Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

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

Monday, November 30, 2015


You can always tell when a man’s well informed.  His views are pretty much like your own.

--H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Too Handsome to Win the Ugly Contest

According to accounts I found on a variety of news sources, including the Guardian, the Huffington Post, and the Associated Press, controversy has tarnished the latest Mister Ugly contest in Zimbabwe.  Beauty contests and, apparently, not-so-much contests are kind of a big deal in Zimbabwe.

The winner of this year’s Mister Ugly Contest, a very happy fellow named Mison Sere, is accused of cheating by being, well, handsome.  More specifically, he is accused of cheating because he is missing a lot of teeth and is capable of manufacturing ugly faces.  When he is not smiling, according to detractors, Mison is a fine-looking man.  Only when he smiles can he possibly win the ugly competition.

According to some contestants—including, William Masvinu, last year’s winner—Mison Sere should be disqualified because he is not truly ugly.  Masvinu and his supporters mobbed contestant judges with objections following the selection of Mison.  “I am naturally ugly,” Masvinu complained.  “He is not!”

Another indignant contestant shouted: “Do we have to lose our teeth to win?  This is cheating!”
I will be the first to admit that I am not a great judge of the physical attractiveness of men.  Just the same, I think Mison Sere is righteously ugly.  Of course, I mean that in the nicest of ways.  I have reposted an AP photo so you might judge for yourself.

Honestly, I’d be pretty happy to be disqualified from winning an ugly contest because I am too handsome.  That’s the kind of problem I have always wished for.
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 28, 2015


This morning, in a predawn hoarfrost world, with a temperature of -1°, I scampered out to sit my hot tub outside.

-1° before sunrise is its own reality.  No sounds.  The air itself sparkling.  Steam curling around my face and turning to frost in my tangles of bed-hair. 

Where warm and cold meet, the moisture instantly clamps still and turns perfectly white.  The opposite of hot lava meeting the ocean.

At this temperature, to be still is everything.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 27, 2015


From a single split in the yarn, the finest of knit sweaters can be unknit.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Today, I Give Thanks

I am thankful for small streams stitched-through with trout
For quiet moments without cause
For green pine boughs holding snow
I give thanks to friends in agreement
And friends who may have lost their way
Thanks for little ones toddling toward us
And the old ones shuffling away
Thanks for the sunlight that paints colors in all corners
Thanks for every night that brings every day.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Downside to Cleaning

My friend, Kevin, with the help of his siblings and his kids, has been cleaning his father’s house from top to bottom.  He has been living in the house for for a good part of this year.  After his father’s passing, Kevin began sorting through a house filled with many years of keeping old jars, miscellaneous screws, papers, stray dinnerware pieces, and stacks of half-full boxes of assorted dry goods.

The other night, I stopped down at Kevin’s place to pick up some plastic bottles and glass bottles so I could recycle them along with my own truckload of recyclables.  Kevin looked pale and exhausted.  Apparently, Kevin is a vigorous, if not thrashing, cleaner.

“How’s it going?” I asked as we dragged a couple bags of plastic bottles out to my truck.

“I am just about shot,” he admitted.  “I cleaned out the basement kitchen cupboards today.  I kept getting hotter and hotter as I cleaned.  I was sweating like crazy.  When I finally looked at the thermostat, I saw that it was 90 degrees in the basement!  I must have bumped into the thermostat when I was cleaning.  I was ready to collapse!”

Kevin is also an early riser.  Usually, somewhere near 5:30 in the morning, he sails past my house in his van and drives the two miles of country road out to where our mailboxes are located to retrieve our newspapers.  I wake at about the same time and watch for his returning headlights.  If awake, I will step out to grab my paper from him as he returns home again.

The morning after I picked up Kevin’s recyclables, I watched the headlights of his van swim across the darkness to the drive as he drove back home with our newspapers.  I stepped outside to meet him when he neared my house.

I stood in the early morning chill chatting with him.  “I had a nightmare about black widows last night,” I told him.  “They were everywhere.   I hate spiders.”  I pointed my rolled newspaper skyward in an expansive gesture of disgust.

Kevin’s eyes expanded.  “I killed seven spiders upstairs in my house this morning,” he said.  “Seven,” he repeated.  “I think the heat from when I cleaned my basement drove them upstairs.”

I grimaced.  “Almost makes you want to stop cleaning…”

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Altered Phrases

Nocturnal Omission:  Forgetting what you did last night.

Internal Oregon:  Imagining a trip to the Oregon coast.

Relative Timidity:  Fear of your Uncle Harold.

Dark Spatter:  That stuff that will not wash out of your new shirt.

Lost and Fund:  What you have with a son or daughter in college.

Spring Clinging:  Barely hanging on after a long winter.

Fierce Supposition:  Those times when you are both loud and wrong.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 23, 2015

In Sum

A strikingly pretty girl—she always tried to live her life as though it was worth her face.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Reward

I know more than a few people who have gone huckleberry picking only once in their life.  They have every opportunity to go picking again but find the prospect a bit too close to actual work.

Gathering huckleberries can be challenging.  While I contend that huckleberries will grow only in strikingly beautiful mountainscapes, they also tend to flourish in the nearly inaccessible places there.
I recall one afternoon when I and my buddy Bill spent an entire afternoon desperately clinging to bushes growing on what was, essentially, a cliff.  The berries were large and plentiful on the cliff.  We wanted the berries.

I have often fallen down inclines and tumbled amid the crosswise deadfall.  I have threaded incautiously through rockslides.  I have crawled under thick brush.  All of this in the name of gathering huckleberries.  All of this while watching for bears and swatting at the horseflies whizzing around my head with bad intent.

At the end of a good day of picking huckleberries, a picker may have a gallon or two.  If three people go picking, at least one will likely end up with a bruise or a nasty scratch.  By the end of the trip, everyone will have a stiff back and sore feet.

Three months beyond all of that—on a cool sunshine day like yesterday—we pickers receive our just rewards.  Posted today are photographs of a collection of pickers gathered at my house to bake pies and make jam.  The house smelled of huckleberries for the whole day.  Reward for our days in the forest.

Can you find the smiley face in the huckleberry pie?

--Mitchell Hegman 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Other Voices

If only those who think that their God is telling them to harm or kill others would listen to their nightlight instead…

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hard Work

Hard work will get you only so far in this life; at some point you need to buy a few rounds of beer.

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Fierce and sustained winds kept me awake most of last night.  The stronger gusts roared so loudly against the west wall of my bedroom, I pulled a pillow over my head to reduce the noise.  A brief volley of rain sounded like stones thrown against my windows.  After a while, I stumbled out to the sofa in my living room and flopped down there to try and sleep.

Not much better.

The wind continued to cry against the edges of my house and moan at the windows.
I slept for a while and awakened to an electronic chorus of beeps and whistles as electricity—having been lost at some point—brought back to life my smoke detectors, microwave, and printer.

I brewed my coffee two hours late this morning and then stepped out the front door to see if my solar array survived the night.  Snow in the mountains.  Trees still standing tall.  Solar array upright.

Ready for one more day of sunlight.
  --Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


CAT: Bird at the window!

HUMAN: Yes, bird, but think about this.  Fox eats cat…cat eats mouse…mouse eats spider…spider eats fly.  I have canned food for you.  We can stop the endless cycle at this window.  Why add more madness to the world?  The climate is askew.  Radical Islam is running amok.  I’m not sure I’m ready for retirement and I’m out of potato chips.

CAT: Bird at the window!  Bird at the window!

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 16, 2015


Leisure looks a lot like work when you dress it up to go mountain biking.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 15, 2015


If you wish to learn a great deal about wine and, at the same time, have a good time, a trip to Topper’s Cellar in Helena, Montana might be your best choice.  Topper is a large man.  He is also gregarious and passionate.  His knowledge of wine and beer is vast and he loves sharing all that he knows.  He is exactly how you might picture a connoisseur of wine and beer.

The other day, I took that girl to Topper’s so we could purchase wine.  We found Topper behind the sales counter.   I said to him: “We are having lobster for dinner tonight, what do you suggest for wine?”

That led to a pleasant twenty-minute trip around the wine racks of Topper’s store.  The trip included Topper conducting a limited discourse on the history of Old Europe; including a discussion about a few varieties of the grapes found there.  France and Italy were of special interest.

“Wine is a gift,” Topper assured us.  “We should drink wine every night.”

Eventually, we gathered around a rack at the very front of the store.  Topper pulled a bottle of EST! EST!! EST!!! from the rack—a dry white wine from Italy.  Topper felt that this white had the perfect level of “acidity” and the proper flavor for the meal we were planning.  Cradling the bottle the way a person might cradle a newborn, Topper shared what he knew about this particular wine.

A legend of sorts stands behind the wine’s name.  This legend holds that in the year 1111 a Bavarian bishop named Johannes Defuc was traveling to Rome to see the coronation of the Pope.  The bishop loved wine.  To assure he imbibed only the best that the countryside had to offer, he sent an emissary out ahead of his party to let him know if the local wine was good.  If the emissary found the wine served by the local inn worthy, he was to mark “Est” (It is) above the inn’s door. Upon reaching Montefiascone, the emissary found the wine so good, he marked Est! Est!! Est!!! above the door of the inn.

The wine adopted that name.

We purchased a bottle of Est! Est!! Est!!!   Later that evening, we sipped the white wine while eating lobster I grilled inside the split shell.  Normally I do not enjoy white wines.  I make great exception for this white.

It is!

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Today, we are all dancing angrily, dancing intervallic between the bullets flying away from the City of Light.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 13, 2015

Social Media

More often than not, social media is to being social what colanders are to holding water.

--Mitchell Hegman  

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Back in my days of working construction, I had a habit of teasing everyone on the construction site.  Toward that end, I made up a variety of sayings and nonsensical statements that I would blurt out to fellow workers when I bumped into them.  One of those saw me walking up to someone and asking: “So…what kind of a pid are you?  Are you the stu kind of pid?”

As it turns out, I am the stu kind of pid.

My problem is doors.

That’s correct.  Doors.  The ones you open and walk through and the ones you open before pulling out your automobile.  I wrote about this previously, but the problem persists.  I think I may be getting stu-pid-iter.

Push and pull doors completely kick my ass.  I am always pushing on the pull doors and pulling on the push ones.  If a sign is posted to tell me which kind of door I am dealing with, I invariably do the opposite of what the sign says.  I usually end up crashing into the pull doors.
My garage door is the most baffling—which is weird because opening the door is a simple matter of pressing a button.  The exact problem is that it is one of two buttons.  My job, so to speak, is to press the correct button and open my door.

I seldom press the correct button.

Worse yet, I not only wired and installed the buttons—I have also been using them for a full twenty-four years.  In spite of that, I regularly press the wrong button and open the wrong door.  Just yesterday, I failed to open the correct door (on my first attempt) when leaving my house in morning and then pressed the wrong button to close the door when I entered the house last night.

What the fuckity-fuck?  How hard is this stuff?

What kind of pid am I?

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Something Mark Twain Said

The man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn no other way.

--Mark Twain

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Purple Bottles

I collected pretty much everything when I was a kid.  I collected rocks.  I collected matchbooks.  I collected feathers.  I collected old bones.  I collected old newspapers.  I collected old bottles.  As mentioned in a previous blog, my sisters would not to go into my room because it was, according to them, “gross.”  I lived in a boy-cave.

Sisters just don’t get it.

Bottles have changed a great deal over the years.  At one time, bottles were both ornate and colorful.  Many of my older bottles have long slender necks.  Some have fancy writing expressed on the glass itself.  Most of those are greenish in color, brown, or relatively clear.  My favorite are the purple bottles.

Fact is, most bottle-makers wanted to produce clear bottles.  According to an article I found at the Corning Museum of Glass website, most of the older greenish bottles are that color due to impurities such as iron oxide.  The bottle-makers were shooting for clear but missed their mark.

In the mid-19th century, American glassmakers started using manganese oxide, which they called “glassmaker’s soap,” as a decolorizer.  Bottles made with manganese dioxide were clear, but only in the short term.  The bottles gradually turned various shades of purple when exposed to sunlight or any other source of ultra-violet light.  Some have turned a deep purple by this date.

Early in the 20th century, new manufacturing methods produced clear glass without the use of glassmaker’s soap.  So ended purple bottles.
Bottles today are not even bottles.  I give as example the crinkly, squeezy plastic thingies we use for water.  Glass bottles are now, for the most part, simple and utilitarian.  Posted today is a photograph I captured of what you find inside a “box” of wine.  Not a bottle in any sense—more like the entrails you might expect to find if you dissected Barney (the purple dinosaur).

Now that I consider it, dissecting Barney is one of my better thoughts.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sculpture in the Wild

Not much beyond a stone’s throw from the last cluster of buildings as you drive east along Highway 200 leaving Lincoln, Montana, you will find a small road named Sculpture Way.  If you exit the highway onto the road, you immediately find yourself at a small parking area surrounding by a forest of tall, quiet ponderosa pine.  From there a footpath will guide you through Blackfoot Pathways, Sculpture in the Wild.

Sculpture in the Wild is a sculpture park featuring works created by a variety of internationally renowned artists.  The sculptures are scattered throughout several acres of timber and understory.  You will also chance upon an occasional gathering of upright sticks or perhaps an unusual stack of stones created by a visitor to the park.  Visiting children are especially encouraged to create small works with gatherings of sticks and stones or any other natural things they might find in the park.

Established in 2014, the park celebrates Montana’s cultural and economic traditions as well as extols our unique landscapes.  The park is admission free and is open from dusk till dawn.

Saturday, that girl and I spent an hour walking around the forested park for the first time.  We immediately fell in love with the place and plan to visit again during each season of the year.  Details about each sculpture (and each artist) are posted near the sculptures.  Some of the works gave me great pause.

I have posted a few photographs.  I highly recommend stopping to see the park for yourself if you pass through Lincoln at any time.

--Mitchell Hegman 
You can also check the park out at:

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Just because I can, I am going to start with a pun.  Ready?   The term contrail is a condensed version of condensation trail.  They are basically made of water and a few particulates from the exhaust of jets slipping high overtop us in the chill air at high cruising altitudes.
They are line-shaped clouds.

As such, contrails tend to be ephemeral and normally fade away rather quickly.  In certain conditions, though, especially those of high humidity in the upper atmosphere, contrails may persist for hours.  They may even grow in size as they collect more moisture from the thin air around them.

We experienced just such an event over my house yesterday.  The contrails of over a dozen passing jets lingered for several hours.

Researcher organizations from around the world (including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) have documented such persistent contrails evolving into significant cirrus cloudbanks in the bustling flyways above densely populated regions of the planet.  Such researchers believe that, on occasion, these man-made clouds may be enough to modify the weather.

Posted today is a photograph of the contrails stretched above my house yesterday morning.
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Fall Art Walk

Evening last, four of us bundled into coats and drove to Last Chance Gulch for the 32nd Annual Fall Art Walk.  I was impressed with the size of the attending crowds.  The walking mall and shops along the Gulch were often shoulder to shoulder.  Over thirty artists (of every medium) displayed their works at the various participating venues—which included public entities such as the Lewis and Clark County Library, shops, and a few local taverns.
If you need a reason to love living in Helena, Montana, this event is certainly one to employ.  Some of the paintings and photographs on display stopped me dead in my tracks with their beauty or unique perspective.  I circled around some of the detailed woodworks in awe.  All of us were impressed with the unique shops on Last Chance Gulch.  That girl and my sister purchased items from several places.  All of us stepped into the Rialto for a drink.
I found myself most impressed with a young artist named Hailey Hendrikson.  A crowd stood outside a small women’s boutique called PHILOSOPH(i.e.) watching through an outside window as Hailey worked on a drawing.  I captured a smarter-than-me-cellphone photograph of Hailey.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 6, 2015

Drifting (To Where I Need To Be)

We have slipped away from the sun just a bit more.  Our array of stars now swirls to new locations each night.  The night shadows merge behind my sofa and within my jade plants.  Our nearest mountains—freshly tented-over with snow—look like ancient sailing ships set to sea upon a vast ocean of summer’s prairie grass.  The lights of distant homes and of small towns sparkle against the swells between.

We have drifted into a chill season, drifted toward our winter.  The day-skies are bluer, the nights brighter, colder.  For the last two days, a lone two-point buck mule deer has crossed soundlessly through my yard—no longer thrashing his antlers against the standing juniper.

We have all matured.

We have all pulled on our heavy coats.

Some of us need to be in a place where we can see our exhaled breath blossom pure white against the chilled air.  Some of us desire to stand there when the first snowflakes drifts upward just a little before finally settling and melting against the palm of an outstretched hand.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Extra Credit for Trying

I give extra credit to anyone selling life insurance to doomsday preppers, Pentecostal snake handlers, and any makeup artists working with Bruce Jenner.

--Mitchell Hegman  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Bad Attitude plus a Twenty Percent Gratuity

Insult comics have been with us for a while.  Don Rickles immediately comes to mind.  More recently there is Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.  If you are unfamiliar with Triumph, I can give you a taste of his rapid-fire and unsavory invectives.  While visiting French-speaking Quebec and addressing a French person who did not speak English, he said: “Pardon me, I only know your basic expressions like ‘I surrender’.”  This is Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog speaking on stage with Jon Bon Jovi: “So you’re acting now, you’re in a vampire movie, yes?  That’s good.  Finally, a role that requires you to suck.”

You get the idea.

I mention all of this after having a late lunch on Sunday afternoon at Dick’s Last Resort.  Dick’s is located inside the Excalibur on the Las Vegas Strip.

They serve a tasty “sammich” at Dick’s.  More importantly, the servers there have a really bad attitude.  They are sarcastic and unconventional.  We took a table for ten and were immediately given the task of passing out our own settings and spreading our own paper table covering.  Our server, a young woman in her twenties, immediately took to calling me “grandpa.”  When she returned with our drinks and started setting them on the table, Debbie, the woman sitting across from me, started reaching for the drink intended for my sister.  “What in the hell are you doing?” our server admonished.  “That’s not for you!  Try and remember what you ordered.  Okay?  This stuff is not that hard.  What’s wrong with you?”

She picked on Debbie from then on.

I was saved.

The servers at Dick’s also create paper hats with totally off-color statements written on them and then place them on everyone at the table.  I have posted a fairly poor smarter-than-me-phone photograph from our lunch.  It might be better if you cannot make out exactly what the hats say.  I think you should go there and get your own.

We all enjoyed our time at Dick’s Last Resort.  Our condescending little server made for great fun.
  We left her with a twenty percent gratuity.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dog Shoots Owner

While whisking through a variety of news feeds online, I chanced upon a Reuters article about a dog that shot its owner with a shotgun.  According to the story, written by Mary Wisniewski, a dog answering to the name of Trigger shot a woman named Allie Carter once in the foot.

That’s pretty much where I stopped reading the article because…the less you know…

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Posted today are photographs from our Las Vegas Halloween.  My sister handed out over 10 pounds of candy.  Hundreds of kids stopped by her house.  Her house has become something of a local “must visit” on Halloween for both kids and adults.

The entire yard was enshrouded by webs and filled with sound effects and manufactured fog.  Strobe lights flashed against a fake graveyard.  Giant animated spiders flexed under thick webs.  Hand-sized spiders were affixed to the walls of the house.  A giant inflatable figure from the Nightmare before Christmas towered over everything.

--Mitchell Hegman