Dentico's Italian Villa, Culver Road in Rochester, New York, September 2018
Dentico’s Italian Villa, Culver Road in Rochester, New York, September 2018

I like watching the Wegman’s workers round up the shopping carts. They shuffle around the parking lot, in no hurry whatsoever. They are out of the store and still on the clock. I wasn’t sure if Wegman’s carried light bulbs so once inside I asked the the first worker I saw what aisle they were on. She answered “4B” without a hesitation. At the dairy case I had to wait for a worker to pull all the milk containers to the front of the glass case. I used to have to “front” the shelves in my uncle’s grocery stores – pull the products forward and make sure the labels are facing out. I asked the Wegman’s worker if that was called a “false front” and he said, “rotation.”

We are less than a week from departure for El Camino part two. We have slowly ramped up our walking distances in preparation and that leaves very little time for entries here. Not that there has been anything to report. Peggi and I spent a good deal of time dissecting our back to back reunions and may have finally let them go. Walking is a funny activity. It is addictive in that you don’t feel right unless you make room for it every day. You spend a lot of time inside your head. It is a form of meditation and when you’ve finished, half the day is gone and you have nothing to show for it.

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My Piriformis

Twigs and seeds on the snow in Durand Eastman Park

I was restless this morning. Not even yoga could calm me down. In fact it may have made me more restless. We spent about a half hour on our backs working a tennis ball into our Piriformis. It was gorgeous out. At sixty degrees it was almost warm enough to have held class outdoors. I kept looking at my watch, my brand new watch. This one works. It is a marvel.

My old watch only worked in irregular intervals. I never knew if it was right and only when it was way off did I know it was wrong. My new watch is made by Apple, the cheapest one, on sale, and it wasn’t cheap. It’s tethered to a phone but I don’t have a phone. Peggi bought one yesterday and I’m tethered to her. I tried playing some music on my watch, the music files are on my desktop machine and the sound came out on Peggi’s phone. We will figure this all out eventually.

We are generally early adapters of Apple products. We have the first generation iPod, the first iPod Touch (ours is engraved) and the first iPad and Apple TV but we never went for a phone until now.

It is always fun going to an Apple Store and yesterday was no exception. The salespeople try to conduct the entire transaction out on the busy showroom floor, while wearing a headset in one ear and talking on an iPhone in the other. The store was packed and it was nearly impossible to hear. Our clerk ordered a phone from the backroom but they brought the wrong GB model out. They assigned us a number and we bought a plan and then realized it wasn’t the right model so we had to enter all Apple and the carrier data again.

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Bug Jar Mug Shot 1998

Todd at 1998 opening for Paul Dodd Bug  Jar Mug Shot opening

In 1998 I took my one megapixel Kodak DC210 to Friday happy hour at the Bug Jar on Monroe Avenue. I brought along a simple light fixture, the one I used for painting, with a hundred watt bulb and a big piece of white paper that I hung on the wall in the back room. One by one I approached everyone in the place and asked them if they would like to sit for a mug shot. I found twenty four willing participants. I cropped the photos a bit and converted them to black and white and then to a large dot pattern. I printed the images on our LaserWriter, tiling the files out of a Quark XPress document. Each mugshot image consisted of nine 8 1/2×11 inch prints which I spray mounted to some black cardboard. I hung them in the Bug Jar about a month later.

I recently came across the original color photos so I posted them here for the first time. I also found about fifty photos from the opening of the show. Those are in a separate slideshow below.

Click on the thumbnail below to view a slideshow of the 24 original color photos used for the prints in the 1998 Paul Dodd “Bug Jar Mug Shot” show
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Click on the thumbnail below to view a slideshow of 54 photos from the 1998 opening of the Paul Dodd “Bug Jar Mug Shot” show
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Margaret Explosion had a weekly happy hour gig at the Bug Jar for about three years and I remember Bill Jones borrowing my camera to shoot a few photos of the band playing at the opening. Here’s Margaret Explosion playing “Floating at the Bug Jar.”

Margaret Explosion - Floating at the Bug Jar
Margaret Explosion – Floating at the Bug Jar

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Self Published

Pub Fair at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York

I was afraid to even touch one of the books on display at Visual Studies Pub Fair this afternoon, great big sheets of photos with art and poetry, all hand printed. The person behind the desk ask’ “Do you want me to flip the pages for you?” I said yes and stood back as flipped through the $16,000 bound and boxed volume.

It’s nice to know people still do books, artist’s books and short runs and it was nice seeing so many people out thumbing through the photo books by independent publishers and DIYers but I can’t help but think the stuff would look so much better online and it would take up so much less space and it would probably cost a lot less. Although I was rather taken in by “Another 26 Gas Stations,” sort of a response to Ed Ruscha’s “Twentysix Gasoline Stations.” Instead of the point black shots of modern petro stations, this one is all surveillance footage from security cameras, shots capturing hold-ups inside the convenience stores. And then there is Scott McCarney’s work. Beautifully crafted, visually seductive, witty little marvels like his box set of autobiographies.

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Bloggers Law

I’m not sure why but the link to my blog ( has started taking visitors to this page with a post from 2014. I updated the website and it has caused some temporary glitches. It should be resolved soon. Until then you can see new posts at

Quonset hut house on Titus Avenue in Rochester, New York

I thought I would read a bit more about Putin’s new “Blogger’s Law” before I risked speaking my mind but as I typed “Putin” in Google I was prompted to check out “Putin’s girlfriend” and I never got to the law so here goes.

When I was building homes as a “rougher” we built three types of homes, split levels, ranches and center entrance Colonials. Oh and there was this thing called a “raised ranch.” These “Domas Homes” were in a new development off Lyell Road. They were cheap and probably didn’t age well. In case you don’t know what a rougher is, some people call them framers, they build the basic wood structure and get out before the “finished” carpenters move in. When I first started as a rougher I hollered out a measurement to my boss, Salvatore Caramana, something like “62 and an eighth.” And he hollered back, “An eighth? I can’t see a fucking eighth.”

Anyway, we didn’t build any Quonset huts. They look like something they might have in Russia.

Here is a song from last week’s gig.

Margaret Explosion - Contemplation
Margaret Explosion – Contemplation

Margaret Explosion – “Contemplation”


Kill Your Sons

Roman soldier with sword and babies, Gaudi Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

To protect his thrown King Herod ordered the execution of all young male children in Bethlehem when he heard that Jesus was born. Like most of the episodes in the bible it is highly unlikely that this ever happened but it makes a good story and the Catholic church put these stories, most of them borrowed from mythology, to good use in an effort to win converts, keep the converted and illustrate their moral superiority. These innocents were the first martyrs. There is no one more revered in the church than a martyr. Of course when times got tough the Catholic Inquisitors resorted to “Convert or Die” methods themselves.

I used to know most of these bible (new testament included) stories but they all got jumbled up with age. These days I only set foot in church for funerals or when I’m drawn into an ancient cathedral in Spain. But I’m thankful for all the heady times in Catholic school where they struggled to convince me of the most absurd dogmas (virgin birth, resurection). The experience was formative and I look back fondly on most of it. Thankfully the church used it’s money to hire the best artists in history to illustrate their myths so I have a deep appreciation of religious art, a lot of it Spanish from the golden age (Siglo de Oro).

Last night after dinner we were showed our Spain photos to my parents. Both my father and I called our digital photos “slides” when I brought them up on our tv. Kodak did that to us. When the stone carvings, above, on the Nativity side of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, came up Peggi and I speculated aloud on what was being depicted. I thought maybe it was an archangel protecting the babies but my father thought for a bit and correctly identified it as the “Massacre of the Innocents”. So I can’t blame age for not remembering this. It was really my bad study habits.

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Hitchhike Baby

Paul Dodd with movie camera, Rich Stim and Norm Ladd at Norm's wedding

When I was a freshman Norm Ladd’s mam called me and said Norm, a friend of mine from high school who was a couple years younger, had run away from home and he was hitchhiking out to see me. He lived in my dorm for while.

I used to hitchhike all the time. Back forth to work at my uncle’s store during high school, over to Brad and Dave’s house and then back and forth to Bloomington. I got picked up by one of the famous Wyeth family members. He was wearing leather gloves and driving a small sports car but it overheated around Buffalo and he through a fit. A few times I got picked up by a guys that wanted to “pick me up” but most of the time it worked out. Once I was picked up by a salesman who gave me some potato chips that his company had just introduced. He was raving about how much less shelf space the chips took up because they came in cans instead of bags. He had boxes of them in the back seat and we ate them as we drove toward Indianapolis. They tasted pretty good and he gave me a can to take back to the dorm.

Today in the business section I read about Procter & Gamble selling off their food brands, Jif, Folger’, Crisco and Pringles. The article said their advertising division was located in Cincinatti and they test marketed the chips in Evansville Indiana in 1968. That salesman would have picked me up halfway between those two locations that year. I didn’t imagine all this.

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Winter Mugs

Warhol Mug Shots at the Johnson Museum, Cornell University

“Nowadays if you’re a crook you can write books, go on TV, give interviews—you’re a big celebrity and nobody even looks down on you.”
from the The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

I have sort of a false memory of seeing Andy Warhol’s “Thirteen Most Wanted” at the New York State of the 1964 World’s Fair. I was there with my father and brother. We drove down and slept in the car in a parking lot in Queens. My father is big on architecture and I know we went in the Philip Johnson designed New York State Pavilion but Warhol had probably already painted over the mug shots.

I have my own mug shot piece, a watercolor, in the new show at the Lucy Burne Gallery at the Creative Workshop.

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Wood Warms You Thrice

The paying kind of work has slowed down and I thought I might be able to take care of a few things around here in the downtime but it seems the more time you have the less you get done. I’m afraid to find out what happens when I retire. I probably won’t get anything done at all. I remember my soccer coach at Indiana University telling the team that even though it is hard to believe you will be a better student by devoting so much time to the team. I only lasted one year and I was a terrible student but it didn’t have anything to do with all those hours spent with the team. I was the first freshman ever in the starting line up and I loved every minute of it but the sixties got in the way

Which brings me back to my desk. I was going to clean it off today. I’ve run out of room for my mouse pad and there’s stuff piled all around my keyboard. My neighbor down the street asked if I could help split some wood. He rented an hydraulic splitter from Home Depot but it was a piece of shit. It squirted oil and the foot was bent so the wood kept wanting to squirt out. We save some money burning wood but even when a tree falls in your yard you work your ass off preparing it for the wood stove.

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Life On Hold

Christmas Bubble Lights

Peggi found these old bubble lights in her mom’s storage locker and of course she inherited them. They take a while to warm up but then “poof”, mini lava lamps.

You can tell you’re old when you get excited about books. The new Keith Richards book, “Life,” will have to wait in line, though, I’m diving into “Philip Guston – Collected Writings, Lectures and Conversations” and Peggi will have to finish her “War of The Worlds” ebook before she takes it on. Our neighbors gave us a copy of the updated “On The Road with the Ramones” and that will sit in the prime spot on our coffee table for a while.

“Let’s Spend The Night Together” came up in our iTunes the other day and we started talking about how great the Stones were on Ed Sullivan doing a different version of that song. And that led to the only time either one of us ever saw the Stone’s. We didn’t know each other but we were both in Chicago in 1969 when they played with Terry Reid and Chuck Berry in a giant auditorium.

In 1969 Philip Guston was preparing for his earthshaking but poorly received show at Marlborough Gallery in New York. It was a magical year.

Margaret Explosion "1969" MP3
Margaret Explosion – 1969

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