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the Beast's Lair

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Saying ****

As literate, creative people we should be able to say **** in all sorts of interesting ways.


Romance and drama would be pretty boring if there was only one word for ****.


Granted, **** is a multi-function, multipurpose Swiss Army Knife of words. It can, depending on usage, be a noun, verb, adjective and even an adverb. The problem with **** is that it gets overused and loses its  potency. There is definitely a time and a place for ****. We shouldn't dilute it or wear it out with overuse.


Words like **** are supposed to have sharp edges. It's supposed to make you blink, raise and eyebrow or wrinkle your nose. The reason it doesn't anymore is that it has been overused to the point where it's shape edges are dulled. It is a word that is actually improved by its rarity. Seeing **** in a sentence should elicit a reaction other than -meh- or you are using it wrong.


If you are really good at it, you can say **** and no one will even notice at all.


The craft of writing isn't about the power of ****, it's about the power of the other words and ideas in that sentence.




Let's face it: humans are petty, vindictive and just plain mean.


As we trundle towards extinction with enormous problems that we don't have the economy, science, technology or will to face, the best thing for us would be a beneficent alien takeover.


No- not the nuke your planet to radioactive slag and drive on alien encounter. Cool aliens that show up, take over, get the trains running on time and then teach us some of that alien voodoo.


Fat chance of course but we can wish for it.


We are a remarkably stupid race. We know that fossil fuels are bad for the planet yet we drill baby drill. We're scared shitless of nuclear energy, the only technology that has a zero carbon footprint and actually has the wattage to power our grids.


Our political processes are so mired in incompetence and blatant corruption that many people don't vote simply because it's often just a choice between a criminal and a religious nut.


It would sure be nice if some benevolent aliens showed up to lend us a hand. Maybe show us how to make fusion work and not blow up a few countries. Help us transition from the arms race which everyone but the billionaires lose to a science and technology race that the species wins.


Instead of politically appointed bureaucrats running important things like the Dept of Energy or the Bureau of Land Management we have artificial intelligence oversight that won't put up with corruption. 


Can you imagine getting a galactic level education? Could you imagine what we could do with it?


I can and it would never be allowed. No sane alien would ever trust a bunch of dumb ass primates like us with any technology more sophisticated with a zippo.


I think that we as a species have reached a point to where we simply must grow the fuck up or go extinct.


It's really that simple folks.


We face our problems and handle them or they will end us.


There is coming a point when we will kick the can down the road one more time and it will explode.


A Win in the Gym

Lot's of people go to the gym and... fail hard.


It's complicated. There's all sorts of machines, techniques, theories, philosophies, and just plain wrong. Even if you spend the bucks on a personal trainer, does he have the smarts to craft a program that's right for you?


It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do. At my age, it would be pretty stupid to try to make myself into Conan the Barbarian. 




We've all seen this guy at the gym. I wonder what he does for fun. I mean, besides steroids.


I have discovered something that's working pretty good for me.


While I absolutely detest classical aerobics, it's one of the best methods to strengthen your heart, burn fat and improve your endurance. With my knees, it would be a short dance to reconstructive surgery which is probably in my future but, I'm not looking to rush it.


I started thinking how can I get the best out of a blend of aerobic and resistance training?


This is what I've come up with.


I start with twenty minutes on the exercise bike. Not a leisurely 20 minutes, a hard twenty minutes. This serves to get my heart rate up and warm me up.


Every session I decide where I'm going to focus and its: core, legs, arms, chest. Sometimes I do specific stuff for my back but usually I focus on one of the four.


Next I decide which machines or routines I'm going to do. Crunches, leg presses, bench, curls, pull ups, rowing- pick a few of them and do three sets.


When you do your sets, go with lower resistance and many, many reps. This combines the action of the aerobic and resistance training. 


When you finish your three sets, do 20 more minutes on the bike and repeat. Go as long as you can stand it or for as much times as you have.


This has worked for me. I lost forty pounds and I'm shaping up nicely. I also like what it has done for my stamina. My doc was shocked at the change the last time he saw me. I feel and look much younger than my calendar age.


There are a LOT of people thinking about how to do this. This is just how I've implemented it. 


Yes- I do work out with heavier weights at times. This is what I've been focused on for some months and I can see fast progress.




Some people might think that the 1st memes invented were Keyboard cat, Philosoraptor and the numa-numa guy.


That would be very, very wrong.


Imagine you lived in a Kingdom that was one of the most powerful and influential in the world but, it had fallen on hard times. The king was, by all accounts, a corrupt incompetent dolt. The people were hungry and the spoiled, foolish Queen, when told there was no bread for the peasants said let them eat cake.


While this might sound uncomfortably familiar to modern Americans, this was the climate that gave rise to the French Revolution. It was also the fertile ground for the French satirists who I submit were early generation memers. What people fail to understand about memes is they are much more about ideas than humor but the combination of the two makes them that much more powerful.


What we call memes is an evolution of a very old idea called satire more succinctly defined as the illustration of the absurd with absurdity.


Every middle schooler naturally knows about satire because that is when they inevitable meet an incompetent and bungling bureaucracy. One must take care with satire as to be a proper smart ass, you must first be smart. Otherwise you are just an ass.


There were many French satirists. I would like to focus on a gentleman named Voltaire.




Voltaire and the French satirists used their wit to point out the myriad hypocrisies and inequities of their political and social situations. Like Charlie Hebdo, many of the French Revolutionary era satirists faced rather deadly blow-back from those that failed to see the humor in their work.


This was an amazing era and one that the modern democracies owe much to because many of the things we see as foundations of democracy were first discussed by the thinkers during this era. They were seeing the end of the monarchy as a practical form of government and looked forward to imagine what the next step would look like.


See if you recognize any of Voltaire's ideas:


  • I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
  • Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers.
  • To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.
  • It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
  • Common sense is not so common.
  • It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.
  • Prejudices are what fools use for reason.
  • As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.
  • When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.
  • Superstition sets the whole world in flames; reason quenches them.


Voltaire would have been hell on wheels if he had internet access.


Be suspicious when you hear people in power discount the ideas of others. Those silly memers that poke them right in the hypocrisies have quite the history. So when you see memers banned from facebook or twitter, what you are really seeing is da man swatting the Socratic gad-fly that stung him in a sore spot.


Only a fearful tyrant censors speech. He is afraid that you will tell the people just what a putz he really is.



14 years & stuff

Friday night I picked up my 14 year clean & sober medallion.


The official date is Oct. 1 but that was the first Friday after.


Shit happens. I feel like disappearing with a bottle sometimes but once you get in the habit of choosing something different, it gets a little easier with time.


That doesn't make it easy. Just easier


Like that shit in Las Vegas this week. That seriously pissed me off. OK- I'm angry but, fuck it. Getting hammered won't help. So I focus my white hot anger elsewhere. 


What I would do to anyone I caught shooting at kids (at my age that's anybody under 30) doesn't bear close consideration but it would hurt real bad, last a long time and a chainsaw would figure prominently in it.


In other matters there is something I've been asked- why didn't you join the new Pit club?


No mas. Talking politics is just too toxic.



Proclamation of Extreme Wretchedness



When in the course of human events, you come across a day like Monday Oct. 2nd, 2017, drinking heavily is authorized and encouraged by this office.

  • Las Vegas Violence
  • Death of Tom Petty
  • Plumbing problems

The only thing that could make it better would be a root canal.

All that adds up to holy shit, nuke me now!


Shutup Little Kim. Quit playing with your tiny missile or you'll go blind.




Deep Concern

Hurricane Harvey, a cat 4 storm, makes a direct hit on the sixth largest city in the country.


In addition to storm surge and wind damage, there is historic levels of flooding damage that add to the misery.


It is expected that Harvey might be the most expensive natural disaster in American history.


Here we go again. We've been here before with Katrina and New Orleans. Almost right on the tick of the solar cycle(1,2).


Only this time we've got another hurricane from the Cape Verde Islands bearing down on Florida.


Here's my worry. The US Insurance industry is structured to deal with one of these huge mega-disasters. How is it going to handle two within weeks of each other?


Right now Irma is poised to strike some of the most expensive real estate in the country and she's loaded to pack a wallop.


Irma has the potential to be even more destructive and costly when it strikes Florida-man's abode.



What happens when the huge institutional funds that the insurance industry uses to back their policies have to dump billions of dollars in securities to raise the cash for these disasters?


If you are sitting on stock, you might want to ditch it before the institutionals flood the markets with the blue chips. 


I'm worried that we are about to see a market correction that will make Black Friday look like a Sunday picnic.


If we get hit again for another multi-billion dollar disaster, it'll be a giant shit sandwich and everyone will get more than their share.








1) Nature: Sunspot-hurricane Link Proposed

2) International Journal of Climatology: Evidence Linking Solar Variability and US Hurricanes



North Korea's Game



This little problem didn't just crop up. It's been going on for a long time. 


Trump got famous for a book he wrote years ago called The Art of The Deal.


The game the Kim dynasty has been playing is quite different. If they wrote a book it would best be titled The Art of The Shakedown.


Now after decades of work on their part its a thousand times worse because they have nukes.


The warnings about this go back as far as George Bush, the elder.


Clinton told us he had made a deal, read that paid them off, to stop it. Only it didn't and the North Koreans popped their first test nuke in 2006.


North Korea wants a pallet of cash and goods and the pressure will be to give them what they want. 


Like I said, it's a very old game. 








It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
  To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
"We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
  Unless you pay us cash to go away."

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
  And the people who ask it explain
That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
  And then  you'll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
  To puff and look important and to say: --
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
  We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
  But we've  proved it again and  again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
  You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
  For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
  You will find it better policy to say: --

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
  No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
  And the nation that pays it is lost!"





A few days ago President Trump made a statement condemning violence on both sides of the Charlottesville Charlie-Foxtrot.


A lot of people were indignant that he might call out anyone on the left. So... let's compare and contrast:



These sweethearts are Antifa. 

  • they wear masks
  • they throw riots
  • set things on fire
  • carry weapons
  • attack people
  • accomplish nothing positive
  • only create resentment
  • they deny the rights of others




For comparison purposes I give you the KKK- the evil, racist boogeymen that live in trailer parks.

Guess what they do?

  • they wear masks
  • they throw riots
  • set things on fire
  • carry weapons
  • attack people
  • accomplish nothing positive
  • only create resentment
  • they deny the rights of others



No one acting under a mask is up to any good.


On the extreme ends of both the left and right exist a bunch of dangerous nut cases. All we need are some candied fruit and we can make a fruitcake.


It is up to the sane people in the middle to JUST SAY NO TO EXTREMISTS OF EITHER STRIPE.


Take care that in your zeal for a cause that you don't become what you despise.


Those war memorials that so enrage some are not political statements. They are a warning from the past about the pain and loss of war.


If we forget the lessons of the past, we are doomed to repeat them.


Jalapeno Corn Bread

Jalapeno Corn Bread
preheat oven to 425
1 cup corn meal
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1/2 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar best)
1 onion (shred in food processor)
1 jalapeno (shred in food processor)
Mix all that up in a bowl

heat skillet with cooking oil

Pour mixture into hot skillet

Cook in oven for 22-26 minutes.

How it turns out depends on how hot the peppers are and how many peppercorns you keep in the mix. It's MUCH better than ordinary cornbread.
I like to use colby/jack cheese. More cheese can be added. 




Experiment by adding red onion another pepper or by leaving in more peppercorns to spice it up.


Serve with vegetables like butter beans, peas, corn, tomato. Good with salsa.


You'll need a black iron skillet. Don't put in dishwasher. Instead clean by hand and keep it oiled (with cooking oil silly).




Sagittarius’ Arrow of Fate





Another strange ritual I’m learning about is college football. I may have been raised around religious fanatics but in their zeal, football fans make the Prophet look like a dilatant. Jeb and I were at the Crenshaw household enjoying the South Eastern Conference Championship game. The game is interesting, if not conspicuously violent, but the real fun is watching the fans. This is a big deal for them with traditions that go back over generations. There’s never been a preacher that could stir as much real passion as an untimely fumble by Alabama. Even if you lose, the food is great. A part of that tradition involves eating really good food that's bad for you.



Next time on the Season of Leo


the Scales of Libra


That afternoon hurricane Jeb joined our group. I call him hurricane Jeb because his chaotic energy was every bit as wild as any hurricane that ever struck this area. Jeb was a cute little thirteen year old kid with shoulder length hair that had a vocabulary that would make a sailor blush and enough anger to set things on fire at ten feet. He was loud, he was abusive and when I tried to look up some of the words he used on the computer, it told me that content is blocked and doused with holy water.


Tune in next time: same bat channel, same bat station.



I've been fascinated by this guy for some time.


You see I was around in 1992 when the evil midget H Ross Perot showed up, acted crazy and took the margin of victory away from Papa Bush. I was expecting the daffy billionaire with a bee in his bonnet to make a statement and then fadeaway. 


When he won the republican primaries, I was surprised.


Trump out-republicaned republicans. Mainstream republicans like Cruz, Rubio and Paul were bulldozed.


When he won the nomination, I was shocked.


No. Not like amusing shocked. More like holy shit, how did that happen shocked.


How he beat Hillary Clinton's machine in the general elections is something darned few people saw coming.


EVERYBODY has misunderestimated Trump.from day 1.


Notice the word I used? Misunderestimated is a Bushism and I used it on purpose. The left made the same mistake with George W. Bush.


I had an Uncle who was with the Air Force the very day it stopped being the Army Air Corp and became a stand alone service. Uncle Richard was a brilliant man who served all over the world and retired with 30 years service. I used to love to talk to him because he had been there and done that for all practical purposes everywhere. Many people who listened to his southern accent and not what he actually said would have thought he was just another bumpkin. Bumpkins don’t get to wear Oak Leaves or fly B-52s.


I see this quality in Trump. I know you’re laughing but stick with me. The proof is in the pudding. Trump may have had his business ups and downs but he was successful enough to be a billionaire. Billionaires that are morons are quite rare.


Trump ran a sophisticated campaign that unseated one of the most powerful top-down political organizations with multi-national reach ever. Trump manipulated the media during the primaries and the general election and had a hostile press eating out of his hands.


Have you ever heard of a republican running as a populist? I thought democrats held the patent for that. He did it and, he won with it. Populism is a very sophisticated campaign strategy. It has to be consistent. If he spoke like most politicians- like a lawyer- it simply would not have worked. That’s why his speeches were very simple using ordinary language, unambiguous, declarative and repeated central themes several times. If you saw him as a simpleton, you were dead wrong. He spoke to the people in a way that they would respond. Populists have been using this methods for centuries and it works. Consider the following:


And during the few moments that we have left, we want to have just an off-the-cuff chat between you and me—us. We want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand. -Malcolm X’s Message to the Grassroots speech.


Watch any Trump stump speech. It's there.


For my final exhibit, consider this famous tweet:



Everybody made fun of this. No one knew what it meant. Trump is obviously senile or an idiot, right?


The media and the usual celbutards made complete an utter jackasses of themselves, the truth emerges.


Covfefe is an Arabic word meaning I will stand.


The media, not willing to be made a fool of, says no, it's not so.


Native Arabic speakers say different and, he just returned from Saudi Arabia. 


Whose lying? I'd say it was the people so wrapped up in their own political bullshit and hate that they can't possibly see their adversary in terms other than stupid or evil. It is that sort of blindness that gets you beaten. It jut takes watching a few election cycles to see this very clearly. Both sides have made this mistake and both sides have paid dearly for it.


There's more than meets the eyes to Trump. He may look dumb but he ain't. Misunderestimate him at your peril.


Infectious diseases have changed the course of whole civilizations.


There is archaeological evidence suggesting that plagues may have wiped out or caused huge changes in several prehistoric civilizations.(1)


The Antonine Plague (2) of 165–180 AD was a major factor in weakening the Roman Empire to the point that it could be defeated. Most people think it was smallpox but we can’t be sure.


Black Death(3) was the most devastating pandemic in human history killing 75–200 million people in Eurasia. It came in waves starting in the 14th century with periodic recurrences until the 16th century.


European diseases that arrived with explorers and colonists like smallpox and measles decimated Native American populations. European diseases so depopulated Native Americans that they could only be a minor nuisance to European interlopers. Smallpox allowed the Aztec and Incan civilizations with thousands of warriors to be sacked by a few hundred Spanish Conquistadores.(4)


The 1918 Flu Pandemic(5) killed 50–100 million people worldwide and pushed the war weary and flu ravaged combatants of World War I to the peace table in Versailles.


These were just the big outbreaks that changed the courses of whole civilizations. Other diseases were a constant menace like cholera, typhoid, typhus, measles, consumption (tuberculosis and pneumonia) and other treatable diseases today that were fatal without antibiotics and mass immunizations.


Humanity survived for thousands of years without vaccination but, infectious diseases have definitely left their mark.


It is a great fear of doctors and government officals that a virus might mutate or be created by a mad man that no one has any immunity to. With world populations so high, dense and mobile, there would be nothing to stop it from killing billions.


Worse still- over use of antibiotics and disinfectants is creating drug resistant strains of old diseases that are now emerging threats. (6) 


We only THINK that we are done with infectious diseases. They are not done with us. We can only vaccinate against the worst of them and use good public health practices to contain outbreaks when they do occur.


Least we forget: the HIV/AIDS pandemic emerged in the early eighties and has killed millions world wide. Modern medicine and our modern world are not immune to emerging infectious diseases or new strains of the old diseases that have dogged humanity since prehistoric times.





1-  DNA Evidence that Plague Started Much Earlier Than Thought  https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/23/science/in-ancient-dna-evidence-of-plague-much-earlier-than-previously-known.html

2- Antoine Plague https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonine_Plague

3- Black Death https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Death

4- Native American Diseases & Epidemics  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_disease_and_epidemics

5- 1918 Flu Pandemic  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic

6- Dangerous Drug Resistant Infections on the Rise Among Children    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/02/25/dangerous-antibiotic-resistant-infections-on-the-rise-for-children-in-the-u-s-study-finds/?utm_term=.15672308e593


Further Reading:

Garrett, Laura The Coming Plague  

Quammen, David Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic



70s Culture

You young barbarians with no culture need enlightenment. 


You are ignorant of the good old days. 


I shall attempt to enlighten you about our ancient culture.


Wacky Packages

Our generation giving the finger to consumer culture.



Over the Edge (1978)

This movie is 100% authentic seventies. If you want to know what the 70s were really like, look it up. It's on YouTube.




When I was a little nipper, I didn’t care much for reading. I was more about climbing trees, playing sports and fishing. Sitting still and reading wasn’t really on my agenda. In fact school and reading were way, way down on my list of priorities. My grades showed it. I wasn’t an idiot. I just wasn’t interested or connected.


My grandmother noticed and she used her grandmotherly skills on me. She started reading the Hobbit to me aloud on rainy winter days. I’m not sure why exactly but it clicked in my head. I did get interested and engaged. She could only read for just so long. If I wanted more, I had to read it on my own. Sneaky Grandmothers.


That was the very first book I ever picked up- just for the fun of reading. In fact, I remember being depressed when it was over.


That Christmas she gave me the 3 volume set of the Lord of the Rings. I was delighted and my parents were astonished. All of the usual Christmas stuff to play with and I was well into the Fellowship of the Ring By the time school started, I was starting the Two Towers. Teachers didn’t believe I was reading it. I wasn’t getting in trouble anymore for not paying attention. I was getting in trouble for reading the wrong thing in class.


By the time I had finished The Return of the King, several very good things had happened:

  • I was no longer reading below grade level.
  • I was reading two grade levels higher.
  • My vocabulary was much improved.
  • My reading comprehension went from average to exceptional.
  • My English grades went from crap to excellent.
  • I went from avoiding reading to frequenting bookstores looking for more!


In 4th grade my life changed for the better. It’s because I picked up Tolkien and would not put it down.


Why it’s a classic is because it can capture the imagination of a restless boy that never wanted to sit still (probably had ADD) and completely turned him around academically.


The movies are great but they just aren't the same as the books. If you've never read them, they are recommended for kids eight to eighty.



1897 was Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and the Royal Navy gathered at Spithead to pass in review.


Note the boat chugging along doggedly front and center. It has an experimental engine that will soon rock the world- steam turbines. Faster and more reliable- when mated with fuel oil instead of coal, it will become the powerplant of choice in the next 10--20 years.


This was just before the dawn of the age of the Dreadnought..

Technological breakthroughs were being made every day that enabled battleships to become the biggest and most lethal war ships in history. Electricity, hydraulics, turbines, radio, steel, welding-: with every new innovation the ships became bigger, faster and more powerful.



HMS Dreadnought, 1906. The ship that included the newest technologies of the new century and set the pace for all the rest.

Dreadnoughts became the ticket that had to be punched to be acknowledged as a Great Power. To build and maintain a fleet of Dreadnoughts required the economic wherewithal, industrial capability and technological base that only a Great Power could afford.

Dreadnoughts were to the 20th century what advanced jet aircraft and nuclear weapons are to the 21st century. They define a Great Power, insure its security and add to its prestige. 
In a very few short years Dreadnoughts advanced from naval units to political status symbols.







Only three planets are left that have not come under the eye of a long term survey missions: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (planet, minor planet, cartoon dog- who cares).


Scientifically- these planets are very interesting because they have been in a multi billion year deep freeze from the formation of the solar system. Materials on their surfaces (or their moon surfaces) have undergone very little “processing” since the formation of the solar system. On the earth, everything is constantly recycled . They represent the best available “snap shots” of the primordial solar system.


The moons of all three outer planets are also a good example of what we might find even further out in the Oort Cloud as they are all probably captured.


People may giggle but the science is exciting. Even building these probes is a challenge involving some of the longest communications loops and complicated programmed maneuvers in history.


The technology possibilities are very exciting. Artificial Intelligence to make decisions independently- outside the communications loop for time dependent actions. Phased array antennas, special frequency modulations, plutonium power source- all the sorts things that make hard core tech geeks quiver in geeky antici... pation.


We should do it soon.


Prepare for Uranus!




The Garden is In

For the last few weeks I've been preparing for this summers garden. Today I planted.


I have been growing a Azalea cutting in a pot and today I moved it around to plant. I annoyed a toad who was living in the pot. He glared at me with his little toad eyes and I told him- hey bro, you're moving up. The garden is a better neighborhood.


 I'm trying something new this year. The last few years the picking from the garden have been slim. June, critical to the growing season, has been unusually hot and dry. To combat this problem, this year I'm using landscape cloth over the dirt and mulch over the landscape cloth to keep the soil from drying out too quickly. 


Today I planted 3 dozen tomato plants, 18 various pepper, corn, watermelon and some garlic. I grow some herbs too but I grow those in containers. 


The tomatoes are a mix of the Better Boy and Goliath varieties. They have to be heat tolerant because... the next zip code from here is heck.


The corn- any of it grows here. If I'm diligent, I can get two crops of it.


As for the peppers- I have a mix of green bell peppers, Jalapeno and cayenne.


The rest of the garden is ornamental but that has to be dealt with too. I divided some of my favorite daylilies and spread them out. Planted some wild gladiolus and I  added a Confederate lily. I got the good kind that's red and whit and blooms till frost. I planted the little Azalea is a spot I made for it.


After having to move I think the toad is finding his new neighborhood much to his liking.  




It started with typos. J's became k's. E's became r's.


People asked me if I was all right because I was shaking.


When I could barely keep my hands still enough to use my calculator (and believe me, I have a kick ass calculator) I decided I might need to see what the deal was.


So... I got some tests. Blood pressure. Check. Cardio tests... check. Blood sugar. Check. Bunch of other stuff I can't spell... check.


Early on set Parkinson's... Maybe..


I've got more tests. Other things it might be are worse. 


Then again it could be stress.


Imagine that.


What could I possibly be stressed about?






Ancient Volcanoes of the Mid-South



Between 80 and 70 million years ago the South Eastern United States was a shallow sea.


A line of three volcanoes grew into islands. It may be associated with an ancient hot spot that was dragged west to east by continental drift.


These three volcanoes are at Monroe, LA, Midnight, MS and Jackson, MS. This area has been extensively explored by the oil and gas industry.


I have no heat data for the Monroe and Midnight volcanoes but- Jackson is indicated in red because there is still significant heat down there. Groundwater at depth is in excess of the boiling point. It would be interesting to explore the other two sites to see if there in still heat rising from their magma chambers. 


This heat has no where to go. Its trapped thown there and may provide access to geothermal power. 




Geothermal power may be an important answer to our future energy needs. All you need to produce electricity is to boil water to drive a turbine. 


Our difficulty is with fuels- coal, gas, oil and nuclear power all have downsides. Geothermal energy, if we can figure out how to utilize it, would have none of the down sides of fossil fuels or nuclear power. 


Regardless of where you stand on climate change, this is a problem that we need to solve. A power source that like geothermal energy that can't be depleted and doesn't pollute is very promising.






The Jackson Volcano - Wikipedia





Compare and contrast the convergence zone St Helens with the Hot Spot Kilauea volcano.  


Pay attention. There will be a test.



This is an excellent account of the Mount St Helens eruption. It was the biggest eruption in the continental US in modern times. St Helens is a fairly typical Cascades volcano.





Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has been erupting continuously for thirty years.  


Kilauea on Live Science


Hot Spot Volcanism




We understand Convergence zone volcanism but what about hot spots?  What are they? How do they form?


Hot spots are mantel plumes that allows very hot materials from as deep as the outer core to rise up and literally burn their way through the lithosphere. It can happen anywhere under a tectonic plate, deep under an ocean or even a continental crust. 


No one is really sure what these hot spots are, what causes them or why they can last for millions of years. It has been suggested that they are flaws in the mantle that allows convective forces to focus the movement of liquified rock on these points. These hot spots last so long in geological terms that as they stay fixed at one point. Tectonic plates are dragged across the hot spots slowly creating features like the Hawaiian Island chain or the Snake River caldera complex or the Yellowstone hot spot.


US Geological Survey Article: Hot Spots or Thermal Mantle Plumes




The basaltic lava that comes from hot spot volcanoes is very different from the kind produced by convergence zone volcanism. In many ways it is the chemical opposite of silica. rich Rhyolite lavas. It comes from much deeper inside the earth. It flows much more like iike a true liquid than a silica based lava which behaves much more like wet lumpy clay. Rhyolite has to be blasted out of volcanoes. Basaltic lava cools slowly and is content to pool and run like any other liquid. This liquid is somewhere in excess of 1200 degrees centigrade and will destroy almost anything it encounters.


Basaltic lava flows can be enormous. The largest known volcanic event in the last 500 million years created the Siberian Traps and may have caused the Permian-Triassic (PT) extinction event from out gassing so huge a volume of magmatic gas that it changed the chemistry of the atmosphere. On top of the massive outgassing event, the Siberian Traps supervolcano deposited 1 to 4 million cubic kilometers of basaltic lava (240,000–960,000 cubic miles).  


The Columbia River basin in Washington State is a basaltic lava flow that occurred about 16 million years ago in Eastern Washington and Idaho and ran all the way to the sea. In some parts of Washington these lava flows are three miles deep.




This picture comes from a Hawaiian volcano that has been erupting constantly for forty years.  This type of lava cools unevenly. The top can cool and harden while inside its still molten. This type behavior is how lava tubes are formed.




As I've run out of allowed images, that's all for today. we'll take it up there tomorrow.






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