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Archive for July, 2014

Goshute Indian Lands, Nevada and Utah

Posted by graywacke on July 30, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now a once or 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 2111; A Landing A Day blog post number 539.

 Dan –  Oh my.  Five OSers in a row, and I’m beginning to worry about jumping back into the 150s, thanks to this landing in . . . NV; 82/76; 3/10; 149.2.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local map shows my proximity to the state line and the “town” of Goshute, UT:

 landing 2

Zooming back a little, here’s Tippett NV and Ibapah UT:

 landing 3

Here’s an oblique Google Earth (GE) shot, looking south:

 GE 1  looking south

Here’s another, looking east towards the Deep Creek Mountain Range:

 GE 2  looking east

My drainage heads due north (to the left in the above photo), with the hypothetical drop of water traveling from my landing to the Bonneville Salt Flats.  In a historical rain storm, the drop would eventually end up in the Great Salt Lake (13th hit).  Here’s a regional GE shot showing what I’m talking about (you can also see an earlier landing spot, documented in my March 7, 2014 Dugway UT post):

 GE 3 drainage to the bonneville salt flats

The main feature of this post is going to be the Goshute Indian tribe (as I landed in their ancestral lands), but I’ll start with some info about Ibapah & Tippett.  First Ibapah, from Wiki:

Ibapah is a small unincorporated community in far western Tooele County, Utah. The site was originally established in 1859 by Mormon missionaries sent to teach the local Native Americans [i.e., Goshutes] farming methods. Ibapah is currently inhabited mostly by Goshute people, with scattered farmlands and a trading post belonging to more recent settlers. The community is the headquarters of the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, a federally recognized tribe.

Originally named Deep Creek for a creek of the same name in the area, the name was later changed to Ibapah, an anglicized form of the Goshute word Ai-bim-pa which means “White Clay Water”.

The Deep Creek Mountains are the north-south mountain range east of my landing.  The highest peak in the range is Ibapah Peak (el. 12,037’).  Here’s a Wiki shot of the range:

deep creek mountains just west of my landing - wiki

And now, moving over to Tippett, this, from Donna Frederick’s write up on SilverStateGhosttowns.com:

Tippett was named for John Tippett, an Englishman from Cornwall. Tippett and his partner Frank Bassett owned the Glencoe Mine, located in Antelope Valley. They made some money from the mine before the gold ran out.

[The town struggled on into the twentieth century, but was pretty much done in by the Depression.]

The store at Tippett catered to the miners and ranchers in the area as well as the Goshute Indians. For many years, government regulations did not allow whiskey to be sold on the reservation at Ibapah, Utah and the thirty miles of dirt road from Ibapah to Tippetts became well traveled. This road was called “Whiskey Road” and is still designated as such on some maps.

Check out the most local of my landing maps above.  You’ll see that I landed just south of Whiskey Road . . .

Here’s a GE Panoramio shot of “Tippett’s Road” by Grover Cleveland, just north of Tippett.  I don’t think this is part of Whiskey Road, but it’s a cool shot:

 pano grover cleveland tippett's road

Turning now to the Goshute.  Although there is a dot on my Street Atlas map (and a small community) called “Goshute,” there really isn’t a town at the location; just a small collection of houses, as shown on this Panoramio shot by L Sessions:

 pano goshute LSessions

(Note:  This is my third use of a Pano shot by L Sessions.  The two other posts with his photos are far flung:  Blanding, in far southeast UT and West Point IL.)

Anyway, as mentioned earlier, Goshute is the name of an Indian tribe.  Here’s a shot of a Goshute mother & child, from ILoveHistory.Utah.gov:

 goshute mother & child from I Love History.Utah.gov

From Wiki:

The Goshute lived in the most desolate part of what is now the western portion of Utah and eastern portion of Nevada.

[Which is where they are now.  So, unlike other tribes who were forcibly relocated from their homelands by the U.S. Government, the Goshutes are where they’ve always been.]

In aboriginal times they lived at a minimum subsistence level with no economic surplus on which a more elaborate social structure could be built. Organized primarily in nuclear families, the Goshutes hunted and gathered in family groups and would often cooperate with other family groups that would at least temporarily make up a village.

Most Goshutes gathered with other families only two or three times a year, typically for pine nut harvests, communal hunts for no more than two to six weeks, and winter lodging which was for a longer period.

The Goshutes hunted lizards, snakes, small fish, birds, gophers, rabbits, rats, skunks, squirrels, and, when available, pronghorn, bear, coyote, deer, elk, and Bighorn sheep.

Hunting of large game was usually done by men, the hunters sharing large game with other members of the village. Women and children did the gathering, harvesting nearly 100 species of wild vegetables and seeds, the most important being the pine nut.

They also gathered insects the most important being red ants, crickets and grasshoppers.

When I read the above, I was immediately struck by similarities with the Bushmen (or San) people of southern Africa.  In historic times, the Bushmen were generally limited to hunting & gathering in the Kalahari Desert, where their lifestyle was likely very similar to that described above for the Goshute. 

I’ve read several books about Bushmen (the most notable being A Story Like the Wind by Laurens Van Der Post), and have long been fascinated by their pure (evolutionary) hunting and gathering lifestyle.  By the way, A Story Like the Wind is right at the top of my “best books ever” list.  To say I highly recommend it is gross understatement.

Anyway, looking for internet support for my feeling that the two groups are similar, I Googled Goshute and Bushmen together.  I found less than I thought I would, but what I found was very interesting.  First, this from a May 2000 edition of Outside magazine which discusses the amazingly small-minded prejudices towards the Goshutes.  It then includes the Bushmen in a shocking quote by Mark Twain:

Living in a place that white visitors considered an infernal wasteland, the Goshutes were seen as abject, almost subhuman. When Jedediah Smith, the legendary mountain man, first laid eyes on the tribe in the 1820s, he called them “the most miserable objects in creation.”

Similar appraisals followed. “Those who have seen them unanimously agree that they of all men are lowest,” wrote historian Hubert Howe Bancroft. “In their persons, dwellings, and habits, they are filthy beyond description. Their bodies swarm with vermin, which they catch and eat with relish.”

After encountering a handful of “Goshoots” during his journey through Nevada and eastern Utah in 1860, Mark Twain devoted a long passage in his book Roughing It to this “sneaking, treacherous-looking race…always hungry, and yet never refusing anything that a hog would eat, though often eating what a hog would decline.”

Twain also produced an unusual theory on the tribe’s evolutionary origins: “The Bushmen of South Africa and our Goshoots are manifestly descended from the self-same gorilla, or kangaroo, or Norway rat, whichever animal-Adam the Darwinians trace them to.”

Yo Mark.  I’d like to see you and your kin survive for a hundred generations in a desert surrounded by hostile tribes. . .

By the way, note that the Bushmen were similarly reviled by white men in southern Africa.

I also stumbled on a blog called “Aahhtt,” by Susan Overfield, a dog trainer.  She writes a blog called “Bark Outloud,” and one of the posts is “Man’s Earliest Use of the Dog:  A Conjecture.”   Click HERE for a link to the post.

The first part of the post discusses a book by Christopher McDougall entitled “Born to Run” which is about mankind and running (nothing about dogs).  In that book, Mr. McDougall discusses “persistence hunting,” which is simply chasing an animal to exhaustion so that it could be killed for food.  The Bushmen figure prominently, but the Goshute are also referenced.  More-or-less quoting from the blog (I did some paraphrasing for clarity/simplicity, both of the blog and the “Born to Run” quotes.  I can’t help myself!):

As discussed in “Born to Run,” man had the physiology that made running his greatest asset. The evolution of man as a running hunter is known as “The Running Man” theory.  Paraphrasing from Born to Run:

The problem was this:  Chasing an animal to death is evolution’s version of the perfect crime. Persistence hunting (as it’s known to anthropologists) leaves behind no forensics—so how do you build a case that successful persistence hunting took place?

David Carrier, PhD, professor of biology, University of Utah:  ‘The frustrating thing is, we were finding [persistence hunting] stories all over the place… but we couldn’t find anyone who’d done a persistence hunt.  In fact, we couldn’t even find someone who’d even seen one.’…Throw a dart at the map, and chances are you’ll bull’s-eye the site of a persistence-hunting tale. The Goshutes and Papago tribes of the American West told them; so did the Kalahari Bushmen in Botswana, the Aborigines of Australia, Masai warriors in Kenya, the Seri and Tarahumara Indians in Mexico…” (pg 230, Born to Run)

But in the 1980s, at age 20, Louis Liebenberg, a Cape Town student of applied mathematics and physics, had an epiphany, dropped out of school, searched for and found a renegade group of Kalahari Bushmen, and spent the next four years living with them. THEY introduced him to a persistence hunt.

“He’d heard a little about persistence-hunts, but he ranked them somewhere between an accident and a lie: either the animal had actually broken its neck while fleeing, or the story was out-and-out baloney. No way these guys were going to catch one of those kudus on foot. No way.

’This is how we do it,’ Nate [one of four Bushmen hunters] said, and then proceeded to show Louis.  The four hunters ran swiftly but easily behind a herd of bounding kudu. Whenever the animals darted into an acacia grove, one of the hunters broke from the group and drove the kudu back into the sun. The herd would scatter, re-form, scatter again, but the four Bushmen ran and swerved behind a single kudu, cutting it out of the herd whenever it tried to blend, flushing it from the trees whenever it tried to rest….

He watched it (kudu) weave drunkenly…its front knees buckled, straightened…it recovered and bounded away…then it crashed to the ground.

‘ …(the hunts) kept the Bushmen on the run for three to five hours (neatly corresponding, one might note, to how long it takes most people to run our latter-day version of prehistoric hunting, the marathon.)”

There you have it.

I’ll close with this Pano shot (by LittleGrins) of a mining shack up in the Deep Creek Mountains east of my landing:

 pano little grins mining shack up in the mountains

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Perham and Frazee, Minnesota

Posted by graywacke on July 25, 2014

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 2110; A Landing A Day blog post number 538.

Dan –  Now it’s four OSers in a row, thanks to this landing in . . . MN; 75/68; 4/10; 148.8.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows my two titular towns (sorry Luce, you hardly even exist):

 landing 2

A streams & lakes – only landing map shows some of Minnesota’s 10,000 Lakes.  It also shows my drainage pathway:

 landing 3

From my landing, water heads to the Toad River (first hit!); on to the Otter Tail River (2nd hit); through Otter Tail Lake; back to the Otter Tail River; on to the Red River (45th hit). 

The map below shows what happens after the Red leaves the US:

 landing 4

It discharges into Lake Winnepeg which is drained by the Nelson River (63rd hit); on to the Hudson Bay, which casually discharges via open water to the North Atlantic.

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

 GE 1

Note that I’m 300 yards west of a north-side road.  And yes, that road has Street View coverage.  Here’s the shot looking over towards my landing:


Note the shadow of the Google Cam . . .

Each of my two towns has an obscure claim to fame.  I’ll start with Perham.  This, from Wiki:

Perham (pop 3,000) is a city in Otter Tail County, Minnesota. The population was 2,985 at the 2010 census.  The town hosts “The Gathering,” described as the “world’s largest fish decoy show.” The annual event will be in its 17th year when it is held in April of 2015.

I’ll move right along to a You Tube video about The Gathering, posted by Lakes County TV.  This video will tell you all you need to know (even more than you need to know) about The Gathering.  You’ll see that some very talented fish carvers are out there . . .

Let’s see if it gets more exciting when we head north to Frazee.  Here’s what Wiki has to say:

Frazee (pop 1,350) is a city in Becker County, Minnesota. It was named Detroit and later Third Crossing before adopting its name of Frazee. The city was officially incorporated in 1891 and was named after R.L. Frazee, an early settler who moved his milling business here from Ohio.  Today it is best known as the home of “Big Tom: the World’s Largest Turkey.”

So, we’ll be moving from fish decoys to a giant turkey.  Hmmmm . . .  maybe this won’t be my most scintillating post . . .

From Frazee City website, this about the FIRST Big Tom:

The Frazee area has long been surrounded by turkey industry.  There are several turkey farmers in the area and Frazee was (at the time the turkey statue was first built) home of a turkey processing plant.

In 1984, a group of interested turkey growers and committee members met and proposed the idea of erecting a turkey statue near Frazee.  A committee was named and money was raised.

Artist Shell Scott was commissioned to construct the original turkey.  The construction consisted of a metal frame anchored in cement.  Other materials included fiberglass, cardboard and insulation.

‘Big Tom’ was dedicated on August 8th, 1986, he stood 22 feet tall and cost about $20,000.

Since 1986, the community of Frazee has been privileged to be called the “Home of the World’s Largest Turkey”.

As time went by, problems with the turkey’s physical makeup became apparent.  ‘Big Tom’ was originally a bronze color but had to be painted white because of problems with the exterior.  There were also complaints that ‘Big Tom’ was not proportioned like a real turkey.

Due to the frequent repairs, it was decided to construct a new ‘Big Tom’.  The job was commissioned to Dave Oswald of Sparta Wisconsin whose work includes the giant 40 foot Holstein cow in New Salem, North Dakota and a 180 foot Northern Pike in Hayward, WI.

Here’s a picture (from the website) of the repainted white version of Big Tom:

 big tom 1

I tried clicking on the NEW Big Tom link (on the Frazee website), and very strangely, a page about the City of Frazee public water comes up.  Here’s a You Tube video I made showing what happens when you try to learn about the New Big Tom:

I wonder if anyone in the Frazee City Government knows about this glitch??   Anyway Here’s a better picture of the new (and current) Big Tom (from EveryCounty.org):

 FrazeeTurkey every county . org

You may have noticed on my little video that just above the link for “The New Big Tom” is a link for “Big Tom Burns.”  This link actually works, and here’s what I learned:

The fire which destroyed the first ‘Big Tom’ occurred on July 1st, 1998.

During the process of removing ‘Big Tom’ to make room for his replacement, Burt Larson was inside the hollow statue with a cutting torch, working on dismantling the turkey, when it caught fire.

“We were using a cutting torch,” said Burt, who was on the three man removal crew.  “We cut the front legs off and nothing happened.  We cut the wings, and as soon as the torch hit it, the whole thing went [up in fire].  It was hollow on the inside.  It acted like a chimney.”  Also on the removal crew were Kenny Fett and Ross Mickelson.

No major injuries were reported.

I’ll close with this wonderful picture of the first Big Tom’s demise:

 big tom burns

Big Tom looks amazingly calm, considering his dire predicament.

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Lonerock and Hardman, Oregon

Posted by graywacke on July 20, 2014

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 2109; A Landing A Day blog post number 537.

 Dan –  Oh-oh.  Three OSers in a row, thanks to this landing in  . . . OR; 82/68; 4/10; 148.5.

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

My local landing map shows my proximity to the two titular towns:

landing 2

Here’s an oblique Google Earth (GE) shot, showing a fairly rugged landscape with nearly no vegetation (and certainly very little civilization):


Funny how the one mile line goes up and down the hills, eh?

I had to use GE to figure out that my drainage heads west from my landing (the road to the east of the my landing is a ridge road).  Here’s a streams-only map:

 landing 3

Street Atlas didn’t show the entire length of the Middle Fork of Rock Creek, so I added it.  Anyway, the Middle Fork flows to Rock Creek proper.

Here’s an expanded view that shows that Rock Creek ends up in the John Day River (9th hit); on to the Columbia (149th hit).

landing 4

I’ve blogged about John Day several times.  If you care to learn about him, type “John Day” in the search box above.  You’ll see numerous Oregon posts that feature Mr. Day, including Dayville.

So, considering that Lonerock was so close by, I had to check in with Wiki:

Lonerock was founded in 1881 as a service center for the surrounding ranches. It was named for an unusual, 35-foot-high lone rock which still stands in the town near the old Methodist church. The city’s population grew from 68 in 1900 to 70 in 1910, 73 in 1920 and then to a high of 82 in 1930.   By the 1940 census, Lonerock’s population dwindled to 46, and continued to drop to 38 in 1950, 31 in 1960, and then bottomed out to 12 residents in 1970.  The city grew to 26 citizens in 1980, before falling to 11 in the 1990 census.

Well, except for telling us about the lone rock, Wiki seems obsessed about the town’s population (more about that later).  Here are a couple of Panoramio shots of the church and rock.  First, this rear view by RoxRay:

 pano roxray lonerock & church

Here’s a front view by Kenn:

 pano kenn lonerock & church

As a geologist, I certainly have some curiosity about the lone rock.  But a quick Google search yielded no information.  Moving right along to Hardman.  Here’s what Wiki has to say:

The first settlers came in 1879.  Some settlers called the area Dairyville, while others called it Rawdog. At the same time, David Hardman, who arrived in the county in 1878, started a settlement a mile to the southeast. A post office named Hardman was established there in 1881 with Hardman as postmaster.

A mile to the northwest of Dairyville was the community known to some as Adamsville, but to others as Yallerdog. In 1882, the Hardman post office was moved to Dairyville (aka Rawdog) but retained the Hardman name.  The name of Dairyville ceased to exist.

The Adamsville post office was established in 1884 and closed in 1885, and thereafter, all activity centered on what is now Hardman.  Some locals called the place Dogtown after its two predecessors (Yallerdog & Rawdog). Why the locals named these communities after dogs is unknown.

In 1902 Hardman had three general stores, two hotels, two feed stables, two blacksmiths, a saloon, a barber shop, a church, schools, a post office, a newspaper, a telephone office. two meeting halls, a skating rink, and a racetrack.

So, we’ve had Dairyville, Rawdog, Hardman, Adamsville, Yallerdog and Dogtown.  My vote would go to Rawdog.

Anyway, I found some population data for Hardman (to go along with what I already found for Lonerock), and I did a sophisticated population trend survey of the two towns.  Here ‘tis:


For some reason, in 2000, the Census Bureau decided to stop counting the good folks who live in Hardman, although they continued counting the few souls who still call Lonerock home . . . 

This post will end up being somewhat of a lightweight, with just a bunch of GE Panoramio shots of Hardman (generally considered a ghosttown).  Here goes . . .

I’ll start with two shots by P. G. Holbrook:

 pano pgholbrook hardman

 pano pgholbrook hardman 2

And follow up with a shot of an old country store by Grant Golberg:

 pano grant groberg hardman store

And then, two by Pamela Ebert Poland:

 pano pamela hardman


pano pamelo ebert poland hardman

Note “Yellow Dog” and “Raw Dog”, above.  I’ll close with these two shots by Dave Brenner:

 pano dave brenner birdhouse hardman


 pano dave brenner hardman

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Watertown, New York

Posted by graywacke on July 14, 2014

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 2108; A Landing A Day blog post number 536.

 Dan –  After two USers, it seems as though the LG likes balance, so here’s my second OSer  . . . NY; 41/35; 4/10; 148.1.  Anyway, let’s take a look at my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows that I landed in a small bay off of Lake Ontario:

 landing 2

Zooming back just a little, you get a little more of a regional look.  You can see the beginning of the St. Lawrence River as it exits the Lake:

 landing 2a

My watershed analysis is obviously very simple.  I landed in Guffin Bay (see map below); on to Lake Ontario (10th hit); on to the St. Lawrence (93rd hit).

landing 3

FYI, the St. Lawrence ranks 7th on my river hits list:

1. Mississippi (830 hits)
2. Missouri (383 hits)
3. Colorado (166 hits)
4. Columbia (148 hits)
5. Ohio (130 hits)
6. Arkansas (114 hits)
7. St. Lawrence (93 hits).

Note:  When I land out in one of the Great Lakes, I don’t count it (just like oceans), and immediately land again.  Being the master of my own domain, I made the executive decision that Guffin Bay is practically surrounded by solid NY ground (and was less than 700 feet from the shore).  Anyway, I deemed my landing spot more a part of NY State than of Lake Ontario.   (Also, there’s an ALAD precedent – when I landed in Barnegat Bay, which is connected to the Atlantic but surrounded by NJ real estate, I declared it a NJ landing.)

Here’s my GE shot, showing that cottages line the shore of Guffin Bay:


Zooming back quite a bit, here’s a more regional look:


Even though there are some small towns nearby – Chaumont & Dexter – I decided to feature Watertown for one reason:  I WAS BORN THERE!!!!!

Here’s a Street View shot of my house on Curtis Street (where I lived until I was 5 years old):

 GE SV Curtis St

See the side porch in the back of the house?  I remember one day when I was playing in the front yard and Mom was ironing on that porch.  The air raid siren went off.  The Cold War was going strong, and everyone was supposed to go inside.  (Why, I’m not sure.)  I ran indoors, but saw that my Mom was still on the porch, ironing.  I was nervously concerned that maybe she wasn’t following the rules – and maybe even worse, that something bad would happen.  She said something like, “Don’t worry, Greg.  It’s OK if I’m on the porch.”

Speaking of the Cold War (and growing up during the Cold War), one of my old college buddies is a wonderful musician named Frank Sugrue.  Frank has a recent album called “The Edge,” which is named after the title tune.  The title tune is all about growing up during the Cold War.  Here are Frank’s lyrics:

 Kruschev’s at the U.N. he’s bangin’ his shoe
His face is red as a flag, “We will bury you”
Back in the day we hated each other’s guts
The righteous Americans and evil Soviets

There’s a picture of me with my Uncle Ed
Wearin’ a new sweatshirt and on the front it said
Moscow University
Hey, pretty funny stuff back when
We were living on the edge of the end


You may remember the phrase, it was all the rage
I’d rather be dead than red
Well that October when we nearly had to choose
Missiles on the doorstep
Game was win or lose

Teacher said on Thursday they’ll be a test in math
Kid yelled from the back and everybody laughed
What if there is no Thursday?
Hey, pretty funny stuff back then
We were living on the edge of the end

Then one day the whole world changed
Broken countries got new names
Everything we thought we feared

When the iron curtain fell
We lost something else as well
Not just our enemy
But our identity

[Note:  Frank and his wife Terry adopted two kids from Russia . . . ]

Settled in the back seat we’re in for a ride
Watching the Russian countryside
Little gray towns we’re passing through
Look at the squares, they still got the tanks and the statues

We’re on a mission to the detski dom  [orphanage]
Arms around our children, going to take them home
Nobody should live this way
It’s never funny when
You’re living on the edge of the end

This is a great song.  Go to FrankSugrue.com, and you can download it for a mere $0.99.  While you’re at it, download his album.  It’s a great album, filled with great songs.  By the way, you can listen to a little of each song on his website for free.

Moving right along . . .

Here’s a GE shot of my neighborhood.  Note that I’ve marked the location of “Dad’s church.”  My Dad was a Presbyterian minister.

 house & church

Here’s a Street View shot of the church.  Hmmmm.  See the sign? It’s now a Korean Presbyterian church.

 Dad's Church SV

At age five, I had the run of our block (and could even cross the street to Jane’s house).  So I would occasionally cut through the backyards and play on the church grounds.  One day, I was playing on the front steps with the aforementioned Jane.  And then, we found a wad of cash wrapped with a rubber band on the sidewalk!  We started “playing” with it.  It was a windy day, and I still have a mental image of bills fluttering away in the wind (from right to left in the above photo).

See the telephone pole?  There was a lineman working up on the pole who noticed the bills blowin’ in the wind (and right past him, considering the wind direction).  He climbed down and said something like, “I think I better take that.”  It turns out he took the money to the police, who found the owner. 

Later that day, a police car pulled up to our house, asking for me (I must have given my name and address to the telephone lineman).   Jane and I were in the front yard, and Jane ran home crying “The police are coming to get Greg!’  (Don’t worry, I’m sure she looked both ways before crossing the street.)

The owner of the wad of cash was also in the car, with his $90 – all ones, as I recall.  (The original amount was $97; evidently, Jane and I lost $7).  He gave me a $1 reward.  Big whoop.

 Before moving right along, a quick word about the freedom I experienced as a little kid.  As mentioned above, I had the run of the block when I was four or five.  We moved to Oak Park, Illinois (A Chicago suburb), and I had the run of three square blocks.  Simple as “I’ll be home for dinner;” and then, “I’ll be home when the street lights come on.”  By the time I was 11 and living in Zanesville Ohio, I had the run of the entire town.  To quote another Frank Sugrue song, “Those Days Are Gone.”

Now it’s time for me to be moving right along . . .  

Of course, this post can’t be all about me, right?  So, naturally, I went to Wiki.  When I scrolled down to the Notable People section, I was shocked.  Here’s what I saw:

 Watertown Notable People

Check out the third name from the bottom!  I guess this post will be all about me!  The heck with John Foster Dulles.  The heck with Blue Oyster Cult (note the Bouchard brothers).  Later on the list was F.W. Woolworth.  The heck with him, too.

So let’s see.  It says I’m a blogger, and of course, you all know about that.  But a poet?  Well, here’s a poem I wrote, entitled “The Speck.”  OK, OK, so I’m also a geologist . . .

A trillion trillion tiny specks
Of dust and dirt and clay
Are carried off by rivers
Each and every day.

Some specks come from farmers’ fields;
Some from the forest floor;
Some are from the city streets;
Some, swept out the door.

Each speck has its story —
One of them might say:
“I was snugly in a sidewalk crack
‘Til it rained hard one day.

 “And then a rush of water
Came and took me for a ride.
I was cruising down the gutter,
Carried by the gutter tide;

 “I was swept into a storm drain —
Through a sewer dark and wet —
I was dumped into a roadside ditch
With specks I’d never met.

 “Unable to resist at all,
I rushed into a brook;
And then, I think, a river —
I don’t know the route I took.

 “I was carried down this river
For some days — but I lost track.
This was so much more exciting
Than my good  ol’ sidewalk crack.

 “I was one speck with a zillion specks
All pretty much like me.
A flood of homeless refugees
With unknown destiny. 

“We hit some open water
And we slowed down to a crawl,
I then began, with other specks,
To fall and fall and fall.

“I settled slowly to the depths —
I now was one with muck;
Specks were close around me —
With my neighbors, I was stuck.

“I might be here for eons, and
Maybe turn to stone,
Whatever fate would have me do,
I’ll never be alone.

“I have no aspirations,
And certainly no fear.
I’ll just get to know my friends,
While I’m resting here.”

So, maybe on a rainy day,
You’ll look out to the gutter,
And think about the tiny specks
Carried by the water.

Think about the trip they’re on,
Entrained in water flowing —
Imagine you were one of them,
With no clue where you’re going.

Imagine you were helpless;
No change could you effect.
Would you be as accepting
As our little friend, the speck?

Wiki says I’m also a musician.  Well, I play piano (and keyboard) and have written a bunch of songs (including music to “The Speck”).  It turns out I even have a You Tube video, a song (“Guarantee of Love”) that I wrote for my wife Jody.

I used Apple’s “Garage Band” for music production.  I played the accompaniment on the keyboard and had the computer change to a guitar(ish) sound.  But most importantly, Frank Sugrue (who already figures prominently in this post) laid down the acoustic guitar track.

When you watch the video, obviously, I’m the guy on the right.  But who’s the cool cowboy on the left?

As per usual, I’ll move along to some GE Panoramio shots.  Here’s one of Chaumont Bay (just west of my landing) by Toss The Dog:

 pano tossthedog chaumont bay

I’ll close with this sunset shot over Cherry Island (taken very close to my landing) by Dick Whelan:

 pano dickwhelan sunset on Cherry Island

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Holly Springs, Mississippi

Posted by graywacke on July 9, 2014

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 2107; A Landing A Day blog post number 535.

 Dan –  I landed in a PSer, nudging it over to OS-land . . . MS; 34/33; 4/10; 147.7.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows that I landed just outside of Holly Springs:

 landing 2

Here’s my watershed analysis:

 landing 3

I landed in the Big Spring Creek watershed, on to the Little Tallahatchie R (3rd hit); to the Tallahatchie (9th hit).

 Zooming back a little, here’s the rest of the story:

 landing 4

On to the Yazoo (12th hit); on to the MM (830th hit).

 My Google Earth (GE) shot shows that I landed in the woods, next to a high-tension electrical line right of way (see the tower just NE of my landing?):


Zooming back a little, here’s Holly Springs:


I used GE Street View to take a look down the utility right-of-way (looking east from the north-south road you can see west of my landing).  Note that I’ve marked my approximate landing location:


I was meandering through the neighborhood using StreetView (the street just south of my landing), and I stumbled on a flower “bed.”  Check it out:

 GE4 SV flower bed

So, of course, the first website I looked at was Wiki’s Holly Spring entry:

Holly Springs was founded by European Americans in 1836, on territory historically occupied by Chickasaw Indians for centuries before the Indian Removal.

I don’t think I ever saw the term “Indian Removal.”  It was Wiki-clickable, so off I went:

Indian removal was a 19th-century United States policy of Indian relocation to Indian Territory (what is now Oklahoma). The policy addressed conflicts between whites and Indians that had been occurring since the 17th century, and were getting progressively worse, as white settlers were increasingly pushing west. The Indian Removal Act was the key act that enforced Indian removal, and was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 26, 1830.

Here’s a Wiki map showing the relocation of the various Southeast U.S. tribes:

wiki indian removal

Back to the Wiki write-up:

Since the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, America’s policy had been to allow Native Americans to remain east of the Mississippi as long as they became assimilated or “civilized”. His original plan was to guide the Natives towards adopting a sedentary agricultural lifestyle, in large part due to “the decrease of game rendering their subsistence by hunting insufficient”.  Jefferson’s expectation was that by assimilating them into an agricultural lifestyle, they would become economically dependent on trade with white Americans, and would thereby be willing to give up land that they would otherwise not part with in exchange for trade goods.

[Please, read the following closely!]

In an 1803 letter to William Henry Harrison, Jefferson wrote:

When they [the Indians] withdraw themselves to the culture of a small piece of land, they will perceive how useless to them are their extensive forests, and will be willing to pare them off from time to time in exchange for necessaries for their farms and families.

To promote this disposition to exchange lands, which they have to spare and we want, we shall push our trading uses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands.

At our Government trading houses, too, we mean to sell so low as merely to repay us cost and charges, so as neither to lessen or enlarge our capital. This is what private traders cannot do, for they must gain; they will consequently retire from the competition, and we shall thus get clear of this pest without giving offence or umbrage to the Indians. In this way our settlements will gradually circumscribe and approach the Indians, and they will in time either incorporate with us as citizens of the United States, or remove beyond the Mississippi

The former is certainly the termination of their history most happy for themselves; but, in the whole course of this, it is essential to cultivate their love. As to their fear, we presume that our strength and their weakness is now so visible that they must see we have only to shut our hand to crush them, and that all our liberalities to them proceed from motives of pure humanity only.

Should any tribe be foolhardy enough to take up the hatchet at any time, the seizing the whole country of that tribe, and driving them across the Mississippi, as the only condition of peace, would be an example to others, and a furtherance of our final consolidation

 Oh my. 

Moving right along, “Mel and Tim” were referenced in Wiki as being from Holly Springs.  Mel and Tim were also Wiki-clickable:


Mel and Tim were an American soul music duo active in the 1960s and early 1970s, and best known for the hit, “Backfield in Motion” (1969).  Melvin McArthur Hardin and Hubert Timothy McPherson were cousins from Holly Springs, Mississippi.

I was 19 in 1969, and of course, I remember Backfield in Motion.  These guys were pretty much one-hit wonders – but you know, that’s one hit more than 99.9999% of the population ever had . . .  

I found the following Backfield in Motion video from the BBC Motion Gallery (posted on You Tube by Bert Rogers).  It’s kind of incongruous, but has some very cool sports shots (accompanied by the song):

 Mel and Tim weren’t the only musicians from Holly Springs.  From Fat Possum Records:

R. L. Burnside picture fat possum records

North Mississippi guitarist R.L. Burnside was one of the paragons of state-of-the-art Delta juke joint blues. The guitarist, singer and songwriter was born in 1926 in Oxford, MS, and made his home in Holly Springs, in the hill country above the Delta.

He lived most of his life in the Mississippi hill country, which, unlike the Delta region, consists mainly of a lot of small farms. He learned his music from his neighbor, Fred McDowell, and the highly rhythmic style that Burnside plays is evident in McDowell’s recording as well.

Burnside’s music is pure country Delta juke joint blues, heavily rhythm-oriented and often played with a slide.

For your listening and viewing pleasure, here’s Jumper on the Line, a Robert Mugge Documentary, posted by Fedor Kwastics.  The words are posted below the video.

See my jumper on
Hangin’ out on the line
Know by that
Something on my mind
I wouldn’t be here, baby
If it hadn’t been for you
Way down here, way you wanna do
Fix my supper, baby, let me go to bed
Guess white lightnin’
Done gone to my head
Guess white lightnin’
Done gone to my head

 Mississippi Fred McDowell was mentioned above as being a teacher for R.L.  ALAD has featured Mississippi Fred before (Como MS post).  Here’s a great picture of Mr. McDowell from that post:

 mississippi-fred pic from ALAD

Here’s a map showing that Como is just down the road from Holly Springs:

 landing 5 como

To check out my Como MS post featuring Mississippi Fred McDowell, click HERE.

I also came across this, from my Port Gibson, MS post (writing about the Mississippi Blues Trail):

As all of you regular followers of A Landing A Day know, I’ve had numerous posts that feature the blues, the Delta blues in particular.  Just for the heck of it, I did a quick review.  Here’s what I found:

Red Lick MS, featuring John Byrd
Durant MS, feature Elmore James
Smithville MS, featuring Lucille Bogan
Crockett TX, featuring Lightin’ Hopkins
Angola LA, featuring Lead Belly
Pickens MS, featuring Elmore James (once again)
Como MS, featuring Mississippi Fred McDowell
Duck Hill MS, featuring Magic Sam Maghett
[And now, Holly Springs MS, featuring R. L. Burnside]

A couple of these posts feature “Junior’s Juke Box” a great Delta Blues website.  Click HERE to check it out (it’s a hoot).

I’ll close with this Panoramio shot (by Tim Taylor / EnvisionDigital) of the old Holly Springs train station (located less than a mile west of my landing):

 pano EnvisionDigital train station

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Archer City and Olney, Texas

Posted by graywacke on July 4, 2014

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 2106; A Landing A Day blog post number 534.

 Dan –  For the first time in 10 landings, I have two USers in a row, thanks to this landing in . . . TX; 155/185; 4/10; 147.7.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

Here’s my local landing map:

 landing 2

A streams-only map showed that I had some work to do to figure out which watershed I was in:

 landing 3

Looks like a toss-up between the Middle Fork of the Witchita River & Salt Creek, eh?  Well, that would be wrong.  I went on Google Earth (GE) and painstakingly tracked the downhill route that water would take from my landing.  And the winner is . . . the West Fork of the Trinity River!  That’s right, it’s a steady downhill slope to the southeast.

Anyway, the West Fork of the Trinity (6th hit) flows to the Trinity (13th hit), which flows to the Gulf of Mexico.  While I don’t usually include the following information, what the heck:  this was my 1124th landing where the drainage ends up in the Gulf of Mexico.  Here’s the breakdown:  the Mississippi (829 hits which includes 383 hits thanks to the Missouri), and 295 hits for “other Gulf Coast streams.”

Here’s my GE shot, showing a mixed rural setting:

 GE 1

I zoomed back a little to see more of the same with no signs of civilization other than one cultivated field and some dirt roads:

 GE 2

First, I had to check out Scotland, especially given my recent Ireland WV landing.  While Ireland WV was named after the country, Scotland TX was simply named after Henry Scott.  Scotland had no hooks worthy of further investigation.

I also checked out Windthorst, and found this, from Wiki:

 Windthorst (pop 409) was named for Ludwig Windthorst, a Catholic statesman in Germany.  Windthorst is the home of the St. Mary’s Grotto, a Roman Catholic outdoor shrine, which was paid for with money sent home by 64 military service members from Windthorst who served in World War II.  All of the 64 returned home.

The Austin Chronicle published an article on the shrine by Gerald McLeod.  Here’s a picture of the shrine from the article:



Click HERE to read the piece.

 Moving right along, I was intrigued with the name “Megargel.”  Oh well.  It was named after yet another railroad executive, Ralph Megargel. 

However, there’s a very good (but sad) video that you must see (by Bill Hanna).  It documents the town’s decline:

As mentioned in the video, both Archer City (pop 1,800) and Olney (pop 3,200) are at least somewhat more viable.  The one item of Olney interest that I could find is the “One-Arm Dove Hunt.”  Say what?  From Wiki:


The One-Arm Dove Hunt is an annual two-day attraction, held on the first weekend after Labor Day in the small town of Olney, Texas.

The attraction is a series of events designed for participation by persons who are missing all or parts of one upper limb (whether by amputation or birth), and bills itself as “Texas Most Unusual Event”.

The Hunt is the creation of two local residents, Jack Northrup and Jack Bishop (a/k/a “The One-Armed Jacks”), both of whom have had a limb amputated at the shoulder.

In 1972, while sitting at the local drugstore, in order to harass two eavesdropping strangers the Jacks loudly began discussing how they planned to go hunting with their muzzle-loaded shotguns and bolt-action rifles. The discussion was meant as a joke – either firearm would be next to impossible to operate with only one limb – but eventually the Jacks did hold an actual One-Arm Dove Hunt, attended by six Olney residents who had lost arms (mainly due to oilfield accidents) and others who had heard of the event through the grapevine.

The event grew quickly, spread only by word of mouth, so the Jacks expanded the event to two days and included events such as one-armed trap-shooting, one-arm horseshoes, cow-chip throwing, and a “10-cents a finger” breakfast on the day of the hunt. The primary purpose of the event, though, is for upper-limb amputees to exchange stories, find friendship and support, and swap tips for living with missing upper-limbs, as well as providing the small community an annual revenue-generating event.

Here’s a video about the event, by Paul Roberts:

Moving over to Archer City.  Its main claim to fame is that it’s the hometown of novelist Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove and Terms of Endearment) and the location of two films based on his books – The Last Picture Show (1971) and Texasville (1990).

Both The Last Picture Show and Texasville feature the Royal Theater.  Here’s a Panoramio shot of the theater by Keith McLaurin:

 pano keith mcLaurin Royal theater archer city

The old theater burned down in 1965 (you can see the ruins).  The front of the theater was fixed up for the 1971 movie.  There’s now a live venue theater at the location; it’s actually to the left of) the old theater entrance.

The Dallas News has a photography blog, and David Woo did a 2012 feature on McMurtry.  Here’s one of his photos (with the caption below). 


Literary giant Larry McMurty stands among thousands of books in one of his bookstores in Archer City.

To see the whole piece, click HERE.

There’s a teeny (pop 65) town just southeast of my landing:  Antelope.  I’ll close with a Pano shot by CokerVision of the Baptist Church in town:

 Coker Vision


That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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