For sale: A forgotten, dilapidated California ghost town
In 1851, gold was discovered in a remote part of California, and that find birthed Seneca, a mining town that now has no miners, no residents and little besides rusted motor homes and a bar.
Now, the land and everything on it, as broken-down and busted as it may be (save for the alluring Gin Mill bar), is up for sale on Craigslist for $225,000.
Photos: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times
Escaping the city for the middle of nowhere, with tens of thousands of books
Partners for 35 years, Polly Hinds and Lynda German left Denver thirteen years ago in search of a quieter life, and they found it in isolated Sweetwater Station, Wyoming.
Not content to keep busy with the upkeep of dozens of farm animals, the two started a mammoth rare book store, with 70,000 titles up for sale.
Their hands filthy from chores, the two veteran booksellers carry armloads of hard-bound volumes, careful not to dirty the historical tomes and two Zane Grey works of fiction, “The Last Ranger” and “Last of the Great Scouts.” The words scrawled in red on a storage shed explain the contrast: “BOOKS FOR SALE.”
Thirteen years ago, the pair fled Denver following a bizarre altercation with police, looking for a quieter life. They found it here on a deserted ranch 40 miles from the nearest store…
Photos: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times
"Chop suey, that’s a very old dish. But this guy, he’s older"
Paul’s Kitchen has been parked in the so-called “City Market Chinatown” since 1946, enduring the ebb and flow of customers, competition and eventually, an exodus of interest in favor of the “New Chinatown” to the North.
And though the dinner crowds have dwindled, lunch still brings a wave of loyal diners looking for Paul’s “Depression-era Chinese food,” the hearty kind that sticks to your ribs.
And through it all, Paul’s adamantly endures change by not changing at all:
For 23 years, manager Charlie Ng has run the restaurant on downtown’s San Pedro Street as his uncle Paul directed, adhering to a business strategy that has over the years been elevated to maxim: Keep everything the same.
It’s even woven into the restaurant’s Chinese name, bao ju — a common naming format for restaurants of the time period that translates literally as “treasure memory.”
Photos: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times
Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. For Katie’s aneurysm, that’s Katie. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. In the case of Katie’s aneurysm, that was Katie’s husband, Pat. Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order…
Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, “Life is unfair” and “Why me?” That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring.
Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.
When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help…
Comfort IN, dump OUT.
This is an Op-Ed from April, but I just saw it for the first time and it’s p great.
Better late than never!
test reblogged from christinefriar
The impact of California’s intense prison isolation practices
Former Pelican Bay prisoner Steven Czifra, who was kept in isolation for up to 22 1/2 hours each day during much of his imprisonment, is out of jail and trying to pick up the pieces. But even as he rebuilds his life and attends UC Berkley, the effects of spending so much time completely alone linger with him:
Even on a campus noted for its tolerance and tranquility, Czifra can’t bridle a sense of doom: He will lose his scholarship, jeopardize his partner and their 5-year-old son, lapse from sobriety. Sometimes, his heart races and he is sure he’s going to die. Right here. Right now.
His short-term memory is weak. Those 12 lines of Yeats? Czifra had to read them over and over. James Joyce’s “The Dead” will bog him down for days. On this particular day, he’ll forget two appointments.
The fear, anxiety and memory loss are some of the symptoms commonly found among people kept in extreme isolation. They lie at the heart of a policy and scientific debate that was renewed this summer after prisoners statewide went on a hunger strike to protest conditions in high-security lockups.
Read more on Czifra’s journey, and the debate among researchers about the impact of isolation, in our latest Column One feature.
Photos: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
Throwback Thursday: Viewing life from the roof
In 2007, Times reporter Jeffrey Fleishman told of life at the top in Cairo. But it’s not what you might think. People living on roofs there are the city’s poor — cheap rent and charity help them survive.
"Every rooftop has a story," Fleishman wrote. ”Mostly poor ones. If you’re up on the roof, you’ve missed something — the decent job, the lucky break, the well-connected cousin.”
He tells the story of Alia Qotb, pictured above on the rooftop where she had lived for more than 20 years. She was born in the basement of the building.
A widow who lived above her on the rooftop across the alley felt sorry for her.
"I look down and pity her. She has it worse," Samia Mekkawy told Fleishman.
But life wasn’t always so bleak for Qotb. Read Fleishman’s whole story here.
Photo: Alia Qotb and her husband Ahmed Gaballah on the roof where they lived in Cairo. Credit: Asmaa Waguih / For The Times
test reblogged from latimespast
For years, the official story about Charles Erickson was that he began to have visions, lost memories that suddenly resurfaced in 2003.
That he’d blacked out and killed a Missouri newspaper editor two years earlier.
That he’d done the killing with a friend.
That they were murderers.
Meet the orthopedic surgeon to the stars
Dr. Neal ElAttrache has a simple practice - all he does with his surgical talents is regularly operate on athletes like Kobe Bryant and Zack Greinke, as the hopes and dreams of fans, and millions in team investment, sit anxiously in the waiting room.
And he isn’t limited to current athletes. Former governor, body builder and T-800 Arnold Schwarzenegger has strongly endorsed ElAttrache:
"Dr. ElAttrache is the real deal — one of the most talented surgeons I’ve met. He can fix what others say is unfixable. He is the ultimate asset for any athlete who goes to him because they need their bodies to perform at their best, whether it is on a football field or in the movies."
Photo: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times
Doris Payne — demure, elegant and 83 — is a thief, as prolific and subtly conniving as they come. She doesn’t use muscle and she doesn’t rely on guns.
Instead, between numerous stints behind bars, for 50 years she has leaned on charming misdirection to steal pricey jewelry from unsuspecting merchants all over the globe.
Photo: Courtesy of the documentary “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne”
Read a little more about her in this 2005 profile piece. — Tanya B.
test reblogged from npr
Los Angeles Aqueduct bomber tells his side of the story
One of the men behind the series of aqueduct bombings in 1976, which struck three locations along the vital L.A. aqueduct, has opened up for the first time and recently spoke to reporter Louis Sahagun.
Mark Berry, who was just 17 at the time of the bombings, narrated the events leading up to the detonations:
Berry and his friend, Robert Howe, were caught up in the anger that then hung over the Owens Valley. The environmental damage caused by the Los Angeles Aqueduct, built in the early 1900s to divert much of the water from the region to the growing metropolis 200 miles away, was worsening and Owens Valley residents were exasperated.
"Things got out of hand," Berry recalled.
The friends stole two cases of dynamite and headed to the aqueduct.
Photos: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times Archives
"This Pinterest thing is my new business partner. Everybody wants to get married in a damn barn and have their picture taken with a cow."
That’s Tony Azevedo, the 61-year-old owner of the Central California dairy and host to weddings for the past 20 years. But recently, interest in hosting more rural nuptials has soared, giving struggling dairy farmers another source of income: Brides and grooms.
Photos: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times
What do Sonny Bono, Maine lobstermen and the temperance movement have in common with President Lincoln and World War II veterans?
They all have memorials or monuments established in their honor in the nation’s capitol, as uncovered by reporter Richard Simon, who recently went through an exploration of some of D.C.’s more obscure monuments.
Photos: Richard Simon / Los Angeles Times
Meet the family behind prosthetic eyeballs
Ever wonder where prosthetic eyes come from? Some pharmaceutical giant? A loud, whirring assembly line in a far-flung country? Try a few small families, who keep their craft close to their heart…and their bloodlines.
Universities don’t offer course work in ocularistry, with its odd blend of art and science. The only real way to learn the trade is to apprentice yourself to another ocularist, if you can find one willing to train you. Most opt to keep their secrets within their families.
"I equate it to being a blacksmith in the old days," ocularist David Gougelmann says. "Children followed in the footsteps of the father."
But like all families, the ties that bind can also eventually snap:
"Most families in the field of ocularistry have some kind of conflict," Gougelmann says. The son of a father who worked until he was 78 — "I don’t know many ocularists who’ve ever retired" — he chalks it up to a tension that exists in family businesses of all kinds.
"There’s this difficulty letting go," Gougelmann says. "You brought somebody into the business. At what point do you treat him as a peer? At what point do you relinquish the reins?"
Read more in our latest Column One feature.
Photos: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times
After an overturned conviction, man steps into the unknown
George Souliotes was a middle-aged father wrongly convicted for the murders of three tenants who died in a fire he was accused of setting. Now, after almost 17 years in prison, at the age of 72 he’s trying to move beyond the jumpsuits, restrictions and bars of his former life.
From Maura Dolan’s Column One story:
At St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Souliotes mingled with other Greek immigrants, many of whom had followed his case. People wanted to know about prison, but he didn’t like talking about it.
He wanted to forget the stabbings — he saw 17 in one day during a riot in the yard. He wanted to forget the spaghetti that came in a clump and had to be sliced. He wanted to forget the nights he cried into a towel so no one would hear.
"I want to quit talking about these things," he said. "The past is gone."
Photos: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times, Joan Barnett Lee / Modesto Bee, Bret Hartman / For the Times
More than 29 million people around the world are living in slavery, according to the first index to attempt to measure the scale of modern-day slavery on a country-by-country basis. (The International Labour Organization estimates 21 million people worldwide are in forced labour.) The index, published by the Walk Free Foundation on Thursday, ranks 162 countries and identifies risk factors for enslavement and the government responses.
Slavery is the possession and control of a person in such a way as to significantly deprive that person of his or her individual liberty, with the intent of exploiting that person through their use, management, profit, transfer or disposal. Usually this exercise will be achieved through means such as violence or threats of violence, deception and/or coercion.
In 2013, modern slavery takes many forms, and is known by many names: slavery, forced labour or human trafficking. Whatever term is used, the significant characteristic of all forms of modern slavery is that it involves one person depriving another people of their freedom: their freedom to leave one job for another, their freedom to leave one workplace for another, their freedom to control their own body.”
The research found that around 10 countries hold about 70% of the world’s slaves. India has the highest number of people enslaved in absolute terms, approximately 14 million, almost half the total worldwide. China has 2.9 million enslaved and Pakistan is third, with an estimated 2 million.
Among the countries with the highest percentage of modern slavery per capita, the West African nation of Mauritania was the worst offender. According to the report, up to 20 percent of Mauritania’s population of 3.7 million people are enslaved, many through a hereditary system.
Head over to Global Slavery Index's website to see the interactive map of modern slavery around the world.
1. Fatima, a Bangladeshi migrant working as a low-paid prostitute in a central Calcutta brothel, was sold into the profession by her husband in collusion with a prostitute at the brothel where she now works. Though India ranks fourth on this list, it’s also the country with the highest number of people enslaved in the world. (Majority World/UIG via Getty Images)
2. Pakistani brick makers gather freshly moulded bricks ready for firing at a brick kiln in the outskirts of Lahore. Modern slavery in Pakistan is primarily characterized as bonded labour. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)
3. Eleven trafficked children were arrested by the police at the border between Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. They were going to be exploited in cocoa plantations in the south of Ivory Coast. Enslaved women and children in Côte d’Ivoire are often subjected to forced labour and sex work. (Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images)
4. A grandmother holds up pictures of her lost granddaughter, who she believed was forced into prostitution as a sex slave. In Nepal, modern slavery practices include forced labour and sex work. (Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images)
test reblogged from humanrightswatch