Just grilling vegetables here. For the 4th we'll take a big fish to task.
Only a week's worth of Mondays until I retire.
For every one thing I won't miss, there are several that I will. This insight is so overwhelming that I'm almost considering not retiring. Almost. But then I think about compulsory Monday mornings.
For each remaining Monday I'll list what I will and won't miss about the last 25 years of 40 hour work weeks.
#1. Rush hour driving.
The competition for asphalt. I used to walk and take a bus when I lived in the university area. Those were the best days. These days I "hyper-mile" down the valley and stay below 35mph. This contrasts sharply with how we drove before - fast and furious. But now I take pains to avoid the old me and really really really look forward to driving once a week instead of twice daily.
Next week: #2. Trapped in Views from a tall building.
Saw Astra Taylor's film last week at the Guild and it has really stuck with me like so much thought-rich mind candy. This from the review last February in the New York Times:
The BMW Isetta - at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in an exhibit entitled, Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures. From the Los Angeles Times.
Classic car buffs may be more interested in the Isetta, a little runabout produced by BMW in the 1950s and early 1960s. “Powered” by a one-cylinder, 13-horsepower modified motorcycle engine, the Isetta bears little resemblance to the high-performance machines BMW is known for today.
Based on an Italian design, the Isetta was an odd-looking egg — in fact, Germans called the car “the rolling egg” because of its ovoid shape.
Members of the U.S. Legislature are currently working to close the
“Halliburton Loophole” and shed a little light on drilling practices.
New legislation named the FRAC Act – Fracturing Responsibility and
Awareness of Chemicals Act – would repeal a Safe Drinking Water Act
exemption provided for the oil and gas industry. It would also require
oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals they use in their
hydraulic fracturing processes, where a stew of unknown chemicals is
injected underground to break up oil and gas deposits.
The number of new wells in recent years and their proximity to development is shocking in light of the impacts.
Four Corners resident Shirley McNall is no stranger to oil and gas drilling. While McNall and her husband live inside Aztec city limits, their home is also in close proximity to 9 different natural gas wells.
In recent years, she’s seen gas leaking from production tanks; bubbling well heads submerged in deep water; and “foul-smelling, dark-colored fluid” running off a well pad, down a gully and puddling 500 feet from subdivision homes. The dirty list goes on to include things like split pit liners, noxious fumes and trucks deliberately dumping hundreds of gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluid into arroyos.
“We’ve got nine wells surrounding our property, and of the nine, only one’s not been a problem,” McNall said.
The situation is especially distressing for McNall because she knows that much more than natural gas is finding
its way into the air, the ground, the watershed and the neighborhood.
“All these episodes happened right here under our noses and inside
Aztec city limits,” she said. “Can you imagine what’s happening on well
pads and drilling operations out in the middle of nowhere?"
From Maira Kalman's sublime notebook in her NYT's blog. This one is about Thomas Jefferson.
country and its people and what it
means to be optimistic and complex and tragic
and wrong and courageous,
you need to go to his home in Virginia.
New Mexico Business Journal Weekly story reads as a press release from the ever-cheery National Association of Realtors who say Home Sales Rise Again. This part is interesting:
The numbers could be even better, if it weren’t for poor appraisals, says the Realtors association. While pending sales of existing homes - those with signed contracts but not closed - indicate stronger activity, some contracts are falling through from faulty valuations that keep buyers from getting a loan, said Yun.
The NAR calls the appraisal problem serious, and says complaints about faulty appraisals have been snowballing across the country.
Floyd Norris says in his NYT's blog:
Enjoyed Anthony Anella's Bean Counter bit in the New Mexico Independent explaining the need for a new accounting of environmental consequences - using soil as an elemental example of his larger point. It is a faulty accounting that does not count "dirt".
In a very real sense, we owe our wealth as a nation to the black dirt
of our heartland. And yet we treat that dirt as if there were no
tomorrow. In a few short generations we have converted the grassland of
the Great Plains into an 80-million-acre agribusiness machine. In the
process of plowing the soil, we have also exposed it to erosion. (...)
We need a new system of accounting that does not distort our understanding of our economic self-interest by emphasizing short-term profits while ignoring long-term environmental consequences. Such a system would help us to reconcile our short-term economic aspirations with the earth’s long-term environmental necessities.
Soil and soil loss is a fundamental challenge for humanity - closely related to issues of watershed management, agriculture and land use planning. Grading development sites for building pads and parking lots also exposes soil to erosion, of course.
As a regular practice, land is summarily (and somewhat cavalierly) stripped of flora, fauna and place-defining features . Worse than the resulting franchise architecture and big parking lots are the many many cases where these sites remain undeveloped, unused, unlandscaped, unloved and eroding. Even worse than that is where tax dollars get spent to service these now gaping vacant dumpsites on the sprawling edge of what the bean counters call progress.
The more follow-the-moneyish question is what particular land owners benefit in this particular circumstance. And others before it in that particular location. Our local "economic development" efforts, with few exceptions, are a blatant display of political favoritism facilitating far-westside water service and road construction. On the taxpayer's dime. Beneficiaries are the speculative real estate investors we call developers, including SunCal and SunCal devotees, who land-flip and hope for future sprawl.
::steps down off old soapbox:: Not sure whether Mario agrees with that part.
Hippies at the Rainbow Gathering - who if they played golf would be considered tourists - are getting citations for minor infractions like cracked windshields and loose dogs and are having to appear in federal court in Albuquerque 120 miles away. Way to harsh the mellow.
The Albuquerque Journal and the Santa Fe New Mexican cover the story that morphs into a tale of law enforcement overkill - 50 officers, 370 "incidents" and 120 citations among the 1500 gathered. And the event hasn't even started yet.
From the New Mexican:
I drove through Cuba twice this weekend. Nary a hippy in sight but multiple law enforcement vehicles zooming up and down 550. Rest assured that young men with guns in overpowered SUVs are protecting you with near maniacal fervor from people who talk about peace and sleep in the woods.