Saturday, December 28, 2013

Year-ender 2013

Media outlets, almost across the board, reserve this time of year for highlighting what they consider the top stories of the previous twelve months.

It's a no-brainer where I live: monumental rains that touched off extensive floods, causing widespread death and destruction. Combine the event itself with ongoing cleanup, and the local paper may find a way to make it the top two stories!

I've made it a habit, if not a tradition, to list my favorite LUNG posts of the previous year. They are not necessarily any good, mind you. Just my favorite. (I could probably list my least favorite, too – but I've deleted the really bad ones!)

In any case, and in no particular order, here are my favorite posts of the last year:

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holiday!

Most of the western world shuts down by early evening on December 24th, and doesn't stir again until the 26th.

Even the Internet's whitewater rapids slow to a trickle. But they don't cease entirely. Maybe Santa brought you a new computer, and maybe right now you're under the tree giving it a test drive. If so – lucky you!

Maybe it's a new high speed connection, or something like that.

Or maybe – just maybe – it's late Tuesday night. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas (right) soon would be there. And you're just whiling away the hours with a glass of eggnog, or brandy. Or some other holiday cheer.

Or maybe this is by now a really old post. Maybe you're reading it in April. Who's in first place in the AL Central?

“...I am sure I have always thought of Christmas ... as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of ... when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers...”

Whatever. Happy Holiday!

Happy Xmas! (War Is Over!)

Merry Holiday! (If you want it!)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Banned II (words and phrases)

Most people, I imagine, do not much care about the topic of this post.

But indifference won't stop me. Indifference, after all, is part of the problem. (This post is similar to one I made last August. At that time I acknowledged the Unicorn Hunters and Matt Groening as fellow travelers.)

The topic: words. Words to ban. Words(and phrases) that become inexplicably trendy, and rapidly wear out their welcome in our common lexicon.

This ongoing, partial, and now-updated list includes but is not limited to: own it, old school, shout out, and branding.

Don't use 'em!

Reverse discrimination gets an honorary (if not honorable) mention, sort of a lifetime achievement award. This nonsensical term has been around at least since the days of Allan Bakke, but is no more valid now than then. Bias = bias, no matter what.

I'll ratchet up the nuisance level by adding these mis-used terms and phrases to the list: don't say border when you mean state line or city limits. Don't say film (as in the verb, to film) when you mean videotape (now obsolete) or digitally record visuals. Don't refer to a creek or river's shore when you mean its bank.

Same basic deal with the phrase "start a tradition," but I've commented on that before.

Stickler or fuddy-duddy? Who the hell knows?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Guns and What They Do

After backing plans for stricter gun laws, two state lawmakers in fair Colorado were recalled. Another resigned in order to avoid a recall election.

Those proposed laws came in the aftermath of the slaughter of moviegoers at a suburban Denver theater in July 2012.

Even if the pro-gun lobby hadn't effected the recalls and resignation, the killing at yet another Denver-area high school would probably still have happened yesterday.

And yet, right-wing zealots who claim to be protecting their second amendment rights are liars.

The simple truth is that these people love guns and what they do. And what they do, we have been shown repeatedly, is kill. They do that very well.

According to CNN, there have been 28 school shootings since the savagery in Newtown, Connecticut – one year ago today as this is written. It's been said repeatedly, but is worth saying again, that twenty children and six adults were massacred that day, including the mother of the heavily armed gun lover who did the deed.

But just try to do something about it, lawmakers. G'wan, we dare you!

More wholesale slaughter is in our future – sooner rather than later.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake!

Following up on my previous post, which (while unfocused) dealt generally with hunger...

I recently came across a scrap of Associated Press wire copy from long ago – from a previous life. It's been tucked in a book all these years, a little booby trap waiting for me to trip the wire.

It has this quote: "I'm sure there are many things the President knows that I don't know, but nutrition does not happen to be one of them."

There's no date on the wire copy, but the president referred to is Ronald Reagan. So the AP copy dates to somewhere between 1980 (it can't be that old) and 1988 (more likely).

"With the steady hacking away at food programs," the speaker goes on, "we are seeing hunger re-appear in the United States, and I'm very worried that some of the [gains] we have seen are going to be lost."

That was Dr Jean Mayer, a nutrition specialist and then-President of Tufts University, "best known for his research on the physiological bases of hunger," according to Wikipedia.

Dr. Mayer took Reagan to task after Reagan said reports about a rise in malnutrition in the United States were exaggerated. Ruthless Ron further suggested a need for deep cuts in federal funding of food programs.

Now it's twenty-something years later. Reagan is dead. Mayer is dead. But, surprise! Hunger is still with us.

It troubles me that the issue gets annual lip service around the holidays, and then is forgotten by most until next year. We've taken a baby step with affordable health care – and I do mean a baby step; I want money taken from the military and plowed into health care – but we haven't done squat about hunger. Not domestically or internationally.

In a nation that loves to boast it is the greatest in the world, and in a world capable of sustaining itself if politics didn't get in the way, allowing hunger to exist is a sin. Maybe even a crime against humanity.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pig Slop

They serve pig slop and call it food. They grossly underpay their workforce. By any standard they are a poor member of the international community.

All that is a given.

But McDonald's crossed a line last year. Probably not the slobs at corporate HQ, but some hired-gun, Don Draper type.

World hunger is a serious issue. It doesn't have to be the way it is. The question is political, and beyond the scope of the maximum 500 words I want to use here.

That said, McDonald's went too far in the above ad campaign, with its flippant use of the idea of hunger. The Snickers candy bar (or Mars, or whoever sits atop the sucrose pyramid) did something similar about ten years ago, in ads raising the peril of a between-meal crisis called "the hungries." This serious malady could only be resolved by gulping down that particular confection. Try the "fun size"!

Am I over-reacting? I don't think so.

Like most profit-motivated organizations, McDonald's (and Mars, et al) will not allow any standard of decency to get in the way of making money. Hence those unspeakable ads. It's futile to rail against them too much. I understand this.

Instead, follow this link and click on the icons you find there. It's something really easy to do, and I do it every day. It does not pass for activism, but it appears to be constructive, and you can do it in your pajamas.

In early 2013 what used to be simply The Hunger Site morphed into something called The Greater Good. Greater Good seems to be a rotating thing: one day hunger, the next hurricane victims, then breast cancer. The Hunger Site is still there though, with other various causes, like literacy. For tree huggers like me, there's also the Rainforest Site.

Ending hunger should not be a seasonal thing. I've felt that way ever since I heard about the burning of "surplus" food commodities, like wheat. Keep prices up on the world market, as Allen Ginsberg wrote.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Nelson Mandela – An Anecdote

After his release from prison in 1990, the late Nelson Mandela embarked on an international tour as he sought to end apartheid in South Africa.

One of his many stops was Detroit, where he spoke to 49,000 people at a sold-out Tiger Stadium rally.

At the time I still lived in Detroit, but I wasn't there that night. Mandela told the crowd that the music of Motown (he called it "Motortown") helped sustain him and others during their time as political prisoners on Robben Island and elsewhere.

And then he quoted these lyrics: "Brother brother brother, there's far too many of you dying."

A legendary figure, a legendary Motown song. The crowd, said a friend who was there, went bananas. It was like a religious experience.

Video of the event still exists. The C-span site where I found it won't let me embed it here, but follow this link if you'd like to check it out. I don't know whether the quote from Marvin Gaye is on it, but it might be; there's about 45 minutes worth of stuff.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Greeting Cards

My wife had another birthday the other day. The number assigned to her existence remains a sensitive matter; a closely guarded secret.

As it happened, she was out of town on business, and forced to mark the occasion on her own. A glass of wine and some crab cakes in a hotel bar in New York.

But I telephoned her earlier in the day, and sent an e-mail. I wanted to send an e-card, too – something resembling what you see at right. But most e-cards, like most hard copy cards, are in extreme bad taste and totally inappropriate, as far as I'm concerned.

Maybe I've become an old fuddy-duddy. But I don't think so.

Nope. I think most greeting cards these days, or at least those you can find easily in your local drug store or grocery store, are tasteless beyond words. A lot of fart jokes, and black balloons jokes, and (for straight women) pictures of washboard-ab studs in leather – and everything that implies.

There are, of course, a few lines of tasteful cards on the market. Once my wife got home I gave her one of those blank cards with a pleasing scene from the natural world: in this case, two young trees intertwined.

But on the day itself I just sent an email, along with an old, scanned photo of the two of us. And all my love.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Collapsed Bridge

Nearly three months ago, the area where I live got pounded by heavy rains and severe flooding. I wrote a bunch of stuff about it here.

My town was spared the worst of it. A golf course got ruined and a bridge collapsed. That was about it.

The collapsed bridge is quite a sight. I drive by it rather often; the powers-that-be say it may be a couple of years before it's repaired. Today I went back on foot, camera in hand, for my first up-close-and-personal since it happened.

I've been meaning to take some follow-up pictures. It occurred to me to wait until it snowed; yesterday it did. For an added layer of fun, the temperatures fell to about 2° F.

According to what I've seen in the local press, it may not be until 2015 before the bridge is repaired. That isn't surprising. The devastation to the local infrastructure was far-reaching. This little bridge isn't the only way out of town; it doesn't get much traffic compared to other routes. So it's a low priority.

Wouldn't these photos make a nice calendar?

I've always enjoyed screaming down that hill (below, background) on my bike – but I guess it will be a while before I have that pleasure again.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Debate Club – Breaking the Law

The following is the text of an op-ed I wrote for the "Debate Club," a feature of the US News and World Report web site. The occasion was the fiftieth anniversary of the JFK assassination. The magazine asked me and four others to comment on the question, "Was JFK's Assassination a Conspiracy?"

I'm not certain, but I think I made an error. Totally my fault. I know enough to fact-check myself, yet relied on my memory to boldly cite Newton's Third Law of Motion as proof of a shot fired from JFK's right-front. Kennedy's back-and-to-the-left reaction is proof of a shot from this direction, but I don't think it's an example of Newton's Third Law. It is, however, elementary physics.

Remarkably, no one called me on it. A careless mistake can undermine any argument. On this subject, it's almost certain to be used as a blunt object to beat you senseless.

But of course, the facts are on my side. Everything else in this commentary stands.

Was JFK's Assassination a Conspiracy?

Only someone unfamiliar with the evidence would sincerely ask, “Was there a conspiracy to assassinate JFK?” It is easily demonstrable – no thanks to the media.

For all its virtues, the American media has been regrettably complacent, even hostile, in its treatment of both the assassination and independent research into that crime. And so the issue has a serious public relations problem; when researchers are acknowledged today it is usually derisive. “These people should be ridiculed, even shunned,” the New York Times Book Review sneered in 2007. “It’s time we marginalized Kennedy conspiracy theorists the way we’ve marginalized smokers.”

I beg to differ. Independent analysis of the official evidence by “these people” has clearly demonstrated the fact of conspiracy.

The present discussion sets aside the question of culpability; it is restricted to the evidence of Dealey Plaza, where the assassination took place. What that evidence shows is incontestable. As critic Vincent Salandria observed, “Dealey Plaza reeked of conspiracy.”

In its Report, the Warren Commission placed a gunman on the sixth floor of a building along JFK’s motorcade route through Dallas. Such a gunman would have been behind the presidential limousine when the shots were fired. Yet of the 121 Dealey Plaza witnesses whose statements appear in the Commission’s published evidence, fifty-one, by one count, said gunshots came from the right front – that is, from the infamous grassy knoll. Only 32 thought shots came from the building, while 38 had no opinion.

Former Kennedy aide Kenneth O’Donnell, who rode in the ill-fated Dallas motorcade, said he heard two shots from the grassy knoll. He did not tell that to the Warren Commission, but later conceded, “I testified the way they wanted me to.”

The 8mm Zapruder film of the assassination unambiguously shows JFK’s head and upper body slammed back and to the left. Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Thus the bullet that destroyed JFK was fired from the right front – from the grassy knoll – far from the alleged location of the alleged assassin.

There is much more than this, of course: Dealey Plaza witnesses who saw unidentified armed men in the vicinity. Witnesses whose observations suggest a radio-coordinated hit team. Three Dallas cops who encountered fake Secret Service agents, and one who testified to meeting an hysterical woman screaming, “They’re shooting the president from the bushes!”

It all demonstrates conspiracy – the how of it. The question of culpability, the who and the why, remains; it is all that really matters. It is where the conversation begins. We should expect, even demand, that our media lead the way.

Conspiracy in JFK’s death is a tragic fact. To debate the issue perpetuates the erroneous notion that there is something to debate.

Even after half a century the assassination is not irrelevant. Nor is it too late to act. An early critic named Maggie Field once said that finding the truth about the murder of JFK was of utmost importance. “Until we can get to the bottom of the Kennedy assassination, this country is going to remain a sick country,” she said. “No matter what we do. Because we cannot live with that crime. We just can’t.”

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Largest Tourist Attraction in Dallas

In 1967 Penn Jones Jr., one of the early critics of the official explanation of the JFK assassination, asked rhetorically: "Just how many times must we prove conspiracy?"

It was only four years after Kennedy's killing, but by then enough was known.

Things haven't changed much. A few weeks ago another early critic, Vince Salandria, said, "The debate over the killing of President John F. Kennedy interminably rambles on. It dumps mountains of trash on the public in an effort to bury the self-evident truth of the JFK assassination coup and its cover-up."

The predictable circus of the fiftieth anniversary, with its mountains of trash, is in full swing. 
The City of Dallas has limited public access to Dealey Plaza, the scene of the crime. That tiny park is its biggest tourist attraction, but to go there on November 22 this year one must possess a ticket. The tickets were issued by lottery.

Concerned citizens have gathered in Dealey Plaza every November 22 since the first anniversary, but this year the powers-that-be are muscling out those who have consistently expressed their concern. The reason is plain enough. Dallas is back in the international spotlight. Dissent of any kind is not acceptable.

"In the debate," Salandria went on, "the national security state and its puppets (the military industrial complex and the nation’s press), desperately seek to substitute for the plain historical truth of their guilt, a seemingly impenetrable mystery which is no mystery at all."

So, what chance do we have of getting down to the serious business of fixing the country?

In December 1963, just a few weeks after Kennedy's death, Minority of One editor M.S. Arnoni wrote: "The assassination itself is probably a mere prelude to an historical tragedy the scope of which is not yet discernible."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Debate Club, Part Two

To my surprise, US News and World Report has published my 500-word op/ed on the question of whether there was a conspiracy in the JFK assassination.

Here is a link to the item, which is included in what the magazine calls the Debate Club.

The appearance of my essay is a little ironic, since one of its points is that on the "Was there a conspiracy?" question, there isn't anything to debate.

All told, five opinions are offered. Four answer the question, "Yes." The lone defender – sort of a lone nut – makes empty, meaningless arguments that do not so much defend his position as ridicule anyone who might answer yes.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Debate Club

The "Debate Club" is a feature of US News and World Report, or at least its online edition, which is billed as "a meeting of the sharpest minds on the day's most important topics."

I don't know about that – but I'll take them at their word.

A few weeks ago an editor from US News contacted me and asked if I would contribute a 500 word Debate Club op/ed on the question, Was there a conspiracy to assassinate JFK?

He asked because I wrote a book on the subject, first published in hardcover in 2007. It re-emerged as an e-book this past October.

He also asked because the 50th anniversary of the assassination is coming up.

Within a day or so I'd completed the 500 words (550, as it turned out) and sent them along. I have not heard a peep out of USNWR since.

I had to sign a contract that, among other things, prevents me from quoting my op/ed here. I'll link to it from this blog if they use it. If they don't, it still belongs to me and I'll be free to post it. I'm not all that confident they will use it. I'm sure they asked a lot of others to contribute.

Ego being what it is, I hope to reach the wide audience the Debate Club might afford. But of course, I'm no Vincent Bugliosi. I toned down the rhetoric, but the thrust of my essay is that the Debate Club's question is stupid. So I'm not holding my breath.

The current Debate Club topic, as this is written, is whether the Washington Redskins football team should change their name. Coincidentally I just blogged about that. I did not tone down the rhetoric on that one!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sparks, Nevada: More Senseless Death

Perhaps the most remarkable quote to filter out of Sparks, Nevada today – where some troubled middle school kid shot and killed a math teacher, then himself – is the mayor's observation, "This is just an isolated incident."

The mayor was almost certainly speaking through shock and confusion, and maybe even grief. And the incident itself was indeed isolated. Armed hordes were not invading.

But in a nation armed to the teeth and lovin' it, the shootings were not unusual. And not so isolated.

In Colorado, where I now live, an almost certainly deranged gunman [*] didn't yell, but opened fire in a crowded theater. That same calendar year the state supreme court said it was okay for university students to pack iron on campus.

In Michigan, where I'm from, state lawmakers passed a measure allowing concealed weapons in day care centers – day care centers! – and other supposedly "gun free zones."

In America, it seems, there are no gun free zones.

You can legally take a loaded weapon into a bar, in some states. Loaded guns, loaded patrons – an outstanding combination.

Not even the slaughter of innocents in Connecticut last year has fazed the pro-gun crowd. We continue to reap what we sow.

Next shooting, any minute now.

[*] The guy is nuts. I'm talking about Holmes. No doubt about it. But legally? That's another matter. For the courts to decide, as they say. For the courts decide as a legal issue, not a psychological one. Which in itself is nuts.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Washington Redskins: A Modest Proposal

The Washington Redskins football team are under renewed pressure to change their name to something, uh, less racist.

The name has long been criticized as insensitive. But in a USA Today poll 79% of respondents said they liked the name, and that it should not be changed. (Whatcha wanna bet they were mostly white?)

The team began as the Boston Braves in that hard-bitten depression year, 1932. They became the Redskins a year later, and kept the reverential nod to Native American heritage after moving D.C. in 1937.

Now a possible name change is on the table again, and the idea appears to be gaining traction. Newspaper columnists, even conservative ones, are writing cerebral, well-reasoned arguments about why a name change is in order. Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell observed, "I don't think anybody wants to offend anybody."

What are these people – milk-toast bleeding hearts? They're missing the point.

I hereby propose that all sports teams, from those in pint-sized Pee-Wee leagues through the professional ranks, begin a take-no-prisoners campaign to adopt names that challenge our thinking at every level.

It's all fair game! Why impose any limits of taste and decency? How about a team, maybe a basketball team, called the Miami N-Words? There's nothing to fear, except offending some limousine liberal.

This is America, after all. And the billionaire white men who own the nation's pro sports teams can name them whatever they please.

Maybe some rich guy can field a team called the the San Diego Wetbacks, or the Detroit Ragheads! How about the San Francisco Fag-bashers? The Kansas City Bible Thumpers? The Dallas Klansmen?

If some sob sister objects – too bad. You don't like it? Leave the country!

In fact, I'll hold the door for you. Meanwhile, I'll be rooting for America's Team: the Washington Rednecks.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

E-book: Promotional crud

Getting a book published is, in many ways, a huge ego-stroke. No doubt about that.

But if you want anyone to read the damned thing, you have to do a lot of promotional legwork. This is particularly true when the book is put out by a small press. Or, as in my case, a micro-press.

Praise from a Future Generation, my 2007 book about the earliest, "first generation" critics of the Warren Report, recently appeared in an e-book edition. I noted that little factoid in a recent post here. But Lung is not exactly a high-traffic blog.

A few days after that post I talked about the book, via telephone, on a segment of Black Op Radio. This is weekly program out of Vancouver, hosted by Len Osanic. You should listen to the archived interview. I blab on for about 45 minutes. Things began at kind of a slow pace, but once I warmed up it went pretty well.

Some people really love doing stuff like that. I'm not one of them. This was a necessary evil. I had some talking points with me, written down on 3x5 index cards, to keep me "on message," as they say. They also served as prompts to get me talking again when we hit a conversational lull. They helped a lot.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

E-book: Praise from a Future Generation

As of today – October 1, 2013 – my book Praise from a Future Generation is available as an e-book.

Praise from a Future Generation is a nonfiction account of the earliest critics of the Warren Commission and its report on the 1963 assassination of JFK.

The book first appeared as a hardcover in 2007, published by Wings Press of San Antonio, Texas. It has not exactly been a best seller – but then, I never expected it to be.

I must admit, this is a case of the shoe being on the other foot. Elsewhere on this blog I have railed against e-books as something just shy of a crime against humanity.

Now, self-interest asserts itself.

The e-book version of Praise from a Future Generation has been a long time coming. Wings first approached me about it more than two years ago and I dutifully began yakking about it here. Then one delay led to another. But...that's all water under the bridge.

You can find both the hardcover and the e-version on Amazon.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Torrential Aftermath: Garbage

Ah, those things we take for granted!

Like trash collection.

I don't think I have ever been as happy to see a garbage truck as I was this morning. The local sanitation service missed its usual pickup last week. Officially the company's vehicles were unable to run their routes in the aftermath of the torrential rains and resulting floods this region experienced last week.

We're still recovering from all that, here in Colorado. We will be for months to come.

But the garbage truck came this morning.

As I have noted here before, we escaped the worst of this natural disaster in my town. We're about six miles east of Boulder, as the crow flies, and 10-12 miles south of Longmont and Lyons, where the worst of it is.

So if all we have to fret about is a few bags of garbage piling up in the garage, well – boo-hoo-hoo for us, yuhknow?

Not too far from here people are more concerned about insurance claims, and FEMA claims, and mucking out flooded homes and businesses.

And then there are genuine hazards like water contaminated by raw sewage. I haven't heard much about that, but it's always a possibility.

An item in this morning's paper said that ordinarily, the local wastewater treatment facility handles about 12 million gallons of sewage a day. That's up to about 50 million a day since this madness began last week. So the system is strained, far beyond its capacity. "At this point, it's the number one priority," said one city official. "We're working on it 24/7." But, he added, the massive inundation has to run its course.

So we're keeping things in perspective. But it's nice to reduce the pile of garbage.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Torrential: More Aftermath

On September 17th – yesterday, as I write this – I attempted to ride my bike up to Longmont, Colorado, about 10-12 miles away.

Longmont is among the areas hardest-hit by the recent floods we've had here along the front range of the Rocky Mountains. But I was unable to get there because of a closed road.

There are still many closed roads, due to flooding and weakened infrastructure.

And yet I ignored the "Road Closure" sign, rolling easily through a gap between the barricades. I knew I would not get far. This is a low-lying area with a stream running through it, a stream almost certainly far over its banks. But I thought it might make an interesting photo.

Within a few minutes I saw an approaching helicopter. An even better photo than high water! It was coming in for a landing near the stream.

Seconds after taking this picture, however, an angry cop confronted me. "You live back here?" he snapped.

"No, sir."

"You see that Road Closure sign?"


"That means you." He gestured like a basketball referee, and pointed back the way I'd come. "Now, geddahdahere!"

So I got the hell out of there. At least he didn't ticket me.

I rode aimlessly for the next hour and a half. At another barricade, workers kindly allowed me to walk my bike over a small, structurally compromised bridge. No cops present. If those workers had turned me back I'd have had to detour many more miles to get back home.

It has truly been a really wacky week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Torrential: Aftermath

We’re beginning to dry out here in my rain-soaked, flood-devastated berg by the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

Beginning to.

Maybe you saw something about it on the news. At least four people died and many times that are still missing, in the aftermath of a hundred-year storm that dumped more than fifteen inches of rain over four days. Countless buildings and homes have sustained severe structural damage, as has the area's infrastructure. Thousands are displaced, and evacuations continue.

I've made a series of posts about this, usually with accompanying pictures. Their tone has been rather light. Perhaps that's because my community is fortunate to have been just out of serious harm's way, for the most part.

But it really is a humorless, life-or-death situation here. You can help.

Make a donation to Help Colorado Now.

Or you could make a donation to Red Cross emergency relief.

Or, make a donation to Save the Children, which as best I can tell is a secular outfit. That may make a difference to you. It certainly does to me.

I close with pictures of a nearby golf course, taken about three days apart. They were taken from about the same vantage point: the first on Friday, when flooding was at its worst, and the second one yesterday, as this is written – which is to say, taken Monday 9-16-13.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Torrential: Sunday

After a mostly dry Saturday it’s raining again in Colorado, where since Tuesday we've had record precipitation and flooding. It was drizzly when I first got up Sunday morning, but when it tapered off I went out to inspect a collapsed bridge.

Access to the section of road leading to the bridge is restricted. After parking nearby I skirted the “Road Closed” barricade to see the damage up close.

When a tornado hits the cliche is to say a place looks like a war zone. Well, this looks like the aftermath of an earthquake. Let’s give this imaginary tremblor a 7.0 on the Richter scale.

This bridge is over the ordinarily mild-mannered Coal Creek. It's typically fifteen to twenty feet in its widest places. Now an adjacent field is totally flooded; and where the creek usually meanders by, there is a newly-formed cataract – the author of the collapsed bridge.

Once I had enough pictures I went back to the legal side of the barricade. A cop came along. I waved at him and he waved back. A few other people were down near the collapsed bridge. The cop didn’t get out of his car, but did pick up a microphone and speak through a loudspeaker:

“You’re in a restricted area; please vacate!”

After I got home the rain resumed. And it intensified. We can’t take a whole lot more down here in the flatlands. But if it rains heavily in the mountains again, well...that could touch off renewed walls of water surging down on us. And that would not be good.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Torrential: Saturday

We had a brief respite today from the torrential rains that have devastated my state, from Denver up to Fort Collins. It may not last.

This morning was dry enough for me to venture out on my bike to check out the surroundings. I took a small camera along.
Above is one of my favorite byways for cycling, a couple of miles of usually tranquil country road slicing through ever-dwindling farmland.

As I neared the conclusion of my ride I came across the regular Saturday farmer’s market, a welcome sign of normalcy after the havoc of the last few days.

But we may be in for more.