In The Limelight

 Hi All! That time again........... In The Limelight! This weeks guest interview is with Mark of Butler and Bagman fame, The Butler and Bagman Chronicles.


When did the photo bug bite you?    My grandfather was an artist so I think the bug was in my genes.  He taught me to really look at things from fresh perspectives, not to just recognize something as a tree or a dog or a cat but to actually see it.

What was your first camera and what do you use now?   My first camera was a little plastic brownie and I set up scenes with my toy soldiers or model airplanes.  I also had a Polaroid Land camera -- instant gratification!  All through college I drooled over Nikons but could only afford a Mamiya-Sekor, or however it is spelled.  Now I shoot with a Nikon D-90 but I'm lazy and haven't really explored all that it can do. 

  Have you ever taken any photography courses?   Not really.  I've always learned everything best by fooling around, reading, talking, and experimenting.  I read every textbook Ansel Adams wrote, but doubt I understood it and can't remember half of it.  The best lesson I got was from Peter Simon, a photographer and sister of Carly Simon. He said, "Never be afraid to burn film."  Now with digital it is not so expensive.  I must be learning something because every year I look back and dislike more of the pictures that I once thought were pure genius. 

What inspires you to turn on the camera, the gotta have it shot?   I don't really know.  I like landscapes, wildlife and abstracts.  I want to shoot more candids of people but am often shy.  Now with Adobe Photoshop, I sometimes will shoot something simply because it has a color or shape that I might combine with something someday. 

What is on your equipment wish list?   A really good strong telephoto lens although they cost as much as my car.  When I retire in a few years, I want to get a large format laser printer so I can do big prints.

Have you missed an awesome shot because you didn’t have your camera with you?   Duh!  Hundreds of them.  Although now I almost always carry it in the trunk of my car.  But worse than that are the times I have my camera with me but am going somewhere with too much inertia to actually stop and take it.  "Should I stop? Should I stop?  Should I go back?  Darn, I wish I'd stopped."  

 Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?    Yes.  I was at the beach at sunset on Cape Cod with a girl I was dating and some seagulls flew by at just the right angle.  I think she was a little miffed that I suddenly stopped paying attention to her.  But I still have the picture and can't remember her name, so I must have made the right choice.


Blogging since ……January 1, 2009. 

Why did you start blogging?   I've always been a journalist.  I even majored in journalism in college and was a newspaper reporter/photographer for a short while.  For some reason, I always got inspired to start a journal on New Year's Day but the momentum always died out by February.  In 2009, I thought I'd do a blog because even a small audience makes it personal.  I really didn't expect it to last, but comments from Barry and then the rest of you made me fall in love with it.

Is there a story behind the name of your blog?   A few years before Blogspot, I was part of a five person poetry group that shared poems, thoughts, stories with each other by email.  All of us began to develop alter-ego personalities.  Mine were the lusty, rule-breaking devil-may-care Bagman and the ultra proper, prissy Butler who kept them in line.  They fit me well because I've always had arguments with myself about what I wanted to do versus what was the right thing to do.  Morality.  Bagman and Butler allow me to argue different sides of an issue.  And I'm a Gemini. 

What does blogging mean to you now?   It has become less obsessive.  For awhile it seemed almost more important than daily life and I'd be frustrated with work or family for getting in the way of it.  Although I sometimes still regret not having time to read everyone's blogs or to blog every day, I think it is now a more healthy expression.  I also always try to keep it light and funny.  Sometimes that is frustrating because I'm having real problems at work or with children but unless I started another more anonymous blog, I'd be expressing feelings that would be hurtful depending on who read them.  Besides, whining seldom makes interesting reading.

What advice would you give to a new blogger?   Be yourself.  Find your own voice.  Try to keep blogs short -- I know I fail at this.  If it is a long blog, split it up and try to end the first part with a teaser.  And mostly to read and comment on other people's blogs.  I don't have enough time now but I always try, at least, to look at the blogs of anyone who comments on mine.  Simple courtesy.  If someone says "hello" it's nice to say "hello" back.  I've made some wonderful friends that way which is really more important than the blogs themselves.

Do you have a favorite time of the day to write posts?   I almost always blog early in the morning if I can drag myself out of bed before the alarm goes off at 6 a.m.  If I wake up any time after 4 a.m. and can force myself out of bed, I get some quiet time before my wife wakes up.  Sometimes I will stay in my office at lunch time and write on Word and then later copy and paste it. 

Have you set any goal about your blog? Anything you want to achieve with it?   My only goal is, hopefully, to make somebody, somewhere laugh.

Guest Interview Questions

From NanU:
Do you ever comment on a blog to disagree with it? If not, why not?   Not exactly.  Sometimes I will try and slide around to a different perspective and present an alternative point of view, but I try to do it gently.  I'm capable of giving and taking constructive criticism but someone has to ask for it.  I won't force it on someone.  And I would do it by email and not in public. 

How do you find new blogs to follow?   I've already got too many to follow properly.  But sometimes a comment on someone else's blog will inspire me to click over to look at the commenter's blog.


If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?     Anywhere, I think.  But I prefer real life environments to touristy ones.  The old newspaper journalist in me is still interested in going where things are happening -- wars, earthquakes, etc.  But my wife thinks I'm crazy, would never want to go with me.  And hanging out with her is more important than running off to Afghanistan.  And, honestly, at my age, I've grown too lazy.

What would you like to teach others?   To chip away at self-righteousness, to love everyone and to try and celebrate different points of view. 

Which adjectives best describe you?   Loving, kind, sensitive, intelligent and funny.  Wow!  What a guy!  So I should probably balance it with egotistical, conflict avoiding (i.e. sometimes scared), and -- although it is thankfully growing more mellow with age -- lustful.      

What is happiness to you?   This is strange.  I'm having trouble with this question.  I guess, for me, I feel happiness mostly when I make someone else happy. 

Do you have any special talents; such as singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument?   I've always loved trying new things.  Jack of all trades, master of none.  Playing banjo, juggling, Tai Kwon Do, stock trading, magic, entertaining children, baking bread, playing guitar.  Whenever I see something, I think, "I wonder if I could do that?"  But I usually get just so far and move to something else.  For instance, I'm a pretty good juggler but limited to three balls.

What are your basic stats that you would like to share?   I'm 64 years old, stand 6 foot even, weigh 225 pounds, mostly bald, and batted .425 in Little League.  And I'm a recovering alcoholic.

Besides blogging or photography, what is your favorite thing to do?   This is very embarrassing.  It used to be sex.  Now it is lying on the couch and playing mindless strategy games on a hand-held Nintendo. 

Favorite saying or quotation: (or any comment you would like to make)   If I over-think this one, I'll confuse myself.  But the first one that came to mind was "Love each other as I have loved you," from Jesus.

Thank you Mark for accepting to be our guest interview for October. 


  1. What a wonderful and interesting interview.

  2. i enjoyed reading this interview. interesting! cool humor ",)

  3. Wow and am back. It's nice to read the interview with mark. Now I know the meaning of Butler and Bugman. You are gemini then. I am so inspired reading this. thanks for sharing mark. It made me smile too

  4. Great interview. Nice to see the (slightly) more serious side!

  5. You are one the funniest bloggers I ever read, I enjoy it every time I read it. It is great to hear how you started it all and to find out more about you. Thank you!

  6. I like this part," Shall I stop, shall O go back?" How often it happens to be. When I am going to work, I say no, I am going o be late. When I am going home, I just want to go home and rest.

    I enjoyed your intereview. Esp the lying on the couch bit. My husband keeps asking," Does it work?"


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