Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More Fire News

There's a pretty neat interactive Google map of the Douglas Complex fires at Once you're there you can zoom out and see the whole state.

Also don't miss the Care and Feeding of Brimstone Firefighters.
It isn't quite like home, but at least they get everything they need to eat and drink, and a soft place to pitch a tent and roll out their sleeping bag.
Sounds like a twenty-something bachelor's dream. And good pay for working in the woods is just a bonus.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Calling Out the National Guard

The Governor has declared a State of Emergency for Josephine and Douglas Counties.
The Oregon Army National Guard is providing aviation assets at the request of the Oregon Department of Forestry. Five aircraft are prepared to help with fire suppression including three HH-60M Blackhawk helicopters, one CH-47 Chinook helicopter, and one UH-72 Lakota. Approximately 125 Soldiers along with 26 High Mobility Multi Wheeled Vehicles are also slated to be called-up on State Active Duty within the next 72 hours to assist with traffic control in the evacuated areas.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Very, Very Smoky

Visibility's something less than half a mile this evening, and even in the house the smoke is irritating. No bike ride today, although I might go for a swim.

Monday, July 29, 2013


smoky_red_sun_thumb.jpgVisibility is down to about two miles here. If it doesn't clear up a little we will keep the windows and doors closed tonight.

That link above, by the way, is a live link, and as I checked it just before I posted this visibility was down to one mile at the airport — if it gets worse they'll close it down and divert flights to Klamath Falls.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Temporary Flight Restrictions

tfrs_7_27_13_thumb.jpgSometimes you get a better idea where the action is by where you're not allowed to be. For instance, in the air near Selma, Oregon.
    Airspace Definition:
Center: Latitude: 42°21'53"N,
Longitude: 123°48'27"W
Radius: 10 nautical miles
Altitude: From the surface up to and
including 8000 feet MSL
Effective Date(s):
1300 to 0400 UTC Daily starting
July 27 until further notice
Basically dawn to dusk. Stay above or stay away.

We've been watching the bombers going over about every ten minutes all day long. I even saw a jet this morning — not sure if it was an air tanker or not, but it sure wasn't a passenger plane.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Burn Baby Burn

Fire season kicked off this morning with at least 70 new wildfires ignited by lightning according to the Oregon Dept of Forestry.

Yes, they have a blog.

More, they have a Southwest Oregon District blog. I've added these, and the FAA TFR link, to my sidebar for the duration.

It's going to be a long, hot, smoky August. Keep the pool filled and the lawns watered, and listen carefully when you hear sirens.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Soviet-Era Humor

The Wall Street Journal interviews a representative cross-section of young Portlandians — two bicycle mechanics and a food-cart cook — on the touchy subject of where "other people's money" might come from if you happen to be the "other people."
New Health-Care Law's Success Rests on the Young
The article is subtitled:
Will Young and Healthy Give Up Disposable Income to Pay for Insurance?
What, are you nuts?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


justine_lawrence_durrell_thumb.jpgDave mentioned that the last "print book" he read — he reads everything on an iPad now — was Balthazar, the second of The Alexandria Quartet. What a coincidence. I'm currently reading Justine. Once again, these are books that Dave got me started on, and again, it was an article in The Wall Street Journal that inspired me to dig them out of the basement.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Master

the_master_and_margarita_thumb.jpgWay back in my early twenties I went through what could most charitably be called my "stupid period." Somehow I decided that since I had learned so little of practical value from the thousands of books I had read as a child that I might as well quit reading altogether. And I did.

That is, I quit reading books. I could no more stop reading than I could stop breathing. Anything that fell in front of my eyes I read. Newspapers, magazines, crap... whatever. But I didn't read anything worthwhile, at least not on purpose.

Dave saved me from that. Dave had spent some time at the university and in addition to the thousands of comic books he purchased, studied, and saved — some are worth a fortune now if you can get him to part with them — he also developed the habit of reading serious science fiction and literature. Every time I would visit him he would hand me a handfull of books.

"Here. Read this."

How could I refuse? Michael Moorcock, John Brunner, Samuel R. Delaney, Philip K. Dick, Kilgore Trout, Thomas Pynchon, Lawrence Durrell, and Mikhail Bulgakov... there were others, too. I can't remember them all. Dave Handy got me started reading again.

Some I borrowed and never gave back. Dave was not particular about that. The important thing to him was that I read them. I did, and I bought more, and I kept reading, and I've never stopped.

Recently I decided that any book worth reading was worth reading again. I saw an article on Margarita in The Wall Street Journal so I went down to the basement and dug it out.

Thanks, Dave. Let me know if you ever want it back.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Health Scare

The architects of ObamaCare wrote its timeline with politics in mind. The law's most popular freebies—the bar on pre-existing conditions, parental coverage for children up to age 26—went into effect quickly to give the party some immediate credit. The law's more unpleasant provisions and trickier technical components were slated to begin ramping up in 2013—a non-election year. That way Democrats could get past any hiccups and start handing out subsidies in time for the next midterm election. Nobody counted on the hiccups turning into cardiac arrest.
Kimberley A. Strassel in The Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tiny Little Turkeys

eight_or_so_little_turkeys_thumb.jpgMama came by with a bunch of fluffy little chicks. At that age, they're almost cute.

Count 'em? I could hardly see 'em.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Just a thought

My e-mail just keeps getting slower and slower.
Maybe Obama should take a speed reading course.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I should just like to point out that Randy E. Barnett says that the NSA's Surveillance Is Unconstitutional.

Does that make Edward Snowden a hero?

It's OK by me.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dozen Little Turkeys

turkeys_in_the_yard_thumb.jpgAs I sat reading and dozing in my lawn chair two hens and thirteen chicks went parading past me. By the time I roused myself and found the camera they had gone into the lower pasture and come back up.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Two Little Fawns

two_little_fawns_thumb.jpgLeslie spotted them first.

"Shoot 'em!" She meant with the BB gun of course. We save the larger calibers for fall.

"Wait!" I said, "Let me get my camera."

"That's not the kind of shooting I meant!"

But they're so cute.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Five Little Skunks

five_little_skunk_kits_thumb.jpgYesterday evening Marielle told me there were skunks out behind the barn. She was watching them through binoculars from a respectful distance. We crept closer and closer until we were no more than twenty yards away. They paid no attention to us.

Five little kits, probably less than twelve weeks old, stalking and pouncing on each other and wrestling in the grass like a bunch of kittens. We watched for fifteen minutes.

Leslie didn't think they were as cute as we did. "They have to go," she said. Yeah, but how? I'm sure not going to trap them.