In my chosen profession there are extremes which exist outside of me and are mine (or yours) to take or leave. The world is ugly, and the world is beautiful, and I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable calling myself a photojournalist if I wasn’t willing to embrace how wonderful and horrible the world can be. You got to love the hate and hate the love, so to speak.
Scholars & Rogues has given me a forum to show you, our faithful readers, the weird bits of pathos, promise, and pain that I encounter as I wander in and around San Francisco, California and its suburbs. I do this to show you that we are not just a collective of progressive thinkers, critics, and college professors. We are also no strangers to the street. We have been in, and sometimes slept in, the gutters and found within ourselves the strength to take a realistic but also an humane and compassionate view of American life and how our country fits into the world.
So on the tenth anniversary of Scholars & Rogues, I want to make you feel good. And I want to make you feel bad. And I want to give you hope. Because that’s what life does to all of us on a regular basis. And to start here’s my kitten Kuro-chan grooming himself at my house in Brisbane, California…
Simon died two weeks ago today and I am still waking up at at 3:30 in the morning.
That was when we took our first walk of the day. We used to start the day at 5:45 when I got up for work, but when Daylight Saving Time ended in 2015, Simon never quite adjusted. Gradually he woke me up earlier and earlier until he settled on 3:30, give or take a half hour. By that time he was over 12 and he had been with me for 11 years.
Simon spent the last year in extra innings. Last spring he developed fluid on his abdomen and the vets found a mass on his liver. The specialist recommended surgery–but we decided against it. The procedure was drastic and the outcome not certain since they could not know ahead of time how advanced the tumor was. I was crushed by the thought of losing him, but could not put him through the pain with so little guarantee that he would be better off for it. The specialist had drained much of the fluid and Simon was more of his old self. Continue reading →
She was sitting on a Japantown sidewalk, on Webster Street around the corner from Nijiya Market. She looked displaced, like a woman who’d just left a difficult relationship and the apartment that went with it. But she also did not look frantic, and I hoped that meant she had friends who could let her crash on a couch for however long she needed to.
Then there was the dog, Buddy. He may well have been the reason she was holding it together, not freaking out, while she figured out how to use the city to take care of them both…
(Japantown, San Francisco 2016. See more of my work here.)
If you’ve spent any amount of time walking dogs, you may have noticed that for squirrels, it isn’t enough to be up a tree. They need to be up their tree. And so, this particular squirrel had a problem.
“The guys who are shooting films now are technically brilliant, but there’s no content in their films. I marvel at what I see and wish I could have done a shot like that. But shots are secondary for my films, and with some of these films, it’s all about the shots. What’s the point? I’m not sure people know what points to make.” Who said it? Continue reading →
The last time I purchased fireworks was July 4, 1991. My daughter Katie was 3, and we were all in mourning after the death of our beloved shih tzu, Solo, who just fell over dead earlier that week. Now, I know I’m in the minority here, but I don’t think it’s right to bury dead pets. Only humans bury their dead, and I don’t need to remind you of how weird they are. It’s not Nature’s way. You should take the departed companions out to the country and let them decompose naturally. Of course, when I suggested this, you can imagine the groans of shock and dismay. So we gave him an unnatural burial in the back yard. Nature was on my side however, because something, some woodland varmint, kept digging his body back up. Continue reading →
[Ed. note:Â Connor returned to Kabul from Bamyan and the Jawzareen Valley, as noted in installment 6.Â The Red Crescent is theÂ IslamicÂ equivalent of the Red Cross.]
When we got back to Kabul, we were immediately greeted by an unpleasant surprise. The head of the Afghan Red Crescent had decided that he was tired of the stray dogs that walked through Marastoon, dogs which did nothing more than bark, ask you for food, and follow you around. Continue reading →
Wait a minute — what injury did Michael Vick inflict on black people? Since when are an individual’s crimes a reflection on his race?
It’s not Vick’s crimes that reflect badly on his race. It’s the reactions of black people — a few of them anyway. Reporting for Reuters, Matthew Biggs wrote:
“Ron Thomas, director of the Journalism and Sports Program at Morehouse College in Atlanta, said it would be a mistake to say that all blacks supported Vick but the black community did often exhibit a willingness to forgive celebrities quickly.
“‘Part of a reflex response among black people is to be protective about well known blacks when they come under intense public or legal scrutiny,’ he said.”
As with O.J. Simpson, their loyalty is misplaced. It’s understandable if members of a minority group are sensitive about accusations by the majority against one of their own. But there’s no justifying the inclination of some blacks, however small in number, to react to dog fighting with a nod and a wink. Continue reading →