That's "Campana-stan" or ''Land of Campana." It reflects the Weltanschauung of Michael E. Campana, President-for-Life of the Republic of Campanastan. Welcome to Campanastan - no passports or visas required!
Texas Agriculture Law Blog Don't let the name fool you - there are lots of water issues in agriculture and Tiffany Dowell of Texas A&M University does a fabulous job with this important Internet resource. Give it a read - I do every day!
The Way of Water Oregon State University Geography PhD Student, Jennifer Veilleux, records her fieldwork, research, and thoughts about transboundary water resources development in the Nile River and Mekong River basins. Particular attention is given to Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Laos' Xayaburi Dam projects.
Thirsty in Suburbia Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
This Day in Water History Michael J. 'Mike' McGuire, engineer extraordinaire, NAE member, and author of 'The Chlorine Revolution', blogs about historical happenings in the fields of drinking water and wastewater keyed to calendar dates.
WaSH Resources New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Water 50/50 From Jay Famiglietti at UC-Irvine. Fifty lectures in fifty weeks: The 2012 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship. A global lecture tour delivering the message about our changing water cycle, groundwater depletion, and the future of freshwater availability.
Water For The Ages Abby, another PNWer, writes about global water issues with passion and concern.
Watering the Desert Aptly-titled blog by CJ Brooks, a lawyer-hydrologist-geologist from Tucson, AZ.
Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere From Sarah Boon - rediscovering her writing and editing roots after 13 years, primarily as an environmental scientist. Her writing centres around creative non-fiction, specifically memoir and nature writing. The landscapes of western Canada are her main inspiration.
WaterWired All things fresh water: news, comment, and analysis from hydrogeologist Michael E. Campana, Professor at Oregon State University.
Watery Foundation Tom Swihart, formerly of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, tells all about water management in the Sunshine State.
Western Water Blog The 'mystery blog' about Western USA water issues. What more can I say?
Wisdom in Water, Please... Kate Wilkins-Wells , who manages the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4, provides her wisdom on water issues.
xAnalytical Doug Walker's xAnalytical blog:Turning Data and Information into Knowledge
The following exchange made my day at 8 AM today. A recorded message on my home landline with a female robo-voice told me to call the IRS immediately to avoid punitive actions. The return number had a DC area code (which doesn't mean the call came from DC).
I knew it was a scam but decided to return the call because I was curious. What follows is a close approximation to the conversation. The epithets are the exact ones the 'IRS agent' (who had a thick Indian accent) used.
ME: I'm calling about a recent message you left to call this number.
IRS: What is your phone number?
IRS (interrupting me, shouting): WHAT IS YOUR PHONE NUMBER???
ME (raised voice): I AM TRYING TO GIVE IT TO YOU...541-75.....
IRS: DON'T YELL AT ME, YOU MOTHERF***ER!!!
ME: I was trying to give you my number and you interrupted me.
ME (chuckling): You're a liar - you're not the IRS!
IRS: YOU ARE A MOTHERF***ER!!!
ME (laughing): How's the weather in Bangalore?
I'm wondering waht the deal was. Was this a 'legitimate scam' (oxymoron) that went awry because the guy lost his temper or someone who gets off yelling epithets at a stranger.
There's likely one more unemployed phone boiler-room worker walking the streets in Bangalore (or some other place) today.
"I've always felt so grateful that I dropped out of school, that I never had to do a thesis. I wouldn't know how to organize and structure myself to film so that B follows A and C follows B." - Michael Moore
Looks like former Montana governor Brian 'La Boca' Schweitzer didn't really want to be POTUS after all. But, hey, what a charming buffoon (he's the one without the tie in this WaPo photo).
Most of this is from a piece by Aaron Blake in the WaPo.
First, Schweitzer's comment about Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in the National Journal:
Schweitzer is incredulous that Feinstein—considered by her critics to be too close to the intelligence community—was now criticizing the (National Security Agency). "She was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees, and now she says, 'I'm a nun,' when it comes to this spying!" he says. Then, he adds, quickly, "I mean, maybe that's the wrong metaphor—but she was all in!"
Wrong metaphor? Ya think, Brian?
Next, Schweitzer opines on the femininity of Southern men and Eric Cantor in particular:
Last week, I called him on the night Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated in his GOP primary. "Don't hold this against me, but I'm going to blurt it out. How do I say this ... men in the South, they are a little effeminate," he offered when I mentioned the stunning news. When I asked him what he meant, he added, "They just have effeminate mannerisms. If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say—and I'm fine with gay people, that's all right—but my gaydar is 60-70 percent. But he's not, I think, so I don't know. Again, I couldn't care less. I'm accepting."
You go, Brian! Montana will be a good place to be in 2016.
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." -- Albert Einstein
(being a semi-fictional account of my sabbatical adventures, designed to amuse, and to be read with a dose of skepticism)
21 August 2002
It's a beautiful day in Vienna drizzly and about 65. Most everyone else is complaining, but not I. They don't understand.
I landed here on 16 August, and as we touched down, the sun broke through (it had been raining for about eight days). The flight on Austrian Airlines (motto: "Like a smile in the sky - but don't push it.") from Dulles was uneventful and up to their usual high standards (seriously). As I went through immigration, I commented on the glorious sunshine to the inspector. He looked at me forlornly and replied "Yes, but it is still raining in my heart." I decided to pass on that one and departed his desk quickly. Willkommen!
Vienna avoided much damage from the recent floods. When I landed, I saw little standing water. There was some flooding, but a floodway built on the Danube by the city over 40 years ago sent most of the flood wave downstream to Budapest (which fared better than expected). Prague, on the Vltava, and Dresden, on the Elbe, were hit quite hard. The damage in Dresden may set back the Germans' efforts to rebuild the once-beautiful city, famous for its Baroque architecture. The Allies destroyed Dresden in 1945 for no good reason, except to test a theory about the sustainability of bombing-induced firestorms. (For some reason, I'm reminded of Paul Rodriguez's line: "War is God's way of teaching us geography.")
I have been at work (so to speak) since 19 August, ensconced in the offices of the Isotope Hydrology Section of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a semi-autonomous division of the UN (all of whose divisions are semi-autonomous). I checked in with the HR folks that morning and after I introduced myself, the first thing the HR czarina said to me was "You're a week late" - for some reason, she had me down as starting on 12 August. I replied "Hello to you, too, and when I'm donating my time, I can be a week late." Having dispensed with the pleasantries, I was soon dispatched to the badge office to get photographed. The pass people were very nice (Gary Larson cartoons all over the place) and within a few minutes I was badged and ready to go. I asked one of the security guards what kind of access the badge gave me, and he smiled, saying "You have the same privileges as Kofi Annan", at which point I asked him to carry my bag. His well-developed Austrian sense of humor quickly dissipated. Seriously, though, I have 24/7 access to all buildings (I am not sure "sabbatical" translates well into German).
I was a little surprised by the security at the main gate. I have not been here since 9/11, but things have not changed - no metal detectors, for one thing.
I was then advised to go to the Commissary to get on the access list, which seemed to be rather important. The Commissary is in the basement (so visitors can't see what a great deal we have) and is a place where UN employees (or hangers-on, like me) can buy duty-free and tax-free food and other things. So now I can buy cheap cigarettes, alcohol, chocolate, etc., but I have sworn not to purchase these for any use but my personal use. So don't ask. No chocolate for you!
I am on the 23rd floor of the Vienna International Centre, overlooking the Danube and the city. The Section has but eight full-time professional staff, so it's a cozy group - mostly isotope geochemists, but still okay.
We had a staff meeting yesterday, and it reminded me of an E&PS faculty meeting: meticulous adherence to the agenda, no extraneous conversation or wisecracks from those in the back. The fellow who runs the isotope lab asked me if I was interested in tritium-helium dating, and I responded that I thought it was against the law. Again, so much for humor.
The Section wants me to work on their ground water sustainability project, which is fine with me. They thought my superb background was tailor-made for it, and besides, the only fellow who was working on it left last spring. I immediately thought of posing David Brookshire's question "Which of the 25 definitions of 'sustainability' are you using?" but decided that would destroy the moment, leaving me with either nothing to do or 25 things to do.
The IAEA does a lot of neat things: research, establishment of analytical standards, nuclear facilities inspections, documentation of nuclear/radioactive incidents (they have a heartwarming series 'The Radiological Accident at ______'), etc. One task they are doing that is of great interest to me is a search for two lost nuclear power plants (little ones - port-a-nukes) in the Republic of Georgia. Since I am about to start work there, I am anxious that these things be found. They have streaming videos of the search on their WWW site. The guys don't look happy.
I am living in a hotel about a 25-minute walk from the VIC, in a hotel by the Prater, a huge park in the eastern part of the city. The Prater has an impressive amusement park, dominated by the Riesenrad, a gargantuan (greater than 200 feet in diameter) Ferris wheel built in the 1890s by a British engineer. If you saw the film "The Third Man", the Riesenrad was the only thing in the film larger than Orson Welles would eventually become. (Seriously, that film, like Graham Greene's novel, gives a stark picture of what Vienna was like right after World War II -- not a pretty sight at all.)
The housing office at the VIC is great -- they have given me some leads and I start visiting places tomorrow. If this doesn't provide me with fodder for future stories, I'm going home.
I have to go now - it is time for a "torte break" (required by law). Auf wiedersehen!
(being a semi-truthful account of my travels, designed to amuse, and to be read with a dose of skepticism)
3 August 2004
I am now aboard (a bored?) one of Delta’s jets hurtling through the night sky en route from Cincinnati – er, I mean Northern Kentucky - to Albuquerque. I am returning from Myrtle Beach, SC, where I attended, for the fourth year, the South Atlantic Well Drillers’ Jubilee, an event that annually draws thousands of well drillers and their families, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and hangers-on like me, to lovely Myrtle Beach, the jewel of the Carolinas. In some ways, Myrtle Beach reminds me of Las Vegas, the jewel of Clark County, NV, but there are five fundamental differences between the two. Myrtle Beach has: 1) a beach, as implied by its name; 2) lots more golf courses (over 100); 3) no casino gambling (ooops - I mean gaming); 4) air service by the notorious Hooters Air; and 5) much less class than Las Vegas. Despite this latter shortcoming, it is still a great place for vacations, and capitalizes on its family-friendly atmosphere.
A brief aside about Hooters Air. It is owned by the same corporation that owns the restaurants and features female flight attendants outfitted in the same manner as their “sisters” who wait tables. Hooters Air runs golf junkets from Atlanta. They also run them from Gary, IN, but no one in Gary can afford to golf so the planes are mostly full of gawkers. Other airlines have cried “Foul!”, claiming that Hooters Air’s skimpy fares are loss leaders and that the deck is stacked against any competitors. Dewey Cheatam, CEO of Delta, Hooters Air’s biggest competitor out of Atlanta, was quoted as saying, “We know that Hooters is cheating. They have a well-endowed “slush” fund and can afford to undercut us. They have a leg up on all the other airlines. Hooters drives us crazy!” Hooters spokeswoman Ima Skank commented: “Delta? They’re boobs.” The FAA is said to be scrutinizing Hooters closely and promised to keep other airlines abreast of its findings.
After reading the aforementioned paragraph there should be no doubt in your mind that I am a proud graduate of the Catholic elementary and secondary school systems. I am honored to number among my fellow high-schoolmates former Senator Al D’Amato (currently on work-release, serving as ethicist-in-residence at UNLV), Bill “No Spin” O’Reilly, Louis “Call me Lou” Gerstner (former IBM CEO), and Glenn “YMCA” Hughes, the original biker guy in the Village People. Guess which one of the above avoids our high-school reunions? Guess which one we wish would not show up?
So back to the Jubilee. You can tell something about it when you realize that Calvin Falwell, Reverend Jerry Falwell’s first cousin, was one of the movers-and-shakers in the organization. Calvin gained fame by distributing Bibles with each successful well he drilled. He believed that Satan was responsible for poor well yields, so he would bring in cousin Jerry to perform an exorcism. The duo became quite well-known throughout southern Virginia. Get your water, and religion, too.
On the flight from Myrtle Beach to Cincinnati I sat next to a German fellow who vaguely resembled Gert Frobe, the actor who portrayed James Bond’s nemesis Goldfinger in the movie of the same name. We struck up a conversation, and I learned that Ulrich was an executive with BMW in Munich who had come to SC to check out the BMW assembly plant in the Greenville-Spartanburg area farther north. He had taken a short golf vacation in Myrtle Beach before heading back home. Now, for those of you who own BMWs and believe that they were painstakingly crafted by meticulous German assembly-line workers named Klaus, Hans and Dieter – surprise! They may have been assembled by Bubba, Goober and Gomer in SC (you can tell by looking for tell-tale tobacco stains). Hey, but now they are cheaper (Mercedes owners – don’t snicker; your “German” car may have been built in Alabama). But I digress. Anyway, Ulrich was curious as to what I thought of Ahhhnold the Governator. I told him that I didn’t know that much about him but that he seemed to be doing a half-decent job, except for calling legislators “girlie-men” the other day. I asked Ulrich what he thought of South Carolina and he replied that it would be good to get home.
Cincinnati’s a neat town, although they did get confused and built their airport in Kentucky. It suffers from the “Philadelphia complex” – so overshadowed by the vibrancy of an adjacent city – usually across a river – that it pales in comparison. In Cincinnati’s case, it’s Covington, KY. In Philadelphia’s case, it’s Camden, NJ.
Speaking of the great state of South Carolina, I think I should enlighten you about it. The state has a proud past, its residents having started the Civil War (aka The War of Northern Aggression) by firing upon Fort Sumter. It has had memorable politicians, such as John C. Calhoun, Preston “Bully” Brooks, Mendel Rivers, Fritz Hollings, J. Fred Muggs, and Strom Thurmond, whose embalmed body lies in a glass case in the capitol in Columbia. The quote on the pedestal reads “Never was there a man who so dragged his feet through the sands of time.” Few people realize that ol’ Strom actually died three years before he left the Senate. His staff, inspired by the movie Weekend at Bernie’s, decided to “keep the dream alive” (and their cushy jobs intact) till his term ended. No one noticed until Strom introduced some fairly significant legislation – giving African-Americans voting rights - which was totally out of character. And a recent SC governor gained infamy by being caught in a compromising position on his desk with a female staffer. The governor muddled through the rest of his term, but the staffer resigned quickly. Newspaper headlines noted her resignation with lines like “She had served ably under the governor for many years” or “Governor’s aide was always on top of things.” Charleston is perhaps the best-known of all SC cities. A recent downtown renovation has rejuvenated Gallows Square, which for many years, was the source of entertainment for Charlestonians, especially those of the upper class. Each Sunday (except for Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Day), residents would gather in their finery, attended to by servants, to watch “uppity people” get “taught a lesson” from local law-enforcement officials. Charleston is far more sensitive now, and that barbaric ceremony, discontinued in 1978, has now given way to re-enactors who celebrate the good ol’ days on the third Sunday of each month. Charleston’s residents are quite boastful and prone to exaggeration. As an example, they note that their fair city is bounded by the Cooper and Ashley Rivers, which join to form the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, like the residents of Honolulu, Santa Fe and San Francisco, Charlestonians suffer from the disease known in medical circles as terminal pretension.
I could not end this without a few SC jokes. Q: What’s the best thing to come out of South Carolina? A: Interstate 95. Q: What’s the next best thing? A: Interstate 85. Q: What is the difference between Mississippi and South Carolina? A: At least Mississippi tries. Q: What do you have when you have three South Carolinians in a room? A: A full set of teeth. And finally, there is the state motto:
Curious about the strong supportMrs. Kanye West in the Southwest and Hawaii, with my former home state (for 17 years!) clocking in at number 1. Is it because Kim looks like a Latina? But she's also strong in my native state of New York and southern New England. Perhaps they think she's Italian-American?
At least my current home state checks in at number 48.
Whatever she is (Armenian-American, mainly), she's wealthy and famous. Must laugh all the way to the bank.
Interesting that Sterling's racial bigotry has been known for years. So why did thelocal chapter of the NAACP give him two awards in 2008 and 2009, and had to rescind a third award because of the current flap (read here)?
Some of you may consider this to be disparaging towards Italians but my paternal grandparents came from southern Italy (Naples) so it's okay for me to post this video. Besides, how else does an Italian make a point during speech?
Looks like two-year-old Leah is getting the hang of it with her great-grandmother's mentoring.
Oh, that Anthony Weiner - what a card! Seems a Denver TV station accidentally showed a picture of a weenie during a news video. Looks like they had the camera on someone's Twitter feed. See a video of 'it' on Deadspin. Weiner's claiming credit for it.
What a guy! Always trying to get more exposure for himself. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
And how about a shout-out to Fox 31 KDVR in Denver! Way to go, guys!
“And of course I want to express my gratitude to my family; to my mother and father who instilled in me the values that carried me this far.” – Anthony Weiner’s resignation
A good friend of mine makes monthly donations to the ACJ Foundation. The transfer is made automatically from his checking account to the ACJF's checking account. No problem, right?
Well, the other day he decided to change the amount of the monthly donation. Below is his description of what transpired.
I was at the bank today attempting to change my monthly donation amount to ACJF and was told I needed to provide them with the account number. I reminded them that they HAVE the number and use it every month so....Hearing this, they told me that I needed to provide them with the account number. I think Bank of America is new to banking because they could not come up with a work-around other than I needed to provide them with the account number. I decided to provide them with the account number. Any chance I could get that from y'all?
I told him I would need some kind of proof from him before I would give him my account number.
I'm sure BofA thinks it has a good reason for what they did. Beats me!
"If you trust banks with your money, why can't they trust you with their pens? Is it really necessary to chain them down?" - Unknown
Barry Blitt takes Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) to takes for holding up traffic.
Here is a link to The New Yorker'scoverage of 'Bridgegate'.
And check out this wonderful video by Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon.
"Governor, let me in, I want to be your friend. There’ll be no partisan division. Let me wrap your legs around your mighty rims, and relieve your stressful condition. You got Wall Street masters stuck cheek to cheek with blue-collar truckers. And, man, I really gotta take a leak; but I can’t. I’m stuck in Governor Christie’s Fort Lee, New Jersey, traffic jam." - Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen (to the tune of Born to Run)
Circle of Blue Circle of Blue uses journalism, scientific research, and conversations from around the world to bring the story of the global freshwater crisis to life. Here you’ll find new water reports, news headlines, and hear from leading scientists.
Drink Water For Life The idea is simple. Drink water or other cheap beverages instead of expensive lattes, sodas, and bottled water for a set period of time. A day, a week, a month, Lent, Ramadan, Passover, or some other holiday period.
eFlowNet Newsletter From the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) this newsletter has lots of information about environmental flows and related issues.
Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable Since 2002, the Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR) has brought together federal, state, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors to advance our understanding of the nation’s water resources and to develop tools for their sustainable management.