Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I think it's really late October and someone, somewhere is playing an elaborate and cruel joke on me and those around me.
So, whoever you are, lets just call it a good laugh and put the calendar back where it belongs. I mean, you can't really fool me - it's still 80 out.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Cenotes are the result of freshwater dissolving limestone along weaken fractures in the rock, creating large underground caverns (uber simple explanation, true). Since the water table can be very close to the surface, the roofs of these caverns were often fragile, and collapsed - creating the sinkhole. Many Cenotes are connected via a labyrinth of underground passages and rivers creating a massive network of open and underwater caverns that cave divers treasure. If you go to the Yucatan and you get sick of all the bootie on the beach and sweating while you climb all over the Mayan Pyramids, you can always strap scuba gear on and explore the labyrinthine world of the Cenotes. They're pretty awsome.
What I didn't know: If you map the location of the 3000 some known Cenotes, they form a distinct ring. The center point of this ring is just off the shore of the peninsula. This ring is theorized to be the remnants of the Chicxulub Crater, a massive, 180-300km in diameter, impact crater - the remnant of the event that contributed to the massive extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period (the infamous extinction of the dinosaurs). If you were watching the cool TV program, they had some pretty amazing graphics that showed the near liquefaction of the earth's crust in the vicinity of the impact - though it doesn't really explain how this might have lead to the birth of the Cenotes. There's some world-renowned expert PhD mumbling about 'instability on the crater wall' and 'fractures in the limestone layer'...but no kick ass digital graphics. I guess I have to take more geology classes before I can explain it all here, and considering the stellar results of my last return to academia, I don't see that happening any time soon.
See - cool, hu?
Adjacent cenotes in the northeastern Yucatan
The life-cycle of a cenote. Eventually they fill with debris and become dry pits filled with vegetation.
An early debris pile at the base of a younger cenote
What I learned researching this blog entry further: First, Iain Stewart, the crazy Scottsman who hosts "Earth: The Biography" is actually a scientists, not an actor. I have to give props to the folks at NatGeo for not having the series hosted by Ewan McGreggor - though I find Ewan MUCH sexier. Scientists need to have fun, too.
Ewan McGregor (obvious difference in sex appeal)
One of New Mexico's Cenotes...
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
So next is tile, paint and decorating. All fun stuff compared to plumbing, electrical and 3 months without a kitchen... Oh, and I need gas to that stove so I can COOK! It's cooking season - I'm jonesing to make some spaghetti or enchiladas or pumpkin bread or something! Ak!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Yes, they're in. They're sexy. Shortly after them came a sink with a faucet and a new garbage disposal. It's kinda like magic. I start out with this (thanks to some mad cleaning...)
You know, without cabinets, the room does seem bigger...
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
The 2000 Presidential Election between Al Gore and George W. Bush was not the first time that a president has been elected without the majority of the popular vote. It has happened 3 other times: in 1824, 1876 and 1888.
Although we think that election chaos is a new thing, but we'd be quite wrong. The 1824 election mentioned above was actually fought out between 4 candidates from essentially the same party. The Federalist Party had folded during the previous presidency, leaving only the Democratic-Republican party intact. Factions split on issues and geographic lines resulting in 4 candidates, the two strongest of which were John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson (their respective factions eventually formed into the National Republican Party and the Democratic Party). No candidate received a numeric majority of either the electoral college or popular votes, though Jackson did collect more of both types of votes than any other candidate. According to the 12th Amendment, the vote then goes to the House of Representatives. Unluckily for Jackson, he had powerful enemies in the house and the election was given to Adams. Jackson cried foul for four years until he was able to run against Adams again, this time with no other contenders to split the vote. Jackson won the 1828 election by a landslide. (It's also interesting to note that only +352,000 votes were cast nationally in that election - boy things change!)
My man Andy. I think this is a really cool look for the President.
In the 1876 election, the loser, Samuel Tilden (Dem), actually received a majority of both the popular and electoral votes as initially counted. This was in Reconstruction era America, and is still held to be the most hotly contested election in American history. The disputed results were mainly in the South - South Carolina, Louisiana and (big surprise) Florida. There were reports of violence against voters and corruption at the polling place. The result of the election is generally called the Compromise of 1877 - essentially the Republicans agreed to withdraw Federal troops from the South in return for their acquiescence and the election of Ruthaford B. Hayes as President. This was effectively the end of Reconstruction and begun a pattern of systematic prevention of black voting in the South through poll taxes and grandfather clauses.
And we think nasty campaign ads are new...
Since 1960, voter turn out has dropped from only 60% to a low of 49% in 1994. That number has climbed back up to the mid-50's in the 21st century elections. I find this statistic to be depressing.
Richard Nixon has received more votes than any other person in American history. His three Congressional terms, two terms as Vice-President, his narrow defeat by JFK in the 1960 presidential, his run for the California Gubernatorial, his first election to the Presidency in 1968 and his landslide defeat of Geroge McGovern (the largest in Presidential history until that time) makes Nixon the most voted for American politician ever.
Good ol' Ricky celebrating
Most Americans consider the British Prime Minister to be the equivalent to the our President - however, the British Constitution is largely uncodified, or de facto. There are few official references to the post - none which predate the 20th century. Parliament has decided many times that the position simply does not exist. The politician in the post generally holds onto power by controlling his or her respective party in Parliament and by holding sway in the Cabinet.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Doesn't it make you want to cook?
Speaking of which - I'm toying more and more with the idea of starting a commune. with the economy where it is, and with society as a whole pretty well going to hell in a dump-truck (I don't think the problems fit in that hand basket any more), I'm beginning to think that creating a small community of other pissed-off intellectuals out trying to live off of the land and make clothing out of old grocery bags might just be an appropriate response. I've got several interesting developments so far:
- The folks that run the Mountain States Wholesale nursery have been talking about creating a commune on their property - which is already blessed with ample growing yards, green houses, wells and food producing plants. While I think this is an ideal location, it would be unlikely that they'd let me run it (seeing as how it's their idea and all). So, obviously, that doesn't work for me. However, I like the nursery idea, so I say we either find a similar set up, or use Gary's guns to take over their commune and plant me as the "Gemini Queen of the Commune". Gary can be my consort.
- Another friend with ties to the New Mexico ranching and farming community has offered cows and seed. I can't imagine life without beef, so this works for me. He also thinks we should ban money in favor of the barter system. This would eliminate the need for lawyers and accountants. I think this is brilliance.
- Considering that we're in the Southwest, we should take a clue from the native communities who were seasonally migratory. Living somewhere nice for the summer, like Mt. Graham or the Rincons where we had a regular water supply, cooler weather and lakes stocked with trout (we'd have to manage this resource carefully if we anticipate Fish and Game's collapse). For the winters, we could go someplace where we wouldn't have to deal with cold weather and keeping track of heavy coats. I like the San Pedro river area for that, but there's always Hawaii. It's a long canoe trip, but the Queen of the Gemini Commune can just conscript a few handsome young studs to row her over there.
- Finally, the commune has to be equipped with a full kitchen at all times. I will not eat brick dust and try to re-heat meat in a toaster oven just to escape the evils of society. At the very least, I need a flame for my macaroni and cheese. There are certain products of progress that simply cannot be set aside.
Monday has been established as the install day for the cabinets. I'd be more excited if it meant I'd also have a sink, stove and microwave - but we must take the little joys as they come, right?
Monday, October 20, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
And this - if you like SNL - is one of their best skits, ever, especially if you had to watch the vp debates like I did. At least I was in Chicago. Among friends...
Felt kinda like this to me...
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
So, the counter top was "flaky" because it was plaster or cement which had been poured over lath and then painted with some sort of enamel finish (likely lead based, tasty). Over the years, no doubt water had infiltrated the protecting layer, and as a result that layer was lifting, the porous cement was allowing the water through to the wood, which then expanded and contracted, causing the material to crack, letting in more water... Well, let's just say that we were experiencing a little riparian erosion right in my kitchen (I feel so privileged).
Here's what the kitchen looks like today:
Guess the Mexican food restaurant down the street will be getting a lot more business from us over the next weeks. Lets just hope the cabinet maker doesn't delay things any more! Watch for more installations of "a new kitchen in an old house"...
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Sycamore Canyon - August
Another yellow-daisy like flower
???? Found near the abandoned settlement of Sunnyside
Sweet Four O'clock