Aug. 8 is the anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation speech. On that day in 1974 I carried my little TV to work at the Springfield (Mo.) Daily News and that evening photographer Steve Keller took it to the Ozark Empire Fair, where he set it up at a pavilion near the midway. His photo of fairgoers with fixed faces as the president spoke was published the next day, Aug. 9, the day Nixon left office. Thirty-nine years later, it still conveys the gravity of the moment and remains a tribute to the work of Steve Keller, who died too young. –Don Groff

Flags were passed out to fans on Saturday as part of Military Appreciation Day.

Flags were passed out to fans on Saturday as part of Military Appreciation Day.

Nationals Park in D.C. opened in 2008;  this was my first visit, Saturday, 4/27/13. Nats beat the Reds 6-3 on a gorgeous day. The park seats 41,546 for baseball. Paid attendance this day was 38,903. It falls well short of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for atmosphere, though it has its strengths.  There wasn’t nearly as much big-video-screen in-your-face hoopla as at CBP, the result being that the game of baseball was usually the focus of attention. On the concourse near our Section 303 there seemed to be dozens of vending stations for food and beer, which translated into virtually no waiting. A few food booths were extensions of local restaurants, but most of the offerings were generic.  One puzzle: run-of-the-mill domestic draft beer was $10 at some stands, while elsewhere upper-tier beers could be had for $9.  On the field there were instances of sloppy play from both teams — but also some stellar performances and enough hits to keep it interesting if not suspenseful.   Thanks to Vanessa & Mark.

The outfield, framed in blue.

The outfield, framed in blue.

The popular race of the presidents. George won.

The popular race of the presidents. George won.

A little surprised to see this protocol in the high seats.

A little surprised to see this protocol in the high seats.

U.S. Capitol rises in the distance.

U.S. Capitol rises in the distance.

Those decorative orbs are, on closer inspection, silver baseballs attached to a parking garage outside Nationals Park.

Those decorative orbs are, on closer inspection, silver baseballs attached to a parking garage outside Nationals Park.

Metro platform packed with departing fans after the Nats 6-3 win over the Reds.

Metro platform packed with departing fans after the Nats 6-3 win over the Reds.

Early Sunday afternoon, Philadelphia’s annual Easter procession took off from South & Passyunk, heading several blocks down South Street to Headhouse Square, where the fashion contests unfolded on a double-deck stage that helped speed up the judging this year.  As usual, empressario Henri David led the parade, followed by the Philadelphia Freedom Band with its steady bunny hop beat, then a stilt-walking rabbit and several score of kids, families and other celebrants, most of them wearing bunny ears.

They'll always have Audubon

Here’s an evocative dog photo from friend and former Daily News colleague Harry Stone of Audubon, N.J. Says Harry: Our dog Oscar (he’s the black Chihuahua-Pug mix) and his best girl Coco (she’s a Maltese-Miniature Poodle mix). Coco and her family are moving away soon. I think the lovers sense it. It’s gonna be cryin’ time around the old backyard. — with Oscar the Chug and Coco the Malty.

Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend” (key tune in ‘Rachel Getting Married’) was about this woman — Pegi Young, his wife — who performed at Ortlieb’s Lounge on Thursday, March 28, 2013, with standout band The Survivors, including legendary keyboard player Spooner Oldham (right).  Here’s a Glide magazine story about Pegi and her music.




Drummer Phil Jones

Pegi Young and The Survivors performing on David Letterman 3/26/13

Here’s a video of Neil performing “Unknown Legend.”

The group Dawes, led by Taylor Goldsmith, electrified several hundred fans at the Friday free-at-noon concert. Goldsmith saluted WXPN and local fans for having fueled the band’s success. an audio link to the concert is here and, for the first time, a webcast of the free-at-noon will be up in about a week (dawes).


Taylor Goldsmith



Taylor Goldsmith with Tay Strathairn on keyboards.



Griffin Goldsmith


Wylie Gelber on bass.

dawes-178 dawes-358

A week ago when we went to the Philadelphia Flower Show on Day 2 of the 9-day event someone told us the last day of the show was great for getting bargains from vendors and exhibitors who had plants to get ride of.  A few minutes outside the convention center this afternoon seemed to bear that out, judging by the happy looks on people’s faces.  Or maybe it was just the sunshine.


Philadelphia’s St. Patrick’s Day parade stepped off at noon on Sunday, March 10, 2013, beginning at 16th and the Franklin Parkway and extending toward Eakin’s Oval and the Art Museum, where a TV camera beamed performances from a staging area.  The parade usually is held on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. But on years when that date is a Sunday, the parade is held a week earlier.




A friend posted on Facebook this tourism photo of Big Ben, singing the praises of London but raising a question: Was that the real color of the sky or had it been tampered with for dramatic effect?

I wanted to believe it was real but wasn’t sure.  Judging by the time showing on the clock, the shadows were consistent with where the sun would have been. Two bright, conspicuous points of sparkle were feasible.  The shadow on one of the clock’s faces had splash of reflected light, which also distinguished it from most Big Ben photos that showed up in my search.

Is that the real sky? It's London, after all.

Is that the real sky? It’s London, after all.

A few skeptical viewers of my friend’s photo voted in favor of Photoshopped.

I suspected it was the unretouched work of a skilled photographer, but I also knew that ad agencies often have no qualms about making an image look as good as possible.

So I did a little detective work, running the picture through Google images and discovering many instances of the same photo being used in media and online worldwide.  I thought I might spot some variation that would point to a tampered shot, but all were uniform.

With a few clicks I determined the image originated with VisitBritain, formerly known as the British Tourist Authority. One of the VisitBritain pages provided background info on the photographer who’d shot it.

I Googled his name and immediately found his website with portfolio, including the picture in question. The photo was the work of one Sheradon Dublin, a British photographer, and the website included an e-mail address for him.  I posed my question in a brief e-mail and fired it into cyberspace.

Less than 20 minutes later I received a reply that set the record straight:

Hello Don,

Yes, it was really that blue. I shot that image sometime in the late 90’s, early 2000’s on Velvia or one of those high-saturation films to make it pop.

Plus it was a bitterly cold day in October, so no clouds. Just clear sky. I can honestly say the sky hasn’t been messed with as the lens flare is still there.

June is a funny time of year, if its hot you’ll get air pollution and great sunsets. Thats why the best blue skies are in Feb/March or Oct/Nov when its freezing

Where did you find that image btw, it looks like it hasn’t been edited at all


That was good enough for me. Indeed, the small lens flare at the right center of the photo is — as they say in the ornithology game — diagnostic. It clinches it, because no one who was going to the trouble to make make a perfectly blue background would let that detail stay in the photo.

I was happy to hear it was the real thing.  But it also raises the point that we’ve become so accustomed to images being tampered with that it’s sometimes hard for us to believe our eyes.  It’s reassuring to know that sometimes nature can produce a blue so deep that it could be Photoshop.  Thanks to Sheradon for his excellent skills — and for setting the record straight.

Worn soles


Shoes dangling from overhead wires are a common sight on the hardscrabble streets of Philadelphia, but this wire  with 10 pairs is bearing more than the average load.  The shoe-tossing ritual has many explanations — including that youngsters toss them up when they replaced their “bobos” with brand-name sneakers.  These shoes were hanging over Mifflin Street at about 16th Street.