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Archive for April, 2019

Sayre, Erick and Texola, Oklahoma

Posted by graywacke on April 25, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2441; A Landing A Day blog post number 877.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N35o 2.625’, W99o 39.927’) puts me in southwest Oklahoma:

Here’s my local landing map:


My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of that ever-popular Principal Stream Perennial (PSP):

And the PSP flows to the Haystack Creek; on to the Elm Fork of the Red River (2nd hit); to the North Fork of the Red River (5th hit, making the North Fork the 172nd river on my list of rivers with 5 or more hits),  As shown below, the North Fork discharges to the mighty Red itself (64th hit):

Although not shown, the Red ends up, more-or-less, discharging to the Atchafalaya (71st hit).

(I say “more-or-less” to the Atchafalaya because of the complex interaction between the Red, the Atchafalaya and the Mississippi – discussed more than once in this blog.)

Going over to Google Earth (GE), I discovered that I was in the middle of an immense Google-Street-View-Free zone:


But I could talk the Orange Dude into getting a look at the Haystack Creek about 12 miles from my landing:

And here’s what he sees:

So – I’ll start with Sayre.  There’s not much here, but good ol’ Route 66 used to pass through town back in the Depression / Dust Bowl days.  While few of us know any actual Okies (no offense intended!) who escaped the dust bowl to seek their fortune in California, most of us know the fictional Joads, thanks to Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. 

Wiki tells me that in 1940, Director John Ford used the Beckham County Courthouse in Sayre to shoot a scene of Grapes of Wrath movie. 

Here’s a shot from the movie showing the courthouse:

I assume that’s the Joad’s overloaded truck in the foreground.  Just to be sure, here’s a shot of the truck from the movie:

Yup.  Same truck.

And here’s the courthouse today (GE shot by Austin Fugate):

Speaking of Route 66.  Head a few miles west of Sayre, and you come to the town of Erick.  Wiki has this to say:

Erick prospered in the post-war heyday of Route 66, with various roadside businesses catering to motorists. Guidebooks promoted the tiny city as “the first town you encounter, going west, which has a true ‘western’ look with its wide, sun-baked streets, frequent horsemen, occasional sidewalk awnings and similar touches.”

Efforts to put “Historic Route 66” back onto maps as a tourist attraction date to the late 1980s, with the first Route 66 Association established three years after the last section of original highway (in Williams, Arizona) was bypassed by Interstate highway in 1984. Various local businesses and attractions cater to seasonal tourists attempting to find what remains of the old road.

The former City Meat Market building (now the Sandhills Curiosity Shop) was one of the many Route 66 fixtures that showed up on Pixar’s 2006 animated film Cars.

Of course, as all of you regulars recall, I featured the movie Cars when I landed near the Arizona town (Peach Springs) that was used as the model for the movie.

And, from RedDirtChronicles.com, I found this in a piece entitled “Red Dirt Rambler, Erick, Oklahoma” by Red Dirt Kelly (seems like there’s a common thread here):

Wow.  Roger Miller, one of my all-time favorite singer/songwriters, along with Sheb Wooley who wrote and performed “It was a one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater,” which I well remember as a song on the radio from my youth. 

I’ve never heard of Sheb Wooley (although I must have heard his name when his song was being introduced). 

Well, here ‘tis:


Moving over to Roger Miller.  Here’s a duet with Glenn Campbell:


And a live medley of a bunch of Roger’s hits:


The last song of the medley was probably Roger’s biggest hit:  “King of the Road.”  It’s a hobo-railroad song with many great lines, one of which is:

I know every engineer on every train
All the children and all of their names
And every handout in every town
And every lock that ain’t locked when no-one’s around

Whenever I hear this verse, I’m reminded of a story my mother (who was born in 1920 in Belvidere, NJ) used to tell.  Railroad tracks run a few hundred yards behind the family homestead.  During the Depression, a particular hobo would stop by, and my grandfather would give him some chores to do so he could get some pocket change.  He’d be invited in for a meal.

During one of these visits, he must have noticed a series of “Great Literature” books on the bookshelf in the living room.  Evidently, he asked if he could borrow one, to be returned the next time he stopped by. 

This ended up being a regular occurrence.  The family was also visited by other hobos, and my mother learned that the hobos left a mark down by the tracks that evidently let everyone riding the rails know that a friendly home was nearby.

Moving on to Texola.  Here are some excerpts about the town from an article posted on TheRoute-66.com:

Texola (pop 36) is the westernmost town in Oklahoma along Route 66. Its tiny stone Jail and the Magnolia Service Station (a Historic Place) are its best-known landmarks. Now it is almost a ghost town.

Texola is a town barely one mile east of the Texas state line. Its nickname is “Beerola” and its unofficial motto is “There is No Place Like Texola”.

Old Bar & Diner in Texola, Oklahoma

Its location is very close to the 100th meridian, which marks the border between Texas and Oklahoma.  The state line was surveyed on eight different occasions and it regularly was moved back and forth, moving the town from Oklahoma to Texas.   Finally, the residents found themselves in Oklahoma.

Before Texola, the townsite had two previous names before deciding on “Texola”: Texoma and Texokla.

Route 66 was aligned through the town in 1926 (5th Street, a dirt road).  The road was later paved and drew a growing flow of travelers. The Great Depression in the 1930s plus the Dust Bowl led to an exodus of dispossessed farmers from the region (see Grapes of Wrath), this however helped the local economy unit the early 1970s, when Interstate I-40 bypassed the town.

The population has dropped from a peak of 581 in 1930 to less than 50 after 1990, and now stands at 36; the place is almost a Ghost Town.

Here’s a Wiki shot of the erstwhile Magnolia gas station, which is a not-so-well-preserved historic landmark:

I’ll close with the GE shot, taken (and enhanced by) G. Smallwood, just a few miles SW of my landing:


That’ll do it . . .




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New Harmony, Indiana (Revisited)

Posted by graywacke on April 23, 2019

Dan –  I’m sure that you just read (and enjoyed) my most recent post for New Harmony, Indiana.  But just in case you (or other readers) missed it, you can check it out before reading this “revisited” post.  Regardless, here’s a quick summary:

A fellow named George Rapp led a group of renegade Lutherans who held some far-from-the-mainstream religious and spiritual beliefs.  They were persecuted by the Church in Germany and decided to come to America to set up a socialist utopian community.  They arrived in Indiana in 1814 and founded the town of Harmony.  It didn’t work out.

So then Robert Owen showed up and offered to buy the property in order to set up his vision of a socialist utopian community, which he did in 1825.  Owen believed in a much more secular socialism, where the worker’s rights and privileges were highly valued.  He called the town New Harmony.

His utopian community also failed, but it attracted national attention.  

So here’s the reason for this post:  I have long been a Jeopardy fan, but have recently been seriously sucked in by the exploits of James Holzhauer, who is an amazing champion.  He has won something like a dozen straight games and is rapidly approaching $1,000,000 in winnings.  He’s winning money at a clip never before seen on Jeopardy – way more per game than the famous Ken Jennings (although James has quite a way to go to match Ken’s record 74 game win streak or his total winnings of $2.7 million).

Anyway, my wife Jody and I were watching Jeopardy last night, when I jumped right out of my chair upon seeing this Jeopardy clue:

I was so excited, that I didn’t read the question carefully, and failed to come up with the correct answer.  The answer was correctly answered by someone other than James:

A lot of good that did Rob.  This was right near the end of Double Jeopardy, and in spite of his inability to answer this question, James won in a runaway (as can be seen by the scores in the above screen shot).

By the way, the answer was of course “kindergarten.”  

I need to point out the “kindergarten” is not mentioned in the Wiki article about the town.  However, the State of Indiana (the Indiana Archive and Records Administration) has a feature on Robert Owen.  From their write-up:

Believing that education was the key to a new and better way of life, the citizens of New Harmony made many contributions to society: the first kindergarten and infant school in America, the first trade school, the first public school system to offer equal education to girls and boys, the first free public library and the first civic dramatic club. The first women’s club was also organized in New Harmony.

Although I suspect most of my readers know this, “kindergarten” is literally “children garden” (or “garden of children”) in German.  

That’ll do it . . .



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New Harmony, Indiana

Posted by graywacke on April 18, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2440; A Landing A Day blog post number 875.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N38o 2.840’, W87o 59.114’) puts me in far southern Indiana:

Here’s my local landing map:

(At the end of this post I’ll explain why I circled the two islands.)

No need for a streams-only map to show that I landed in the watershed of the Wabash River (29th hit).  But I’ll still use a streams-only map to get the broader picture:

So, the Wabash (which is the boundary between Indiana and Illinois) flows south to the Ohio (151st hit).  Of course, from there, we meander along the mighty Ohio to the Mightiest of Them All (947th hit).

I fired up good ol’ Google Earth (GE) and found that this very-rural part of Indiana and Illinois has excellent Street View coverage.  I was able to put the Orange Dude within a few hundred yards of my landing:

But, as you can see, my landing is in the woods, so there’s no way we get a clean look at my landing.  But here’s what the OD sees:

I sent the OD to a nearby bridge to get a look at the Wabash:

And here ’tis:

I had the OD take a look at the bridge itself:

And what-the-heck.  Since we’re so close to the Ohio, I figured we might as well check it out.  The OD found a bridge about 10 miles downstream from the confluence with the Wabash:

It’s time for the titular New Harmony, which has a very interesting history.  From Wiki:

Established by the Harmony Society in 1814 under the leadership of George Rapp, the town was originally known as Harmony. In its early years, the 20,000-acre settlement was the home of Lutherans who had separated from the official church in Germany and immigrated to the United States.

These folks must have had some money.  Twenty thousand acres?  That’s huge – about a 6 mile x 5 mile hunk of land.  So, I had to take a quick look at Harmony Society.  It was Wiki-clickable:

The Harmony Society was a Christian theosophy society founded in Germany in 1785. Due to religious persecution by the Lutheran Church and the government, the group moved to the United States, where representatives initially purchased land in Butler County, Pennsylvania. In 1805 the group of approximately 400 followers formally organized the Harmony Society, placing all their goods in common.

“Theosophy” was Wiki-clickable:

Theosophy refers to a range of positions within Christianity which focus on the attainment of direct, unmediated knowledge of the nature of divinity and the origin and purpose of the universe. Theosophy has been characterized as mystical and occultist.  Theosophy is considered part of Western esotericism, which believes that hidden knowledge or wisdom from the ancient past offers a path to enlightenment and salvation.

Wow.  I love that these guys were on the edge, and searching for the answers to fundamental questions, like the origin and purpose of the universe.    I wonder what they’d think about the Big Bang?   I often wonder why modern religious practice seems to ignore issues like the origin, size, and future of the universe.

Watch out!  I need to keep to my ALAD script . . .

So, Rapp and friends built a town on their 20,000 acres but left after only 10 years to head back to Pennsylvania.  One can only wonder what happened.  Since “all their goods” were held in common, it sounds like an attempt at a socialist utopian commune. 

As good as the idea of a utopian commune may sound, they never seem to work out.  Resentments and rivalries always seem to win out in the end.

Anyway, they sold their land to a guy named Robert Owen.  You guessed it, he was Wiki-clickable:

Robert Owen (1771 – 1858) was a Welsh textile manufacturer, social reformer, and one of the founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement. Owen is best known for his efforts to improve the working conditions of his factory workers and his promotion of experimental socialistic communities.

Now wait a minute.  So Robert Owen bought up a failed socialist utopian commune to found a . . . socialist utopian commune?  OK.  Here’s A Landing A Day’s recreation of a conversation between Robert Owen and George Rapp.

George:  So you want to buy this place, eh?  What do you want to do with it?

Robert:  I have become a believer in socialist communal living, and I’d like to establish a community to prove that it can work.

George:  Good luck with that.  I guess that you hadn’t heard that that was exactly what I tried to do. 

Robert:  What went wrong?

George:  Human nature.  Right out of the gate, not everyone pulled their weight, but everyone was treated equally.  You’ll never guess what happened next.  Resentments flared up. Rival factions were formed.  Some men who thought I was doing everything wrong were planning a mutiny.  I expelled a few families, but it only got worse.  I’ll spare you some of the nastier details . . .

Robert:    Ouch.

George:  So what will you do to prevent our mistakes?

Robert:  I don’t have a clue, but I can’t back out now.  I have hundreds of people convinced that it’ll work, so I’ll try my best.

George:  I bet you don’t last 10 years.

Robert:  You’re probably right . . .

Back to Wiki’s piece on Robert:

In the early 1800s, Owen became wealthy as an investor and eventual manager of a large textile mill at New Lanark, Scotland.  In 1824, Owen traveled to America, where he invested the bulk of his fortune in an experimental socialistic community at New Harmony, Indiana, the preliminary model for Owen’s utopian society.

The experiment was short-lived, lasting about two years. Other Owenite utopian communities met a similar fate.

While operating his textile mill, Owen instituted the 8-hour day and coined the slogan:  “Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest.”

Owen embraced socialism in 1817, a turning point in his life, and began making specific efforts to implement what he described as his “New View of Society.”

Owen proposed that communities of about 1,200 people should be settled on land from 1,000 to 1,500 acres, with all of them living in one large building that had a public kitchen and dining halls.

Owen also recommended that each family should have its own private apartments and the responsibility for the care of their children until they reached the age of three. Thereafter, children would be raised by the community-at-large, but their parents would have access to them at mealtimes and on other occasions.

Owen further suggested that these socialistic communities might be established by individuals, churches, counties, or other governmental units. In every case there would be effective supervision by qualified persons. The work and the enjoyment of its results should be experienced communally.

Owen believed that his idea would be the best form for the re-organisation of society in general. He called his vision for a socialistic utopia the “New Moral World.”

Somehow, I’m not surprised that New Harmony failed . . .

In spite of the town’s failure, its various residents were quite distinguished and have many accomplishments.  From Wiki:

William Maclure, president of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia from 1817 to 1840, came to New Harmony during the winter of 1825–26.  Maclure brought a group of noted artists, educators, and fellow scientists, including naturalists Thomas Say and Charles-Alexandre Lesueur.

Say has been called the father of American descriptive entomology [bugs] and American conchology [mollusks].  Say died in New Harmony in 1834 [well after Owen left.]

Charles-Alexandre Lesueur was a naturalist and artist. His sketches of New Harmony provide a visual record of the town during the Owenite period. As a naturalist, Lesueur is known for his classification of Great Lakes fishes. Many species were first described by both Say and Leseuer, and many have been named in their honor.

Gerard Troost, a Dutch geologist, mineralogist, zoologist, and chemist who arrived in New Harmony in 1825 later became the state geologist of Tennessee from 1831 to 1850.

David Dale Owen (1807–1860), third son of Robert Owen, finished his formal education as a medical doctor in 1837. However, after returning to New Harmony, he was influenced by the work of Gerard Troost.

Owen went on to become a noted geologist. Headquartered at New Harmony, Owen conducted the first official geological survey of Indiana. Owen led federal surveys of the Midwestern United States, which included Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and part of northern Illinois.

In 1846 Owen sampled a number of possible building stones for the Smithsonian Institution Building (the Smithsonian “Castle”) and recommended the distinctive Seneca Creek sandstone of which that building is constructed.

Owen became the first state geologist of three states: Kentucky, Arkansas and Indiana.

Richard Owen (1810–1890), Robert Owen’s youngest son, came to New Harmony in 1828 and initially taught school there.  He assisted his brother with geological surveys and became Indiana’s second state geologist.

After the Civil War, Owen became a professor of natural sciences at Indiana University in Bloomington, where an academic building is named in his honor. In 1872 he became the first president of Purdue University.

Wow.  New Harmony has quite the distinguished alums.

There’s a good article by Jay Jones from the Chicago Tribune about New Harmony entitled “Indian’s Attempt at Utopia:  New Harmony.”  It is well worth the read.  Click HERE to check it out.

One other footnote about Robert Owen.  He was well published, and one of the people who knew (and approved of) Owen’s work was one Karl Marx.  One area where they differed:  Owen believed that a utopian socialist society could spread from seeds planted in many locations.  Marx believed that a political revolution by the working class was necessary.

Basically, Marx was more correct.  But Marxism failed because of that pesky bit of human nature discussed earlier . . .

Before I close this down, I need a quick word about two features highlighted on my local landing map:  Ribeyre Island and Greathouse Island.  They were both formed when large meanders of the Wabash River were cut off (short-circuited) during a large flooding event.

The funny thing is that the boundary between Illinois and Indiana was delineated before the cutoff event occurred.  And evidently, the river per se was not listed as the boundary between Indiana and Illinois; rather the line on the map was so designated. 

End result?  These large chunks of real estate remained with Indiana, even though they are physically on the Illinois side of the Wabash! 

Greathouse Island is for sale.  Here’s a sales video:


Speaking of the Wabash, I’ll close with two GE shots of the river near my landing.  First this, by Thomas Epley:

And then this, by Leica Carol:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Courtland and Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Posted by graywacke on April 9, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2439; A Landing A Day blog post number 874.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N34o 39.375’, W87o 21.494’) puts me in northwest Alabama:

Here’s my local landing map:


My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Big Nance Creek:

As you can see, the Big Nance flows right into the dammed-up Tennessee River (34th hit).  Although not shown, the Tennessee makes its way to the Ohio (150th hit); to the MM (946th hit).

Moving over to Google Earth (GE), I saw that I landed right next to what appears to be a decent-sized airport:

But the town of Courtland is teeny, so such a robust airport makes no sense.  I zoomed in and could find just one little airplane on the entire facility.  Well, it turns out that it is the Courtland airport, but it was built as a training facility for WW II pilots.   

Staying with GE, I have an excellent Street View shot of my landing:

Here’s the Orange Dude’s look at my landing:

Staying with GE, I sent the OD on a mission to get a look at the Big Nance:


And here’s the shot he sent back:

The OD (who has a nose for big water) suggested that he head north.  He found a road that crosses the top of the Wheeler Dam across the Tennessee River.  He positioned himself on the north side of the dam:

It’s important to realize that the upstream side of the dam (to the right) is 40 – 50 feet higher than the downstream side of the dam.  This difference in elevation allows for the generation of hydroelectric power. 

So, here’s what he sees:

Hmmm.  What’s that frothy ring of white water?  Here’s a different angle, showing that I’m near the locks, which allow boats to traverse the 50’ elevation difference:

And here’s a close-up:

My guess is that when they’re lowering the water in the locks, it ends up coming up through the ring.  And it just so happens that there was a tugboat and barges in the canal, headed (I presume) downstream:

The Wheeler Dam cost $87,655,000 back in 1936.  Using an inflation calculator, one dollar in 1936 is worth about $18.20 today.  So that was one damn expensive dam, at about $1.8 billion in today’s dollars . . .

Moving on to my closest town, Courtland.  Wiki lets us know that a Notable Person from Courtland is Jack Shackleford, “one of the few survivors of the Goliad Massacre.” 

The Goliad Masacre was part of the Texas Revolution, back in the 1830s.  From Wiki:

The Goliad massacre was an event of the Texas Revolution that occurred on March 27, 1836, following the Battle of Coleto.  As ordered by General (and President of Mexico) Santa Anna; 425-445 prisoners of war from the Texian Army of the Republic of Texas were killed by the Mexican Army in the town of Goliad, Texas.

Under a decree pressured by Santa Anna and passed by the Mexican Congress on December 30 of the previous year, armed foreigners taken in combat were to be treated as pirates and executed. The local Mexican commander General Urrea wrote in his diary that he “…wished to elude these orders as far as possible without compromising my personal responsibility.”

Santa Anna responded to this entreaty by repeatedly ordering Urrea to comply with the law and execute the prisoners.  He also had a similar order sent directly to General Portilla, the Commander of the Goliad Post. This order was received by Portilla on March 26, who decided it was his duty to comply despite receiving a countermanding order from Urrea later that same day.

Colonel James Fannin – the commander of the captured Texian Army at Goliad –  asked for humane treatment for himself and his Texian soldiers but his request was abruptly denied.

The next day, Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, Portilla had between 425 and 445 Texians marched out of Fort Defiance in three columns on the Bexar Road, San Patricio Road, and the Victoria Road, between two rows of Mexican soldiers; they were shot point blank, wounded survivors were clubbed and knifed to death.

Forty Texians were unable to walk. Thirty-nine were killed inside the fortHuerta of the Tres Villas battalion, with a Colonel Garay saving one, Jack Shackelford.

Nearly the entire Texian force was killed, except for Shackleford and 19 others who were saved by Garay and Francita Alavez (the “Angel of Goliad”) to act as doctors or interpreters.  Also surviving were 28 men who feigned death and escaped.


P.S.  Just one month later, the Texians won their war for Independence when Santa Anna was defeated at the battle of San Jacinto.

Moving right along . . .

As soon as I saw the town name “Muscle Shoals,” I wondered why it was so familiar to me.  Before solving that little mystery, just a quick word on how the town got its name.  Before the Tennessee was all dammed up by the TVA, it ran free through northern Alabama.  In fact, there were numerous rapids, including one named for the prolific number of freshwater mussels that were present.

Well, back in the day, the word “mussels” was sometimes spelled “muscles.”  And I suspect that most of my readers know that “shoal” is another word for “shallow.”  So, there you have it.

I happen to know a little about the lifecycle of freshwater mussels (at least those that live in the Delaware River).  The males send out a bunch of sperm that the females take in as part of their normal water-filtering lifestyle.  The female’s eggs are fertilized.  She then dangles a small protrusion outside of her shell – a “lure” that looks to an eel like something to eat.  The eel comes over, interested in a meal, but instead is blasted by a bunch of fertilized eggs that are in a sac that somehow attaches itself to the eel.  Tiny hatchlings develop while cruising around with the eel, and then drop off into sediment where the baby mussels can fully develop.

Incidentally, the eels themselves migrate out to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, to the “Sargasso Sea,” which is a huge eddy current east of the Gulf Stream.  They mate and drop fertilized eggs to drift in the ocean for 1 – 2 years.  Somehow, these fertilized eggs / baby eels get carried close enough to the Delaware Bay, and then the baby eels know enough to head up the river, where they may eventually get faked out by some no-good mussel . . .

There’s a similar story for Tennessee River mussels, but it involves fish, not eels.

Back to why Muscle Shoals was familiar to me. It’s all about the song “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Here’s one of the verses:

Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers.
And they’ve been known to pick a song or two.
Lord, they get me off so much,
They pick me up when I’m feelin’ blue.
Now, how ’bout you?

As a listener to classic rock radio, I’ve heard this song maybe hundreds of times (although I’ve never owned or downloaded any Skynyrd music).  Anyway, the town of Muscle Shoals has a long tradition as a musical center.  From Wiki:

Muscle Shoals hosted the recording of many hit songs from the 1960s to today at two studios: FAME Studios, founded by Rick Hall, where Arthur Alexander, Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and numerous others recorded; and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, founded by studio musicians known as The Swampers, which produced work for Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, the Rolling Stones and others.

As a longtime Neil Young fan, I have to mention Neil’s prominent place in the song’s lyrics.  From Wiki:

“Sweet Home Alabama” was written as an answer to two songs by Neil Young, “Southern Man” and “Alabama”, which dealt with themes of racism and slavery in the American South. “We thought Neil was shooting all the ducks in order to kill one or two,” said Ronnie Van Zant at the time.  Lyrics from the song:

Well, I heard Mister Young sing about her
Well, I heard ol’ Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow

In his 2012 autobiography Waging Heavy Peace, Young commented on his role in the song’s creation, writing “My own song ‘Alabama’ richly deserved the shot Lynyrd Skynyrd gave me with their great record. I don’t like my words when I listen to it. They are accusatory and condescending, not fully thought out, and too easy to misconstrue”.

What the heck.  Here’s Neil’s “Alabama” with the lyrics:

Yea, I guess so . . .

I had a “P.S.” earlier, and now it’s time for another one:

P.S.S.  There’s a live 1977 version of Sweet Home Alabama played by Lynyrd Skynyrd in Oakland.  Ronnie Van Sant (the lead singer) has a Neil Young t-shirt.  Here’s a screenshot from the YouTube video:

And yet another.

P.S.S.S.  Neil Young was a pall bearer at Ronnie Van Sant’s funeral.

I’ll close out this post with a GE shot from about 4 miles NW of my landing, by Frank Tuttle:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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White Swan and Mount Adams, Washington

Posted by graywacke on April 2, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2438; A Landing A Day blog post number 873.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N46o 10.817’, W120o 42.569’) puts me in S-Cen Washington:

Here’s my local landing map:

My streams only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Dry Creek (which I presume is not dry after a major rain):

Dry Creek flows into the presumably-wetter Satus Ck; on to the Yakima River (5th hit; the 171st river on my list of rivers with 5 or more hits); on to the Columbia (178th hit).

Moving along to Google Earth (GE), I couldn’t convince the Orange Dude to get close enough to my landing for a decent look.  However, he did manage to kind of sort of get a look at Dry Creek:

I said “kind of sort of” because all the OD could see from the roadway are trees.  No water, no stream bed.  Here’s what he sees, from just past the end of the bridge:

Moving further up the road and looking down at the creek, you can see that this is an arid area, and the only green is immediately along the creek:

Not only is White Swan titular, it’s also the town closest to my landing.  From Wiki:

White Swan is an unincorporated community located on the Yakama Indian Reservation, presumably named after Chief White Swan of the Yakamas around the start of the 20th century.

Under “Famous Residents” (in addition to the owners of the legendary racehorse Seattle Slew) is one Nipo Strongheart.  Nipo is wiki-clickable, and I found he had an amazingly robust Wiki entry (with 197 reference docs).  So who is this dude?

Rather than spend an inordinate amount of time distilling the incredibly-lengthy Wiki article, I found a much more digestible video piece from North West IndianNews (NWIN) about Nipo:


He worked with Cecile D. DeMille on the film “Braveheart” in 1925.  He aided in the writing and production of the movie, with emphasis on preserving Yakama Indian fishing rights.  Here’s a clip of the movie (which seems like a documentary until there’s a maiden in distress):

Wiki points out that in his later years, he was an adherent of the Bahá’í faith.

I’ve heard of this religion but knew nothing about it.  After a little research, I found that Bahá’í is quite interesting.  From Wiki:

The Bahá’í Faith is a religion teaching the essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people.  Established by Bahá’u’lláh in 1863, it initially grew in Iran and parts of the Middle East, where it has faced ongoing persecution since its inception.  It is estimated to have between 5 and 8 million adherents, known as Bahá’ís, spread out into most of the world’s countries and territories.

It grew from the mid-19th-century Bábí religion, whose founder (the Báb) taught that God would soon send a prophet in the same way of Jesus or Muhammad.  In 1863, after being banished from his native Iran, Bahá’u’lláh (1817–1892) announced that he was this prophet. He was further exiled, spending over a decade in the prison city of Acre in Ottoman Palestine.

Following Bahá’u’lláh’s death in 1892, the leadership of the religion fell to his son `Abdu’l-Bahá (1844–1921), and later his great-grandson Shoghi Effendi (1897–1957).

Bahá’í teachings are in some ways similar to other monotheistic faiths: God is considered single and all-powerful. However, Bahá’u’lláh taught that religion is orderly and progressively revealed by one God through Manifestations of God who are the founders of major world religions throughout history; Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad being the most recent in the period before the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.

Bahá’ís regard the major religions as fundamentally unified in purpose, though varied in social practices and interpretations. There is a similar emphasis on the unity of all people, openly rejecting notions of racism and nationalism. At the heart of Bahá’í teachings is the goal of a unified world order that ensures the prosperity of all nations, races, creeds, and classes.

Shoghi Effendi, the head of the religion from 1921 to 1957, wrote the following summary of what he considered to be the distinguishing principles of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings:

  • The independent search after truth, unfettered by superstition or tradition;
  • the oneness of the entire human race;
  • the basic unity of all religions;
  • the condemnation of all forms of prejudice, whether religious, racial, class or national;
  • the harmony which must exist between religion and science;
  • the equality of men and women, the two wings on which the bird of human kind is able to soar;
  • the introduction of compulsory education;
  • the adoption of a universal auxiliary language;
  • the abolition of the extremes of wealth and poverty;
  • the institution of a world tribunal for the adjudication of disputes between nations;
  • the exaltation of work, performed in the spirit of service, to the rank of worship;
  • the glorification of justice as the ruling principle in human society, and of religion as a bulwark for the protection of all peoples and nations;
  • and the establishment of a permanent and universal peace as the supreme goal of all mankind.

Not quite “Imagine” by John Lennon, but getting there . . .

Time to move on to Mount Adams. First, this GE shot with my landing in the background:

As my regulars know, I have discussed West Coast plate tectonic geology numerous times in this blog.  So, this will be the Cliff Notes version.  Here’s a cross-section showing that the Cascade Volcanoes (of which Mount Adams is one) are created by the subduction of the Juan De Fuca Plate under the North American Plate:

The subducting plate gets hotter & hotter as it goes deeper (thanks in part of the plate-on-plate friction) and magma (molten rock) is created and makes its way up through the crust to feed the formation of the Cascade Volcanoes, including Mount Adams. 

From the WashingtonStateGeology WordPress blog:

Mount Adams is volumetrically the largest volcano in the Pacific Northwest. It is actually a cluster of volcanic vents that erupted andesitic lava from the vent cluster rather than a single vent. The Mount Adams system is one of the youngest in the Cascade Range and is situated further inland than most Cascade volcanoes.

There have been no historical eruptions in the Mount Adams volcanic field. The volcanic center first erupted between 520,000 and 500,000 years ago and continued up to about 1,000 years ago.

It’s time to close out this post with a plethora of Mount Adams shots from Wiki:

That’ll do it . . .




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