Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Anasazi Strip - Chapter 1 - Part 1


Happy Hour was starting at the Buckskin Tavern as the killer strolled through the door, saluted the stuffed rattlesnake coiled atop the juke box, and headed for a stool in front of the bar. The bar the longest one of its kind in Arizona--at least that's what the gaudy neon sign in front of the place proclaimed. The killer scanned left and right, taking in the patrons of the cowboy hangout. Both pool tables were in action, rugged-looking shitkickers and pseudo-shitkickers boasted about work, a couple of randy-looking country western queens sat atop the red leather bar stools like nesting birds, and the smell of beer and cigarettes hung over the innards of the saloon. The place was half full...and there were no Indians in sight.

"What'll it be?" asked the smiling bartender as she placed a Budweiser coaster down in front of the big stranger.

"Make it a Bud," said the Killer. He fished a neatly folded wad of bills from his well-worn jeans and deposited a five dollar bill on the polished wood bar top.

"You got it," said the barmaid.

She pulled a beer from the metal cooler beneath the bar and opened the beer against a brass bottle opener in the shape of a steer's head. She set the beer in front of the man who looked like a logger. He was a little over six feet tall; about 250 pounds; untrimmed beard; long, mangy, red hair crowned by a baseball cap advertising the virtues of Red Man tobacco. She tried to place the face but drew a blank. She took one of the bills and stepped over to the old-time cash register.

"Beers are only a buck until nine. It's Happy Hour."

"Sounds like a sweet deal," said the man as he took a swig from the frosty beer. "Uhhhhmmm, the first one's always the best." The killer licked his lips and grinned at the bartender.

His smile was infectious and the pretty barmaid found herself smiling along just for the hell of it. She liked his eyes; they sparkled like dark green marbles and seemed to reflect the light like sunglasses. That was it. He looked like he had shades on, but he didn't.

The juke box kicked in with the song "Whiskey River", by Willie Nelson, and the bar erupted into dog barks and wolf howls. Friday night in Fredonia, Arizona was officially out of the gate.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Meet Steve Carr

The name is STEVE CARR. And my blog is all about storytelling.

Our free time is limited each day and we want to be entertained. And if we can learn something cool in the process, well then, even better.

The world is coming apart at the seams. And we are all so wired up & tuned in that it’s hard to figure out what’s happening most of the time. Perspective is hard to find. More isn’t necessarily better, it just requires more memory. When they power up the super-duper, must have, 9G or 50G smart phone that will do everything but make us happy, we still won’t be any smarter.

I’m pretty much a Luddite. I think the technology tends to cloud the picture. Don’t get me wrong. The IPhone is like magic. But the only things evolving are our fingers which glide across the tiny keyboards like jazz musicians on crank.

Our brains are too big. Imagine that. And yet, we only use about a third of its capacity. There’s tons of memory that goes unused.

How can we tap into that motherboard? What would we do if we did?

Some believe that drugs can set us free. I tried that route. I discovered that hallucinogenics can open windows, but not doors.

Religion is the opiate that fills our Sundays, but leads to wars.

The Ancients amused themselves with stories. Oral history. Imagination ruled. Music and drums did the rest. But they had lots & lots of free time.

We are different. We fill our days beyond our capacity to dream. We watch videos until it starts to really feel like life, but like snack food, it rarely satisfies. And still our cravings for more & more input nearly drives us all insane. It’s hard to tell what’s real.

My blog is your ticket HOME.

Do you like to bike, hike, canoe, kayak, camp and experience nature up close and personal? Then you will find this site of interest and endless amusement.

Do you worry about global warming, climate change, sea level rise, and the weather crisis already threatening the planet? Then we will learn more about the problem and solutions together.

Do you enjoy reading about the American Southwest, the Chesapeake Bay, and other wild lands under seize? Then this is the blog for you.

But most of all, this blog is about story-telling and fun.

The trajectory of my life has been unpredictable and extremely erratic, but I have picked up a lot of wild tales along the way.

Each day, we will go exploring and you will get a short story to fuel your imagination. A story a day will keep the doctor away.

It’s all free for the taking.

Just download your daily story and start dreaming. I will include excerpts from my southwest novels and my newspaper column. There’s no charge. Please feel free to share with your friends. Let’s build a community of storytellers.

And if you want to comment on what you’ve read, that’s great.

Share your own stories.

Let’s use this new technology to start a new tradition.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Is Global Warming for Real?

Our climate is radically changing, so let’s get rid of global warming and talk climate change...

With all the cold and snow, I’ve heard the same refrain all winter: How can it be so cold if there’s global warming?
For the average person, it all gets confusing. Who’s right? Does the frigid winter along the Mid-Atlantic signal the end of the global warming threat? Or was it all just a scam on the part of the scientific community to get everybody worked up over nothing so they could get big grants to study a non-existent crisis?

I think the first problem is the phrase global warming. Once you say that the planet is getting warmer, any time it gets cold, people are naturally going to wonder what is going on.

So let’s get rid of global warming and talk climate change instead. The climate of planet Earth is radically changing. 

The National Academy of Science, the most prestigious scientific body in the world, is a conservative group comprised of the top scientists from every country on the planet. It’s also an organization that usually takes about a decade to agree on where to go to lunch. When it unanimously says that Earth’s largest threat is climate change, it’s time to stop listening to Bill O’Reilly. It’s time to start paying attention.

NASA says the planet has warmed 1.4 degrees since 1880.

It’s getting warmer faster. The last two decades were the warmest in the last 400 years, and maybe for the last few thousand years.

And here are some chilling facts compiled by National Geographic.

Average temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as anywhere else on earth. The ice pack is melting at an alarming rate, and the loss of sea ice is already changing the lives of native people and polar bears. Villages along the coasts all over the earth are going.

Glaciers are melting all around the world. Glacier National Park in Montana has lost two-thirds of its glaciers in the last 100 years.

As sea temperature has risen, coral reefs — which cannot handle the warmer water — are dying.
Extreme weather — like wildfires in Australia, heat waves in Europe and tropical storms in the Caribbean — happens with much greater frequency.

That last one is important. Climate change is about extreme weather, not necessarily warmer or colder weather where you happen to live. When Florida freezes over, or Hawaii doesn’t get any rain, we’re looking at the direct effects of climate change.

Our climate is out of balance, and imbalance manifests in abnormal events. Storms are nastier. When it’s hot, it’s really hot. And when it’s cold, it’s really cold. 

So let’s be clear. It happens to be really cold for two weeks in the beginning of 2010. It snows harder and more often than it has for several years. Even together, those facts mean absolutely nothing. The weather in Maryland, or even the United States, isn’t steering this process. It’s the oceans that will determine our future. And they are getting warmer every year.

Why should we care about warmer water?

The latest predictions are that we will experience a sea level rise of seven to 23 inches by the end of the century. If that happens, most of the eastern seaboard and states like Florida and Louisiana will be gone, along with Annapolis, Mayo, Deale, Shady Side, Solomons, Cambridge, and Ocean City.

Ironically, the ocean’s conveyor belt may shut down, triggering an ice age. We know from looking at ice cores in the Antarctic that planetary warming has caused previous mini-ice ages, as recently as the Middle Ages in Europe. 

So if you are looking for proof that every media moron who makes fun of climate change is simply showing ignorance, rather than spreading common-sense reality, here it is. Warm weather can ultimately turn the planet into a giant ice ball.

We all need to recognize that we are indeed contributing to the warming of Earth. If it snows into March in Chesapeake Country, that only proves the point. If you don’t want to believe that’s true, the oceans don’t care. Your kids definitely will.

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