Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bad for the Trees

We had a pretty good snowfall over the weekend, here in this mountainous region of the United States where I reside.

Now, a few days later, some very cool-looking icicles have formed on the trees and shrubbery along the side of the house. Cool, as in groovy. They are particularly stunning in late afternoon light.

These pictures are from early in the day.

I'm sure it's really bad for the trees, though – the branches encased in ice.

I view it as a trade-off.  Yeah, it may be doing some damage. But we got some desperately needed moisture, and a boost to the snowpack.

It happens just about every year. A big snow followed by a sunny day – and a Great Meltdown ensues. The runoff freezes in late afternoon and into the night, and voila! We end up with the spectacle seen here.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Don't Touch That Dial!

I'm the Slime
by Frank Zappa
I am gross and perverted,
I'm obsessed and deranged
I've existed for years
but very little has changed
I'm a tool of the government,
and industry too
for I am destined to rule
and regulate you

I may be vile and pernicious,
but you can't look away
I make you think I'm delicious
with the stuff that I say
I'm the best you can get;
have you guessed me yet?
I'm the slime oozin' out
from your TV set!

You will obey me
while I lead you,
and eat the garbage
that I feed you
until the day that
we don't need you
don't go for help,
no one will heed you.

Your mind is totally controlled,
it has been stuffed into my mold
and you will do as you are told
until the rights to you are sold

That's right folks, don't touch that dial!
I am the slime from the video,
oozin' along on your living room floor
I am the slime from the video,
can't stop the slime people lookit me go!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dumped On

No one has used the D-word yet, at least not publicly, to describe the unusually dry conditions in the region within which I reside.

But there's been talk of below-normal water levels, of below-normal snowpack in the mountains, of declaring watering restrictions on lawns ... the D-word being drought.

So it came as a huge relief when we got dumped on last night, to the tune of an estimated nine inches of snow.

The snow began falling late Friday afternoon and went on through the night. A winter storm warning was in effect for most of Saturday – well, all of it – and while it wasn't the paralyzing snow I hoped for, the sort that brings a city to its knees, it will go a long way toward easing current dry conditions.

We had a pretty bad drought a few years back, and a big snowstorm totally wiped it out. Some two feet of snow fell in a twenty-four hour period, a substantial snow with a high moisture content. Shoveling that dense and heavy stuff totally wrecked my back. But it leveled the drought single-handedly, so it was worth it.

This current snow is not of that scope. This is unfortunate. But it still should go a long way toward alleviating present conditions.

I went out with my camera around nine o'clock this morning to record a few images. Didn't find anything very dramatic, such as a fifteen car pileup caused by treacherously slippery roads. Nor did I find a boisterous group of kids building a snow fort or having a snowball fight, or even sledding.

After that big snowstorm of some years back, as we all dug out from beneath the accumulation, snow plows came through our cul-de-sac and left an enormous snow mountain in its middle. The kidlets were still small then, so I carved a sled run in the side of the mountain and for several days they used it to great effect. Then, with other kids on the block, they began tunneling into the snow mountain's side. Before long they hollowed out a sort of igloo. The general consensus among parents on our street was that this represented a serious safety hazard. So we kept the kids out of it, and in a day or two the sun came out; the bright and steady sunshine weakened the igloo and it collapsed.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Grain Elevator: What to do?

It looks as if the historic grain elevator in my town is going to be around for awhile – until the time, perhaps, it falls down all on its own.

Admittedly, very few people outside of my town care about the grain elevator.

But I really like it. It's more than a hundred years old and, in spite of its tumbledown appearance, is a fixture in this western berg. After a prolonged battle between land developers and historic preservationists, city officials dreamed up a plan to save the thing and, somehow, make it useful again.

I've written about the grain elevator four previous times:

But the game isn't over. Not quite.

Oh, they won't knock it down anytime soon. That much, at least, seems certain. But the local Historic Preservation Committee, charged with overseeing a plan to do something, voted not to recommend to the city council that it choose between one of two developers who submitted plans to restore the thing.

The same commission approved a motion to recommend the city come up with the money to do a basic stabilization to the structure.

I have no idea what will happen next.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The JFK Case: So What Else is New?

To me, a free-thinking non-American cosmopolite, it is well-nigh unbelievable, and quite insupportable, that Americans are prepared passively to allow the truth about the assassination of their beloved young President and the identities of the perpetrators to remain suppressed and concealed from them.

More even than an insult to the American intelligence, it is a deadly self-affront to your integrity as a nation. Cannot you Americans see that the only way for you to redeem your consciences is to compel the appointment of a new commission of inquiry into the assassination and, following that, an uncompromising investigation of the FBI and of other agencies and individuals who may be under suspicion as having obstructed or perverted the course of justice, if nothing worse?

Letter to the Editor, The Minority of One
February 1967
(Writer’s name withheld by LUNG)