Archive - Jan 2006

January 17th

Rule of Law

I am something of a fundamentalist when it comes to the rule of law. I thought it was right that Bill Clinton was impeached for perjuring himself (although he was never convicted) in testimony under oath. The punishment was about right: Although the Senate decided Clinton wasn't guilty of a "high crime and misdemeanor," Clinton's lying under oath and the subsequent circus of hearings permanently sullied his presidency. A person of his intelligence should have known to take seriously his responsibility to respect the rule of law.

January 16th

Gore Speech

Never thought I would get inspired by Al Gore--who was a complete washout as a presidential candidate--but his speech today in front of a coalition of civil liberties groups from both the left and the right was right on the mark. He raised every point I can think of which needs raising right now. Gore was introduced, incidentally, by ultra-conservative former congressman Bob Barr, another man I never thought I would find myself in agreement with.

Dalhart, TX

Decided to take the cross-country route on US Highway 54. Made it as far as Dalhart on the Texas panhandle. Odd that Texas would be on the way from Arizona to Minnesota, but it is. I checked, and it is 961 miles from Dalhart to Brownsville, TX. Texas is a big state.

Geese, cows and grass. That's what's in Dalhart.

The nice woman at the check-in somehow got on the topic of religion and announced that she was a "holy rollah and proud of it! We're just very emotional pipul!"

January 15th

Leaving Tucson

As if to taunt me, this morning was about as beautiful as it could get in Tucson. Had breakfast outside at a little greasy-spoon called Frank's with friend Ron, an astronomer at the University of Arizona who hails from back home. Then stopped by the home of Dad's high school roomate Elmer before heading down I-10 to near the Mexican border and then across into New Mexico.

Caballo Mountains

This beautiful range is east of the freeway running from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Truth or Consequences, NM. At the base of the range runs the Rio Grande River. The scenery around Truth or Consequences is some of my favorite in the country.

January 13th

Dishonest photography

If you are planning a trip to Tucson based upon my pictures, beware. I have done nothing to depict the city accurately. In fact, the entire goal of my picture-taking, it seems, is to idealize, to eliminate the ugly, and to pull out what I see as beautiful or at least intriguing.

More U of A

All around campus, there are blooming flowers. One also sees some blooming plants at other institutions, but rarely around homes. Probably takes too much water.

These pansy blooms are huge. What makes pansy blooms large are cool nights combined with ample sunshine. They get that here in Arizona. Although the daytimes are sunshiney and toasty warm to the bone, the night-time temperatures can sink into the thirties.

University of Arizona student union

Spent the afternoon walking around the beautiful campus of the U of A. With the perfect weather, it was an ideal afternoon to take pictures and just amble around. After about an hour, I came across this building.

What a place! It was the new student union. I was struck by its catwalks, decks, overlooks, railings, and its openness. The building takes advantage of the Arizona climate to blur the distinction between indoors and out.

January 12th

Finger Rock Trail

Here is an ocotillo with its nasty thorns. The ocotillo puts on leaves when it rains and drops them again when it gets dry.

Took a hike on Finger Rock Trail today. I was so distracted by taking pictures that I didn't make it far up the trail. I don't like going far up the trail anyway--you have to come back the same way you came. Makes me claustrophobic.

January 11th

Local scenery

Just took a walk around the neighborhood behind the hotel. Tucson is laid out just like the farmland in northwestern Minnesota--the whole thing is in one mile squares. There is a main road every mile without fail. Those roads are busy and noisy.