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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 22,511

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What would Texans Ann Richards and/or Molly Ivins say?

OMG, I miss them. I can just imagine their pithy comments on Donald Trump and the GOP train wreck. But the good die young (or too soon), and the incredibly bad seem to be immortal.

I hope no DUers played the "1 Drink per Trump Sniffle" game last night ..

If you did, you probably are not reading this the morning after. Trump sniff counts ranged from mid-80s to mid-90s. Too bad Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is not around to diagnose Trump's problem(s)!

Two more of my faves from the Chihuahuan Desert (White Sands National Monument)

Dune Shadow


Two discredited US geopolitical theories from yesteryear (in pics)

The Domino Theory

The Bamboo Curtain

Desert mirage (or hallucination)?

I don't often see exotic dancers in gold lamé and diaphanous gowns on the trails I hike, but when I do it's usually on the very dangerous desert trails. Or, maybe it was a mirage. Or hallucination.

How do I know they were exotic dancers? I saw them later, at sunset, two dunes over from me. Dancing. With a camera on a tripod. Very cool.

Alkali Flat Trail
Chihuahuan Desert
White Sands National Monument
New Mexico

The dancers at the Alkali Flat trailhead

Trailhead warnings

Alkali Flat and White Sands dunes

Trump's main surrogate is SUCH an excellent judge of character (lest we forget)

Rudy Giuliani and Bernie Kerik

"Bye Bye Birdie"

It was so sad leaving my bird friends at Lemmon Rock today. Dave the Rave, Birdie Boy, the Hawks (flight of four, always tight). The hummingbirds buzzed me as I loaded my truck .. of course they did, with the bright yellow waterproof bags I was lashing to my roof rack with survival orange ratchet straps. The Yellow-eyed juncos pranced around, and a couple of blue streaks marked the flight paths of two Steller's jays. And the ubiquitous LGBs! Always there! The ornithological "cast of thousands." I thank Edward Abbey for the term and concept: LGBs .. little gray birds.

Earl and Pearl Squirrel stopped by before I left. And the camera-shy Abert's squirrel (are you a squirrel or a rabbit?, I want to ask), made a fleeting appearance.

Gotta talk about the ants, too. They marched around. But they have been so very well behaved this year! Kudos. They got the cup or so of raw sugar I had left over. On-the-rocks, as it were. Bet the ants are raising hell tonight!

Lots of Homo sapiens. Trails were crawling with them today, as I loaded my truck. They were very friendly and VERY talkative. But I restrained from feeding them.

There was a great couple from Summerhaven (neighbors). A retired US Army general of the infantry, with his wife .. he looked every bit the part - central casting's perfect general officer. Should have put him on those ants. TEN-HUT!

The Repo-Man hiked in to get my Honda ATV. Actually, it was our USFS Patrol-552. He bumped the ATV up to the observatory, where he will pick it up on a trailer tomorrow.

The fire lookout is empty and spotless. Fridge defrosted, and the door propped open to dry out. Sink polished. Bounced a quarter off the bedspread. Floor? Well, it is irredeemable.But it did get a good sweeping and damp mopping.

I stopped at the Palisades Ranger Station and loaded my mountain bicycle. Got it in the covered back of my truck. Not easy, but done and secure.

Then drifted down from 72*F to 102*F. Joy. Sidled over to the Homeboy Sweets (as I call it) at St. Phillips Plaza, on the banks of the lovely Rillito River (in which, I have never seen water flowing .. but it smells of urine .. probably the homeless camps .. and I'd camp down in there if I were homeless in Tucson .. but be careful .. it rages in the flash floods of the monsoon proper .. which has not come yet .. but probably will this week .. and rattlers .. and Gila Monsters ..and, of course, Jesus Saves .. etc, etc).

Just remember: "Bees come down" (Larry Shue, "The Foreigner").

Tucson, AZ
July 24, 2016

Forget the RNC and enjoy a photo from DemoTex's Arizona fire lookout.

Shot late today with my new Sony 7A-RII with a Canon 24-70 IS L 2.8 lens and Metabones adaptor. Shot wide, and cropped in. Catch the sprite bolt to the right of the cloud base. I am so happy with this mirrorless camera!

Lemmon Rock Fire Lookout
Wilderness of Rocks
Santa Catalina Mountains, AZ

A Hell-of-a-Place: Tap-A-Keg bar in NYC

A Hell-of-a-KKK-Place: Republican National Convention 2016

Earth, Wind, and Fire (and Smoke, Lots of Smoke)

Smoke from the "Brown Fire" (started in Brown Bear Canyon of the Baboquivary Mountains, 45 miles southwest of Tucson) obscures Baboquivary Peak and spreads over the United States Observatory at Kitt Peak at sunset on Saturday (6/18).

"Ring of Fire - 1": The Brown Fire at 1 AM, Sunday, June 19, 2016.

"Ring of Fire - 2": The Brown Fire at 1 AM, Sunday, June 19, 2016. Spot fires can be seen on the northeast aspect of Baboquivary Peak (to the right of the larger "ring of fire"). Fire size at this time was about 4000 acres.

The 99% waxing gibbous moon sets in heavy drift smoke at about 4:45 AM, Sunday, June 19, 2016.

Sunrise with thick, layered, drift smoke from fires to the northeast (probably the Cedar Fire near Show Low, Arizona, and fires in New Mexico). The San Pedro River Valley is holding the smoke like a bathtub holds water (lower right).

A strong northeast wind (25-35+ knots) prevailed most of the night and into mid-morning. This pushed smoke from the Brown Fire (63 miles southwest of me) into Mexico. But it gave us a rude surprise at about 5:30 AM today (Sunday).

Shortly after sunrise, drift smoke started spilling over the Santa Catalina mountain ridges, from the San Pedro Valley, and flowed down the drainages into Tucson. There was widespread public concern, and our fire dispatch center got a number of phone calls.

The hottest day of the year, so far, started quite cool in the high winds at 9000 feet elevation. I grabbed a cuppa, and sat down to rest (I had been shooting off & on since 12:45 AM!). This was about 5:50 AM. Within minutes the lookout phone rang (I really knew it was coming), and I was asked to saddle up the USFS ATV-Quad and do a recon of the north and eastern aspects of the Santa Catalina Mountains, just to rule out any smoke source locally.

Note: At 5 PM Sunday (6/19/2016), the Brown Fire in the Baboquivary Mountains is sized at 8100 acres, and the temperature in Tucson is 113*F. It is a pleasant 82*F here at the fire lookout at 9000 feet.

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