Category Archives: Picture of the Day

Making Use of the Blood We Read

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So, at first glance, nothing glaringly special about this picture. Looks like the text to some story or a reading assignment for someone. However, let’s take a closer look at the bottom right. Can you maybe squint and make it out? Certainly, the color is different. Looks like a smattering of blood. It is. It really is.

I guess, we can leave it at that and just say, ‘So what?’ But as most visitors have found out by now, we never seem to just leave it at that here at this blog. Sorry. The blood must be considered and reflected upon. In fact, while helping a student prepare for a reading comprehension test, this blood stain provided a valuable opportunity to practice more critical analysis skills.

First, right away, there was immediate comic relief. That’s the first meaning derived from the student. He started laughing uncontrollably when coming to the conclusion that a previous student who had used this text must had been studying with such intensity to cause bleeding. Was he pressing the page too hard? Was he picking his lip while thinking about literary devices?

Not letting go, we went further and investigated the exact location of the blood stain. Was it saying something? Evidence? A hint? It was! It really was! It drew our attention to the word “But”, which indicates an important turning point and change in the story.

Then the discussion revolved around how used books have a more personal quality to them. There’s a feeling of attachment to the previous user, a sense of connection, where we feel the pain and struggles of those coming before us.

For me, I know how much I love receiving handwritten letters from a person who ate while composing them. I massage the grease stains with all my senses, trying to taste the entire context of that time and location.

We have to wonder, how did the blood-stained student perform on the reading exam? Was this stain meant to be passed along to us? Are we studying hard enough when we have not yet contributed any red? Or is it indicative of how much stress students are under these days?

Despite asking a lot of questions, we did not have any answers, but the ‘blood’ definitely added some life and stimulation to fatigued eyes.

-Patrick Law

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Guilty of Animal Cruelty, and Guilty in Fighting Against It?

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I don’t think there can be any neutral reactions to this picture. Either you immediately are enamored with the uniqueness of the coffee table or you are abhorred at the cruelty displayed towards the animal, without any in-between. Is that correct? For me, though I am certainly not belonging to any animal activist groups, there is a feeling of dread every time I come across this picture. Of course it is not the corpse of a real bear, but I cringe when considering the eternal posture that’s fixed upon its fate for the rest of eternity.

A bear, on its back, always. A bear, as a slave, forced to labor to satisfy our stylish preferences. Every time a sip of coffee is taken, and we place the mug back on its paw, is another moment when we chose not to save the polar bear drowning under a sheet of ice.

Some people say I am much too sensitive; some say these kind of thoughts are the reason why I can not progress because I attempt to read hurt into every interpretation; some say I eat chicken, which is way worse than what is happening in this furniture; and some even say that I am just pretending to support a cause in order to be fashionable.

My psychologist, if I had one, would say that I am actually portraying myself in the role of the bear.

I say that these kind of pictures make you guilty of a crime that cannot be proven, committing cruelty that is not physically real, leaving you languishing in a mental prison of debate as forever as the bear’s plight. These kind of pictures are most difficult to interpret because of the fear of committing to an identity. These kind of pictures are used both as a barrier to heaven’s stairway and hell’s gates, in fact forcing us to stay in-between and reconsider our previous biases and preferences. These pictures are why we live life and breathe irregularly in its philosophy.

-Patrick Law

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Winter Window Art: The Amalgamation of Light

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Please do not get angry at me for putting this picture up, especially those of you in Calgary. In Calgary, after a lengthy winter with lots of snowfall well into spring, we are finally having a string of more seasonal conditions with warmth and sunshine. Yet, here I am posting a picture that is more suitable in the archives of winter?

I hope folks don’t think I’m putting another jinx into the weather system and summoning the clouds to make a return. Admittedly, I am a winter fanatic who is suffering withdrawal from the slopes, so maybe this picture will ease my symptoms a bit. While it slightly massages my cravings, perhaps you see it more as a nightmare. No worries. Then use it as motivation to value and appreciate the spring/summer as intensely as possible.

Another reason for this image is to encourage us to try to find the positives of any weather pattern and attempt to interpret the creations of our climate creatively from any vantage point. Here, even in the extreme cold, it can still give us the delight of a snowflake design frozen into a delicious pattern upon the window. It’s as if art has paid a personal visit, and invites us to see the potential of weather in a different light. In this specific picture, the freezing imprint catches our gaze just long enough so that we can notice the juxtaposition of our indoor lighting reflected and crossing paths with rays from the outdoor world. What normally is separated is melded together into a new view, available from our own personal windows.

Since I am having difficulty with spring and summer, can someone suggest to me a picture in these seasons to touch my soul?

-Patrick Law

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Modern Day Diet: A Macbook with a Novel Served on the Side

What\'s For Dinner?

Our family dinner tables are starting to look more and more like the picture above: filled with clutter, reading materials, and technology. In fact, if it weren’t for the place mats, we would probably assume that it is just another office desk. Therein lies the problem.

Where can good, healthy food even fit into a picture such as this? There’s probably only space for fast, convenience food, and certainly no room to hold a variety of dishes, nor is one going to be able to comfortably use a knife and fork. The setting is certainly not welcoming or inviting for a lengthy, quality, sit-down meal with the entire family. In fact, on the contrary, the table appears to convey a message that we are expected to do work here and if we do try to sneak in some eating, we should be multitasking with work and food simultaneously. Whoever is even thinking of just sitting down to eat at this dinner table should get away and pursue their fantasies elsewhere.

One person is having a stack of brochures and coupons for dinner. Looks like someone else will just be eating directly out of the grocery bag. Then there’s the person having the Macbook as the main course for his very heavy meal. At least the person sitting beside the Macbook has a novel off to the side, as perhaps the appetizer or side dish, so there’s a slight hope the main dish will actually contain food? Maybe there is room for one family member to sit and put real food on the mat, but it’ll be a quiet dinner for this person while everyone else is immersed in eating their own work.

How appropriate is it that the computer is placed perfectly on top of the place mat, as our current consumption of technology seem as routine and as part of our daily bread as, well, daily bread!

If this picture is the definition of dinner, then who would want to come home for dinner if the office meal probably would look and taste very similar? Just hearing what’s on the menu is enough to give one an upset stomach. Look closely at the picture and you can see how it is really not that far away from a potential eating disorder.

-Patrick Law

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