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Friday, 08 July, 2011
Ocelot o’ Spots!
In Southern Arizona: Huachuca Mtns. camera gets shot of rare ocelot.
A camera placed in the Huachuca Mountains near Sierra Vista has snapped a photo of a rare, endangered ocelot.
It's the second photo record of the elusive species in the range this year.
"This is good news out of the Huachucas after all the bad news of the Monument Fire there" last month, said Mark Hart, a spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Hart said the photo was taken the night of May 26 by a remote camera placed in the range by hunters to observe wildlife movements.
(Link and headline courtesy of wormpicker)
Tuesday, 05 July, 2011
Huge Haboob Hits Hpoenix
AKA dust storm in Phoenix: Haboob moves across south Valley.
A massive haboob was spotted moving into parts of the south Valley Tuesday night, reducing visibility and kicking up high winds. According to ABC15 meteorologist Rich Dahlquist, the wall of dust boasts sustained winds of up to 69 miles per hour, close to hurricane force winds.
The winds have knocked down power poles in parts of the East Valley, including Mesa, according to an alert from the National Weather Service. The thick dust has reportedly reduced visibility in parts of the Valley to zero.
I guess we have these in Tucson, but I've never seen one.
Monday, 04 July, 2011
It's been about 80 days since we had any rain here. But about 20 minutes ago, it started pouring. The summer monsoon season is here. And it smells really good outside. In my seven years here, I don't remember the native plants being so dried-up looking. It's even worse because many of them suffered damage during the abnormally cold winter we had.
I could literally hear the desert plants thanking their rain gods (each species has its own rain god).
Here's a monsoon photo I took in 2005. Nothing like this tonight, but the season's just started.
Sunday, 03 July, 2011
Sheriff Actually A Pretty Nice Guy
In Phoenix: Temperatures rise to 145 inside Tent City.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio took the temperature inside one of the tents at Tent City Saturday afternoon. The tents can sometimes mimic ovens or hot cars. The gauge in Arpaio's hand indicated 145 degrees, nearly 30 degrees hotter than the day's high.
The sheriff said it was exceptionally hot at the outdoor jail but said there was nothing he could do about it.
Each of the 1,400 inmates in Tent City has been convicted of non-violent crimes, such as driving under the influence. The facility, which has been open since 1993, can accommodate up to 2,000 inmates beneath its military surplus tents.
And here's why all of those stories about Arpaio being the toughest sheriff in America are wrong:
At 118 degrees, Saturday was the hottest day of the year so far. To keep inmates cool, deputies passed out 6-ounce cups of ice to inmates at Tent City, located near 35th Avenue and Durango Street in Phoenix. It was the first time Arpaio has given inmates ice this year, and he said he doesn't know when he'll do it again.
But the inmates weren't even grateful:
After receiving the ice, a few complained to media members that the fans near their beds were broken and the intense heat was causing their shoes to melt.
Wednesday, 22 June, 2011
It’s Warming Up A Bit
But it's a dry heat.
The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory with potentially record heat causing hazardous conditions.
Friday, 17 June, 2011
Fire On The Mountain
AZJohnB sent me this photo taken at his house.
He's very close to the Monument Fire, in southern Arizona. There have been lots of evacuations, but the wind has been in his favor so far today.
No Nero jokes, please.
Tuesday, 14 June, 2011
Fire Sets Record
It's official: Wildfire Is Now the Largest in Arizona’s History.
The massive Wallow Fire that is raging through eastern Arizona and neighboring New Mexico has burned so much additional acreage that it has become the largest fire in Arizona’s history, officials said Tuesday.
The fire had burned more than 469,000 acres as of Tuesday morning, surpassing the 468,000 acres destroyed in the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire, which affected an area not far away in Arizona’s White Mountains.
The big difference between the two megafires, though, has been the damage. The Wallow Fire has been far less destructive than its predecessor, destroying only 31 homes compared with 465 lost a decade ago.
Thursday, 02 June, 2011
In Phoenix: Alligators fly Southwest to Tampa Bay.
Three rescued alligators are set to fly from Phoenix to Tampa on a Southwest Airlines flight Wednesday. The gators won't be flying first class or coach, but will be in secure crates in the plane's cargo section.
The trio named Little Beefer, Simon and Theodore have been living at the Phoenix Herpetological Society in north Scottsdale for about six years. The Society says the three are rescue gators.
Little Beefer? That's a terrible name for an alligator.
Now all three are headed to Citra, Florida to live at the El Lagarto Farm, a sanctuary run by alligator enthusiast Kerry Swan. The gators are expected to arrive in Tampa shortly before 7 p.m.
It's possible (but unlikely) that Bisbonian is providing the transportation.
Shown here is a random alligator that resembled Little Beefer.
Wednesday, 01 June, 2011
Stripey The Bobcat
AZJohnB sent me this photo taken by a neighbor. It's not a great quality photo, but you can click it to enlargify.
This is what happens when you allow zebras to breed with bobcats.
Thursday, 26 May, 2011
Sarah’s Arizona Home
Supposedly, Sarah Palin's new home in Scottsdale, Arizona. The video was posted on YouTube in 2009 -- before the construction was completed.
It's a nice place, but way too big and ornate for my tastes.
Wednesday, 25 May, 2011
Loughner Not Competent
This just in: Judge rules Loughner is not competent to stand trial.
Jared Lee Loughner, accused in January's mass shooting in which he allegedly tried to assassinate a congresswoman, isn't competent to stand trial, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
The judge said he based his decision on a mental evaluation of Loughner.
Loughner is charged with killing six people and wounding 13 more, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, who was holding a meet-and-greet with constituents at the time. Authorities say Giffords was the target of the attack.
Tuesday, 24 May, 2011
Trouble In Sheriff Joe’s Office
Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the toughest sheriff in the world: 3 in Sheriff's Office accused of drug, human smuggling.
A crime organization was able to enlist at least three Maricopa County sheriff's employees to help move heroin and undocumented immigrants from Mexico, authorities said Tuesday.
One of the employees, Deputy Alfredo Navarrette, a 10-year veteran of the department, used his position to gain tips and other information that he passed on to drug smugglers, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. Another, a detention officer, is romantically linked with the leader of the operation and is eight months pregnant with his child, officials said.
Authorities said Navarrette, 37, was smuggling illegal border-crossers to California. Two suspected illegal immigrants were found at his Phoenix area home, investigators said.
Sheriff Joe sez:
You may recall that Sheriff Joe is the one who makes his prisoners wear pink shirts and underwear.
Sunday, 22 May, 2011
Sarah Palin Moving To Arizona?
For months, rumors have circulated in Arizona political circles that the former Alaska governor and possible 2012 presidential contender either was shopping for homes in Scottsdale or had already bought one.
A just-closed deal on a secluded luxury home in far north Scottsdale might fit the bill, and talk has begun that this may be the one. It's an 8,000-square-foot, dark-brown stucco home with a guard gate that can keep unwanted visitors away. It has six bedrooms, five bathrooms, a six-car garage, a swimming pool and spa, and a full basement with a home theater, billiards room and wine cellar.
Safari Investments LLC paid $1.695 million cash for the home in a deal that appears designed to cloak the identity of a high-profile buyer. Safari Investments is a Delaware limited liability firm formed May 12, the day before the deal for the Scottsdale home closed.
Saturday, 21 May, 2011
Ken Ham Is In Tucson!
Tucked away at the bottom of a blog entry that asks an intriguing question, Did God create carnivorous plants (i.e., plants that eat creatures) on Day Three of creation or did they appear later?, is this:
Tonight and Sunday morning and evening, I will be speaking at Calvary Chapel in Tucson, Arizona.
Why? It's Creation Weekend.
I'd like to go, just to see if I can get a photo of myself with Ken. But I'd probably have to sit through a really boring and stupid presentation. And it's a 45-minute drive. And the parking lot would probably be full. And I'd have to wear long pants.
Tuesday, 17 May, 2011
Several people have asked me for an update on the mystery hole.
I checked on it this morning, and took a photo:
The hole now seems a bit more refined, as if the inhabitant has spent some additional time working on it. The secondary hole on the right was there all along, but it wasn't in the original photo. It appears to have been started, and then abandoned.
I still haven't seen any critter around the hole, and there are no footprints that I can see. I'm almost certain that it's not a tortoise. I think there's a 75% chance that it's either a badger or a fox. I've never seen either of those animals around here.
I also noticed quite a bit of gray furry stuff around the hole. My first thought was scat, but it doesn't seem to be scat-shaped -- just hunks of fur, some large and some small. But I'm not a scat expert.
The mystery remains.
Update: I found this hole identification chart. It could be a coyote, I guess. There are plenty of those around here.
Sunday, 15 May, 2011
Tea Party Against Tea Party License Plates
At least they're focusing on important issues: Tea party groups oppose Arizona ‘tea party’ license plates.
A large group of tea party organizations have rejected a new Arizona license plate that is meant to commemorate the movement and help fund it.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) approved the new "tea party" license plates in April, along with 10 other special plates. The "tea party" license plate features the historic "Don't Tread on Me" yellow Gadsden Flag, which has become a symbol of the movement.
In a statement issued Friday, the tea party groups said the state appointed and supervised board that issues the "tea party" license plates and distributes the sale proceeds to tea party organizations was exactly the type of big government the movement opposed.
Wednesday, 11 May, 2011
Minimal Fire Damage
From the Arizona Daily Star: Blaze in dentist's office caused 'a dollar or so' in damage.
Fire which might have resulted in disaster started Wednesday night in the office of Dentist R.R. Freeman. Luckily the fire was discovered in its inception and smothered, after doing damage to the extent of a dollar or so.
Dr. Freeman's office is next to the Elite studio, in the rear of the second story of the postoffice building. The doctor affirms that in the afternoon he treated several patients and that one of them must have left a cigarette butt upon a cushion which lay in a mission chair and which after several hours, ignited the pillow.
The doctor left his office at 6 o'clock and returned at 9. Upon opening the door a cloud of smoke burst forth which nearly smothered him. He rushed to open the window and turn on the electric light. Having done this, he looked about but could not located the origin of the smoke, so he went into the next room to see if it might not be there.
In the meantime dancers at the Eagles' hall had smelled the burning cushion and were thrown into a panic, rushing from the room.
One of the men rushed to the scene of the smoke and discovered the chair with the burning cushion, picked it up and started to rush from the room. Whereupon he was met by the doctor, who by this time was coming back to his room. A wash basin stood in the corner and the doctor advised that the brave one stay his onward rush and leave the burning cushion in the basin. This he did.
Soon the smoke cleared, the dancers went back to their enjoyment and the doctor home.
The insurance man says the fire was a lucky one. The chair and cushion are fully covered by insurance.
The photo shows a random dentist. Dr. Freeman is dead.
Monday, 09 May, 2011
AZJohnB sent me this. It's close to where he lives: Downed Aerostat in Sierra Vista.
Crews with the City of Sierra Vista are working to clear huge chunks of debris from streets and yards after a radar-detecting balloon at Fort Huachuca broke free of its tether and broke apart above the city.
News 4's John Overall says one homeowner was unpleasantly surprised when a piece of debris caused significant scratches to his newly-purchased BMW.
The Aerostat is owned and operated by the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Homeland Security to detect drug smuggling attempts at the Arizona-Mexico border, including small, low-flying planes. The Aerostat is also used to detect other threats to the nation's security.
Here's what it looked like before it crashed:
Every time I go down there, I see that thing floating in the sky. I've always called it "The Blimp." And every time I hear the word blimp, I think of this Captain Beefheart song.
Frank it's the big hit
It's the blimp
It's the blimp Frank
It's the blimp