Wesley Aston is a Utah-based photographer whose work I’ve admired for some time. He photographs the rocks and skies of Utah, so much of which I trekked as a youth (less, later). One of my great pleasures was to sit on a mountainside, probably long after we should have gone down the trail to safety, to watch thunderstorms push over a mountain range, plunge into a valley and rush toward us, or maybe away from us.
At the time I wished I had photographic equipment that had not really been invented yet in non-governmental circles, to capture those scenes.
Aston does that. He’s got the equipment. He knows how to use it.
This is the kind of work that should be standard fare in geography classes in public schools, but is not.
Note from the American Flagpole and Flag Company: Congress added another date to fly U.S. flags. From the e-mail:
Fly the United States Flag at Half-Staff on Sunday, October 6, 2019 in Honor of National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service
The United States Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort to remember America’s fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the tax-exempt, nonprofit Foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor our fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers. The 38th National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service will be held Sunday, October 6, 2019, to honor 92 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2018 and 27 firefighters who died in the line of duty in previous years.
In accordance to Public Law 107-51, the American flag should be lowered to half-staff on Sunday, October 6, 2019 from sunrise to sunset in observance of National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service.
The date was added in October 2001, just over a month after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. President George Bush signed the law. Maybe oddly, the resolution does not specify a fixed or floating date, but instead refers to a National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service.
Every life lost in service to our country is precious and irreplaceable. Our deepest sympathy, utmost respect, unwavering support, and profound gratitude go to the families who must endure the ongoing pain of such loss. On Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day, we solemnly honor these families and pray for their continued strength and courage.
Since the founding of our Republic, our liberty has been defended by our men and women in uniform. Their love of country and devotion to duty represent the very best of America. Our Nation’s military families share in the demands and pressures of this noble calling. The cost is exceedingly high — with multiple deployments, relocations, and separations — but the sobering price of their sacrifice is most clearly seen in the families who have faced the life-altering loss of a father, mother, son, daughter, sister, or brother who died fighting for our freedom.
Because of tragedies that forever change the course of their lives, these families receive the designation of the Gold Star. Each story is unique; each death is profoundly personal. The fallen leave behind families who must learn to carve out a new future while coping with their loved one’s absence on holidays, at celebrations, and during everyday activities. Their pain permeates every facet of life, never fully fading.
Yet, in spite of their challenges and heartbreak, Gold Star families exemplify amazing grace and resilience. From the depths of grief, they emerge to find hope, purpose, and joy, serving as an example and a source of inspiration for others. These patriots know the true cost of freedom, and it is the responsibility of all Americans to stand alongside them and share in shouldering this profound burden.
The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1895 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as “Gold Star Mother’s Day.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 29, 2019, as Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day. I call upon all Government officials to display the flag of the United States over Government buildings on this special day. I also encourage the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation’s gratitude and respect for our Gold Star Mothers and Families.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-seventh day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.
Armstrong said his client tells the provenance: The typewriter upon which John Irving wrote The World According to Garp. “It was completely worn out but after a complete rebuild my customer couldn’t be happier.”
This year marks 40 years since Garp was published — difficult to believe the time gone by. This may be the last novel I devoured in a day or so.
This year I’m celebrating the 40th anniversary of the publication of my novel, The World According to Garp. I remember thinking the title of my fourth novel would change; The World According to Garp was always just a working title until something better came along. I was still looking for “something better” when I delivered the manuscript to Henry Robbins, my editor. Henry, and everyone else at Dutton who read Garp in manuscript form, declared that the title had to be The World According to Garp. I was stuck with it.
More importantly, it is a bittersweet feeling to have only recently written a teleplay of Garp, a miniseries in five episodes, because I always imagined — more than forty years ago — that the sexual hatred in the novel might become dated soon after it was published. Sadly, sexual hatred is still with us — it hasn’t gone away. The suspicion of sexual differences, the discrimination against sexual minorities — including flat-out bigotry and violence — haven’t become the extinct dinosaurs I thought these things would (and should) become.
In part, The World According to Garp depicts the struggles of the writing process — the false starts, the blocks, the disappointments. Yet Garp never loses conviction in his purpose as a writer, “because he knew what every artist should know: as Garp put it, ‘You only grow by coming to the end of something and by beginning something else.’ Even if these so-called endings and beginnings are illusions.”
There are days I sorely miss my old Selectric.
Spread the word; friends don't allow friends to repeat history.
Mexico’s Independence Day is celebrated on September 16.
Dolores Hidalgo Church at night. Wikipedia image
But just to confuse things more, Mexico did not get independence on September 16.
September 16 is the usual date given for the most famous speech in Mexico’s history — a speech for which no transcript survives, and so, a speech which no one can really describe accurately. A Catholic priest who was involved in schemes to create an armed revolution to throw out Spanish rule (then under Napoleon), thought his plot had been discovered, and moved up the call for the peasants to revolt. At midnight, September 15, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla declaimed the need for Mexicans to rise in revolution, from his church in the town of Dolores, near Guanajuato. The cry for freedom is known in Spanish as the Grito de Dolores.
Hidalgo himself was hunted down, captured and executed. Mexico didn’t achieve independence from Spain for another 11 years, on September 28, 1821.
To commemorate Father Hidalgo’s cry for independence, usually the President of Mexico repeats the speech at midnight, in Mexico City, or in Dolores. If the President does not journey to Dolores, some other official gives the speech there. Despite no one’s knowing what was said, there is a script from tradition used by the President:
Long live the heroes that gave us the Fatherland!
Long live Hidalgo!
Long live Morelos!
Long live Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez!
Long live Allende!
Long live Galena and the Bravos!
Long live Aldama and Matamoros!
Long live National Independence!
Long Live Mexico! Long Live Mexico! Long Live Mexico!
Political history of Mexico is not easy to explain at all.
Hidalgo’s life was short after the speech, but the Spanish still feared the power of his ideas and names. In Hidalgo’s honor, a town in the Texas territory of Mexico was named after him, but to avoid provoking authorities, the name was turned into an anagram: Goliad.
In one of those twists that can only occur in real history, and not in fiction, Goliad was the site of a Mexican slaughter of a surrendered Tejian army during the fight for Texas independence. This slaughter so enraged Texans that when they got the drop on Mexican President and Gen. Santa Ana’s army a few days later at San Jacinto, they offered little quarter to the Mexican soldiers, though Santa Ana’s life was spared.
Have a great Grito de Dolores Day, remembering North American history that we all ought to know.
Father Hidalgo: Antonio Fabres, Miguel Hidalgo, oil on canvas, image taken from: Eduardo Baez, military painting in the nineteenth century Mexico, Mexico, National Defense Secretariat, 1992, p.23. Wikipedia image
NOAA’s chief scientist reminds everyone that accuracy with honor is necessary for science to be good.
Here is the entire message from NOAA Assistant Administrator Craig McLean, to NOAA staff, sent out Tuesday, September 10, 2019.
A Message from Craig McLean: Hurricane Dorian and Exceptional Service
This following is the original message Craig McLean, NOAA Research Assistant Administrator, sent to all NOAA Research employees on the morning of Monday, September 9th regarding Hurricane Dorian and its wide-ranging impacts.
The fierce storm we know as Hurricane Dorian has concluded its ferocious path through the Bahamas and along the U.S. East Coast. Many of you have contributed to the excellent science that has underpinned the forecasts and current understanding of storms such as this one, which accelerated quite rapidly in intensity. The storm also presented challenges in track which improved with enhanced observations. We know that our collective work, from the scientists in the aircraft penetrating the storm, to the scientists deploying the glider picket line, to the modelers and folks working the physics of the storms, across OAR and in our CI’s, and across all NOAA Lines, we are working the problem in order to give the NWS forecasters the best tools we possibly can to keep America and our neighbors safe. Thank you.
During the course of the storm, as I am sure you are aware, there were routine and exceptional expert forecasts, the best possible, issued by the NWS Forecasters. These are remarkable colleagues of ours, who receive our products, use them well, and provide the benefit of their own experience in announcing accurate forecasts accompanied by the distinction of all credible scientists—they sign their work. As I’m sure you also know, there was a complex issue involving the President commenting on the path of the hurricane. The NWS Forecaster(s) corrected any public misunderstanding in an expert and timely way, as they should. There followed, last Friday, an unsigned press release from “NOAA” that inappropriately and incorrectly contradicted the NWS forecaster. My understanding is that this intervention to contradict the forecaster was not based on science but on external factors including reputation and appearance, or simply put, political. Our NOAA Scientific Integrity Policy and Code of Scientific Conduct make clear that all NOAA employees shall approach all scientific activities with honesty, objectively, and completely, without allegiance to individuals, organizations, or ideology. The content of this press release is very concerning as it compromises the ability of NOAA to convey life-saving information necessary to avoid substantial and specific danger to public health and safety. If the public cannot trust our information, or we debase our forecaster’s warnings and products, that specific danger arises.
You know that the value of our science is in the complexity of our understanding, our ability to convey that understanding to a wide audience of users of this information, and to establish and sustain the public trust in the truth and legitimacy of that information. Unfortunately, the press release of last Friday violated this trust and violated NOAA’s policies of scientific integrity. In my role as Assistant Administrator for Research, and as I continue to administratively serve as Acting Chief Scientist, I am pursuing the potential violations of our NOAA Administrative Order on Scientific Integrity. Thankfully, we have such policies that are independently cited as among the best in the federal community, if not the best. Your NOAA and OAR management and leadership team believes in these policies and principles. I have a responsibility to pursue these truths. I will.
Thank you for your continued excellent work, and your trust. Carry on.
Craig N. McLean Assistant Administrator Oceanic and Atmospheric Research National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
We've been soaking in the Bathtub for several months, long enough that some of the links we've used have gone to the Great Internet in the Sky.
If you find a dead link, please leave a comment to that post, and tell us what link has expired.