Sunday, September 28, 2014

Then this happened


Just after turning left toward Ronda on my meandering way to Gaucin I caught a glimpse of an abandoned farm. I know what you’re thinking. Here we go again with another decaying and decrepit something or other. And you don’t mean me.

I drove on as I am prone to do when I’m nearing the barn when the new and better me prevailed and I actually turned around and went back. In a light drizzle with threatening skies the rotting old hacienda was pretty charismatic. Here’s what I first saw followed by the old abode shot through my rain pelted windshield. File this one under the distinctive image you find after you have the “money shot” in the can.

 

The more inventive second image expresses what I felt in that moment.


 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

This just in


Big thanks to the folks who responded to my plea.  Wrenching wasn’t it?

You've answered the musical question, “Do people want to read as much as I write?” The tally was 90% for doing what I do how I do it with a couple of folks wondering if readers have the attention span to crawl through the words to get to the photographs.  Hey, nobody told me to stop.

So I’m going where the spirit dictates and taking you with me, sometimes concise and other times elaborate.

Outside Bar Baco

Inside Bar Baco

Salmon, Artichoke and Anchovy Salad at Bar Baco

Plaza Mayor and every twenty something in Seville

Plaza Santa Marta in front of my sweet Hotel Seville at 10:30 in the PM

The photographs have nothing whatsoever to do with word count and this isn't even my regular post.  It's just because.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Natural Fenosa

Being in the throes of travel and with the logistics of same taking more time than I'd like this post will be light on copy. Besides I’m not sure the writing is proving that fruitful. I could use some feedback. It's been suggested by someone close to me that people don't want to wade through a lot of palaver.  They just want photographs. I've proffered that idea to some subscribers who say otherwise.

Now I thought that the last two posts were pretty strong and they were a continuation of last year's internment camp series which was the subject of much discussion. This time nada, zip and zilch. I even lost a subscriber, just the second in seven years. What gives?

As I waited this morning to get a taxi to Sants station for my high speed train to Madrid I walked over to the zoomy high rise next door and got these exotic geometrics.
 



 
No extra charge for con trails.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bustos in Charge


I had every intention of posting a second of probably many about Heart Mountain. This is that but with a twist. On the day before the pilgrimage festivities which were to honor internees who had fought in World War Two I was casing the joint and while doing so met a burly gentleman of a certain age who asked why I was photographing the camp. I told him that I was at Heart Mountain to attend the pilgrimage, that I had a deep interest in the topic of camps and hoped I could capture the spirit of the occasion.

John Bustos of nearby Powell was quite a talker and not much of listener but impressive in a drill sergeant sort of way. John had done 27 years in this man’s Army, another 20 or so working for some energy outfit and now had found his calling heading up the local honor guard. He would be commanding the next day’s salute to the 800 Japanese Americans from Heart Mountain who had fought in the war despite their unlawful imprisonment.

So this post is kind of a sidebar to the real story of Heart Mountain but a good one I think.




The guy you see here, the son of an immigrant Mexican mother, still packing 200 pounds of muscle on a 5’7” frame boasted of 75 years on planet earth and by my reckoning could still lead a platoon in Viet Nam as he had in the sixties. Impressive guy.  Great teeth and skin.  But with politics to the right of Attila the Hun. Said there was one live round in the volleys to be fired during the ceremony. That one was reserved for Obama.  Told me twice. It was that funny I guess.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Insult and Injury


Our actions against Americans of Japanese descent was foretold by numerous historic events and by the comments of Franklin Delano Roosevelt well before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. As early as 1925 when he was Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt said that any mixing of the white and Japanese races would have catastrophic results and in 1936, citing the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 in which the much smaller Japan defeated Russia, told the Secretary of the Army that in the event of any act of aggression by the Japan to round up all Japanese Americans on the west coast and put them in camps. It was widely believed that American citizens of Japanese descent would rally to Japan’s side and that Japanese Americans could not be trusted.  There is little doubt that this conception stemmed from broad racial bigotry in the United States and more so at the highest reaches of its government. Roosevelt's Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, an ardent racist on a good day, believed that Japanese Americans were subversive terrorists because it was in their blood. Apparently German Americans were not afflicted.

Despite intelligence from the FBI and the Army that there was no identifiable threat from Japanese American’s Executive Order 9066, the Relocation Act of 1942, was instituted and by the fall of 1942 all 112,000 American Japanese from the west coast were safely imprisoned in camps throughout the American west and in Arkansas. Sixty two percent were American citizens.
 
 
 
 
 
A generation of Japanese Americans entered the camps as children or young adults. They, it turns out, were the lucky ones as they were able survive and even flourish in the camps. Many of the young men, as if to prove their loyalty either volunteered for service or submitted to the draft. They served with enormous valor as is well documented in the history of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team that served in Italy and became the most decorated unit in American history.
 
800 men and women from Heart Mountain served. Two of the twenty two Japanese American Medal of Honor winners, James Okubo and Joe Hayashi, were from Heart Mountain. To add insult to injury these American heroes were initially denied the Medal of Honor solely because of their race despite recommendations from their commanders and were relegated to the Distinguished Service Cross. They were finally given their due in 1990 when President Clinton hung the medals around their necks.

In total 26,000 prisoners voluntarily served but 500 resisted the draft. They were found guilty of draft evasion and were sent to federal prisons. These men, in the words of the late Senator Daniel Inouye, himself one of the Medal of Honor winners, "were the really brave ones."

Barney Fushimi Hajiro who refused to own a Japanese car lamented when he received his medal that, “Even after the war they still called me a Jap, you know?”

 

 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sinclair put the Sinclair in Wyoming

I got a latish start on my long awaited trip to the Heart Mountain Internment Camp near Cody, Wyoming. That allowed for a sleepover in Fort Collins before really getting on the road in earnest. As usual my route plan was sketchy. It’s better that way.

Along about Cheyenne, just 45 minutes above Fort Collins I opted for a couple of hours of I-80 to Rawlins where I would turn north in the general direction of Cody.

Then maybe ten miles east of Rawlins I spied the minarets of a major industrial something or other. “Eureka” I thought. Thermonuclear blight is right up my alley. I got off at the next off ramp to find out who or what was trashing the pristine high desert. What sinister robber baron was having his way with the natural world?



At the nominal first intersection I saw that the town’s name was Sinclair. That alone was not noteworthy till the dim reaches of my dim brain computed that this was, if not the home of Sinclair Oil, at least a satellite branch of same. That there would be a flame belching behemoth of petro production astride the steppes of southeastern Wyoming did not induce amazement either. This, after all, is the state where precisely one third of all pick-up trucks say Halliburton on the door.




Tidy little Sinclair population 437 is a company town. It exists solely to provide labor to Sinclair Oil. At last count there exactly were two commercial enterprises in the town, a Mexican restaurant and the bar called the Corner Bar. If you lived in Sinclair you could live without the Mexican joint.


The Spanish colonial PARCO Hotel circa 1925 has long been stuttered and now houses a fundamentalist Christian church.


Next stop Heart Mountain.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Alter Ego

Apropos of absolutely nothing and mostly because I’ve been on the road for a week and can’t find my words here’s a simple portrait of esteemed Taos photographer Lenny Foster. Lenny is a smiling kind of guy so showing a little attitude in this one seems like a good idea.