people snorting chocolate mints up their nose.

Neither answer sounds particularly promising.

Sadly, I am talking about the latter explanation.  People snorting chocolate.  Not mints or drops, mind you.  That would be ridiculous, right?  Some people are now snorting chocolate powder up their nose as an alternative to eating it.

Snorting chocolate is the brain-child of a chocolatier from Belgium named Dominique Persoone.  Initially, the idea was something of a “joke dessert” created for a party where the Rolling Stones were in attendance.  But remember, we have taken Jean-Claude van Damme, the Muscles from Brussels, seriously as an actor.  How far-fetched this Belgian idea?

According to an article in Live Science, written by Tanya Lewis, snorting chocolate does not provide any sort of high.  Some people have even suggested that randomly snorting things up your nose may not be healthy.  Seems to matter little to devotees of chocolate.  Since first inventing a “machine” for snorting chocolate (mixed with mint and ginger) and marketing his idea, Persoone has sold 25,000 chocolate snorting machines.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, February 23, 2015


It is possible for me to start my day without coffee in the same way it is possible for a field mouse to juggle three bowling balls.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Problem Solver

I am a problem solver.  Normally, the problem is that my cats are hungry.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, February 21, 2015

I Can’t Find My Phone (A Conversation)

Recently, my friend’s entire family made the difficult decision to move their mother into an assisted living facility.  My friend’s mother is suffering from dementia.  This has been difficult for everyone.  But, as with all things human, lighter moments sometimes break through the prevailing wretchedness.  I give you, as example, the following conversation.

Friend (answering her cellphone and seeing her mother’s cellphone number on the caller ID):  “Hello, Mom.”

Mother (on the opposite end of the line):  “I can’t find my other phone?”

Friend“Did you look in your purse?  Maybe you put it in there.”

Mother“I looked there.”

Friend“It has to be somewhere in your apartment.”

Mother“I have been looking.”

Friend (after a few moments of consideration):  “Are you in your living room?”


Friend“Look around the room and see if you see your wireless phone sitting on the end table by your favorite chair.”

Mother (after a brief pause):  “Yes.  I see a phone there.”

Friend (fighting the urge to laugh and cry simultaneously):  “That’s great, Mom.  That means that the phone you are looking for is in your hand.  You used it to call me.”

Mother“Ohhhh.  That’s good.”

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fourteen Swans

At midmorning yesterday, I stepped out onto my deck to stretch a bit.  While there, I spotted fourteen swans on the lake below.  The lake remains frozen, mind you, but the swans seemed quite content as they wobbled around in a cluster on the greenish ice.

Swans!  Another sure sign of spring!

Some of the swans were issuing sounds something akin to a hasty marriage between the honking of a goose the growling of a lion fighting off laryngitis.  I would not exactly classify the swan noises as singing.  My next step is to contact my brother-in-law to see if swans are classified as pussy birds.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Pussy Birds are Back (A Conversation)

Brother-in Law“I see that the pussy birds are back.”


Brother-in Law“The pussy birds have arrived back in Montana.”

Mitch“What are pussy birds?”

Brother-in Law“Robins.  Songbirds.”

Mitch“Oh…why do you call them pussy birds?”

Brother-in Law“They are a bunch of pussies.  They won’t even stay here for the winter.  Besides, what good are they?  All they do is sing all day and shit on stuff?”

Mitch“I like the singing…”

Brother-in Law“An eagle or a hawk: now that’s a real bird.”

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Yesterday afternoon, I found myself walking through a neighborhood just off Helena Avenue.  The weather, by midafternoon, had turned decidedly pleasant.  Sunshine brushed bright ribbons between the homes and across the walks of the city street.  The sky shone entirely blue save a small sculpture of clouds drifting high over the cradle of mountains nearby, but the air on the street remained perfectly quiet and warm.  As I walked the sidewalk, I could hear the cheery voices of small children at play in a nearby yard.  “This,” I thought, “is simple-perfect.”

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Little Known Equations

2 Housecats = 1 Wife
Woman + Sex = Undefined
Man + Sex = Theory of Everything
Tax Return = Road Trip – 1 Bottle 18-Year-Old Scotch
1 Bottle Bowmore 25-Year-Old Scotch = $430.00

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Closer Look

Posted today are photographs I snapped of the underside of two leaves from the begonia plant in my living room.  I have always been fascinated by the patterns found in leaves.  Begonia plants also display a surprising variety of colors on the backside of their leaves.

--Mitchell Hegman  

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Here, in our dusty little corner of the world, we have been experiencing a long stretch of “I might need sunblock” weather at a time of the year when the normal is “I’m gonna kill the next weatherman who says snow.”  We have been hitting the fifties and sometimes sixties during the day.  Our nightly lows here in the valley are often not below freezing.  This, when our historical averages for temperature set the lows in the upper teens and highs just shy of forty.

Last night in snowished.

When I opened my door this morning to let out twenty pounds of housecat, I saw about a quarter-inch of the stuff on my deck.  I went out and poked at it.  Not actual snow.  Something a bit mushier and not all that cold.  Incompetent snow.  Snowish, but not quite there.

My cat—normally finding snow abhorrent—pranced right out there and happily tracked the hell out of things.  “Nice try, weather,” I muttered.   I stepped back inside to brew some coffee and look to for sunblock.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Grasped by the Moon

I captured this image of the Moon reaching across Lake Helena while driving to work early one morning in May of 2010.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, February 13, 2015

Men Like to Pee Outside, Women Are from Venus

I am talking about a real thing.  Men like to pee outside.  All men do it.  We start peeing outdoors as soon as we learn how to walk outside.  I will even admit that I stood outside and peed into the predawn darkness from my back deck early yesterday morning.

I cannot effectively put into words the urge—the feeling—that fills me (and I assume other men) as I pee into the wild while standing there under a cheerful slurry of stars early in the morning.  It is not a “power” thing.  Not a “me versus” thing.  Dare I say it?  I feel a kind of “connection with” thing.  I feel something like a wolf marking my territory, but a little bigger in that idea in a way I cannot fully explain.

Years ago, I and a few of my male friends conceived the idea of peeing down onto the spillway from the top of Canyon Ferry Dam.  And we did so, pressed against the chain-link fence raised to keep us from falling to our deaths.  We clung to the fence, extended our little bits through the fencing, and sprayed down into the roaring expanse.  We peed from the top of the dam on several occasions and only stopped the practice when we discovered how updrafts from the river below turned the tables on us, so to speak.

I have always wondered about the peak of Mount Everest.

Naturally, all of this brings me to the matter of women.  I have not really noticed in any of the women I have known the same urge to pee outside.  Quite the opposite.  Given a chance, most women will readily choose to go inside.  I suspect that differences in both plumbing and wiring account for this.  That is why I headed this blog with a play on the title: Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, the famous tome of comparison written by John Gray.

And finally this: last week I saw Janet Mock on television.  I am reluctant to admit this, but I think she is beautiful.  Just so you know what I was up against, I have posted a photo of Janet.

I mention Janet Mock because she began life as a boy named Charles Mock.  Somewhere along the line, Charles had a sex change and became Janet.  I thought of Janet as I wrote this because I am curious…do you think she ever fights the urge to go outside and, well, go?
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Obligate Ram Ventilators versus Nikola Tesla

The obligate ram ventilators are not a football team, not a part of an HVAC metal ductwork system, and not the latest gadget to enhance engine performance on a racecars.  Obligate ram ventilators are species of sharks (including great whites and makos) that will perish from a lack of oxygen in their systems if they stop swimming.   Such sharks have lost the ability to “pump’ water across their gills with muscles in their mouths or movable gill plates.  To live, they must swim so oxygen-rich water is always passing through their gills.

Try to imagine the need for constant motion in human terms.  What would that look like?  Well, start with the need for sleepwalking as the norm.  And can you envision having sex while jogging?  I think most of us can grasp terms of motion on the opposite end of the scale—for example, being confined or bedridden for several days.  We enjoy snuggling on the sofa with a significant other or with 40 pounds of cat and not moving at all for an hour or more.  But constant motion is difficult.

Never-ending motion is nearly beyond human comprehension.  A few humans have tried to remain swimming.   Nikola Tesla (my hero) is said to have functioned regularly on only two hours of sleep.  Tesla wanted to always be working on his inventions.  He also insisted that the motion of taking long walks was required for problem solving.  On one such walk he envisioned the rotating magnetic field that became his invention of the AC induction motor.


While Tesla’s relative motion may have helped him invent the electrical, gadget-filled world we now enjoy, his lack of normal periods of rest may have contributed to his becoming increasingly withdrawn and paranoid.  He was a germaphobe, for starters.  As time went on, Tesla fell into a host of obsessive compulsive habits.  Tesla developed an obsession with the number three.  He always washed his hands three times in a row and sometimes would circle a building three times before entering.  Toward the end of his days, he more or less fell in love with a pigeon.

That’s a bit weird.
The bare truth is that humans, on occasion, need to shutdown and rest.  Sitting there and watching the clouds roll by has its benefits.  We are not great white sharks and should not aspire to be.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Meanwhile, Back in the Real World

I guessed the building to be from the Victorian era.  Long halls.  Wide trim boards.  Dark corners.  With only an hour remaining before the rock concert in the arena next door, I found myself whisking up and down the halls, peering through unmarked doors.   Finally, I chanced upon two middle-aged men in wheelchairs, parked at the junction of two halls, deep in conversation.  I stood beside one of the men until he finished speaking and acknowledged me.

“Bathroom?” I bleated.

“Other side of the building,” the man responded.  “Up front.  On the Left.”

“I was just there.  I didn't see anything.”

“There is another hall.  You have to look for it.” 

“Okay.  Thanks.”

I strode away once more, footfalls echoing dully as I tracked down the endless hallways.  Door after door after door and corner after corner…

Suddenly I woke in my bed.  And within thirty second I found my master bathroom.

What concert did I just miss, I wondered?

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, February 9, 2015

British Seagulls Are Becoming Fat Slobs

According to an article written by Joshua Taylor in the Mirror, seagulls in Britain are becoming ‘fat slobs.’  Gulls living in urban settings are increasingly seeking out discarded human foods such as burgers and pastries in favor of fish.

British biologists and undergraduate students conducted comparative eating habit studies between seagulls in urban areas to those living along the coast.  The obvious result: city gulls prefer fast food.  In many urban locations, when given a choice between fish and bread, the birds took the bread in 95 percent of case studies.  Some of the researchers expressed concern about the birds becoming fat and developing heart disease.

Reading the article about British seagulls made me think about my grandmother.  In her late years, my grandmother worried about pretty much everything you might imagine: weather, misplaced newspapers, her grandchildren, soup, baseball schedules, and on into infinity.  If nothing of immediate importance was available as a subject for worry, my grandmother would invent something.  The seagulls would have been a nice thing for her to worry about.
--Mitchell Hegman           Photo: UK Mirror

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Winter Place

Yesterday, lured outdoors by another snow-melt day, CM and I drove out to where Lorelei Spring flounces down from the Spokane Bench and curls across the beach to reach Canyon Ferry Reservoir.  When I was a boy, my father and I sometimes stopped at the spring to gather watercress after hunting trips into the Big Belt Mountains.
CM and I squished around on the exposed beach for a while, leaving dark footprints in the fair-colored sands.  After soaking in the warm sunlight for a while, we crabbed our way along the rocky points of the shore and poked at the Picasso ice-melt formations.  Posted are some photographs I captured with my twice-as-smarter-than-me-phone.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Summer Place

Yesterday, the temperature at my house rose to the mid-sixties.  I went for a long walk and thought about summer days when I was a kid splashing around Prickly Pear Creek and lying on the stone retaining wall to dry in the hot summer sun.  When I returned home after my walk, I browsed through some photographs of more recent summer days.

Today, I am posting a photograph from a summer drive near Lincoln.  I have posted photographs of this place on previous blogs, but I never tire of the view.
   --Mitchell Hegman

Friday, February 6, 2015

Second Try

If at first you don’t succeed, try for a second time with bacon.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Goldilocks Zone

Today, we welcome EPIC 201367065 d to our Goldilocks list.  Perhaps you recall the tale of Goldilocks and The Three Bears.  If so, you recall how Goldilocks entered the home of the three bears and found three bowls of porridge sitting on the kitchen table.  Tasting from each bowl, Goldilocks found the porridge of the first bowl she tasted too hot, the second too cold, but the third bowl of porridge was just right.

Goldilocks ate the third bowl of porridge.

If you understand the simple temperature-based tale of Goldilocks and the porridge, you know all that you need to know about life.  Earth, our home planet, is exactly like the third bowl of porridge.  Our temperature is just right.  If our little blue planet were nudged just a bit nearer to our Sun, we would all burn up and float away as puffs of gas and smoke.  If pushed a bit farther away from the sun, our oceans and streams would all freeze solid and at some point all life as we know it would cease.  Hence, we reside in the Goldilocks zone, sometimes called the life zone or habitable zone.

Theoretically, billions of habitable exoplanets (those outside our own solar system) could exist in Goldilocks zones around Sun-like stars spread all across the Milky Way.  At present, about thirty such planets have been firmly identified.  The nearest of the Goldilocks planets is tau Cet e.  Tau Cet e is 12 light-years distant from us.

Goldilocks zone planets are being added to the list regularly.  Kepler-186f, at 561 light-years, was added last spring.  The discovery of EPIC 201367065 d, spinning away out there at 147 light-years, was announced just this January.  I find myself somewhat comforted by the knowledge that these possible homes exist out there.  We may need them.  So long as we don’t discover the exoplanets teeming with aging Elvis impersonators or vacuum salesmen, we have hope.

As a final note, porridge, for anyone interested, is an equivalent our oatmeal.  And I should note that, technically, Goldilocks was guilty of breaking and entering the three bears’ residence.
   --Mitchell Hegman    Illustration by NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-CalTech

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Dropped In

Some birds are big and some small.
Baby trees are short and adult trees are tall.
Spiders suck!

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Reflective Thinking

Pensive and melancholy, considering past transgressions, reliving failures: I serve my memory instead of having my memory serve me.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, February 2, 2015

Yes and No

Yes, to the smell of freshly brewed coffee nudging me awake in the morning.
No, to dinner with friends when one seat always remains empty at our table.
Yes, to the wind at my back.
No, to smoke in my face.
Yes, lotions scented with lavender.
No, to self-doubt.
Yes, to the beginning of this: another day.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Difference between a Crow and a Raven

One bird gathers together dark storms and squeezes them.
The other bird sends perfectly white clouds on their way. 

--Mitchell Hegman