About Gayle Alstrom

I live in Staten Island, New York. My primary interests are the visual arts, religion and philosophy, politics, social issues, nature and a few other things. I have a B.A. in Humanities.

Jackson Pollock’s 103rd Birthday Today

Watch good documentary on Jackson Pollock at:  http://youtu.be/lfwUxQrDGqw


Today is the birthday of Jackson Pollock, icon of the abstract expressionist movement, who once said that when he painting from the unconscious, “figures are bound to emerge.”  What figures do you see hiding in Pollock’s “Guardians of the Secret”? Can you decode it?

Today is the birthday of Jackson Pollock, icon of the abstract expressionist movement, who once said that when he painting from the unconscious, “figures are bound to emerge.” What figures do you see hiding in Pollock’s “Guardians of the Secret”? (1943) Can you decode it?  (taken from SF MOMA)

Snowy Owl Update

I’ve written 3 posts before about the snowy owl  (Nyctea scandiaca) , The Snowy Owl Being Saved at JFK Airport, Followup: The Snowy Owl Being Saved at JFK Airport., and Snowy Owls Hit The Big Apple.  Now I have some new data for those few who find this magnificent creature interesting.

The latest issue of National Wildlife from the National Wildlife Federation contains an article about how they have invaded the U.S. from the Canadian Arctic and have been seen as far south as Florida.  This is the biggest invasion of snowy owls in a century.

Photo shows a Snowy Owl flying over Pennsylvania.  It has a tracking device on  the top of it.  There are around 23 owls with these tracking devices.  The tracking devices cost $3,000 each.

Photo shows a Snowy Owl flying over Pennsylvania. You can see on its top a GPS/GSM transmitter–solar-powered devices that record precise locations (longitude, longitude and altitude) in 3D using the same GPS system a smartphone taps into.  It’s like getting text messages from the owls.. There are 22 owls with these tracking devices. The tracking devices cost $3,000 each and were paid for by contributions.  (photo from the National Wildlife magazine Feb/March 2015)

I figure it’s only a matter of time until the owl figures out how to remove the tracking device.

Weekly Photo Challenge – NEW

This topic gives me an opportunity to show off a couple of my kitten photos.  These photos were taken with b&w film before digital and I printed them myself in a darkroom.  Before the computer, I did all my own b&w printing, but I never learned now to print color.  Header photo is Baby Rosebud sunbathing in windowsill.(Staten Island, 1985)


Weekly Photo Challenge: Converge

Convergence of lines  in Architecture. Buildings  that are based on the triangle.


Transamerica Building in San Francisco

Freedom Tower, NYC

Freedom Tower, (before it was completed) NYC

For a better photo of the completed World Trade Center (Freedom Tower), click here.  This photo on Pinterest shows just how much of a triangle it is.

Bill Cosby, My Brief Encounter

Me in 1970 at age 27. This was how I dressed much of time back then–false eyelashes and the mini skirt or dress. This blue velvet dress, one of my favorite for a year or so, I was wearing on this evening.  I’m about 50 pounds heavier now.

Back, in 1970, when I was 27, while still a student of sorts–I was taking an acting class at L.A. City College–I also worked as a cocktail waitress in Los Angeles.  Being temporarily unemployed.  I walked into a bar on La Cienga Blvd. to see if they needed anyone.  I was surprised to run right into Bill Cosby sitting at the bar  He informed me that the club didn’t need a cocktail waitress, but he needed a secretary just for that evening. It seems that this bar/jazz club, was owned by Redd Foxx.  However, the club was going bottoms-up, and Red Foxx was performing in Las Vegas to raise money, so he could keep his club going, Cosby had taken over the club temporarily for his friend to try to get more people to come in.  That evening was like a benefit for Foxx’s club..

I sat at Red Foxx’s desk in his office, answering the phone taking messages for Cosby.  Cosby told me that he didn’t drink, but offered me a drink from the bar to sip on as I worked.   I think the main problem with this club was that it didn’t serve food.  There was a small stage with small round tables in front of it and a bar with stools.  It was for people to come after they had eaten their dinner to drink and listen to jazz performers.  The place needed to be fixed up.  This was during the time that “Sanford and Son” was on TV, and the club seemed like a hobby for Foxx.

Foxx’s office had walls covered with famous people’s photos of people he knew, i.e., Moms Mabley and Billy Eckstine, who was there that night  Foxx’s office was the most interesting room in the club.

After saving about 10 phone messages, I would go back into the bar and hand them to Cosby.  The phone messages were mostly people whom he had invited to the club that night making a polite excuse why they couldn’t come.  Once when I went in to give him his messages, he was on the stage doing his stand-up routine.  He stopped in the middle of his routine to take my messages, made a few, slightly flirtatious comments about me to the audience, showing off his new secretary.  The men in the audience gave slight twitters of laughter.  Cosby was trying too hard to be funny, but he wasn’t, and the audience was giving polite laughter as though they liked him so much that they wanted to help him out, or else they were just desperate themselves to be entertained.

I remember, at this time, Cosby had a short-lived sitcom on TV in which he played the perfect school teacher, who was always helping kids out.

Cosby didn’t make any overt advances towards me, but he subtly conveyed that he was available, if I had any interest, but I hadn’t.  His wife, Camile, whom I would consider a beautiful woman, was also present in the club, sitting at a table with a group of her women friends, but she didn’t seem to be paying any attention to Bill, nor him to her.  At the end of the evening, which lasted only from about 9-1:00 a.m., the club closed and Cosby handed me $20, which was adequate pay for for 4 hours of answering the phone in 1970. After handing me the money, he just looked away very coolly and didn’t say anything. Not even a thank you or a good bye. I think that was because I didn’t give him any encouragement or show any interest in him.

I believe all the women’s stories about him that are now coming out are true.  People say “Why didn’t these women say something back when it happened?”  Thirty-to-forty years ago, the social climate was a lot different than it is now.  Women weren’t as self-sufficient as they are now, there wasn’t as much social consciousness back then, and women took a lot from men that they wouldn’t now.  Also, if one complains against someone who is rich and famous, people often think the complainer is just bragging or trying to get attention. Cosby was such a nice guy in other respects, that no one would believe one little, lesser-known, woman’s accusations..

I think women were just ego stimulant for him.  I’ve found that entertainers often have to have their egos continually fed to give them the confidence they need to do what they do.   I think these marriages that last forever is because everything is either understood, forgiven or overlooked.