“Red and white, blue suede shoes
I’m Uncle Sam, how do you do
Gimme five, still alive
Ain’t no luck, I learned to duck

Check my pulse, it don’t change
Stay seventy two, come shine or rain
Wave the flag, pop the bag
Rock the boat, skin the goat

Wave that flag, wave it wide and high
Summertime done come and gone, my oh my

I’m Uncle Sam, that’s who I am
Been hiding out, in a rock and roll band
Shake the hand that shook the hand
Of P. T. Barnum and Charlie Chan

Shine your shoes, light your fuse
Can you use them old U.S. Blues
I’ll drink your health, share your wealth
Run your life, steal your wife

Back to back, chicken shack
Son of a gun, better change your act
We’re all confused, what’s to lose
You can call this song the United States Blues”

U.S. Blues — Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia — The Grateful Dead

I’m not feeling so patriotic this Independence Day, so you’ll have be happy with some lyrics sung by The Grateful Dead.

I made these pictures over the course of the last ten years. During my travels. In many parts of The United States.  For those of you who celebrate our national holiday, burn a hamburger for me. For those of you who live in other countries and for whom July 4 is just another Thursday, enjoy yourselves. Do whatever it is you want to do. To our friends to the north in Canada. I’m sorry.

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Hot Tamales in St. Bernard Parish
Hot Tamales in St. Bernard Parish.

I should never have posted this picture.

Now I want a tamale. It’s not that I’m hungry. I just want one.

Just so you know, a tamale is Mesoamerican food. They originated in — wait for it — Mesoamerica somewhere around 8,000 to 5,000 BC. They were road food. Usually armies and travelers ate them while they were on the move.

Think about that.

There was something like a 10,000 year old 7-Eleven store out there. Before Jesus Christ was born.  Before there was motorized transportation. Before the dawn of politicians for life.

Armies — or travelers — pulled up and bought some food to go. Maybe they even drank something like a Big Gulp. Nah. Probably not. They were healthier than we are. However, if you buy some of that 7-Eleven food today — like a Twinkie — it might be 10,000 years old.

Depending on where you buy tamales down here you can get two different base foods. South and Central Americans use masa, a kind of starchy dough. Or, something very kin to that. However, in the Mississippi Delta, African-Americans use cornmeal. They can be filled with other things, but masa or cornmeal is where a tamale starts. Usually.

There’s a lot more to the history of a tamale. How could there not be? It’s 10,000 year old food. But, I’ll leave that to you.

The picture. I just photographed what I saw. I did brighten the red up a bit to draw your eye to that building, which by the way, looks like an old railroad building. Repurposed.


I wrote about Seligman, Arizona, a few days ago.  I realized then that you haven’t seen enough of the place. So, today’s post will be a little long and full. Thirteen pictures, I think. There’s no overall picture and that’s too bad. But, my detail pictures should give you a sense of the place. It’s quirky. It’s a little weird. It suits me. Listen to Ry Cooder when viewing.


When I take road trips, I sort of shape shift as I work. Sometimes I try to make pictures that are a little iconic. Sometimes I try to channel my best Ernst Haas. Sometimes I look for quirky subjects. These images are quirky. There is a little twist to them. Maybe there is a little personal vision. Maybe I was just tired and a little road weary. These images mean something to me. But, they may not mean anything to you. While we say that all art is autobiographical, we also know that every makes his or her own meaning. Yu may have no frame of reference when you look at this images. You might even think, “what is this guy thinking?” That’s okay. As I said, these images mean something to me.