Archive for June, 2010

And we’re talking Serious Muck.  Doc, being as you’ve done scholarly research on conspiracy theories, I’m wondering if you’ve come across any of these recently.  These all came from the comments section of this article: FEMA Has Plans to Evacuate Tampa Bay Area In Place.  I don’t know whether the article’s source of info is sound, or how grounded the site which presented it, ‘Veterans Today’, is.  I’m posting about it because it drew so many hits that it ended up on Google News’ front page, and because it received some astounding comments.  The ones from people simply speculating on the severity of the oil spill and the trouble people in the gulf states are facing are bizarre enough.

“For weeks, BP, government officials, and the corporate media have been engaged in a massive cover-up, lying about the unspeakable actual scale of the disaster, and lying about its clean-up and containment efforts. All attempts to contain the geyser — each of them a series of failed experiments and theories — have been futile and ineffective.

BP’s use of toxic chemical dispersants has been, at least in part, an attempt to obscure the visual horror of the spill from news cameras. The highly toxic dispersants themselves have further added to the toxicity of the spill, without actually removing any of the oil.

According to this frightening analysis by an experienced expert, what is visible on the surface, already the size of the state of Maryland may be as little as 20 percent of the actual scale of the spewing manmade volcano of toxic sludge being reported. Gigantic emissions of natural gas threaten to deplete the oxygen of the water in the Gulf.

The unprecedented amount of oil bursting out — perhaps as much as four barrels of oil per second — also raises questions about the actual size of the reservoir itself. This is an out of control volcano of oil spewing up with 70,000 psi behind it, from a reservoir nearly the size of the Gulf, with an estimated trillions of barrels of oil and gas tucked away.”


“The gulf gusher is estimated by some experts to be spewing oil at rate of more like 100,000 barrels per day, which is the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez every four days or so…with no end in sight. The technology to put a cap on a leak under 70,000 psi of pressure does not exist. The relief well won’t be effective because the casing of the well was probably blown out in the explosion plus the well is fractured in multiple spots below the seabed. In short, there is no way to stop it. It could go on for years.

Normal gulf drilling operations encounter a methane content of about 5% but in the case of the Deepwater Horizon, we are talking more like 40% methane! There is a huge methane gas pocket under the well and with the emerging evidence of fissures, the quiet fear now is that the methane bubble could rupture the seabed and explode into the Gulf waters.

Evacuate Tampa? Hell, they are probably going to evacuate the entire gulf region and this would surely mean martial law. A disaster of biblical proportions.”


“…if you lived paycheck to paycheck (and maybe not even that, many people are supplementing with credit cards), how can you just pack up what little you can and move? No job, a house/car payment still going to be due, maybe kids to feed, pets….where would you go with no savings? What does it cost to relocate to another state/area of the country, what does it cost to live while you TRY to find work somewhere else, assuming in this country you can even find work? Do you just walk off and leave your home you still owe on? Maybe, just maybe, these people CANNOT leave, there is no money to leave on.”

At the very least, these comments show the dire level of fear and anxiety among gulf residents right now,  which I think most of us  aren’t really aware of.  Then there’s the kernel of truth question.  A person despite knowing she ought to know better can’t help but asking, how much of this ‘out there’, worst case scenario stuff is based on some seed of fact?

Then there are the comments which are so surreal that I don’t know whether to laugh or hide.   So I have to ask your opinion of them.

“The Government is not letting you know everything about the Gulf Oil Spill. Benzene in incredible amounts is being released into the air. People are getting sick. UN Vans by the thousands are parked in secluded areas out of site from the public on AF Base in Florida just below Jacksonville. They are also in many other areas. Enter this grid into Google maps and you can see for yourself. 29.97213,-81.660047 (you will have to enter the coordinates)

The petro-chemical-military-industrial complex is gassing Gulf Coast residents with poisonous Benzene and Corexit dispersant at dangerously high levels in the largest U.S. domestic military operation to date. The military and FEMA are engaged in Emergency Plans for 36 urban areas from Texas to Florida due to the unstoppable Gulf oil volcano the size of Mt. Everest, as WMR reports, indicating evacuations. Some people are advised to relocate now.”


“We’ve all seen the videos of beaches not lined so much with oil, but with tar balls of varying sizes. Also, we’ve all noticed BP’s overall lack of concern for cleanup. We’ve seen booms which aren’t tied together. We’ve heard first hand account of staged clean ups on the beaches. As soon as a press conference, or media event is done BP stops work. The reason is simple, it’s not that they don’t care, but that they already know what’s gonna happen. The oil will start naturally being cleaned up via decomposition, oil eating organisms, and falling to the already naturally tar covered bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

What’s the benefit of this scam? MONEY, and population control. If you’re still reading this article, and even beginning to grasp the sinister nature of the fraud being perpetrated, then you’ll realize that the corexit9500, and other dispersant’s are not needed. They are purposely being sprayed by Evergreen Air/CIA to cull the population along the Gulf Coast.

Also, explained to me, is the large amount of useless eaters, pond scum, or undesirables living along the gulf coast. These would be the Americans living off of the government. I will not beat around the bush with pleasantries, or politically correct statements here. This coastal area from Texas to Florida has the highest, or most dense population of targets of illimination by the US Govt., and corporations. These are the populations living on welfare(in this area dominated by African Americans), and the older population living on Social Security(mainly Florida). These people are going to start dropping like flies over the next few years, and greatly reduce the burden to government coffers.

In this respect this is a doomsday event, but it’s not the end of the food chain, death of the oceans, or as some have warned an extinction level event. It’s only bad for the targeted populations.”



…ORBITING DEUTERIUM FLUORIDE CHEMICAL LASER WEAPON KNOWN as “MIRACL” ?….so you THINK I’m kidding ? …how about EXISTING VIDEO & PHOTOGRAPHIC PROOF ?..”MIRACL” is just ONE of the ORBITING WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION that has been put into orbit by the US MILITARY(USAF and USN) under the BLACK OPS DECEPTION of the “STAR WARS” program from the Reagan Administration and under the leadership of “DR STRANGELOVE” EDWARD TELLER….tell me HOW the “weaponization of space” can be “prevented” when the WEAPONIZATION OF SPACE has been ALREADY DONE for the past 40 YEARS….?…and here’s THIS VERY SIGNIFICANT FACT THAT NO ONE or VERY FEW HAS PICKED UP ON – but I IMMEDIATELY DID when word came out of the “explosion” of the DH platform….DEEPWATER HORIZON was DESTROYED on the 121st birthday of ADOLF HITLER….this means that the ODESSA/THE NAZI INTERNATIONAL/TEUTONIC BLACK KNIGHTS – the 4th REICH in AMERICA is behind this…”


“For many years, many of us have tried to get people to wake up to what is going on.
The reason for this oil blowout is the same reason for 9-11..and Waco…and rubyridge….and the attack on our jobs and economy and the chemtrails and the rigged elections and the endless wars and the bad vaccines and the attacks on our food supplies…..etc etc.
These are ALL related and all planned and all done by the same group.
There is an attack going on and has been going on for some time now to force the world into the New World Order and they dont care how many they murder to have their bloody way.
They have admited in writing what they want to do and they like to run little “practice” drills before they do it too.
We are under attack America. ALL the working class in the world are under attack. Wake up damn it!”

Whew!  Enough of that.  Quite a collection, ey?  This just boggles me.  I’ve been feeling very discouraged for folks in the gulf states after reading this stuff.

6/30   I should add that among these comments were posted many others debunking the wilder rumors – “There are no evac plans for Tampa Bay”, “the white vans are delivery vehicles (or a Kia storage facility, or photoshopped)”, “the conspiracy mongers are crazy idiots”, etc.   For me, the site as a whole shows the level of fear and loathing in the gulf states right now which is rising along with the oil.


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Time for some saccharine creampuff filler, devoid of mentally nutritious substance, presented solely for idle enjoyment.

These are other pictures I took while checking out the fire.

Arizona, or Western Columbine

Indian Paintbrush

Mat Penstemon

These flowers are having a banner year.  They’re all over the woods.


These flowers with a name I don’t recall and am too lazy to look up in a plant book are also having their best bloom in years.

That’s all I got.  I was planning to head on off to the ‘game room’ to engage in a little gender ambiguous play chasing after the evil sorceress Edea since I finally whupped Cerberus the three-headed hell-dog last night, but it’s taken so long to format the dang pictures and text in this post that I might just hang out here and recuperate by vegging on the internet for another hour.

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I came across this article, Plastics ingredients could make a boy’s play less masculine, in Science News Magazine.  I’m about six months behind in my stack of magazines.  This article was from a December issue, but it’s accessible online so I’ve linked to it.

Two observations jump out – first, that it’s not just fish and birds and lab rats being affected by pollutants; and second, that if plasticizers affect gender play, then gender play is at least somewhat biologically determined.

The researcher, the article writer, and the magazine itself all seem to accept this as a given.  I hadn’t ever heard that this had ever been conclusively determined, but I’m finding, after googling ‘gender play social or genetic’ that apparently research does point in the direction of dual influence.  Apparently also, there hasn’t been a whole lot of research on how far initial hormonal influence triggered by genes lasts into a person’s life.

So how much of ‘guyness’ is hardwired (or biochemically predetermined)?  And if we dose the environment and ourselves up with enough phthalate plasticizers, will we have fewer wars?  Probably so if we have fewer people.   Phthalates also contribute to infertility.  Better living through chemistry.

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Fire Away

The fire’s all out now.  Friday evening I walked around its perimeter and took some more pictures.

It surprised me to see how small a fire line (along with watching firefighters, I suspect) could stop the fire when it wasn’t up in the tree tops.



Even in places where the fire stayed on the ground the woods looked autumnal, although pine trees don’t do Autumn.  The fire was hot enough to scorch the needles, but these trees will almost certainly be green again next year.



Here’s the source of the fire.  The man who was camping here was a vagrant from California.  He’d been warned multiple times about camping within city limits, which is illegal in Flagstaff.  His fire ring is just out of the picture’s right edge.  The charred needles start a little ways beyond it, where the wind blew hot coals out of the ring.  This is one of the more substantial transient camps I’ve come across.  Usually they’re just a pile of blankets, maybe a sleeping bag, maybe a lawnchair, styrofoam cooler, empty cans, plastic bottles, books, old clothes scattered next to a fallen log or rock outcrop, usually all sagged and wilted down in to the dirt.  I’ve seldom come across an occupied camp.  Was this guy one of life’s victims or one of life’s jerks?  Both, maybe.



Nearly back home, here.  This picture shows how much thinning was done through here in the last three or four years.  Even though the woods in the distance still look crowded, they used to be a lot more so, and the fire didn’t crown here.



As opposed to here.

Environmentalists are now being blamed for the Schultz Pass fire because they challenged a Forest Service timber sale for the area a few years back.  That plan involved logging trees greater than 16″ in diameter.  These days, the Forest Service is supposed to make money on its timber cuts, so it has to include big trees in the offering.  After that sale was challenged, the recession hit, prices for lumber dropped as the market dried up, and the sale was abandoned as being unprofitable.

Little A had a few big trees cut down during its thinning, but as a rule they were beetle-stressed and dying.

The sad thing is, there was a lot of crowded growth such as in this picture in Schultz Pass, too.  The blame game on these conflagrations looks like a round of musical chairs.  Was it the fault of…

The dopes who let their camp fires escape?

A society that doesn’t have any help for often alcoholic homeless people?

Decision makers who require a profit for Forest Service thinning operations?

Purist, non-pragmatic environmentalists?

Forest managers who suppressed fires here for decades without pondering the consequences in order to protect valuable timber ?

I’m not looking for blame or feeling a need for any.  These fires seem like another example of what’s happening more and more in the world these days as we swarm over it attempting to fill our needs and desires.  We’re running in to ourselves, while running over everything else.

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I took these pictures in the Hardy Fire area on Wednesday evening.  Closer to my house, Little America Hotel over the past few years has had its woods thinned of overcrowded, spindly trees, the result of past decades of fire suppression.  In these sections the firefighters were able to keep the flames out of the treetops.  But southwest of the Rio de Flag drainage where the fire started and there hasn’t been much thinning, the blaze scorched pretty much everything.  It was edifying to see the difference first hand.

This is the Rio field with the fire area beyond it.  The fire jumped this field to my side of the rio without touching the field at all.  The wind blew sparks right over it in to the woods on the other side.

Up in among these burned trees it’s pretty eerie and monochromatic, everything in abeyance.  I’m sure that roots of many plants are still alive, and that they, and seeds under the dirt will start to green things up as soon as the rains come, but I think it will be many years before this area sees much tree cover.

You can see in this picture how thick some of the tree growth was.  All these trees are charred to their tips, but further off, you can see brown needles on trees that are more widely spaced, where the fire didn’t crown.  The ground is very bare here, but on slopes in the lee of the fire day’s wind, ash was very thick and powdery.  I stayed out of those areas.

There were a number of holes such as this one, still emitting smoke.  (The fire was 80% contained on Wednesday, and I gather that residual hotspots such as this constituted the 20% considered uncontained.)  It took me awhile before I figured out that these holes are what’s left of huge old tree stumps left from logging in the early part of the century.

These old stumps are common throughout the forests around Flagstaff.  They’ve been dry wood for several decades, so when the fire reached them, it burned them out down in to the ground along their roots.  They look like something out of a grim fantasy.

You can’t tell very well from this picture, but the little puff of white along the low part of the distant horizon is smoke from the huge fire burning north east of town in the foothills of the San Francisco Peaks.

The dogs were a bit subdued after this walk, and so was I.  Last evening we took our walk back in the green woods.

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I’ve been taking the dogs out walking on the other side of the road from the burned area’s eastern edge the last few days.  I’ve come across three spot fires on that side.  All had been suppressed before they’d grown more than a quarter acre or so.   There were several fire retardant drops on that side of the road also.  But for the most part, the forest there is unscathed.  And while we were wandering around I came across this beauty.

I’ve never seen this kind of  cactus bloom up here before.  Doc, I’m hoping you know what she’s called.  It seems incongruous to find cacti up here in the first place, but especially odd to find that the ones that do reside here apparently love being soaked under several feet of snow for weeks on end.

I’ve seen these cacti bloom only once before in the last 11 years.  Are they claret cups?  I’ve walked by the rock upon which this one dwells for years without ever noticing its presence until these bright red flowers caught my eye a week ago.  It and the rock it sits on were both submerged under snow for quite awhile this winter. I was able to confirm this evening that it was outside the fire zone.

Now that summer is officially here, spring has finally reached the high country, and all sorts of perennials that were able to store up lots of snow moisture are putting forth some dazzling displays of bloom, even as the grass and annual growth around them are struggling and dry.

I took this pic of Cindy modelling among these lovely lupines near my driveway last week.  They’re still in good shape.

However, these sweethearts on the other side of my neighbor’s drive are now toast.  But the fire wasn’t too severe at this locale so I think that, being perennials, they’ll be back next year.

Other parts of the burn weren’t treated so kindly.  I’ll try to post some pictures tomorrow of what I came across this evening further back in the fire zone.

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Saturday afternoon I went outside to hang out the clothes, and as I was walking back toward the house I smelled a whiff of smoke.  “Idiots”, I thought to myself, “Who’d light a fire on a windy day like this?”  I glanced around toward my neighbors’ places, looking for a plume of smoke.  And yikes, did I find one!  As I turned southwest I saw a huge smoke cloud billowing toward the house from somewhere past the trees behind the barn.

First thing I did was bring the laundry back in so it wouldn’t smell like smoke.  After a bit of dithering, trying to guess how far away the source of the smoke was and how likely it was that someone else had already called it in, I called 911 myself.  I started off by saying, “Someone’s probably already called, but…” The dispatcher interrupted, naming my road with a question mark.  I said “Yeah,” and she said, “They’re on the way to evacuate you.”  Ulp.

So I rousted my neighbor and told him what was up, and started loading milk crates full of files and journals and family history, a box of mementos from my grandparents and some clothes in to the truck.  As I was doing this, I saw the emergency folks driving down the road, presumably to start notifying folks to the south who were closer to the fire, before working their way back up to me.  So I kept loading more stuff – old family photos, dog and cat blankets, dog and cat food, dog and cat food bowls…   I backed up computer files on to some jump drives, then decided to just take the whole computer.

I never did get an official visit, but I did get a reverse 911 call telling me I should leave, and to register at the local Middle School when I’d done so.   All the while the smoke cloud kept getting bigger.  It started to shroud the sun, casting a lovely sort of sunset orange glow over everything.  Last to go in the truck were the four cats and three dogs.  By this time they knew something was up and they gave me impressively little fuss.  Within an hour or so of seeing the smoke, we hit the road.  I moved us all in to the conference/retail room at my place of employment and we camped there overnight, me availing myself of the kitchen to make dinner, the large selection of camping gear in the warehouse and the conference room computer upon which I surfed the ‘net for news of the fire.

This map didn’t show up until the next day, after they had the fire pinned down.

My house is in the lower green outlined area, in the left hand section outlined in yellow.  These faint yellow bordered areas are county islands.  My house is in the uppermost left corner of the stairsteps on the northwest side.  The fire burned up to the driveway of my neighbor to the west, just outside the county island.

Here’s his driveway with Cindy standing in it.  This is 200-300 yards from my house.  Not as scary as it sounds – this is 3 football fields away after all.  There’s no fire damage visible from my house, which is behind a little hill from here.

Sorry, this isn’t a very good picture.  I took it this evening, and I didn’t want to walk in to the burned area and stir up a bunch of ash just to get a better sun angle.  As you can see, at least here, the fire didn’t climb up in to the tree tops.  The trees may lose their needles due to the fire’s heat, but I think they’ll survive.  It’s hard to see, but there’s a fence in the middle distance which marks Little America Hotel’s property line.  They’ve done lots of thinning over the past few years, including this section, and I’m very very grateful to them that they did!  Otherwise the fire might well have crowned and been much harder to stop.

This tree is across the road from my driveway.  It’s not red from being firescorched, but from airdropped fire retardant slurry.

We were allowed back in to the neighborhood yesterday evening.  Traffic in the area is still restricted.  This morning the patrolman on duty at the top of the road told me that this little ~300 acre fire is 30% contained.  The firefighters are walking the area on a grid, checking for hotspots.

You can’t tell in this picture, but off in the distance along the horizon behind Mt Elden is the smoke cloud from the much bigger fire which erupted yesterday north of town.  It went from 0 to 5000 acres in less than a day.  This morning it had reached 9000 acres.  It’s burned close to several neighborhoods but so far has not destroyed any structures.  This fire put up an incredible mushrooming cloud of smoke yesterday, visible from all over northern AZ.  There are several youtube videos of it.  It’s nothing if not photogenic.  From some angles, Mt Elden or the peaks seemed to be erupting.  I highly recommend looking at these photos by Dan Greenspan (at http://spleen-me.com/blog/?p=1914, if the link here doesn’t work) which he took of the Schultz Pass Fire from atop Mt Humphreys, if you can.   They may take a little time to load, as his server may be a bit busy.  They’re pretty incredible.  Makes my little neighborhood fire look pretty puny!

It’s the third fire to break out here in two weeks.  As of yesterday there were also two more – both small and brought under control.  As you can imagine, we’re a bit spooked up here.  All the moisture from that record breaking 11 feet of snow we had this winter has long since evaporated and been blown away by the record breaking winds we had this spring.  I just hope we don’t top off those two seasons with record breaking fires this summer.

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