Monday, July 31, 2006

WMDs & Synthetic Testosterone

It might have been asleep at the Iraq wheel in 2002/03/04, but the New York Times is on fire with the Floyd Landis story. Okay, it's not as important as exposing a fabricated war, but the Times is right there for the fabricated testosterone.

Bill Richardson's Brush With 'Netocracy

Over the weekend Bill Richardson posted his first DailyKos "diary". No word on if he's done with the guitar solo sound file for his MySpace page yet, or has finished/posted his YouTube video on tequila shooters.

You might have missed it because it was over the weekend and you, unlike boring me, only read Kos during work as a last resort before actually doing work. Bill's post itself is just a reprint of his Saturday response to Prez W's Radio Address. Notable for very little, although the electro-signature thing (shown above) is a nice faux touch.

Far better are the comments to the post. I'll leave it to those interested enough to do serious wading though the almost 400 responses for the full flavor. In Executive Summary, at least for me, the highlight overshadowing the many "Bill is God" and "I used to live in New Mexico and I miss it soooooooo much" comments is a threadlet complaining that Big Bill just posted and ran, not sticking around for questions. There is much blog-wonky etiquette teeth-gnashing from there, to the extent that if you took out phrases like "blog and run" and replaced them with "sixth level neutral good Cleric" you'd have your typical spirited conversation about Dungeons & Dragons.

I leave it to the reader to determine whether the Kos posting helped Big Bill with the Kos dweeb vote. I can report, however, that I'm now looking for a cool electro-signature thing with which to close my own posts now, like I'm signing a bill into law or something. So Presidential...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Your Sample Should Be Back, Uh, Let's See, Ummm.....

Jasper Juinen/Associated Press

This morning's NY Times has a good article on the whole Floyd Landis mess, including the obvious point that if Landis has naturally elevated testosterone previous tests will indicate that. But one question remains...

Can't we get this "B" sample tested just a little, tiny, teeny-weeny bit faster? The whole world is watching, bashing Landis while the dude gets grilled about not remembering exactly how many beers he had the night before the test in question. Meanwhile, the "B" test sample is sitting in some lab somewhere waiting to get analyzed like Uncle Clyde's stool sample at the public health center downtown.

Can we get this "B" sample moved up to the front of the line? Sheesh, I thought these Euro folks had nationalized health and didn't have to wait forever on things like this, unlike Uncle Clyde and the rest of us 'mericans.

I have no idea if Floyd Landis was doping. I have no idea if he is a "cheater" or a victim here. Personally, I think the entire "doping" issue is already scientifically moot, and will be made only more so when genetic improvments are technologically possible in a few years. At some point, cycling, baseball and all the rest will just give up and we'll have laissez-faire, unpoliced sports anarchy.

Until then we have this latest act in the 2006 Tour de France multi-act opera of errors, in which Floyd Landis is Pagilacci, moaning and wailing his innocence in the modern sports clown suit that is the backwards baseball cap.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Yes It's Yet Another Lightning/Rain Blog Entry

A miniature version of our periodic "Esterkey Lake" caused by last night's rain

Yes I know everyone in New Mexico is doing a rain blog today. But I missed out on the fun with the earlier July storms and last night was my first good night to sit and watch the natural light show and repeatedly resurgent rain.

Alongside my pathologically thunder-phobic golden retriever, I watched lightning strike after lightning strike. I have my own lightning-related neurosis, and on infrequent outside trips to batten down our extensive array of hatches (whatever those really are) I ran like Freddy Krueger was chasing me. Getting struck by 6 trillion volts or whatever it is just doesn't sound like that good of an idea to me.

With rain starting, pelting, slowing, stopping and starting again over and over it was a great night for a weather junkie like myself. Many a trip was spent refreshing the Weather Underground radar, while petting my golden retriever as reassuringly as possible with my non-mouse hand. Then the lightning would get too close and we'd have to shut the computers down. With every shutdown I would again think of the following question: Can voltage from lightning travel through a wireless network? I pondered that one like the veritably laughable Science-uninformed Humanities teacher that I am.

But can it?

I don't know about other every other part of town, but we in the South Valley got drenched last night when we weren't almost being killed by lightning. My wife and I have a name, "Esterkey Lake", for the body of water created out in the horse stalls whenever it really comes down. We're just at Esterkey Pond status as of now (as depicted in the photo above), but with decent chances of rain in the forecast for some days ahead, we might challenge lake, if not ocean, denotation. I'm not complaining, although our goat Petunia (mascot of this blog) reacts to the mud and slop like it was a full baby's diaper. As you probably know, goats are pretty snooty about alot of things.

Maybe you're a fellow weather junkie and will start firing up the Weather Underground radar about 2:00 this afternoon. I'll be right there with ya, refreshing like a madman. We need to remember these (dare I say it) monsoonal days during the other 335 boring-as-hell weather days the rest of the year.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Senator Bingaman's Mad Money

The pundit-Goddess Molly Ivins has beat a steady drum about campaign finance reform for years. You probably have read something by her (e.g., Bushwhacked), and if you haven't you need to stop reading this right now and go to her Fort Worth Star-Telegram columns. Now that I think about it, if you haven't read any Molly Ivins by this point in your life you've definitely been experiencing a void that you didn't know existed. Until now. But, as we Lone Star Staters (Lyle Lovett included) like to say...that's right, you're not from Texas.

Yes, Molly is a bit Texas-centric (and with the multi-ring circus that is Texas politics who can blame her?), but her points about everything, campaign finance reform included, are germane to places outside the "whole other country".

I thinking about Ms. Ivins as I read in the Journal and elsewhere that Jeff Bingaman has about $1.8 million to spend on his fish-in-a-barrel race for re-election to the Senate. Now I have no real qualms with Senator Bingaman. He's been a pretty solid Democrat over the years, which makes him an absolute Leftist in today's functional politics. I haven't agreed with his every position, and he's a bit on the boring side, but all-in-all I think we've been lucky to have him sitting in Washington all these years.

My only question about the $1.8 million is the same question you have. Just what the Hell does Jeff Bingaman need $1.8 million for? The news stories are focusing on the fact that Bingaman has $1.8 mill while his fish-in-the-barrel, Allen McCulloch has $2,487. And yes, that's funny enough to fall out of your chair, although if the parties affiliations were reversed many of us on the Left would be pissed off big-time and calling it a vast Southern New Mexico conspiracy.

Which, of course, it is. Both funny and a conspiracy. Incumbency is so powerful in our political system, even in the U.S. Senate with six year terms, that we end up with plenty of cases like Bingaman's. I'd wager more than a six-pack of beer that if Bingaman was a Republican incumbent, who had voted the other way on every single vote he's ever cast, he'd have right at $1.8 million and quite a bit of it from the exact same companies. To illustrate this point, consider this list of larger donors to the Bingaman campaign, quoted from the Journal:

Among the top contributors to Bingaman's campaign: $10,000 from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association's political action committee; $8,000 from the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers' PAC; $6,500 from the American Bankers Association's PAC; $5,000 from the American Podiatric Medical Association's PAC; and $5,000 from the PAC of the Microsoft Corp.
Indian tribes with casinos contributed $8,100 to Bingaman's campaign: Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in California, $2,000; Morongo Band of Mission Indians in California, $2,000; Hoopa Valley Tribe in California, $2,100; Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Michigan, $1,000; and the Pechanga Band of Mission Indians in California, $1,000.
Now everybody on that list above, with the possible exception of the Bricklayers' Union, would probably just as soon spend their money on a Republican, Green, National Socialist or Socialist Workers' Party candidate if they thought it meant the money would be spent on the person overwhelmingly likely to be sitting in the Senate (again) in January.

And with Bingaman overwhelmingly likely is an understatement. Now I realize everyone reading this piddling blog entry is saying to themselves (whether they've read Molly Ivins or not), "Scot, I know this already. Incumbents always win. What's the point?" And frankly, there's not much of a point. But I'll make two to close out anyway.

  1. Incumbency is the biggest reason I think Heather Wilson will scrape by Patsy Madrid (and doesn't everything in this election year really revolve around that race)
  2. I have a suggest or two for Jeff Bingaman on how to spend that $1.8 million, and STILL win his re-election race:
  • Give me $1.8 million (yes, I realize both that this is the answer you already thought of, and instantly thought of when you read the story in the paper).
  • Fly a dirigible over a Lobo football game early this Fall and drop the money out of bags just like Peter did that time in "Family Guy".
  • Drive around the State of New Mexico and give money to every single driver who has an expired paper license "plate" on his or her car. The money would be used to get a real license plate. Yes, I realize that $1.8 million will not even begin to cover the costs of such a project. Maybe the "American Bankers Association PAC" can pony up a few more bucks.
  • Blow the $1.8 million on a wild two-week bender at a local crack/meth house, buying drugs for everybody in sight and springing for pizza and beer while continuously watching Aqua-Teen Hunger Force DVDs. I mean there's NO CHANCE you're gonna lose, Sen. Jeff, so you might as well liven up that kinda boring persona of yours.
I'm sure Babble readers can come up with more ideas (remember, the "give me $1.8 million" is already taken). Pass them along via either comments here or an email. Of course, if I don't see any comments/emails on the subject I will assume that I have included every possible idea, and will avoid assuming that my few readers got terribly, terribly bored somewhere along the way and didn't even get to this last part before clicking elsewhere.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sweating For Patsy Down In The Valley

Yesterday, I ventured up the bumpy construction on Isleta Blvd. to attend the opening gala for the Patricia Madrid for Congress "South Valley Office". My fortuitous timing (arriving an hour late) meant that I missed the speeches, but still had access to plenty of free hotdogs and tortilla chips.

The Isleta curve was a happening place yesterday afternoon, Madrid's event kitty-corner sandwiched between a very well attended Colombian Independence Day celebration across the street at the Westside Community Center, and mere feet away from a Sunday afternoon meeting of a small but rowdy Apostolic church at the adjoining strip mall. The main advantage the Colombian and Apostolic events had over Madrid was the fact they were held INDOORS, while we Madrid supporters stood right on the parking lot blacktop. Heat and high humidity (for ABQ) quickly led to that creepy feeling when the sweat starts trekking down your back while you try to suavely discuss the potential impact of the negative Heather Wilson ads.

I'm bad at guessing crowd size, but I'd reckon about 100 folks were stuffed into the small parking lot when I first showed up. Despite the sweat running down everyone's back folks seemed in good spirits, if for no other reason than a politician was actually paying attention to the South Valley (SV). More about that later. Jim Baca was there to provide some support while grabbing at Patsy's political coattails, as was either Mary Herrera's mother or direct hairstyle clone (slightly more aged variant).

I'm sorry to keep focusing on Herrera's hair given the gravity of the whole "paper ballots" thing in the Secretary of State race, but I can't help myself. In fact, I have about twenty comments I'd like to make about that hair right this second, but will resist the formidable urge as best I can.

Anyway, I did get the chance to meet AG Madrid. As is invariably the case in such situations, I could think of absolutely nothing to say. Meeting people and small talk are not my favorite activities and when combined with knowledge that the person you are meeting is doing this exact "shake hands, smile vacuously" thing with approximately one million people in the space of six months you just kinda stand there. I stood there. AG Madrid was nice and talked about her attendance at a public meeting at the Jewish Community Center on the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. I nodded alot. I stood there.

Madrid then went off to the next of her one million "shake hands, smile vacuously" visits (a torture that must surely be of a mythological level on par with Sisyphus forever rolling rocks uphill), and I wasted the chance to tell Patsy a little story.

For the greater part of Campaign '04 your humble blogger remained politically inert. Then in a fit of guilt and authentic desire to get involved (mostly guilt) I signed up for some canvassing. As a South Valley resident, I told the Kerry campaign I wanted to canvas my adjoining neighborhoods. My canvassing friend (equally guilt-ridden) and I were told that the "South Valley Office" for Kerry, and by extension Richard Romero, was located on Yale Blvd, just north of Gibson.

Let me repeat that. The "South Valley Office" was located at Yale and Gibson. Here's a map to show you the location.

courtesy Mappoint (thanks Bill!)

Note that this office was East of I-25. Way the Hell removed from the South Valley. To be honest, the "South Valley Office" was a misnomer...the campaign didn't have a "South Valley Office". It just considered everything south of Nob Hill to be "South". A small thing, but one that perhaps shows which part of the ass Democratic campaigns often seem to have their collective, Hyrdra-like, head(s).

Interestingly, my friend and I took a pile of South Valley addresses from "Canvas Central" on Yale & Gibson and walked a few neighborhoods in the mid-South Valley. The real South Valley, far from I-25 and the Airport. We had some very nice chats, our knuckles got sore from knocking on doors, and our political action guilt was slightly assuaged. Along the way we heard two main themes:
  1. Everybody we talked to was voting for Kerry.
  2. Many Kerry voters were NOT going to vote for Richard Romero and would instead vote for Heather Wilson.

I won't go into many of the reasons why these SV voters were anti-Romero (he is, thankfully, water under the U.S. House #1 bridge), but my friend and I were certainly surprised. We also noted that Romero REALLY needed to do some leg work in the SV, something you wouldn't think would be necessary in a heavily Democratic area (not to mention the whole "Hispanic surname thing"...which we are never supposed to mention).

So now, standing on blazing hot blacktop along Isleta Blvd on a Sunday afternoon what I wanted to tell Patsy Madrid was:

  1. I'm glad you're not Richard Romero (or John Kelly, or Phil Maloof for that matter)
  2. Starting up a real bona-fide "South Valley Office" is a really smart idea.
Now don't get the idea that I'm an unabashed Patsy lover now. I have serious doubts about her chance of winning (Wilson's incumbency, war chest, "nice person" image, etc.). In fact, I have at present wagered two six-packs of beer picking Wilson to win (a wager open to Burque Babble readers as well, that is if it's legal to bet six-packs of beer via blogs). Speaking of personal politics, Madrid isn't my dream candidate (unfortunately Paul Wellstone is dead, and besides he lived in Minnesota). Still, I gotta hand it to the Madrid campaign for understanding the South Valley enough to know it NEEDS a "South Valley Office".

We're a quirky (no, not Querque as in "offbeat" name for Albuquerque) bunch down here. Of the 100 or so folks I saw in attendance for the Madrid shindig, a serious half to three-quarters of us did not look "normal". To be honest, the crowd at the event looked like it would have been just as comfortable at a UFO convention and/or Apostolic Church meeting. And, having lived here for six years now I can say that description fits well over half of the entire SV population.

And Patsy is gonna need well over half of the SV vote if she's gonna win in November and force me to fork over several six-packs to my more optimistic friends. It's a wager I'd love to lose, and having a "South Valley Office" makes it just a little bit more possible that I'll have to pay up come early November.

P.S.: A bit of provocation from Heather Wilson's latest mailing on the subject of "Keeping Our Families Safe": "Evil people have used our freedom and open way of life to kill us." Discuss amongst yourselves, cite examples, show your work....

Friday, July 21, 2006

I've Been Everywhere And Boy Are My Insights Tired

Well, I'm back but I'll spare you the slideshow, the profound epiphany experienced during the climbing of Powder River Pass, the culminating spiritual release of completing 4,500 miles of driving over the course of most of a month.

But I will show you this picture of a large ceramic (I believe) dinosaur found outside Dinosaur, Colorado.

I'm still far from caught up on Albuquerque news, but in the short time looking around since I got back to ABQ & Technology I see that the Rail Runner has kicked off to almost universal praise, many people have decided that summer is a good time to shoot each other, and Manny Aragon is gone in that fake not-really-gone way, like some mass murderer in a slasher flick who is supposedly killed only to return when the teenage protagonist least expects it.

In the next few days I'll be recovering from the trip and it's many deep insights (which I promise not to foist upon you here), then resume this blog's steady, Israeli-style, bombardment of 'Burque bashing with frequent unfounded attacks on its more prominent citizenry.

But for now, another 10 hour "nap". This vacationing really takes it out on you.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Did I Leave the Stove On? And Other Insidious Thoughts

A few notes before I explore the beautiful green spine, and some dusty brown back hairs, of the American West.
  • Every 4th of July and New Year's Eve I rant and rave about guns going off in the South Valley. I posted about it last New Year's, and said something about Darwin awards and physics. Well, this 4th o' July the wife and I stood outside placating horses and goats (we're up to two goats now, perhaps more about that later), and didn't notice hearing any fully automatic weapons fire. Now it's tough to discern fireworks from weapons fire, especially as the neighborhood did have that Gaza Strip atmosphere for about four hours, but we didn't hear any distinctive 50 round clips that we recognize. And we have years of experience here in the SV listening to them. So...tentatively, I say "good show" South Valley drunken gun enthusiasts! Hopefully you're not just saving up bullets for next New Year's.

  • We in ABQ missed this afternoon's deluge and really need one or two more Jonestown flood-level downpours tonight or tomorrow before things go all drought and obscurely named fire stories again. Meanwhile, as a dedicated Weather Underground radar watcher, I can attest that it has rained approximately 150 inches in Socorro since Monday. I have no "data" to support this, but everything from Los Lunas south through Socorro County has shown various shades of green and red on the NEXRAD since I got back in town some days ago. Here's what it looks like as I write....

  • Like a golfer trying to body lean a wayward iron shot back to the green, I am leaning and head-lifting these storms to go North and slightly East ("get legs....get legs"). Sorry non-golfers for the arcane and idiotic analogy.

  • I want to thank all again all the people who have sent me information on water issues in ABQ/NM. Intriguingly interesting and deliciously dense. Today, the plan for my next graduate degree is in Hydrogeology. I then hope to corner the water market, Lex Luthor style, like Bill Turner. Maybe I'll even have a secret lair like Dr. Evil. And a scar. Bald would be good, as well as some Steve Lacy/Chairman Mao-esque leisure suits. Bwahahahahahaha!

  • I would, of course, need some ill-tempered sea bass. Naturally.

  • Okay, I promise to stop making arcane references to Austin Powers, jazz soprano saxophone players, Chinese dictators and locally controversial professionally trained hydrogeologists. I also promise to stop using the word arcane.

  • In further attempts to inadequately train for my upcoming participation in Tour de Wyoming, I biked to the summit of Pajarito hill yesterday. It's the home of the "Southwest Landfill", a delightful view annihilated by plentiful dumptrucks and overstuffed pickups losing soon-to-be-officially discarded ugly-ass sofas and such. Given the large smelly trucks, unsightly home furninshings and bumpy, hilly road surface it's quite the recreational ride. But my dedication knows no bounds, as long as that boundlessness does not exceed 90 minutes in length. Unfortunately, there are days of the Tour de Wyoming in which I am supposed to ride OVER 90 MILES, at times while cresting mountain passes of over 9,000 in elevation. Thank God/Goddess/Probability for SAG wagons...and defibrillators.

This graphic is too small to make any sense, but basically it depicts Day 2 of "Tour de Wyoming"
in which riders are supposed to climb 5,000 feet while covering 65 miles. Gulp.

Now time to do some packing (where is that home defibrillator?), as I bid a fond adieu to Burque Babble for a bit. During my travels I may geek out and post from an Internet Cafe in Pinedale, Wyoming or some such, but generally speaking Babble will be gloriously silent for the next couple of weeks. Regular readers are encouraged to seek psychiatric care..just kidding! Seriously, those great, and very, very few folks who make Burque Babble a part of their day are encouraged to get outside, climb a mountain and/or breathe deep the wonderful fresh air of our more remote outdoors. Yes, leave the laptop at home. Yes, you will actually be offline during this time. No, you do not need psychatric counseling in order to be prepared for your time offline. Really. Calm down.

Whatever it is you're doing until next time...have fun! I'll have a full report upon my return, possibly including what it feels like to be brought back to life with a defibrillation unit.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Water Becomes The New Methamphetamine

It's not Roman Polanski and Jack Nicholson, but it does have a certain star quality to it

Sometimes you just inadvertently stumble into a bar fight. A few days back I posted a little request for information about water issues and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD). And now, merely days later, we've got video on Channel 13 that looks straight out of the movie "Chinatown". Well, except instead of Jack Nicholson getting his ass kicked by the farmer's thug, we just have farmers going at it campesino v. campesino.

First...thanks to those folks who responded via email and through blog comments about the issue. I can't claim to know much about the machinations of Bill Turner, the MRGCD and the rest of it, but I certainly know more than I did a week ago. I actually even knew enough to know why the two farmers above were pushing/shoving like two chunky kids in a middle school cafeteria line.

And frankly what little I know about the situation is pretty darn inspiring. In this day of verbal politicial attacks laced with supposed facts and market-researched spin, it's is so friggin' refreshing to have office holders calling each other's "bullshit", as did MRGCD Board Member (for now at least]) Bill Turner & Jim Roberts (whose alfalfa field I live adjacent to). (RR or watching stupefyingly boring ad to its conclusion)

I'm personally not into violence, either, but between Karl Rove Swift Boating ex-military opponents as "UnAmerican" and two farmers shoving each other out of unconcealed anger, I'll take the real v. faux passion any day.

I don't know if this story has any "legs" for our local media, but here's hoping that calls of bullshit and impassioned shoving are good for at least one in-depth report/analysis on the water rights situation. Otherwise, I might have to do it, and I'm on vacation here. So far the Journal and KRQE stories are about as informative as a MTV reality show: push, shove, "bullshit" and out.

The public needs to know more about how the MRGCD really works, more about Bill Turner and his water rights crusade/shenanigans, and alot more on exactly how decisions get made on the dwindling water supply running north and south through the valley. We all know water is the big issue these days, but we chosse to largely ignore it. Maybe that's because we know on a simple level that adding more people to a desert just doesn't make sense.

And that more people and more development will just lead to more situations like that within and without the MRGCD meeting yesterday. Right now it's "just" some wacky farmers from south of ABQ. But eventually it won't be. Eventually it will be, hmmmm, who knows who it will be?

Maybe I'm alone here, but I have this atomic mushroom cloud/planes hitting World Trade Center vision of a time where ABQ resident X turns on his/her sink faucet and nothing comes out. Then someone down the street does and the same thing happens. Then we swing the camera wildly through a montage of similar events in shower stalls, drinking fountains and garden hoses throughout the area.

Again, maybe I'm alone on this particular strain of paranoia. Still, events like that yesterday in front of the Conservancy District's offices can't help but feed a sense of impending water apocalypse. Or at least a growing curiosity. I think it's time we start paying attention to water issues like Feudal Prince Marty's San Juan Chama plan, and make plans to attend more MRGCD meetings.

And maybe work on our wrestling holds, just in case.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Scot's Vacation Slide Show

An obscure picture of a delightfully obscure guy playing "The Farmer in the Dell" on the accordion and banjo in a Grand Junction, Colorado coffee house. He's wearing a leather Confederate soldier's cap, not that you could tell from this awful photograph

First....a hearty handshake and a look o' pity to those who had to work today. Why we continue to toil as a workaholic nation while all of Europe has six weeks (or more) of summer vacation befuddles me.

Maybe it's that extra cash that helps to pay for those wars we like to get into it. I sense that idea is not much solace for those stuck at the office reading Babble today. I'll stop rubbing it in now.

Or not, with my vacation status report. Back in 'Burque in time to see the Isotopes game last night amid sprinkles, cooling winds, a bit of distant lightning and a continuing inability for the 'Topes to hit in the clutch. The PA announcer guy kept saying the promised fireworks display was not gonna happen, but thanks to extra innings (and most likely a steady stream of fathers/mothers going to Isoptopes "Guest Services" and demanding fireworks NOW!) the fireworks went off and everybody could feel good about the ol' USA for an uninterrupted six minutes.

I'm going back on the road in a day or two, but will first recap the trip just concluded.

I just want to give major props to the entire Southern half of Utah and whoever had a hand in making it so damn beautiful. Water and wind erosion are cool. Sandstone with & without iron oxide, very cool. Capitol Reef National Park being so remote and waterless that few people go, making it about the most un-National Park in the U.S., very very cool. As a hyper-frugal person who constantly seems to under-hydrate on hikes, Capitol Reef is perfect. No entrance fee (unless you do the "scenic drive"), hotter than Hell and full of waterpockets with little or no water in them. I'll shut up now about Capitol Reef before I make it too popular and the NPS makes it $20.00 to even look at Chimney Rock.

Cedar Breaks National Monument is no slouch in the beautiful department, either,
and it only costs four bucks

XM radio is the greatest thing since Blonde on Blonde. I hate pimping commercial endeavors, but it's just the truth...especially when driving through Koosharem, Utah and environs. And yes, I just picked Koosharem because it was the coolest sounding village I drove through in almost 2,000 miles. Plus, being in Southern Utah, I wondered if the "harem" part of the name meant anything polygamical (sic/invented word). By the way, never stop in Koosharem for dinner because everything is closed, well at least for you and your kind.

Las Vegas, Nevada is the worst thing since...well, I'm drawing a blank. Maybe ever. Probably ever. Sprawl that makes Taylor Ranch look like Koosharem, Utah, and 115 degrees. Not to mention the "culture". I think the reason alot of Christians are moving there is they figure it's there only chance to see Hell, being as they are so likely to go to Heaven.

Moab, Utah is great for a number of reasons (and not-so-great on a few other fronts), and I discovered two more good things about it. First...the public radio station there, KZMU 90.1, is pretty darn good. Second, its bi-monthly "alternative" paper, The Canyon County Zephyr, is a damn fine read. Both radio station and paper made me wonder why 'Burque can't seem to get either right these days. Maybe you just have to be small to be good in those two areas.

About as close as I will ever get to the summit of Class 3/4 Wilson Peak outside Telluride

Driving back through Telluride (my very first time there) I was able to hike above the village on the Sneffels Highline Trail, then wallow in all its rich folks kitsch walking to and from a little market just off Colorado Ave. It seems the Holiday weekend was "Arts & Crafts Fair" time, with oil painters positioned all over the place painting beautiful mountains, lovely trees, and horrifically overpriced homes. The best part was when tourists would photograph the painters (I should have got a pic of that, but felt the photo of photo of art lineage would be too aestethically weird). Telluride is drop-dead gorgeous, the hike was sublime, but as Graham Chapman said of Camelot in "Holy Grail"..."it is a silly place."

I tried to Photoshop out all the tourists in this bird's-eye view of Telluride

And now back to 'Burque for a few days before heading north for a bit, including my irritatingly oft-announced participation in the Tour de Wyoming. 350 miles of northern WY over six days. My butt hurts just thinking about it, but it should be a great chance to check out the most misanthropic state in the Union at a relaxed pace. Then back for the next school year and a quick forgetting that I ever had summer vacation.

But before I head out again, another round of pity for those working these days, especially this day before the 4th. If you happen to be reading this from your workstation today, the 3rd, we in the slacker contingent salute and thank you for all that you pretended to do today. Quit looking at that computer clock and get back to work....