Showing posts with label Signs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Signs. Show all posts

Monday, June 15, 2009

Remembering the Great Comet of 1997

I wasn't expecting to see the great comet when I took out the garbage early in the morning on March 2, 1997. I wasn't expecting it because the previous day I had been using the then infantile internet to find out when the comet would be visible. The information I had seen the day before indicated that I wouldn't see Hale-Bopp until summer, yet as I looked at the fuzzy star in the distance, I could see that something was different from any other night sky feature I had ever seen. I knew what I was seeing and retrieved a small notebook and pen from my front shirt pocket to record the event. It was too dark to see the page, or what I was writing, but I scratched out the following words:

"Looking @
Hale-Bopp for first time 5:10 AM March 2 - 97"

As long as I can remember, I have wanted to see a real comet. Astronomy has always been interesting to me, and I'm certainly no stranger to the night sky. I've spent countless hours sleeping under the starry canopy of the Milky Way Galaxy, and gazing up in awe at the wondrous eternities stretched out before me. Comets have always intrigued me, but the comets in astronomy books were either drawings of old wood carvings or fuzzy images.

I remember what a disappointment Haley's Comet was back in 1986. It could only be viewed through a telescope, and that wasn't something I had access to at the time.

Then on April 3 of 1996, the comet Hyakutake became visible to the naked eye when a total lunar eclipse briefly darkened the night sky. Still, the comet was quite disappointing, but was still a unique and memorable experience that I shared with my family including my sister and her kids.

Then came
Hale-Bopp. From that moment in the early morning hours, I watched the great comet get closer every night until it was the largest object in the night sky. The two sparkling tails streaming from the comet appeared to paint the indigo sky with an almost magical luminescent glow. I was living in Southern Utah at the time, and the arid desert air aided in making the heavenly spectacle clear and highly visible as I watched the comet's nightyly progress across the sky. It began to feel as though the two-tailed comet had become a permanent fixture of the night sky, and perhaps even somewhat commonplace. After months of observing Hale-Bopp, it almost seemed like it would last forever. But, eventually, the cosmic visitor disappeared from sight.

The great comet of 1997 may be gone, but I will never forget the magnificant splendor and beauty of

Saturday, May 30, 2009

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. This photo of Ronaldo is worth about 2,337 words... small words, but words nevertheless.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Got Gumption?

Gumption. That's one thing I don't have an abundance of at the moment... at least when it comes to writing for my blog. Sure, I've already begun writing many of the upcoming posts including, but certainly not limited to:

When in Morm - Do's and don'ts and insightful tips for visitors to Utah

Mighty Mo names the spiders that live in our house

My simple answer to the gang problem, (and it isn't dynamite)

Phrases and terms I have coined

A walk down rememory lane to the old Blue Mouse Theater in Salt Lake City

A recollection of the Bucket of Bernie Brains show at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz

A book review of Paula Phelan's 1919

Examples of literary structures in ancient texts

Hale Bopp

Plus many more Xtra Files

But I'm going to take a nap right now instead of writing. I'll listen to some Lawrence Welk for inspiration later on. Meanwhile, take a gander at this pretty bottle brush that Mighty Mo photographed last week.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Road to Knowheresville: Toxic Tooele

Next time you're planning on taking your high-level nuclear waste on vacation with you, be sure you don't visit Skull Valley, Utah... Unless, of course, you have your permit...Then, apparently your high-level nuclear waste is welcome here, and I guess you are welcome to bring in low-level nuclear waste at your own convenience, and without a permit. Tongue in Cheek?

Skull Valley is no stranger to toxic governmental activities, and has seen it all - from rocket tests, to open-air biological weapons tests.

Highway 196 is a long windless road and serves as the primary access from the north.
The old Tekoy Test Range, once a high-tech test area for rockets and related operations, appears more like a ghost town now.
Behind the gate a lone, cracked and overgrown road heads west across the desert.
A bit further south is the location where thousands of sheep mysteriously died in 1968. The infamous Sheep Incident, as it has come to be remembered, was the result of an accident during one of hundreds of open-air chemical weapons tests at the nearby Dugway Proving Grounds. Oops!
Dugway Proving Grounds is off limits to anyone other than official personnel. And they're dead-serious about it too.
Dugway Proving Grounds has hosted hundreds of open-air biological and chemical weapons tests, even intentional meltdowns that were conducted for research purposes.

Looking back into Skull Valley from Lookout Pass reveals part of the expansive property of the Proving Grounds. The Lincoln Continental Highway once passed through Dugway, but now, that route is closed to tourists and historians alike.
To the east of Dugway, over the Stansbury Mountain Range, in Rush Valley, sits the south area of the Tooele Army Depot where Uncle Sam has been busy destroying the United States' chemical weapons stockpile at the Deseret Chemical facility.
TAD was home to the majority of the United States nastiest weapons of mass destruction stockpile. Now, nearly all of the chemical weapons have been eliminated in this high-tech incineration facility.
The Tooele County Emergency Warning System was designed to alert local citizens of chemical and biological leaks, threats and accidents at the proving grounds. Numerous announcement towers are located throughout the county, in the event of an emergency. The system is tested every Wednesday afternoon.

With Deseret Peak in the background, this tower serves the Grantsville Reservoir area.
This tower serves the South-East edge of Tooele. Notice the Tooele Army Depot north area in the valley behind the tower.

If this had been an actual emergency, you may have heard one of the following prepared messages:

"Warning. Warning. An emergency condition exists at Deseret Chemical Depot. Stand by for instructions and tune to a local radio station or television station for emergency information."

"Evacuate. Evacuation is required for your safety. Evacuate quickly and calmly north toward Interstate 80."
"Go inside. Stay indoors. Close all windows and doors. Turn off all heating and air intake systems. Stay indoors."


"If you have not evacuated, go inside now for your safety. Close all windows and doors... Stay indoors and stand by for information."

Enjoy your stay in Tooele.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Woodies on the Wharf - 2008

This morning, we Santa Cruzans woke up to smoky skies mixed with our regular summer morning fog. The smoke didn't deter the hundred +- classic woodies and thousands of woody enthusiasts who showed up in hoards for the annual Woodies on the Wharf event.

Folks came from all across this fine land for the big event on the edge of the North American Continent. This fine example came all the way from my home state, Utah.
I never saw any woodies at the Great Salt Lake Beaches when I was a kid.
The longest woody on the wharf.

There were plenty of sea critters to munch on too.
Nice moustache fishy

Lots of crunchy crabs to gnaw on. Mm, crabby.

Gulls kept a keen eye out for any scraps being dropped by sloppy munchers.

Another beautiful day in the Cruz. Wish you were here.

See ya next year Woody.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Zoned Out on Zone Doubt

I wonder what they did with all the pharmacists???

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Signs of the Times

The day after my impaled tire incident, while I was riding my bike home, at the same place on Cayuga where I had the flat the previous day, and about the same time of day as well, an old 1970's Chevy pickup truck passed me bearing a RUDY bumper sticker... the first one I had ever seen. Next to it was a McCain bumper sticker... the first one of those I had seen as well. Wow, two firsts on one truck.

As I continued riding home, I thought about how strange it is that the big Republican front-runner has no visible support (at least in our community) except for one sticker on an old truck, next to a RUDY sticker... which implies to me that McCain wasn't his first choice. In contrast, there are hundreds of stickers and yard signs for the front-runner of the Democratic party. Barack Obama obviously has the biggest showing of support here in Santa Cruz, which is not very surprising given the fact that Surf City has a predominantly Democratic populous.

What is surprising, is how much visible support there is for the invisible candidate. Ron Paul also has hundreds of signs and stickers strewn about Santa Cruz County. He had more than everyone else combined for awhile there, but lately I see more Obama yard signs and bumper stickers every day. Obama's visible support is reflected in the polls, which currently puts him in the lead of his party, unlike Paul, who most folks assume is out of the running, or an insignificant third-party candidate because the media has so successfully ignored him... This is strange, and a little scary, considering Paul has more grass-roots support, and more remaining budget than any other Republican candidate. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Ron Paul is a real boy, and not a puppet, like John McCain.

Hillary has the next best showing of support in Santa Cruz, but has nowhere near as many signs and stickers as Obama or Paul. I still see lots of support for Dennis Kucinich too, even though he is officially out of the race now. I saw five Romney yard signs, and about that many stickers, but have never seen a single Huckabee sticker or sign. So here's the breakdown for visible support* here in Santa Cruz County... as I see it.

First place: Obama with hundreds.

Second place: Paul with hundreds - Paul had more support early on, but was recently surpassed by Obama signage.

Third place: Hillary with about a hundred.

Fourth place: Kucinich with less than one hundred stickers on cars in town.

Fifth place: Romney with ten or so signs and stickers.

Sixth place: Edwards with about four bumper stickers.

And, least but not last, is a tie betwixt McCain and Rudy with one sticker each, (I suspect I'll see more McCain ssupport as November draws nigh).

In last place, with NO visible showing in Santa Cruz, is Mike Huckabee with a big fat ZERO.

If an outsider, who knew nothing about the candidates came to Santa Cruz, they would assume that the election was between Barack Obama and Ron Paul.

* Yard signs, bumper stickers, graffiti, home made signs... the stuff one might see while touring about our fine berg.
Former President Clinton encourages passers-by to vote for Ron Paul.