Strings And Things
Evolving Evolution
Arizona Winter
Bear With Us
Balmer Fiddles While Earth Burns
The Glacier’s Cry
Dogwood Revenge


Strings And Things                                             January 15, 2014

Watched a show on measuring little things. A few years ago it was considered miraculous to see a large molecule with an electron microscope. Now there’s one which claims to reveal individual atoms. The image looked to me like a piece of tweed fabric under a microscope. It looked suspicious since it was two dimensional only, either a slice one atom in depth or…what?

Of course, the atom has been broken down into a nucleus orbited by electrons and we have evidence that the nucleus can be further broken down into things called mesons, quarks, etc. We at least have second-hand evidence of their existence from accelerator bombardments. Beyond that, simply from mathematical analysis, a man named Higgs has predicted another particle, for which there is no evidence. He named it the Bowes-Higgs particle (not sure who Bowes is). Anyway, we are asked to take it on faith even though no one has seen it. Sort of like asking if birds poop in the woods-we believe they do even though we haven’t seen them in the act.

It doesn’t end there. Physicists  postulate that these small particles are actually made up of things that spin, flip, twirl, whirl and whiffle around. They foolishly called them strings so we laymen can now knowingly say “Yes, I believe in string theory.” If they had called them something like fibrillating-anaxiomatric-multipoles, they could have retained the mystique most scientists covet.

Even these little strings have large spaces between them (relatively speaking). So one scientist sees them as a way to determine what’s hiding in the universe between the bodies we see in the sky. The big bang theory postulates that all matter in the universe was once compacted into a tiny speck which in effect created one gigantic black hole. At that time the strings would have collapsed together to allow that. That infers everything in our universe is expanding, not just the space between bodies. Even our bodies are expanding. I know mine is.


Evolving Evolution                                                    January 24, 2014

For those unaware evolution is a real and ongoing process, we now have a new animal, the Coywolf. It’s so new even spellchecker chokes on it. Nevertheless, this cross-breed between coyote and wolf is real. And apparently aptly named since it is much more at home in urban areas than either of its ancestors, coyly fitting in fearlessly with people to take advantage city food sources.

Per Wikipedia: “Coywolves have the wolf characteristics of pack hunting and the coyote characteristic of lack of fear of human-developed areas. They seem to be bolder and more intelligent than regular coyotes.”

As if coyotes are not smart enough. Last year, a resident here in Arizona took a fairly large pet dog to a play area in our subdivision. When a coyote limped across the area dragging a rear leg, the dog sympathetically went over to investigate. The coyote jumped the dog, was joined by a partner and the dog was dead before the owner could do anything. A well planned ruse. I agree with those who say predators have a place in nature but can nature be found on city streets?

Meet the Coywolf
Meet the Coywolf


Arizona Winter                                                         April 18, 2014

In a year when almost every other part of North America (and much of the world) suffered through a gruesome winter, our little locale provided an Edenesque experience that at times left us feeling guilty. Made us want to swear off apples. Well, it wasn’t perfect. We did have three rainy days in December. Still, one of the finest winters the locals can remember and one not likely to be repeated soon.

Usually we begin the migration north before everything blossoms. This year’s early bloom showed the true beauty of the desert. These pictures give an idea of two year’s growth (2012 first, 2014 second).

AZ Yard 2012AZ Yard 2014

Here’s our Argentine Giant in 2012 and today. It produced this profusion of blooms three times, each for a day. The upright piece eventually weighed too much for the stake and it reclined to its present position. Guess that makes it a creeping giant.

Cactus 2012Cactus 2014


Bear With Us                                                               June 2, 2014

Last Thursday we hosted an open air zoo. Act one was a visit from two deer that meandered through our yard. Not unusual, they or their friends show up often. Even a young buck spent an hour with us over a week ago. Funny animals, they like to approach a flower bed or better still a rose bush, checking us for a reaction. When they get one they move on pretending they weren’t really interested in the flowers anyway. Of course they know they can return just after dark and have their way with them.

Our second visitor was a black bear that walked right past the house and down through the pasture. Since my camera battery was dead I could only get the photo below. We seldom see bears. A little later another black bear followed the path of the first. Or else the first made a lap around in the bush to repeat its pass.

Then two baby rabbits appeared. Can you find one of them in the second photo? Finally, a large coyote appeared in the pasture, watching us as he crossed over to the wild side of our property. He or she probably headed to the rabbit warren which is infesting us with weed and flower eaters. Predators are not the enemy around here.




Balmer Fiddles While Earth Burns                                   June 10, 2014

Watched a Cosmos show on climate warming about the same time Balmer dumped two billion into the pocket of an ex-slumlord to buy a basketball toy. What do these two things have in common? Nothing. That’s the problem. Balmer fiddles while Earth burns.

Some would say he earned it, he can do what he wants with it. Even Methuselah didn’t have enough years to earn twenty billion. Microsoft would have been as well off with other leadership, perhaps better off considering its economic performance in recent years and ineffective attempts to diversify. But that’s not my point. My point is that the relatively small number of individuals who have amassed over a billion dollars should target that excessive wealth at fighting the serious problems we face.

That doesn’t mean give it away to less fortunate. They should invest in ventures which address these serious problems in a manner that allows hardworking individuals to benefit as well. Paul Allen and Bill Gates have made strides in this direction. Has Balmer done anything worthwhile with his wealth? It’s not apparent.

Whether one wants to believe it or not, our climate is in danger and without curtailing fossil fuel consumption it will bring human reign of the Earth to an end. Currently, 37% of U.S. energy is produced by coal burning plants alone. A major part of the solution would be to develop large scale solar power to supply our energy needs. Wouldn’t investing a few billion in that area bring more satisfaction than trying to buy an NBA title?

Contemplating this left me with a sleepless night which led to the following poem. Any wealth its publication generates I will apply to the solar power project. Even Balmer would probably be willing to match that amount.

The Glacier’s Cry

Can you hear the glacier’s cry?
Melting under greenhouse sky,
Endless grinding, frequent moan,
Scattered shrieks, giant groan.
Rending crack, then mighty sigh,
Another block tumbles down,
Another beach-house starts to drown,
Can you hear the glacier’s cry?

Verdant grass now turned brown,
Floods destroy a flood-plain town,
Tornadoes howl, hurricanes roar,
Beating back a retreating shore.
Traffic stalls, planes don’t fly,
Drivers fret but do not care,
They say it’s just an idle scare,
Refuse to heed the glacier’s cry.

“Find oil! Find oil!” We used to shout,
“Our fossil fuels are running out.”
Now tundra thaws to rotting mass
Belching farts of methane gas
Yet some still do not hear
Say it’s colder than last year.
But one year’s weather merely dents
Climate’s march and glacier’s cry.

It’s not too late if we but try
And turn our faces to the sky.
Ten minutes of sun is all it takes
To curb the tide our burning makes.
Stem death’s spiral that we now fly,
To leave air pure, let birds sing,
Negate brutality oil wars bring
Please oh please hear the glacier’s cry?


Defiance                                                                   June 21, 2015

Last year I decimated an overgrown rhododendron and claimed it would grow back, while secretly wondering if it could possibly survive. Well…it is fighting back and this year it defied my defiling by presenting this solitary bloom.


Congratulations, rhodie, I admire you and will care for you as best I can through your recovery.

Great satisfaction can come from defying the odds. The other day we ended up with five in our golf group. I volunteered to play with another threesome to give two foursomes. The three were less than half my age and they play from the back tees. One look at me and they suggested I play from our usual tees but out of defiance I joined them back there. Normally they would be well out of my league but determination, a little luck and a lack of course familiarity on the part of two of them allowed me to score better than those two. Defiance is a great motivator.

Of course it can also make hardy fools foolhardy. By now, the Mount Everest glaciers are hiding hundreds of them. When some re-surface and are discovered by the prevailing dominant life form in ten thousand years, there will be much speculation on how on earth (literally on top of Earth) they got there.

Nevertheless, civilization is moved forward by those who defy prevailing sentiment, prohibitions and conditions. Often they are as lonely as my bloom fighting for survival in a world battered by bloodshed (or in its case, woodshed). But in the end, they will succeed through defiance.


Dogwood Revenge              October 4, 2015

Many, many years ago we planted a dogwood aptly name “Eddie’s White Wonder”. Here is what it looked like after a few years, though the photo fails to show the truly snow white color of the blossoms.


And in winter it “blooms” again with real snow. It becomes more spectacular each year and yet it has an unruly side as well. In fact “side” is the operative word. It delights in sending out large branches, some of which you can see in the pictures. But a massive one you can’t see grew straight out towards you. Large and out of balance with the rest of the tree, it became artistically offensive. So last year I cut it off.

And what was the tree’s answer this year?


“Reach these, if you can, humanoids! They don’t call me Eddie’s White Wonder for nothing!”



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