Sunday, May 29, 2011

Looks Like It Ain't Going To Be Over Till It's Over & an Update

As a Geographer I know that most Geomorphological events are small and spread out over time. But I also know that it is the catastrophic events that change the world. Way into the 1980's the concepts of gradualism held sway in Geography. Things happened slowly and it was the cumulative effect that made things like the Grand Canyon and the Himalaya Mountains. Of course we knew intellectually that volcanoes and such came along every once in a while but they were the exception. Well gradualism is still with us, but it isn't the only game in town any more. Once someone proved that the Columbia River Gorge and the Scab-lands of Eastern Washington State were created by a Mega Catastrophic Flood, that happened not just once but as many as twelve times well things began to look a little different.

We are watching a lot of that happening world wide today. Things are changing faster that people expected and can comprehend. Mainly it is due to climate change. The seas are warming and that is impacting events all around the globe. (Forget the political side of this of who did what, the change is an empirical fact. How and when the changes happen are open to question.)

In America we are seeing some of the effects this summer in the form of flooding. Here at the end of May we have just survived the Great Flood of 2011. It is ending not with a whimper but with a sigh of relief for some and tears for many. "New Orleans is all better now. Morganza is being closed. Water in lower Mississippi River will be keep just below flood level until it receeds. Storm water in Mid-West not a threat. It is all OK. Reckon the Corps. people in Montana & ND forgot to tell the Corps. in Louisiana that they are opening the spigot?"

It finally has been noted in the press that the problems of this years flooding go back a ways.
What began on the upper Missouri River in Montana, and North and South Dakota in 1951 is playing out this May of 2011 in the flooding of the lower Mississippi and dozens of communities in its delta. Water behind those dams — brimful this spring — has only one place to go: downstream into an already swollen Mississippi.

And they are right. While New Orleans celebrates its salvation and the Cajuns of the Atchafalya basin contemplate their losses phase two is beginning its trip down river.
OMAHA (Reuters) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning Missouri River states to brace for possible summer flooding, as it prepares to open dams straining under the pressure of heavy spring rains...

Now what happens. Will the May flood be repeated? Will the Atchafalaya steal the Mississippi? Will St. Louis Flood? Flood Cairo?????

Here's what's going on in North Dakota: The Bismarck Tribune
Output from the Garrison Dam will eventually reach 150,000 cfs, raising the water level to 20.6 feet in Bismarck.
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Crews and residents frustrated by a week of major flooding across Montana cleared debris from roadways and some muddied homes on Saturday, even as they braced for more heavy rainfall expected over the Memorial Day weekend.
The Bismarck Parks and Recreation District has closed several recreational areas due to high water. Park, facilities and trail closing information will be updated as needed at
More than 7 million empty sandbags have arrived at the city's sandbag sites. Approximately 650,000 sandbags have been filled at the city's three manned sandbag sites since Tuesday.

Do Your Thing

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."
...MLK Jr.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thoughts Upon The Failure Of Margaret Macdonald's Vision Once More

Downsizing God to a World then an Empire and then Kingdom then a Church and then a Denomination and then an Elect denies and obscures His Ultra-Cosmic encompassing of the existence he created. We can not control Him any other way than by doing this. We try trap to Him and we invent containers for Him but instead we find ourselves trapped in them. Is it any wonder that so many of our kind do not care to crawl into them with us?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Examination of Life a.k.a. The George Bailey Trap

It all started last Saturday. We were delivering a little wagon full of family treasures to the Neighborhood Associations Yard Sale down the street. As we unloaded I discovered that someone was selling a full size proffesional Bessler photo enlarger complete with sets of filters, a variety of negative carriers, and lenses. They wanted ten dollars for it. Ten dollars for approximately $1,200 worth of equipment in perfect condition.

That's how this week started. It seems this week was to be devoted to the problem of trying to have a valuable life and maintaining one's existence while doing it. Heavy heavy stuff, almost beyond my ability to deal with, despite my combined daily dosage of 450 mg of psychotropic drugs. But I've never let my lack of ability deter me from authoritatively addressing an unsolvable dilemma.

I kind of think our culture has finally worked itself into a proverbial "DEAD END". OK, that's my typical doomsday approach to things which is not so positive a way to do it when people are in pain and need support. A full half dozen people this week have discussed with me in one degree or another the value of their life, the reason for their existence, and questioned how they were going to make a living or continue on living in this "unfair, uncaring, and nasty" little world of ours. One was wondering if his life has had any meaning. One was wondering if his life was going to have any meaning. One was wondering how they were going to carry on with their life under the negative conditions they now lived, and the remaining three just wanted to know how they were going to make a living and support their families because their jobs were coming to an end. None of them were living the life they thought they would live. All were under-employed or mis-employed.

How much time do you spend evaluating your life? You know someone important said, " The unexamined life is not worth living." I've haven't seen so much angst and anomie since the early 1970s when I sat under a shade tree on a college campus in Southern California and listened to six brand new Master degree graduates in Geography lament the start of a recession that meant few jobs were available. This recession of 2008-11 is deeper and meaner than that one in 1974. Not only are people looking for meaning in their lives these days they are looking for means to stay alive.

So what does any of this have to do with a photo enlarger? Well I'm coming to that. That photo enlarger was in perfect shape. It could have performed its designed function perfectly. It was a really nice piece of equipment, exactly like the one I had used in professional photography labs years before. The resultant photographs would have been great. But... it was a total historical artifact. All of the functions it once performed are now done by a few micro chips and a computer program interacting with a digital printer. Indeed, the new system can do it better faster and cheaper with the photographer having one tenth the skill they once had to have. It was a perfect tool that was perfectly obsolete.

That's me. A perfectly obsolete perfect tool. I got lucky. I became obsolete and retired just before they noticed it. But I'm the exception. These other fellows range in age early 30s to early 60s. They can't stop or retire and don't have the time or energy to work on a "meaningful" life. They've got to be worried that someone or something is coming up from behind to make them redundant, obsolete, or left over. What kind of world is this that not only can we no longer work towards our dreams, but we can't even work to provide the basic human needs. Not even the guys like me that made through and out, get to relax much. I care about these people. I can't stand to just sit here and watch it happen. But what the hell....

Maybe I should have bought that enlarger.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Someone's Sneaking Around My Back Door.

This Mississippi River is a sneaking around old man. He don't have much respect for those that want to tame him and keep him where they want he to be. He'll go where he want's too. He has tens of thousands of years to get things done.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official said Sunday when a secondary levee protecting 10,000 acres of farmland at Bunches Bend in East Carrol Parish failed Friday, the Mississippi River level temporarily fell a half-foot at Greenville, Miss., before beginning to rise again. / News-Star file photo

This hole shown above was from Friday morning. It has grown larger and must be scouring a channel from the Big River to the break. It is filling up an area of 10,000 acres of farm land that is protect by third level levees not under Corps. jurisdiction, that were built to guard against flooding from streams in this upper Red River drainage basin. This water will attack the backs of those levees. They are not designed to resist that source of pressure. Those streams on the front side of those levees flow into the Red that flows into the Atchafalaya. Ole Man River is looking for a back door here, and the current flood crest won't be at this cut until Tuesday, May 17th. Then it will still keep flowing in for another two weeks or so.

What will be the results? Don't know. But everybody's interest is downstream at the Morganza spillway and Baton Rouge and New Orleans and the Cajun Delta. Normally this breach up North would be a big deal. It may actually end up being the way the Mississippi River is pirated to the Atchafalaya River. Oh heck, I know somebody is watching this. The Corps actually said this won't affect the main River levees. Of course it won't, it's already snuck in behind them.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


First let me say I agree with the posting below by Matt Stone. I was inspired by Matt to write down my ten most basic Christian Christian beliefs. It has taken me my life time to come to this level of knowledge.

"Ten Things I Don't Believe.

People often assume that, since I’m a Christian, I believe everything that any other Christian they’ve ever met has ever believed. But this can be quite problematic, not to mention annoying, particularly when their experience of Christianity is limited to what they know from their neighbours or their television set. So here, for your reading pleasure, is my statement of unbelief.

I don’t believe the author of Genesis 1 was a science teacher

In the debate between “Evolutionists” on the one hand and “Creationists” on the other, the media often miss that there are many people who do not fit neatly into either of these polarized categories. I am one of them. I do not buy the secular argument that says, “Genesis 1 is not scientific so it can’t be authoritative.” Nor do I buy the fundamentalist argument that says, “Genesis 1 is authoritative so it must be scientific.” I buy the literary analysis argument that says, “It’s anachronistic to even look at Genesis 1 either of these ways!” I believe the parallelism embodied in the six days structure illustrates how Genesis 1 is a polemical narrative aimed at Mesopotamian pagan imperialism, a polemic describing creation through the “cosmic decree” of God in contrast to creation through the “cosmic conflict” of the gods.

I don’t believe in the rapture

The rapture is a theologically speculative teaching, with little support from scripture unless considerable interpretive gymnastics are employed. The rapture is a recent teaching, with little support from Christian tradition. The rapture encourages date speculation and religious paranoia of the wildest kind. Given the prophecies it has engendered have invariably proved false (hey, did someone mention Hal Lindsay?) I reject it as false teaching of the most tragically embarrassing kind. Apocalyptic literature needs to be read far more carefully than rapture teachers are accustomed to.

I don’t believe Jesus was kidding when he said, “love your enemies”

When I read what Jesus said about loving your enemies I see no caveats suggesting it was only for personal situations, or only for a limited time, or only for a future age, or only as a way of reinforcing our awareness of our sinfulness. I don’t believe he was kidding. I believe he meant us to “Just Do It!”

I don’t believe in the church as an institution

When defining church, the primary line of distinction is between the church (understood as Christians in community) and the world, not the church (understood as Christian clergy) and the laity. The church is a “we” not an “it”. Thus, I can be “in church” without ever stepping foot in a building or participating in an institution. As long as I am in community I am in church.

I don’t believe homosexuals are worse people than me

We are all less than perfect, straight and gay alike. We have all been separated from the perfect One - one way or another. If we are reconciled with the perfect One it is all on the same basis, through his perfect action, not ours. I don’t believe, therefore, I am in any position to hound a homosexual for his behaviour whilst ignoring my own.

I don’t believe Jesus junk is a cool way to promote Christianity

Bumper stickers are dorky, ugly and so not funny. But if you insist on displaying one, please make sure you don’t cut me, or others, off in the traffic! Ditto for other sorts of Jesus junk, if you like it fine, but please don’t use it as a substitute for a living witness.

I don’t believe the Ten Commandments are the last word on ethics

Read in isolation, the Ten Commandments are Jewish, not Christian. They only take on a Christian flavour when viewed from the perspective of Christ, who summed the law up as: love God, love others. Not only this, Jesus sharpened their application by asserting that criticizing others was as bad as murdering them, that lusting after others was as bad as adultery, that what was going on inside could be just as corrupt as what was going on outside. Moreover, by insisting we should live apocalyptically, in the awareness that the future was breaking into the present through his activity, Jesus posed a radical critique of what is considered “responsible action” by worldly standards.

I don’t believe paedophiles should be protected from the law

There can be no reconciliation when there is no repentance. And repentance means more than “feeling sorry”. Repentance means “turning around”. Repentance means full confession before their victims and before the courts of the land. Repentance means submitting to a discipleship process to maximise protection for the vulnerable and pursue growth in sexual discipline. Any leaders who would disrupt this process, out of misguided face saving concerns, should likewise submit themselves to a reconciliation process or face excommunication.

I don’t believe contemporary worship is easy listening

Quite frankly, I find much of it distracting, even painful. Give me ambient. Give me metal. Give me something with spice! But more, give me something with lyrical depth and theological breadth. I accept aesthetic minorities have to make stylistic sacrifices for the unity of the church, but I wish more have the decency to recognize aesthetic diversity actually exists, and act accordingly, at least giving us some meaty lyrics to crew on whilst we aesthetically struggle. If our music must be soft pop, let our lyrics not be!

I don’t believe in conformity

Unity yes, conformity no. There are some things we need to believe if we are to meaningfully call ourselves Christian. For instance, if we don’t believe Jesus is the Christ then calling ourselves Christian can start looking self delusional even to self-identified non-Christians. But there are many things we Christians believe which are peripheral to Christianity if not downright optional. For instance: what date we think Easter should be celebrated on, whether or not we think lining up in pews is a good thing, whether we like our leaders in casual or fancy dress. To disagree on peripherals is not disunity, its just Christian freedom."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Things I've Always Wanted To Be

You may laugh.
Attempt to laugh with me.
Spare me your pity.

50 things I have seriously always wanted to be.

1. a hero

2. a good speller

3. a good dancer

4. a good singer

5. the appropriate weight (half my life to skinny and half my life too fat)

6.handsome, I mean really handsome

7. faster with those wonderful comebacks

8. loved unconditionally (hasn't happened since my dog Rocky died when I was 10)
9. reasonably wealthy (twice as much as I actually need would do fine)

10. employed at something I loved to do (for only as long as I care to be)

11. living by the ocean

12. able to run long distances ( now I would settle for able to walk moderate distances)
13. an airplane pilot

14. not a Vietnam veteran

15. more hygienic in my thoughts and habits

16. mentally stable

17. kinder when appropriate

18. nastier when appropriate

19. braver

20. a strong swimmer

21. empowered

22. respected

23. honored

24. better dressed

25. more friendly

26. race car driver

27. skydiver

28. hang gliderist

29. positive

30. left alone by fools

31. not such a woos

32. less analytical

33. more accepting of others' stupid crap

34. to draw well

35. artistic

36. to play several musical instruments

37. to read music

38. to speak Urdu fluently

39. to speak Spanish moderately

40. to cook well

41. to sail a boat

42. a writer

43. a poet

44. better husband

45. nicer father

46. a world traveler in high style

47. an archeologist

48. a beach comber

49. a bum (almost there)

50. a hero

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Surprising Conversation With An Altered Ego

I turned 66 about three months ago. I decided that I would celebrate this year by driving the length of U.S. 66 and blogging about it. Yes, I'm off to a slow start. I have made it out to the Arcadia Rt. 66 icons: The Round Barn and POP's gas station cafe and any soda pop you want.

So I decided to to talk to Jr. The Bear about going with me on this quest. Jr. has been on his Facebook account a lot recently and the whole family has been worried about the changes we've seen in him. For example although he still has his Blog, he seldom post anything there. Additionally his "voice" has changed. By that I mean he has a different approach to life, and what he writes about and his insight has shifted and we are all worried about him, so we decided to do an intervention.

As with all things in the Wolf residence none of us could find a time to get together at the same hour and place. Fatman for example spends half his time at his therapist, and wife spends her time out some where as Okie Book Woman. So we decided to do the intervention in shifts so to speak. I got to go first.

Jr. was quite receptive, he is a very affable being after all. So I expressed our concerns and ask what he thought about that.

Junior had just finished reading his most recent copy of Rolling Stone (his secret most inner wish is to be on the cover). So he started telling about some of the things he had read that were influencing him to write like he does now.

Did you know he said that the public institution The University of Texas is hording a Billion Dollars in gold? Not only that, it is only 5% of their total endowment of $20 Billion. But it still cost an arm and most of a leg to afford to go to school there. Still it is a place that is more worried about their Brand Name than their students. They ought to rename it Glenn Beck U.

I had to think about that one a bit and before I could say anything he brought up another subject. Did you know, he told me, that those dunces in D.C. cut $74 million out of their budget for homeless American veterans but increased their NASCAR sponsorship for military recruitment by $27.4 million? I said what! and stuttered too long and he was on to another example.

You know there are 18, 460 dead people on the voting roles in Ohio? But Ohio has a voter ID law and none them actually voted. The Ohio Republicans knew all about this in 2004 but said nary an utterance. Now that the Democrats are winning all of a sudden FOX news has discovered ZOMBIES ARE VOTING IN OHIO and ACORN and the unions are helping them to the polls! OK, OK, OK, I get it, the world is full of bad news. But your going to have to do what Fatman has done and lay off a steady diet of it.

I don't just FooBoo (aka Facebook) about only bad stuff he says. I do good stuff too. I mean they killed Bin Laden, even though they used a racial slur for his code name. I said, that's kind of a negative positive don't you think? Well, Glen Beck is leaving FOX news, he offered back to me. Same category I said. OK, he mumbled, well how about the fact all languages have recently be found to have come from one mother tongue? A single Mother Language asks I? Yes a single language spoken in Southern Africa 100,000 years ago. No shit, I say. Tell me more about that..... damn he's got me again.....

(see pages 36 &37 of the May 12, 2011 Rolling Stone for Jr.'s source of inspiration)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Squeezing The Golden Goose Till It lays Eggs Of Lead!

I sent my children to college and would do it again. They didn't go into debt to finance their experience. But their parents did. Our Higher Education System is broken. It is a lie and a con-job. We are killing off its true value. Indeed does anyone remember why it was truly valuable. Jobs, more take home pay, bigger car, nicer house? Is that why we have colleges? What the hell is the pay off?

Asking the college culture to prove to you that they have a problem is tantamount to asking the Mafia to provided the proof that there is organized crime in NYC.
To the cost they forget to add room & board, life style cost, transportation, and (the biggy) loss of income. Then they calculate it by an idea time to a degree when the average degree time is (idea+ 12.5%). The "economist" say 1/3rd of the students do not take out loans and thus incur no loan debt. Really? What do their parents think about that?
In 2008 the average graduate with a bachelors and a loan owed $28,000+. Really, well how much will it cost those students to pay back a $28,000+ loans. Will it take $72,000 over time? $136,000 over time? $240,000 over time? With deferments and defaults and refinancing it could be almost anything, but it isn't just $28,000.
People with degrees make more money over a life time. Yep, especially, using pre-2008 figures to prove it. So you add together the real world cost and subtract that from the 2011 and beyond real world take home pay. Is college a good life-time investment on a purely economic bases? I don't think anyone has really calculate that. Is it worth, deferring having children? Is it worth not having a house? Is it worth it to the society at large to have a trillion dollars plus resources tied up in student loans not available to be spent on goods and services in a consumer economy? Is it really worth deferring, deferring, deferring, deferring until you are too damn old to have what you are striving for and too damn tired to enjoy it.

College should be a worth while investment. An Investment in your mind, in your knowledge, in your character, and even in the way you live your life, but at these prices, and at these extended cost?

We have made the golden goose of Promise lay eggs of leaden Debt.