Monday, February 28, 2011

You want to know my politics and my take on what has happened to this once great country- read the article linked here.

This article says it all. Here is the link below.

Absolutely spot on.

The sole remaining stupidpower in the world.

My only comment is if you keep giving someone enough rope, a hanging will
eventually take place.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Unfinished video from Sunrise Rock, site of the missing Mojave Cross.

I made this video the same day I made the other 3, this one was unfinished
because my digicam memory card filled up and the camera stopped recording.

I converted the file to the smaller screen size to cut back on the file size.

Even though the video is unfinished, I believe you can watch this and see where I come down on the issue.


LiveJournal Tags: ,

Jumping on the podcast bandwagon, hope I don’t fall off and get run over.

If you look on the left side of the page you will see a new box entitled
”Morongobill’s Backporch Podcast.” This is from a web outfit called
Cinchcast, and I heard about it from Chris Clarke’s Coyote Crossing site.
Relax, there’s no charge and no ads that I can see.

When you put up audio, it’s called a cinch. My first cinch is a little blurb
about this blog. The second is a horrible recording I made with my cell phone
of remarks I made at a state hearing in Ontario on September 8, 2010 which
I blogged about at the time. This is a poor quality recording, the original from
my phone I also put up in real audio format at my google file site. That would
be the best way to listen I guess. The post I did at the time is in my September, 2010 archives- sorry my net connection is down as I type this so I can’t link
to it now.

This is a good way to get some of my voice notes that I have made on desert hikes up on the site, my problem is getting them to the site in better quality.
They are setup to call in on a phone, or to use an Iphone or Android app, or to record on the computer. So I need to figure out a way to somehow copy the file
or connect directly somehow.

If I can’t figure that part out, this may be a short lived experiment, because my hikes are not usually where I have cell phone reception Sad smile

I really would like to put up a voice recording about the Mojave Cross that I made recently while at Sunrise Rock, for now I will keep trying to figure the
whole process out.

Let me know what you think about it.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Interesting article found: “Home Solar PV Cheaper Than Concentrating Solar Power”

Which is what groups such as Solar Done Right have been saying all

This article was posted the other day at Renewable Energy World, I don’t
get all the numbers, but after reading Mr. John Farrell’s(the author)profile,
I will say that he probably knows what he is talking about.

The article can be found here and the author’s profile which also lists other
articles that he has written can be found here.

I do have a couple of thoughts about this.

All along, I have felt that this was the case, rooftop pv would be cheaper, all
things taken into account, but I never saw an article laying it out like this-
in an industry web site by an industry insider; in this case, a senior researcher.

The other thought is that with the capital stream drying up, especially when
you consider that several of the concentrated solar plants set for the California
desert are now in the court system, and who knows what will happen- a fight
seems to be brewing in the renewable energy industry between proponents of
large scale csp and the photovoltaic folks, and pv seems to be winning.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is large industrial scale pv seems to also be on the rise, for example, the Tessera proposed plant in Calico, if built, now will be mostly
industrial pv, which requires graded, packed down, coated land free of any
plant or animal life where the panels are located and takes up a similar size footprint on the ground.

We can fervently hope that the ideas in this article will fall on fertile soil with
the decision makers, and the rooftop solar energy rush can begin.

A good start would be more large commercial buildings getting solar panels,
yes, a good start indeed, if it ever happens.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Government of the rich,by the rich, and for the rich in Amerika, thing I’m making it up? Listen to this phone call.

Note—a friend has brought to my attention that this is a little confusing. Read the following:
A left wing blogger from BuffaloBeast called the governor and got through
to him by impersonating the billionaire- David Koch. That is not the “real” David Koch. The story here is what the governor was willing to say over the phone when he thought he was talking to Mr. Koch, who along with his brother, fund many right wing causes and think tanks.

I apologize for any confusion, I admit I was in a hurry when I posted this.

Thanks to the Buffalo Beast website. Weird website name, but home of good old time journalism.

I bet there ain't a blow dried pretty boy in the whole newsroom.

In my whole life, I have never heard such a tape as this, which proves true, beyond our wildest dreams, that
we the little guys, the so called people, don't mean shit to the guys at the top.

Before I link to the videos, here is a comment that I made this morning on Truthdig about this, but I came at
it from another angle:

"By morongobill, February 24 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

What must seem obvious to the people who count in 
Wisconsin- *hint* there are only 2 men who count, at 
least to the governor- is the FACT that they better 
toss this clown under the wheels of the bus, before 
he personally drives it into a crowd of peaceful 

This guy must appear to the oligarchs like a train 
wreck waiting to happen.

The key to the oligarchs plans are simple, it’s the 
goldilocks approach.

If you stick to the poor saps too much, like this 
jackass governor is doing, you run the risk that the 
lower classes might start sharpening their 

The masses need to accept their lot in life with 
minimal fuss, this dumbass just revealed the little 
man behind the curtain, pulling the strings.

I look for him to be receiving a private missive 
soon, if he already hasn’t already, from his masters
and it won’t be a nice one.

He will either shape up to their wishes and act a 
little more circumspect, or he’ll be gone- dead man 

Sorry for the odd type size above, but after this software crashing twice,
I tried posting with google blogger, ran into different problems there, so
this is just the way it is, folks.

Here is Part 1:

Part 2:

Oh no, I ain’t about to type a video caption, that’s what locked up
my software.

By the way, this is just audio of a phone call with no video, it is not a
huge file.

The most satisfying 4 words in the english language are appropriate now,
me thinks.

I told you so.

These rich bastards of this ilk along with their toadies and lackeys like the
Obummer and political hacks of all stripes in congress and the courts, as well
as governors and legislators in the states, have run this country into the dirt
and now that they have by their policies outsourced most of the best paying
jobs, now want to finish the job by destroying the unions and the very last
fraying strings remaining of the social safety net, what keeps us and our children and old folks off the streets, while they vote themselves and their lard
assed fatcat contributors humungous tax cuts- - - -

When are the american people going to stop letting jerks like “el rushbo”
do their thinking for them, and think for themselves, and rise up and take
back their country from these greedy bastards before they completely gut
this country?

This phone call is proof positive, guilt proved beyond any shadow of a doubt,
but my guess, still won’t be enough to stop the american people from ogleing
Lindsay Lohan’s cleavage or break their gaze from this Lady Gaga, or whatever the hell her name is.

My guess is the sheeple will go on with business as usual, watching the pabulum that the oligarch’s spoon feed them on their idiot boxes, while this country continues merrily along, going to hell in a hand basket.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Going back in time, 2-14-2011 visit to the rock house at Camp Rock Springs, Mojave National Preserve.

My visit occurred on a cold, gloomy February day and the only thing suggesting
that this was the 21st century were the vault toilet, park bench, and this placard
in front of the house, along with the trail signage.
021411mnpvisit 041

That’s Bert Smith, the world war one vet who built the rock house on the left. He figured he would only live
for a few years, but thanks to the dry desert climate and clean air, he lived here for about 25 years. Similar
anecdotal evidence can be found at 29 Palms, of veterans of World War One moving there for their health
and living many years.

Here is the dirt driveway leading up to the rock house.
021411mnpvisit 038
This is a very scenic area, here is the view across the valley from near the picnic table set up by the park service for visitors. A view little changed from
when the troopers were stationed here back in the 19th century.
021411mnpvisit 042
Talk about your never ending desert views.

I walked around the rock house photographing it from all sides, here is one of those photos.
021411mnpvisit 043
I read that Bert Smith built this house by hand with rocks brought up from the springs. Now that was a major effort
as you will see.

After hanging around the rock house for a while, I decided to try the mile long
scenic trail down to the springs and back. Here are a few of my photographs from that hike.
021411mnpvisit 058

021411mnpvisit 062

021411mnpvisit 068

The photo above shows the route going toward the springs, yes, you end up “bouldering.”
021411mnpvisit 070

The only place I saw running water, maybe the springs were nearby, I was too busy trying to find my way back
to the rock house and closing the circle.
021411mnpvisit 071

When you see the tree below, you are almost home. Turn right and head up the hillside toward the rock house.
021411mnpvisit 072

Once I made it back up to the rock house, I took a breather here where
I discovered something interesting looking up.
021411mnpvisit 082

021411mnpvisit 083

That is a wooden cross beam with the old chain still attached. I figure
it was used to hoist engines from cars or to dip a butchered hog, etc into
a vat of boiling water, with a pulley attachment. I just looked up and almost
dropped my sports drink bottle when I saw this.

This is also where I sat and thought that I should go visit the Mojave Cross
while I was up in the preserve, so I decided to go visit it the next day.

All in all, this was a fun visit, here is a retake of my original backporch photograph.
021411mnpvisit 047

Guess I will keep the old one. Until next time.
021411mnpvisit 039

Views like this can be found everyday at the Mojave National Preserve.
Hope to see you out on the trail.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A little side of the road exploration- Granite Mountains- Mojave National Preserve- in pictures.

During my recent three day weekend, I decided to drive out to the preserve
via Interstate 40 and got off on Kelbaker Road, with the plan being to drive
to Kelso Depot and then through Cima and on to Nipton, and from there to
my hotel in Jean, Nevada.

Along the way to Kelso, I stopped along side the road and decided to try to
hike over to the base of the Granite Mountains, which did not look that far away
from me. It was an enjoyable hike but one not completed as I came to an
impassable ravine area filled with boulders and thorns, which forced me to
come back to the road. Here are a few photographs of this short visit.
021311mnptrip 020

Here I was close to the road. Those telephone poles run alongside a dirt road.
021311mnptrip 022

I never did make it to those jumbled rock hills.
021311mnptrip 023

021311mnptrip 027

Good thing Harry Reid or his son didn’t find this juniper, if this was Nevada, it might get fed into the
masticator to supposedly produce GREEN ENERGY. By the way, I am not kidding about this.
021311mnptrip 029

I love showing you guys these photos, I just wish I could convince ONE of you to visit the preserve,
and give the theme parks a rest, just for a day. You can not believe how peaceful it was out there.
021311mnptrip 031

Around the corner, this wash got pretty hard to get through. Note how lush and varied the plants are.
021311mnptrip 034

Long may this old King Juniper reign over his hillside. The next photo shows what appear to be
steps in the hillside, but are in fact old roots coming out sideways from this majestic juniper.
021311mnptrip 036

021311mnptrip 039

Old times not forgotten.
021311mnptrip 042

I wish you could have been here, this picture is missing a few friends hiking together taking in the beauty
of the Granite Mountains, Mojave National Preserve.
021311mnptrip 040

This picture shows the ways that nature will go in protecting itself, you have to be very careful when you
hike in the desert. I was walking along swinging my arms and my left forearm was raked by an old thorny
bush drawing blood like where a big cat swiped at me. That just fired me up to keep going for a while
021311mnptrip 038

Folks, that’s all I have for you today. Hopefully you enjoyed looking
at these photographs. It is hard to believe, I know, but these were all
taken within a half mile of my car. Once I got out of sight of the road,
it was like travelling back in time to a long gone era, I kept expecting
to hear the stage coach coming, or maybe that was my wishful thinking.

Once again, thank you for visiting with me out on the backporch. Maybe
next time we’ll have a little longer to visit, and I’ll put the coffee pot on.
Coffee so strong it’ll grow hair on your chest.

Until that time, feel free to search through the archives here. Those of you
from other lands, don’t forget the backporch translator to the left, which can
render this site into over 40 different languages.

And as always, your comments are welcomed and appreciated by this blogger.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Latest news from the opinion makers- blogging is out, guess I will be the last of the dinosaurs.

Yes it appears that the young are flocking to Twitter as the latest and greatest
new thing.

More power to ‘em, whatever floats their boat.

Whether I have 1 or a 100 viewers, like the brontosaurus and T Rex, guess I
will just keep on keeping on.

Don’t let yourself be enslaved by the current hot fashions, hang out on the backporch and get a dose of reality, guaranteed to not be delivered by a blow dried pretty boy. Winking smile


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Final thoughts on the Mojave Cross theft. Let’s hope no bad deed gets rewarded.

Someone was kind enough to make this comment over at Smirking
Chimp about my post which I will show here below:

“Based on what you described

Pulling off the theft does not sound that hard.

You need reasonably intelligent people who are good with tools and can keep a secret. So long as one of the people is detail-oriented enough to remove the forensic clues, I can see as how this may never be solved.

As for memorials to war dead, I prefer ones that do not rely on a religious symbol for their shape. In my mother's hometown there is a memorial to the dead of one of the world wars and it always left me feeling sad and curious. It was a brick base with a small fountain in front of it and a brass plaque listing the names of the dead in alphabetical order. Simple, elegant, with no need for a shout-out to god.”

I guess that’s why the jails are full in this country, there must not be enough
”reasonably intelligent people” amongst the ranks of the criminal class.

Thank God for that fact.

And yes, if the morongobill is smart enough to figure out the “how,” it is obvious
that a “pile it high and deep” degree is not required to commit it.

Of course, I never intended this post to illustrate that point, just to flesh out
some details that were missing from the thousands of news posts online about
this affair.

I also noted the mention of the memorial in the hometown and that sounds pretty much like what the anonymous letter from the alleged cross thief mentioned, a nonsectarian memorial.

Let’s move on to the final thoughts on the cross theft, now that we have peeled
most of the final layers of the onion away and have exposed the essence, so to

A whole bunch of people spent a whole lot of money on lawyers and research,
on court filings and briefs, on airplane tickets and hotel rooms, on getting their
hair done, suits pressed, etc, all to help their side prevail in this major battle
in the legal courts and in the court of public opinion.

They spent many years and millions of dollars to try to get a win for their side.
We reached a point in the struggle where it finally looked like one side might
prevail in the court system. To them, victory was so close that they could taste

Then a bolt of desert lightning struck, in the form of a totally unexpected
event less than 2 weeks after the Supreme Court ruling, the object of the years
long battle was removed from its’ perch atop Sunrise Rock, in the dead of night,
and hasn’t been seen since!

This rugged old cross meant something to a lot of people, it had good connotations for some, negative ones for others. Nonetheless, it meant something to all involved in the struggle to decide its’ fate.

Sometimes people get so involved in something, that they can’t see beyond
their own immediate interests or problems of the moment. I think that happened
this time. I,for one, never even considered that the cross might be stolen, I
thought like most, it would stay there boxed up inside the plywood up there on
the rocks, until its’ fate was decided, and then whichever side lost, would take
up the cause in the next court, of public opinion, to use the issue for fund raising and other purposes for the next few years.

I was as shocked as anyone, when taking matters into their own hands, the
unknown thieves struck in the still of night. I am still shocked, almost a year

What the thieves did by circumventing the process was in fact, to prolong the
eventual resolution of the cross’s status, if not in the legal courts, for sure in
the minds of the antagonists in the struggle. How can you come to grips with
a problem, when it has been spirited away, but may be replaced by a new one
later? It delays the day of reckoning, and deprives those involved of a sense
of closure, one side victorious, the other left with nothing to show for it.

I have to give it to the thieves, they definitely planned this well. Not only to
ensure that they would not face any consequences for their own actions, but
also to wreck havoc to the plans and feelings, of the participants in the struggle
as well as to the hopes and aspirations of those sitting on the sidelines, those of faith and our veterans, as well as others.

They well understood what I have said from day one of this, actions have meanings, and an action against such a powerful symbol, has meaning that
resonates to this day for some. It is often said that no good deed goes unpunished. Let’s hope in this case, a bad deed does not get rewarded.
mojavecross 007

Sunrise Rock, minus the cross, the day after the theft.

Well, there you have it. It isn’t much but it’s my take on the issue.

Just to let you know, I am mulling over a post about my visit to the rock
house at Camp Rock Springs in the Mojave National Preserve, here is
a little preview in a pictorial form.
021411mnpvisit 038

Bert Smith built the Rock House by hand when he settled here after World War One, in an effort to improve his health.

Folks, I appreciate your visit here to my virtual backporch. Don’t be a
stranger. Feel free to come back anytime, I might even pour you a cup
of joe from the old cowboy percolator coffee pot.

See you soon.


Friday, February 18, 2011

The Mojave Cross theft. My theory on how it happened. Part 2 of 2.

This will flow more smoothly if you read part#1 first.

After passing the “driveway” I made my way out to the road, where I stopped and turned around looking for a photographic opportunity. Standing there,
a thought hit me, I think I know how they stole the cross.

I pulled out my Canon digicam and set it on video mode and filmed this first
short clip as I walked toward the backside of Sunrise Rock and back to
the “driveway.”.

Walking toward the back of Sunrise Rock.

Here is the next video where I spell out the how and where the events
occurred, as it seemed to me at that moment there at Sunrise Rock.

How’s that for a natural staircase?

What would one need to remove this object from atop a rock formation,
a place where this isn’t much room, and where there are no electrical outlets
for miles? I will get to that in a moment but first let’s talk about what was

Here is what the cross looked like at that time. This is a video still from KNBC4
Los Angeles news footage. The cross footage is mine, the one that I mentioned that I burned to cd in my post yesterday and that I gave to the news crew. Their news report was online for only a day or so, I never actually was able to download it, I had a friend who has steady hands film the image from his big screen with my digicam, I will put that video up at the end of this post after I write this, I don’t want to get distracted as I write down my thoughts now.

The cross was covered by plywood at the time, this was done by the park service.
ScreenHunter_04 Feb. 17 20.45

Keep in mind that the Mojave Cross was 8 feet tall, constructed of hollow iron pipe and filled with concrete.

In the 2nd video above, I talked about men going around and climbing up
from the front side, here the KNBC4 video shows me about to climb up.
ScreenHunter_03 Feb. 17 20.44
And up at the top, photographing the damage.
ScreenHunter_01 Feb. 17 20.43

I believe it is true when they say the camera adds a few pounds to your frame Winking smile

Some of you are probably wondering how they cut the cross down. I thought
it may have been done with a sawzall, which is what I mentioned to the media at the time. The other day I brought it up with a friend and my brother, both of
whom have forgotten more about tools than I ever will know, and after looking
at my photo of the cut off bolts and hearing my description, they both said this tool may,and most likely was used by the thieves, battery powered, about 100$ at any hardware store and would take about 30 seconds tops per bolt to cut through them. May I introduce the thief’s best friend, the cordless angle grinder:

This particular model spins at 10,000 rpm’s, is about 12.3 inches long, and
weighs only 5 pounds, and would be easy to handle in the hands of a
competent operator. With the right cutting wheel, those bolts and nuts didn’t
stand a chance.

If I were to attempt a crime such as this, I would take the cordless angle grinder, a good light source, nylon rope, some twine, a sharp knife, some
sort of padding such as a cut up blanket to wrap the upright exposed pipe
of the cross with, maybe an extra cutting wheel, and a small pry bar.
These items would be carried up in a hiker’s daypack. That’s all I would need,
plus 2 extra helpers would climb up with me also.

Remember, the photo of the 2 Riverside Press Enterprise news folks atop
Sunrise Rock taken by me that I posted in pt#1 yesterday and how I said that there was room for 3 men up there? My theory is that one man would do the cutting while another man would hold onto the cross, and the third would be the one handing over the various tools needed, he would be standing close to them but not on that part of the rock, due to limited space.

My opinion is that before they started cutting, the cross pipe was wrapped with a blanket or similar, tied up with twine to hold it in place, and the rope was wrapped around and below the plywood box, or if they removed it for some reason, the blanket was wrapped all around the pipes and the rope wrapped around the horizontal arm of the cross. This would help cut down the noise of
iron pipe clanging on the rocks and also eliminate leaving evidence or scrape
marks. And if the letter claiming responsibility was legitimate, it would fit in
with the claim of treating the cross with reverence and care.

Cutting this iron pipe would be extremely loud, sound would carry far and wide
in the desert night, but with no one around to hear--- and if, as we think, the
bolts were cut quick, it wouldn’t matter much. If someone did hear and called
911 to report it, it would take a long time for law enforcement to drive the long
miles to get there plus, there is no cell coverage there, from my recollection.

So the cross is lassoed, the bolts get cut, but after looking at my photo of 2010
of the base area, I believe by the appearance of one bent bolt, that the thieves
had to really pry up on it or push on it to get it off the base. At that point I believe they lowered it over the side and down the rock face to at least 2 and
more likely 3 or 4 men down on the rocks below as I showed in the video pt#2.

Once the cross was off the top, I believe the men up there policed the scene
removing any traces and loaded all into the pack and descended carefully
down the front side, the only way that I feel the cross site can be reached safely, especially at night.

I say this because as previously mentioned by me, I have been up there several times, once when the cross was covered with the plywood, as well.

Down below, the quickest way off with the cross would be back down the way
the men below came, but with this heavy load, most likely they walked it out straight back on the gently sloping rock ledge till they reached the point where I pointed out in the video that the soft ground was only about 4-5 feet below.

As I pointed out in the video, the rock face has absolutely no signs of scraping
nor does any white paint show on the rock surface. That I can vouch for, from my visit a couple of days ago and from being there the day after the cross was stolen and my examination then. This is in line with the claims in the letter also.

I feel my virtual re-enactment here is as plausible as any other theory that may
have been put forward so far.

Now here is what is known so far about this crime.

National Park Service employees told me when I saw them after my visit immediately upon hearing of the disappearance, that a group of campers
had been staying that weekend near Sunrise Rock, but were gone when
morning came and the cross was no longer in place. Speculation was that
they might have been involved. As far as I know they have never been seen
nor heard of again.

I know what some of you are thinking, no, there is no registration required to
camp out by Sunrise Rock. The Mojave National Preserve allows camping in
areas used historically for that purpose, no signing in required.

I mentioned in that video, that I don’t want to blame the campers. It is quite
possible that they left before the thieves struck, but I am starting to come around to the view, that that possibility is getting more and more remote.

The Christian Science Monitor reported right after the theft that it appeared
to have been carefully planned. My conclusion now is that is the understatement of the year.

The reward for information is now around $125,000 and no one has come forward. There are people that would sell their own mother for less than that.
The Justice department and other law enforcement have come up with zilch after these long 9 months since the cross theft. What does it tell us that
no clues of any consequence were found at the crime scene?

What does it tell us when someone claims responsibility in a letter delivered
to a news outlet, and no useable clues are obtained from it?

Here’s what it tells me.

These were either professionals, a theft crew, crew meant in the sense that
each person knows his job and does it well, and that all can and have kept
their ears open and their mouths shut
, and were hired, or they were some sort of insular group, with a set of beliefs that motivates them to care only about each other and their cause they are fighting for, and to broadcast publicly their motivation for committing an act, that they do not believe is a crime?

This was not a crime committed by amateurs, no college kids stealing the
other team’s mascot, or going on a panty raid at the sorority dorm, this was
a major extending the middle finger at the legal establishment as well as the
veterans and those with religious beliefs, a sign of such disrespect, to our
nation’s history, an unforgiveable insult in my opinion. No, these guys were
good at what they did, in the same manner that the "Baader-Meinhof Gang"
was good at terrorism.
If what I am saying seems extreme, ask yourself this question. How often
have you heard of “the perfect crime” being committed? Not very often, is my
guess. And in Germany for over 20 years, they couldn’t catch those guys who
committed far worse acts than this.

My take on the politics of this is that the United States Supreme Court made
a ruling and then this brazen theft occurred. That is a major affront to the
legal establishment, and as the old saying goes, the excrement flows downhill.
You can take this to the bank. When the Justice Department and the FBI get
involved, the state and local authorities can take a hint, and they hit the ground
running also. I bet every stone and rock that could be turned over, has been.
Every snitch has been leaned on, computer data banks nation and world wide have probably been searched, and exactly nada has turned up.

If big money can’t pry out out a crime tip, if the full weight of law enforcement
can’t turn up any clues, then we must be either dealing with zealots or professionals. I really can’t think of any other options. This crime was well planned, executed with precision and with consummate skill, but I am confident our law enforcement agencies will do their best to solve it.

However, that rough rock surface will never yield a fingerprint. Tire tracks would be easily swept away or blown away by the desert breeze. You can buy cordless angle grinders almost anywhere, even off a street vendor for cash.The cross itself could be thrown on the back of a truck and covered with the blanket and delivered to a storage unit with the rent paid years in advance with cash, or could be stashed away in a crook’s garage for all we know.

It seems to me that all we can do is wait. Who knows maybe one day, they
might have a change of heart and the cross might show up, maybe even placed back atop that lonely rock outcropping near Cima. Perhaps a member of the group might even have a change of heart, or get religion, and take it upon himself to either return the cross or drop a dime on the location to law enforcement. Out of the blue, something may break and the case may be solved. In the meantime, the legal battle will go on in the courts.

I filmed a little video when I visited the Cross in March 2010 before the theft.
I pointed out that there was a lot of room up there and that a scimitar or
Star of David could fit up there, and if there were WW1 veterans of those faiths who died, then add them, there is room. I understand people believe in the separation of church and state, but this cross was put up at least 50 years before this became a federal park, it should be grandfathered in, a position
that I believe the courts will ultimately end up agreeing with.

There are over a million acres in the Mojave National Preserve. There are miles
and miles of roads, and an unlimited number of rock outcroppings to look at.
Can’t we let this small area of the preserve be, restore this symbol of honor
given to the memory of those who never came back home, and just go on living our lives and let the cross stand atop Sunrise Rock in peace, as it did for
about 80 years?

No matter whose side triumphs in the legal battle, can we all live with the result? Can we pledge to honor the courts’ decision and let it rest once the
final ruling comes down?

As promised here is the video from KNBC4LA which is no longer available
on their website. Since I provided them with video, I hope they will forgive this
republishing of their work which is not available now for public viewing, and was thrown away automatically after a certain short period per an employee there that I talked to on the phone, when I asked for an original copy a couple days after this aired.

Discussing the cross theft with members of the tv news media.

I would also like to leave you guys with another photo or two from Sunrise Rock.
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It is likely the thieves backed right up close to here, on the backside of the rock formation, and  loaded
up the Mojave Cross in the middle of the night, so far not to be seen again.

Let me say thank you to the folks in law enforcement who have been and
still are working on solving this case. We salute you for making all the efforts
you have on behalf of the memories of the our long gone but not forgotten
World War One veterans, men who sacrificed all when their country called them to service all those years ago.

I also send out special thanks to Henry and Wanda Sandoz, the caretakers
of the cross for years, for doing such a wonderful job keeping the memories
alive with their devotion to maintaining this symbol of selfless sacrifice for
others. We salute you.

Once again my friends we reach that time when we must bid each other good
evening and head home from out here on the backporch. For those of you
so inclined, I ask that you say a prayer for the souls of the dead who were once, and one day soon, will be honored again by that old rugged iron cross, in the special place called Sunrise Rock, a sight they hopefully will be able to view again one day together with those loved ones left behind when duty called, in a future world where there will be no more wars or rumors of war.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

The British government bows to public outrage and drops the plans to sell off ALL their forests. America, are you listening?

Okay folks, I thought you’d like to hear some great news, straight from
the source. Watch the video from their parliament at this link.

And this is also the link to the story at The Guardian, a newspaper that acted
like in the old days, and kept the heat on with story after story, and didn’t
act like a mouthpiece for the government, like some do here in this country.
Great job, guys!

So it appears that Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest, and The Major Oak have been saved, not by a government that is supposed to be a responsible steward,
but by average citizens, outraged, mad as hell and not taking it anymore, in
no way sheeple, who said, “like hell you are selling off our forests, piss off!

That kind of outrage needs to make an appearance in this country, as readers
of this blog I believe know, before our so called government stewards of the
public lands and their carbonmentalist allies, sell off every damned last
acre of wild desert and other wilderness, to make this so called green energy, as another blogger put it, the only damned thing green about it is
the money the promoters will make, and the bill that we taxpayers will have to pay!



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How the Mojave Cross was stolen, my theory after visiting Sunrise Rock yesterday. Videos and photographs. Part 1.

Longtime readers of this blog are aware of how I feel about the
Mojave Cross which stood atop Sunrise Rock, near Cima, in what
is now the Mojave National Preserve, for almost 80 years.

I believe I was quoted on the television as being “mad enough to
beat their behinds until their noses bled.” You can see a couple of those interviews here as well as read my report written and put up
that day.

Since that time, I have followed the story with interest. I know that
some time after the event, a letter was dropped off at a newspaper
claiming responsibility and saying a veteran took it because he didn’t
think that religious symbols should be displayed on public land, among other points made in the bizarre manifesto.

Shortly after the receipt of the anonymous letter claiming responsibility, the Justice Department opened an investigation into the theft, and no further news has been forthcoming, at least I haven’t seen any.

Day before yesterday, as I was sitting under an ancient juniper near the Rock House at Camp Rock Springs, bundled up against the cold wind, and gazing across the vastness that is the Mojave National Preserve, the urge to visit Sunrise Rock hit me, a longing so intense,
I knew in my heart that I had to go there- soon.
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There was a need to try to make some sense out of what to me, was an irrational act, the removal of this symbol,in defiance of our laws, and of the highest court in this land, a symbol,not meant to promote any religion, but in remembrance of those who gave everything they had, including their lives, in that cruel “war to end all wars,” World War One. Undoubtedly, some of the fallen hailed from the Mojave Desert area, and would never return, their loss wrecking havoc upon their loved ones.

As an ancient Greek philosopher said once, “only the dead have seen
the end of war.” I believe that is as true today, as it was then, maybe
conflict and strife are hardwired into human DNA, I don’t know, all I
know for certain was that these men answered the call, and paid the ultimate price, and it is a severe dishonor to their memories, an unforgiveable offense against basic decency, at the minimum, to steal
this cross from atop that lonely rock outcropping, far from where they
died, but close to their memories and home.

So after I soaked up the vista for a while, by the way this was after hiking down to the Camp Rock Springs, I decided to go to Sunrise Rock the following morning, on my way back to Orange County.

Upon checking out of my hotel, yesterday, I drove straight away to
Sunrise Rock. As soon as I parked my car, and walked over, I noticed
a change. I could see the base where the cross once stood from down below, something I never noticed before in any of my previous visits.
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Here is a closeup shot of the base where the cross once stood.
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This is a closeup taken from atop Sunrise Rock showing the base. This is a change from last year and may
be from the replacement cross which went up shortly after the original was stolen.This one was removed by
the National Park Service.
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Note the difference, this shows an 80 year old foundation. This was taken by me about a day after the
original cross was stolen in May, 2010.
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Looking down upon the assembled news media below, as the 2 Riverside Press Enterprise photographers
photographed the cross base. I showed them how to get up there.They are in the photo below this one.Both
photos taken by me in May, 2010.
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Dug Begley and William Lewis of the Press Enterprise hard at work. These were great guys, hard workers,
doing their best to get the story out for their readers. All the media I met were nice to me, in return I walked
back to my car and burned video I took of the cross before that to a cd. Since I only had one they shared it.

Folks, don’t let the above photo fool you. We were up in the air
as this video below, taken yesterday will show. There isn’t a lot of room up there, and with the never ending desert wind blowing, it
can be scary, but as you will see later, it is significant that three
men can fit up top that rock

From atop Sunrise Rock on 2/15/2011.

It was very windy and I felt that it wasn’t safe to stay up there
by myself, only a car and a truck passed by the whole time I was
there, not the time to fall and break an ankle or worse!

So, down I went and once at the bottom, I took a few leisurely
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The view of Sunrise Rock from the side where I believe the thieves lowered the cross down, more later.
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I walked completely around the backside of the rock formation
where I passed this “driveway.”
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“The driveway” view looking from the side of Sunrise Rock and toward the area hidden from  Cima Road
and passing traffic.

To be continued soon, Part 2 where I go into the details of how I believe
the theft occurred, with video.

Just a reminder folks, feel free to make your voice heard via comment or email.
The only bad comment, is the one you don’t make and keep to yourself.

If I can put myself out in the public arena, so can you.

Thanks for dropping by the backporch, hope to see you again.


P.s. I would write more but I had a very long day driving the airport bus and am planning to get right to catching up
on some shuteye. The closing post for this should be up within a day or 2, to be followed by the visit to the Rockhouse.

Photographs of the effects of fire in the Mojave National Preserve.

This past weekend I took 3 days off and stayed at the Goldstrike Hotel and Casino in Jean, Nevada. I used it as a base of operations and spent the majority of my free time hiking, photographing and just “sunday driving”
through the preserve.

This will be the first of a few posts devoted to facets of this trip and the preserve.

In this post, I will discuss  desert fire and its’ effect, mostly inphotographs. These were taken on Cedar Canyon Road, a mile or so upfrom where it begins at Cima Road.

What was most interesting here was the devastation on one side of the road and verdant, lush landscape on the other side of the road. I shot these directly
across the road from each other.

As you look at these photos, ask yourself which side of the road do you think
animals would have a better shot at finding food, nesting materials, or cover
from the hot desert sun or predators.
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Unfortunately fires are becoming more common and burning much
hotter in our deserts. I believe that after this winters heavy rains out
here in California, coupled with the invasive non- native grasses that
have become such a pervasive presence in the deserts, along with
other easily lit plant species that we may in fact have a bumper crop
of fires this year in the southwestern deserts.

Another reason to visit now, before fire season, and see the desert in its
now verdant beauty before the hot summer sun bakes the area, and setting
up the fire danger scenario.