Thursday, February 8, 2018

When Was America Great? When Socialists Were In Charge

Yes, you read that headline right.

I spent lunchtime perusing a delightful little volume called "The Prairie Traveler," by Randolph Marcy, a former Captain in the U.S. Army. It was written in 1859 to aid folks traveling west in wagon trains. Capt. Marcy had considerable experience both in guiding such trains, and in traveling the west in his military duties, so he got the job of writing a "how to" guide for western pioneers.

You can buy this book today, by the way. I found a copy in the gift shop at Capitol Reef National Park, and many park gift shops carry it. You can also find it on-line. New editions are still in print.

It is a fun book, with all sorts of advice on the proper rifle to carry (definitely breech loading), where to camp (near a river with good defensible land around it) and how to fix a broken wagon wheel. Many routes are discussed, types of gear to carry and on and on.

 But the most critical stuff, right at the front, is how to put together a company of folks who can make the trip and expect to arrive alive.

Marcy lays out some very blunt advice: Do this or die.

Do what?

Work together. Take are of each other. Have community property. Share.

And you can call it socialistic if you like, because it is, but it's also the sort of stuff that makes people nostalgic for that long lost America, when folks worked together, took care of each other and realized that community rose or fell depending on how everyone in it did.

In short: When America really was great.

And I don't care who you are, you like the idea of your neighbor helping out in tough times. This crap about how helping folks puts them in a charity trap, makes them dependent, ruins their morals, would have been laughed at.

Travelers west had to form a community, he said. Right at the start they had to pick a captain, someone to be in charge.

Not only should everyone agree to obey their selected captain, he says, but "they should obligate  themselves to aid each other, so as to make the individual interest of each member the common concern of the whole company.

"To ensure this, a fund should be raised for the purchase of extra animals to supply the places of those which may give you or die on the road; and if the wagon or team of a particular member should fail and have to be abandoned, the company should obligate themselves to transport his luggage, and the captain  should see that he has his share of transportation equal with any other member.

"Thus it will be made the interest of every member of the company to watch over and protect the property of others as well as his own."

Why? Because, Marcy makes clear, a united body of travelers has much better chance of dealing with trials than a pack of individual who all just happen to be going the same way.

"The advantages of an association such as I have mentioned are manifestly numerous," he writes. "The animals can be herded together and guarded by the different members of the company in rotation...this is the only way to resist the depredations of the Indians and to prevent their stampeding and driving off animals; and much more efficiency is secured in every respect, especially in crossing streams, repairing roads, etc. etc."

Some groups did try to travel without such organization, he said: Rugged individuals, all being ruggedly independent and free, every man his own master, the whole mob heading out.

It never went well.

"I have several times observed, where this has been attempted, that discords and dissensions sooner or later arose which invariably resulted in breaking up and separating the company," he says.

Sound at all familiar?

And that captain who everyone has to obey?

"Sometimes men may be selected up, upon trial, do not come up to the anticipations of those who placed them in power," he says, while others do. "Under these circumstances it will not be unwise to make a change, the first election being distinctly provisional."

Or to put it in today's language: "Throw the bum out."

This book is available for about $10 from Amazon, or you can download an ebook of it from Project Gutenberg.  Free is good, and it takes up less space that way.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Days the Circus Came To Ogden Were Amazing

Read “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury and you will yearn to experience the sort of traveling circus and carnival it described.

[caption id="attachment_5547" align="aligncenter" width="577"] 1916 Circus Parade Down Washington Avenue in Ogden. Charles McCarthy photo.[/caption]

Oh, how exciting! A traveling show comes to town in the dark of night. Young boys sneak out to watch the roustabouts set up. Town’s activities come to a halt as performers, freaks and wild animals take over. Camels and Elephants down Main Street were just the start.
Magic is everywhere. And it all used to happen, right here in Ogden, just as Bradbury describes.
Circuses were part of life 100 years ago. They came through town several times a  year and it was a huge event every time.
There was nothing new, even then, about circuses, per se. They were, and still are, just performances in a ring. Think “Circus Maximus” in Rome, where Christians ended up as lion kibble. Or Cirque du Soleil, still playing Vegas all the time.
Circuses came to Utah with the pioneers.  I find newspaper references to the Great Rocky Mountain Circus, playing in Salt Lake City, as early as 1858.
But those were smaller, stationary affairs. There were traveling shows too, they were limited by how much a wagon pulled by horses could carry.
Then came the railroads.
Circus trains could haul hundreds of workers and performers, wild animals and massive tents. They could travel fast: A circus’s multiple train sections would arrive before the dim breaking of dawn, overwhelm the small city with magic and diversion, and then disappear.
One, the Great Pacific Railroad Circus, reportedly traveled with the Union Pacific railroad as it built its way towards Promontory in 1869. A single article in the Deseret News later that year refers to it, but I can find little mention of it elsewhere.
Ogden, a small but centrally located railroad town, was ideally situated for rail-traveling entertainment. A story in the 1917 Ogden Standard said Circus Day was a great holiday unheralded by calendar makers, but no less exciting or festive.
If you’ve ever watched the Disney film “Dumbo” you know the drill: The circus pulls in, workers haul out tents and set them up on a convenient local empty lot or meadow. Then all the performers dress up and the entire circus parades through the central part of town, attracting one and all to the two shows they were about to put on.
Everyone came. This was a western farm area, with no TV, no Internet, no nothing except local church and civic entertainments. An exotic show from the circus would attract everyone.
When done, the workers would pack it all up and head to another town the next day, and they wasted no time doing it. I went to a tent show in Roy a couple decades ago where they were starting to take down the tents while the final acts were still in the rings.
In 1880 the Cole’s Circus came through Ogden and got extensive coverage in the Ogden “Junction.”  The reporter’s language caught the mood:
“This morning early, crowds of people commenced to arrive from the settlements round about Ogden, not only to attend Cole’s Circus but to witness the GLORIOUS PAGEANT which took place at about 10 o’clock this morning. The procession was one glittering line of equipages, cages of wild animals, snakes, etc., gaily caparisoned animals and spangled riders.”
A subsequent story talked about “the fine trapeze and horizontal bar performers, the ‘funny business’ by the clowns,” and so on. Performing stallions, bicycle tricks, and even electric lights, if you can imagine.
I’m not sure there’s an accurate count of how many circus shows were touring the country at any given time, but it must have numbered in the dozens. Looking through newspapers just from 1916 through 1919, however, I found seven different circuses that visited Ogden: Ringling Brothers, Cole Brothers, Haggenbeck-Wallace, John Robinson Shows, Barnes Circus, Sells-Floto Circus and Buffalo Bill’s Original Wild West Show, and Barton-Bailey World Celebrated Shows.
You can read up about all those, and more, at this web site, a complete (so it hopes) history of circus in America: (link).
What was it like? Actually, we do have a few picture. (And it is darn frustrating that we don’t have more. Hundreds of folks in Ogden had Kodaks back then and must have snapped shots. Where are they?)
On July 7, 1916, an Ogden man named Charles McCarthy was in an upper story office of the Eccles Building, 24th and Washington, when the circus parade of the John Robinson’s Shows went by.
Mr. McCarthy was an inveterate photographer — he left hundreds of negatives to Weber State University’s Special Collections. His granddaughter, Jan Puckett, Ogden, has found hundreds more, personal stuff, among the bags and boxes he left.
While scanning them in, I found these amazing shots: The John Robinson’s Circus Parade, heading south on Washington to the circus grounds located at 27th Street And Washington Avenue.  Camels pull a wagon, and elephants walk by in single file, draped with banners from local businesses who, no doubt, paid for the ad space.
[caption id="attachment_5545" align="alignnone" width="570"] Charles McCarthy photo of 1916 Circus Parade down Washington Avenue.[/caption]

One of the city’s street cars is standing, waiting, and rows of newfangled automobiles line the street. The circuses typically organized local marching bands to take part in these festivals, and he shot several of those as well.
But all was not festive. While Mr. McCarthy was having fun on 24th Street, a tragedy was unfolding just a block north.
In 1916 public transportation involved a lot of cars, yes, and even a motorcycle is visible. But horses and wagons still did a lot of work.
Malcolm A. Keeter, a teamster working for the Weber Lumber Company, was going south on Lincoln Ave. with a team of horses pulling a lumber wagon. He turned west onto 23rd Street just as the circus elephants were making their way down that same street prior to turning onto Washington.

According to witnesses, Keeter “had gone only a short distance when his horses caught sight of he pachyderms and became frightened. The animals dashed wildly down the road, but by dint of hard  pulling and cool headedness the driver kept them and the long lumber wagon from crashing into automobiles filled with the people viewing the parade.”
He almost made it, too. Near Wall, by the Scowcroft building that still stands, the horses swerved, “throwing a front wheel of the wagon against the rear of an automobile belonging to Henry Gwilliams.”
The collision threw Keeter to the ground. The wagon tipped and crushed him.
Keeter’s wife,  Lois, sued the circus for neglect and won a judgement of $16,675. Whether she ever collected is unknown — the circus was in winter quarters a thousand miles away and never responded to the suit.
Such disasters were sadly common. Circuses usually had workers go ahead of their animals in city streets, warning people to keep skittish horses away.
When Ringling Brothers came to Ogden in August, 1904, a Mrs. Lofgren, Huntsville, hitched her horse to a buggy and went to town to watch the parade. She stood at the corner of 22nd Street and Washington.  Her horse stood quietly enough as all the animals passed, but spooked when the steam calliope at the end of the parade cut loose.
As the Standard reported, “the horse leaped into the air, broke from the buggy to which it was attached, and dashed behind the lead team on one of the circus vans and frightened the team of six horses so that the animals swung around and into the great crowd of spectators standing on the corner, and in the stampede that followed many persons were trampled down.”
Six adults were seriously injured including one, Amanda Flynn, 76, who suffered a broken hip and wrist and, because of her age and already poor health, was not expected to recover.
Ringling Brothers was found not liable in the incident, but gave cash compensation to the injured anyway. It even paid their medical bills.
There were lighter moments, too.
When the Cole Brothers Circus came to Ogden in 1880 folks were
[caption id="attachment_5541" align="alignleft" width="208"] Ad for Campbell Brothers Circus coming to Ogden.[/caption]
so excited that some got a little crazy.
Says the newspaper, “it is stated that the other day a resident of this city went to a store on Main Street, bought a sack of flour on trust, took it to a place a few doors away and sold it as a sacrifice for cash, to take his wife and children to the show.”
Then there’s the story of “A young fellow from Hooper,” who discovered just how efficiently a circus can pull up stakes and get out of town.
The newspaper says this man “came to Ogden yesterday, determined to see the circus. He got pretty full of ‘bug juice’ and after being in the circus a few moments, last evening, went out. This morning about 3 o’clock he woke up and found himself lying where the outside ropes of the ‘big tent’ had been.
“But the circus had vanished like a beautiful dream. So had his $5 hat and a pair of good boots. When he arrived at Hooper, about 4 o’clock, hatless and barefooted, he felt awfully cheap. And well he might.”

Whacko Pushes Wheelbarrow Through Ogden

One of the ways a journalist is punished for being a good feature writer is that when some loose odd person wanders into the newsroom, you are the writer to whom the editor directs said odd person.
Guy dressed all in silver who wants to paint flagpoles? Check.
Guy driving a fire truck with a lock of Abraham Lincoln's Hair collecting fire fighter helmets? Check.
Couple hiking across America? Practically a standard stock item.
When you are the whacko editor, all this and more is yours. It helps to have a sense of humor, and an appreciation for the ridiculous.
So if I'd been working for the Ogden Junction on March 4, 1879, I know precisely what my assignment would have been: Go interview R. Lyman Potter, "The Wheelbarrow Man" who was staying at the Union Depot Hotel.
Mr. Potter was one of those folks who pretty much define the "everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame" maxim by Andy Warhol. In Potter's case, he got nationwide news coverage for almost a whole year 1878-1879 through the simple expedient of accepting a bet to push a wheelbarrow across the country.
The blog "Historica Albanica" out of Albany, NY, ran these lovely pictures and a story about Mr. Potter in 2015. (click here to read it!) 
The short version is that Potter was hanging around with some friends, discussing a famous race walker who'd apparently set a record of some sort. Potter said the walker was a slacker, and  the friends suggested that it would be worth $1,000 to them if Potter would put his feet where his mouth was and walk across the country.
Potter took the bet, loaded up a wheelbarrow with 40 to 60 lbs of gear and off he went, leaving Albany, NY., on April 10, 1878. with his wheelbarrow and $3.55, which wasn't a lot of money even then.
He made it, too, arriving in San Francisco on Oct. 27, 1878.
He did pass through Ogden on Sept. 2, but the Ogden paper did not interview him then. The only mention I find is in the Deseret News two days later.
So what about March, 1879?
When Mr. Potter got to San Francisco another wheelbarrow pusher, Leo Pierre Federmeyer, a recent immigrant from France, challenged Potter to a race, doing the same thing only back to New York. A $1,500 pot was raised, Potter accepted, and on Dec. 8 off they went.
Potter hit Ogden on Friday, March 4, 1879, according to the Ogden Junction, in a story appropriately headlined "The Return."
The author had fun, describing him as "bringing his inevitable companion, the 'old-time phaeton.'"
It refers to the $1,500 bet with Federmeyer and notes "The latter genius is already a long distance east of here, having gained on Potter, who has been seriously sick on this trip."
The story ends saying that "Wherever he goes and wherever he stays, this plucky man has our best wishes for his success. Hurrah for Potter, his wheelbarrow and their tramp of nine thousand miles."
The race did end, with Potter coming in second, but whether the prize was ever paid is uncertain. What is certain is that the Ogden Junction was one of the few newspapers to speak of him with respect.
More typical was the Philadelphia paper, which called Potter that "wheelbarrow lunatic," and other papers across the nation took a similar attitude. The Salt Lake Herald, for example, called him "the lunatic pedestrian."
The Deseret News of Nov. 20, 1878, was particularly disdainful of the attention Potter was getting. The paper noted that, when it comes to pushing small carts across the country, nobody could hold a candle to the Mormon Pioneers, who had done the same thing 30 years before across much harder country, and pulling more.
"Quite a number of eastern papers have noticed in glowing terms the successful journey of Potter, the wheelbarrow-man, who trundled his light vehicle across the country," the paper's editorial writer sniffed.
"His journey is nothing to be compared with the journey of Mormon women with hand carts across the Great American Desert, before there was any railroad to mark the path, and where there were no houses or stations to rest and and recruit by the way.
"The wheelbarrow man's trip is merely Pottering at hardship," it says with some playful sarcasm, "and nor worthy of mention by the side of the Mormon hand-cart experience," even as it finished up doing precisely that.
In 1883 Potter apparently accepted another wager to push his wheelbarrow from Washington DC to New Orleans. Remember his travels were made possible by the building of railroads, since highways and paved roads didn't exist yet.
So it was ironic that, in the spring of 1883, he was killed, hit by a train as he pushed his wheelbarrow over a railroad bridge on the Yadkin River, North Carolina.
As always, folks, look both ways before crossing the rails.

Skiing: Gus Becker's other legacy

Becker did more than just promote ski jumping, however. In a speech on KLO radio in 1931 he talked about dog races around Huntsville as well.

Gus Becker's legacy as a brewmaster is long and fabled. Less known is his legacy as a promoter of the recreational ski industry in the Ogden area.

Becker was always looking out for ways to promote Ogden because it brought more people and business to Ogden. People buy beer and business gives people money to buy beer.
In the 1930s he joined other locals in promoting the idea of a ski hill up Ogden Canyon. A ski jump on something called Becker Hill was located near Wheeler Canyon, according to the Snowbasin ski history blog.  The hill operated for about three years.
Becker was enthusiastic. "It should interest you to know that perfected and completed as it now stands on that beautiful site in Ogden Canyon, we have not only the longest ski hill in the world but a monument to the inauguration of winter sports in Utah."
So history was being made and, as per usual for history making events, folks showed up with their Kodaks to record the gala. One was Charles McCarthy, one of the more prolific local shooters, whose work is now both at Weber State University and in the Union Station Archive.
It is hard to tell if McCarthy shot these in 1931 or 1932 because the envelope the photo processor put his prints and negatives in is, sadly, frayed right on that spot.
Also sadly, McCarthy didn't put the names of any of the folks he photographed on the back of his pictures. He took one shot of a ski jumper, posing with his skis, and it would be fun if that were Alf Engen, world champion ski jumper who Becker brought to Ogden in 1931. He brought half a dozen of Engen's friends, too, so this could easily be one of them.
Engen went on to be a key player in Utah's ski industry. I've sent a copy of this picture to the Alf Engen ski museum in Park City to see if they can ID the guy. Whoever it is, he was in at the beginning of Ogden's ski industry, now a major driver of Northern Utah's economy in the wintertime, and a lasting legacy to Gus Becker's promotional skills.

Sherlock Holmes' Air Guns: Not Just Fantasy

The Union Station Archive has a vastly more full history of arms and guns than just heaps and piles of the history of the Browning Arms Company.
Yes, we are home to the  Browning Arms Museum, but there are other things to look at.  This brings us, in a round-about way, to Sherlock Holmes and to my own childhood.
In Arthur Conan Doyle's story "The Adventure of the Empty House," the evil killer, Col. Sebastian Moran, kills a rival at cards by using an air gun which fires, according to reports, an expanding revolver bullet.
The chief advantage to this, Doyle never explains, is that Moran was able to carry out this crime in the middle of a busy city without alerting anyone with a noisy gunshot. Moran's crime also gives the world its most famous "room locked from the inside murder" mystery.
I'm a huge Sherlock fan -- the BBC series that ended last year was, mostly, amazing and a real treasure hunt for folks who liked to find references to Doyle stories in the Benedict Cumberbatch scripts -- so when I found a book mentioning air guns in the Union Station archive, my interest was piqued.
The book is "Gas, Air and Spring Guns of the World" by W.H.B. Smith, published in1957 by the Military Service Publishing Company, Harrisburg, PA.  Much has changed in the gun world since1957, but it's still a fun read.
I should point out,

at this point, that the Browning Arms Company never made an air gun that even the company's official historian, Glen Jensen, who volunteers here at Union Station, has heard of. This is not to say that one didn't find its way onto John Browning's work bench at one time, to be pondered and rejected. It could have happened.
Air guns are not new. As far back as the 1790s they were kicking around. One, the Girandoni Air Rifle, was a 30-shot device that was adopted, in strict secret, by the French Army and only issued to sharpshooters. A gun that could be fired without alerting someone to the presence of the shooter has an obvious advantage.
It is reported that Lewis & Clark took one of these with them on their trip to the western possessions after President Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase territories. It no doubt impressed the Native Americans that the explorers encountered.
The problem with air guns, Smith reports in his book, is that they are quiet, but they are also a heck of a lot of trouble for little benefit beyond quiet. Charging one for a shot means pumping the thing up, usually a labor-intensive process taking many minutes (and even Col. Moran, preparing his fictional gun as Holmes watched from the shadows, had to labor long and hard before Holmes hear the metallic click that indicated the gun was prepared.)
Rifle rounds using powder are always ready and easy to carry in large number. It would be very difficult to carry a large supply of pumped up air cylinders. Plus, the muzzle velocity of an air gun can't come close to matching that if even a low-power traditional bullet round. 
There is much of interest: A wide variety of pumping systems and methods for creating compressed air. There are a variety of artillery, and even spring guns and guns powered by dry ice. Even today, target pistols and rifles use the principle. When all you are doing is punching holes in paper, most of the faults of air guns are blown away.
There are chapters on spring-powered pistols, the various types of ammunition and both military and civilian use. And air guns have come a long way since. Some are even used, today, for hunting.
A very significant part of the book is dedicated to that most iconic of air guns, known to every red blooded American boy who survived the 50s with vision intact: The Daisy "Red Ryder" BB gun.
Yes, the famous "You'll shoot your eye out!" gun of  filmdom's "A Christmas Story" fame, but that movie tapped into a bit of American culture now long gone.
The book reports that 1.5 million young people a year were given Daisy BB guns, part of a time when they were seen as first step training devices for people who would, later in life, want to use more potent firearms either for sport or hunting. In the 50s -- and I can say this because I'm that old -- it was very common for kids to want to be cowboys or Davy Crocket and have a toy gun of some sort.
The things weren't as politicized as they are today and proper training and responsible gun ownership were the watchwords. One ad shows Red Ryder himself advising skill, training, care and responsibility.
That said, some of the early ads are kind of cringe-worthy, by modern standards. A dad standing behind his son who is aiming his BB gun, the dad saying "I want my son to be a real man!" shows, one supposes, the culture of the day.
The book goes into great details describing the high quality of the Daisy rifles, describing its modern and efficient factory in Plymouth, Michigan. It is no longer there, of course. It moved to Arkansas years later to cut costs, and now doesn't even make the parts of the guns it sells. At the time, however, the company was worth looking at in this book simply because of the huge volume of guns it sold.
Which brings me to my own experiences. Mom and dad wouldn't buy me a BB gun, no matter how much I whined, so I had to be jealous of neighborhood kids who had them.
One, I recall, liked to remind me that he could shoot me any time he wanted, and showed me one of the small BBs, which happened to not be copper colored like the rest, and said the color meant it was super-hard and would likely go right through me.
My parents refused to get me one of those, but they did buy me an air gun, which research shows was probably a Daisy Model 960, derided

on discussion groups today as a mere "pop gun." It looked like a BB gun, complete with wooden stock and gun sights, but all it did when you cocked the lever and pulled the trigger was make a noise.
I called it "Old Betsy" because i was a Davy Crocket fan, and had fun for years in the neighborhood games of cowboys and indians. I got so I could cock and fire it pretty quickly, too.
It gradually wore out, of course, and no doubt now decorates a landfill somewhere, or got recycled into beer cans.  Even Daisy didn't make that high a quality of a toy, and toy it certainly was. As I said above, it was a different world back then.
How different? Go rent a John Wayne movie made back then called "The High and the Mighty." It involves an airplane flying from Hawaii to the mainland.
The fun scene that could never happen today? Little kid gets on the plane wearing his cowboy cap pistols. Wayne turns in the pilot seat and does a quick-draw with him.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

50 Ways To Leave Your (Drug Addled) Lover

Ogden, Utah's Union Station has it's share of problems with the homeless.

This is inevitable. It is an old railroad station, which means it is right by the railroad tracks used by some transients to enter and leave town. Plus, being a city-owned museum, it's public space, which means it attracts folks looking for somewhere they can sit down.

Or camp out. Union Station houses the Utah Railroad Museum, which means we've got empty railroad cars sitting around. Transients like to crawl into them and sleep, or worse. One set up housekeeping in an old caboose, even ran in electricity, and was quite put out when told her to skedaddle.

Part of my duties as a volunteer here is to walk around and pick up litter, and I find refuse from transients quite often.

One day I was doing that when I met a roughly dressed fellow out back, standing near some railroad work cars -- a crane and a snowplow. He told me that his girlfriend and he had been sleeping in the snowplow car and said would I please not throw away her stuff -- crafting goods she apparently used to make jewelry to sell. I told him to tell her to get it out, and that was that.

A couple days later I went back, her stuff was still there, so I tossed it all out, but I also found, scattered around on the ground, evidence that the relationship those two had was rather rocky: scattered notebook sheet listing no fewer than 50 accusations he had made to her about her behavior.

It shows they shared a very rough and traumatic life. The amazing thing is they still shared it, or did until this, anyway. It's easy to say someone should just leave a weird relationship, but if it's the only one you have, you may hang on.

It all seems to have boiled up for him, however, because the intensity of this list is scary. It hints at a long night spent waiting for her to return and him growing more angry as he wrote reason after reason why.

What happened to him, or her, I have no clue. They are probably both transients, living in a mobile world full of drugs and other bad things you and I probably cannot imagine. If you've ever read the book "Ironweed" by William Kennedy, or watch the film starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, you can probably get a hint, a tiny bit.

The sheet with numbers 1 through 6 was missing, but the remaining sheets are telling enough:

7. Every time we argue you jump strait to "OK, I'm leaving you."

8. You hit/hurt (threaten to) me phisically.

9. When we make plans you never stick to them and then have some reason why you had the worst night.

10. 15 mins=3 hrs. An hour = 12 hours.

11. You disappear for hours with no warning and any explanation and a lot of times get angry or tell me it isn't my business when I ask you about where and what you were into.

12. I cant have fun or be happy if you don't have any drugs.

13. You refuse to introduce me to "your friends."

14. Right now its dark and I haven't heard from you in a few hours as all you said was I'm going to look for my phone.

15. It's a problem if I spend my money that I make alone on what I want.

16. H.R.E.A.M.G. Heroin Rules Everything Around My Girl. I will never come first to you unless you stop doing heroin.

17. You do FAT shots that make you act like you have mental retardation.

18. You are most likely going to overdose. It's scary.

19. If you take off in a car with three douceh bags that are all crushing on you and don't come back until the next day (with new clothes, a lot of dope) it's all groovy. But if I give a female one cigarette I'm fucking her.

20. you have 0 percent trust in me and expect me to have 100 percent for you.

21. In front of people you will call me a nigger, disrespect me and be condescending then when I get angry I'm the asshole nobody likes.

22. The phone I gave to you is off limits to me and you are selective with.

23. You don't notice or appreciate anything I do for you.

24. You always leave me behind with a GIANT mess to clean.

25. You tell me you cheat on me then say you were lying.

26. You don't value our relationship or me half as much as I do you.

27.You guilt trip me into paying you.

28. Your always mad or in a bad mood and only smile/have fun and be happy when not with me.

29. You sound unsure when you say "I love you" and almost never do.

30. You take out your anger/frustration for a situation or person on me when I have no involvement.

31. You call me stupid/dummy/idiot.

32. You call me a NIGGER (if my grand father were alive he would backhand you for disrespecting me, then beat my ass for not hitting you.)

33. You have no sense of humor and can't take a joke.

34. Whats mine is yours, whats yours is too and your stuff is off limits.

35. I found you in a hotel with Jake and think you might have lied about what happened in there because you know I WILL KILL HIM.

36. You dont understand that when I say something I mean it and you test that when we are fighting.

37. We fight more than we love each other.

38. You yell and argue when we could just talke and debate.

39. You treat 100 percent of people better than me and treat me subhuman.

40. You NEVER go out of your way to make sure I know you love or care for me.

41. If I were to say "quit heroin or I'm done" there's a problem, but you have said that to me.

42. You act like you are hot shit and I'm lucky to be with you and you are beautiful but have a lot of "baggage" and I'm beautiful too but have very little "baggage."

43. You never apologize.

44. You never say thank you.

45. You have given the things I do for fun a try.

46. You are unable to accept me as I am.

47. You think its OK to steal from people.

48. Its been hours since I wrote #14 still ... nothing and nobody has seen you.

49. You project your insecurities on me and tell me how awful I am for them because its looking in a mirror and not seeing what you want, so you break it.

50. You never help pick up our camp.

And that's where it ended. And, yeah, where they were camped -- in the cab of our snowplow -- was a mess. When nothing changed there for a couple days I assumed they'd moved on and cleaned it all out.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Big Camera, Bigger Scanner, Biggest Fun

The divide between film and digital is pretty wide if you don't have the technology, which is one of the benefits of volunteering in a museum.

Union Station Foundation recently sprang -- via grant money -- a new photo scanner capable of scanning, whole, an 11 by 14 inch print or even a negative or transparency, also that size.

For some years I've been playing with a variety of cameras that use 4-by-5 inch film because that size of film gives detail nothing else does, it forces one to slow down and ponder what one is shooting, it makes folks as "can you still get film for that?" and it's just fun.

I mean, can you honestly say you go hunting "for the meat" after you spend how much for the  truck to haul it home in?  Same thing.

So every now and then I haul out the Speed Graphic, the Burke & James Orbitar (with that amazing 65mm lens) or the Busch Pressman (which, like the Speed, has a 135mm Ektar lens) and go hide under a dark cloth while exposing film that costs somewhere near $1 every time I click the shutter.

Which isn't as expensive as it sounds. Six shots is a good afternoon's work. You take time to find the shot, locate the best view, situate the camera, calculate the exposure and finally take the image. It works out to be almost a zen thing.

Anyway, I took a bunch of these negatives down to the archive library this morning and spent a couple of hours scanning some in on our spiffy new scanner. I think I'm a long way from Ansel Adams quality, and certainly not tearing up the pea patch for content or inspiration, but the results please me and I'm learning the craft. Film is either Ilford or Arista (Foma).


BEGINNING IN 1893, the SALTAIR resort on Great Salt Lake was a favorite recreation spot for residents of Utah. The only problem was that it was located 20 miles west of Salt Lake City and few people had cars.

So, in 1922, the Salt Lake And Garfield Western Railway took ownership of the resort and built special excursion cars to take folks out. The open cars had ramps of wooden steps on each side and wrought iron framed benches inside. Folks would pay their fare and hop aboard.

The resort is long gone and the SL&GWR now just hauls freight, but two of its excursion cars are in the collection of the Utah State Railroad Museum housed at Union Station. The cars themselves are stored off site, awaiting funds for restoration, but I go out every now and then and take pictures because they're just cool.

These were shot with the Busch Pressman except for the third one down, which was with the Burke & James.  Here's a couple color shots to show what they look like today -- they're able to be restored since most of the damage is to the wood, which is relatively easy to replace.


One of my favorite places to shoot is Union Station. It has light to die for and many fun architectural details that lend themselves to photographic effects.

The top shot shows a drinking fountain. Next down shows a lighting technician repairing the giant neon sign on top of he building. The third shows the Edward Laning mural on the north wall of the station's grand lobby (a parallel mural is on the south wall.)

Next is a friend, Mark Lowther, trying to hold still for a long exposure, and finally a wide-angle shot with the Burke & James of the whole lobby. This lobby is essentially unchanged since the station was built in 1924, one of the few interior parts of the building to make that claim.


Hey, a theme!

The top photo is an old Hudson automobile, date unknown, that I found in rural Weber County. The rust is photogenic, yes?

Next is the top of an old steam engine sitting in front of Union Station here in Ogden. The engine has been on static display for decades.

Next, decked out in graffiti for "Kyle Kayla" is an old Bamberger railroad car. This is one of many interurban cars that used to ply the tracks between Ogden and Salt Lake City.

Last is "Daddy" which graces the Moonglow, one of the more tragic possessions of the Utah State Railroad Museum. The Moonglow as the original dome car of "The Train of Tomorrow," which was built after World War II and was supposed to attract the public back onto train transport with a host of modern conveniences including air conditioning, telephones and other luxury amenities.

Sadly, World War II's end also saw the decline of passenger rail. President Dwight D. Eisenhower came back from winning the war impressed with the system of autobahn highways criss-crossing Germany and decided to promote the same thing here. The Interstate Highway System -- yes, it was originally a defense program -- was born and car-happy Americans said good-bye to the train. The "Train of Tomorrow" fizzled. Its last remnant, the Moonglow, sits here in Ogden, victim to vandals and the elements, the museum lacking money to even properly preserve it.