Training Literature Field Unit No. 1

Helytimes began in 2012.  Our idea was

  1. become good at writing for the Internet
  2. a writer should have a website
  3. have a space to collect, digest and share items of interest.

We’ve tried to come up with a mission statement or guiding purpose, but the truth is, this is stuff we had to get out of our head.

The healthiest thing to do was share it.

The best way to put it might be a place to share crazy interesting things we’ve come across.

Since then we’ve published over 1,050 posts.  We’re just now starting to get good at it, in our opinion.

Here are the twenty-one most popular posts:

  1. No On Measure S (by guest Hayes)

The moral here is probably that we should start a local LA news-and-takes site written by other people.

  1. Sundown, Gordon Lightfoot (1974)

  2. Mountaineering Movies on Netflix Instant, Ranked

  3. Fred Trump

  4. Cinderella and Interrogation Technique

  5. The Great Debates 

  6. Karl Ove Knausgaard

  7. Fascinated by: Ray Dalio

  8. How Big Was Mexico City in 1519?

  9. American Historical Figure Who Reminds Me Of Trump

  10. Losing The War by Lee Sandlin 

  11. Conversations With Kennedy

  12. Oil Wells In National Parks

  13. THE WONDER TRAIL 

  14. Gay Hobo Slang

  15. Vertigo Sucks

  16. Jackie Smoking Pregnant

  17. The story of Cahokia

  18. Ireland should take in two million refugees 

  19. Twenty Greatest Australian Artistic Accomplishments of All Time 

  20. The White House Pool 

One lesson here might be to have more local LA journalism written by other people.  Keep meaning to start a whole site for that but I do have a full-time job plus several other projects.

In our opinion the most successful post on Helytimes was

Record Group 80: Series: General Photographic File Of the Department of the Navy, 1943-1958 

although it didn’t crack the top 21, just felt like a time where we added something of value to the Internet and readers responded.

It’s about the work of the Naval Aviation Photographic Unit, also known as the Training Literature Field Unit No. 1, assembled by the great photographer Edward Steichen.

One thread of Helytimes is attempts to reach into the past and find the sources that give us understanding of the past.

Two personal favorites:

Everything is something.

and

Special Snowflakes

This has been the annual performance review and address to the Helytimes readership:

That photo taken by one of Steichen’s guys, Wayne Miller:


Dorothea Lange

Three of the four Arnold children. The oldest boy earned the money to buy his bicycle. Western Washington, Thurston County, Michigan Hill.

Let’s look

Child living in Oklahoma City shack town

at a sample

Cotton picker, southern San Joaquin Valley

of the

Woman in pea picker’s camp. California. “I seen our corn dry up and blow over the fence back there in Oklahoma”

8073 or so 

Children of migratory Mexican field workers. The older one helps tie carrots in the field. Coachella Valley, California

Dorothea Lange photos

Pregnant migrant woman living in California squatter camp. Kern County

Japanese mother and daughter, agricultural workers near Guadalupe, California

At the Library of Congress

Mexican girl who picks peas for the eastern market. Imperial Valley, California

In a carrot pullers’ camp near Holtville, Imperial Valley, California. Woman from Broken Row, Oklahoma

Farm Security Administration (FSA) camp for migratory agricultural workers. Meeting of the camp council. Farmersville, California

Children of migratory workers, hauling water, American River camp, San Joaquin Valley, California

Mexican quarter of Los Angeles, California. Average rental is eight dollars. Some houses have plumbing. See card 1799-C for detailed information


Ansel in Playboy

This Open Culture post leads me to Ansel Adams interviewed in Playboy, found here:
I’ll explain it this way: Both William Henry Jackson and Edward Weston photographed the American West extensively. But in my opinion, only Weston’s photographs qualify as art. Jackson, for all his devotion to the subject, was recording the scene. Weston, on the other hand, was actually creating something new. In his work, subject is of secondary importance to the total photograph. Similarly, while the landscapes that I have photographed in Yosemite are recognized by most people and, of course, the subject is an important part of the pictures, they are not “realistic.” Instead, they are an imprint of my visualization. All of my pictures are optically very accurate–I use pretty good lenses–but they are quite unrealistic in terms of values. A more realistic simple snapshot captures the image but misses everything else. I want a picture to reflect not only the forms but what I had seen and felt at the moment of exposure.
Playboy: Give us an example.
Adams: My Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico has the emotion and the feeling that the experience of seeing the actual moonrise created in me, but it is not at all realistic. Merely clicking the camera and making a simple print from the negative would have created a wholly different–and ordinary–photograph. People have asked me why the sky is so dark, thinking exactly in terms of the literal. But the dark sky is how it felt.
When photographer Alfred Stieglitz was asked by some skeptic, rather scornfully, “How do you make a creative photograph?” he answered, “I go out into the world with my camera and come across something that excites me emotionally, spiritually or aesthetically. I see the image in my mind’s eye. I make the photograph and print it as the equivalent of what I saw and felt.” That describes it well. What he called seeing in the mind’s eye, I call visualization. In my mind’s eye, I am visualizing how a particular revelation of sight and feeling will appear on a print. If I am looking at you, I can continue to see you as a person, but I am also in the habit of shifting from that consciously dimensional presence to a photograph, relating you in your surroundings to an image in my mind. If what I see in my mind excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph. It is an intuitive sense and also an ability that comes from a lot of practice. Some people never can get it.
More:
Playboy: When did you know you could accomplish it?
Adams: I had my first visualization while photographing Half Dome in Yosemite in 1927. It was a remarkable experience. After a long day with my camera, I had only two photographic plates left. I found myself staring at Half Dome, facing the monolith, seeing and feeling things that only the photograph itself can tell you. I took the first exposure and, somehow, I knew it was inadequate. It did not capture what I was feeling. It was not going to reflect the tremendous experience. Then, to use Stieglitz’ expression, I saw in my mind’s eye what the picture should look like and I realized how I must get it. I put on a red filter and figured out the exposure correctly, and I succeeded! When I made the prints, it proved my concept was correct. The first exposure came out just all right. It was a good photograph, but it in no way had the spirit and excitement I had felt. The second was Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, which speaks for itself.

More:

They were the ones Weston called the fuzzy-wuzzies. They would go out into the street and find some old bum with a matted beard, and they’d get a tablet of Braille and make the old man put his fingers on the Braille. They would place him in an old chair, looking up through a cloud of cigarette smoke that was illuminated by a spotlight. The title would be Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory. That must have been done a thousand times. There were also slimy nudes.

 

I am an Ansel Democrat:

Playboy: You said that earlier. We assumed you were speaking rhetorically. Weren’t you?
Adams: Definitely not. We are on a disaster course. A revolution may happen first; and, of course, that may be a disaster anyway. I don’t say it would be a Soviet revolution, but it could very well result in a different order of society. It could be a socialist setup that might work for a while. We don’t know. The point is, I think there may be a revolution if there is not greater equality given to all citizens. We have consistently considered the employer, especially the large corporations, as the most valuable part of the American society. We have consistently overlooked the enormous importance of the farmer, the technician, the educator, the artist, the laborer. I’m not calling for a revolution; I’m calling for greater equality to all citizens. If that doesn’t happen, something will.
You see, I believe in a Federalism under which you would pay your taxes to a properly elected and conducted central Government that would, in turn, provide essential services–which would include medical care and other essentials–to the population. I do think there is a basic obligation for everyone to make his maximum contribution to society, but we talk about opportunity for everyone, and the fact is that it is perfectly obvious that equal opportunity does not exist. It’s about time we woke to that fact and clarified the whole social-political structure. Or we’ll be awakened.
Remember, ten percent unemployment, no matter how high that is, is an average. There are places and segments of the population with much higher unemployment. People will not continue to tolerate those conditions. What we need is a new set of political commandments that call to attention some of the basic provisions of the Constitution that are often overlooked by our contemporary leaders. There are inalienable rights that are supposed to be guaranteed. It is absolutely criminal that our Government has consistently supported rightist governments that deny citizens’ rights while being paranoid about any liberal concept, which is the concept upon which our country was founded. But, remember, it took a revolution here.

And finally, his martini recipe:

Playboy: While we’re on the subject, that is some strong martini we’ve sampled. Will you share your recipe with us?
Adams: The martini I am drinking now is simply diluted–that way, I can have several. But the ones you’re sipping come from a Hotel Sonesta bartender in Cambridge. You take a good-sized glass and fill it with fine vermouth. Then you marinate some big lemon peels in there for days. As the vermouth evaporates or is used up, replenish it. All you need is a glass, ice, vodka and a lemon peel. Rub the lemon peel around the rim of the glass, drop it in, and you have a very dry martini.

Best photos I took in 2016

img_5276

Vancouver Island

img_8672Joshua Treeimg_9272Gaililee, RI
daf8272a-51e1-4083-b4c8-a509b10a5a54Death Valleyimg_5124Tofinoimg_5793Cambridge
img_7339-3Victoria
img_7126-1New Zealandimg_9451Two Harborsimg_3649Los Angeles

 


Thurgood’s take, and Yoichi Okamoto

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-11-22-15-am

From Stephen L. Carter’s 2017 predictions, via Tyler Cowen.  (Helytimes is increasingly becoming a Tyler Cowen processing center).

Thurgood:

That photo is by Yoichi Okamoto:

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-11-29-17-am

Looking a bit like Fredrik Wikingsson there, and here are more by Yoichi:

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-11-29-06-am

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-11-28-54-am

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-11-28-46-am

found at this NYT slideshow of his work from 2013.


SUNDAY TAKE: The Economist

The Economist

Nearly Cloudless Scotland, As Seen From the ISS The International Space Station's Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams tweeted this photo recently with the caption "We had a great view of Scotland today…very rare to not be covered with clouds."

Nearly Cloudless Scotland, As Seen From the ISS
The International Space Station’s Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams tweeted this photo recently with the caption “We had a great view of Scotland today…very rare to not be covered with clouds.”

I’m tryna get that big picture view on things.  How does it all work?

What's going on in Bonn?

What’s going on in Bonn?

The search for answers led me to this magazine.

img_7659

What to make a magazine that has ads like this?

img_7652

Just a casual classified:

barge

As part of my ongoing effort to  become a guy who considers buying barge-mounted power plants, I became a subscriber.

The editor of The Economist is Zanny Minton Beddoes:

zanny-minton-beddoes

Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch/Photo Monika Flueckiger. This was taken at Davos, duh.

The Economist states its mission on the table of contents:

img_7675

Per Wikipedia:

It takes an editorial stance of classical and economic liberalism which is supportive of free trade, globalisation, free immigration and cultural liberalism (such as supporting legal recognition for same-sex marriage or drug liberalization).

To say it takes that stance is to put it mildly.  The Economist believes in free trade and globalisation the way other people believe in gravity.  For example, casual assumption what is “sensible” for Paraguay:

paraguay

Per Wikipedia again, linking to this 1999 Andrew Sullivan snark attack:

[Andrew Sullivan] also said that The Economist is editorially constrained because so many scribes graduated from the same college at Oxford University, Magdalen College. 

Not true!  Zanny Minton Beddoes was in  St. Hilda’s College at Oxford University!

Sullivan says:

as a weekly compost of world news and economics, it’s very hard to beat–a kind ofReader’s Digest for the overclass. It’s written in the kind of Oxbridge prose that trips felicitously into one ear and out the other, and it subtly flatters some Americans into feeling that they are sitting in on a combination of an English senior common room and a seminar at Davos. Besides, it’s hard to dislike a magazine that can run a photo of the pope meeting with Bill Clinton over the caption: “That’s 1,000 Hail Marys.”

That’s all true.  The subtle flattery is what I’m paying for.  Plus I love a good compost.

Sullivan has harsher criticisms, some of which still seem relevant seventeen years later.  I like his take that The Economist‘s no bylines policy is suspiciously socialist.  He’s criticizing The Economist for not being free markety enough!

More from Wiki’s “Criticism, accusation and praise“:

The Guardian wrote that “its writers rarely see a political or economic problem that cannot be solved by the trusted three-card trick of privatisation, deregulation and liberalisation”

To which The Economist might respond, “and where are we wrong?”

True to their hero, Adam Smith, The Economist hovers between brilliant and goofy.

img_7581

Here are some things I’ve learned from reading The Economist in the last three weeks:

  • “global internet traffic will surpass one zettabyte for the first time this year, the equivalent of 152m years of high-definition video”
  • Under Emperor Augustus, military wages and pensions absorbed half of all Rome’s tax revenues.
  • Norway’s sovereign wealth fund owns more than 2% of all listed shares in Europe and over 1% globally.  Its largest holdings are in Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft and Nestlé.  The fund is worth $882 billion.
  • The United Arab Emirates recently started a Ministry of Happiness
  • There’s so much cannabis grown in Albania that in 2014 it might’ve had a value equal to half of the country’s GDP
  • bluefin tuna are down 97% from their peak in the early 1960s
  • Japanese people are obsessed with Portland

How about this take:  reporting on the Russian elections, where only 48% of people bothered to vote on the selected candidates they were allowed to, here’s how The Economist sees the problem:

Mr Putin’s latest victory turns the Duma into more of a sham.  As a result, he risks becoming detached.  In the view of Gleb Pavlovsky, a political analyst and former adviser to Mr Putin, Russia’s leaders are like pilots flying in heavy turbulence with the cockpit dials all painted over.

What a take!  Like: democracy is meaningful mainly as a source of information for dictatorial technomanagers!

Wonder if I would’ve been smarter if instead of classes in college I read this magazine cover to cover every week, as Bill Gates says he does.

jess


Hamatsa emerging from the woods – Koskimo

Curtis photo

good photo from the Edward S. Curtis archives / Library of Congress.

Princess Angeline

Princess Angeline (Duwamish)