Time - El Reloj - Kalamazoo
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Del lat. tempus.
1. m. Duración de las cosas sujetas a mudanza.
2. m. Magnitud física que permite ordenar la
secuencia de los sucesos, estableciendo un pasado, un presente y un futuro, y
cuya unidad en el sistema internacional es el segundo.
3. m. Parte de la secuencia de los sucesos.
4. m. Época durante la cual vive alguien o
sucede algo. En tiempo de Trajano. En tiempo del descubrimiento de América.
The Real Academia Española (RAE) dictionary has
spectacularly strange ways of
defining words. Let me translate how
they define time:
1: Male noun. Duration of things subject to
2. Male noun. Physical magnitude which enables
to order a sequence of events happenings, establishing a past, a present and a
future, and whose international unity is the second.
3. m. A part of a sequence of events.
4. m. En epoch in which someone lives or
something happens. During Trajan’s time The
time when America was discovered.
in this virtual lockdown my Rosemary are living a predictable pattern of events
that differs little from one day to the next. By the time we we are on our
comfortable bed by around 10:30 with books and newspapers at hand and Niño and
Niña accompanying us (usually snoozing) I tell Rosemary (now it is a shaggy dog
type of habit), “Five minutes ago it was yesterday.” Or when I slowly sit down
into my hot bath, before that, I say, “I will be doing this five minutes from
in our before-lunch English class at St. Edward’s High School in Austi, Texas,
the clock behind Brother Cyriac, C.S.C. seemed to be broken. It did not move.
Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. in our
religion class might have told us, “That’s what hell really is. You don’t need
fire to suffer.”
I purchased a battery-powered Timex with an exterior case of titanium. Since
then, at the most I have replaced the battery five times. I never take it off.
It goes into the tub and I swim with it. It was sometime around 1990 that while
taking a hot bath I noticed that every once in a while the second hand would
stop. But this did not seem to affect the accuracy of the watch. And looking
closely it seemed like the second hand was going in the opposite direction. For
a very short period of time I imagined that on my wrist I had a time machine.
Time stopped and went backwards!
El Reloj (sung by Los Panchos trio and Los Tres Caballeros, links at the top of this blog)
Clock do not mark the hours
marques las horas
i'm going crazy
voy a enloquecer
She will be gone forever
Ella se ira para siempre
When it dawns again
amanezca otra vez
nos queda esta noche
To live our love
Para vivir nuestro amor
And your tick tock reminds me
tic-tac me recuerda
My hopeless pain
Mi irremediable dolor
Stop your way Clock
Reloj detén tu camino
Because my life goes out
Porque mi vida se apaga
She is the star
illuminates my being
alumbra mi ser
I am nothing without his love
su amor no soy nada
Stop the time in your hands
tiempo en tus manos
Make this night perpetual
Haz esta noche perpetua
So that it never leaves me
nunca se vaya de mi
So that it never dawns
Para que nunca amanezca
Songwriters: Roberto Cantoral Garcia
El reloj lyrics © Peermusic Publishing
The song above was popular in Mexico and in Mexico City
where I was living. It is a lovely song with an interesting story:
the song in 1956, in Washington D.C., in front of the Potomac River, at the end
of a Los Tres Caballeros's tour of the United States. During the tour he had
had an affair with one of the girls participating in the show, who should
return to New York the next morning. This love episode, and the presence of a
lounge clock during their last meeting, were the events that triggered the inspiration
of Cantoral, which would soon turn this episode, relatively trivial, into the
story of a deep love.
Los Tres Caballeros
premiered the song in 1957 and it was an immediate success. Since then, it has
been versioned by countless interpreters, in several languages.
Every once in a while, these days I ask Rosemary or she asks me, "Will we be alive to travel when this is all over?"
I have in my calendar that my Rosemary and I should be at the American Hosta Society Convention in Kalamazoo in June 2021. Who knows?
Me - That One Trick Pony (Or a Test Strip)
Friday, April 24, 2020
In the late 50s when I attended the Roman Catholic boarding
school St. Edward’s in Austin, Texas I experienced having top notch teachers in
all subjects. One of them, Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. taught us religion. I
was much too naïve that he was not really teaching us that but in reality it
was theology with the philosophy of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas thrown in.
I believe that this gentle man helped us learn to think.
Without using the word God he told us that we were put on
this world for one purpose. That purpose was to find out what talent (or to put
it in another way) or what we could do well. Once we found out it was our duty
to do that. Our individual tragedy would be not to pursue it.
By the time I arrived with my wife and two daughters to
Vancouver from Mexico City in 1975 I thought that my particular talent was
photography. My idea of what kind of photography it was that I could excel at
Thanks to Malcolm Parry at Vancouver Magazine with the help
of his two art directors, Richard Staehling and Christopher Dahk I was to find
out that it was photography. I am not sure if Parry was serious but he would
introduce me to folks as the photographer who made ugly women more so and
beautiful women ugly. I took this as a dare.
I believe now that I was put on
this earth to photograph women of all walks of life and of all ages. Because of
my two granddaughters I learned to photograph children and then to get that
transition between child and woman.
Yes I like to photograph men, too. But it is the woman, preferably
in some sort of undress that has a particular attraction to me.
I ask the women that I photograph, I ask my Rosemary, I ask
my friends and many others to explain, if they can, why I do this. I have
gotten no answers except from my wonderful and now departed friend, Argentine
painter Juan Manuel Sánchez
Every day of most of his life he would paint a woman (did
not need models but painted from memory). I told him that he was much like
Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo who in his 80s was interviewed by the
NY Times and asked to describe his day’s activities. He said he would wake up
and have a breakfast of bread and coffee and then he would go to his studio to
photograph a woman in the nude.
At my age of 77 I look at women in my studio with the neutral
eyes of perhaps a gynaecologist about to retire. It is somewhere in my brain
where there might be an inkling of excitement.
But I must stress that my enthusiasm has not waned as my
questioning of why I do this troubles me.
We usually miss what we used to have and no longer have. We
appreciate it once it is beyond our grasp.
At one time in my comfortable but poorly ventilated basement
darkroom in our Kerrisdale home I used a technique that is universal in
printing. You do not commit a valuable and expensive sheet of photographic
paper to projection under the enlarger without first having little torn paper
samples in a box labeled test strips. I would then project on to those little
strips and see how they looked in the developer. I would fix them and the
examine them by turning on the lights. If I was really critical I would force
dry the test strip with a hair dryer as the blacks would change when dried.
Some years ago I was printing some negatives of my friend
and superb model Nina Gouveia (alas! she now lives I Spain) and I came up with
the idea of printing the negatives as negatives.
In my folder, Gouveia, Nina,
today I found this test strip. I am so glad I did not throw it away.
I no longer have a darkroom. I cannot make these anymore. It
is a valuable specimen of my past.
But I am not closer to finding out why I still do this sort
Am I a one-trick pony?
The process to make a negative print was slightly complex. I would change the bulb of my darkroom light to red. I would then use Kodak Kodalith (it was not sensitive to red) and project (a cut up piece of the Kodalith which was plastic and not paper) my negative on it. I would process the usually high contrast lith film in photographic paper developer. This made it in what we call a continuous tone. If it looked okay I would then place a sheet of Kodalith (usually 8x10) on photograpic paper (8x10). To flatten it all I would place a sheet of glass onto the sandwhich. Then I would project light from my enlarger (no negative inside). I would process the beautiful 8x10 negative.
But of course there was that bit of test paper that you see here that was that important step.
Flying but not on the Concorde
Thursday, April 23, 2020
For me, during this virtual lockdown, I have the time to
reflect on my own personal span of time. I remember the man delivering blocks
of ice for our icebox in 1948 Buenos Aires. I recsll being picked up by a chauffeur
driving a brand new Cadillac and being taken to Susan Stone’s mansion (her
father headed General Motors in Argentina) and watching television. I was 13,
the documentary on oil wells was boring, her lovely face was much more
Flying in a Douglas DC-6B over the Andes on our eventual
destination of Mexico City, since the cabin was not fully pressurized, meant
that oxygen masks were lowered. The Panamerican Constellation in Managua, had
lovely a stewardess (as they were then called) and she offered us Juicy Fruit
chewing gum so our ears would not pop during take-off.
My first email address was email@example.com.
The folks on 4th avenue would give me instant help on my problems.
For finding stuff I used Altavista and I wrote articles for the Vancouver Sun
on my email program called Eudora.
My friend, Paul Leisz dragged me into the 21st
century. My computer system is pretty good even though he laughs at my
Dell cathode ray tube monitor. It was my Rosemary who insisted I purchase a digital camera - a FujiX-E1.
Who could have ever suspected that a quarantine would not
prevent me from taking pictures of lovely women? Thanks to my Victoria friend
I have pushed my personal idea of cutting edge photography by
connecting with her on Messenger and using my digital camera as I instruct her
how to move from the cell phone video that she sends me.
Give Me Liberty
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
|Hosta 'Liberty' 21 April 2020|
When my Rosemary, our two daughters and I moved to our large
corner garden house in Kerrisdale I knew very little about gardening. We hired the local
Japanese gardener and he did our garden until we soon realized we could not
Even early on, our garden had lots of shade. I discovered
hostas. At that time many houses in our neighbourhood were being torn down.
Before they were ploughed over we would go with our wheelbarrow and spades to
liberate the plants. Ther was one big plant that Rosemary pointed out was a
hosta. I returned with it and it grew well in our garden. Since I did not know what kind of hosta it was (it was plain green) I called it Hosta '41st & Hudson'.
By the early 90s I was crazy about hostas and I became a
card-carrying member of the American Hosta Society. We went to their yearly
conventions and we got to meet all the important (and most pleasant)
hybridizers of the plant. In one occasion we even took our granddaughter
Rebecca. It was the one in Washington DC.
Over the years I have transferred my allegiance to old
roses. I like their history and their scent.
But many of the hostas (in Kerrisdale I amassed 475 of them)
in our present garden, about 60 have the faces of the hybridizers who were my
friends and many of them are now dead.
At about now there is nothing fresher and more spectacular
that the pristine hostas emerging from their pots or from the garden.
The one here is called Hosta ‘Liberty’ that was introduced in 2000
by a handsome, tall and young man called John Machen Jr. Its yellow edge is a very
bright yellow. It has thick substance (thick leaves) which makes the plant
impervious to slugs.
Quite a few of my hostas can never be replaced. They came
wrapped in newspapers in my luggage from flights I made from the US. I would
not dare to do that now!
|Hosta 'Liberty'1 June 2017|