Posts Tagged With: danger

FROM THE ASHES.

Driving home from Oregon yesterday took seven and a-half hours. As I rolled into the county, local radio announced a burn of 450 acres near Mountain Ranch, the area that took the brunt of the Butte Fire. The Butte Fire is considered the worst for home losses in the state from a single fire.

The day before I left, I managed a quick trip to the local Arts Council Gallery for a look at their exhibit entitled History From The Ashes. DSC08424 (Copy)

There is no joy in picking up cherished or simply common objects from your burned out property. Mostly sadness, tears and awe that anything recognizable survived the conflagration.

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We know art is healing. And there is something about picking through the ashes that must be common to all of us. I watched on television as folks did just that after Katrina. The flood, destroyed as completely as fire.

DSC08436 (Copy)When my house burned to the ground in Michigan, I remember finding  my melted marbles and my mother’s  jar full of precious coins. The wafts of smoke coming from the ashes, the strong smell, the bent bed springs and melted cook stove didn’t make me give up hope that I might find a heart shaped plastic locket my grandmother gave me that contained a tiny rosary. Of course, it couldn’t possibly survive, but my 8 year self believed in miracles.

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Items found, were given an artful setting of remembrance.

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Or put together to form a sculpture or a mobile.

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One survivor made a fabric wall hanging, with burned out spars of trees surrounded by wild flowers. A reality, wild flowers, rain fed, follow a burn.

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Dead bushes and trees amid new grass on this canvas.

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You can see my face reflected in the glass covering a spectacular photo by John Slot of the borate bomber releasing its chemical fire retardant.

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And this photo by Katie Clark of a partially burned home with a surviving flag.

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The most spectacular piece in the show is this shawl, positioned like an effigy with burned offerings at its feet. The shawl was made from the ties that bound hay bales distributed to land owners. Hay spread on bare ground, an effort to help prevent erosion. This artist washed and dyed the pieces. She softened them enough for weaving and wove this shawl.

It is a good feeling that something pretty, or remembered or useful rises from the ashes of despair and we can all see through to their recovery and healing, as art surpasses the ashes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BEAR ENCOUNTER

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Blogging right now is tough for me. Typing one finger with left hand is slow and tedious. I’ve hesitated to eat out since eating left-handed is “sloppy”.  Neighbor Jan enticed me to a Sunday breakfast at the Native Sons Hall. And, I’m getting more adept with my left hand. She was just rewarded with a plaque for being the best CERT volunteer of the year. We celebrated, and heard a great bear story.

We sat across from two guys, one an electrician the other a general contractor. I took their cards and they are around-somewhere. I believe the contractor’s name was Paul Belleni. He was fixing a broken water pipe at a house in Arnold and heard a sound. He turned around to face a mama bear with two cubs. She let out a distinct cry unlike anything he’d ever heard,  and the two cubs scooted up trees immediately. One tree bent to the ground with baby in it. Mama bear dashed past Belleni to protect her cub and he decided to run. He went down hill through a gully and ran for his life with mama behind him and eventually came out on the sixteenth tee at Sequoia Woods Golf course. One of the golfers said “Hey, you, what the hell are you doin’?” (Or something like that as Paul whizzed past.)  Then they spotted the bear. At that point the bear gave up and returned to her cubs. Whew!

He told us with emotion in his voice her claws were so long they were like a second hand.  Looks like a  bent tree saved his bacon. The story came to light as I told my recent encounter with a bear, I’ve had four, but none as dangerous as Paul Beleni’s close call.  But, my cougar story, hey…another time.

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Central America Trip #61

Mary is no longer available for RV traveling, but we remain good friends.
Because we have 4,000+ postings, I’ve invited her to continue posting entries on this blog.

The motorhome is parked at Shady Acres Mobile Home and RV Park in Yuma, Arizona. I expect to be here a while hiding out from the cold, wet weather. Average temperatures in January are high 69.6, low 47.6. In February, high 73.8, low 50.1. As nice as Yuma is, I wouldn’t want to be here in August.  🙂

Recently I’ve been running blogs about my 2004 Central America trip. While here, I’m intending to continue those postings while also alternating with Yuma area blogs.

Today, I’m taking you back to my…

2004 Central America trip…

This trip ended up being 343 days and 16,000+ miles through the back-country of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. 11 rigs started the trip, within a week we broke into three smaller groups for ease of traveling. Only myself and one other rig went the full, pre-planned route. All the others dropped out for various reasons. All returned safely to the United States. I’m planning to show these photos, more or less, 10 a day, whenever I’m not doing something else deserving a blog entry. FINALLY, it must be remembered these photos are prior to my switching to digital in 2006. The films were developed during our trip and the lack of quality control sometimes is plainly evident.

 

Today…El Salvador (north-bound) #1…

 

El Salvador was the most unusual country of our entire trip. According to our guidebook…”in consideration to its neighbors (meaning the other Central America countries), El Salvador has little to offer and is the most dangerous county in Central America.”

During our several days in the smallest  and most densely populated Central America country, I constantly felt “danger in the air”.  The locals were reluctant to talk to us. In the other countries, a big smile and an enthusiastic “Hola!” (Hello!), won us instant friendship…not in El Salvador. The locals were very reserved and usually just stared at us. It must be remembered these folks had never seen  a motorhome or a “gringo” in their village. The country was engaged in Civil War from 1979 to 1992.

Our guidebook indicated and we had been told that “San Salvador (the capital), was probably the most dangerous city in Central America.”

 

The following comes directly from my book…

“The roads continue to be great. It is so interesting to note, that the countries that are supposedly “poor” have great roads, and the supposedly “well-to-do” countries have terrible roads. While driving to the capital city of San Salvador, population about 800,000 (2,300,000 including the outlying suburbs), I had a most terrifying experience! My heart stopped beating for a full five seconds! I was in the lead on a very busy, two-lane, winding, up and down street at 35 mph. When, there it was, directly in front of me! An OPEN man-hole to the sewer system! The cover was missing! Had I hit it with either the motorhome or the towed Bronco, it would had taken out the entire front end of the vehicle! The locals must know about it, and just drive around it. But, it sure surprised me! I somehow managed to put it in-between my two front wheels, and not drive into it. I still do not know how I missed it, (instinct?), but I did! Whew!”

 

And…

 

“We are parked in a PriceMart parking lot. Bob and Bud did some shopping, while I had 15 rolls of film developed for $108. Because the city is so large, we hired a taxi to help us find a place to drop off our laundry. Then we had him take us to a nice bar district. We had a pleasant happy two hours and a meal. We decided to walk the eight blocks back to where we are parked. Along the way we had numerous people approach us and ask us for money. I got the feeling that this is not the place to be walking around after dark, because instead of asking, they would be demanding! We beat feet to get back before it got real dark!”

 

And…

 

“We are at about the 2,000 foot elevation and it’s still hot. The afternoon temperature was 98 degrees in the shade!”

 

And…

 

“At PriceMart during the day, they have four security guys wearing pistols, constantly riding around the parking lot on bicycles, two guys at the entrances and exits, with pistols and 12 gauge shotguns, and a guy in a 30 foot high elevated watch tower in the center of the parking lot, with a pistol and a shotgun! At about 7 PM, the guy in charge of night-time security insisted we move our rigs close together and adjacent to the building for the night. We were “surrounded” by about ten security guards with pistols and shotguns while we slept! Quite the cultural experience!”

The below three photos are the only photos I have of El Salvador as I was quite uncomfortable walking around with a camera in my hand…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

 

 

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Here’s an image that shows El Salvador’s location…

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You can read all about El Salvador by clicking this link…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Salvador

 

 

Next Guatemala…

 

Here’s my trip website link…http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

I hope you enjoyed the photos.

 Yesterday was mostly sunny and 69 degrees. Forecast for today is mostly sunny and 68 degrees.

Enjoying nice weather is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows my approximate location in the State of Arizona. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

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Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures with low humidity most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

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My current travel rig is a 2006 Fleetwood 26′ Class A Motorhome and a towed 1986 Ford Bronco II, Eddie Bauer Model. This photo was taken in the desert at Slab City near Niland, California…

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On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.
http://youtu.be/FfZUzEB4rM8

If you would like to see my YouTube videos, click this link… http://www.youtube.com/user/JimJ1579/videos

There are more than 600 photo albums in my Picasa Web Albums File. To gain access, you simply have to click this link… https://picasaweb.google.com/jimjrver

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

For more information about my books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

All original works copyrighted – Jim Jaillet -2016

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TERRORISTS LURK AT EVERY CORNER.

It is true that no one is safe from terrorists here at home. You send your child to school and expect that she or he is safe. I have a cousin who claims he has no fear because he carries a gun on his hip where ever he goes. But, does he guard his grandchildren at their school? Could he prevent a mass killing? Could he defend himself against an assault rifle while he is drinking his coffee in a restaurant?
And what fear does, and what the media and now a presidential candidate does, is stir the pot of fear and hatred. It is preposterous to easily assume we are the victims of Muslim American Radicals.

Statistics prove otherwise. The people we should be afraid of is White Male Extremest Christians. They are most violent and so righteous when they kill.

Remember Christian mass murderers like Robert Lewis Dear? The Planned Parenthood Shooter. And, Dylann Roof, the Charleston Church shooter? And Seung-Hui Cho, who took out 32 Virginia Polytechnic students in seconds, and wounded 17 others. You’ve read he newspapers. You know the horror.

The statistics show that white Christian men are responsible for 64% of mass shootings. Blacks are responsible for 16%, and Asian Americans-9%. Latinos, Native Americans and “others” make up the rest.

I would challenge anyone who has submitted to the gun buying hysteria to show that we are safer with the proliferation of guns in our country than we were before the NRA began selling fear,  and gun ownership climbed into the gazillions. (I’ve forgotten the numbers of guns sloshing around the country right now. It is an outrageous number.)

The deaths keep coming. At bus stops, or coffee shops, at any event, even church. Even shootings by young male students at schools. And accidental shootings by children on shooting ranges.

   WE HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO BAN CERTAIN WEAPONS – AND WE SHOULD DO IT.
In California, some signs of sanity:
Governor Brown Takes Guns Out of Schools.  Though it is old news, it is worth repeating.
SACRAMENTO – “Today, (October 10, 2015) Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 707, prohibiting gun owners issued a license by their local police chief or sheriff from carrying handguns for self-defense on California school grounds. It also subjects those with a carry permit, issued only after passing a strict, fingerprint-based background check and agency-approved training course, harsh new criminal liability for merely possessing a single round of ammunition on the grounds of any school or college campus, even if they don’t also possess a firearm.”
 
Good for us and California Students.
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FRACKING THREATENS OUR WATER AND AIR.

A vehicle partially submerged in dry mud is pictured in an area that was hit by floods at Chanaral town

Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting millions of gallons of water with sand and chemicals under high pressure down and across as far as 10,000 feet below the surface. The mixture causes rock layers to crack and open and allow the oil to penetrate the sand particles  so the natural gas from the fracture can flow up the well. Natural gas is cleaner than other fossil fuels like coal and oil, but not by much. It is mostly methane and it traps heat, it leaks readily and like the residents of Dish, Texas complained, “We have unexplained headaches and sickness in  people and animals since the drillers came to town”. Air quality tests showed high benzene pollution in the area.

But, the big danger is water well contamination  and earthquakes. Thanks to intensive lobbying from then Vice-President Cheney under President George W., Big Oil and Gas is exempt from critical statutes in all major environmental protections, The Safe Drinking Water Act, The Clean Water Act, The Clean Air Act and laws governing the disposal of toxic waste. Pretty Cushy if you are in the oil and gas business, right? And, frackers are allowed to keep secret what chemicals they are pumping into the ground.

How can that be? It’s true.

Now let’s talk about groundwater, supposedly it belongs to everyone. Like the air we breath, it is a life necessity and no one can buy our air and make us pay for it, and so far, we’ve managed to prevent corporations from buying control of our water. They’ve tried, though. In California, we think of our groundwater as a water savings account. We can always get water, right? That too, is beginning to change with high water crops, walnuts, pistachios, almonds draining away mega amounts of water.

3-31-drought

 

The Western United States is typically dry. Our water supply is used from reservoirs because very few natural lakes exist in California. Reservoirs are man made. We’ve kind of kidded ourselves, or the powers that be have, by damming rivers and reducing them to a trickle. Holding water back worked but it  proved to be the wrong way to treat our rivers. And depending on a pipeline that steals water from the north to make the desert bloom in the south, was then and is now a questionable practice. The truth is that California groundwater would always save us in a drought. Now, that water is in big danger, we need to rethink that.  Fracking is only part of it. But, it is the most dangerous part of it.

More tomorrow.

 

 


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GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS

I’ve been kind of ho-hum about genetically modified foods, except, I believe we have the right to know what we are eating and whether it is genetically modified or not. The right to know is important. We’ve had genetically modified products for ages. Just hand pollinating or cross pollinating is genetically modifying a plant. Or, grafting a scion from a different fruit tree onto another, is an example. But, adding chemicals to seed is an whole other step. My feeling is that the company who modifies it should know the end result if the seedlings spread to the wild or cause unwanted changes.

One negative about genetically modified seed comes from a farmer who bought seed at his supplier and the supplier said he had some of this “new” seed from Monsanto that someone had ordered, then failed to pick up. The farmer bought it, planted it and was crucified when the company found out he had it. He was put through a horrible rigamarole because he hadn’t permission to use it from the company, nor paid the full price. They harassed him through two growing seasons for fear of patent infringement. The hapless farmer was pretty unhappy with the way he was treated by this mega corporation.

But, now comes information from a study that is disturbing. However, I don’t know the size of the study and who conducted it. I read about it on MoveOn.org.

Rats fed a lifetime diet of Monsanto’s genetically engineered corn or exposed to the company’s popular Roundup herbicide, in amounts considered “safe” in drinking water and GM crops in the U.S., developed tumors and suffered severe kidney and liver damage, according to a study released this week.

We may not develop the same problems as rats, but even rats are part of the environmental balance we need. What else will it affect?  Birds? Or raptors that eat rats and gophers?

And this from the editors of On Earth Magazine, a publication that deals with environmental issues:

Carbon-fueled climate change is responsible for many terrifying things, but some normal-seeming rice plants in one recent study is a warning. Scientists from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture grew a feral, weedy from of rice alongside a cultivated form in controlled environments that reflected carbon dioxide levels of a century ago. As C0-2 levels went up, the weedy rice was better able to synchronize its flowering period to that of the cultivate rice, leading to cross pollination and resulting in a zombie-like hybrid with alarming characteristics. From the feral parent, came a diminished nutritional content and a weaker hull. But, the cultivated parent gave it a genetic resistance to weed killers. The weedy rice that always pops up in fields has been traditionally controlled by herbicides.

Now, add in climate change with genetically modified seeds with resistant chemicals in them?  Could be a horror movie.

We don’t have corporate soil and private soil. It’s everyone’s soil. So, when we put something in the soil, it should first be proved harmless. Back off, Monsanto. Prove your safety. But, that isn’t likely to happen now, is it?

Isn’t it wonderful to know that corporations and conglomerates always have our best interests at heart?

 

 

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