Hole in the Clouds
Feb 1, 2018
These logs near Longview, Washington, apparently escaped their fate somewhere between clearcut and mill. They have been floating in a brackish backwater of the lower Columbia River for so long that a mat of green algae has grown thick and glossy in the shelter of their trunks.
(Image credit: Alex S. Maclean)
Feb 2, 2018
A man wears his cat in a backpack for an evening stroll past cherry blossoms in Shanghai.
(Image credit: Reuters)
Feb 3, 2018
When Philadelphia's Northeast Manual Training School opened its doors in 1905, the idea of a public high school to prepare poor boys to work in modern industrial trades was progressive, even radical. But Philly was booming with industry--in fact, just a block over from the new school building was the Quaker Lace factory, with over a hundred clattering power looms that could be heard in every classroom.
The building itself was collegiate Gothic in style, with gargoyles all around and a crenellated turret in the middle.
The school changed its name and mission several times; it became a comprehensive high school, originally for boys only, named Northeast, until 1957, when a new Northeast High School was built in the new residential district closer to the edge of the city.
Then the building became Edison High, which achieved a particularly sad notoriety: no other high school in America outdid Edison in graduating young menwho were killed in the Vietnam War. Sixty-four Edison alumni are memorialized on a bronze plaque outside the school.
But since 1992, Edison High School has operated in a different building a few blocks away, and that's where the bronze memorial sits today. The original school site was used briefly for a bilingual middle school and then abandoned altogether, like almost all the mills, factories, and foundries that surround it.
In 2010, the lace factory burned to the ground, in an eight-alarm blaze attributed to arson; it is said that drug dealers in the neighborhood burned the long-abandoned structure because they believed police were using it as an observation post.
In 2011, the old Manual Training School building also burned, in a fire also deemed suspicious in origin. The site was under contract to a developer who wanted to put a shopping center there.
Remains of the school were demolished a few months later, but the gargoyles, it was said, were carefully preserved for use somewhere else. Where? We have not been able to find out.
Northeast Manual Training School
Edison High School
Feb 4, 2018
For a hundred years, up until 1971, Chicago's Union Stockyards and surrounding meat-packing plants made the city the meat capital of the universe. The industry gave the neighborhood a definite aroma, but of course, it was still the scent of money.
The city had to make the Chicago River run backwards in order to keep the animal waste out of municipal drinking water.
The stockyards burned to the ground in 1939, but they'd been newly rebuilt by the time of this photo in 1941.
(Image credit: John Vachon)
Feb 5, 2018
Today, Philadelphia is a town of winners, at least to the extent that Eagle-ness rubs off on regular people. But this room in center city Philly was filled recently with a bunch of losers.
The girls, mostly about twelve years old, were guests at a birthday party held in an escape room. If they had managed to solve all the riddles and puzzles within a set time, they could have escaped the room and been deemed winners. But they failed. So it goes.
Feb 6, 2018
In Beijing, if you're not sure you're parked legally, you really don't want to see that forklift coming down the street.
(Image credit: Reuters stringer)
Feb 7, 2018
On this day in 1952, Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne of Great Britain, following the death of her father, King George VI.
She was staying in this treehouse at the time, high above an elephant watering hole, at a wildlife-viewing resort in Kenya called Treetops Hotel. The king had died in his sleep back at Buckingham Palace, and Elizabeth did not learn that she'd become queen until the next day, upon her return to a royal lodge in a less remote part of Kenya.
She was 26 years old at the time, already married and mother to her first two children. She's definitely still Queen of England.
Treetops Hotel was burned in 1954 during the Mau Mau uprising, but it has been rebuilt.
Queen Elizabeth II
(Image credit: Daily Mail)
Feb 8, 2018
"Women in essential services," reads the original caption from February 1943. "Two women railroad workers enjoy a moment of relaxation from their new job in the yards of the Southern Pacific Company in San Francisco."
Rosie the Riveter
(Image credit: Ann Rosener for OWI)
Feb 9, 2018
"Enlisting in the Marines," reads the caption from December 1941." Recruiting office. San Francisco, California.".Photo: John Collier / Courtesy / FSA-OWI Collection / Library Of Congress
World War II
(Image credit: John Collier for OWI)
Feb 10, 2018
Midnight in Salisbury, United Kingdom. We don't want the world to be quite this way, but it is what it is.
(Image credit: Nick Palliser via The Image Story)
Feb 11, 2018
Three lights in the night create this image: firelight, starlight, and a glowing streak of human brilliance.
The human-powered light is the silvery streak at lower left, created by the photographer's brother, who was cycling along a mountain-bike trail in the high prairies of central Italy's Appenine Mountains. Either the cyclist wore a headlamp, or his bike was outfitted with a headlamp. The camera lens stayed open for almost half an hour–27 minutes–to preserve the track of the route.
The firelight near the lower right of the picture was from the village of Tornimparte, in the valley far below the hillsides we see here. The photo was taken in mid-August, on the night following the Feast of the Assumption, when bonfires mark the end of the summer harvest.
The starlight notably features the Milky Way, which the photographer said he'd never seen before. The reason he'd never seen it before might be visible in the part of the sky just over the horizon behind the village bonfires. The night sky looks pale back there, with fewer stars visible to the eye–perhaps because of distant light pollution emanating from the Roman metropolis about sixty miles to the northwest.
If you click on the photo and study the enlarged version–yes, life is short, but go ahead, waste a few moments fussing with a pretty picture–you may be able to see that the stars are not pinpoints of light but short little line segments, almost like tiny bits of the bicycle's light trail. In this case, however, it's not the stars so much as the earth that's moving; 27 minutes is such a long exposure time that the earth spins through almost 2% of its daily rotation, leaving little streaks of starlight as the camera and the mountains and the bicycle all move through the night.
Feast of the Assumption
Piano di Campo Felice
(Image credit: Francesco Barnes via The Image Story)
Feb 12, 2018
Back alley in the Mission District, San Francisco, 1936. If you're interested in the apartment advertised, they want $20 a month for rent.
(Image credit: Dorothea Lange via Shorpy)
Feb 13, 2018
You'll want to watch Olympic curling this week, if only to see the Norwegians' team uniforms., which also feature matching blazers for off-ice swagger. The pictures show recent uniforms; this year's Norwegian curling trousers have been revealed, but we won't show them here out of an abundance of spoiler caution.
Feb 14, 2018
Roses are red
(Image credit: OzarkHillbilly via Balloon Juice)
Lichens are gray
Please watch what you stomp on
It’s Valentine's Day.
Feb 26, 2018
The bride was beautiful, the bridegroom was grinning to beat the band, and when it came to throwing a party, the Cubans seriously schooled us Anglos.
Our new daughter--in-law is Yusleidy Zanetti, who goes by Julie. The newlyweds are living in Havana, where Julie was born and raised and where she met Joe a few years back, when he spent a semester in Cuba with a University of Alabama study-abroad program.
Everybody asks whether they'll stay in Havana, where Joe is now part of a tiny expat community, or try to move to the states. But that's a question for the future.
In the moment, Julie and Joe spent two days getting married. The first day was spent in a judicial building, dealing with paperwork and lawyers and then finally sitting down with a judge.
Sadly, we confess to knowing no Spanish. The judge had a lot to say, including numerous questions, to all of which Joe and Julie answered sí. Joe is fluent in Spanish, and Julie knows some English, more than most Cubans. They told us that the judge warned Joe that the decision to marry might be the most serious decision of his life–Was he really prepared to take such a step? He said sí. Then she turned to Julie and asked, "Are you sure you want to do this?" She said sí.
They exchanged rings and were pronounced husband and wife. We all cheered and clapped and hugged, and that was that.
In the judge's chamber along with the newlyweds were Julie's mother and grandmother, Joe's parents and two of his brothers, one of his aunts, and two friends of the couple, their best man and matron of honor.
Joe's last two brothers and his best friend from Alabama made it to Havana the next day, just in time for the big wedding celebration, with the white dress and the cake, the wine and the beer, the music and disco lights and dancing and singing and more dancing and more dancing.
There was also, of course, the traditional ride in a 1956 Thunderbird, through town and along the Malecón, Havana's seaside promenade, amidst cheers and honking horns.
And after that, there was the afterparty, back at the house, more dancing and more dancing.
And two families are now growing together, across barriers of language and culture and crazy, crazy politics. Nothing in Cuba is easy; this wedding was a major logistical feat that went off flawlessly, thanks entirely to Julie's organizational genius. And she and her family couldn't have been more welcoming to all of us goofy gringos.
Now that Joe is married to a Cuban citizen, he has the legal right to work there. Most jobs in Cuba pay about $30 or $40 a month. Life for the newlyweds will be very different from life in America.
The poverty is profound. But the streets are safe; there are no guns, no crime. No school shootings. Families are close. The flowers are bright even in February, blue and yellow birds sing in cages in people's yards, the cars are beautiful and there aren't too many of them–no traffic jams. The sun is warm, the sea is all around. And everybody can dance.
Feb 27, 2018
Near Havana, in a boat made of styrofoam blocks.
(Image credit: my phone)