Looking for a “forever home”

Prancer at the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter

Prancer is a very friendly girl. She’s still a little confused about shelter life and would like nothing better than to be the loving companion she can be in a “forever home.” She is 8-10 months old so she still has a bit of “puppyhood” left.

The Pine Bluff Animal Friends group in my home town of Pine Bluff, Arkansas is a hyper-active support group for dogs and cats who wind up being residents of the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter. The animal shelter staff and the PBAF work hand in hand in a good relationship.

The PBAF walk the dogs, soothe and provide companionship to the cats and generally work to improve the lot of the critters while they are residents — while working their fingers to the bone to find “forever homes” for the lonesome shelter critters. There is a never-ending supply of new residents.

Santa and Afghan Hound

Click on Santa and the hound to see 38 Santa and dog pictures

On the other hand, we recently provided photography for the Jefferson County (Arkansas) Humane Society annual “Pet Pictures with Santa” event. We photographed a lot of critters and families.  Some the dogs we photographed were rescues from the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter and other caring shelters. We have posted 38 pictures of Santa, dogs, kids, and families on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. We invite you to check out these pictures. We will wait here while you look.

We are showing you a selection of “available” dogs and cats in this post. We have several pictures of each critter. Some individuals will have more pictures than others. That number has nothing to do with importance; it is a function of how still the critter would be for the few seconds it takes to grab a usable image. In some cases it was tantamount to nailing Jello to a tree.


Female, 1 – 1 1/2 years old. Black and Tan

Prancer at the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter

Prancer is a bit shy, but friendly. She loves to walk.


Female, 8-10 months old, Siamese/Tabby mix short hair with just a bit of Calico which you can see on her nose. Susan is well socialized. Had the Dempseys not already being family to three rescue cats, this girl would have likely left the shelter with yours truly. She is friendly and ready to curl up and exchange comforts with her new family, whomsoever those fortunate individuals might be.

Susan Siamese Mix

Susan says, “I’m ready!.”

Susan the cat

Susan peeks out of her cage.

Susan in the animal shelter

I promise I will purr.

Susan is a talker

Susan is a talker. Her conversation is directed to me. Holding her is Cathy Hastings Turner, the fearless leader of Pine Bluff Animal Friends.

Susan doing what she does best: being a friend.

Susan doing what she does best: being a friend.

Susan in cage

Susan hopes this is a temporary inconvenience.


Female, black and tan. Comet, to this untrained eye, looks like a little Dobie. She is good-natured with lots of energy and a very loving attitude. She likes to nuzzle up as you can see in the last picture.

Black and tan comet, a dog at the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter

Comet casts and inviting glance.

Comet a black and tan dog at the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter

Comet strikes a handsome profile.

Comet dog at PB animal shelter

At the end of her shoot, Comet has figured out it’s time to go back inside. She is negotiating a delay.


Female, six months old, gray short hair Tabby. Becky is a precocious kitty. She is curious, friendly and likes people. She is a talker and she purrs nicely.

Becky, a gray tabby cat

Becky and Cathy are friends.

Becky the tabby cat

“Take me to the house dude,” Becky seems to say. She is a “talker.”


Female black and white. Roxey is a high-voltage and near perpetual motion bundle of love and affection. She thinks every human being is a new two-legged toy to be loved and licked.


Roxey black and white dog

Roxey perks up at the sound of the shutter.

 Pine Bluff Animal Shelter

Roxey has spotted a new toy.

Roxey with ears up

Roxey has spotted a couple of humans. Play time!

Roxey kissing Cathy

Rambunctious Roxey needed a bit of help leaving her new friends. She is showing her gratitude to Cathy for this manifestation of care.

Roxey and Cathy

Roxey is ready for someone who wants an energetic, loving companion.


Female, six to eight months old, Siamese and long-hair mix  Elizabeth is a friendly little kitty who has had a bad experience, but seems to have recovered nicely with a good attitude. Look at her whiskers and you will see that some scurvy miscreant has trimmed them — a big-time NO-NO. Despite this cavalier treatment, she is a friendly kitty who likes human attention.

Elizabeth, a Siamese, long hair mix

Elizabeth is good at being friends.

Elizabeth and Cathy

Elizabeth appears to be a camera hog, not a bad thing if you would like to get adopted. Notice the ill-whacked whiskers. Someone should be ashamed!

Elizabeth in cage

Come and get me! I’ll be nice. Promise!


Male blonde shepherd mix, four months old  Lucky is going to be a big boy when he grows up. Despite his spartan accommodations, he has a good attitude and is a big-time tail wagger.

Lucky the shepherd mix puppy

Lucky is curious and friendly.

Lucky on alert

Lucky has all the indications of being the friendly, local Dick Butkus of rescues. His attack will be licking you with a tongue the size of a bathmat.


Male, tri-colored beagle mix, five to six months old  Splinter has a curable malady known as “cherry-eye.” Pine Bluff Animal Friends are in the process of raising money for his treatment. He is a bit bashful now, but knowing the Snoopy tendencies of Beagles, in the right environment, the boy would likely blossom.

Splinter, a beagle mix

Splinter has a look that is hard to resist.

Splinter the beagle mix

Underneath the bashfulness is a Snoopy waiting to emerge.


(Not available for adoption) Boxer / Pit Bull mix, male, three years old.  Jock is a favorite around the shelter. Despite popular misgivings about his Pit Bull side, he is a big ol’ friendly dog that looks forward to visiting with his human friends. I found him to be outgoing and wanting a good ear scratching, which I administered.

Jock in a trot

“C’mon Jock,” and here he came, full-speed, ready for attention.

Jock in a classic pose

Jock is a handsome dog.

Jock lookin' for lovin.'

After Cathy left the pen to prepare Jock’s “room,” he and I struck up a friendship after he gave me a few good nosings. He is a good boy!

Think rescue!

The chez Dempsey animal population now is four rescues and one Rottweiler. The count is Ruby, a lab mix; Katie, a mostly Russian Blue mix; Sooner a tiny tiger-tabby and Nikon, the monster long-hair, our most recent addition. These critters add a measure of companionship, love, and loyalty not available from any other source. If you are ready for the responsibilities and rewards of a pet, please check your local rescue venue first. If you happen to find a support group like Pine Bluff Animal Friends, throw a little support their way. In the words of Henny Youngman, “It can’t hoit.”

Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


Egrets, grebes, and pelicans in Pine Bluff

Egret at Saracen Lake

This egret, as far as I can tell, does not stray more than 25 yards or so from his favorite clump of tall grass near the launch ramp on the south shores of Saracen Lake in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Said egret has become a dependable target.

In the last few weeks while making more than a few trips to Saracen Lake here in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to photograph our nice flock of wintering pelicans, I kept noticing an egret who likes to hang around a clump of tall grass near the launch ramp. Despite the fact the pelicans were the target of record, I have never been one to refuse a target of opportunity. The egret was just that. So during pelican lapses, the egret provided relief.

Pelicans on Saracen Lake

Click the pic for more pelicans

Though we are showing you a few pelicans in this post, you can get the full pelican treatment on the Corndancer Dot-com Photo of the Week page where this story started. You will see 20 pelican pictures. While you are there perusing pelicans, we will bide our time here awaiting your return.

The egret was nearly a mind reader. He stays in the general area where he was easy to spot but presents a different look with each visit. Sometimes a slightly different look and sometimes a dramatic difference. Can this bird read an art director’s mind? It appears to be so.

White egret in front of dark waters on Saracen Lake

The white egret makes a dramatic entrance against waters turned dark by angry skies.

Egret in tall grass near the shore line of Saracen Lake

Now the egret returns to his favorite tall grass clump from a different angle.

Egret on lauch ramp at Saracen Lake

This time the egret wades up the lake boat launch ramp just as the sun begins to set.

Peruse the pelicans

For several years now a flock of American White Pelicans have seen fit to winter on Saracen Lake. There are a few of us who are fans of those big birds and many other folks have more than a small interest in them. They are fun to watch and there are no commercial interruptions or requests to take the garbage out. According to informed sources, these are the nation’s largest flying birds. Find out more about these pelicans on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com.

Pair of pelicans landing on Saracen Lake in late aternoon

This pair, fresh from exploring other parts of the lake, make a landing and are about to bog up for the night.

Two pelicans and a sea gull swimming together on Saracen Lake

This pair of pelicans is swimming home. They have been joined by a gull who probably thinks the big birds are headed toward food.

Pelican flying low over Saracen Lake

I have observed many pelicans flying “limbo style,” across Saracen Lake: They seem to be trying to find out how low can they go.” This bad boy has a wing tip barely touching the water. He could be the prize winner.

Pelican flying from Saracen Lake  colony

Here’s a pelican “leaving for work.” The one in the lower right seems to be saying, “Bubba, bring home some extra fish.”

Gobs of grebes

If you watch the goings-on of lake critters at all, it won’t be long before you notice some small brownish birds, probably in the neighborhood of really small chickens size-wise. They are excellent swimmers and world class divers. You watch one or more happily swimming along, then as fast as you can blink your eye, the little dudes dive. Now you see ‘em, now you don’t. There’s no telling where they will surface. There may be something of interest to odds makers here.

A few of the grebes came into effective long lens range and I was fortunate to make a few captures. The birds are “Pie-billed Grebes.” There are also “Horned Grebes” on the lake, but those have successfully evaded my surveillance thus far.

Pie-billed Grebe on swimming Saracen Lake

Here’s a Pie-billed Grebe with a few drops of water on its back left over from the last dive.

Pie-Billed Grege

This Pie-Billed Grebe, also replete with water droplets is about to take a dive.

Pie-billed grebe diving

There he goes! Take quick look at this grebe’s tiny butt. A fraction of a second later, only ripples remained. Where the bird would surface is anybody’s guess.

Two grebes swimming on Saracen Lake

Just another day in paradise for Mr. and Mrs. Grebe. They are taking turns on the diving duties.

Well there you have it. Another adventure from LA (lower Arkansas). This is good entertainment. For the price of a little gas and a few minutes of your time, you can watch time-honored, honed-to-perfection performances from world class feathery, floating athletes. If you are not near a lake,  stay tuned. This is not our last visit.

Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind








Just in the nick of time update.

Old power plant under demolition

Click on the picture to see our original “last look” pictures of the old power plant in our original post.

Back in May of 2013, we posted an article chronicling the impending demise and demolition of an old power generating plant in our fair city of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

As one who does not like to see historic structures demolished, I have to admit on this one, the demolition derby was long overdue. The building was long past redemption.

The deed is done

The demolition is now complete. Well nearly. The landowner decided to leave the old plant smoke stacks proudly standing.

old pine bluff power plant

Click to see the old plant just before demolition

For that, we are grateful. The tall stacks have served as a recognizable landmark for a long, long time. We have updated our original post with a picture of the now empty premises with the stacks proudly standing.

See before, during and after

We invite you to revisit our original post to see the before, during and after the demolition. Plus, you get to look inside one of the old stacks.

We also invite you to take a look at where this story started on the May 13, 2013 Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot com where you will see more pictures of the old plant.

Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


Crescent City captures

guitarist in Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in New Orleans

A guitarist and band leader leans way back and is deep inside his tune at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in New Orleans’ French Quarter during a Saints game weekend in January of 2002. The crowd was appreciative and festive, many of them looking forward to a Saints victory the next day. Their fondest hopes did not materialize. Those were the days when the Saints did not win nearly as often as they do now and in recent history.

Being one of a few good ol’boys in a Suburban heading south to New Orleans a few years back was one of my annual events. The trip initially was built around our attendance at a Saints game in the Superdome. This was in the late nineties and early two-thousands when the Saints were not prone to win. That and other considerations led us to follow the suggestion of one of our protagonists that we serve as volunteers in a cold-drink or beer tent for four hours during the French Quarter Fest in April. After the volunteer stint, we were on our own.

Street guitarist during the 2006 New Orleans French Quarter Fest

Click on the guitarist for more pix and info.

This story is in two parts. The first part is on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where you will find French Quarter street shots including a guitar duo who were talented far beyond the streets —and a sneaky shot inside a French Quarter restaurant. We’ll wait here while you take a look.

Strollin’ thru the “Quarter”

There was enough slack time in the game and festival trip schedules to stroll through the French Quarter and capture local color. What you’ll see in this post is a compendium of images from 2002, 2005, and 2006, the year following Katrina’s untoward visit to the Crescent City.

Jimmy Buffetts Margaritaville in the New Orleans French Quarter

The stage at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in the French Quarter left no question in your mind as to where you were. The festive atmosphere in the establishment was exactly what one would expect: slightly raucous and fun.

Performer at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in New Orleans

Despite the fact that the date was January 22, 2002 the weather was such that the doors and windows to the Buffett bistro were open which facilitated grabbing this shot of the star performer from the courtyard into the club.

Band performing in front of the Natchez in New Orleans

Earlier in the day just off Woldenberg Park and the River Walk, this band performed admirably with the historic stern wheeler Natchez as their backdrop.

Band performing in New Orleans in front of the Natchez

Where else can you see this? No where.

Zydeco band musician playing concertina

A few blocks away, at another pavilion, Zydeco bands were filling the air with their familiar south Louisiana strains.

Street guitarist in New Orleans

This guitarist has grabbed a favored spot at the corner of Decatur Street and St. Anne just outside the legendary Café Dumonde during the 2006 French Quarter Fest. I had a favored table at the time and was in good position to capture this performer. Somehow, I got the idea that I was enjoying the moment more than she was.

Couple dancing in Jackson Square

Earlier in the day, I captured this couple cutting a rug in Jackson Square at the base of the Andrew Jackson statue. Live music from the nearby Southern Comfort pavilion fueled their movements.

Street guitarist in New Orleans

That afternoon, I happened across a guitar duo set up at a street corner. Their “rode hard and put up wet one-time-too-many” appearance was quickly overwhelmed by the quality of their music. You can see more of this duo on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Band performing with singer with feathered headdress

On a riverside pavilion at Woldenberg Park, I captured this performance during the 2005 French Quarter Fest. The singer’s costume, as I recall, had some sort of cultural significance which I failed to record, so it is left to your imagination. Five months later Hurricane Katrina descended on New Orleans with pent-up vengeance.

Here’s hoping you enjoyed three years worth of shooting in a short read. I first went to New Orleans as a sophomore in college in 1957. Four of us played hooky from classes to be at the Mardis Gras on Fat Tuesday.

Considering that we drove in a ’53 Plymouth to New Orleans on an all-nighter from Arkadelphia, Arkansas, (and back in about 36 hours),  it is a miracle that I am here to write about it. From that moment I was and still am, “hooked on New Orleans.”

Thanks for looking.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


New old dog-trot

Renovated dog-trot house

Click on the old house to see our original post.

This week we are sending you back to one of our November, 2012 posts, A new place for an old home, an interesting story about moving a more than 100-year-old dogtrot house about forty miles or so and rebuilding it to like-new condition. You will also find a link to a gallery with 19 pictures of the old house

There are also links in the story to show you the old home in its near-disaster condition before moving and re-creation. You will also want to see the original story with more pictures and information on the house in the November 12, 2012 Corndancer Dot-com Photo of the Week page.

New “old barn” at Corndancer dot-com

The new "old barn" at Corndancer

Click on the barn for a story and five more pictures  of it.

We also invite you to take a look at a “new old barn” on this week’s Corndancer Dot-com Photo of the Week  page. You’ll find six pictures of a rather isolated barn that you could miss if you blink your eye. I say that with authority since I had to look twice when I first noticed it lurking behind a growth of trees alongside a country road.

I trust this circus of pictures and links is not confusing and I assure you there is worthwhile content when you click.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind



Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

Old barn at Elkins Arkansas

Those intrepid souls who travel from south or central Arkansas to the northwest Arkansas corridor on the back roads have driven past this large deteriorating barn near Elkins, just south of Fayetteville. The highway, Arkansas 16, was a bit busy, but fortunately there is a weedy driveway in front of the barn where one may safely park. I shot it going and coming back. This one, on the going trip produced the best results.

Why do people just let the old barns sit there and rot?

I was asked recently on the subject of old barns, “Why do people just let the old barns sit there and rot away?” The question was followed with, “why don’t they just tear them down?” I did not have an immediate answer, but after some ruminating and pondering the question, my answer (later, after the conversation concluded) was, “I don’t know, but let’s don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

My thinking is that these old structures give us a glimpse into our immediate past, a privilege that, since the old structures are falling, will not necessarily be available to succeeding generations. If they are to know, the onus is on us to record them while they are still standing.

Norman Rockwells Rosie the Riveter

Click on “Rosie the Riveter” to see more.

At this point I invite you to see a report on the reason we were in the neighborhood of old barns to begin with. The target of the trip was Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas for a “get-together” of Fort Smith (Arkansas) High School class of 1956 members. Our clever organizers of these yearly, sometimes twice yearly gatherings, do a good job of setting up places of interest for us to gather. This one was a home run.

You’ll see some inside and outside pictures of the museum on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

Back to the trip. Our pathway took us through Ozone, Arkansas, a nice little town in the Ozarks. I found an old WPA-built school restored and repurposed to become a community center, the typical abandoned truck and on the north side of town, a totally unexpected hamburger joint and an old barn.

Ozone Arkansas Community Center

Right on Arkansas Highway 21, the Ozone Community Center is neat and nice. It is a well restored old WPA school with a 1942 cornerstone. I wish it had been open. The center speaks well for the small community.

Old mid sixties GMC truck

Things were not going as well for the mid-sixties GMC truck across the street. It looks out on the highway as if to say, “Will someone please restore me too.”

Ozone Burger Barn

Northbound on highway 21 you don’t see the Ozone Burger barn until you come out of a curve. It is definitely a traffic stopper. One would have to take some time to completely peruse the outside décor. The premises also sports a nice, good-sized pavilion. The place garners some great reviews, proving that excellence knows no geographic designation.

Old barn north of Ozone AR

The town of Ozone turned out to be a honey-hole for pictures. Not too far out of town, there was this old barn, right on the highway.

Abandoned home in Boston Arkansas

Next up I cruised into Boston, Arkansas. The only signs of life I could see were electric utility lines which indicates someone, somewhere close by is paying a “light bill.” With respect to the “For Sale” sign on the tree, at the risk of uncaring sarcasm, “Fat Chance.”

Old store in Boston AR

A few yards up the highway is what appears to be the remnants of the Boston business district. The last RC Cola and Moon Pie left these premises a long time ago. Chances are the establishment was the post office, bus stop, gossip center, and supplier of goods to nearby families.

Gravel road at Boston AR

Boston’s “likely” road. The road beside the store meets the criteria for a “likely” road, down which one is likely to find more camera and story fodder.

Old barn at Durham AR

On the return trip to LA (lower Arkansas), at Durham, Arkansas, I found this old barn next to a small pond. I am not certain of the vintage, but, due to the size of the door, it was certainly a “horse-barn.” The door will nicely accommodate an adult on a horse.

Old barn at Durham AR front view

The head on view of the barn gives one a good glance at the substantial hay loft and the opening through which many a bale passed.

Old leaning barn

On one of my forays down a side road (which I failed to write down), I found this old barn close to the right-of-way. Notice the pronounced lean to the right.

Old leaning barn side view

Old leaning barn

Country road in the Ozarks

Back on the highway home, I found this country road. My thoughts rambled to James Taylor’s “Country Road” from his famous album “Sweet Baby James.”

Ozark mountain vista

This is a pull-over vista which was well populated buy bikers (the Harley Davidson variety). It was October 26 and fall was creeping into the Ozarks. The patches of red, yellow, and orange set off by the blue sky are hard to argue with for a pleasant “lookin’” session.

Here’s hoping you have enjoyed a cruise through the Ozarks. It is good for the soul — and on feeding a thirsty full-size pickup to make the trip: “I’d do it again in a heartbeat.” It’s just that good.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind






Likely roads

Silo in pasture near Rockbridge Missouri

I turned off Missouri State highway N on a “likely road” south of Rockbridge. The road climbed a nice hill and eventually gave me this vista of verdant pastures, trees, a hay barn, and silo. I had just completed photographing another silo at the point where the road leaves Highway N. See that silo on the Corndancer Photo of the Week page. One would have never guessed this scene would be available. But for the turn down the likely road, we would have surely missed it.

 How to find a likely road

Silo and feeder

Check out this silo and more at Corndancer dot-com.

Since I have been plying the back roads, pig trails, pathways plus other odd and assorted byways in the bowels of rural areas, I have informally amassed information to pass judgment on the probability of finding something cool down a given road. The ones with the best opportunities I call “likely roads.” Likely roads are predominantly gravel or perhaps dirt. Most do not have utility lines running down the sides, although this is not a deal killer. Before we go to much further, we encourage you to check out the Corndancer Photo of the Week page where this story got its start.

Country road off the Arkansas Pig Trail

This is a likely road off the famous “Pig Trail” in north central Arkansas. If it were less traveled, the likeliness index would be higher. If the roadway was less traveled and sunk below the roots of the trees, the probability of finding something cool to shoot is even higher. Its siren call is saying “travel me!”

Likely roads generally have trees butting up to the road bed. Since the current trend of highway and road departments is to make shoulders nude of vegetation, when you find a road with trees abutting the right-of-way, it is a good bet that little has been done to the road, other than occasional grading, since it was first a road. This is a good sign of age. The older the road, the better. Roads into timber dedicated areas are usually non-productive for camera fodder since producers want every square foot growing trees. This means that former buildings or other structures were probably flattened long ago.

1954 GMC Winch Truck and 1953 Chevy pickkup

Before I stumbled across the silo scene, I found these two old trucks, a ’54 GMC winch truck and a ’53 Chevy pickup at an abandoned residence on the same road. Further down the same road, I found the old barn you will find over the caption “Not so Big” on the October 19 Corndancer Photo of the Week page.

1953 GMC winch truck and '53 chevy pickup

Here’s a second look at the old trucks.

A 1954 GMC winch truck

A 1954 GMC winch truck individual portrait.

A 1953 Chevy pickup

A 1953 Chevy pickup individual portrait

Old fence corner

On another likely road, near Romance, Missouri, I found this “down on the corner” scene.

Old building at Romance MO

Still in the Romance MO neighborhood I found this old building.

Old barn on Souder Road

On Souder Road near Rockbridge MO, you will find this old barn. I originally visited the old barn and property owners in October of 2009. See how the barn looked in 2009 in our October 26, 2009 post.

old barn on souder road

Here’s a second look at the old barn — behind a weather grizzled tree.

Angus heifer on Souder road

Further down Souder Road, this Angus heifer was a tad curious. Remembering the sixties TV show “Secret Agent” theme song, Secret Agent Man, by Johnnie Rivers, she seems to be saying “They’ve given me a number and taken away my name.”

With these handy instructions in mind you may now sally forth to discover “finds” on likely roads. In the event you become lost, if you happen across electric power lines, you can generally follow those until you find a hard surface highway or someone who can steer you right. If you take a few notes about landmarks as you go, you can refer to those and backtrack. Otherwise careful out there. There are booger-men lurking.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind



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