GeologicalScienceBlog - subjects include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Random Thoughts, & Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian/pragmatist viewpoint. As a Dad & Grandad, I am concerned about the overgrowth of government at the expense of freedom. Background - two degrees in Geology (BS '77, MS '90), started studying Geology beginning Senior Year of high school (1971 - 1972) <68>

Monday, July 31, 2006

I am Hereby Reserving Judgement...

on Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" movie, until I hear more from reliable sources.

I think Michael Medved had the only significant objection so far, in that he felt those responsible (al Qaida and the Islamist mindset) were not highlighted well enough.

And no, it is not too soon, lest we forget. The MSM ain't helping us remember, fur shure.

So What May Happen if Code Pink Gets Its Way?

This article has some predictions of what might happen if Israel fails (by lack of resolve) to smite Hezbollah from Lebanon. And what happens if we lose our resolve in Iraq (or if a Democrat victory in November further hamstrings the President).

Damn the Democrats that are willing to bring down President Bush during wartime. They think they can fix whatever they screw up after they assume power.

Yeah, right.

I know the Republicans have made many mistakes, but this war is just as real as WWII and the stakes are higher. When we were fighting Nazi Germany, the Germans had some sense of self-preservation, as did the Italian, and the Japanese, once we got their attention with a couple of atomic bombs. And so did the Soviets and the Chinese during and after the Cold War. Now the Chinese are probably willing to spend a few 10s of millions of soldiers, but even they have their limits to the losses they are willing to sustain.

We have been ignoring the Islamist mindset since perhaps 1972 (by some accounts, the War on the West began with the Olympic attack on the Israeli athletes). It didn't begin on 9/11 and we have to remind those "undecideds" of this issue.

Muslim Terrorists Using Civilians for Cover

So what is new? Here is an article, linked through, that sheds a little more light on this issue.

So how are the Israelis not supposed to hit back at the missile batteries? Israel left Lebanon in 2000. The only reason they are back is because of Hezbollah. And Kofi Annan, et al, are not doing the world any favors by attacking Israel on this. Israel doesn't have a beef with the citizens of Lebanon, just the elements that have given aid and comfort to Hezbollah. Israel just wants to be left alone. Is that so difficult to understand?

There will be no peace until Hezbollah is defeated, so to paraphrase the words of Admiral Farragut -

"Damn the torpedoes (or the UN), go ahead!"

We just have to remember that they have no rules, no conscience, and they will use our (Judeo-Christian) morals and decency against us, whenever they can.

Pam at Blogmeister USA has a better articulation of this issue, so go give a read.

New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, 11 Months Later

Finally I was able to go with one of our church groups to do some volunteer work in New Orleans. We have been working with a family and an elderly couple, doing work at the homes of both. The family we have been assisting has allowed their home to be used as a staging area while we help them repair flood damage and assist the elderly couple in returning their home to a useable status. Every week, or two, between five and a dozen of our people load up building and cleaning supplies and haul them to the area and then "get busy".

We achieved our first measure of closure when we were able to present the keys to the elderly couple (hereafter known as Granny and Papa), late Saturday afternoon. There are details that they will have to attend to with local resources and help and we need to do a little more touch-up painting. But to sum up our slogan:

"It's better than it wuz."

As their scheduled arrival time was approaching on Saturday afternoon (7 PM CDT), there was a frenzy of activity to get things cleaned up and finished as best we could. It was sort of like the home makeover shows (on ABC?), without the yelling. There were a few stern reminders and orders to some of the teenagers that were helping, but there was no yelling.

When Papa and Granny arrived, I was able to be the first to say to Papa "Welcome Home". By the looks on their faces, I think we done good work, with the Lord's blessing and help. Fortunately, the water levels in their neighborhoods were not sufficient to cause heavy structural damage and there was ample evidence of other homes being rebuilt on their street.

But in other parts of NE New Orleans, there are entire neighborhoods that seem to be still abandoned or in some cases, perhaps one home in a block is being rebuilt while the others sit in shambles. There is just so much debris and damage, news photos cannot do it justice. There are dozens of fast food restaurants in New Orleans and Slidell that sit vacant. I know it is hard for the owners to put money into rebuilding when they don't know how many customers will move back to the area. Some of the areas still do not have complete electric service. The traffic lights along the I-10 frontage roads at the Bullard Ave. exit still do not work, though they work at the next exit closer to the downtown area. There are entire shopping centers that lie vacant.

I was able to spend the night with a couple that were both college friends, now living in Diamondhead, MS and they showed me around their area early Sunday morning. In the Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian areas of Mississippi, the sights were quite different. The heavy storm surge from the Gulf swept the area clean of much of the debris, a process called "slabbing". My friend Paul told me that there was an underwater line of debris about 2 miles offshore where much of the materials were deposited.

Though nature removed much of the debris on the Mississippi shoreline, in both cases, the large area of devastation made cleaning up a daunting task. There was just so much. Even 11 months later, where does one start?

There are still ongoing church and community groups helping. On the way back up I-65, we saw several vehicles filled with folks from a Baptist Church in the Raleigh, NC area, that had been in the Gulfport, MS area cleaning up and rebuilding.

We can't forget about these folks. If you simply live too far from the area to go down there an help, that is OK. There are charities you can find online to pass along assistance. There are those there that are showing the American spirit and rebuilding, in some cases having gotten tired of waiting to get an answer from the government, local, state, and/or national. Because of the elevation issues, it seems that the Lower 9th Ward should not be rebuilt, but the local government hasn't had the courage to say this outloud, so there are some efforts at cleanup taking place in that area. We were told that there was a significant percentage of home-ownership in that area, despite the poverty, so some funds may have to be used to buy them out.

There remain no easy nor completely right or wrong answers. There has to be a sensible mix of government and free-market efforts in the rebuilding. One place the government can help is by stepping back and not blindly responding to people that holler "price gouging" without investigating first (Re: the previous post a few months ago about the law-abiding citizen that had a load of generators confiscated because the local/state officials didn't like the prices he was charging). No one had to buy the generators. The locals could have ignored the seller and the prices would have come down as time passed. The seller had to cover the cost of the generators, the cost of the truck, the fuel, lodging, and food spent traveling to and staying in the area, bringing a needed resource. But as time passed, the seller would have been more desparate to unload the generators. That is how the system works.

Even after a natural or manmade disaster, the free market system can work if left alone. If the government blindly responds to emotional complaints, other good citizens may not make the effort to bring resources to the area, when needed. Individuals cannot afford to just give away items such as generators or building supplies or services. But they can bring them to the area and let the locals engage in the bargaining process.

There will be more hurricanes, perhaps not this year or next, but they will come. Nature does what it will, so the best we can do is hone our responses to be the most efficient they can be and not be fighting among ourselves over partisan political issues. Even if President Gore (shudder!) had signed the Kyoto Treaty, Hurricane Katrina still would have hit the Gulf Coast. Very little would be different.

And so it goes.

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Why Does the MSM Soften the Image of Monsters?

No, I am not talking about giving Godzilla a makeover.

I am talking about the local Atlanta paper, the AJC, softening the image of Sheik Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah.

The last two times I have seen pictures of this murderer in the local paper, they have chosen "soft", friendly images. The first one is of him with his hands clasped in front of him as in prayer and in the other photo, he is portrayed with a "Teddy Bear" smile and open palms as if to say "Can we talk?".

Can you tell me that there are no news images of him scowling or otherwise frowning? This man's organization, Hezbollah, has been cited as responsible for the deaths of 241 Marines in the 1983 Beirut bombing as well as the deaths of hundreds of Israelis.

So why portray him as if he were that friendly imam at the local mosque? Or someone with whom you could have a friendly conversation over a cup of tea?


Back from New Orleans...

I will blog more about that later, as I have errands to run.

In the meantime, I posted a bit on the Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co. of Kiln, Mississippi, over at Beer Can Blog. I wasn't able to purchase any of their products, maybe some other time, if possible. But go ahead and visit their website for some interesting reading.

But unless you live in Southern Mississippi, you probably can't get any Lazy Magnolia products, but if you do any traveling across the Gulf Coast on I-10, check your maps and stop at some of the grocery stores in the Pass Christian and Diamondhead areas, those that have reopened after Katrina, that is. I don't think Lazy Magnolia has bottles, yet, but they market their products in mini-kegs called "Beer Pigs", that hold the equivalent of a case of beer in your fridge. Their Pecan Nut Brown Ale sounds good.

Another Gulf Coast microbrewery (the oldest) is the Abita Brewing Co. of Abita Springs, LA. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary. So if Abita products are sold in your area, help them celebrate (in moderation of course)!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Will Be in New Orleans Through Sunday...

Helping with a church-related volunteer project.

So go read some of the blog links in the right column. And ones linked in previous posts.

The "Can Do" American Spirit Has Resulted in the Invention of the Beer Octopus

The link is over at Beer Can Blog. It is a keg tapper with four spigots, to eliminate standing in line to fill your cup.

What a country!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Quick Update from the Land of Pleasant Living...

is posted over at Beer Can Blog. National Bohemian Beer is back on sale at Camden Yard in Baltimore, though it is currently brewed at Wilkes Barre, PA. But if the local Natty Bohheads are happy, then that is what counts.

Will Al Gore Explode at the End of the Week?

According to today's "Day by Day" Cartoon, as seen at Blogmeister USA, et al, Al Gore is going to go "Carbon Neutral" this week.

Sorry I have forgotten the characters' names, as I haven't been blogging quite as much lately, but one character makes the comment that Gore may stop talking to achieve his goal.

I wonder what else constitutes a Carbon Neutral week? Does this mean holding ones breath also? Holding one's bladder? Holding one's bowels? Ewwww! After a week of holding it all in, will Al explode?

Actually, it seems that over the long run, after we have achieved our adult size, the amount of carbon that we take in probably balances with the carbon that we put out. So does Al Gore suggest he is going to go the natural route and balance the in and out of carbon. Or is he going to try to put out less carbon, a la the methods described in the previous paragraph?

Gee, I can hardly wait. I hope the MSM will keep us posted.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Further Evidence That the Nobel Peace Prize Means Almost Nothing...

Or revisiting the tolerance of "liberals".

From the article linked above, Nobel laureate Betty Williams stated:

"Right now, I would love to kill George Bush."

She blames President Bush for the deaths of children in the Iraq war zone. I doubt that she spends much time weeping for the children killed by Islamists in Israel and elsewhere.

Go give it a read.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Further Evidence That Pat Buchanan's Cheese Has Slid Off His Cracker

A article from Friday reports on Pat Buchanan's latest opinions on the Israeli - Hezbollah conflict. Once in a blue moon, Pat makes some good points, but I don't understand his Israel/Jew bashing, joined in upon by Paul Craig Roberts and some folks at

Is it that they are so steeped in their Libertarian ideology (or Conservative purism) that they can't see the reasons for our defense of Israel?

Aside from defending a fellow democracy, Jews and Christians are "family". How much tolerance are you going to get from a Muslim Sharia-based system of laws, if that comes to pass on a worldwide basis?

Yes, there may be some people of the Jewish persuasion in the One-world government camp, but religion has little to do with that.

Go give the article a read.

A Point Well Made, A Point Well Taken

I posted over at Beer Can Blog about finding a beer that I had not had since 1982, Point Special Beer, from Stevens Point Brewing Co., Stevens Point, WI.

It was nice and fresh, having been bottled on the 173rd day of the year, without doing the math, that would be sometime in June.

But unless you are on the North side of Atlanta, where you can visit Tower Liquor Store on Buford Highway in Doraville, I don't know where else you can find it.

This means that sporadic barley-based ethanol research has resumed.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Conquering Fear, 53 Feet at a Time

Well, I done it. I went rappelling off a 53-foot wooden tower at Scout Camp. I knew I was running out of time before camp closed, so at about 11:30 AM Friday, I climbed "Cardiac Mountain", where the rappelling/climbing tower was, but the staff was in the middle of a class, so I was told to come back at 2 PM. So after lunch, I climbed Cardiac Mountain again and got in on the orientation with another class. As they divided up into climbing, zip-line, rappelling and other venues, I got in the rappelling line. I had gone over it in my mind, I wouldn't look down and it would be easy to just lean back and trust the strong ropes and harnesses.

After I climbed 5 stories of what seemed like 60 degree stairs, I stood at the top, looking out over the tops of the trees on the mountain slopes and valley below. As I neared the doorway where the staff members welcomed the rappellers, the normal fear of jumping off high places began to kick in. I handed my digital camera to another Scout leader and asked him to take a picture, if I decided to make a go of it.

It seemed so easy when I pictured it in my mind on the ground. I would just lean back on the harness and use my left rope hand to steady myself and the right hand, behind my back as a brake. But when I stepped into the little staging area, my common sense kicked in and fear took over. Fortunately, the staff was understanding and there was another rappelling line available for the few that went while I was gathering my courage and suppressing my normal fears.

I knew that it wouldn't be so bad once I went over the edge, once you take that step backwards, you can't go back anyway. I didn't have my watch, so I don't know if it took 5 or 10 minutes of courage-finding, but I finally did it. I went. I didn't look back up and I didn't look back down. It wasn't so bad, but I wasn't ready to stop and look around. I did the jumping away from the wall as they said and I kept my butt lower than my feet, so I did that right. It wasn't so bad at all.

And I finally reached the ground. I thought about going back up and doing it again, but I had other places to go as venues were closing.

So I left for the 50-yard rifle range, on the other side of the valley, up another small mountain, more gradual than Cardiac Mountain. The rifle range had been closed to Scouts, so that Scoutmasters and Assistant Scout Masters could have some time plinking away with .22 rifles of different types, with and without scopes.

Not having fired a rifle at a range in 20+ years, I did OK with the two different .22 rifles I tried. And while there, I decided to try the inline, black-powder, muzzle-loader (.30 caliber?). It was the one that you could hear from almost the entire scout camp. I did fairly well with five shots from that one too. As this rifle roared with authority, the other shooters were warned when it was ready with a call of "Fire in the Hole".

Two doses of testosterone (sp.?), rappelling and enjoying the Second Amendment within a few minutes. What a country!

After a week with only small sprinkles on Wednesday afternoon, we had the excitement of an approaching line of thunderstorms (with some noteworthy winds), at about 10:30 PM, but the storms were rather short-lived. After it calmed down, the all-week Scoutmaster and the other Assistant (besides myself), along with two others (that came up to help us break camp), decided to haul the cots out of the tents to a nearby grassy area and sleep under a tarp. It seemed like the rain was over and I was teased briefly for wanting to sleep in the tent, but when it started to pour at 3 AM, I just smiled and turned back over in my dry tent and went back to sleep.

Overall, a week of Scout Camp was good for both myself and my son. I hope we can do it next year. But I will make sure he changes his Scout t-shirt that he wears during daily events (we wore the khaki-colored "Class A" uniforms for dinner and special events). We had packed three "Class B" t-shirts and when I was helping him repack to leave the camp, I found two clean ones still packed in their individual large ziplock bags. A week using a single t-shirt, when I asked him a couple of times if he had changed. What can you say to an 11-year old boy? He did change his underwear a few times, though time in swimming class in the lake substituted for showers.

Now we are back in the real world, maybe I can conquer a few other challenges. Maybe after I enjoy a strong ale and a bath tonight (my wife is visiting relatives out-of-town).

Back to life.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Few Thoughts on the Ralph Reed Loss

A Moonbat Letters-to-the-Editor in the AJC attributed Ralph Reed's loss in the lieutenant governor's race to a public that is getting tired of the Conservative Right (paraphrasing).

T'aint so!

Ralph Reed's loss was not a repudiation of Christian voters or politicians, nor of Conservatives in general. It was because of Ralph Reed's "Ick factor". That business with the lobbyists and the gambling interests was never properly explained and while it may not have been illegal, it smells bad and looks bad. Thus the "Ick factor".

Another Conservative with the "Ick factor" is Newt Gingrich, over his treatment of his first two wives.

Well, Scout Camp is ending and I have to be on my way to tying up some loose ends (don't want to leave any boys here in the mountains). Heh.

Hopefully will be back soon.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The President's Veto Pen Should Have Been Used Before...

But his veto of the Stem-cell legislation was a proper move.

Last year, Richard, the Black Republican, had a good post on evidence that suggested that other types of stem cells showed more promise than embryonic stem cells, without the moral issues associated with the use of embryonic stem sells.
So instead of the MSM doing some reasearch, they decided to "holler" about "bans" on embryonic stem cell research. It is not an outright ban on embryonic stem cell research, but rather the continuation of not using taxpayer money for the research. The status quo does not prevent private firms from funding research. The ultimate concern is that someday (if not already), human embryos and clones will be raised for "spare parts" and then tossed aside afterward.

Blogging From Scout Camp

I managed to find a computer in the Scout Master's Lounge at Woodruff Scout Reserve.

Since arriving here early afternoon on Sunday, it has gone pretty well. It has been hot in the daytime (low 90s), cool at night, without any rain, despite the humidity. But we survive.

Yesterday, my son and five other scouts from our Troop went on a 45 minute horseback ride through the hills of easternmost Tennessee. As we were leaving the horse farm, heading for the trail, one of the horses carrying a boy from our Troop spooked and ran back towards the barn, where the horse was successfully subdued and the boy was transfered to another horse. All I could think was OMG!, we are not even on the trail yet and one of "my boys" (for whom I had responsibility) has to deal with a "wild horse". There was nothing I could do, but with his pulling back on the reins and hollering "Whoa!" and with the help of the horse handlers, things worked OK. It's one of those stories that he will tell his Dad, but probably not his Mom (for a while). Once or twice my son's horse wanted to run, but he remained calm and slowed the horse down. The trail being was well used with lots of ruts and broken limbs (and a few low hanging limbs, too), to make it interesting. Other than trying to bite me a couple of times, my horse Samson behaved pretty well. I remembered enough from the last I rode my sister's Shetland, about 35 years ago, that I managed to keep Samson moving properly.

One small frustration, one of my hobbies is learning and photographing different ferns and while on horseback, I saw two new ferns that I had not encountered before, but I could not stop the horse and take pictures.

Forty five minutes was the longest I had ever been on a horse and the horse was part draft horse, somewhat larger than the Shetland pony that my sister had when she was younger. And my 11 year old son had never been on anything more than a Shetland pony at Fall Festivals, when he was younger. Now hopefully he is on the verge of getting a Merit Badge in Horsemanship.

After getting back to Scout Camp and dinner, my son and others from our Troop then went on a five-mile hike around the lake, getting back after 9:30 PM. And after not liking the water when he was younger, he is getting the hang of swimming, thanks to patient instructors. Other activities have included rifle target practice, archery, and "Mountain Man" projects (knots, proper handling of knives, axes, map reading).

So I have decide if I am ready to try rapelling (sp.?) from a 53-foot tower, tomorrow. I hate the feeling of having to jump from elevated platforms (that was the worst part of the horse ride, when we were going down steep hills towards streams), but I think that with rapelling, having two hands on the ropes gives you more control over your destiny. Also, you are looking at the wooden tower and not towards the ground. I will see if the schedule permits.

I have been averaging probably five miles a day walking back and forth across the Scout Camp, trying to keep up with members of our Troop, among 850 boys from Georgia, all of the surrounding states, and Mississippi (at least). And surprisingly, there is very little poison ivy, but there are chiggers, of which I have a few.

Overall, a pleasant (but not easy) adventure.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Vote For More Offshore Drilling

If memory serves me correctly, there will be a vote soon in the Senate to allow drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, outside the 50 mile-from shore limit.

Of course Luddites, such as the Sierra Club are likely to fight this, citing such worries as damage to coastal ecosystems and beaches.

The 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill fouled the local beaches and shallow marine ecosystems because the drill rig was six miles off shore. Technological improvements since then make such spill less likely and a 50 mile buffer makes shoreline damage even less probable. If memory serves me correctly, tankers spill more oil these days than do drilling rigs.

We have to increase domestic production, if we are to wean ourselves from oil from the world's hotspots. We have to have a vibrant economy to develop the alternatives that will someday transition us gradually from the petroleum age. That is how the free market works.

Conservation, of course has its place, but it is only one strategy and it will come with some changes in personal habits and with improved technology.

From July 16 through July 22, I Won't Be Ignoring You...

I will be at Boy Scout camp. Please pray for me. I will be a rookie Assistant Scout Master. It will be an adventure, for sure.

The ACLU vs. Common Sense

The above-linked article, from relates a story from Detroit, where a officials in a Detroit suburb proposed a new ordinance that mandates foreign-language business signs have at least a partial English translation posted alongside, partially for the purpose of identifying the business during an emergency (fire, medical, crime, etc.). In other words, it is about response time. A passerby with a cell phone can call in and give a more complete description of the business if he/she knows whether it is a bakery or dry cleaner (at a quick glance, especially if there are burglar bars, it may not be evident).

But in the face of this common sense proposal, the ACLU had to holler that it was anti-Arab and anti-Hispanic. Hey ACLU, the natives of Detroit speak English. Detroit, Michigan ain't Montreal, Quebec. This suburb is not trying to ban foreign language signs as Quebec does with English. The proposal calls for both translations.

Just keep it up ACLU, just show the American mainstream how irrational you can be.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Suspension of Ethanol Testing and Quality Control will Take Place Next Week

I usually blog about this over at Beer Can Blog, but I will leave notice here. I have been conducting sporadic research and quality control on barley-generated ethanol, 12 ounces at a time, for years.

Because I am now an Assistant Scout Master and will be at Boy Scout camp with my son all next week, research will have to be suspended, until at least the afternoon of July 22nd.

I apologize for any inconveniences this will cause.

Oh, by the way, I won't be able to blog, here, there, or wherever during that time either.

There is just something about sitting around a campfire in the evening that begs for a beer, but no can do. I am not the only one to have these longings, it just goes with the job.

50 Questions

Over at Lifelike Pundits, head-pundit Aaron answers 50 easy questions posed by a leftist on Arianna Huffington's blog. I don't have the time nor the desire to visit Arianna's blog.

I don't have time to read all of them, but among the annoying questions is #23.

23. If you shot someone in the face while drinking, how fast would the police show up to arrest you?

The nutball that originally asked these questions doesn't remind you that the person that the VP accidentally shot was about 90 feet away, and if memory serves me correctly, he stepped into the line of fire. Or it may have been that the VP whirled around to take a shot, but the point is that the person wasn't within "spitting distance" as the Libs would want you to think. (If I missed a few details, please forgive).

If you go through all 50, you can see the premise of some of the questions (many of them?) progressively becomes more irrational. Is that why they call themselves "Progressives"?

Go give it a read.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Woozy on Ethanol Fumes?

A few years ago I read an article suggesting that there was a net loss of BTUs in the corn-based production of ethanol for fuel and I passed that info along to my Environmental Science classes. I am in favor of continued privately-funded research, but no more subsidies for Archer Daniels Midland.

This Tech Central Station article goes further in telling of the downsides to ethanol. One of the points is that if the government starts subsidizing the growning of corn for ethanol, too many farmers may jump on that bandwagon, at the expense of other crops. An example of this happened with the EU, because of subsidies for raising olives in Spain, too many people got involved in the planting of olive trees, damaging the environment. [Sorry, I don't have time to try to find the link].

In a free-market system, when too many people/businesses jump into a fad market, sooner or later, some of them will drop out and things will stablize. Subsidies distort market forces. I blogged about this last year concerning the effects of sugar subsidies.

So despite how many times President Bush talks about ethanol, just remind your kids that it isn't feasible with present-day technology. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to remind your Representatives and Senators not to spend taxpayer money on subsidies for ethanol research or corn production. Let ADM take care of it themselves.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Thoughtful Piece by a Liberal

Yes, I spend plenty of space slamming faux liberals on this blog. But once in a while, some of them make some sense.

Included is former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm. As presented on, exerpts (sp.?) from a 2004 speech say the same thing as many Conservatives have been saying for years as far as "mulitculturalism" goes. It leads to Balkanization or some other descriptions of tribalism.

From the article:

"...One scholar, Seymour Martin Lipset, put it this way: "The histories of bilingual and bicultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension and tragedy. Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, Lebanon – all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with its Basques, Bretons and Corsicans.""

Go give it a read.

Why Modern Liberals Ain't - Calif. Supreme Court vs. The Boy Scouts

The Sea Scouts, which are affiliated with the Boy Scouts, have lost free marina access, which they have had for more than 50 years, in the city of Berkeley, California.

From the WND article:

"...Although Berkeley allows nonprofit groups free use of the city's marina, it prohibits the Berkeley Sea Scouts from participating in this program, because the Sea Scouts are affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, which official excludes avowed homosexuals and atheists from being adult leaders of the boys enrolled in the century-old youth organization."

I doubt that the Sea Scouts can turn to their United States Senators for any help. And not that "libs" care, but scouts from families having financial difficulties are among those hurt:

"...The Berkeley Sea Scouts is a multi-ethnic group drawing on all economic backgrounds. "Berkeley’s exclusion of the Sea Scouts has imposed financial hardships on the organization," says the legal group. "The monthly berth fee of more than $500 that the Sea Scouts must pay has led to cutbacks in programs and less financial assistance available for kids from poor families."

...Thus, some minority, low-income Sea Scouts members have dropped out of the popular youth program." (Emphasis added).

So, I guess the libs have won their political battle, that is all they care about. For them, some kids are only political props, to be used when needed.

At This Point, I Don't Really Know If it is Paranoia or Not

Concerning reports on about the plans for a Mexico to Canada corridor and what it portends.

I don't have time to find a link, have to get away from the library and back to job-hunting. Will try to do that later.

Not ever wanting to surrender any U.S. sovereignty (sp.?), I wonder if someday, some sort of stronger Western Hemisphere Alliance is going to become necessary, if the Islamists' rampage continues and Europe surrenders. Is it necessary to draw Mexico closer, if South America slides further into Communism and then economically crashes?

If something along those lines happens, we need to remind Canada and Mexico of which of the three economic systems has been most successful.

Just trying to look a few decades down the road. We need some contigency plans if Europe goes further into the toilet. I am not in favor of any sort of World Government, so this issue does bear watching.

Now Tom Brokejaw is Getting Involved in the Global Warming Hysteria

Just another non-scientist with a soapbox and an agenda to prop up Al Gore and Co..

I have stated my position ad nauseum. Geologic history is a story of change. Because of that history of change, with long-term trends only revealed after-the-fact, we cannot accurately assess what we might be responsible for. We cannot accurately assess the global effects of deforestation and the growth of Urban Heat Islands, when external inputs are so varied.

This paradigm, that human-generated carbon dioxide is heating the planet, was born a political issue, for the purpose of gaining influence among world leaders. It has been kept alive to gain political influence and power.

It has become all about hobbling the United States economy, by those jealous of our prosperity. They don't even consider the damage they will do to the World Economy is they tear us down. Jealousy is not a good mindset by which to make policy.

Kyoto-type "remedies" ignore the CO2 emitted by India, China, Brazil, Mexico, et al, in order "not to damage their economies".

Yes, in their early stages, Capitalistic economies are dirty, but once a liveable standard of living is established in a particular nation, then the people, being assured of survival, can turn their attention to cleaning up the air, the soil, and the water.

If we are to get past the petroleum age, it ain't going to be a bunch of Socialist Europeans (and their brethren) nor Luddites that do it. We need a vibrant economy to develop those future technologies.

I don't care about the laboratory minutea (sp.?). [Lab Lemming, go ahead an hammer me, I appreciate your efforts, though we disagree on some issues.]

I am an outdoor scientist that looks at history and broad concepts. The Sun's output varies, the Earth's orbit varies, continents split apart and crash into each other, everything changes, given enough time, even gravity, to a small extent. The Atlantic Ocean is slowly getting wider. The Himalayan Mts. are still slowly rising due to the collision of the Indian subcontinent with the Asian Plate, beginning about 50 million years ago. There are things that affect the climate that we haven't learned to accurately assess, yet.

Most of the Greenhouse Effect is due to humidity and clouds. The last few days Atlanta has been under a High Pressure System, with fewer clouds and humidity and slightly lower temperatures, especially at night, because of the lessened Greenhouse Effect.

Every strange weather event is not due to global warming. We know that there are cycles (on different time scales), some of these cycles exaggerate each other. Others partially cancel each other out. Throw in the random events and you have a "wild world".

They are Not Soldiers and They are Not Covered by the Geneva Convention

In a tragic retreat from common sense, according to an AP story, the U.S. government will give the Gitmo detainees Geneva rights.

They are not uniformed soldiers from a tangible nation's army and THEY DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT ANY SORT OF CIVILIZED INSTITUTIONS, LIKE THE GENEVA CONVENTION. Our soldiers are covered by the Geneva convention, but that makes no difference to this enemy.

Their long-term goal is to subjugate (sp.?) Geneva and the rest of Europe, in fact the world, as they have stated.

This enemy has no rules. BEING NICE TO THEM WINS YOU NOTHING!!!!!!

I am afraid to turn on Michael Savage tonight, for unless he is still on vacation, he is going to blow out my radio's speakers.

What ever we do at Gitmo during interrogations does not pass for torture in the Middle East. The Islamists take advantage of our civility.

President Bush needs to find his balls and get on TV and take the bully pulpit and say "They are not soldiers, they are not covered by the Geneva Convention. By Middle Eastern standards, they are not being tortured."

If we are holding any more innocent people there, we will figure it out and send them home. Otherwise, we don't need to be helping the enemy any more than we already are.

Another Bad Idea Kept Alive by Academics and Lawyers...

is the Slavery Reparations Movement. By way of is this article on the efforts of race baiters, self-serving lawyers and select members of the Religious Left.

David Horowitz has spent much time explaining the reasons this is a bad idea. I will just give you my simpleton view.

All of the slaves are dead.
All of the slave-holders are dead.
All of the slave-traders are dead.
Though evil, slavery was legal. What kind of precedent are you setting, if someone has to start paying reparations for legal activities?

In his book "Race and Culture", Dr. Thomas Sowell suggests that the only ones that benefited from slavery perhaps were the slave owners themselves. Though it has been years since I read this book, I recall the opinion that, on balance, the nation did not benefit from slavery, when all factors were considered.

Throwing other people's money at poverty, regardless of the race of the recipients, is not going to solve any problems. Ultimately, the ones that are pushing for reparations do not want us to get along with each other. If we did, we would no longer need them.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Oh, That Little Tickle on the Back of My Neck,...

or on the back of my wrist.

No, it is not my wife getting frisky with me, it is a tick.

Oh, Georgia in the summertime. I found two on me yesterday and my son found one on the sofa. The only pleasurable part is taking them to the brick front steps and using a small rock to turn them into ant food.

Is that why they call them ticks? Because they tickle when they crawl on you?

Pray for me to get a job soon, so I won't trouble you with such bad humor.

A Good Point, But I Forgot Where I Read It

While surfing the blogosphere this afternoon, I happened upon the notion that North Korea is the basket case that it is because "we didn't finish the war". I am sorry I can't remember where I read it. Sorry that I can't give the proper attribution.

The same deal with Vietnam, to an extent. Except Vietnam, being in a more temperate climate, seems to be able to feed itself more efficiently than North Korea.

Others have said this before - What other superpower in the history has a history of rebuilding its defeated adversaries, after a war? We do it to try to head off future wars.

Decisive victory, followed by rebuilding is the best way to lasting peace. When we turn and run, more people die in the power vacuum. But John Murtha, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Cindy Sheehan, et al, just don't get it.

Sorry for the "Senior Moment".

No, I Don't Like It, One Bit...

A few weeks ago it was Matt Kenseth spinning Jeff Gordon out at Bristol, yesterday it was Jeff Gordon returning the "favor" at Chicagoland Speedway.

There is an art to nudging someone aside without spinning them out. Twenty two years ago, at the Pepsi 420 at Nashville, TN, in the closing laps, Darrell Waltrip was pounding on Geoff Bodine's rear bumper, but Darrell never touched Geoff's quarter panel in the turns. Darrell was doing everything he could to intimidate Geoff into making a mistake, but he didn't turn Geoff around. Geoff, having grown up on the Modified circuit, didn't get intimidated.

At Pocono in 2000, Jeremy Mayfield nudged Dale Earnhardt, Sr. just enough to "loosen him up" and force him to lift off the gas long enough for Jeremy to get by Dale for the win. Earnhardt groused about it for a while, but it was the same move that Dale had used on Alan Kulwicki at the same track, prior to Alan's first win (in 1988).

Regardless of who does it, when you spin someone out, it is a cheap move. It is plausible that it was an accident, but...

While on the subject of NASCAR, congratulations to Casey Mears for his first Busch Series win on Saturday.

And as we close in on the Chase, it is nice to see Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Burton, and Kasey Kahne well up in the standings.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I Gess Ya'll Red About This a Fu Das Ago

From Partisan Pundit's Tattered Bits of Brain:

It is all about trying to simplify spelling in the English language. Surprisingly, Andrew Carnegie and Theodore Roosevelt were among famous past supporters of this bad idea.

To many of the simple-minded, this may sound good, and I am sure that most literate adults could handle it, but if we start teaching our children in this fashion, it is going to cause an even greater disconnect with our cultural roots than we have already experienced.

From the article:

"...But education professor Donald Bear said to simplify spelling would probably make it more difficult because words get meaning from their prefixes, suffixes and roots.

``Students come to understand how meaning is preserved in the way words are spelled,'' said Bear, director of the E.L. Cord Foundation Center for Learning and Literacy at the University of Nevada, Reno."

Yes, English is something of a mongrel language and difficult to learn, but look at the success of the English-speaking nations of the world and their positions as bastions of freedom, even if some of them have backslid. Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, constitute much of what we consider the "First World".

To reiterate, once a generation of children have been taught this rot, how are they going to comprehend our Founding Documents, including the Federalist Papers, the Gettysburg Address, and even Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech? [Do I have to pay royalties because I mentioned the name of the speech? Maybe they are so pre-occupied with the sale of the papers that they won't worry about it.] So many people are ignorant of the contents of these writings and speechs anyway.

I don't mean to seem paranoid, but maybe that is the idea.

Briefly Revisiting the Aztlan Issue

While visiting Michelle Malkin's blog, I ran across a link to a Human Events article written in April by U. S. Rep. Charlie Norwood, regarding some of the organizers of pro-illegals rallies a few weeks ago.

In the article was a quote from MEChA, a quote that I had looked for the last time I posted on this issue, but couldn't find.

"Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada."

Translated it reads:

"For The Race everything. Outside The Race, nothing."

Well, that manages to combine both racism and bigotry in a nice neat little package. The kind of thing you might expect from Aryan Nations. Except the MSM would jump all over Aryan Nations for this sort of philosophy (as well they should). But do they say anything about this "brown" racism/bigotry? We won't hold our breath.

I suppose some could raise some issues about how the United States grew westward vis-a-vis issues with Mexico during the middle 1800s. But that was then and this is now. Mexico's economic issues are deeply entrenched and "reclaiming" this portion of the United States will make no difference in their collective standard of living. Mexico has sufficient resources, oil, natural gas, uranium, silver, tourism, make for a better future, if they were to embrace the free-market system.

No, we are not going to dissect the United States to please a bunch of bigots, whether they be white, black, or brown.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Bill Keller's Remarks

Regarding discussions on Laura Ingraham yesterday (I missed today), it seemed that NYT's Bill Keller sees no big problems with the revelations concerning tracking of overseas bank transactions.

Even a rockhead like myself can understand that the transactions are either paying for already committed acts of terror or they are for future "projects". It may take a while to see the downsides to their "aid and comfort" to Islamist terror.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Will Someone Explain the Science to Me Please?

'Cause it seems to be contrary to what I was taught in Oceanography class, years ago.

I blogged about this issue last year, as it came up in the media then. If time permits, I will go back and find that post.

Some scientists, as reported on this Washington Post article, are concerned that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will make the oceans too acidic for coral survival.

But something to consider, from the article:

"...A coalition of federal and university scientists is to issue a report today describing how carbon dioxide emissions are, in the words of a press release from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "dramatically altering ocean chemistry and threatening corals and other marine organisms that secrete skeletal structures.""

Pundits that accept the current "humans cause global warming" paradigm regularly smear privately-funded scientists if there is any hint of funding from coal producers or oil companies, while ignoring the fact that Federal funding keeps many federal and university scientists on short leashes. If you dissent too loudly, you won't get "government" funding for future projects.

Yes, for the sake of full disclosure, I earned about $2200 on a summer job that was funded by Western Coal Company 27 years ago. Since then, nothing from any energy producers. The big "oil crash" happened while I was still in grad school, so oil company jobs had dried up by the time I graduated.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand. The concern is over the acidity of seawater in the vicinity of coral reefs. There is an elementary chemical reaction that generates this concern. Water plus carbon dioxide = carbonic acid.

But seawater is much more complex than that. The ability of water to absorb carbon dioxide is related to temperature, pressure and salinity. One of the important principles that I learned in Oceanography class is called the "Coca Cola Principle" or you could call it the "Budweiser Principle" if you wish. As a liquid warms, it loses its ability to dissolve carbon dioxide. That is why your beer loses its fizz when you leave it out too long. [As an aside, mainstream beers are brewed to be consumed cold, with the carbonation relatively intact. That is why their "flavor" changes when the carbonation is lost, the chemistry has changed. With many heavier, less-carbonated ales, when they warm to the proper temperature, as they weren't as carbonated to begin with, their chemistry doesn't change as much. Yes, ultimately it is all about beer.]

When seawater warms, it is perfectly logical to assume it is going to lose some of its dissolved carbon dioxide, causing the pH to rise (the seawater becomes a little more alkaline). CO2 is highly soluble in seawater, so it is not unusual for it to enter and leave the system through sea-surface reactions.

If the pH is rising noticeably, there may be another reason. If the CO2 is rising, there might be another source, rather than just the atmosphere. Deep seawater has much more CO2, because of the colder temperatures. Any increased CO2 around reefs may be a function of changes in vertical marine currents that bring cold bottom water closer to the surface.

It just isn't that simple, to say that because atmospheric CO2 is rising, that CO2 increases in the oceans are related. They may be, they may not be.

From the April 24, 2006 U.S. News & World Report...

there seems to be a pretty good article on alternative sources for petroleum in North America.

Of the mainstream "news" magazines, U.S. News doesn't seem to have the history of being slanted as far Left as Time or Newswreck, or at least that is my perspective.

Among these alternatives are tar sands, oil shale, and coal (for petroleum liquids and coal-bed gas production). There are production and waste disposal issues involved with all of these, so there are no magic bullets. The issue of the non-existence of "silver bullets" in science and technological research is addressed by Glenn Harlan Reynolds on TCS this morning. The media seems to decry research when it doesn't immediate solve every thing promised.

So, if you don't have a back issue around the house, head down to the public library and give a look.

The "Humor" of Liberals and the Double Standard

I don't normally watch "The View". But while I am at home doing online job hunting (our home computer works on a sporadic basis), occasionally I have to suffer through "The View", when my wife's part-time summer work schedule has her at home. I have to suffer through the airheads and she has to suffer through my comments.

And on occasion, other TV shows will reference comments made on The View and one that I heard yesterday (I don't know the original air date) well-illustrated the double standards between what "liberals" are allowed to do or say and the standards to which Conservatives are held, even for accidental "slips-of-the-tongue".

On this particular episode of The View, the pop singer "Brandy" was being interviewed when airhead Joy Behar asked her loudly, (paraphrasing slightly) "Where did the name "Brandy" come from? Is your mother an alcoholic?"

"Is your mother an alcoholic?"

This question was not asked in a quiet, concerned fashion in response to a person related their childhood issues. This was a smart-ass comment by an airhead. I wasn't looking at the TV and I don't think the report showed Brandy's reaction. It is a shame that she didn't bitch-slap Joy simply for being an airhead.

If a white Conservative had made a comment like that about a black entertainer, the hollering in the MSM would last for weeks. Talk radio hosts such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, etc., would be facing calls for the loss of their jobs. There would probably be calls in Congress for controls on "hate speech" or the re-instatement of the Fairness Doctrine to control such commentary.

Can you imagine at a workplace if you greeted a new co-worker with that sort of comment? Imagine if you will - A new employee by the name of Brandy is introduced to the office/sales floor, whatever. And you uncork your best Tommy Chong impersonation and say "Hey Man, Brandy is a cool name. Was your mom drunk when you were conceived?" Unless you had a great deal of seniority and/or tenure (or polaroids of the boss), how do you think you would be treated?

An Important Tipping Point Regarding the Supreme Court...

and whether or not the judiciary is out of control, may be in the not-so-distant future. And it may hinge on a scientific issue.

Roy Spencer, from the University of Alabama - Huntsville and science-writer with Tech Central Station, et al, is advising us that the U.S. Supreme Court may hear a case involving the Attorneys General of several states (mostly blue states?) on whether or not carbon dioxide is a pollutant that must be regulated by the EPA.

And either losing side, which ever way it goes, may claim that the Supreme Court does not have the science background to make such decisions. The EPA itself (at least currently) does not interpret CO2 as a pollutant. A byproduct of respiration and combustion, but not a pollutant.

In Roy Spencer's article, he pretty well sums up the viewpoint of the skeptics with this passage:

"...Proving harm from global warming is confounded by natural climate fluctuations that are so large that the global warming signal becomes lost in the noise."


"...And, contrary to what Al Gore's movie implies, we have always had droughts, floods, major hurricanes, tornadoes, and ice calving off glaciers and falling into the ocean. There is no convincing evidence that weather has gotten more severe, more drought-prone, or more flood prone, as a result of global warming. Yet we are exposed to claims that "global warming is killing people now"."

Every Earth measurement that I can think of changes over time, even gravity to a small degree. The Earth's orbit around the Sun changes due to the gravitational pull of the larger planets. The Sun's activity changes. The Earth wobbles on its axis. Everything changes.

At any one point, every place on the Earth's surface and every place in the ocean is either getting warmer or colder. The changes may be so gradual that we cannot measure them in the short term and trends are often not evident until well after the fact.

It is difficult to say if our influences are 0.001%, 0.01%, 0.1%, 1%, 10%,... because of the history of change that is left in the geologic record and other data proxies (that are constantly being reviewed and refined). The hysteria is over computer models and what might happen. And handing over everything to a global government is probably the worst of all possible solutions when we do not know all of the causes.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ken Lay vs. al Zarqawi

So which death will the MSM and Leftist pundits celebrate more? In other words, which was the greater villain in their eyes?

If memory serves me correctly, the wrongdoings that became the Enron scandal began during the Clinton Administration and was prosecuted during the Bush Administration, 'cause I know that some folks will try to connect Bush and Enron.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Tyranny of the Minority, Courtesy of the ACLU

Yes, I know it is on the other side of the content, but we need to consider the "cascade effect" and what it might portend when intolerant people prevail in court.

In regard to the Mt. Soledad Memorial Cross, there has been an ongoing attempt by Atheist Philip Paulson to destroy a portion of this war memorial in the San Diego area. And with the assistance of the ACLU and various Federal Judges, most notably Judge Gordon Thompson, Jr., Paulson's intolerance has been given far more influence than it ever should have. One person should not have the power to tear down a portion of an existing memorial, just because he is offended by the sight of a cross. The City of San Diego has until August 1 to tear down the cross, thereafter it faces a $5,000 per day fine. Among others, former Senator & Vietnam POW Jeremiah Denton has asked President Bush to use Eminent Domain to transfer the disputed property to Federal ownership, where there are protections for memorials.

From the article (linked above):

"...Meanwhile, in Congress, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., introduced this week a bill to save the war memorial in its present form.

Hunter said in a statement, the memorial "has been a fixture of our local community for over 50 years, honoring veterans of all wars, including the global war on terrorism."

Unfortunately, the congressman said, "this memorial and its proud history has been identified as offensive and in violation of the California state constitution by liberal judges who have sided with a self-proclaimed atheist receiving legal and financial support from the ACLU."

Pointing to a special vote last year in which 76 percent of San Diegans chose to preserve the cross, Hunter said Judge Thompson's ruling "ignores the mandate delivered by the people of San Diego County and turns this beloved memorial into a political test case for liberal activists and their agenda.""

It can be argued that the United States is legally secular, but its culture is Judeo-Christian, with the emphasis on Christian. That is just the way it is. That crosses are commonly part of memorials is just an aspect of our culture. And that crosses are constructed on public land does not mean we are on the road to a theocracy, again, it is just a reflection of our culture. A culture that has been the most successful culture, on a number of fronts, in world history. That cultural success didn't happen in a vacuum, it didn't happen by way of random events.

I have ranted before that tolerance is a two-way street. If Mr. Paulson is successful, this is going to cause more damage to the "cause" of atheism than any noted "Bible-thumper" ever could. Just the same sort of damage that Michael Newdow (sp.?) could have done, if he is successful in having the words "Under God" removed from the Pledge of allegiance. And I am sure that most atheists know this. I am sure that most atheists just want to be left alone and the sight of an occasional cross does not cause most atheists to have hissy fits.

The Political Left continually trumpets "tolerance", they just can't seem to find the tolerance to preserve a cross that has been part of a war memorial for more than 50 years.

The Blue Star Chronicles blog has this May 25th post and a comment added this link

Have the two U.S. Senators from California offered any sort of support? I could be wrong, but I doubt that they have.

Roger Hedgecock is another high-profile supporter of efforts to save the Mt. Soledad cross.

If that cross gets torn down, there is something bad wrong with this country.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Day After Grumbles

The day after the NASCAR Pepsi Firecracker 400, that is. Overall, I think it was a good race.

The ol' number 43 was looking good last night in the late running of the Pepsi 400. Bobby Labonte might have made it more interesting than it was, if Jimmie Johnson had not lost it and used Bobby's Petty Dodge as a cushion to lessen the wall impact. In fact, Jimmie finished the race, while Bobby finished 42nd.

I know it was just a racing accident and I bear Jimmie Johnson no ill will over this, but it still bugs me. Signing Bobby Labonte to drive the #43 was a good move and I don't want to see the momentum get lost. Success breeds confidence which breeds more success.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

When it was My Turn to Get Yelled At...

While in a 1977 mindset, one of the stories that is often told over a beer (or two) is one of my encounters with one of those people that you remember for the rest of your life.

During my first semester of grad school (Spring 1977), one of my classes was in Geomorphology (the study of landforms), under Dr. Earl M.P. Lovejoy, who was (probably by his own admission) a certifiable "character".

[As an aside, a few years later, during the Summer of 1980 (I think), he literally died laughing. While on a field camp field trip, a student told a Polish joke and while Dr. Lovejoy was laughing, he suffered a massive heart attack and was essentially dead by the time he hit the ground. I wasn't there, but this is what I was told. I guess the unfortunate student decided not to pursue a career in comedy after that incident, something perhaps about literally knocking his audience dead.]

Returning to Summer Field Camp for 1977, it is about learning how to do the field mapping techniques that field geologists need. Dr. Lovejoy was somewhat tall and stout and he had a prominent voice, not deep like James Earl Jones, but one that commanded attention anyway. Throughout the 6 weeks of the field camp, every student got yelled at one time or another. That is just the way it was. He had high standards, but he also liked the theatrics of outdoor loud, verbal critiques of student mapping efforts, something he couldn't do in the classroom.

One of his oft-used spiels was "This is terrible. Do you call yourself a geologist? Why aren't you in Sociology?" Though Dr. Lovejoy had high hopes for me, after I made an "A" in his Geomorphology class, I knew that sooner or later my time would come. So I decided to be ready in case he delivered those lines to me. As it turns out, a few years earlier at Georgia Southern (Spring, 1974), I had begun to party a little too much and had managed to flunk Freshman Sociology. I had company, though. In a class of 35, there were 10 "D"s and 7 "F"s as final grades. I hadn't even planned on taking Sociology, but because of a late registration time, Historical Geology classes were filled and I picked Sociology to fill a Social Studies requirement. [That was a hit that my GPA never recovered from, along with my Trig and Calculus grades later on.]

When it came my time to be yelled at, when Dr. Lovejoy finished with "Why aren't you in Sociology?", I turned and yelled back "Well, I flunked Sociology. What was I supposed to do?".

For the first time in the collective memories of the student associates helping with the class, Dr. Lovejoy was speechless. He just turned and walked away, muttering to himself. I wish I could have met his expectations with another "A", but because that was my first encounter with the dry Summer heat, I was constantly dehydrated, without knowing it. For those that have not gone from the humidity of Georgia to the dryness of El Paso, because your perspiration evaporates, you don't realize how much moisture and electrolytes you are losing. At the time, I didn't like Gatorade nor salt tablets and as a result, after the first week or so, I was constantly tired and that resulted in work not getting finished on time, thus I earned a "C" and Dr. Lovejoy's disappointment.

I would like to say that I redeemed myself with Dr. Lovejoy, but that was not the case. The next class I had from him was Geology of the Western U.S. during Fall, 1979, after a tumultuous Spring and Summer, thanks to the "player" I met in New Hampshire in 1977. She cheated on me (unknown to me at the time), then dumped me and later that year married my best friend. The first time you fall in love you don't expect it to end that way and I went into a tailspin, learning for the first time what depression felt like. That was the first really big hit to my self-confidence, something that dogs me to this day.

I tried to take classes in the Fall of 1979, but ended with an Incomplete in Dr. Lovejoy's class. He died before I could complete the course, so that "I" became an "F" - big ouch. I later retook the same class with a different teacher (and a different course number), so the "A" did not replace the "F", as it might have if Dr. Lovejoy might have still been alive.

I ended up dropping out of grad school after that, not to return until after I met my wife in 1983 and found focus to my life. Because of time limits on the coursework, I had to restart, but my grades were much better the second time around. That is why it took 13 years to finish grad school - some folks call that "being stuck in the Rio Grande mud".

If I had finished grad school in 1980 or so, I probably would have gotten a job in Midland or Houston with an oil company and then lost that job when the "oil crash" happened in the mid-1980s, as happened with so many other classmates.

Things happen for a reason, but sometimes it takes years to understand that reason. I guess some answers won't be revealed until the "big test" is over. Such is life.

Just Lurching Down Memory Lane

Without the benefit of having had a glass of ale...

Yes, thinking about the Bicentennial celebration being 30 years ago does make me feel a bit old.

I spent that Independence Day with my family, as some of my college friends had already graduated (I had finished my classes, but had a field project left to finish for my B.S. in Geology), while others had not finished, so things were kind in in flux. I was supposed to go with a friend (Mike) to visit another friend (Dave) that had gone to work in a New Hampshire resort for the summer, but because of Mike's knee surgery that summer, we had to postpone that trip until the following year.

By the summer of 1977, I had finished the Ga. Southern Geology field project and had gone on to grad school at UT El Paso for Spring Semester and a 6-week Summer Geology Field Camp (the summer field camp generated many stories retold over many beers). Having moved to El Paso in January, 1977, without knowing a single soul and finding a small basement apartment for $85 per month the first full day I was there, I had a new sense of independence, so that when I returned to Ga. for the summer, I decided to take the trip to New Hampshire by myself.

The solo 1977 trip took place because my friend Mike had taken off hitchhiking across the country, without bothering to tell his folks what he was doing. Mike learned a lesson about pre-trip preparation, as he had a few months earlier purchased a well-preserved 1951 Studebaker pickup truck. The downside was that the prior owner had poorly-rebuilt the engine and that resulted in the engine self-destructing. Mike left the truck parked at his Dad's gas station, but after he was gone for weeks with no notification, his Dad got a bit peeved about the truck taking up space and sold it.

If the 1976 New Hampshire trip had taken place (without a follow-up in 1977), my life would be vastly different now. The 1977 trip turned out to be one of those "crossroads events" that has repercussions that last for years, if not a lifetime (a mixture of good and bad). The reason is that a certain player in the 1977 visit to New Hampshire was not working there in 1976, thus we would not have met during a 1976 visit.

But that will have to wait for another night when melancholy (sp.?) sets in.

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