Saturday in Colorado Springs

Spent Saturday down in Colorado Springs.  I was going to go to the Pioneer Museum and then look around at the old neighborhoods.  But then my brother called saying that they were still in Colorado Springs so we met for lunch at Edelweiss German Restaurant which is always good.

The Pioneer Museum had a special exhibit about the 150 years of Colorado Springs using artifacts for all decades.  I was especially interested in reading about The Cotton Club that was a multi -racial nite club when this wasn’t done.   Fannie Mae Duncan made it happen with her motto of “Everybody Welcome”. 

The Pioneer Museum is located in the old County Courthouse which is an amazing structure.  Here are some of the other exhibits.

One other interesting site in C Springs

Babi Yar on Good Friday

From one of my photo friends I learned about a park East of Denver in Aurora dedicated to slain Ukrainian Jews during the first part of WWII.  It’s called Babi Yar.  I thought it would be appropriate on Good Friday to visit the park.

Babi Yar, also spelled Babiy Yar or Baby Yar, large ravine on the northern edge of the city of Kiev in Ukraine, the site of a mass grave of victims, mostly Jews, whom Nazi German SS squads killed between 1941 and 1943. After the initial massacre of Jews, Babi Yar remained in use as an execution site for Soviet prisoners of war and for Roma (Gypsies) as well as for Jews. Soviet accounts after the war speak of 100,000 dead. The true number may never be known. Babi Yar became the symbol of the first stage of killing during the Holocaust and of the massacres by the Einsatzgruppen (German: “deployment groups”)—the mobile killing units.

The German army gained control of Kiev on September 19, 1941. Earlier that year, Adolf Hitler had ordered special SS squads to follow the regular army into the Soviet Union and to exterminate all Jews and Soviet officials. Moreover, a few days after the fall of Kiev, an explosion rocked the German command post in the city, killing many German soldiers and intensifying Nazi outrage toward the Jews, whom they wrongly blamed for the explosion. When SS troops entered the city, the Jews of Kiev were marked for destruction. On September 29 and 30, over a 36-hour period, nearly 34,000 Jews were marched in small groups to the outskirts of the city, stripped naked, and machine-gunned into the ravine, which was immediately covered over, with some of the victims still alive. Over the next two years the mass grave swelled with thousands of other victims, primarily Jews but also including Communist officials and Soviet prisoners of war. As the German armies retreated from the Soviet Union, the Nazis attempted to hide the evidence of the slaughter. Bulldozers were required to reopen the mounds. Bone-crushing machinery was brought to the scene. The bodies were piled on wooden logs, doused with gas and ignited. The flames of the pyres were seen in Kiev. When the work was done, most of the workers, prisoners who had been brought in from a nearby concentration camp, were killed. Under cover of darkness on September 29, 1943, a number of the prisoners attempted to escape, and some 15 survived to tell what they had seen.

The killings were described in detail by eyewitnesses and are vividly depicted in novels by Ilya Ehrenburg (The Storm; 1948) and Anatoly Kuznetsov (Babi Yar: A Documentary in the Form of a Novel; 1967), as well as in firsthand accounts by non-Jewish eyewitnesses in a work entitled “The Good Old Days”: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders (1991; edited by Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen, and Volker Riess).

For 25 years after the war, the Soviet Union barely acknowledged Babi Yar. No memorial marked the site. In 1961, in protest against plans to build a sports stadium on the site, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, then a young Soviet poet, wrote a moving poem, Baby Yar, which begins

No gravestone stands on Baby Yar;

Only coarse earth heaped roughly on the gash:

Such dread comes over me.

A year later the poem was set to music by Dmitry Shostakovich as part of his choral 13th Symphony, first performed in Moscow in December 1962. Both Yevtushenko and Shostakovich were reprimanded for their “cosmopolitanism” by the Soviet authorities, who refused to acknowledge the special Jewish significance of a site where other Soviets had been killed.

A small obelisk was constructed at Babi Yar in 1966. In 1974 a 50-foot (15-metre) memorial statue was finally erected. Identification of the victims was vague; the word Jew was not used. Not until 1991, on the 50th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacres, was the identity of the victims recorded on the monument by the newly independent Ukrainian government.

The Park

Bistro Vendome

A special dinner at Bistro Vendome for Vicki’s birthday happened last nite.  It was also sponsored by Laws Whiskey a distillery here in Denver.  The food was great - typical French cuisine - small portions but each serving was a spectacular creation.  Here’s the menu

We both got a little loopy from all the whiskey - Vicki more so than me.  Here are some other shots

A documented Walk in the Neighborhood

Unlike the next post ( actually posted before this one) I’ve documented my walk.  Just like the weight scale I have a nervous distrust of the readings.  This walk seemed like a real killer compared to my usual walks which are on the flat.  But here it is in all it’s glory

Late breaking DATA just in…..

I tend to believe my walk was more than 1.1 miles - 1.9 seems about right.  

A Walk in the Neighborhood

These photos were taken on a 20 min. walk thru my neighborhood.  I had purchased a used camera and needed to take some photos to verify that it worked.  The camera is a bit unusual in that I bought it from someone in Japan and unfortunately it was incorrectly described to me when I bought it.  This is the second time this has happened with a Japanese Ebay purchase - lessen finally learned.  But because it’s a pain to ship it back I decided to keep it.  Anyway it’s a Fujica ( Fujifilm) HD-P which means Heavy Duty - Panorama.  It is water resistant to several meters.  It is all mechanical and it uses zone focusing.  

Anyway - back to the neighborhood - I just took photos of things seen along the way including a dead squirrel, remnants of snow, a truck loaded with hay - the owner Fred and I talked for a bit.  He has 30 head of cattle in San Luis, Colorado - I’ve never been there but it’s the oldest continuously settled town in Colorado.  I will have to put it on the bucket list of places to go.

Bright Size Light

Today the @librarycongress librarian Carla Hayden named ‘Bright Size Life’ among 25 selections as audio treasures worthy of preservation for all time based on their cultural, historical or aesthetic importance in the nation’s recorded sound heritage. #NatRecRegistry

“The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture from the past 143 years,” Hayden said. “We received about 900 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry, and we welcome the public’s input as the Library of Congress and its partners preserve the diverse sounds of history and culture.”

The recordings most recently selected for the National Recording Registry bring the number of titles on the registry to 575, representing a small portion of the national library’s vast recorded sound collection of nearly 3 million items.

I have my brother Al Nitka to thank for introducing me to Pat Metheny who I’ve listened to ever since.  This album came out in March, 1976 - right before I graduated college.  I think it wasn’t until Winter of ‘76 that I went to a concert of his in Denver with Al.   I thought that Metheny was European because his label ECM is German.  It took a few years before I realized that he’s from Missouri !   Here is a clip from Beyond the Missouri Sky - a real gem

Central New York Connections

Ran across two connections to Central New York .  The first one is a photo made by David Plowden of the Main Street in Cazenovia, NY.  A street well know to anyone who has been to ‘Caz’

The 2nd one was a discovery of female photographer that was born in Syracuse in the 19th century but went onto fame in the 20th century.  I had never heard of her but she was a very remarkable person.  Therese Bonney

More Plastic Photography

Ricoh RZ 1050 - I purchased this from Blue Moon Camera as ‘new old stock’ which means the camera is new but it’s from old stock - usually not being produced anymore.  This one has that 90’s look of a crappy plastic designed for a forgotten style.  While that may be true it does have a lot of nice features.  Consumer Alert: do not ever buy this camera.  I just got the negatives back and while there were some useful images the hit rate was really bad.  It can’t focus worth a damn for anything closer than about 6 to 8 feet.  Several of the negatives had side to side scratch - don’t know if it was the camera of the developer who is rather sketchy or should I say scratchy?  I can’t really use this camera because I will never know what I’m gonna get.  I did better with the Harman all plastic point and pray camera.  At least I got 2 rolls of film and the camera for ~$25.

CPAC Members Show

SPECIAL NOTE. - this blog entry was from over a year ago that somehow never got published.  I am publishing it now to show how things can change.  I originally took this photograph in April, 2000 at a garage sale.  I liked the sentiment it expressed as everyone has at one time or another said they’d like to be in charge and things would be different.

Fast forward to 2021 and this amongst a few other Dr. Seuss books have been decommissioned but the Dr. Seuss Foundation - they weren’t selling well and there were distinct racist overtones in the book.  The book was NOT banned as I erroneously posted to Instagram but taken out of circulation.  I am not sure how I feel about this.  How are people in the future gonna know that this type of publishing was acceptable into the 21st century?

This was my entry into CPAC ( Colorado Photographic Arts Center) members show.  I was selected so I felt like I had won even though I didn’t.  Only one photo sold so I shouldn’t feel bad about not selling my photo.  To be truthful I spent too much on the framing and therefore if I sold it I would be a -$50.  Not selling means I get to keep it.

I just scanned this one in again today ( roll 377) and it was shot on a high end point and shoot - Hexar with 35/2 lens.  Just shows what you can do with a good point and shoot.  

The Infinity Room

Awhile back I wrote about the Rocky Flats Nuclear Plant specifically THE INFINITY ROOM.  The Infinity Room ( room 141 within Building 771) was so contaminated with Plutonium that the Geiger counter needles all pegged at infinity.  I have since learned that Building 771 that contained Rom 141 ( Infinity Room) was decommissioned and NOT left in place.  I was under the impression that Room 141 was left behind so I am glad to get the facts.  At one point Building 771 was considered the most dangerous enclosure in the world.  Now I would think the Chernobyl Sarcophagus wins that title.  All this being said I still consider Rocky Flats to be dangerous if this and future generation forget what lies in the dirt below the surface.

Principled Politician

This is a great book about Ralph Carr who was the Governor of Colorado when WWII broke out.  Prior to that he was the Attorney General of Colorado, Water Rights Lawyer.  He was plain speaking, genuine person as has ever been a politician.  He was fluent in Spanish as many of his rural clients could only speak Spanish.  He gained noteriety as Governor for resisting the internment of Japanese descendants from the West Coast.  From Wikipedia:

Following Roosevelt’s issuance of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, the War Relocation Authority decided to resettle Japanese Americans from the West Coast into internment camps in the interior of the continent. One camp was Amache near Granada, Colorado. Carr took a unique position among Western governors, who largely adopted the popular anti-Japanese sentiment of the period.

The governors supported internment of all Japanese, whatever their citizenship, and also objected to locating internment camps in their states. Carr, on the other hand, opposed interning American citizens, depriving them of their basic rights as citizens based only on their racial background or the citizenship of their ancestors. Unlike his peers, Carr endorsed the federal government’s incarceration program for non-citizens and agreed that Colorado should accept its share of the evacuees and treat them respectfully. He also underscored the broader context of war against several enemy countries in order to downplay the struggle with Japan that could easily be seen as a racial conflict. When he volunteered Colorado for housing Italian, German, and Japanese relocated from the West Coast, he said:

They are as loyal to American institutions as you and I. Many of them have been born here–are American citizens, with no connection or feeling of loyalty toward the customs and philosophies of Italy, Germany and Japan. … I am not talking on behalf of Japanese, of Italians, or of Germans as such when I say this. I am talking to … all American people whether their status be white, brown or black and regardless of the birthplaces of their grandfathers when I say that if a majority may deprive a minority of its freedom, contrary to the terms of the Constitution today, then you as a minority may be subjected to the same ill-will of the majority tomorrow.

In one speech to a large and hostile audience, made up primarily of worried Colorado farmers, Carr said of the evacuees:

They are not going to take over the vegetable business of this state, and they are not going to take over the Arkansas Valley. But the Japanese are protected by the same Constitution that protects us. An American citizen of Japanese descent has the same rights as any other citizen. … If you harm them, you must first harm me. I was brought up in small towns where I knew the shame and dishonor of race hatred. I grew to despise it because it threatened [pointing to various audience members] the happiness of you and you and you.

He lost his bid for Senator in 1942 to Democrat Ed Johnson otherwise known as ‘Big Ed’.  While researching this article I came across this little tidbit about Johnson:

Bergman incident

He was perhaps best known for presenting a speech on March 14, 1950, on the Senate floor, criticizing the extramarital affair of actress Ingrid Bergman, who was, at the time, married to Petter Lindström. Bergman’s affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini became a cause célèbre as a result of Johnson’s speech, forcing her to relocate to Europe for several years. Johnson then proposed a bill where movies would be licensed based on the perceived morality of the actors/actresses and stated that Bergman “had perpetrated an assault upon the institution of marriage,” and called her “a powerful influence for evil.”

Oddly enough, prior to the discovery of her affair, Ingrid Bergman had been Johnson’s favorite actress. He felt that he had been deceived, and wished to ban her from any future Hollywood productions.

I would like to think of the Senator as ‘BigAss’ Johnson!

Snow-Zilla is coming

These are the predictions for this weekend.  I’m writing this on Friday morning so there’s a little time to get things prepared.  Because I’m a Type A person I’ve charged up whatever can be charged in the house.  Made Vicki go to the store and get human AND dog food.  Both vehicles are fueled should we need to go somewhere.  Most importantly for my blog readers is that I’ve charged my camera batteries so that I can take pictures

Two and Done

Yesterday got my 2nd Pfizer shot.  While my arm hurts, it feels good to have this behind me.  Soon no masks but you will have to start to wear pants!

Plastic Photography

Harman owns Ilford the legendary film manufacturer.  They brought out their own point and shoot plastic camera.  It’s reusable so you can refill it will any film you want - best to be ISO 400 or higher.  They provide two rolls of Kentmere 400 which is similar I think to HP5+.  So the camera and two rolls for $25 is not a bad deal. The images below clearly have their faults but the images have an endearing appeal.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Preserve

This photo covers that dark shadow that was the Rocky Mountain Arsenal:

Weapons manufactured at RMA included both conventional and chemical munitions, including white phosphorus (M34 grenade), napalm, mustard gas, lewisite, and chlorine gas.[6][7] RMA is also one of the few sites that had a stockpile of Sarin gas (aka nerve agent GB), an organophosphorus compound. The manufacture of these weapons continued until 1969. Rocket fuel to support Air Force operations was also manufactured and stored at RMA. Subsequently, through the 1970s until 1985, RMA was used as a demilitarization site to destroy munitions and chemically related items. Coinciding with these activities, from 1946 to 1982, the Army leased RMA facilities to private industries for the production of pesticides. One of the major lessees, Shell Oil Company, along with Julius Hyman and Company and Colorado Fuel and Iron, had manufacturing and processing capabilities on RMA between 1952 and 1982. The military reserved the right to oust these companies and restart chemical weapon production in the event of a national emergency.

They were also the source of man made earthquakes in the 1970’s when they were injecting waste liquid down a deep hole causing slippage underground!  As toxic dumps go this one is not at all bothersome as compared to the Rocky Flats Wildlife Preserve - a place that I’ve been once and won’t go back again.  They did a crap job of remediation AND buried 40 ft below the surface in the middle of the preserve is a room so toxic with Plutonium that when the plant was in operation NO ONE was allowed to go in that room after a certain point in it’s operation history - Takes 240,000 years to decay once - that’s some seriously frightening shit.

That being said I went to the Preserve today and found it amazing.  From where I live you have to go thru Commerce City which is one of the armpits of Colorado.  Refineries and other shit.  But once you’re there at the preserve all that melts away and it is absolutely glorious. I am a Bison Fanboy and love seeing these great beasts.

Interesting COVID Graph

This is a graph of who is refusing to get vaccinated. Pretty much what you would expect - White Republicans not wanting to protect themselves and others - selfish to the core.  In a Darwinian sense I’d like to think that this would be a point of their extinction.  Unfortunately their stupidity extends to others around them that are likely to be innocent collateral damage.

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