Monthly Archives: September 2009

Along the Gaviota coast

Along the Gaviota coast the sea
is calm, expectant, and the lowering sun
raises gray shades to interlace each tree
as if of winter’s silken webs was spun
this scandent fog. Lace tight this splintered wood;
bind well this sundered, weather-riven bole,
split to the heart. I had misunderstood,
beguiled by placid sun, how great a toll
this shore imposes. Here above the strait,
this soul as fractured as a cypress, all
my nature’s angels thus adjudicate
and find me wanting. Here before the fall
I watch the sun despond, the breeze abate,
the past come to a close, the end, that’s all.

Joshua tree calendar for 2010

image Because the new year looms a mere 95 days or so away, and because the world needs one more desert landscape photography calendar to help you navigate the new year, this blog proudly offers the somewhat grandiosely named Sentinels of The Mojave 2010 Calendar. It costs just $20.10. See what I did there?

All proceeds from sales of this calendar go to buying me coffee while I grind out chapters of the Joshua tree book. So buying one, or a dozen, is really an act of charity when you get right down to it. Charity toward the trees, I mean. Not me. It’s all about the trees.

Draft Chapter Two: Incensed

[Reading this at the writer’s group tonight. This won’t be here forever, but thought I’d share it. Devoted readers of my work may find a passage or two to be somewhat familiar. The first chapter draft — or intro, or whatever — is here.]

Removed so that I can edit and sell it. Thanks for your incisive comments.

Remembering September 11

From a conversation between US President Richard M. Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, September 16, 1973.

Nixon: Nothing new of any importance or is there?
Kissinger: Nothing of very great consequence. The Chilean thing is getting consolidated and of course the newspapers are bleeding because a pro-Communist government has been overthrown.
Nixon: Isn’t that something. Isn’t that something.
Kissinger: I mean instead of celebrating – in the Eisenhower period we would be heroes.
Nixon: Well we didn’t – as you know – our hand doesn’t show on this one though.
Kissinger: We didn’t do it. I mean we helped them. [garbled] created the conditions as great as possible.
Nixon: That is right. And that is the way it is going to be played.


Good news for the Amargosa toad

Amargosa toad, FWS photo.

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, Center for Biological Diversity]

Amargosa Toad Takes Long-overdue Hop Toward Endangered Species Protections

LAS VEGAS— In response to a February 2008 scientific petition submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it is launching a full status review to determine whether the Amargosa toad warrants protections under the Endangered Species Act. Among the many threats to the toad are loss of habitat from development, harm from off-road vehicle use, groundwater depletions caused by mining, possible poorly sited solar-energy development, and harm from nonnative species such as crayfish and bullfrogs.

“The Amargosa toad has been known to warrant protection as an endangered species since 1977,” said Rob Mrowka, an ecologist and conservation advocate with the Center.  “We are very pleased that the toad is one step closer to the protection it needs to survive.”
The Amargosa toad is only found in a short segment of the Amargosa River in the Mojave Desert near Beatty, Nevada, where springs create marsh and riparian habitat required by the toad. It is isolated from other toad species by at least 35 miles, making it a unique endemic species. “Since these toads were first recognized as needing protection, threats to them have only increased,” said Mrowka. “A growing human population, increased demand for water, and climate change place the toad in immediate danger of extinction.” Groundwater developments pose a significant threat to the continued existence of the Amargosa toad. The Nevada state engineer, in Ruling 4669, has found that there is a high degree of interconnectivity between groundwater and surface water in the Oasis Valley basin. State law currently allows residents to pump up to 1,800 gallons per day from the groundwater aquifer without a permit, leading to unmeasured burdens on the aquifer. The Reward Mine and proposed solar-energy projects further add to the groundwater demands, all in a basin the state engineer has previously found to be over-appropriated. 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Energy filed groundwater applications in the Oasis Valley for the Yucca Mountain project. The Center protested these applications on behalf of the toad.  “The good news is the Amargosa toad will get a fresh look for stronger protection, but the bad news is the toad and its Amargosa River habitat are not doing well after 32 years of delaying full conservation,” said Daniel Patterson, Southwest director of PEER, who formerly worked with the Bureau of Land Management in the Mojave Desert. “Endangered Species Act listing for the toad should be welcomed, not feared, as it will finally bring long-overdue focus and resources to protect and recover the toad, and the rich scenic landscape it inhabits, for future generations and a stronger desert web of life.”

To His Coy Ote

Had we but stealth enough, and night,
To be Coyotes would be right
We would climb down and slink each way
To steal a lamb or two a day.
Thou by the western gorges’ side
Shouldst rodents find: I by the tide
Of suburbs would eat cats. I would
Love you as much as steak and blood,
And you’d fuck me with happy yelps
Till sanity came to Fred Phelps.
My carnivorous love would grow
As rank as creosote or crow
And myriad flies in desert craze
Would on your eyes and forehead graze.

It’s International Vulture Awareness Day

In celebration of International Vulture Awareness Day, here are some photos I’ve taken of the three vulture species native to the 48 contiguous United States.


A turkey vulture, Cathartes aura, flying past me four years ago on a narrow promontory above the Pacific Ocean.

Black vultures

A group of American black vultures, Coragyps atratus, perched in July 2006 on a buncha saguaros about twenty feet from the US-Mexico border (which I guess makes them International Vultures).


And last but decidedly un-least is this aloof beauty, a re-released California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) perching a few dozen feet below the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in November of 2008.

For much more on the condors at the Canyon in particular, and International Vulture Awareness Day and the plight of the birds in general, check out Madhusudan’s fine post at Reconciliation Ecology, a blog you should be reading anyway.


The largest fire in Los Angeles County history was apparently set on purpose.

Outside the fire zone itself, the result downwind is still dramatic and deadly. Even as far away as Northern Arizona, the results of the fire are what you might call rather incendiary themselves.

It isn’t uncommon for SoCal fires to fill the desert with smoke. I’m thinking of a 2003 visit to the desert this later post describes. I was sick for a long time after.

In Search Of

It’s been a number of months — no, wait, almost two years — since I indulged in subjecting you all to the found poetry to be found in this site’s search strings.

Clearly this cannot stand.

I went through the top few hundred and picked out the ones that seemed to me for one reason or another to best sum up the spirit of the place. I left out a few that I wish would just go away. I mean, who on earth under the age of 70 remembers who B*nn*e Fr*nkl*n is, much less tries to find nude photos of her on the net? I mean, come on.

I have not corrected any spelling errors or other similar field marks of the random internet searcher. Technical flaws resulting from equipment failure as well as human overload are inevitable in an Internet of this size. Just as inevitably, some of them occur in the material included in this blog post. Consider them like scars in fine leather, proof of the origin and authenticity of the material in which they are found.

Search String Found Poetry

joshua tree extinction

white racist groups in buffalo ny

mojave mole

the bear missed the train

stephen hawking is stupid

i give up!

zeke storms whistleblower

vox clamantis in desierto

twentynine palms meth labs

i am not just a dog

strode wavelenth

we must imagine sisyphus is happy

tree octopus

what submersible discovered the java trench?



teasel mouse

when did crinoids come into being.

socially illiterate

how to make clothes invisible with gimpshop

coyote proof yard

what is sagebrush -steppe ecosystem of thar desert

the fish coyote

i am not a feminist

how to find joshua tree forest walker pass ca

bitch phd

every word is like an unnecessesary stain on silence and nothingness.

moon’s fault line

dangerous fictional characters

top 10 dangerous terrorists ever existed

stephen hawking is stupid

how to win giving up?

tlalpeno soup

walking in times of trouble

then coyote

when can you say that there’s a balance of nature

watching trains

population of the coyote in sonoran desert


wild wolves in el paso


yucca dragon trees

wildlife crossings jaguars

a woman after my heart

the broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder,

wrinkled up, feminest, old liberal

yucca brevifolia jaegeriana

chili pepper lights

growing chile de arbol

ananda dog fahrenheit 451

who is bitch phd

when do chenopods release pollen?

wellbutrin creativity


timeline of the rapture

water problem ,coyote creek, az

i just split and divide my yuccas in august

mojave desert loners

i give up

i will now proceed to entangle the entire area 

mojave desert river of gold

owens valley river video

teratorn myths

top 100 conservative fictional and non-fictional women

urban coyotes

what are the lizards you win at the carnivals

wildlife diorama for kids

what is minnetoba

small and dangerous fictyional characters used for stories

thai cannibalism black people

women stuck in deep mud


where can i fucking camp around las vegas valley

i have purple kernels in my corn

timeline of grand canyon million of years ago

stubby elvis

what are baby bats called

where in the mojave desert is the best for seeing stars?

the slow fucking dog

caldo tlalpeno recipe

how to get rid of bat on porch

i want a job

idaho rodent pictures

mojave desert etchings

mojave desert jackrabbits winter starve

mojave desert trailer park meth lab

mojave river coyotes

moon beach coyote wolf

smell of redbuds

smurfette chooses to

solutions to dog nail noise on wood floors

star jasmine meaning

tim & eric you are a woman after my own heart.

when do coyotes emerge at night

where can you find pyrite in colorado?

where does stephen hawking get money

wolf population bush plan

trains go by

sentence with fodder

monterey pattern to fog

snails sex

who said “and still it moves”

why doesn’t anyone ever tell the truth about burning man?

i like running, photography, writing

who cannot delay further

the peppermint trolley company blog

missing hitcher eaten by the worlds largest bear

troll post


watching threw trinity

how many wives can a born again christian have