Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thursday Morning edition - 2456715

Good Morning, Dear Readers!  Less than two days left in February.  My, oh, my did time fly.  One the very beginning of this month, we hosted our Big Mid-Winter Party.  Seems like only yesterday.  Speaking of time, we hit the Jackpot this morning with a story about a clock you will find below.  It's not often we stumble across such a sprawling story.  Heck, if not for abusy schedule today, we'd probably still be digging into this story come along about lunch time.

The Big Bubba Storm still hasn't yet impacted us here at The Edge of The Flat Earth Headquarters and Visitor Center.  Don't worry, though, it's definitely happening. We will talk more about it in this morning's obligatory weather widget.

OK, moving right along.  Why are we featuring a female singer as our lead story?  Well, it's such a Classic Utah Talent Success Story.  Plus, it's really cool to learn how this young person wound up on national TV.
There are some incredibly talented young people in that heavily populated area along the Wasatch Front.  We can imagine untold thousands of them pondering how this singer made it to the Big Time by simply posting a YouTube video.

OK, now here's a story that is kinda quasi-political.  You know how studiously we avoid covering political stuff here.  Anyway, we found a story in Flagstaff's "Arizona Daily Sun" this morning about how the City Council there is pondering whether to allow overnight camping in private property parking lots.

Many tourist and transient towns long, long ago banned overnight camping.  In some cases, such bans probably date back to the Dust Bowl and Depression Days of the 1930s when untold thousands of migrants and homeless shuffled across the landscape in search of places to roost for a nap, a night, a week or perhaps a life time.

Kanab, Utah, is one such town with a long standing ban.  When we washed ashore there at the foot of The Grand Staircase April 12, 2001, all we saw were "NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING" and "NO OVERNIGHT PARKING" signs.  It was late in the day and we were very disheartened and perplexed.  What to do?  We didn't know the small town well enough to know there were many private places to pay to camp.  So, we simply went to the Police Station and talked to an Officer and told him our situation and asked (um...maybe begged) for permission simply to sleep someplace for the night.

The kind officer said it was totally OK to pull into the Kanab LDS Stake parking lot on Main Street and spend ONE NIGHT ONLY there at that location.  He ever said the night patrol would keep an eye on us.  We didn't take any offense in that statement.  To us it meant we had our own "Security Patrol" and we thought that was a Good Thing.  Of course, what the Officer really meant was that if we got out of line or acted crazy, we'd get busted.

Well, due to a Police Officer bending the rules a little bit for us, we woke up the next day and absolutely fell in love with Kanab.  April 12th had been a really bad weather day--cold rain, heavy clouds, low ceiling, you name it.  April 13th dawned glorious and beautiful and the overwhelming charms of Kanab and Color Country captured our Hearts and Spirits.  Kanab's official motto rings so true: "Greatest Earth On Show."

Anyway, we got situated and wound up spending six weeks in Kanab.  In fact, our Kanab stay changed our lives.  Really, it truly did.  That's how, where, when and why we discovered The World of Forest Service Volunteerism.  That's how we wound up volunteering 4.5 months in Southern Utah that year.  That's how we would up spending 7 seasons logging more than 4,000 "official" volunteer hours for the Forest Service.

We could even make a case we wouldn't haev our place in Idaho if not for that one night of kindness by a Police Officer in Kanab.  Amazing, huh?  Well, it's amazing and true, too.

And so it is that the Flagstaff City Council begins a long overdue debate on whether to allow overnight "camping" (AKA: parking) in private parking lots.  As we read this story, our mind obviously wandered back to Kanab on APril 12, 2001, and then we began wondering just how many lives might be someday changed in Flagstaff simply by allowing the tired, weary travelers to get a good night's sleep without being rousted in the middle of the night by the Flag PD.  We sure hope it comes to pass for that mountain town.
Here we are once again talking about weather.  Why do we always talk about weather?  We love weather, that's why.  Drought is pretty boring.  It's the same old, same old D-U-S-T-Y story.  Now when REAL weather comes to visit, we get all excited.  This is what the winter season is supposed to be all about:
And so it is that Precipitation will soon be made known to us and we will rejoice and frolic in the rain upon the plain.  The graphic you see above tells us how much to expect between now and Sunday.  Oh, Joy.


Here's a nice article about rain already falling in San Francisco:

Well, ALRIGHT!  We hit The JACKPOT this morning with this story.  It's been a danged long time since we came across one single story so weird, so strange, so deep, so fascinating and, oh, did we say really weird?

Here's how it happened.  We were looking around the New York Times website and saw a story about bringing Mammoths back to life.  So we're reading this story and it's kinda weird and then we come across the following paragraph (in italics).  And we go, "HUH?"  And that's when the fun started.

"Among these projects are a 300-foot-tall clock designed to tick uninterruptedly for the next 10,000 years, financed by a $42 million investment from the founder Jeff Bezos and situated inside an excavated mountain that Bezos owns near Van Horn, Tex.; and a disk of pure nickel inscribed with 1,500 languages that has been mounted on the Rosetta space probe, which this year is scheduled to land on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, 500 million miles from earth."

So we start digging into this clock gig in Van Horn, Texas.  Van Horn, Texas, is more or less in the Middle of Absolute Nowhere.  In fact, people joke that people who live in van Horn have TGIF written on their shoes. (TGIF = Toes Go In First).  Yeah, it's one of those kinda little places somewhere west of The Pecos.

Anyway, this whole clock gig is so out there, it got us to thinking about "The Twilight Zone" and Rod Serling and so forth.  Just check this verbatim snippet (in italics) from the clock gig's website:

Rod and his Twilight Clock.
"To see the Clock you need to start at dawn, like any pilgrimage. Once you arrive at its hidden entrance in an opening in the rock face, you will find a jade door rimmed in stainless steel, and then a second steel door beyond it. These act as a kind of crude airlock, keeping out dust and wild animals. You rotate its round handles to let yourself in, and then seal the doors behind you. It is totally black. You head into the darkness of a tunnel a few hundred feet long. At the end there’s the mildest hint of light on the floor. You look up. There is a tiny dot of light far away, at the top of top of a 500 foot long vertical tunnel about 12 feet in diameter. There is stuff hanging in the shaft."

Man, now that's the kinda thing that would have made Ol' Rod Serling smile real BIG!  So, here ya'll go.  If this doesn't keep ya entertained this morning, well yer unentertainable.

First, the New York Times article that started it all:

Next, a great article from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Next, the Clock's very own website:

Now, how about an ancient interview with Rod Serling himself thrown in here just for grins:

Finally, ya know Van Horn is only 74 miles from Marfa.  Bet you didn't know that did ya?  And, well, Mafa has their Lights.  So maybe you clock cleaned in Van Horn and then mosey down Marfa way to check out The Marfa Lights.
Ah, West Texas, what we would do without you?

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