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Archive for October, 2013

Mount Jefferson, Oregon

Posted by graywacke on October 29, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2057; A Landing A Day blog post number 475.

Dan –  And now, it’s 0/4 since I broke 150, with this OSer landing in . . . OR; 79/66; 5/10; 151.5.

 If you haven’t a clue what the previous sentence is about, click HERE for an explanatory post.

 Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local map shows that I landed near Mt. Jefferson (obvious from the post’s title); but also near the small towns of Idanha and Detroit:

 landing 2

Here’s another landing map (streams only), that shows that I landed in the Marion Creek watershed:

landing 3

 Marion Creek flows into the North Santiam River (shown on the map, and a new river for me); on to the Santiam (2nd hit); to the Williamette (12th hit); to the Columbia (147th hit).

 First a word about how to pronounce Williamette.  It’s will – AH – mette.  I realize that I’ve been pronouncing it wrong for some time.  I said “WILL – ah – mette” to my wine-connoisseur buddy Prewitt;  he (being aware of the Williamette Valley wine region) quickly corrected me.  To help me remember, he said “It’s will – AH- mette, damn it!”

 My Google Earth (GE) shot shows that I landed on quite the slope, with Lake Marion in the background.  Marion Creek flows out of the lake and down the slope to valley at the foot of the slope:

 GE 2

Here’s another GE shot, with the various hydrologic features labeled:

 GE 4

You’ll note that (not surprisingly) there are waterfalls as Marion Creek heads down that steep slope.  Here’s a lovely Panoramio shot of the falls by “Bend Overall Guidebook” (BOG):

 pano bend overall guidebook marion falls

A little further downstream are more falls on Marion Creek.  Here’s a shot of Gootch Falls, also by BOG.

 pano bend etc gooch falls

BOG also posted this shot of Marion Lake:

 pano bend overall guidebook

Before getting around to Mt. Jefferson, I had to check out Idanha and Detroit.  I couldn’t find out anything about Idanha (including where its unusual name came from).  Here’s an interesting blurb (OK, marginally-interesting blurb) about Detroit, from Wiki:

  Detroit, Oregon was named for Detroit, Michigan in the 1890s because of the large number of people from Michigan in the community.

 In 2010, citizens in Detroit voted on a ballot measure that would change the city’s name to Detroit Lake, the name of the neighboring reservoir and one of the most visited summer sites in Oregon. The proposal was put forth by Doug DeGeorge, a builder and motel owner who resides in Arizona and wanted to disassociate the town from Detroit, Michigan and its close ties to “crime, corruption, failing schools and a shaky auto industry”.

 Doug DeGeorge was not present on the day of the city council vote, but repercussions from his comments had phone lines flooded with angry calls from Michigan residents. Voters chose to keep the original name of the city, by a vote a 47 – 37.  Gary Brown, a city councilman in Detroit, Michigan, disagreed with the proposal, saying local residents would have made a big mistake because the Motor City will one day return to its previous glory.

We all certainly share Mr. Brown’s wishes . . .

 Anyway, it’s time to move on to Mt. Jefferson.  Regular readers of this blog know that this isn’t my first landing near a Cascade volcano.  First, I landed near Mt. Rainier.  In that post, I waxed geologic about the volcanoes themselves and hazards associated with volcanic eruptions.  Click HERE to check out that post.

 And then, more recently, I landed near Mt. Shasta, yet another Cascade shield volcano.  For this post, I opted to wax geologic about the underlying mechanism that causes all of the Cascade volcanoes.  Click HERE to check out that post.

 Bottom line:  I’m done waxing geologic about Cascade volcanoes!

 No matter what, I certainly must let Google Earth (GE) work its magic.  Here’s a shot looking past my landing towards Mt. Jefferson:

 GE 1

And check this out.  GE is amazing.  Here’s a shot looking past the peak back towards my landing:

GE 3 

I found a Panoramio picture looking past Marion Lake towards Mt. Jefferson.  The picture is lovely, and gives a good idea of what Mt. Jefferson looks like from my landing).   Here’s the picture:

 pano thomas jeffrey, from just s of landing

Interesting point:  the photographer’s name is Thomas Jeffrey.  So Thomas Jeffrey took this picture of the mountain named for Thomas Jefferson . . .

 I’ll close with this lovely Panoramio shot of Mt. Jefferson (Pacific Crest Stock):

 pacific crest stock

 

 That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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Kamrar, Iowa

Posted by graywacke on October 25, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2057; A Landing A Day blog post number 475.

Dan –  I could have scripted this.  As soon as I broke 150 (thanks to a run of 5 USers), I get three OSers in a row, the latest being my landing in . . . IA; 44/38; 5/10; 5; 151.1.  (Confused about this paragraph?  Check out my recent post on the subject – click HERE.

 Here’s my regional landing map, showing I landed smack dab in the middle of Iowa:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows my proximity to some little towns.  Besides Kamrar (my titular town), there’s Jewell, Blairsburg, and a somewhat larger town, Webster City:

 landing 2

My Google Earth (GE) shot shows that . . . surprise, surpise . . . I landed in a farm field:

  

GE 1

Here’s another landing map, showing only the streams:

 landing 3

So, it looks like a toss-up between the Boone River watershed and the South Skunk River watershed.  Using the GE elevation tool, I found that drainage from my landing heads east, so the winner is the South Skunk, a new river for me.  By the way, Street Atlas doesn’t list any names for the smaller streams heading into the South Skunk. 

 Anyway, the South Skunk flows to the Skunk (5th hit, the 149th river on my list of rivers with 5 or more his); on to the Might Mississippi (809th hit).

 OK, so I did my usual, checking out scads of Google entries for the four towns.  Looking for the elusive hook.  Man, I’ll say the hook is elusive; so elusive as to be non-existent.  I’ve spent way too much time working on this post and getting no where, so this one’ll be a shorty.  Here’s a picture of Kamrar, from Wiki:

 Kamrar photo wiki

 

From the Hamilton County history site, I found out that the town was founded in 1881 by the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad.  And Kamrar?  Do you think the name has a railroad connection (like most of the little High Plains towns)?  Yup.  Judge J.L. Kamrar from Webster City performed legal work for the railroad.  Here’s a picture of the good judge (from the Iowa Legislature website; evidently the Judge was also a State Senator):

 john kamrar local lawyer, late 1800s

 

When I have little factual material, I tend to make something up.  Here’s my (totally fictional) take on how the whole town-naming thing went:

 It’s November, 1880.  Two executives (John Milner and Peter Kroenig) from the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad are meeting.  They are discussing the north-south railroad connection between Jewell and Webster City.

 John:  “We have 98% of the route between Jewell & Webster City under control.  But that last 2% is killing us!”

 Peter:  “Yea, yea, I know.  You’re talking about the Amos Peterson farm, right?” .

 John:  “He hasn’t accepted our offers, and we know why.  After we offered him more per acre for the right-of-way than any of his neighbors, Amos still said no.  He started giving us that story about his grandfather’s dying wish.  You’ve heard it before, right?  About that land near the creek on his property.  About how that land is practically sacred, and that under no circumstances should it ever leave the family.”

 Peter:  “Yea, I heard it before.  Amos’ granddad claimed that the whole family would have died in the winter of ’40, except for the yams they grew down by the creek that kept ‘em alive during that brutal winter.”

 John:  “Well, it’s 1880 and the winter of ’40 is history.  We need that land, and we need it now. What are we going to do.?”

 Peter:  “Not to worry.  Judge Kamrar owes us big time.  He has practically been on our payroll for the last ten years.  We need a court order using eminent domain to force Peterson to sell.”

 John:  “But the Judge is going to play hardball.  He knows how badly we need this land.  He’ll charge us a fortune.”

 Peter:  “I have an idea.  Let’s pay him our usual rate, but sweeten the pot.  You know that we’ll need to establish a depot and a town about halfway between Jewell and Webster City.  What if we make sure that it’s called Kamrar?

 John:  “Peter, you’re a genius.  The Judge has an ego the size of the Louisiana Purchase.  He’ll bite.  Let’s make the offer . . . “

 The rest is history.

 I stumbled upon a couple of photographs of Kamrar by Wayne Norton, presented on the Mober Gallery website.  Here’s part of a write up by Mr. Norton, discussing his photographs:

 This is a series of panoramic photographs of rural Iowa and its slowly vanishing culture. They are not an attempt to document Iowa, or to glamorize its beauty or culture by creating soul-soothing, pretty pictures. Instead, they are meant to look “real”, yet be expressive of my personal artistic vision. This series is intended as an intimate portrait of the often neglected and overlooked small towns and rural landscape of Iowa. Included in this concept is Man’s uncertain relationship with the land and the rural culture, the paradoxical beauty of decay in Man’s creations, and issues regarding the tendency for its people to leave the towns and farms to seek opportunity elsewhere.

While this photography is driven by my artistic need to create compelling images, I am equally motivated by my love for Iowa and a desire to represent rural culture. As urban sprawl gobbles up more and more of this county, many regions of the Unites States seem claustrophobic to me. However, Iowa still feels spacious, and I wanted to convey that in my photographs.

Click HERE to check out Wayne Norton’s portfolio.

Two of Mr. Norton’s pictuers feature Kamrar.  The first is entitled “Kamrar, Elevator and House:”

 norton_KamrarIA_Elevator_House650

 The second is entitled:  “Kamrar, Empty Corn Bins:”

  

norton_KamrarIA_EmptyCornBins_000

 

 That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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Boston Harbor, Washington

Posted by graywacke on October 21, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2058; A Landing A Day blog post number 476.

Dan –  Beginning to climb back into the 150s (boo!) with my second OSer in a row, thanks to this landing in . . . WA; 51/48; 5/10; 4; 150.7. 

 Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows my proximity to Boston Harbor, Olympia, and the southern end of Puget Sound:

 landing 2

I landed in the watershed of Woodard Creek, which flows into Woodard Bay (a small arm of Puget Sound); which is connected to Henderson Inlet (a larger arm of Puget Sound, see map above); which is, of course, simply part of Puget Sound (11th hit).

 Speaking of Puget Sound, here’s another landing map showing the entire Sound:

 landing 3

My Google Earth (GE) shot shows I landed in the woods, but in an area with some residential development (no doubt because of  proximity to Olympia):

 GE1

Here’s a StreetView shot from about a quarter mile east of my landing (from the north-south road you can see east of my landing, showing the driveway you’d likely use if you were attempting to visit my precise landing in the woods):

 SV from quarter mile east

Zooming back a little, here’s what the southern end of Puget sound and the greater Olympia area looks like on GE:

 GE2

Here’s yet another GE shot – this one, north of my landing, showing some of the Puget Sound water bodies (including Woodard Bay and Henderson Inlet mentioned above).  Also note “Zangle Cove.”

 Untitled

While searching for my hook (after having no luck with Boston Harbor and even Olympia), I rather absent-mindedly Googled “Zangle Cove.”  The first Google entry was entitled “Zangle Cove Story – Protect Our Shoreline.”  In the finer print below the title was the intriguing phrase:  “Geoduck farm in Zangle Cove.”

 Geoduck farm?  What the heck is that?  Before discussing the Zangle Cove story, let me start with the pronunciation of geoduck.  It’s “gooey duck.”  Wow.  Bizarro spelling, eh?

 Anyway, here’s some text from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) podcast (part of a series that features weird sea creatures) about geoducks (be sure to read this – it’s fun):

“Today’s weird thing is the Pacific geoduck, which isn’t a duck, and it isn’t gooey. It’s a humongous Pacific Coast clam whose name comes from the word “gwe-duk” in the language of the Native American Nisqually Tribe; it means “dig deep.” Some settler who couldn’t spell wrote it down as “G-E-O-D-U-C-K” and the misspelling stuck.

“Now, this dude is the biggest burrowing clam in the world. It grows to about 3 feet and over 7 pounds, ’though fishermen report taking some 6-footers weighing more than 16 pounds—that’s as much your Thanksgiving turkey! And geoducks are some of the longest-living of all animals, reaching at least 168 years!

“But it’s their shape and their deep digging that make them really weird. Most of a geoduck sticks outside the little dinky shell as a very long neck, with two holes at the end like an elephant’s trunk. This neck pokes out of the geoduck burrow to siphon phytoplankton—tiny marine plants—for meals. And geoducks are wedged so tightly in the deep burrows that otters, fish, and other predators just can’t dislodge them. Except for humans.

“Some are harvested by divers with special tools, some in special aquaculture farms, and some are harvested on beaches when the tide goes out. Geoduck harvesting’s a lot of fun to watch because most people just can’t pry the stubborn critters out.

“Do geoducks taste good? You bet—at least once you get their tough skin off. And people in Washington State are so fond of the things that the Evergreen State College in Oympia adopted the geoduck as its official mascot!”

 Here’s some more info from Wiki:

These clams were not fished commercially until the 1970s, but in recent decades a huge demand from Asian markets has developed, and the clams are now farmed as well as being harvested in the wild. The clams currently sell for large sums of money, which has made poaching a problem. Farming techniques are under scrutiny for their possible negative environmental impact.

Of course, my readers need to know what a geoduck looks like.  Here’s a picture from the NOAA website:

 from noaa.gov, geoducks

Here’s another picture, from GeoduckRecipes.com:

geoduck-size

If you want to cook a geoduck, you’ll need to visit this website!

Also from the NOAA website, is this intriguing photo of some guy digging for geoducks:

 Digging_for_geoducks  noaa.gov

And how about the geoduck being the mascot for Evergreen State College in Olympia?  Are you kidding me?  (But I love it!).  Here are the words of the Geoduck Fight Song (from the school’s website):

 The Geoduck Fight Song

Words and music by Malcolm Stilson, 1971

Go, Geoducks go,
Through the mud and the sand,
Let’s go.
Siphon high, squirt it out,
Swivel all about,
Let it all hang out.

Go, Geoducks go,
Stretch your necks when the tide
Is low
Siphon high, squirt it out,
Swivel all about,
Let it all hang out.

FYI, the long fleshy appendage of the geoduck is a siphon (mentioned in the fight song).  The geoduck sucks water in through its siphon, filtering out its food.  It then squirts out the filtered water.

 Here’s a picture of the College’s mascot, name of “Speedy Geoduck:”

 SPEEDYgeoduck

As for the “Zangle Cove Story,” it’s a post by “Protect Our Shoreline,” an environmental group whose mission is “to protect the Puget Sound Habitat.”  There are four commercial geoduck farming operations in Zangle Cove (at least there were in 2007), and Protect Our Shoreline objects to the operations, mainly centered on aesthetics, and the impact to recreational activities such as kayaking.  Here’s a picture to show why they’re concerned:

 newfarm 2007 protect our shoreline.org

Click HERE to view the entire post.

 I’ll close with this sunset shot over Zangle Cove (likely at high tide), Panoramio by WRDrennan:

 pano

 

That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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Bordulac, North Dakota

Posted by graywacke on October 15, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2057; A Landing A Day blog post number 475.

 Dan –  It turns out I only dipped my toe into the sub-150 Score waters, thanks to this OSer landing in . . . ND; 59/48; 6/10; 3; 150.3.  If you haven’t a clue what the previous sentence means, check out my previous post.

 Here’s my regional landing map:

  landing 1

My local map shows my proximity to Bordulac (and Lake George) as well as the relative metropolis of Carrington. 

 landing 2

Bordulac  – “bank (or edge) of the lake” in French –  is teeny:  population 15 – 20, give or take.  I’m sure that it used to be at least somewhat more thriving.  Anyway, an internet search yields practically nothing.  The only thing that caught my eye was on page six of Google search results for Bordulac ND.  Here’s what page 6 looks like:

 google search

 

Note the entry “American Poland-China Record.”  Hmmm . . . something going on in 1917 on my birthday (May 29th) having to do with Smooth Orange and Miss Wonder.  My curiosity piqued, I clicked.  Here’s what I saw:

 china poland 1

So this is a Google e-book of what looks like a birth record of pigs (presumably American Poland-China pigs).  The pigs from Bordulac were born on May 28th and May 29th in 1917, on J.W. Wampler’s farm.  I also figured out that each entry is likely the sow or sows of the litter who were selected for future breeding, and weren’t eaten (at least not before having litters of their own).

 Old J.W. had a productive two days on his pig farm in Bordulac.  On May 29th, there were two litters born (#9 and #10).  Both litters were sired by Smooth Orange and both had four boars and four sows.  (Smoothie must have busy some months before; actually, the average swine gestation period is a little less than four months).  The moms were Miss Wonder (litter 10) and Big Surprise (litter 9).  There were two sows selected from litter 10 to be bred and were named Miss Wonder 1 and Miss Wonder 2.  I assume all the other litter mates were eaten and had no chance to breed.  There were also two sows selected from litter 9:  Lena and Lena B.

 Amazingly, on May 28th, there were two litters born (#5 & #8); once again, both litters sired by Smooth Orange.  (I’ll say he was busy some months earlier).  The mom of Litter 5 (with only two boars and one sow) was Mollie Wonder.  The one sow born was selected for future breeding, name of Big A. Wonder.  The mom of Litter 8 (with 4 boars and 4 sows) was Lula Wonder.  The future breeding sow was named Wonder Lady.

 This particular book is Volume LXXIV.  It has 830 pages just like the one I copied above.  It then has extensive records of boar and sow purchases, and then indices of sows, boars, and breeders.  1180 pages in all.  Amazing – and this was just one volume of at least 74 volumes.  That’s a lot of work chronicling a lot of pigs.

 So, what’s the story with the China Poland breed?  Google Books to the rescue, as someone dutifully digitized a book entitled “History of the Poland China Breed of Swine,” published by the Poland China Historical Association in 1921, written by Joseph Ray Davis and Harvey S. Duncan.  The book resides at the Cornell University Library.  Here’s the page showing library borrowers:

 cornell borrowers

So, the book was borrowed in consecutive years (1953 and 1954).  No doubt some agricultural sciences professor discussed the Poland China breed, and a couple of students used the book as the basis for a paper.  Note that in 1954, some poor guy had to renew for a second week.

 The book languished on the shelves for 14 years, until once again, in January 1968 (when I was a senior in high school, but already accepted for next year at Lafayette College), someone else took the book out.  Since then?   Nada.

 Here’s the book’s preface:

PREFACE 

Knowledge is the vital force in human progress, and authentic history is an essential element of knowledge.

A century of evolution embodying the vision, aspiration, labor and skill of American husband-men has resulted in the modern Poland China, the only strictly American Breed of Live Stock.

[Wait a second!  The only strictly American Breed of Live Stock is called Poland China?  More about this later.]

Through many years devoted to personal contact and research we have succeeded in giving to the present and future generations of Swine growers this work to the end that those who study it may gain inspiration and enlightenment, pleasing, helpful and profitable to them.

With gracious thanks to all who supported our labors we dedicate it to the memory of those whose activities form its earlier chapters, to those of the present day who guide now the Breed’s destinies, and to those of the countless To-morrows [“To-morrows” written just like this] who will prize such a heritage.

The Authors

The authors certainly took their work seriously, eh?  

Of course, I had to dig in to exactly how this most American of breeds managed to get the name of Poland China.  One might assume that a pig from Poland was bred with a pig from China.  One would be only partially correct.

 By way of background, the breed originated in the Miami Valley of southwestern Ohio (specifically Warren County), back in the mid-1800s.  The Society of Shakers were active in pig farming, and were working to breed the perfect pig.  The Shakers are credited with the origin of the breed. 

 There was a local breed of pig known as “Big China,” or sometimes as the “Warren County Hog.”  The breed was also known as Magic Hog, named after D.M. Magic, who desperately wanted his name to remain with the breed.  Evidently, there were, in fact, Chinese roots to this breed.

 The Poland part is murkier.  There was a breed in Warren County known as “Poland,” and even the locals logically assumed that this pig was from Poland.   After extensive research, the authors declare that there is no evidence that a pig from Poland was the basis of the breed.  It turns out that a pig farmer name of Asher Asher first bred the pig eventually known as a Poland.  Believe it or not, Mr. Asher Asher was of Polish origins, and people began to call his pigs Polish Pigs, and then simply Polands.

 By the way, “Asher Asher??”  Sure doesn’t sound Polish to me!  Maybe he was Asher Sczcepaniak, and just figured he’d use his first name twice . . . 

 Anyway, inevitably, Big Chinas were bred with Polands (by the Shakers), and bingo!  Out popped a wonderful pig with two crucial attributes:  size and traveling ability.  Size is obvious; but traveling was important, as the hogs were driven to travel as far as 100 miles on foot to get to market.

 From Wiki, here’s a 1917 photo of a couple of Poland Chinas in Florida:

 Poland_China_pigs_in_Florida 1917  wiki

Here’s a generic sketch of the breed:

 poland-china-pig

The Poland China is now known as a “heritage breed,” as modern, intensive pig farming has resulted in the breeding of pigs with attributes more suited to this new environment.  Long gone is the need for “good travelers.”

 Phew!  Time to get back to Bordulac proper.  Here are some pictures, from the GhostsOfND.com website.  First, a train station that was evidently transported nine miles from Carrington:

 ghosts of nd.com 1

Here’s the Town Hall:

 ghosts of nd.com 2

And here’s a classic lineup of abandoned Bordulac trucks:

 ghosts of nd.com 3

Amazingly, there’s a large (and hopefully thriving) restaurant in Bordulac, the Bordulac Bar and Grill.  Here are some pics:

bordulac bar and grill

bordulac bar and grill interior

I could find nothing about the menu, but I’m sure the food is down-home good.

Here’s a Panoramio shot by Scott Nygaard that shows a sign that helps passers-by know where they are:

 scott nygaard pano

I’ll close with these Panoramio shots of the nearby (about 8 miles to the northeast of my landing) James River Landmark Lutheran Church, by The Soul Journer:

 the soul journer pano

 

 71601575

 

That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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My Strange Journey to 150

Posted by graywacke on October 7, 2013

This is a special explanatory edition of A Landing a Day.  Normally, in this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

 But today there is no landing; I’ll be presenting an explanation of what’s in the first paragraph of my posts, like what’s the story with states that are oversubscribed  (OS) and undersubscribed (US)?  And what is the “Score” and what is it about my obsession with the Score finally reaching (making its way down to) 150?.

Dan –  This is a break from my normal landing posts, occasioned by the fact that my Score, after flirting with 150 for months (years, actually) finally broke through, all the way down to 149.9.  I’m sure that most of my readers don’t understand how I could devote an entire post to such an event, but read on . . .

 I’d like to start by inviting readers who are unfamiliar with the terms oversubscribed (OS) and undersubscribed (US), to read “About Landing,” by clicking on the tab at the top of the page.  You’ll also learn what my “Score” is all about.

 However, for those not inclined to read “About Landing,” here’s a quick synopsis:  An OS state is one where I’ve landed more often than I should, based on the size of the state (more accurately, based on the ratio of the area of a particular state to the area of the lower 48).  It is intuitively obvious that if, for example, Texas constitutes about 9% of the area of the Lower 48 (which is does), then I should land in Texas about 9% of the time.  Of course, a similar statement can be made about each of the states.

 Inevitably, I have landed in some states more often than I “should”.  These states are oversubscribed (OS).  Conversely, I also have landed in some states less often than I “should,” resulting in a state being undersubscribed (US).

 For reasons most likely explained by my quirky personality, I decided to come up with a mathematical formula that expressed how “out of balance” my landings are.  When I land in an oversubscribed state, that state becomes even more oversubscribed, and my overall landings are a little more out of balance.  Such an event makes my Score increase.  When I land in an undersubscribed state, that state becomes better balanced, more towards the number of landings it should have based on its area (and the Score decreases).  If you really care about how my Score is calculated, you have to read “About Landing.”

 Anyway, when a state is in balance, I call it “perfectly subscribed,” or PS.  If all the states were PS, my Score would be zero.

 I’m no statistician, but it turns out that the more landings I do, it is inevitable that my Score will decrease, ever working its way down towards (but never reaching) zero.

 Though the years, I found myself rooting for landings in US states, so that my Score would continue its long march towards zero.  But, inevitably, I often land in OS states – after all, I have a about a 50/50 chance.  (Note:  My score goes down more with a USer than it goes up with an OSer, thus explaining my Score’s inevitable march downward.)

 Here’s the graph of my score since the beginning of landing.  You can see that I’m currently right at 150:

 150 - 1

Here’s part of the same graph, minus the extremely high numbers when I first began landing.  You can see better how I’ve been flirting with 150 for a while.

 150 - 2

So, what’s the big deal about my Score reaching 150?  Well, actually, it’s no big deal at all, it’s just something I noticed.  It all started back on September 23, 2009.  My Score was 150.3.  All I needed was a USer (remember, about a 50/50 chance), and my score would be below 150.  However, ‘twas not to be as I landed in an OSer, Montana.

 I went on a OSer tear, and my Score went as high as 155.8.  Finally, a year and half later in May 2010 (and 87 landings later), I had worked my way back down to 150 even.  But once again, I was foiled by an OSer – this time North Dakota.  The very next landing I had another chance to go below 150, but landed in yet another OSer, this time Oregon.

This happened again, and again, and again, and again and again and again and again.  Ten times in all.  OSer after OSer, when all I needed was a USer landing to get my Score below 150.  Here’s a graph of my Score where you can clearly see the struggle:

150 - 4

Of course, I prepared a spreadsheet to summarize my painful journey to 150:

 150 - 3

Check it out!!!  It was like flipping a coin ten times, and coming up tails every time!!!  The odds are one in 1024 that this happened!!  And note that every OSer was out west.  Strange, indeed.  How could this happen?

 Let me introduce my son, Jordan (now 25 years old).  Jordan’s favorite part of landing and A Landing A Day is, in fact, the very USer/OSer drama I’ve been talking about.  After three or four opportunities to get my Score below 150, Jordan and I had a conversation about my problem with 150.  He, of course, thought it was hilarious.  The next time I was poised to break 150, I made the mistake of talking to Jordan about it.  He formally placed a jinx on my next landing.  My next landing was, of course, an OSer.

 Jordan and I agreed that I would alert him each time a 150 Score was pending, to allow him to place his jinx.  Again and again, his jinx worked.  Again and again, until that fateful late July day when he must have lost his focus.  For on that day, I landed in Idaho, a long-time USer.  And my Score was 149.9.

 What’s next?  Becoming firmly entrenched in the 140s or slipping back up into the 150s?  Time will tell.  Just keep up with A Landing A Day, and pay attention to the first paragraph . . .

 That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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Idaho Falls, Idaho

Posted by graywacke on October 3, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2056; A Landing A Day blog post number 474.

 Dan –  Oh my.  It finally happened.  It took a 5/5 string, but my Score has finally dipped below 150 thanks to this landing in a long-time USer . . . ID; 48/56; 6/10; 2; 149.9.

 I think I’m going to dedicate an entire post to the issue of breaking 150, but first things first.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My closer-in map shows that I landed near the city of Idaho Falls (through which flows the Snake River):

 landing 2

Rainfall runoff from my landing takes a circuitous route to the Snake:  I landed in the watershed of Willow Ck (my 26th stream with “Willow” in its name and the 14th “Willow Creek”); on to Sand Ck (my 29th stream with “Sand” or “Sandy” in its name and the 9th “Sand Creek”); on to of all things a river, the Blackfoot R (2nd hit); finally to the Snake (73rd hit); to the Columbia (146th hit). 

 Note:  I didn’t talk about streams with “Black” in it, because it was my second landing there.  I only talk about stream names when it’s the first time for a particular watershed.  That’s just the kind of guy I am . . .

 My GE shot shows that I landed in a large irrigation circle:

 ge 1

Backing out considerably, it looks like I landed in an upland area, where agriculture is not as successful (read profitable) as the lowland areas (closer to the Snake), likely due to poorer, dryer soils.  Down closer to the Snake, there are more likely rich floodplain soils (good for growing potatoes, no doubt).

 ge 2

This, about Idaho Falls, from Wiki:

In 1891 the town voted to change its name to Idaho Falls, in reference to the rapids that existed below the bridge. Some years later, the construction of a retaining wall for a hydroelectric power plant enhanced the rapids into falls. In 1969 the largest irrigation canal in the world, the Great Feeder, began diverting water from the Snake River and aided in converting tens of thousands of acres of desert into green farmland in the vicinity of Idaho Falls.

 The above provides even more of an explanation for the fertility of the area near the Snake vs. the drier area where I landed.

Here’s a picture (from Wiki) of the “Idaho Falls,” with a Mormon Temple in the background.  Oh yea, I forgot to say that Mormons founded the town that that this part of Idaho is very Mormon . . .

wiki idaho falls

I couldn’t find much of significant interest about Idaho Falls.  I also checked out “Ucon,” (a bizarrely unique town name), but couldn’t find anything about it.  Any locals out there know the story behind the name?

Back to Idaho Falls, I did notice that there’s a minor league baseball team there – the Idaho Falls Chukars.  And what’s a Chukar, pray tell?  Well, it turns out a Chukar is a very cool bird, native to Idaho.  Here’s a picture, from the Idaho Fish & Game commission:

 chukar--michael-woodruff idaho fish and game

Speaking of the Chukars, it’s time for me to check my son Ben’s MLB.com blog, to see what he has to say about the Chukars.  As you may know, Ben writes about Minor League Baseball, and his blog (Ben’s Biz Blog) takes a light-hearted look at the business of Minor League Baseball.  Ben’s blog about the Chukars features (what else?) potatoes.  Click HERE, and you can read all about the Chukars big “Potato Night” promotion. 

What particularly caught my eye was the following excerpt (Ben’s words in black print):

 The first pitch was, of course, a potato:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Moonlighting catcher Ivor Hodgson apparently decided to stash a potato in his back pocket, perhaps in a bid to later replicate the infamous Bresnahan Potato Incident:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hmmm.  The Bresnahan Potato Incident?  What’s that?  Well, Ben referred his readers to The Baseball Requilary (BaseballRequilary.org).  Here’s an excerpt from their site, explaining the incident:

In October of 2000, the Baseball Reliquary acquired for its permanent collections what is believed to be the actual potato thrown by former minor league catcher Dave Bresnahan in one of the classic stunts in baseball history.

In August of 1987, Bresnahan, then a 25-year-old second-string catcher with the Williamsport (Pennsylvania) Bills of the Class-AA Eastern League, decided to liven up a meaningless late-season home game.  Before the game, Bresnahan peeled and sculpted a potato in the shape of a baseball.

Behind the plate in the fifth inning, with the potato concealed in his mitt and a runner on third base, he threw the potato wildly past his third baseman, hoping the runner would think he made an errant pick-off throw. The play worked to perfection. The runner at third trotted home, and Bresnahan tagged him out with the baseball.

An umpire retrieved the potato and awarded the runner home for Bresnahan’s deception. The following day, Bresnahan was fined by his manager and then released by the Bills’ parent club, the Cleveland Indians, for what they perceived as an affront to the integrity of the game.

It turns out that Dave became quite the celebrity.  As for the potato, it was retrieved by the umpire, who then tossed it in the trash.  A teenage boy retrieved it, and preserved in a jar of alcohol.  Many years later, the now-attorney owner of the potato offered it to Cooperstown, who turned up their noses at the offering.  He then offered it to the Reliquary, who gladly received it.  Here’s a picture of the potato (from the Reliquary site):

 potatoBy the way, a “reliquary” is defined as a religious container for sacred relics.  The Baseball Reliquary is a quirky museum of some of baseball’s sacred relics (that don’t quite make it to Cooperstown).  It’s in Los Angeles County.  Here’s what Wiki has to say about it:

The Baseball Reliquary (founded in 1996) is a nonprofit, educational organization “dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history and to exploring the national pastime’s unparalleled creative possibilities.” The Reliquary organizes and presents artistic and historical exhibitions relating to baseball.

Back to Ben’s blog, something else that caught my fancy:

Finally, TWO HOURS worth of potato-themed music was played over the PA. Prior to the promotion, I suggested to [media relations direct John ] Hadden that the following song be incorporated. He assured me that it was.

Ben is referring to Weird Al Yankovich’s “Addicted to Spuds.”  I laughed out loud when I saw the You Tube video.  I’ll present two versions, first a live version, and then the album version, with the words posted (which I recommend).

Here’s the live version:

 

 And the album version, with words:

 

 I’ll close with a Panoramio picture of the Snake River near Idaho Falls, by IdahoDon:

rigby-snake-river

That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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