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Cheetah Masai Mara '06

It’s been said that the real meaning behind photography is that it creates a “transfer of energy” across time and space. It is a way of capturing a bit of the dynamic content of the cosmos in a portable form. As in this photo of a cheetah that had spontaneously joined us on the hood of our Land Cruiser on the plains of the Massai Mara in Kenya several years ago.

And speaking of New Year’s resolutions, I’m reminded of the voyage mankind is taking, in this excerpt from the conclusion, of all things, of an essay I did called “French Fried, From Monticello to the Moon,” for the Chicago Literary Club.

“I’d like to take that long ladder of moon-bound French fries just one last step further into the future, as I wrap up this voyage through history. Albert Einstein thought that perhaps the greatest challenge facing mankind is to “widen our circle of compassion” across both time and space. Our ethnic and geopolitical squabbling might pale into insignificance if our compassionate circles were wide enough, he reasoned.

So let’s not longer worry whether the little fry is French, Belgium, American or Russian, but take it with us into the future, even into space, as a tasty treat for our frail band of wandering humanity, and continue to enjoy the good little things in life.

John Calvi, in a 1982 poem called “French Fries,” perhaps said it best, in his final stanza, when he wrote:
“Some think the army, the bombs and the guns
Will one day save all of our lives,
I don’t believe it — heat up your pans
Make peace, and lots of French fries.”

Happy New Year 2014!

My essay on fries can be found at and then under, Roll of Members.

January 2014

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