“Wildland firefighters do not enjoy the cultural prestige that structural firefighters do. They do not wax their fire engines and cruise down the local parade route, lights flashing; they are not the subject of countless popular books and movies; major politicians do not honor their sacrifices on the Senate floor or from the Rose Garden; they do not have bagpipe bands, fancy equipment, enduring icons, or other signifiers of honor verifying the importance of their activity.” ~ Matthew Desmond, On The Fireline: Living And Dying With Wildland Firefighters
The Porters were the leading merchants in Rhyolite, Nevada. Customers bought groceries, fresh vegetables, clothing and assessories, mining supplies, hardware, lumber, furniture, hay, grain, and wagons from the store. The town is less than 10 miles from the Nevada, California border and the entrance to Death Valley.
For those of you who have no idea what film noir is, the movie, Out Of The Past is one of the best examples. Think guns, dames, and hats. Noir’s visual style had its roots in German expressionism with dark, rich blacks and vibrant whites. For my money, the best writers were Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon) and James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity). Cain did uncredited rewrites on Out Of The Past and came up with lines of dialogue like: “She can’t be all bad — no one is,” to which another character responds: “She comes the closest.”
Angel’s Ladies was a legal brothel just 3 miles north of Beatty Nevada, originally known as Fran’s Star Ranch (also Circle C Ranch and Vickie’s Star Ranch). In 1978 an accident during a promotional stunt on the property resulted in the crash of a twin-engined light aircraft. The wreck was left on the property ever since and used to attract customers from the road. The business was sold for the last time in 2010 for $1.8 million, and has been closed since 2014.
The High Desert State Prison was designed to incorporate much of the best technology available to corrections to provide for officer safety and the management and control of inmates. The institution opened September 1, 2000. It is administered by the Warden and 4 Associate Wardens. Command Staff consists of 10 Lieutenants and 13 Sergeants. There are approx 400 security staff and 67 support staff. New construction was completed in 2009 to add 1,344 beds to the original 2,671. Total capacity is approximately 4,176.
It’s been a year abouts since I been gone. Couldn’t much stand bein’ alone after Martha left. The house is all I got now. It don’t look like much but with a little time I could get it proper again. If I wanted. She promised she’d never leave, but some promises can’t be kept. I know that. And it shouldn’t have been a great surprise, what with the nearest doctor a couple hours away. They’re restin’ now, momma and child. Just waitin’ for when I come join them. Martha and the little one. Name would have been Jamie. Like mine.
On a recent visit with my son, we went for a walk in the Boom Island Park. When I got down on my knees to grab this shot, he strolled away, pretending not to know me.
I get that a lot!
“Now some folks say it’s too big
And uses too much gas
Some folks say it’s too old
And that it goes too fast
But my love is bigger than a Honda
Yeah, it’s bigger than a Subaru
Hey man there’s only one thing
And one car that will do
Anyway we don’t have to drive it
Honey we can park it out in back
And have a party in your pink Cadillac.”
Well, to be honest, these are not actually the sands of the Kalahari. These are the sands of Death Valley. But I figure there isn’t much difference between the sands of South Africa and California. So why did I choose the title of a 1965 British film that I’ve never seen? Just liked the name I suppose.
I wonder if the film is any good?
Any of you too young to understand the allusion to Soylent Green, it is a 1973 dystopian film in which the title refers to a pre-packaged food substitute. Briefly, in 2022, 40 million people live in New York City where housing is dilapidated and food and working technology are scarce. Most of the population survives on rations produced by the Soylent Corporation. Their latest product is Soylent Green, a green wafer advertised to contain “high-energy plankton” from the oceans of the world, but in short supply. Truth is, Soylent Green is actually made out of people.
I often wonder, when I pass one of these factories out in the middle of the desert, what they are processing late at night.