Tag: Arizona

While the death of Arizona Senator John McCain has inspired heartfelt tributes from mainstream Democrats and Republicans alike, his long-time detractors have shown little reluctance to call his legacy into question. Here in Arizona, where he was regularly criticized for his tendency to seek positive coverage in the national media instead of the legislative results his constituents were hoping for, many conservatives expressed relief that he was finally out of the way. (More…)

Shortly after I moved to the Sonoran desert, I developed a standard response for friends and family who wondered how I was holding up. “Yes,” I’d say, “it’s hot as hell in summer. And, yes, the landscape is full of danger. But that’s what makes it exciting. I mean, in half a day I can make it from a trailhead minutes from my house into extreme wilderness.” (More…)

I have two preferred cafés. The first, near our home in Phoenix, is independently owned, with a wide porch looking out over an artificial lake. The owners are a Greek family and they make sure that there is baklava available.  (More…)

Elmore Leonard’s critically neglected novel Escape from Five Shadows speaks to social attitudes about incarceration that too many in the US public have forgotten.  Leonard published the novel in 1956 during his early career as a Westerns writer.  Some would argue, of course, that Leonard never stopped being a Westerns writer, only he changed locations. (More…)

To read #metoo testimonies from many women and some men on social media concerning the sexual harassment and assaults they have endured is to be horrified at the accounts.  The sadness brings a quiet. It becomes inappropriate to speak. (More…)

With the pardon of Joe Arpaio, the Trump Administration is again using racism as its political guiding light. The language of the pardon cites Arpaio for exemplary “selfless public service” and praises him for “his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.” (More…)

Sadly, it’s not surprising that my social media feed this week has been dominated by commentary on a video that documents a troubling encounter between a black American and a white police officer. Whatever progress has been made towards a more tolerant United States, the nation still simmers with the legacy of racially charged conflict. Yet since this particular incident involved a professor, (More…)

Sometimes, after a hard week, the smallest serendipities can do wonders. I was driving along, physically and emotionally spent, when I spied the sort of vehicle I photograph to use for this feature. Because it was a pick-up truck and because I was in a part of southern Arizona not noted for its liberalism, the “Jesus is coming” sticker I spotted first inspired dark thoughts. (More…)

It wasn’t until I was stretching as far as I could towards the ceiling, my hand inching towards the smoke detector, that I realized how high up I was. For many people, standing on a ladder, twelve feet above the ground, is no big deal. But for me, the boy who had almost failed out of Cub Scouts for not being able to climb half that high, it surely was. (More…)

“I am just glad there isn’t a cactus on the cover.” Justin St. Germain is in the Tap Room of Tucson’s historic Hotel Congress, discussing his stunning new memoir Son of a Gun. At the time, I think he is simply expressing the saguaro fatigue that afflicts longtime residents of the Sonoran Desert. Images of the tree-sized cactus are stamped on everything imaginable. But when I drive through Tombstone a month later, I realize my mistake: (More…)

In the part of the Tucson metro area where I live — the same part where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was nearly assassinated in 2011 — anti-Obama sentiment has been strong since he first became a viable Presidential candidate. I take it for granted that I’m going to hear people disparaging him on a daily basis. (More…)

I focused on one narrow strip of light seeping through a back window, set my exposure for 60 seconds and waited. In the middle of the shot, the garage door opened. The owner of the house started rolling his garbage can out towards the roadside. I didn’t want to explain why I was standing there with a camera aimed at his house. (More…)