The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The City: Philadelphia #13

Original Caption:

Philadelphia -- Seven of the eight children of the stricken Michalinszyn family of Hays Borough, just outside of Pittsburgh in the homestead district, are shown looking out of the window of their home. Their father, Dimitro, a mill worker on his way to work early in the morning, carrying his lunch and a jar of coffee, was shot and killed instantly by J. P. Tobasco, a prohibition agent. Tobasco is being held without bail on a charge of murder. Michalinszyn's family consists of the mother and eight children. The one not shown in this photo is but a few months old. (1925)


naomemandeflores said...

Amazing pic!

Maureen said...


DoRightDaddy said...

Haunting photo given what had happened to their father.

A quick 1925-1926 newspaper search has a Dec 19 1925 coroner's jury eye witness stating that after he shot Mihaliszyn Tobasco bragged "I am a federal officer. When I shoot, I shoot to hit". Tobasco was later convicted of manslaughter.

Fascinating case. Thanks for unearthing this photo, Tom.

Fred said...

I'm guessing Agent Tobasco was hitting the sauce.

jessicarae said...

Great photo! But this is Pittsburgh, not Philly. What's the connection?

paul said...

Dispatches from and earlier failed drug war.