Tuesday, September 18, 2018

OUT WITH THE OLD, BUT WHERE'S THE NEW?

As an aging woman in a morphing world, my issue is having too much.  Too many books, too many clothes.  Some of them I've had so long that the fabric is rotting which makes me sad because I liked them so much and they aren't made anymore.  For instance, people don't sleep in long white nightgowns anymore -- they wear sweats.  But too many longtime friends have passed on, and surely that's more serious.

It's clear that we're at the point in history where all our theories of organization have run out and it's time to invent more ways of being.  Since there was a big surge of reinvention and reorganization after WWII, their time of usefulness is all running out at the same time.  In fact, everything that was a big new boom wave in the past must inevitably begin to collapse at about the same time, which means that the media are always noting the deaths of movie stars, esp. the ones who were popular all in a cluster, like Westerns.

Never before our archives of images formed could we see -- not read about but see -- famous and related people throughout their whole lives from birth to death.  It's a lot to ponder, esp. if the people portrayed are not part of the group in which we've been embedded our whole lives.  But the more contemporary portraits of people we aren't likely to know -- like the families of indigenous people after they were so colorful at first contact and before they become indistinguishable on the street and in the stores from everyone else -- are not picked up by media.  If it weren't for the insight of Paul Seesequasis, we wouldn't know Cree girls with bobby socks and perms, print dresses and cardigans, dancing swing with boys who have ducktails.

Sometimes in my own family I run across a little cache of photos from early days, but not very often since I gathered them all up when my mother died.  It's just that they're too much to sort and there's too little time.  Also, I discover that others are not so fascinated as myself.  In terms of place, people have a certain fantasy about how history went, and are not pleased to have that challenged.  To them Valier was once a ranch, like the ones in John Wayne movies.  They know ranches.  They don't want to know the ranch was owned by a Confederate raider who came here as a teenager because the Civil War ended.  Nor can they picture a pre-Euro world on the prairie.

Nothing has changed our understanding of living beings more than genetics.  It's not just Euros coming to America and calling things here by Euro names:  elk here were stags there, robins there are really thrushes here, and -- of course -- these Indians are not the ones from India.  About the time that we figure out that DNA tells a different story about what animals are, along comes David Quammen and teaches us that all living beings are expressions of the same code and can pass that code around among themselves over both time and space.

I'm reading a book called "The Wandering Gene and the Indian Princess: Race, Religion, and DNA" by Jeff Wheelwright.  It's about the mutant gene BRCA1.185delAG.  All the BRCA genes are potentially cancer-causing and this one is: it causes breast cancer.  In the course of tracking down who and why and what should be done about it, Wheelwright gets to know a family that includes the "Indian Princess" who is partly indigenous.  Tragically, she is carrying this gene, inherited from Sephardic Jewish ancestors she never knew she had.  She copes by becoming a Jehovah's Witness.

This story is in the SW and Colorado so the history includes the Spaniards overrunning the indigenous people, then the latter rising up and throwing them off, followed by a new invasion favouring Jesuit bureaucracy, and then this specific family becoming Jehovah's Witness.  The people involved create their lives and identities from different layers of the past, so some mothers still light candles on Friday evening, but have lost the memory of Jewish peddlers and other immigrants who brought the custom to them.  The practice is not anchored in religion but in the felt significance of custom, also inherited from Sephardic Jews.

Culture can overwhelm inheritance and I feel it sharply now.  Because I've lived in multiple places, known different kinds of people, done contrasting kinds of work, read and read and read things none of my relatives have read, I don't see the world the way they do.  I look at what was supposed to be our genteel and blameless lives and see tragedy: the grandmother who nearly died of goiter because of living in Dakota and Manitoba where there is too little iodine and probably because of a genetic need for iodine because of her previous generations (Finney in Ireland and Scotland -- all Finneys claiming to be Scots because Irish were stigmatized) having been adjusted to maybe too MUCH iodine on a sea-drenched island.  Her thyroid problems may have translated through the epigenome to problems among the grandkids, even emotional ones not thought to have roots in physiology. 

Her middle name is "Swan" which is often a Metis name, so maybe I have a little indigenous blood after all.  But genetics are much too complex to make guesses like that.  On the other hand, her very best friend, a woman who came to Oregon from Dakota where they lived near each other, looks very indigenous.  Her name was Coleman, which could easily be an "Americanized" version of a tribal name.  But one must weigh that idea against the unreal American yearning to be indigenous, a person of the land who is nobilized in stories.

My family does NOT want to hear about it.  Their way of handling such things is denial, not-hearing, ignoring, shutting out, and devoting themselves to "Outlander", a series full of avant garde things like S and M or polyamory and a lot of dubious politics.  They say they just skip that part. They love romantic novels and history makes them legitimate. 

The other half of my heritage is also Brit, but the kind that figured out that prosperity is the same thing as respectability, so if you make your living from titty bars, it's okay as long as your home is well-decorated with kitsch.  Not that different from Trump believing that if he has enough gold-plated furniture, he will be admired.  He's right.  But only admired by the ignorant.  it's an old outmoded Euro concept, like so much of our lives.


But then . . . one of the things I have too much of is criticism of relatives and politicians.  Over time, it has rotted.

Monday, September 17, 2018

WHAT IS AN "INDIAN"?

Misnamed, misunderstood, misappropriated -- from the first moment a Euro person stepped onto these two linked  continents, the "Americas" named for a Euro, and got them all wrong, there have been attempts to understand but only misinterpreted everything.  All attempts to claim one thing or another have ended in atrocity, impassioned opposition, and subversion.  Never resolved, but tolerated because the indigenous people were stymied: couldn't speak English, didn't understand the idea of Rule of Law, had no boundaries or flags or declarations.  But now they do.  (Are they still "Indians"?  I say yes, but transformed.)

Two recent scientific studies add to the mess with things we didn't know, could never have known before.  One is from genetics and the other is from geology.  They mesh.

Let's look at them one at a time.  I've noted the two website posts that I'm considering.  The first is about a jump in the genome that made a certain kind of persons (including the American indigenous) better able to nourish their children.  It assumes that this genome is basically Asian.  

In the past indigenous people have passionately resisted the idea that their genome is Asian-based, but that was during a time when we were at war with Japan and Korea.  Now "Asian" means "California" and is more acceptable; in fact, considered so superior that their numbers are limited at Ivy League universities to keep them from dominating.  But the new loop in the story is about hominins, pre-Homo Sapiens (like Neanderthals and other pre-humans) and the evidence that the Naledi genome accumulated in the Asian countries.  Much to explore!

https://theconversation.com/mothers-milk-holds-the-key-to-unlocking-an-evolutionary-mystery-from-the-last-ice-age-95572?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=twitterbutton

The other web-posted idea is about the continents that we now know are always moving, and our ability to figure out and prove where they were and likely what humans were doing in relation to the change in land.  We've known that the Pacific Ocean is forcing itself up between China/Siberia and Alaska/Canada, but that there is still a kind of strand between the two continents, like pulling apart something gooey as warm cheese.  

In the imagination, we thought of a "land bridge" for people and animals and artists created a long line of evolving specimens marching across, mixing it up with Darwinian ideas about evolution.  The single-file on a horizon is an old figure in Europe.  It shows up in Ingmar Bergman's "Seventh Seal" for example and is often headed by Death with his scythe.

Now that we understand that "sea level" goes up and down, depending on things like ice burden at the poles, the height of the water on coasts also moves, much to the distress to people living on waterfronts and islands.  At the same time we have learned that what we call evolution is not a tree, but a bush.  There are many versions of living beings and they interweave with each other, like the recently discovered skeleton with both Neanderthal and Naledi genes in the bones, meaning that they were not separate species if you accept the definition of species meaning that they are not fertile with each other.

https://www.thoughtco.com/beringian-standstill-hypothesis-first-americans-172859

Now the proven nature of the Beringia area, called the Standstill, and the culture of the people there is that the land was a kind of low country, not so far above the sea, submerged by a rise in the water.  This is recorded without clues to culture, because we haven't searched underwater for signs of villages or tools, but we have scouted along the Western coast of America and we do find them even submerged.

There's a lot of justifiable pride in feeling that a category of people have been in one place so long that they have always been there, and truth in the idea of them forming a distinct group with shared physical characteristics as well as a culture based on the place -- the buffalo, or the corn, or the salmon.  

The Euro idea of God making little creatures and posing them around the landscape is a made-up story.  The principle that all hominins, including us, arise from the land is closer to the actual, but not complete.  Still, wolves, coyotes, and collies can interbreed fertilely, but are normally separated by their cultures.  They don't do things or occupy places that support the mix.  If humans interfere with that, they get coydogs and mules and ligers for no particular reason -- deadends.  So what are we all?

Humans are not like that.  All existing hominins are fertile together, BUT that is a premise based on the whole category.  Cultural groupings still persist to the extent that they are supported by economics, but no one lives off buffalo now. There is no culture based on baloney sandwiches alone.  In a transition period the culture on the rez was reliant on commodity cheese and second-hand Euro clothes.  No longer.  So what is the cultural content of indigenous people?  The first attempt was pan-Indian marketing, mostly through the movies.  It served its purpose which was at least in part political.  

Probably culture cannot be designed, in particular from the outside.  It slowly arises and will be in tension in this case between a unity of ALL indigenous people and the particularity of the place where they formed "tribes."  Deeper than that are the assumptions that these people have had about all life and even landscape.

Instead of the direct experience the elder people had when I first came to the rez (the old people had been born in the 1880's -- both indigenous and Euros) these are the things that we've just learned recently: airports, computer tablets, sugar, passivity.  A jumble to be sorted.  Below are ideas to think about when figuring it out.

Human identity is a combination of genetics and culture.

Culture arises out of environment and the resulting economics.

The body, genomics, arises out of human relationship.

Conflict is relationship -- the opposite of attachment is indifference, which prevents human happiness.


There is no such thing as race -- there is only variation which can sometimes be grouped by EITHER genome or culture, or both.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

"BEAUTIFUL BODIES": Review of a book by Didi Hoffman

Malvina Hoffman (1885-1966), the woman and sculptor, has been an important figure and guide in my life for all my years as an adult.  It might be surprising to those who like their categories neat and unchallenged that she was the same and more for Bob Scriver -- in fact, the subject of our first conversation and eventually she was a person we visited with flowers in our arms as she lay on her divan in Sniffin Court, close to her end.  

When I went back to her Hall of Man at the Field Museum in 1978 I was affronted and confused that the Hall, created with so much effort, hardship and idealism, had been broken up and dispersed through the museum, on grounds that it was racist, that everyone everywhere is the same.  Showing differences was belittling.  At the time, as I recall, the museum founded and funded by Marshall Field had his name removed because it was prideful and arrogant for anyone to be above others.  Now it is restored.

Admittedly, Field and Hoffman and most of the people in their lives were exceptional, wealthy, accomplished, famous and loved -- but old-fashioned.  This small attractive book about Hoffman was written by Didi Hoffman, Malvina's niece by marriage.  It approaches hagiography (a book about a saint) but that's okay.  This is the kind of woman and the sort of work that persists, no matter the changing cultures of the times.  If this is a "Masterpiece Theatre" kind of book, it balances some of the attacks.  But I still wish for something a little deeper, something that could explore why a neophyte theatre student (me), her near-retirement professor of acting (Alvina Krause, who used the portraits to train actors), and a mature musician and cowboy sculptor (my husband) could find her and her bronzes so meaningful.  The work is nothing shocking --- she was quite realistic.  But it's deeply appealing.

This book presents -- without much investigation --- two shaping situations in Hoffman's life, one at the beginning and one at the end.  The first was her privileged beginning among socially dominant and culturally nearly-worshipped people because of their love of the arts.  In this first part it was Rodin and Pavlova.  

When I was a child, an exhibit of Rodin bronzes came to Portland, Oregon, and I was impressed that my mother wore a midnight blue velvet evening dress, which was highly unusual, but I couldn't go because the sculptures were nude.  There was more to it than that, but I couldn't be told that either.  Rodin was famously, prodigiously sexual and seduced as many women as interested him.  Like Picasso.  Like Scriver, to tell the truth.

This was power and glamour that was not virtue-based but about passion and eros, the wildly Dionysian side of Art, which excused all ordinary rules, but was justified by extraordinarily hard work and exceptional achievement.  Because ladies are not supposed to know much about this sort of thing, Malvina's sex life was never really explored, but always hinted at.  Didi Hoffman follows that tradition.  Exploring possible affairs and the shading of hero worship into physical seduction remains for someone else to report, but they'll have a hard time finding much evidence.  These people were discrete.

The #meToo crowd may be revealed as simply thinking that even big powerful men are not good enough for them.  The contradictory valence of sex is that it is a sign of power, entitlement and high value, but as well an indicator of low status and vulnerability to abuse.  Everything depends on context, even the binary assignments of the people involved.  If Malvina had an affair with Pavlova, it is surely an intensification of their work together to portray a unique and artistic body in motion.

The second complex is indeed around the Hall of Man portraits of so many peoples of the world, but they are not political -- simply realistic portraits of people as they were before globalism blurred the special adaptions to place and occupation.  The 19th century was a time of astonishment at cultural difference as people began to realize just how various the world was, with bodies developed by adapting to environments and occupations.  That humans could be so different was a shock to some and a fascination to others.  

The paradoxical same/different tension has worked out very differently from one time to another.  When hierarchies and individualism have dominated, people want status and use differences to justify shoving others out of the way.  When the emphasis has been on survival our energy has pointed away from competition to larger issues, the benefits of cooperation, thinking about our commonality.  Popular movements come out of these basic rhythms, taking major parts of the population to extremes like racism and some feminisms.  Groups proclaim themselves concretely as they can with processions and destructions, graffiti and symbols.

Hoffman was not an elitist.  Every sculptor knows dependence on the skill and dedication of the people in the atelier, those who constantly clear up the debris, clean the clay, store the molds, and then turn to the creation of some new large shape.  But she was sometimes dependent on her aristocratic friends for money and influence.  This is another paradox of artists, that they must constantly cope with personal poverty while often consorting with very rich people who like to demonstrate their superior assets by helping worthy artists.  Hopefully, the dynamic is more of a collaboration than an oppression.  Consult "Masterpiece Theatre" plots.

A cluster of high status female sculptors has been identified, exhibited, and discussed by the Berry-Hill Galleries, Inc. in New York in 1984.  The essay is by May Brswley Hill and the title of the catalogue is "The Woman Sculptor: Malvina Hoffman and Her Contemporaries."  The same sculpture of an Asian archery dancer is on the cover, but the contents are quite differently engaging.  Brearley School alumni were featured, so the school opened up their photographic archives.  We confront a roomful of women: some nude models, some smock-wearing artists, and some nude but in clay.  Hoffman's own books are still the best access to her work.  Necessarily it is about human flesh, sometimes dressed, sometimes in chain mail, sometimes dead, a riveting focus for human beings of all kinds.


Didi Hoffman has had a long career in merchandizing and this shows in the book, but it would be silly not to mention all the honours and awards Hoffman was given.   https://www.didihoffman.com is a short video about the book.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

LITTLE CONNECTIONS IN A GREAT BIG STORY

In all the Manafort furor, there are a few strands that seem neglected.  Two are followed along by "Lincoln's Bible", a twitter account that uses threads to be almost like a blog.  Now I've gotten curious enough to trace back to Jay MacKenzie on Medium, which was a location for writing that I once subscribed to, but left behind when its more dubious bait-and-switch elements took over.  That is, at first it proposed to support new writers, but in the end depended on established people.  Nevermind.

This began with "Lincoln's Bible", the twitter source, which suggested two things of special note to me.  One was the description of Trump and Manafort as second-generation mafia families whose grandfathers were embedded in crimes of stigma (alcohol, sex, gambling, money laundering, etc.) which were absorbed by the Russian Mafia when they became powerful on the American continent after the native mafia was crushed by US government forces like the FBI.  

Lincoln's Bible asserts that Trump and Manafort are desperate to protect their fathers.  Manafort's family powers come from New Britain, Connecticut, and earlier wars happened when I was nearby in Hartford doing my clergy internship.  I knew very little about it but I have a "feel for the territory."  It echoes.

The other factor is also more felt than known by me, but begins to describe the invasion of the New England mafia in the area where I live now, the high prairie in the boundary country along both sides of the 49th parallel.  "Lincoln's Bible" thinks that the Mounties drove the mafia out of Alberta, but I wonder.  It was a hot area for bootlegging (consult Wallace Stegner's semi-autobiographical novels).  Part of the reason for the creation of Glacier National Park was, they say, for the sake of the railroad, but also there were many local moonshine stills that are still remembered by people slightly older than me.  Consumption and status in the Big Hotels also supported traffic between the two countries, one where booze was legal and the other where booze was not.  One route is across a small lake between the countries.

I do not think that Mark Zuckerburg loved skiing so much that he bought a house near Whitefish.  I do not think the "Outlaw Inn" was carelessly named.  It's known that Wild Horse Island in Flathead Lake was a dry-out place for assassins.  I do not think it is a surprise that politicians from the Flathead have dodgy relationships with resource development and aren't from Montana at all.

Likewise, I've heard many stories about the KKK in Alberta, about the whoring strings that stretch along the border so that the women can move from one node to another as soon as they are recognizable.  Crime and prejudice and stigma are familiar with each other, even dependent on each other.  Soon they get into politics as demonstrated by Premier Diefenbaker who has an "underground" biography.  The best place to hide is always in plain sight.

The principle of the fractal is that small repetitions, like the illicit small town operations of those who crave profit, eventually create a large pattern that is very much the same, so that now governments shake down other governments with extortion and bribes.  The cover stories of founding and idealism work for a long time.  But evidently the antibody fractals of a democracy can also become linked and strong.

The first generation criminal activities of "Trump" and "Manafort" did a lot better than their contemporary descendants.  Trump has clearly NOT been the rich, powerful, and competent man he pretended to be.  Putin owns him in one sense, as we see in the photo of the two men emerging from a conference with Putin grinning and Trump looking about ready to vomit.  In another, now that Trump's sources of supply are cut off or too wary to act, he can't do anything but Tweet lies.  The US government now formally owns an apartment in Trump Tower and Trump himself never really owned the Trump International Hotel made from the Old Post Office.  He broke laws to pretend he owned it.

Likewise Manafort the Minor has depended on rich men, oligarchs, without understanding the relationship between government and mafias.  Does anyone?  Their strength is in mystery.  But in an age of technology keeping secrets is far more difficult and expensive, since it depends on defeating devices, transmissions , and records that far exceed expectations or any previous bookkeeping.  In fact, once block chain systems are really developed, money-laundering will be impossible because the money systems will wither.  Mega-banking will no longer be able to rely on the covert.

Worse than that, we may finally figure out how to organize the world without depending on competing nation states and may at last get over the fantasy that a business can be a person.

Another element is slowly emerging but not really apparent in the Trump/Manafort entwinement.  That is the bureaucratic corporation of religion, particularly the world religion with its roots (same as the mafia) in Italy.  Feeding on hidden money and forbidden sexual practices, the "old men" of the central enclaves are beginning to be overmatched by the Third World, which actually demand what Jesus proposed.  The present Pope is part of this.

But also there is a shift in shared meaning that is new grass coming up through the old entanglements of WWII compromises and workarounds.  The biggest problem will be clearing away the debris of former industry and monuments, which has already begun.  I'm working on it in my own life.  Partly it is dismay over what I once thought was worthy -- education, denomination, government, the practice of art, and partly it is an awakening to new concepts and coalitions across the planet.


One of Manafort's daughters has already gone to court to change her name.  Trump's children are too limited to see their future, unless their relentlessly competent mothers take hold of them the way the they took hold of "The Donald" and tried to support his fantasy of success.  They were porn stars of reality, pretending to consort with this old man with a ponytail flipped over his head because he -- unlike Putin -- is afraid of being bald.  Prison: the revenge of the hair follicles.  Will they let him wear one of those knit prison caps, a watch cap with no bill and no writing?

Friday, September 14, 2018

TIME FOR A BREAK

My Twitter feed follows three streams of issues -- not threads but major news trends.

1.  The political insanity and criminality of government in the US.

2.  The raging defiance of indigenous people in the far Western and Northern tribes of Canada.

3.  Environmental issues.

They are all terrifying, uncontrollable, and forecast.

I'm going to take a few days off and work on a computer that is not connected to the Internet.  You probably will never see what I write.

I'll check Twitter and email occasionally.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

VALIER PRE-DISASTER MITIGATION PLAN

When I first heard about the Valier Town Council scheduling the approval of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan, I was afraid they were after my shabby house.  But it turns out it was more like they were after Mother Nature.  The Disasters they had in mind were mostly wildland fire, winter weather, flooding, and severe storms.  I was loaned the 2004 plan, which was very helpful.  For one thing it is well-written, so easy to read.

But beyond that, at the moment I read this material, that scroungy old Florence the Hurricane is headed inland over the Carolinas, weakening to #2 after all her #4 threats, and veering south in a way hurricanes are not supposed to.  The thing about these natural events is that they are so tricky.

In the fifteen years since this 2004 narrative, things have not changed so much -- except for the usual surprises, paradoxical as they can be -- but maybe our consciousness of what constitutes a disaster has been challenged.  It will take me a while to read what the Town Council has just passed and to think about it.  If you want to take a look, the new document just approved is on the Town of Valier website.  This is an excellent use of the website -- for those with computers. http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/9bec14_d318d324fd2b4e66b954212f7b1c1756.pdf

The committee didn't just look at the lay of the land, but also thought about vulnerable populations like children, the disabled, and the elderly.  If we really want to scare ourselves, things like grizzlies, drugs, and the aging general population offer opportunities.

Part of what prompted this update was the crash of a gas tanker coming into Valier from the West and failing to slow enough to go around the curve by Froggies, so that it tipped over in front of the library.  Corky was managing the motel across the street, saw the incident, and got over there fast to break out the window -- which wouldn't crank open -- and get the driver out.  

Then others quickly took over to knock on doors and move the population out to the Fire Pavilion at the edge of Lake Francis, pets and all.  Now with dismay we are told that if that truck had exploded, the fire and explosion damage would have reached to a five mile radius -- the Fire Pavilion was too close.  The librarian remarks that she and other occupants would have been incinerated almost immediately.  That tanker was a moving bomb.  It is not on the disaster list.  It took a bit of indignation to get a new "slow down" sign put in place.  

Highway problems don't go entirely unaddressed.  A white fog-line is painted on the right hand of the asphalt and now small "fins" have been implanted on the center yellow line to "rumble" if you get into the oncoming lane. 

Dam Failure was high on everyone's list because of the then-recent failure of Swift Dam.  The smaller dams at the two ends of Lake Francis were seen as vulnerable but not widespread in terms of destruction.  In this early version, the writers think that Valier gets its water from Lake Francis, which is not true.  Rather, water comes from wells inside the city limits.

Drought has been more of a worry since global warming.  It reduces incomes, aggravates soil erosion via wind, and affects the whole irrigation system.  In Pondera County before 2004, there had been drought in six of seven years.  In 2002 alone drought meant $637,000 in losses.  The greatest one year loss was $l.7 million but the year is not given.

Earthquake is inevitable, given that the Rockies were raised by two tectonic plates smashing into each other.  The pattern has been quite a few minor "shakes" but not many major ones.  No one has died from them here.

Flood is of course a worry, mostly in the spring when the snowmelt releases a lot of water if the weather turns warm.  There are no designated floodplains.  Minor flooding seems to happen about every third year and major floods about every eleven years.  (I've been told it corresponds with sunspot storms and very good berry-picking.)  So called "hundred year floods" happened in 1964, 1975 and 1986.  Clearly they need a new name.  This report was written before worry earthquakes potentially caused by frakking at oil wells.

"Hailstorms have caused more disasters in Pondera County than any other event but windstorms."  Most damage is to crops throughout the fields and can mean major financial losses unless there is insurance.  The towns suffer indirectly from the lack of income.

Landslides are so linked with mountains in our minds that this document doesn't consider landslides down the sides of deep coulees, esp. in the cuts where highways must cross.  The report says they could find no records of landslides in Pondera County.  None will sweep away the towns.

Severe winter storms happen mostly in two periods:  October/November and February/March.  "Winter storms can include sleet, ice storms or freezing rain, heavy snowfall or blizzards.  Blizzards may occur with or without snowfall, and are characterized by low visibility caused by high winds and blowing snow."  There may be extremely low temps and the storms may linger for days.  "Severe winter storms create conditions that disrupt essential regional systems such as public utilities, telecommunications, and transportation routes." This means food and fuel may not get through reliably and there may not be access to medical services.  The report was written before the vast fields of windmills and so far none has been tested by really severe weather.

Tornadoes and Microbursts are phenomena of our ocean of air, must bigger than in most places.    There have been at least six in Pondera County.  We often see the twisters depending from high clouds.  "In June of 1994, a microburst in Conrad caused $5.5 million in damages and a power outage."  They can crash airplanes and have in other places.

Volcanic Ash Fall is a problem because the jet stream passes over us from the West and carries ash from the volcanic eruptions in the active northwest.  In 1980 Mt. St. Helens sent very fine ash over the area.  It damages lungs and overburdens roofs.

Wildfire can erupt on grass or in forests.  Summertime fires in forests envelop the area in smoke.  Historic buildings can be wiped out.  Lightning is frequent in some seasons and the railroad can also spark fires.  So far no fires have gotten into towns.

Windstorms occur more frequently in this place more than any other dangerous natural phenomenon, ripping off roofs and throwing debris against everything.  39 major windstorms have been recorded since 1963.  (and until 2004, when this was written.)  The wind has been recorded at more than 100 mph, which is a hurricane speed and does comparable damage.

We still haven't decided whether our fellow humans are natural disasters and what to do about them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

OVERWHELMED

No post today.  Too much to process.  I started to make a list and ran out of patience and courage.  

1.  It appears now that Kavanaugh's dirty little secret (besides being a liar, a defender of torture, and so on) is a gambling addiction.  

2.  Bob Woodward's book about Trump is just another book and Woodward is just another old man.

3.  As a major hurricane approaches the midsection of the Atlantic Coast, it becomes clear that the money to address this hurricane as well as the one in Puerto Rico has been covertly moved over to the cost of caging children, destroying families, and keeping out the people who gather our crops.

4.  Trump is plainly out of his mind.

5.  Etc.