Life in the West

Friends and bobcats

This afternoon an old friend called and we had a nice chat. Then on the way home I had the wonderful experience of seeing a bobcat in the wild. Not the landscaping tool sort of bobcat that is prevalent in the city, but the solitary feline sort that is so beautiful to see in the wild. A very nice end to a day in a week full of not-so-great days.


It's nice to see that we made the right decision in leaving Denver/Boulder a year ago. Though the Forbes report on the most overpriced places to live includes too many western cities including Seattle, Portland, San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles in with the traditional eastern overpriced markets like New York and Chicago. It makes the crunch in Sin City seem not so bad.

Weather data to dry up?

Senator Rick Santorum introduced the National Weather Services Duties Act of 2005 earlier this year. The bill would have several troubling effects. These impacts may mark the first time the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association have had occasion to be allied on an issue.

The bill, which Santourm says was crafted with the "jobs of Pennsylvanians in mind," would limit the National Weather Service's ability to provide information to the public. Instead the agency would use its tax-payer funding to create "a set of data portals designed for volume access by commercial providers of products or services." These services, such as Santorum campaign donor AccuWeather, would then provided to consumers through commercial services.

Limiting access to commercial providers would eliminate the provision of data for so much of rural America. Everybody from search and rescue teams to farmers and small town fire-fighters would be at the mercy of these commercial providers for critical, sometimes life-or-death, situations. With the recent fires in Southern Nevada for example, the large weather services didn't have information available. Residents of the farms and rural residences would have had no information to make decisions. In truth we need more information not less.

Welcome 2005

Most of the globe has already welcomed 2005. We will in a few hours. As we do we'll say goodbye to 2004.

On a personal side it has been a year of transition. A year ago the coming of the new year passed in Colorado and the job with a Fortune 100 company was still going strong. A year later and I'm happy to be both back in academia and in the southwest desert.

The last sunset of 2004 was spectacular. Following days of storms and with large puffy clouds building the last rose colored rays of sun veiled the mountains. The wind of past days is gone and the soil is alive with the recent rains. On that last note Las Vegas will finish the year with almost twice the average rainfall.

This post winds up being mostly rambling. I have no idea how to adequately mark the events of the last week or even how to being to understand the degree of suffering of those effected.

The little things

There are so many thing that we forget from one day to the next to be thankful for. How about the thousands of times today your heart contracted and sent blood through your body?

Last night just after the start of an exam a gentleman came into the school looking for a bankruptcy seminar. The seminar, often held on Thursday evenings is not being held because of the semester break. So here's a very frustrated person who is looking for a clinic on how to file for bankruptcy around the holidays and even the clinic doesn't go right. There are so many things that we each have to be thankful for. Even someone so down on their luck has a lot going for them.

In the commercial age the corporate oligarchy would have us focus on the things that are supposed to make life good instead of the people and shared experiences that truly make it memorable.


It is appropriate to note on this beautiful equinox why living in the desert is so beautiful. Sure there are some very warm months and as it is happening they seem to go on for a long time, but much of the year is just filled with beautiful days and cool evenings. With that in mind it is just 100 days until everyone will need their 2005 new-year's resolutions. One can hope we'll have a new management sign hanging out at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

There was a teaser on the Early Show on Monday that on Tuesday they'd have a story about what really happened to Amy Bechtel. It seems clear it must not have had much real to report because there does not seem to be a single mention of it online. No hits in the blog search tools. No hits in Google. We mistakenly recorded the Monday show which has commercials for the segment on the Tuesday show.


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