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John Palcewski's Journal

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It's spooky, but lately whenever I raise my camera somebody notices. Even when they're out there on the quay fishing, with their backs turned to me. Somehow they feel it. Which reminds me of many years ago, when a former service buddy of mine named Ben Hartman took me on a three-day canoe expedition down the Stillwater River in southwestern Ohio.

We were moving along nicely when Ben stopped, slowly raised his paddle and then brought its blade swiftly down into the water. A second later a big dead trout appeared on the surface, a neat red gash across its forehead, right between its eyes. He pulled the fish out of the river, and later that evening we grilled it on a fire and ate it, washed down with half a case of beer each.

As we ate and drank he told me about his habit of shooting any stray or feral cat that happened to cross his path in the woods. These animals were vermin, a nuisance. "One time I spotted a big black one a long way off, maybe 75 yards," Ben said, "and I got it in the telescopic sight of my thirty-ought-six Springfield. I put the crosshairs right between that fucker's eyes. He was staring right at me. Even from that distance that cat knew exactly what I was doing. Honest to God, he KNEW."
"Well, what happend?"
"I nailed him with one round. Blew his head off. And he knew it was coming."

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Cats eat vermin. Especially feral cats, who must hunt.

I've always loved cats and his attitude & actions repelled me then, and still do in the recollection.

I never thought you didn't; I just wanted to make a kitty PSA. :)

It's an excellent idea, these PSAs. To counter all the dog-loving cat haters with big rifles.

I agree, I like to let people know that cats can be useful. The human race has a history of love/hate with cats, associating them with evil and the underworld, ironically because they hunt at night and in places full of nasty vermin, I guess. The thing is, without them, we'd have to face those vermin ourselves, or with harmful and expensive chemicals. The Black Plague was spread by fleas carried on rats. Too bad most people in the middle ages believed cats were evil, or maybe there wouldn't have been such a widespread rat problem.

I rather like the colours in that one, which is strange because I'm not a big fan of blue in general. Maybe I should have said: I like the way in which you made use of colours.

Aquamarine is the color of my birth stone, which is set in a big gold ring I got at graduation from Moravian College (BA, Journalism, '86). They call people who in adulthood continue to wear college class rings--most especially Nuclear Navy officers who are graduates of Annapolis--"ring knockers." Which is to say that at meetings they sit at the table and keep their hands where everyone can see them, and often tap their rings idly on the wood, just to make sure everyone notices their possession of such an obvious symbol of intellectual superiority. BTW, I grew up in a big, empty house devoid of books in Youngstown, Ohio. Address? 330 Superior Street.

I don't know you, and you may or may not be interested in such things, but there's a book called "The Sense of Being Stared At" by Rupert Sheldrake that's all about stuff like that.

Thanks, I'll have to check it out one of these days...

Holy crap... I have canoed on that river.

I'm a dog preferrer... but I'd never kill an animal just because I could. Your former service buddy sounds like alot of the redneck assholes in that area. I know, I grew up there.

Small world, eh? You must be familiar with the Grand American trapshooting tournament in Vandalia. Which event I was covering for a magazine, before the Ben Hartman canoe trip. As I recall, no animals or humans died in that event.

Hmm... that sounds vaguely familiar... I haven't been to that area in over a decade.

Very interesting journal you have with beautiful photography. I hope you don't mind that I added you.

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Thanks for your generous comments. LJ is a writer & photographer's dream. Especially for a comment whore like me. But I thrive on the instant feedback. It keeps me going, gives me an incentive to come up with something regularly. Sort of tricks me into meeting my impossible-to-meet daily quota.

Thank you! Glad to be here. And by the way, I did Google your name - - very impressive I might say. How did you wind up in Italy or have you always been based there.

Thanks. I came to Isola d' Ischia five years ago to do research for a novel. Now they'll have to drag me out of here, kicking and screaming!

It sure seems like such a special place...

NYC is a pig pen. Ugh.

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