Monday, February 28, 2005

The Path Not Taken ... Usually

Maybe it's a spirit of adventure smoldering somehwere in my soul ... or maybe it's because I have way too much time on my hands. Whatever the reason, I find myself using that little feature that appears in the upper-right-hand corner of Blogger sites, that little "Next Blog" arrow that takes to the next blog, slected randomly (I assume) from Blogger's substantial chunk of the blogosphere.

It really has proven a great way for me to get some appreciation for the incredible diversity of people that are getting an address in this virtual neighborhood ... and for the incredible diversity of observations and images they're ready to share with those of us who just happen to be passing through.

Following are five of the blogs I 'discovered' during my lunch break today ...

'i gave you everything and never asked for anything, and look at me i'm all alone' is the title of the latest posting by Mallory at “Stop all the world now” Mallory, we are told, is a 21-year-old college student in Tallahassee, Florida.

Next comes the blog, “Send More Paramedics!” Which is described by its creator – Exquisite Dead Guy of Deadsville, United States - as 'Random Splatterings from an Undead American.' The postings live up to the promise … I think

23-year-old J. Nelson of Texas, United States is the next blogger I met, at “One Man In Many Arenas” His latest posting is 'Democratic Promise' where he examines “significant events in the international community that I interpret to be signs of democratic progress spreading like a smoldering fire, slowly but steadily”

'Why does everyone in cyberspace now think that people will want to donate money to them after reading their blog?' is the leadline of Alice In Wonderland’s latest posting on “Wonderland Or Not” Alice’s profile describes her as a “Lazy Girl” in New York City, New York.

‘A Post From The Joint’ is the title of the latest posting on the blog, “Bill In Exile” which creator Scott of Seattle, Washington, described a, “on going collection of the letters that my best friend Bill and I exchange with each other while Bill is an inmate in federal prison for selling methamphetamine.”

Of course, linking to other blogs is nothing new .. it's one of the hallmarks of weblogs, really, and it encourages the rapid dissemination of information for which they are gaining such a reputation. But those aren't the same ... there's nothing random about the way those links are selected. They are meant to reinforce and illustrate the points that we choose to make, the viewpoints that we have, the positions that we adopt.

This is different. This is random. It's a roll of the dice ... an attempt to place the tail who-knows-where on the donkey. We may not like who we meet, or what they have to say. But I think it's good that we get out of our groove a litle bit, and walk - if just for a few steps - down that path not taken.

SOME CAUTION HERE, AS ANYWHERE ON THE INTERNET ... not all sites are ones you might care to visit. And parents may want to be looking over their kids' shoulders.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Singin' In the Rain ...

It's hard to get too upset over the precipitation we've been having in West Texas lately. Unusually wet for this time of year, meteorologists tell us ... that's fine by me.

That's because, for so long, it was unusually dry for this time of year, or any other time, or any other year ... even for the arid northern reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert where we live and work.

How bad did it get? Talk to some of the oldtimers who kept ranches and farms back in the 50s. The drought West Texas endured half-a-century ago was the standard by which all droughts were compared. When some third-generation rancher in Pecos County told me a few years ago, that the drought of the late 90s was worse than he had experienced in the 50s, I took notice.

So, have we climbed out of the latest drought? No ... at least, not yet. West Texas still has to play some catch-up in order to regain some of what was lost. Will new private ventures to start 'mining' West Texas water have an impact on local recovery efforts? It's a question worth asking, and the answer would be worth considering.

In the meantime, there's something to be said for relaxing in the den, listening to the sound of rainfall coming through an open window. And it's hard overlook the effects of rain water (still soft) on the grass ... and it's free.