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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Wartime

The United States is engaged in so many wars, throw a dart snd there is one.  The front page one currently is the War On Terror.  Not sure where the battlefield is but we are not being very successful in winning it let alone engaged in combat. 

For the US this war began on 9-11, well in the mind’s eye.  Yet the terror of destruction had been going on for decades in Europe.  I was hoping that after 9-11 the US might unleash all its potential.  Instead Pres. Bush, the junior one put on kid gloves and went over and paddled them some.  Unlike his father who sent a military expedition to the Middle East and accomplished his goal in Kuwait.  The Persian Gulf War was probably the only war we engaged in where we went as a country with a mission.  Yet for reasons unknown it stopped. 

This lack of continuation was probably one of the reasons for the 9-11 attacks.  The US did not stiffen its resolve to create a peaceful ending.  Instead left the area in the hopes that things would improve.  This has been one of the biggest downfalls, hopes that things will get better.   What’s the saying ……. a tiger does not change its stripes.  In the political realm there is a state called denial and the lots of politicians live there. 

Since World War Two, the United States has not waged a successful war.  Korea, Indochina/Vietnam, Africa, Yugoslavia, Middle East.  For fear of ruffling feathers, the United States has backed down on the Political front of world opinion. 

It is okay to the ruffle the feathers of the US but you better not ruffle ours back.  As a result the political leaders have become apologetic.  The appearance is, that the United States no longer likes being a winner. 

As a society we are going to have to look at ourselves, what kind of country do we want, what kind of lives do we want.  Right now it is a country that lives in fear.  A country that easily bullied. 

Look at the various protests over the past 48 months.  What have been the consequences for the protestors that have destroyed property and or taken lives.  The occupy protestors had and extended life, what were their consequences. Look at the small one and two day protests.  Then there were the riot protests.  How did the police react to the destruction of private property. 

If we are going to be a country of Laws, we need to be that and accept the consequences of being that kind of country.  If we become a country of anarchy, rules we be held for the moment or situation then discarded.  So who ever is the biggest bully and has the most bullies will rule for the moment. 

Look at the Wars we are involved in.  Have they been successful.  The War On Poverty, began during the Johnson administration and his Great Society.  Today there are over 48 million people on food stamps, an indicator of poverty.  The success of that war has been to expand the victim base of the US.  A war that has been going on for over 40 years.  Look at how big the Federal welfare agency is. 

Why is that war still going on?

Then there is the War On Drugs.  A whole new government agency was created to combat drugs.  What has this agency accomplished in this war?  They have grown in size, have a nice pay, travel a lots, get to shot nice fancy guns, wear odd clothes and make lots of sound bites after their raids. 

Since the war on drugs began the drug use has skyrocketed.  Drug dealing has become one of the most lucrative businesses in the US and it is a tax free income.  People die and get killed in this industry yet very little is said about these deaths.  The drug war rolls on…… to what end?

Then there is the battle of energy independence.  Started under President Carter.  With over 40.000 employees, how has the Department of Energy helped ease the oil dependency of the United States?

Our wars are ongoing, a beginning with no end.  Who profits off these wars.  A former president warned the people of the US about a military Industrial complex that was emerging.  He sated that these groups would soon control the country.

Then there are the environmental battles.

Basically we are becoming a nation of losers.  So few speak out, have a backbone or any kind of fortitude. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tarryall, CO

 

A small little community in the central Colorado called South Park.  Mostly a ranching area.  Not many cartoon characters hang out in the area. 

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Couple of part time cabins reside there.  What else not sure.  Been over 3 decades since last visit. 

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A country school was in the area.  Appears someone takes care of it.  There are a fee ranch houses near by and up the creek a ways is the Tarryall reservoir. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bovina, CO

 

Interstate seventy slices through the middle of eastern Colorado, making a raceway for truckers and others in a hurry.  When the super slab was built, lots of the little towns dried up and for the moist part blew away.  Bovina was one of little burgs on the prairie.  It boasted a population of over 500 souls in the early 1880’s and was a watering stop for the railroad and earlier the cattle on the Texas Montana Cattle Trail.  It was the passing bovines that gave Bovina its name. 

Today the town is an exit sign on the freeway.  Some people some years ago bot some lots there and built a home so it no longer sits empty.  On the ridge to the east is the cemetery overlooking the abandoned village.  A boot hill of sorts. 

When the longhorns were chased out of western Kansas in the 1880’s. The trail moved west across eastern Colorado.  Watering holes were mapped out and Bovina became an important stop on the trail.  There were large ponds in the area for the cattle to get a drink and there was good grass.

Drive trough today and one would see plowed farmlands and no signs of water.  In 1935 Noah and his rains showed up dumping barrels of water on the high plains.  Creeks flooded, river rose and bridges were washed out all the way into Nebraska and Kansas.  As the rains fell the ponds filled.  Soon they were full and breached, draining the ponds.  The flood of 1935 wiped out the ponds and only small lagoons survive today. 

Bovina was a railroad town and because of the water the railroad made the town a watering stop.  1888 the town was platted out, the railroad put in sidings, a depot, corrals and other facilities.  Homes were built, stores and shops opened, bovina was a booming town. 

1920’s was peak population.  There were two factories in town, two banks, numerous stores, shops and a moving picture house.  The railroad was shipping cattle and grain from the farmers, business was booming. 

Electricity was slow in getting out to the prairie and many began leaving and going to towns that had their own power plants.  1920 signaled the beginning of the end for the town.  Factories leaving then the crash of 1929 began the death knell.  The 1930’s brought the drought and the dust bowl.  A natural havoc few could deal with.  The exodus from the land of promise was in full swing. 

The little red brick schoolhouse would close at the end of the decade.  Later the Post Office would close and only a few hardy souls would be left after the war. 

The dance hall no longer heard the piano and shuffle of feet.  The saloon was gone, homes were empty.  Dreams floated overhead with the clouds. the ghost rider passed by slowly looking for water now lost.  The winds flowed over the land unhindered.

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The farm machines that represented prosperity were now weed collectors.  For years they sat next to the railroad, visible from the Interstate.  Gone are the monuments from a past time.  Tumbleweeds roll on by, pausing not to remember other days. 

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Mounds of dirt cover the snow fence along the railroad.  The top part of the telegraph poles stand above the blow dirt a mute sentential to the powers of nature.  Most of these blow dirt mounds have been leveled.  here and there are drifts of dirt stacked up, 4, 4, 5 feet deep, smothering life. 

The letter carries would talk about delivering the mail in a dust storm.  Follow along the ditch line for the road was not visible.  Pause at the mail box, roll the window down, collect the letters, put in new letters.  Travel on down the country road, keeping the windows up in the heat of summer to keep the dust out.  Delivering mail to a neighboring country Post Office.  Meeting with another letter carrier and sorting the mail.  Returning to Bovina that evening, drop off a cream can or two at the depot she had picked up.  Go to the local post office, drop off the mail and get ready for another day. 

Get home and clear the dust off her window sills and and furniture, prepare the evening meal.  She lived to be 96, passing away 5 years ago. 

Listen to her and the old building would talk.  A time of another era came to life. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Chaco Canyon

 

The Four Corners area of the US is loaded with ancient Indian mysteries.  Situated in the northwestern corner of New Mexico is Chaco Canyon one of the most extensive collections of ancient mysteries.  There was a variety in cultures that built there yet they are referred to as Anasazi Indians, a term meaning the “Ancient Ones.”  Not a tribe but a question mark and a label was hung on them for a reference point. 

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Wandering through the area, there is a variety of construction styles.  The keyholes of Mexico, Cliff dwellings, Pit Houses, fine masonry work with chinking and large hewn stone work.  The styles indicating different tribal work or cultures. 

One thing that remains the same, the answers are no clearer then they were decades ago when I first visited.  The scientists still speculate on what they have found, based on the neighboring Pueblo Indians.  Even within them are a large variety of people and cultures.  So one can be a scientist and speculate and put their opinion forth as fact. 

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I spent a week at Chaco over 30 years ago, pre digital and took hundreds of slides.  I have been scanning some of them and they bring sack moments from years past.  When I was there, an archeologist and some of his students were there excavating a set of pit houses.  I was able to visit with them and watch them work as they removed small pieces of various artifacts.  How they would remove parts from a fire pit to measure for dating.  The separation of various relics and how they recorded their finds.  They had traced this village of pit houses across the floor and about 600 years of evolution and their changes. 

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This small group of houses was contemporary with the larger nearby Pueblo Bonito.  One of the speculations was that the Indians that inhabited these little huts were slaves of the Indians that were in the larger pueblo.  In the middle ages slavery was not unusual.  Capture weaker people, get them to build the large castle/pyramid and be the servants.  A recorded history is not available so theories are put forth based on other observations.  Then Indian slavery messes with the myth of the noble Indian. 

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Scattered across the area are hundreds of little villages.  Some are excavated, most are rubble piles.  Late 1800’s-early 1900’s the Wetherill brothers came out here and scrounged the Indian ruins.  Digging out pots and other artifacts, sending them back east for sale.  The sale of these ancient pots financed their diggings in the Four Corners area and kind of left an ugly scar on many of the ruin sites.  Lots of what the brothers recovered ended up in Europe and there was not much cataloguing of what was shipped where and where it was found. 

Yet there were enough untouched ruin sites, reconstruction has been pretty accurate and the stabilization helps to preserve the ruins.

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The Kivas are as varied as the rest of the canyon.  During the solstice and equinox they resonate with the visitors who have mystical aspirations of the ancient tribes. 

When I visited, the Sun Dagger had not been discovered.  Today many of the ruins sites are now called observatories.  The measurement of time was used with markers, noting the suns passing.  How sophisticated were these Indians?

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The pictures are of organized rock piles.  In the day of occupation, the rocks were plastered.   Mud was applied to the walls, filling the chinks creating a well insulated dwelling.  The Kivas were decorated with sand paintings.  The archeologists found a Kiva with sand painting still on the walls.  With meticulous care, they peeled off 10 layers of different paintings covering a couple of centuries. 

A catch all category for the unknown is religious use.  And the kiva gets put into that category.  The items found in them become religious objects that were used in religious ceremonies.  It is interesting how things are labeled when they are not really sure.  It raises more questions and speculation.  Then that is the fun of the visit, then go to the museum of Anasazi history at the University.  Questions are cleared up and new ones arise. 

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The park service has changed their perception and scope over the years.  Things that were talked about years ago are now gone for they mess with the myth that has been created.  Answers to the questions will probably never be found.  A mystery that many will look at and speculate on.  There is some substance and there is fiction t ofit an agenda.  Separate out the reality form the illusion. 

One of the collest collections of ghost towns to wander through and ponder.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Twenty Fifteen…. Is Underway

 

The celebrations of the eve are now history.  The year will continue to march along.  The old one did not end so well, the protests and the police killings were a sour note.  In the dour ending, where are the bright notes, what good things are on the horizon. 

On the personal side, there will be few changes, and for me that is comforting.  I like very little change, then that’s why I like my dumpy little town.  Not many people, not many reasons to change.

On the national level and International level I see lots of changes.  The Democrats no longer will have their way.  There will be lots of sabre rattling in DC and the democrat minions will be unhappy with that.  So I foresee more protests on the national level and a few becoming violent. 

Then there is the garbage in the Middle East and Russia.  More blood will be shed there and Russia will become a flash point.  I have read bits and pieces that this will be the cause of WWIII.  That I doubt because we don’t fight wars anymore to win.  Our war stance is now just that, posturing. 

What kind of trickle down effect this will have on me is a big question mark, for I am somewhat insulated from the trash of the big cities. 

So into that next year I walk.  Will it rock me or will it throw me over the cliff. 

Not since the great depression have so many been out of work.  Those that have run out of benefits are not longer counted as being part of the unemployment picture.  I read somewhere that if they were included in the picture, unemployment would be close to 12%.  Then there are the illegals, how do they impact the picture.  The money they earn in the US, goes unreported, not taxed and a large majority goes to their home, a foreign country.  That is a negative cash drain on the US economy for no dollars are being put back in to replace what is being lost. 

Then there were all the people that were killed, including abortions.  I read the other day that Planned Parenthood aborted over 350,000 lives.  How would these people impact the economy if they were still alive.  In the big metro complexes, how many are killed, how many die by accidents, all have an impact on our lives.

The other thing in the future is the persecution.  How much longer will it be tolerated.  Then what form will retaliation take.  There are some really hateful people out there and some are getting tired of it.  

Believe I might invest in a pharmaceutical company that makes anti-depressants.  Gonna become a growth industry.

I shall harken to my siren song of the camera.  Go forth and capture some more pixels. For with all these changes, lots of things from the past disappear. 

 

 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Idalia, CO

 

Idalia is a curious little town, covers maybe 6 square blocks.  Main street is empty, at the end is the school.  The glue that keeps the town going.  The grain elevator is still in operation and there is a convenience store/gas station and garage that sits on the east edge of town.  Then there is the curiosity, a motel.

Highway 36 is not a major road and Highway 385 is that a way some distance.  So how does a motel stay open in a dwindling country town. 

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Yet… there it is, on the eastern edge of town across from vacant land. Next door is an abandoned gas station indicating there had been a fair amount of travel at one time on the road. 

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Its better days are someplace in the past an era of long ago.  The nearest towns of any size are 30 some miles that a way or that a way.  Stores and shops sit vacant next to empty lots. 

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It is farm country and the grain elevator stays busy throughout the year and the convenience station gets a few of the truckers and the occasional traveler. 

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The prairie icon, stoically stands, overlooking the land that feeds it.  It is a considerable distance to the nearest railroad.  Trucks rumble in and out at various times of the year. Otherwise the ghosts of other days silently repose on the vacant streets that are briefly interrupted when school is out. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Death of a Year

 

As the year winds down, a head, mine, shakes in bewilderment.  We were supposed to be out of the Middle East, yet as a few leave the violence escalates.  Death of man has become so common, it no longer needs a separate page.  People die for some of the most bizarre things.  Another airliner disappears, Russia has indigestion, North Korea is having tantrums' and in the US there are protests with very little consequences. 

Around the world, Law and Order is being replaced by lawless anarchy. 

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Safe life in the big city is diming.  Death stalks the streets, seeking out victims.  The county and world is being victimized by these acts of lawlessness, Yet what are the world leaders doing.  It has become a world of apologetic philosophy. 

Situational ethics was a catch all for people outside the morals of as society.  No longer, it is now, the ethic of the moment.  Like it or not society is changing.  The New World had been a place for the persecuted to go to to escape persecution.  No long for the persecutors have followed them and the level of persecution has increased around the world.  People can not leave others alone.

So will it be a brave new world or an animal farm?  What course are we plotting?  Can we change the course… or bigger question, are we willing to make the sacrifice to effect some changes and stand tall. 

There are predators out there, do you like being prey?  How being a victim?  There are those who like to victimize to control others.  Look at how many ways you are victimized. 

 

What will 2015 have on its agenda?

 

Happy New Year.  ….. I hope.