Turn of The Last Century Tela Honduras

What an amazing Saturday afternoon treat one of my friends offered me in an email, and I thought I would share it with you. I just adore old photographs. They stir so much wonder and imagination within me. The old photos always stress the fact that pictures are tiny slices of moments out of time, with the viewer tasked to build context around them. My friend says these photos were taken by the VP of a bank based in New Orleans during that time, and has graciously given me permission and information to make them into a post for Babalu, and I thank him. So, let’s just call this a “guest post”. (I’ve dropped the rest of the photo groupings below the fold.)

These photographs were taken at the turn of the 20th century roughly in the early 1900s in Tela Honduras. I have edited out the personal identification and information parts of the email by request…

[…] New Orleans was essentially the center for trade with the Caribbean, Central and South America at the time […]

Notice the use of conveyor belt to load bananas onto the ship, this was a new invention at that time.

FYI, United Brands (now part of Dole) owns a lot of property near the mouth of the Mississippi River. […] To this day, New Orleans (most live in its suburb of Kenner) has the largest concentration of people of Honduran decent in the U.S.

Follow photo grouping captions clockwise from top left of each…

Tela Honduras 29

29 – Catholic Church, Manaca Hut in the bush, native town, dugout canoe “cayuca” from single mahogany log, method of handling fruit

Read more

The Nation’s Loyal Retrievers of 9/11


I know … One more 9/11 Tenth Anniversary story. One I hadn’t thought of, however. I know dogs were brought in from around the nation to search the mountains of rubble and debris for days and weeks after the terror attacks. First looking for survivors … then retrieving remains. I even remember a story on the special paw protection shoes developed for these wonderful pooches to keep them from injuring their paws in all the jagged wreckage. But something that didn’t dawn on me until I saw this story tonight … Ten years is a long time in “dog years”.


Out of over 100 loyal dogs that searched Ground Zero, only 12 are still with us in their ‘senior years’ ten years later. Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas had the wonderful idea to track down these survivors and take their portraits and document their stories for a book titled “Retrieved” (More photos and stories of the dogs here). I think that’s one book I will be purchasing when it comes out.


The Hoof Blog has more information and photos of the dogs that answered the call to duty on 9/11, and for the days and weeks that followed as the dust settled.

All dogs really do go to Heaven… Some just lead the way.


February 23, 1945: U.S. Marines Raise Two American Flags on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima

It is fitting that there were two US Flags raised that day when you consider the hell our Marines went through in the Pacific Theater of Operation in WWII.

The first flagraising atop Mount Suribachi, February 23, 1945. Hank Hansen (without helmet), Boots Thomas (seated), John Bradley (behind Thomas) Phil Ward (hand visible grasping pole), Jim Michaels (with carbine) and Chuck Lindberg (behind Michaels). Photo by Lou Lowery. 10AM, Feb. 23, 1945

The first flag comes down as the second flag goes up. Photo by Bob Campbell.

Here’s the second flag raising as seen in the the most reproduced photograph in the history of photography. Photo by Joe Rosenthal.

Lots more @ The Picture – Iwo Jima

God loves the U.S. Marine Corps. And so do I.

Cigar Mike Meets President Obama


Throughout the years, I have met some interesting folks. I’ve met several famous politicians, governors, senators, congressmen, etc., I have also met some American Presidents as well, George H. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.  Bush the Elder I met when he spoke at my University in 1988.  I met Bill Clinton, the candidate, when I was having lunch at an Italian restaurant in Sunrise, Florida the Monday before Super Tuesday in 1992.  I met GW Bush at a fundraiser in 2003. I didn’t have my camera for Bush 41 or Clinton. I did photograph GW Bush and have some great photos of him (albeit on B&W film).

So today I got the opportunity to meet our current President, Barack Obama, during a fundraiser at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.  You bet I was going to take my camera there.  Interestingly enough, I had a special VIP pass which allowed me to have my picture taken with the President and I got to attend a small VIP dinner with 14 tables or so which included a speech by the President, and other important politicians with the Democratic Party.  I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. It was akin to being a scout for the Phillies in the Yankee locker room.

So I arrive at the hotel and hang out in the lobby for a while.  I see all the politicos walking in.  Then I see Dwayne Wade and say hello to him.  Minutes later, all the politicos there, certain local Congressmen all come by to get their photo with Wade.

Now to be able to go, you have to days in advance give the Secret Service your name, address, and ss#.  Well Cigar Mike had no trouble getting in.

So I sign in and give them my photo bag and gear which the security guy checked with me. I turned on my camera and showed him it was a camera and the pics I had on the card: a model I photographed last Saturday in the Glades and pics from Shenandoah. Interestingly enough, he lived near there and we started to chat about the snowstorm that hit the area last week when I was there.

I then am led down a hallway with three doors.  The door where the general cocktail reception will be held (these folks paid $500 per ticket and will get a short visit from the Prez); the door with the folks who had two stars on their tag (the big wigs); and then the folks who had the one star on their tag (the intermediate big wigs).  I was in the middle group.  In the two star group were the celebrities and the politicians.  The crème of the Dems: Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Wexler, Congressman Grayson, Congresswoman Wasserman-Shultz, Congressman Meek, Senator Nelson, and others. But all the attention was not on them, it was on Dwayne Wade, Alonzo Mourning, and Jason Taylor.  I wasn’t allowed in that room; but no big deal. The folks would walk into my room shortly thereafter to have dinner with the President.

I was bemused in the room by the folks there. Folks like Roy Black and his wife, and other big money donors.  I saw one guy who looked familiar to me too. I asked a friend of mine who he was. He tells me, “It’s Emilio Estefan.”  So Emilio was there too.  I also saw an interesting machine there. It’s called “Instant Replay” and they had a program on it called “Potus Only.” You press certain buttons on it and it plays “Hail to the Chief” or other tunes. Button on it said “Armed Forces” and then the different services. You press a button and an instant band theme from the armed forces too.

So a guy with the Presidential Detail comes in after about an hour and tells us to get in the photo line.  While in line, everybody walked in. Alonzo, JT, Wade, Pelosi, etc.  Then all these folks got out of the line to take pics of Jason Taylor.  He got more attention than Pelosi.  After 15 minutes or so, President Obama walks in and the photo line begins.  I stand there and talk to a bunch of friends, partners, and associates of mine, many who are Republican, and I note how ironic that here I am, Cigar Mike, in a line to have my picture taken with the President, with whom I disagree on nearly every policy.  A friend of mine, and a Democrat tells me, well “he is our President, politics aside.”   I told him, “I agree.”  While I disagree with him, he is the President and I will be respectful and take a photo with him.  I then think it’s funny cause I cannot imagine any liberal or other leftist even considering taking their picture with GW Bush and being respectful towards him.

And then while there were a few folks in front of me zipping through the photo line, I could only think of the famous lines uttered by Michael Corleone in Godfather II, “We’re all part of the same hypocrisy.”  You see folks; there were people there who are as right wing as they come.  In fact, at GOP fundraisers, I’ve seen many Dems there too.  So I was asked by someone, “why are there GOP folks there donating so much money to the Dems?”  It’s simple folks. It’s called access.  You get access with only one thing – dollars.  In the true scheme of things,  there are no real political parties.  There is only money and access. They will take your money even if you give the same amount to the other side. And the more money you give, the more they will listen to you. It’s really amazing when you come to think about it.  They don’t really care about regular folks. No one does.  Unless that regular folk coughs up a few hundred grand or so.  So here I was, myself and my GOP friends, 5 feet away from Congressman Grayson.  You think he saw us as folks that want people to die? No. He saw us as folks that probably paid a lot of money to be there, so he was most friendly with others and us in line.  None of these folks are heroes. They are mere politicians.  No different from any other politicians. In fact, this Dem fundraiser was no different than the GOP fundraisers I’ve gone too.  They both had their share of women with excessive plastic surgery; bloated and balding men with lots of money; and young volunteers with the belief that these people are different from everybody else and that they are making a difference.  Sorry to burst your bubble folks. But only money is spoken here. I think 1.5 million dollars was raised at the dinner I attended for 100 seats at 15 tables. Do the math. Unless you have the money,  don’t even think you could have a seat here.

At the dinner, which followed, a few others and myself went towards the real stars there, JT, Wade, and Zo.  We had our pictures taken with them and chatted up with them for a bit.  We were seated and then the politicians started their speeches. Senator Nelson and the head of the Dem. Congressional Committee all patting themselves on the back and telling everyone that with additional contributions, they intend on holding the current seats and gaining more seats in the Congress.  Wasserman-Shultz was there and introduced Speaker Pelosi who introduced the President.

I was snapping away of course and took about a few hundred images.  I will say that the President gave a speech without a teleprompter and was coherent.  He touted all he has done while in office and the legislation coming up. Then he notes that the GOP got them in the mess they are in and have no business criticizing their “change.” In the same breath, he then says that he welcomes a healthy opposition. But what do you expect? I was in their locker room. They say the same things about us that we say about them.  We’re all part of the hypocrisy; pure and simple.  It’s all about the money.  There were no moveon.org folks there, or radical leftwing bloggers.  Just folks with lots of money.  Interestingly enough, many of the Dems I spoke to all told me how much they dislike Pelosi and how bad she was for the party; all telling me that they need someone like Tip O’Neil who wasn’t so damn polarizing and a political hack.  But when she came out; they all applauded her and sang her praise.

After the President spoke, lots of folks took off leaving the untouched and quite tasty filet mignon on their tables to be thrown out. I asked one of the waiters there for a box saying I’d take it home. It was fantastic. I was told they were not allowed to allow food outside the Hotel for health reasons.  Great, I figure.  All these politicians who love to talk about the regular common man, who’d love to be able to eat a steak,  throwing their food away. Oy vay!

So you may ask, “Cigar Mike, why are you there and why do you shake his hand?”  Simple. I’m there cause I have connections and I will not pass up a photographic opportunity such as being able to photograph the President of the United States.  Why do I shake his hand? Well, he’s my President, even if I don’t agree with him and frankly, I wanted to show the leftist nuts out there that unlike them,  we can show respect for the President even if we don’t agree with him. Their memories are too short, but we remember how they treated GW Bush.  But as they say, tomorrow it will all be history and I’ll continue my fight to keep the Dems policies from becoming law by focusing on the real issues out there and not on the ridiculous like those birther folks that were across the street from the hotel.

It was my turn to meet the President and I told him “it is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President.”  I shook his hand, he told me “thank you for all your help,” a photo was taken, and I was on my way as the next person got his turn to take his photo with the President.

You can see some of my images from the event here on Flickr.  And don’t forget to check out my new photography website at MichaelPancierPhotography.Com.

By Popular Request …


Capital Hill © 2009 by Michael A. Pancier, All Rights Reserved

It’s been a while but I am glad to finally announce the debut of my photography website, Michael Pancier Photography.   Folks ask me all the time for prints and for my website. So thanks to fellow contributor and friend Claudia, who was kind enough to put it together for me, the website is now online.

I have many of my landscape, cityscape,  and wildlife images available with new ones going up from time to time.   Give it a whirl …

Enjoy and see you out in the field ….

What About Global Warming?

ShendNatPark-237-Edit-Edit copy

Well infidels, I have returned. I went to Virginia in mid October to get foliage photos. This is what greeted me yesterday morning….Virginia is not supposed to get snow until November. I was in a winter wonderland out there. Yep, I got my winter shots in October. That’s global warming for you.

Shot at Shenandoah National Park – Virginia.

Thank You TR

Sunset at Navajo Point

Speech by President Teddy Roosevelt made at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, on May 6, 1903:

“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which, so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to do one thing in connection with it in your own interest and in the interest of the country – to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is.

I was delighted to learn of the wisdom of the Santa Fe railroad people in deciding not to build their hotel on the brink of the canyon. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel, or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon.

Leave it as it is. You can not improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American if he can travel at all should see.

We have gotten past the stage, my fellow-citizens, when we are to be pardoned if we treat any part of our country as something to be skinned for two or three years for the use of the present generation, whether it is the forest, the water, the scenery. Whatever it is, handle it so that your children’s children will get the benefit of it.”

Lot’s of things which have been annoying me lately, but I’m not gonna dwell on it. So I’ll talk about something I like instead today. Thanks to the technology we have today, i.e., Apple iPhones, I’ve downloaded the entire Ken Burns National Park Documentary to my phone so I can watch it from my daily trek on the treadmill. Someone here the other day had lumped TR with some of the worst Presidents we’ve had. I’m certain that person was confused with TR’s nephew and/or was grossly misinformed about what a great President TR was. Among his greatest achievements was his support of the Antiquities Act whereby Congress gave the President the Power to create National Monuments and also his support for the National Park. He loved to hunt and fish and hike in the American Wilderness. His steadfast to the money changers of the day made it possible that generations after him and after me will be able to enjoy the view in the photograph I posted above. These national parks belong to us and the nation. They are a place we can get away from the mundane views and simply suck it in. Photos do not do these places justice.

I saw the Grand Canyon for my first time this year in my 40’s. I took my ten year old son to see it too. I’ll return no doubt and simply hope to see it in the same condition I saw it where the only changes would be made by God Himself. The vistas of the National Parks cannot be improved and we are fortunate that great men and women made it possible that we have these parks today; it truly is an American invention and one of the best ideas we as a nation could have come up with. A sign of true Democracy. These are places where the hand of man is minimal and at best unseen.

Since 2007, I made it a goal of mine to visit as many national parks as I can. Besides the Everglades which is in our backyard and is a place all of us in South Florida must visit and protect, I’ve been lucky to visit Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce, Arches, and Acadia National Parks. This weekend I’ll be headed to the pristine lands enjoyed by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in what is now called Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. I’m talking my 5 and 10 year old as well. It will be the 4th National Park I will have visited in 2009. And my list is pretty large still. I have so many on my list that I have trips planned into 2011 and beyond.

So hopefully I’ll have some interesting images to convey to you upon my return next week from the Blue Ridge Mountains and hopefully I’ll have some autumn colors to give you. If you’re a videophile nut, get the National Park series on Blue Ray and see it. If you have kids, see it with them. Then make plans to take your kids to one or more of America’s National Parks. Everything you need is right here in the USA. And as you stand before these great vistas that we find in our National Parks, you can thank a lot of people, but you should give a special thanks to TR; who was a real man who enjoyed the outdoors, who hunted and fished, who hiked and rode horseback through the wilderness as compared to those who would rather spend their time playing golf and taking their Lexus SUV’s to the wine bar.

It All Began Here … In Philadelphia

Indy Hall

It’s Constitution Day infidels.  The only thing I have sworn allegiance to in my life to protect.  The document which became the backbone for our nation came to life in this Hall, during a scorching summer.  It’s brilliance is unmatched. It wasn’t perfect; compromises had to be made.  Amendments had to be added.  But it’s brilliance is still unmatched especially in its day.

As I walked by this building during my recent trip there,  and it was pretty hot that day, I could only imagine what our founding fathers had to go through to give us a nation.  And even after the document was drafted,  it was an ordeal to convince the state legislatures to pass it.  But for geniuses such as Alexander Hamilton and James Madison,  we may never have become the nation we are today.  I strongly suggest you folks read Hamilton by Cernow and James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights. It was ironic that the main opposition against the Constitution was from folks such as Patrick Henry and George Mason who feared that giving the federal government too much power would lead to the elimination of individual rights.  Henry fought Madison tooth and nail in the Virginia assembly insisting that without a Bill of Rights,   the people were at the mercy of the federal government.  Madison and Hamilton insisted that it was not necessary since the only powers the federal government had were those enumerated in the document.   The Constitution was approved by a narrow margin in Virginia.  Interestingly enough,  Madison was elected to Congress and one of his first legislative achievements was in enacting legislation to propose a Bill of Rights to be voted upon by the States and thus added as Amendments to the Constitution.   Madison himself realized that even though the powers of the federal government were limited and enumerated,   only through a bill of rights would the people be guaranteed the freedoms and the government could be kept at check.   Another interesting tidbit that most folks don’t realize is that until the Civil War and the passage of the 14th Amendment,  and later Supreme Court precedent acknowledging this fact, the Bill of Rights only applied to the Federal Government and not the individual states.  Through the 14th Amendment it is now that the Bill of Rights applies to the states and its subdivisions.

This document is the cornerstone upon which our Republic is buttressed and so few have taken the time to read it or study it.  It truly is brilliant.  We must protect it.

In my photo, you see the statue of George Washington, who presided over the Constitutional Convention.  He kept silent for the most part, but his presence was crucial.  He added credibility to the process.  Washington was our greatest President of all time.   First he had no one to follow as an example. He had to set it.  He was the only revolutionary in world history who had absolute power and voluntarily relinquished it.   His brilliance is unmatched.  And yet, very few read about the real Washington.  I suggest His Excellency George Washington and 1776 as two of the most definitive biographies on him and his decisionmaking.

I end my post today with this quote from Dr. Benjamin Franklin, who also sat within the hallowed halls of Independence Hall while the last members were signing the Constitution:

Doctor Franklin looking towards the President’s Chair [George Washington],  at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that Painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun. “I have,” said he, “often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.”

A special thanks to our friend Claudia4Libertad for being such a great host in her birthplace and taking me to this shrine of liberty.

Oh Happy Day …..

New Morning Rising

It’s Labor Day and the only laboring I will be doing today will be behind a grill as I prepare my world famous brisket and my BBQ chicken (shicken if you’re from Louisiana)

I’m in a good mood given that we all managed to eliminate one communist thug from the government. Here’s a sunrise shot from the Grand Canyon.

Enjoy your day folks. This is the last day of summer vacation for most….

Cigar Mike Discovers America

Meteor Crater Arizona

For a change of pace, here’s a photo I took at Meteor Crater Arizona just outside Winslow (such a fine place to be).

As large as this crater is, it still isn’t big enough to hold all of the bullcrap being spewed from the left today. Ciao Infidels, I’m outta here to smoke some cigars and torture the enemy.

Sunday with the Marlins

Hope you had a good weekend infidels. Spent my Sunday afternoon with the Marlins. Here’s a slideshow from yesterday’s second game of a Sunday doubleheader. We lost. But in the end, when the game got less interesting, there were cheerleaders, interesting fans, and a lady with a big butt. Enjoy…