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When Extreme Drought Hits Home

Dry cattails line the dry and barren bed of Lake Wichita.

Dry cattails line the dry and barren bed of Lake Wichita.

As the old saying goes, Lake Wichita is but a shadow of her former self. Once a grand jewel of a tourist attraction and the first man-made lake built to provide fresh water for the residents of Wichita Falls, Texas, this dear old lady languishes in the final throes of becoming a dry wetland.

mussel shell 1-21-2004 3-37-06 PM

Fresh water mussel shells and decades of debris and refuse from boaters and fishermen lay exposed as the lake’s waters continue to recede.

The amusement park and pavilion with its dance halls, restaurants and docking piers that once drew thousands of summer visitors from far and wide across the Southwest faded into history long ago. Remains of fresh water mussels, desiccated fish bones and tons of trash and debris litter the lake bed today.

rusted drum remains 1-21-2004 3-35-15 PM

The rusted top of a 55-gallon drum lies buried in the lake bed, typical of the tons of debris littering the lake.

As extreme drought conditions continue to hold going into 2013, the future of Lake Wichita and the surrounding wetland marsh is uncertain. Located on the southwestern edge of the city and almost completely surrounding by urban neighborhoods, the lake is the property of the City of Wichita Falls. Lake Wichita Park and the Circle Trail for hiking and biking line its northern shore. Fresh deer tracks and other signs of active wildlife attest that the old lake is still an attraction and not just for people.

With a lot of tender loving care from her friends and visitor, this old lady has another hundred years and more of life potential in her yet.

fish bones 1-21-2004 3-23-13 PM

© Jim Miller 2013

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Genesis

 

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Oil shale: Energy’s pink unicorn

The Checks and Balances Project

Norquist's pink unicorn

Grover Norquist, founder of the right wing, anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform, recently spoke out about the folly of spending tax dollars on pink unicorns, since they don’t exist. Following his logic, government shouldn’t create handouts for oil shale, since it doesn’t exist as an energy source.

We want to see if Mr. Norquist is willing to join us in calling for an end to all oil shale subsidies.

After a century of efforts to turn oil shale into a viable energy source, no commercial industry for it exists. And, that’s even after the federal government has risked billions in taxpayer-backed handouts to oil companies in the name of oil shale, including a brand new $50 million subsidy that was just introduced in Congress.

Mr. Norquist’s position on pink unicorns came in response to Sen. Lindsay Graham’s (R-SC) statement about voting for tax increases. Norquist claims that spending cuts…

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Posted by on December 8, 2012 in Genesis

 

Balanced rock art is crazy stressful and crazy beautiful to look at

Have a few minutes to kill? Take a cue on something to do from artist Michael Grab, the Rock Whisperer. Shhhhhh…….

Grist

Watching artist Michael Grab balance rocks is really kind of stressful. He moves with excruciating care, holding a teetering pile of rocks steady with one hand while he adds yet another and then another, each at a stranger angle than the last. I had to fast forward through this video the first time, just to deal with the tension of waiting for the rocks to fall:

Here’s how he does it:

notice the technique of bracing the lower rocks while placing the next. the top rock acts as a pin to stabilize the whole structure, which is why it is very helpful to use a LARGE rock on top. plus, i like the overall design balance that the large top rock adds. and i love shades of red.
As soon as i found that red rock, i knew it must go on top. it was a beautiful rock. 🙂 contemplate…

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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Genesis

 

From the bottom left drawer

Damn! Am I ever glad THAT(election)’s over! Hope your guy won ;0>

Some years (all right, decades) ago when I was a country newspaperman running two weekly newspapers out of Quanah, TX, I had the proverbial novel-in-progress tucked away in my bottom desk drawer. My protagonist–nearer an amateurtagonist, actually–was, of course, me thinly disguised as investigative reporter David Forest. Best I recall, David slipped into his drawer back about 1983 and has not been heard from since.

Until this morning. Yeppers, David returned from seclusion, considerably older and no wiser, in a dream. It was right about the crack of dawn, and I gotta tell y’all, the bed covers were feeling mighty comforting. So I tucked ’em tighter under my chin, closed down my eyes and suggested that David make an appointment to see me later today. He commenced to tell my this story about these two Oligarchrist brothers, Shuttle & Babs Cock, on a mission from the Antichrist Himself to take over the world. Their Top Gun Henchman and favorite lacky, turns out, is none other than Texas Gov. Dick Cherry, and that brings me to the point of this rather rambling post….

What do you call a dude who secretly wears women’s underwear ‘neath them high-dollar Crooks Brothers suits?

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Genesis

 

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(I’m Dreaming of) An Old Thanksgiving

Spatchcock the turkey, nog down some eggs…or shall we do ham instead?

Thanksgiving seems no key, on its last legs…must we invite Uncle Fred?

Such planning seems pointless, I mean, who gives a damn?
Thanksgiving is so passé!
Take away football an’ what do you have?
Just a kickoff for Black Fri-day!!

I’m dreaming of an old Thanksgiving like we used to do at gran’ma’s house.
All the women in the kitchen, and the men folk bitchin’ ‘bout traffic on two-eighty-seven south.
I’m dreaming of the smells of November with all the cakes and pies and such;
And Aunt Faye’s fruit salad, so bland and pallid, even the dog wouldn’t eat that much.
I’m dreaming of a house full of cousins, the ones we saw maybe once a year.
They’d come up from Houston and out from Midland. The oldest, Frank, would sneak us beer.

I’m dreaming of an old Thanksgiving just like the ones when we were a bunch
‘Round that old card table on the porch with Aunt Mable who didn’t like nobody very much!
I’m dreaming of the folks who have left us; gran’ma, gran’pa and Mom an’ Dad.
Sure we had some hard times, some lean and sad times; but looking back, those days were not so bad.
I’m dreaming of good times together, be it a crowd or just a few.
May your day bring happiness and light and a happy old Thanksgiving Day to you!

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Genesis

 

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Roll Up a Doobie

As a salute to the voters in Colorado and Washington state, I have morphed yet another ditty to my growing collection, The Elderly American Songbook.

The seed for this one is Bobby Vinton’s 1975 recording of Beer Barrel Polka.

 

In a garden, closet garden, only leaves and big buds grow there;

And there’s scarcely any room there or a whisper of dark doom there.

Here is music, loads of laughter, toking happily e’er after.

When we pass around a fat one, we all get in the mood.

Every time that grass cloud starts to bloom.

We all feel the sweet smoke fill the room.

Then we throw all cares into the pot,

Feelin’ fine with what we’ve got.

When the munchies hit we hardly care.

Grab a bag o’ chips we all can share.

Or we’ll make a Stoned Soup pie

With whatever we find nigh.

So-o-o-o-o-o……

Roll up a doobie, we’ll have a doobie-doo high.

Roll up a doobie, we’ll put the blue in the sky.

Who‘s up for nachos? Let’s make a run to Taco Bell.

Now’s the time to roll up a doobie, and pass the pipe as well.

Here’s to tokin’, we’re not jokin’, though our Golden Years be broken.

There’s no hurry; what, us worry? For the voters now have spoken.

Colorado, in the Northwest, where the finest herbals grow best.

Fire our bowls up without protest, and just blow all cares away.

When that old “Black Water” starts to flow

Through that place in which all dreamers grow.

Just kick back and light a fire;

Into the haze let us retire.

Roll up a doobie, we’ll have a mellow good time!

Roll up a doobie, tokin’s no longer a crime!

So what if it’s taxed now? Give Uncle Sammy his cut!

Everybody roll up a dobie, and smoke us out of this rut!

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Genesis

 

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Elderly

[May be sung to the tune of “Tenderly”, that great old American Songbook standard by composer Walter Lloyd Gross]

You take a slip and break a hip. Elderly.
Your still in bed. She thinks you’re dead. Elderly.
Then you start for the store and get to the door
But can’t find the goddam keys!
There’s another face that you can’t place. Elderly.
It’s just a shame to feel so lame. Elderly.
But let fools rush on by because you and I
Don’t give a damn, we’re on the lam so elderly!

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Genesis

 

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