Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Dutch Queen

The associated press reports that:

-

APELDOORN, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch driver careened through police barriers and plowed into a crowd of merrymakers cheering and waving at their popular queen on Thursday, in a premeditated assault that killed four people and injured 13 others, authorities said.

The speeding car, already dented apparently from catapulting bystanders into the air, passed within a few meters of the open-topped bus carrying Queen Beatrix and her family down a parade route, then smashed into a stone monument.

"I think that it has become clear that this happened with premeditation," Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said.

Neither he nor law enforcement agencies would give a motive. But Dutch media, citing neighbors, said the assailant recently was fired from his job and was to be evicted from his home. Police identified him as a 38-year-old Dutch man with no history of mental illnesBolds or police record, but they would not release his name.

Officials in Apeldoorn said the driver had a map of the queen's route.


When people lose their jobs, losing their homes and their marriages soon follow. I have known a few people in my life who actually seemed to enjoy buying companies and then terminating the employment of large numbers of people.

-

These sick bastards should be put away permanently in an insane asylum.

-

LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVw8532gZjc

-

-

-

-

-

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100 Days




-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

General Motors

According to a New York Times article today (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/business/28auto.html?em ) when General Motors is through with it’s latest restructuring it will have less than 10% of the employees left that it had at it's peak in 1970. And rather than being the largest car manufacturer in the world, or maybe second after Toyota, the current optimistic forecasts are saying that GM will have 18% of the American market. Maybe far less.

So it looks like GM is a corpse. Past tense. Like Studebaker, Hudson, Henry J., Edsel, and so many others.

So what went wrong? I see two main things.

(1) The rest of the advanced industrialized world provides adequate universal health care for their citizens and certainly for their retirees. America does not, and the employee trade unions at GM and the other American car manufacturers tried to remedy that cruel situation.

(2) Since GM’s peak in 1970 more and more people have realized that many of the cars made overseas by Toyota, Nissan, VW, and others are significantly more reliable, and that these primarily Japanese cars get far better fuel economy. Naturally people were willing to pay a small premium in price to get a car that is built to higher quality standards and gets much better gas mileage. Duh…

All of the American car makers, but especially GM, continued to fight this trend. They knew very well what the consumer wanted, but GM tried to ram down the throats of the buyer via fancy marketing, exotic financing, and incentives bigger and bigger morbidly obese cars and pickup trucks which got absolutely terrible fuel economy. Denial - big time.

It really is such a shame. The future health of America depends upon what our country actually makes/produces. And in the last 20 years we have sent more and more of our manufacturing jobs overseas to countries which do not enforce even elementary child labor laws, workplace safety laws, or environmental protections.

Business people did this, because of their greed. And the politicians who received their campaign contributions from these guys were more than happy to pass laws helping them. Pretty much all of American society has played a part in this. A little more accountability can be assigned to the Republicans, but the Bill Clinton Democrats certainly helped the process.

Maybe Obamaism can help get us back on the right course. Yes, maybe….

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Great Picture

If you want a good laugh look at this picture:  http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2009/04/26/world/26icelandB.ca0.ready.html

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

El Paso Mineral and Gem Society


The El Paso, Texas Mineral and Gem society is a real nice group of people.
-

The website for the club is: http://www.epmgs.org



-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Chalcedony


Chalcedony is silicon dioxide. It is a fibrous, translucent to opaque, compact microcrystalline variety of quartz that occurs in white, gray, and grayish-blue hues. Chalcedony is formed by silica-rich water percolating through cavities and fissures in volcanic rock. Chalcedony is a relatively porous material which can be easily dyed to alter or enhance the color.

According to the eminently respected MindDat.org, chalcedony was traditionally defined as a fibrous cryptocrystalline variety of Quartz, but more recently it has been shown that much Chalcedony is a mixture of Quartz and Moganite which is another silicon dioxide mineral. http://www.mindat.org/min-960.html

Onyx, agate, jasper, carnelian, chert, and petrified (agatized) wood are all varieties of chalcedony.

Many chalcedony “roses” contain trace amounts of the uranyl ion which make them fluoresce green when illuminated with short wave ultraviolet light. To hear the proper way to pronounce the word “chalcedony” go to: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/chalcedony

Chalcedony is crystallographically identical to the quartz. Chalcedony has a hardness of 6-7 on the Mohs scale. The toughness of Chalcedony is Good. Chalcedony belongs to the Hexagonal or Trigonal crystal system with a Microcrystalline crystal habit. The specific gravity is 2.6 to 2.7 and chalcedony has a refractive index of 1.550 with a dull to waxy luster. Chalcedony is found all over the world and in all 50 states of America.

Chalcedony was one of the first materials used by early man to form tools and arrowheads, due to its durability and abundance. Flint, which was used as a fire-starting tool, is a variety of chalcedony.

The name "Chalcedony" (Calcédoine French, Chalzedon, Kalzedon German, Piedra de luna Spanish or Italian) is derived from the ancient sea port of Khalkedon, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia in Constantinople which today is the Kadıköy district of Istanbul, Turkey.

As early as the Bronze Age chalcedony was in use in the Mediterranean region. Chalcedony seals have been recovered dating to ca.1800 BC. People living along the Central Asian trade routes used various forms of chalcedony including carnelian to carve intaglios and cameos. An intaglio is a negative (incised) image and is the opposite of a cameo.

Hot wax would not stick to chalcedony, so it was often used to make intaglio wax seal impressions. Many Roman era seal rings were made from carnelian or other varieties of chalcedony.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Enhanced Interrogation Techniques

There seems to be a perverse fascination with the question of whether the enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA worked or not.

Clearly what the CIA did meets the definition of inhumane and degrading treatment. The American government tried, convicted, and then executed Japanese soldiers who engaged in torture techniques like water boarding on our men during world war II. In international law water boarding is regarded as torture, and thus is illegal.

Shoot-a-lawyer-in-the-face Cheney authorized and strongly encouraged various degrading torture techniques. Now he is trying to suggest that just because a little bit of useful information may have been obtained from this torture, that he and his fellow travelers should not have to go to jail.

Of course Cheney never served in the military. The coward did everything possible to avoid military service.

The next time one of our troops is captured and it subsequently mistreated or tortured, Republicans like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and George Bush Jr. should be held accountable.

Torture in not only illegal, it is un-American. Our country is strongest when we do what we say we believe in.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Geocache


-
-
-
-
I left a new geocache this morning out in the desert east of El Paso, Texas at N31.75140, W-106.25413.
=
It will be listed on http://www.geocaching.com/ as GC1QKO4
-
-
--
-
-
-
-
-
-

Legalization of Marijuana

I do not drink alcohol.  Not even a little bit.  And I don’t smoke pot either.  But I used to do plenty of both.  Not any more, and not for a lot of years either.  So even if consumption and possession of marijuana were to be made legal in America it would not change my lifestyle at all.

But if marijuana were properly regulated and taxed, a lot of problems would be solved.  The strength of the Mexican drug cartels would be substantially reduced, much like happened to the American mafia after alcohol was re-legalized after prohibition.

The Wall Street Journal published an excellent article yesterday called “Drugs: To Legalize or Not” written by Steven B. Duke who is a professor of law at the Yale law school.  

When the WSJ rationally looks at the question, the time has probably arrived. 

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124061360462654683.html

-

-

-

-

-

-

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Vaseline Glass


Vaseline Glass or Uranium Glass is glass which has had uranium, usually in oxide diuranate or depleted uranium form, added to a glass mix prior to melting. The proportion usually varies from trace levels to about 2% by weight uranium, although some 19th-century pieces were made with up to 25% uranium.

-
When this type of glass is illuminated with an ultraviolet light, the uranyl ion in the glass fluoresces a beautiful green color.
-
I am honored to have one piece from my collection posted on a very nice German website:
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Friday, April 24, 2009

Second Amendment Rights

This is a link to a short interview of Ted Nugent by the PBS station in Austin, Texas.
-
Whether you agree with him or not, you should watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCHtw6WbbnM

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Abuse By Credit Card Companies

The Obama administration’s latest attempt at protecting American consumers from abuse and fraud is to target the credit card companies. This is another industry where the Republicans and the Free Market Fundamentalists removed most of the pesky government rules and regulations via deregulation. By doing so the government allowed these companies almost total free reign. And of course the credit card companies went totally overboard and grossly abused many consumers.

I am absolutely in favour or regulating these crooks in the credit card industry. We need to go way beyond this however. Easy credit has been granted to far too many people who didn’t have any hope of paying these loans back. People who didn’t even have jobs or other source of income.

Using a credit card to borrow money is like taking heroin. It is horribly addictive and destructive.

The Republicans like to talk about traditional “American Values” like neither a lender nor a borrower be. It is simple. If you think that your drug dealer has been behaving unethically and has taken advantage of you, then stop taking drugs. Duh…

A somewhat tongue in cheek suggestion: If you don’t pay off the entire balance each month, then apply a tax payable to the government of one half of the balance carried forward.

Really. If you absolutely must borrow money, then do it some other more responsible way than by using credit cards.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire


I just finished watching Slumdog Millionaire.

It really is as good as they say. Don’t give up on it…watch it to the very end.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
--

Fascist Right Wing Fanatics






Barack Obama has been president for three months now. The Republicans like Rush Limbaugh and other right wingers like FOX news are looking crazier and more out of touch all the time. These lunatics are showing their true colors, and many people are finally beginning to see them for what they really are.

I had to block a fellow from viewing any of the pictures that I have posted on the internet with Flickr today. He was from South America, and he was showing a fascination for things related to the Nazis. These two pictures show the swastika symbol being used in a 2,000 year old Roman mosaic tile floor that is on display in the archaeological museum in the Roman imperial city of Cologne, and also a Roman safety pin (broach/fibula) which I saw in the Dutch archaeological museum in Leiden.

These Roman swastikas point both counter clockwise and clockwise. They had absolutely nothing to do with either right wing politics or Hitler’s crazies hating and killing Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, and foreigners.

As I researched this weirdo further, I found that his profile showed that this individual from South America had distinct Nazi tendencies. So I blocked him.

The venom of this hate from the right wingers is sick. It reflects poorly on the entire human species.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Monday, April 20, 2009

Getting Old

You know you are starting to get a little old when:

One day you are sewing something up with your sewing machine, and the thread breaks.  Suddenly it is really a big deal to thread the needle.

You try it with your glasses on, and then without your glasses.  You get a little flashlight so that you can see better; and then a magnifying glass.  Still it’s a big deal.  Your hands and fingers won’t put the thread right where you want it either.

Oh well, getting old beats the alternative.  At least at this point.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Texas Succession from USA


I grew up in Texas. To graduate from school at that time it was mandatory that one take a course on Texas History. We were clearly taught that as part of joining the United States the state of Texas was unique in that Texas retained the right to either secede or to divide itself into five different states.

It turns out that this was just so much hogwash. Texas does not have the right to secede from the USA. Not at all. No way.

The dumbass Governor of Texas Rick Perry is a loudmouth, ignorant, crude, and dishonest troublemaker. He is 100% wrong about Texas having the right to secede. As governor of Texas he follows in the footsteps of another ignorant and not very bright politician, George W. Bush.

What a despicable person. A real creep. There should be laws against this type of sick rabble rousing.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
--

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rewards vs. Consequences of Evil Behavior

In today’s news I read that in Juarez, Mexico they have fired 90 corrupt cops. And near Somalia NATO stopped an attack on a Norwegian tanker by seven pirates, who were briefly detained then released.

What the hell is going on?

By making serious offences like these mere slaps on the wrist, worldwide society is actually encouraging more people to do these things. They see that there are no serious consequences to bad behavior, so the rewards of doing these immoral and illegal acts end up far outweighing the consequences or punishment.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
--

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bucket List


The cover of this week’s New Yorker magazine is fantastic. It shows eleven sites around the world that a well travelled person should have seen by the time they croak. Kind of a bucket list of places.

I have been to the first seven places on the list, and the good news is that I really don’t have any desire to see the last four on the list.

The Coliseum - Rome, Italy
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben - London, England
Eiffel Tower - Paris, France
Leaning Tower - Pisa, Italy
The great pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt
Parthenon on the Acropolis Hill - Athens, Greece
Statue of Liberty - New York City, U.S.A.

Moscow, Russia
Taj Majahal - India
Opera House Sydney, Australia
The Great Wall of China


On my own bucket list I have checked off many other places including these:

Stonehenge, Bath, Glastonbury, and Hadrian’s Wall
The castles along the Rhine River in Germany
Copenhagen, Denmark
Amsterdam, Holland
The highlands of Scotland
Dublin, Ireland
The Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate
Scuba diving coral reefs in the Caribbean
Backpacking and snow skiing in the Swiss Alps
The beaches of Normandy and the castle at Versailles
Pompeii and Hercolano under Vesuvius
Jerusalem, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea
Mexico City, Mazatlan, Cozumel, the Yucatan Peninsula
The Copper Canyon in Chihuahua
New Orleans before the flood
Whale watching in the Pacific Ocean
Deep sea fishing in the Atlantic Ocean
Taos, Santa Fe, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, the Great Salt Lake, and Las Vegas.
Scuba diving in the Great Lakes, Toronto, and Niagara Falls
The Grand Canyon, Yosemeti, and Disneyland

Maybe this is why I no longer have much of a burning desire to travel. I have already seen most of the places I would like to. Lots of them like London, Paris, and Berlin many times.

The travel part of my bucket list is pretty much completed.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
--

Scandinavia


The last time I visited Finland I was researching saunas. I visited lots of them and a couple of building supply companies. I was getting ready to have a sauna built in my house in The Netherlands, so I wanted to learn as much as I could about both the traditional way of building a sauna and the best modern day techniques as well.


It was in the summer, and I visited a friend of mine in Helsinki. He owned some land and a little summer place farther north in Finland, so we went up there. He had a genuine Laplander tent called a Kota on his property. We sat in it as it got dark, built a fire in the center of it, and made tea. It is amazing the similarity to the tents that the native American were using.


Here is a short video of the inside of one that I found on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uivyQ9E-ins


Driving back south to Helsinki that night I remember thinking that it was about 11:00 at night, and if I had to I could drive with no headlights. In fact I did briefly turn them off, but that kind of freaked out my wife. It was almost the midnight sun.


What made me think of all this is the picture I saw this morning from the Library of Congress. It dates to 1890-1900 and is not some tourist photo…this was reality back before snowmobiles and prefabricated housing.


-


-


-


-


-


-


-

-

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Correlation Is Not Causation

Owning Portuguese Water dogs causes brain cancer. Senator Edward Kennedy is positive proof.

Over 90% of people who get breast cancer wear dresses, and close to 95% of people who get uterine cancer wear dresses.

So skirts and dresses are clearly dangerous. Probably it would be wise to ban them. At the very least they need to highly regulated by the FDA since they are such strong carcinogens.
0
This is the kind of twisted logic that Rush and his right wing fanatic fellow travellers use all the time.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
--

Encouraging Kidnapping

The American Government does not officially pay ransoms to kidnappers. But they go wink, wink and let the insurance companies pay. Essentially the insurance companies are setting foreign policy. And from the standpoint of the insurance guys, a ransom of several million dollars is really quite cheap compared with the value of a ship and its cargo which may be insured for several hundred million dollars. Oh, yes, and there are the lives of the crew members to think about also.

So to make the insurance lobby happy, and to keep their large campaign contributions coming, we let them continue paying off these criminals. The whole thing really is so easy that it is a kind of free money. Just capture a ship and you become an instant millionaire.

In the latest incident an American cargo ship got away but not before the pirates fired rocket propelled grenades at it. In the past wars have started over an incident like this. Freedom of the seas used to mean something.

One of the complications is that recent reports suggest much of this money being paid to the pirates and kidnappers is being used to help fund groups which hate the west and all that it stands for, such as the Taliban.

The American military should be given instructions to treat these pirates like they are at war with America. Because they are. Sink their ships and let the criminal bastards drown and get eaten by the sharks.

Even with this the American Navy is not big enough to effectively deal with this problem, so another approach would be to make it illegal for insurance companies to pay off criminals by paying ransom money. Any insurance company which does engage in these payoffs to criminals outside of America would have all of its assets in America seized, and would also be prohibited from doing any kind of business in America.

If it is your child or husband who is kidnapped this would be a hard pill to swallow. But this sort of tough approach is the only way to get this piracy situation under control.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thought For The Day

I saw Sandra Day O’Connor being interviewed recently by a comedian-talk show host on late night TV. One of the things she said really stuck with me. She said that as a supreme court justice it was vital that she be able to “disagree without being disagreeable.” This little bit of wisdom is important in any aspect of life.

Today for some reason she came to mind. Sandra Day O’Connor was born in my home town of El Paso, Texas. She spent the summers living on her parent’s cattle ranch in southeastern Arizona, and the school year in El Paso living with her grandmother. She went to Austin High School as did most of my family including both of my parents, and my brother and sister.

The thought pattern which was developing this morning goes as follows.

Austin High did not have air conditioning when Sandra Day O’Connor attended it, neither did it when I was there. Yet she went on to be incredibly successful. I went on to become the General Manager of the European Division of an American food processing company for the last 15 years of my career.

Nowadays Austin High School has advanced, and it has lots of high tech things like computers to enhance the learning of the students. Society spends much more on each student than in the past. Yet Austin is now far down near the bottom of performance of all schools in El Paso. Some people call it a failing school.

I really am not sure where this thought process is heading, but I guess it is similar to the debate regarding genetics versus life experience.

These kids in 2009 just don’t care about education, hard work, or success very much. They are much more interested in surfing the internet, video games, and watching TV. They want to be rich, but they have no training in the diligence, sacfifices, and hard work that are necessary to lead a successful life.

In the past the attractions of sex, drugs (like alcohol), and irresponsibility were certainly there. Yet most of the kids growing up in American understood that a good life consisted of getting married (to someone of the opposite sex), having two kids, a house, two cars, a dog, and a cat. And that to get these things you needed to get a good education and work really hard.

Maybe the religious beliefs of the time helped influence this.

I believe that religion is mostly a negative force. It has led to more oppression, warfare, and death that anything else in mankind’s history. Sexual abuse by the priesthood has run rampant. The influence of religion is rapidly waning. But with both parents working all day this means that most kids are being raised by the television. Concepts like right and wrong and guilt are no longer being instilled into these kids. And the results are plain to see.

I guess the question is how do we instill the proper ethical and moral foundations in our kids in a society where religion is on par with fairy tales like the Easter bunny?  With 25% of 4 year olds being obese, and with many 11 and 12 year old kids having sex and using drugs this whole picture becomes pretty cloudy to me.

Barack Obama is half white, half black. He was raised by a single mother and his grandparents. Somehow they instilled in him that need for success and the understanding that it only comes from sacrifice and hard work. He is kind, moral, and ethical. The same applies to Dolly Parton who was raised dirt poor.

One thing I see in common in all of the above examples is that the grandparents played a significant role in raising the kids. In modern society we move to another place so readily, and everything is so anonymous, that the vast majority of people are raised without the benefit of an extended family. I think this role of the extended family is far more important than is generally realized.






Sandra Day O'Connor
Born: August 26, 1930
El Paso, Texas
American Supreme Court justice
-
In 1981 Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to serve as a justice in the 191 year history of United States Supreme Court. A Republican appointed by Ronald Reagan, O'Connor has grit and intelligence that has made her an interesting figure in the nation's highest court of law.
-
Life on the Lazy B Ranch
Sandra Day O'Connor was born in El Paso, Texas, on August 26, 1930. Her parents, Harry and Ida Mae Day, owned a cattle ranch in southeastern Arizona called the Lazy B. In the beginning, the ranch did not have electricity or running water. Sandra grew up branding cattle, learning to fix whatever was broken, and enjoying life on the ranch.
-
Her experiences on the ranch shaped her character and developed her belief in hard work, but her parents also wanted O'Connor to gain an education. Living in such a remote area, the options for going to school were limited, and she had already shown that she was quite bright. By age four, she had learned how to read. Exploring places and schools that would be the best match for O'Connor's abilities, her parents decided to send her to El Paso to live with her grandmother and attend school. In El Paso she attended Radford School for girls and Austin High. She spent her summers at the ranch and the school years with her grandmother. She graduated high school early at the age of sixteen.
-
In 1946, after competing against many other people and despite the probability that she might not be accepted because she was a woman, O'Connor was accepted to Stanford University. In a program in which she finished two degrees in just six years instead of seven, she graduated in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in economics and received a law degree in 1952. While she was in law school, she was a member of the board of editors of the Stanford Law Review, a very high honor for a law student. Upon graduation she was at the top of her class, graduating third in a class of 102 students.
-
http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ni-Pe/O-Connor-Sandra-Day.html
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ebay Complaint

I have bought a number of things on ebay. Although the prices are normally at market or above, it is one place to find obscure things most people could care less about.

Have you ever a really bad experience on ebay? One where you thought that the seller was at the very least doing highly unethical things, and at the worst maybe was even engaged in some kind of computerized financial fraud.

I have just recently gotten involved in one of these situations while trying to help out a friend living in Europe by buying him a lit-up Santa Claus.

It just shows my naivety that at age 60 I actually thought ebay would care (at least about their reputation), and might even do something to the seller like maybe ban him or something. But so far this has not been the case at all.

At this point I am afraid that I can only report that ebay makes it extremely difficult to complain about a non performing and suspect vendor. Whether ebat will actually take any action remains to be seen.

To be continued.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Piracy

For some time modern day piracy on the high seas has been getting worse and worse.

Part of the reason is that in most cases the demands of the pirates for money and safe passage have been accepted. Apparently this really does embolden hostage takers and kidnappers.

There have been some disturbing rumors recently that some of these multi-million dollar payments to kidnappers have gone to help fund extremist religious fanatics like the Taliban. And in some cases these payments are reimbursed by insurance.

So let me get this straight: The big insurance companies worldwide are complicit in helping to fund terrorism. And when they get into financial trouble they just get bailed out by the governments of the so-called capitalist western democracies. So the American taxpayer is helping to fund these fanatic religious lunatics who want to destroy us.

Weird…

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Apache Mine





The Apache Mine is located at N 31.84483, W -108.30528 in southwestern New Mexico near to Hachita in the Apache Hills of Hidalgo County. They were named this because they were a stronghold for the Apache Indians in the 1800's. The Apache Indians were either (1) bloodthirsty savages who wanted to kill the white man or (2) reasonable native peoples who were trying to defend themselves from the invading Europeans.

Based upon the recommendation of a gentleman who works for the New Mexico Department of Mines I visited this area in search of fluorescent minerals.

It is a beautiful area with large mine tailings. I find that when the old timers performed hard rock mining they normally followed the vein of mineralization. And the waste rock from these mines often is a treasure trove for fluorescent mineral collectors. My experience has been that the tailings from placer mining are almost a waste of time.

I was expecting to find scheelite which fluoresces a bright blueish white. Instead the best find of the trip was a nice piece of calcite which fluoresces red under ultraviolet light.

-

------------------------------ This is an entry in a 1920's book talking about the Apache Mine:

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Guzman's Lookout Mountain




Guzman’s Lookout Mountain is located to the West of El Paso, Texas and is one of the multitude of old volcanoes in the West Potrillo volcanic field just north of the border with Mexico.

This volcano stands 519 feet (158 meters) above the surrounding desert, with the top at 4,619 feet (1,408 meters) above sea level. It is 0.9 miles (1.4 km) long.

The nearby town of Malpais, which was located approximately 2 miles to the south of Guzman’s Lookout Mountain, was built to support a large volcanic cinder quarry on the southwest side of the hill. There is almost nothing left of the town of Malpais.

Volcanic cinders were mined from this quarry to be used as ballast for the railroad bed. The cinders were loaded onto trucks at the quarry and transported to Malpais to be loaded on trains.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Old Hachita




I have visited many old ghost towns over the last 60 years. They all have heroic stories to tell and lessons to learn about how hardy our ancestors were. Old Hachita was the site where two brothers named Hazlett were gunned down by a gang from Tombstone. Johnny Ringo was supposed to have participated in this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Ringo

There are a lot of old 19th century mines in the Little Hatchet Mountains of Grant and Hidalgo Counties in far Southwestern New Mexico.

-

The area is desert and is dry and hot. Several historical mines are located around Old Hachita, including the Hornet, King, and American National mine. The mines produced silver, copper, lead, and turquoise.

Old Hachita lies at 31 degrees, 54 minutes, 50.6 seconds North latitude, 108 degrees, 25 minutes, 33.2 seconds West longitude at 4,812 feet (1,467 meters) above mean sea level. Roughly one half a mine east of Turquoise Mountain in the Little Hatchets.

The town of Old Hachita was founded in 1875. In 1882 a post office was opened, and by 1884 the town was thriving and had grown to 300 residents. At its height there were two general stores, three saloons, a smelting works, and several mining companies.

But by the 1890’s the town was dying. Like in many other mining boom towns the end came not so much due to the ore playing out, but more to intangibles like the profit motive and other financial factors. The price of silver had declined to where it was no longer economical to mine it. The final end for Old Hachita came when the El Paso & Southwestern and the Arizona & New Mexico Railroad arrived and a railroad town called Hachita was built about 9 miles away.

The blacksmith’s shop in Old Hachita is still standing and is notable for its twin cupolas. There is an old powder magazine and an old mill building, but most of these 135 year old structures were built of adobe brick and are now slowly eroding back into nature.

Old Hachita is one of the best preserved ghost towns I have ever visited. I guess what has protected it is mainly the remote location. Then even when you get nearby the very rugged dirt road leading to it is not marked, and Old Hachita is not visible from the paved highway. Too many of the other old ghost towns in the southwest have been developed for the tourists or have hippies living in them selling arts, crafts, spiritual pyramids, and bongs.

-

Old Hachita fortunately is not afflicted with this problem.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

An Open Letter to El Paso, Texas Mayor John Cook

In the last few days there have been three large industrial fires in El Paso's sister city Juarez, Mexico. It got so desperate last night that the Mexican fire chief had the Mayor of Juarez call the Mayor of El Paso asking for assistance from the El Paso Fire Department.  The El Paso TV station reported that the Governor of the State of Chihuahua had to approve it before that request could be made.

Instead of doing everything to help out our neighbor, we turned them down. 
-
No doubt it was humiliating for the Mexicans to make that call asking the Americans for help.  When your neighbor is at his wits end and asks for your help, at least you can go stand by his side and hold his hand.
-
This is an email which I sent to the El Paso Mayor John Cook:


Dear Mayor Cook,

Let me preface my note by saying that I am a 3d generation El Pasoan, and I am an anglo.

The lieutenant with the El Paso Fire Deparment was widely quoted as saying that it would make "no sense" for them to send personnel or equipment to Juarez. No doubt he was correct in that they could not do much to help put out the fire.

But from a PR standpoint they totally blew it. If there ever was a time when America needed to show the normal people of Mexico that we are a decent country this is it. But instead of saying, "You betcha Amigos, we're heading your way pronto!" the EPFD essentially told them "No, we are not going to help out you Messicans.  Sorry. We are just a little too busy, lazy, and arrogant."

Not good.

Sincerely,



Paul Garland

-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Otero Mesa




I took the dog for a walk this morning about 30 miles (48 km) east if my house.




Click on the pictures and they will enlarge.-




We came across some Pronghorn out there, which are the second fastest land animal, second only to the cheetah.




-




-

Evolution

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (click on the picture and it will enlarge)

-
A friend of mine who lives in Europe sent this picture to me today by email.

-
I am not at all religious, but I think this may be an example of intelligent design.

-

-

-

-

--

-

-

--

-

Monday, April 06, 2009

Fluorescent Minerals

There is a big discussion currently raging among fluorescent mineral collectors about whether it is better or more attractive to grind and polish a stone into a sphere, cabochon, or some other smooth shiny shape versus leaving it in pretty much the state it came of out nature.

This is largely a matter of “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” but not entirely.

Many of my fellow rockhounds mostly are into silicon dioxide in all of its amazing variations. They spend a large amount of time collecting, trading, grinding, cutting, and polishing. Some of them even make jewelry. That is fine. I’m all for it. They make some very beautiful things.

But I generally prefer fluorescent minerals to be left in the state that that nature made them. Think about crystals of calcite, aragonite, or fluorite. One would destroy much of the natural beauty by trying to improve on nature.

I guess 99% of my collection is in its natural state, but I do have to admit to owning a fluorite mouse that is real cute, a few spheres and cabochons, a couple of fluorescent dolphins, and also a beautiful little bird made out of various stones including a couple that are mildly fluorescent. In my view most septarian concretions are far more attractive if they are polished.

So I guess it is best to realize that there are very few absolutes in life, and just accept that if the guy next to you wants to grind up that beautiful fluorescent stone into a polished sphere then that is his business.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Hubble Telescope


A public contest recently was held to determine the favorite picture taken by the Hubble space telescope.

-
This was the winner, showing two galaxies in the process of running into each other.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Human Evolution

About 10,000 B.C. the last Ice Age ended. As the planet began to warm man began developing agriculture and complex human societies.

Twelve thousand years ago was just a blink of the eye. I have been in wonderful gigantic domed buildings which were built 2,000 years ago. At about the same time they had metal hot water heaters and a bronze two stage pump which was used to de-water mines. The sewer lines were large enough to stand up in, and the fresh water supply was piped in from as far as 50 miles away.

This super rapid development is amazing when you think about it…
-
-
-
-
-
-
--
-
-
-
-
-

Windy Day

In the spring the winds pick up in El Paso, Texas.
video
The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for the area today.

They sure got it right.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
=-

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Forty one years ago on 4 April 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis.

We think that in 2009 we are experiencing really wild and weird times. These current difficulties are nothing compared to the extremes of the 1960’s or the financial misery of the Great Depression in the 1930’s.

The war in Vietnam was such an extreme example of the government doing whatever it wanted, regardless of the wishes of the people who voted, that lots of rational and sane people were discussing the possibility that revolution might be necessary.

The American military shooting and killing unarmed students protesting against the war on the Kent State campus.

The most popular American president ever being assassinated. Then his little brother Bobby who was the country’s Attorney General being killed. Then the most articulate and non-violent leader of the civil rights movement being shot outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

The 60’s may have had some of the finest music ever, lots of drugs, and the post-pill pre-AIDS “free love” movement. But it also had some really bad things happening too. Extremes on both ends.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

Friday, April 03, 2009

Alternative Fuel


I used to own a Toyota Prius, and I am all for ecologically sound transportation technologies.

-

A friend sent this to me today. I love it.

-

-

-

-

-

-

--

-

-

James Bond


In the 1960’s I read most of Ian Fleming’s books about the British spy 007, James Bond. I think that I have seen all of the movies too.

The latest movie got mixed reviews. I saw the DVD for Quantum of Solace at the store yesterday, and it was even on sale. I just got finished watching it, and I can report that in my humble opinion it is nothing short of fantastic. I guess the correct terminology in 2009 is awesome.

Truly awesome.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-