Thursday, March 31, 2011

Morongobill’s Backporch, by an overwhelming vote, names Alexis Madrigal and The Atlantic co-winners of the prestigious CARBONMENTALIST OF THE YEAR AWARD!

A little background is needed to put this award in the special context that
it deserves.

I will define the term carbonmentalist first. Carbonmentalist refers to a person
or organization that thinks that all environmental issues and problems should
be viewed through a “carbon based” lens, in particular, through “carbon based”
math and/or computer modeling for example. These persons, both real and
corporate, think that every answer for every one of our problems can be found
by following a “no carbon emission policy” right here in the Homeland first and
foremost, and a good place to start is the deserts of the southwest.

As I have stated many times here, their philosophy seems to be “we must
destroy the desert wilderness in order to save mankind from global warming
and/or climate change,”never minding that China is bringing online about
one coal fired plant a week.

Of course, the old timers like John Muir were interested in preserving beautiful nature and wilderness for its’ sake and for future generations,
but that is obviously old school environmentalism, and is no longer appropriate for this modern day and age, after all, we must bear the brunt and sacrifice
now so future generations can gaze rapturously upon the thousands
and thousands of wind turbines and solar panels that will cover the
Mojave and other deserts in the future from stem to stern, if the carbonmentalists like Madrigal have their way

Yes, it is a new day and a new age. Morning in Amerika! The paradigm has
shifted! John Muir and other dead environmentalists are busy spinning in their
graves at this latest news, making electricity I might add, trying to figure out
just what in the name of God happened to the movement and the leadership of the groups that they began, at what happened to their vision
for the future and of their dream------

Let me answer the question for them. Money is what happened, suckling at the
corporate hind teat is what happened, laying in bed with corrupt politicians and
bureaucrats is what happened, and main stream environmentalism has
morphed into carbonmentalism, and the only damned thing that matters now is how can we adjust our mission statement to these new modern times, how can we massage the erroneous zones of environmentalism
to approve every damned renewable energy program planned or on the books that are coming down the pike!

And so now we come to the reason why this site, Morongobill’s Backporch,
has in an unprecedented move, made a co-equal award to the recipients,
the carbonmentalist Alexis Madrigal and the carbonmentalist magazine, the
Atlantic. They show the way with this article, and soon to be book-
guaranteed a big hit with certain organizations and all the renewable energy
firms, that whole cottage industry of companies, lobbyists, lawyers, investment
bankers, and others involved, will certainly want the book when it comes out!

Here is the formula. Talk about the overwhelming need for a service, sprinkle a
few big names in the article and give selected quotes to make it appear that the
individual approves of your scheme- for example, Bill Gross of eSolar is mentioned a couple of times, and what the average reader takes from this is he
approves of these big solar plants being built out there, way out there, in prime
desert wilderness habitat.
 Nothing could be further from the truth as this excerpt from a Yale e360 interview with Mr. Gross proves without any doubt whatsoever:

e360: At a time when some big solar power plant projects are bogged down in disputes over their environmental impact on desert ecosystems and their water consumption, eSolar so far has avoided such controversies.
Gross: We have a strategy at eSolar to never impact pristine land. And the way we address that is several-fold. First, we have a higher output per acre, so we take a smaller footprint. Second, we’re economical at a smaller size. We can be fully economical at our 46-megawatt size. Those two things combined let us use a small enough footprint that we can locate on private land closer to population centers.
So rather than needing 2,000 acres contiguous to make the economics work — which you almost only can find far away on pristine land or [federal] land — we can locate on only 200 acres very close to a city and we can buy previously disturbed farmland or other properties that’s already been developed so we’re not causing any disturbance to natural habitat. And that’s an important part of our philosophy. It gives us an economic advantage because we’re locating closer to transmission. That’s probably even a bigger factor.
It takes years and years to build the transmission out to the pristine lands. [But] the power plant, for example, in Lancaster [California], is across the street from a transmission line. We didn’t have to build miles and miles of transmission, which takes years and years to get people to approve.
e360: Some environmentalists argue that there’s no need to put big solar farms in the desert because there’s plenty of disturbed land available for such plants. What’s your view? Is there still a need for these plants in the desert?
Gross: I think you can build enough solar thermal without going into the pristine desert. There’s enough private land close to population centers, and it’s not that much a percentage of the cost of a project. That land is not the expensive thing. The solar field and the power plant dwarfs the cost of the land. There’s no reason why you can’t locate on disturbed land and not have to deal with affecting wildlife habitat.”

Other writers way more knowledgeable than I have already pointed out the
many other factual inaccuracies in this article, the above being a subject that
I know quite a lot about actually, and a man I admire, I could not let pass without a special mention.

But it did not affect the decision making process regarding the awarding of the
prize here. If anything it enhanced their chances. This article proves beyond
any doubt that the carbonmentalists haven’t been sitting around, just watching
the tortoises being counted at Ivanpah, no sir, they have been working on their
manifesto, which this article is a good start and a model for future ones, which
point out the new paradigm, the way for the old school environmental movement to grow, to self actualize, to get with the modern day program, don’t
these guys understand that we have to embrace this new technology, we have
to build out and industrialize our wilderness areas, this planet is here for man
and its’ good works, to be shaped, and sculpted in our image, to be disposed
of as we see fit? Don’t they get it? It is our manifest destiny!

That is what this article means to the nominating committee out on the backporch. This visionary article lays out the plans of the folks pushing the
new greedy green agenda for all to see, it telegraphs the industrialists moves
and shows their vision plainly for all with eyes to see, they plan on building
out wilderness, any wilderness, not just the deserts, supposedly for the benefit
of the big corporations and their enablerscommon man, and stripped of all the
flowery language and new psychology gobbledygook, is pretty straightforward.

So for letting us in on their plans so clearly, for hewing mightily along with
the corporate and government plans, for laying out their carbonmentalist vision,
for the way that they blamed the environmentalists groups for difficulties in getting these boondogglesrenewable energy projects permitted(never mind the absolute fact that most really didn’t do jackshit to stop them) and for laying all
this mess at the feet of the soon to be moving Senor Tortuga and his brethren, the desert tortoise, for all this and so much more, we wish to present
this award and all it means to folks who truly deserve it and with a little bit of irony perhaps, as some might point out that, may we suggest that when we have the presentation award ceremony, that the invited public and dignitaries
might want to grab one of these to show their own heartfelt appreciation to the
honorees- Mr. Madrigal and the other fine editors at The Atlantic.
ivanpahfieldtrip 011

I, Morongobill, wholeheartedly approve the board’s decision and will make
sure that I will grab my fair share of the above road apples to convey my
deep and heartfelt appreciation for the article written by Mr. Madrigal.

Just don’t get in the way when the love starts being expressed Winking smile


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No matter what, you need to read this article. Right now!

Shaun over at the Mojave Desert Blog has done all desert lovers a
great service with his article in response to today’s Atlantic Monthly
article regarding the environmental movement and renewable energy
development in the deserts, especially here in southern California.

Shaun’s article is a must read and I suggest a read of the Atlantic Monthly’s
article as well.

I just got off work and have to go back at 0445 in the morning, hopefully
during my downtime during my bus driving day tomorrow, I will be able to
reread and digest all the information there.

As I wrote in a comment to Shaun’s post, this is a great article from him in
response to the “main stream media” Atlantic Monthly article.

What are you still doing here, head over to the MDB asap! Winking smile


Monday, March 28, 2011

Joe Bageant is gone.

He passed away a couple of days ago leaving his wife and three children

Joe left behind some of the most interesting ideas and writing that I have
ever come across, I ranked him right close to the top 2 or 3 writers that I have ever had the pleasure of reading in my lifetime.

I didn’t know the man, but did know of him and his work, especially his writing while staying south of the border. One thing I thought was that he understood the average, working class people, especially those from the South, better than any other writer that I have read.

Here is a link to one of Joe’s essays written while staying in Jalisco, Mexico
entitled “Waltzing at the doomsday ball” that I highly recommend you backporchians read right now here. Has anyone ever explained how we
Americans sit so high at the top of the pyramid, and with such clarity as this
essay does? How can the Lord take someone so needed down here when we
are in such need of clarity, right now, when we need someone who can cut through all the propaganda bullshit, and explain it in terms such that the
least amongst us can understand?
The loss of such a man is so immense that I still can’t really come to grips with it. God, what a loss to our society!

Great interview of Joe, well worth watching.

This loss I take personally, despite never having met the man, except through
his good works.

Here on the backporch, we mourn the loss of this great truth-teller and writer.

Vaya con dios, Joe. You made us the better for knowing of you.


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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sure would be nice to catch the desert flower blooming this year- in person ideally.

I hear that the blooming has started in a few areas, but evidently not on Hwy 62
just yet.

Last year about this time I believe I visited the site of the proposed Tessera Calico solar facility, now taken over by Goldman Sach’s sister company, K Road solar, where I saw the lava fields along side Interstate 40 near Hector Mine Road, alive with wildflowers.

I didn’t take any photos unfortunately at that location, only a short video which
I seem to have misplaced. Once found, I’ll add it to this post.

Of course the place to go is the DesertUSA website for the wildflower blooming
reports there. These seem to be the most up-to-date ones and once I get a 3 day weekend, I will be heading up. Who knows, if I hear of a great spot, relatively close, say to Morongo Valley, Palm Springs, or Joshua Tree, I may go
sooner on a regular weekend, which for me is now on Sunday and Monday.

If anybody knows where the flowers are blooming now please send me an email or make a comment.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Don’t tell the morongomobile, but I am about to make a change.

Looking at this photo, I am sure you will agree that it is long overdue.
bigmorongocanyonhike 017

Got you!
bigmorongocynprsv082510 013

Above is an actual photo of my car, a 2002 Chrysler Concorde LXi, which
has served me well with the exception of the air conditioning system which
failed twice, and the automatic transmission which had to be replaced a few
months after I bought the car. Now after paying on this for almost 5 years, I
can see it is getting a little “long in the tooth” like its’ owner and I will be
getting something else, a vehicle more in tune with my interests, something
that I can ride desert dirt roads in and not feel like I am running the risk of
never being able to get back home.

I love the desert and it might be a good place to check out from the rat race,
but I am not ready to do so at this time. And that would be a good subject for a
future post any way.

A personal note folks. I could use a little advice here. There are a whole bunch
of vehicles to choose from. Here are the ones I have had an interest in. But
first let me say that I don’t plan on doing offroading at Johnson Valley, but I will
be driving on desert dirt roads, like power line roads(across Cima Dome and
over Forshay Pass for example) and old mining roads, or just any dirt road I see
that goes off endlessly in the desert vista toward the mountain range that looks to be 20 miles away.

And one day before I leave this planet, I would like to do the Mojave Road, at least from the river to the western end of the Mojave National Preserve.

So the vehicles I am considering so far are: Nissan Frontier or similar small truck, extended cab, and with room for the portly Morongobill, Toyota 4Runner,
Nissan Xterra, Jeep 4wd not the suv- the original, Ford Explorer, Suzuki Samurai or similar if available in the last 7 model years, and believe it or not
I have also been considering buying a cargo van such as the Chevrolet Express. I know from personal experience those high clearance vans have truck tires and as you no doubt have seen in some of my photography, they are
definitely at home on desert dirt roads!
archivecd16 118

Looking out from Globe Mine Road on the other side of the railroad tracks toward the Providence Mountains. I will be looking for something used, no older than 7 years. That is the oldest that my lender will approve. Also they will not fund Izusu loans or converted vans, or rv’s. Right now, I pay $247 a month and that is an amount that I am very comfortable with- but it may limit my options. I absolutely love the looks of the Range Rover but can not consider anything that gets 11 mpg city/14 highway as I am not rich. As a matter of fact, sometimes I can barely rub
2 nickels together.

(It is amazing how you can hit a button accidently and totally mess up your format, isn’t it?  Referring to the above paragraph running into the picture comment because I hit the wrong button, and no more undo command.)

Ideally I would like the vehicle to get 20+mpg on the highway and at least 17 in
town, with room to put my laptop and other junk in the front, and put camping
gear in the back, and a tow hitch to mount a bike rack.

That way I wouldn’t have to spend a fortune to get out to the desert and back,
and might even have change left over for a Big Dog and an Arnold Palmer Iced


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This short video is appropriate for these times.

Thanks to Dave Cohen over at Decline of the Empire blog for providing
this as one of his bonus videos.

This suits my mood with everything going on from the rape of America’s
wilderness areas for energy development, to the rape of the taxpayers, to
the bailing out of the banking bastards, the endless wars and bombings,
to the erosion of our personal liberties and freedoms, the marginalization
of the long term unemployed, you name it, this video clip addresses it!

Don’t let the bastards get you down. Fight back!

As I have said before on these pages, and to paraphrase Max Roby; literate
readers will tell me quickly if I am misquoting, there is no law that says you
can’t call an asshole an asshole

Watch the video, and get in touch with your inner demon just lurking inside.
Call the elites- the political hacks and bureaucrats, the rich who don’t want
to pay their fair share by screwing the rest of us, the armchair chickenhawks
that won’t be happy until we bomb the shit out of the rest of humanity, call them the assholes that they are.

I say it is about time to start sharpening the pitchforks.



Monday, March 21, 2011

Finally somebody with the courage to ask the president:”who the hell do you think you are?”

Like what he says or not, Minister Louis Farrakhan said it just right in this
radio interview when he blasted Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton
the other day in a radio interview.

He was commenting on the arrogance they showed in demanding that the
Libyan leader step down, among other things.

I think that regardless of what you may have heard or even feel about Minister
Farrakhan, you should definitely watch this video, to hear the other side about
what’s unfolding now thousands of miles from “The Homeland.”

Don’t be surprised if Youtube pulls this video, watch now before the corporate media orders it taken down.

Here are a couple of links related to the Libyan situation that you might find of

Minister Farrakhan is speaking out here as is his right, and censorship has
already been put in place, as you’ll note that the Youtube video was pulled on the links I cite. However I was able to obtain the video above which at least for now has not been yanked down by Youtube. Yet.

This censorship points out in vivid detail what I and others fear about the corporate takeover that is occurring on the world wide web. A contrary point of view, in opposition to the line coming out of Washington, New York, London, and other places of power, is hounded and drowned out by a chorus of corporate shills and political hacks, and the message could even be censored as is happening here. Look at this screen shot from one of the sites above,
I rest my case.
ScreenHunter_01 Mar. 21 21.49

I googled the phrase “who the hell do you think you are” and this video
is the one that came up on the first page of results over and over, and this
is what showed up every time. “This video has been removed as a violation of Youtube’s policy against spam,scams, and commercially deceptive content.”

Here is my comment on that to Youtube:
What a crock of horseshit! You guys are so full of it, it is flowing out of your ears. Why don’t you grow a set of balls, and be honest for once in your sorry lives.
end of rant-end of rant-end of rant-end of rant-end of rant-end of rant-end of rant-end of rant-end of rant

I am sick and tired of whining politically correct numbskulls hiding behind weasel words like Youtube just did. Anybody with half a brain, and just a little bit of commonsense knows that the minister is expressing his personal opinion about a political, foreign policy, and military matter as is his right under the First Amendment to our constitution, freedom of speech, and as far as I know the corporate elites and their toadies on the courts and in the government haven’t repealed that yet, and out here on the backporch, at least, the courage to express the contrary view is welcomed and applauded. Probably a minority view nowadays but you know what, I really don’t give a damn about whether anyone agrees or not, if they like it or not, and I definitely hope no one comments negatively without taking the 9 minutes to watch the video.

(It has occurred to me that Youtube will probably yank this down soon, I am going to record the audio from this video with my cell phone and will put it on my Google site for your download soon, at which point I will put the link here.)The audio is available there now.

I say right on, Minister Farrakhan, right on for speaking truth, right on for standing up for your right to speak, and in doing so, helping save our right to
speak our minds as well.

Very well said. And long overdue.

It is about time, someone with gravitas, someone with a following, finally spoke
out about this president and what he is doing in our names, against our wishes
and quite frankly, against our interests- here on Main Street.

I am going to try to figure out how to get now have a copy of this video before it is erased from the web which I will keep here, if the corporate censors don’t like it, too bad, the mood I am in- oh what the hell, what I really mean is this, let me put it simply in words even the intellectuals can understand:

The wanna be censors and political correct types can kiss my ass. I hope I made that crystal clear. I intend to keep finding news like this and to shine a light on it when I find out, if they shut me down, I’ll come back with a new site name- freedom of speech, folks, use it or lose it.


P.s. Folks I have a copy now of the video; if and when Youtube deletes the video linked to here, I will put it up on my google site with a link to where you can download it. I will keep a check on this page in case it does happen as I suspect that it will.

There is a strong possibility that I wouldn’t have commented about this as strongly as I have, had Youtube not done such a clumsy, ham-handed job
at trying to censor the man.

No way I could stand idly by and let that libel on him go unanswered, no way
in hell.


This picture is for the elected officials and others who have dumped this country right into history’s dustbin!

In honor of your distinguished service in running this once great country
right into the ditch, for getting us involved in wars from one side of the globe to the other, for creating the largest bill due for lack of service rendered to be
paid by our heirs, for creating widows and orphans all over the world---------

For all this and so much more, I present this photograph(thanks brother for
the pic) as an inspiration for you to look in the mirror and see if its’ message
is relevant in your particular situation.

But first, allow me to mention a few public servants who need to make it a
priority to view this photo and do some soul searching. Drumroll please.

President Obama

Former Governater Arnold

All the members of the California Energy Commission

New Sheriff in town Ken SalaZAR

The head of the BLM

Certain members of the local governing agencies who support desert destruction……

And others who may be in need of seeing this message and asking the
question, such as
this blogger for voting for our current president.

Here it is!!!!!!!!!

I feel much better now.


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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Does “bombing them back to the Stone Ages” always have to be the “solution” to a problem?

Good thing I don’t watch too much television, or else I would probably
yank out the little bit of hair I have left since we are now back to the endless, breathless reporting from the mainstream media shills about the newest, latest air war, which somehow may morph into the newest, latest ground war, something this country seems to do a lot of lately.

Of course what won’t get reported will be the many civilians that will get blown
to kingdom come in this latest atrocity in the making.

I note with interest, the blow dried, empty headed “news reporters and pundits”
parroting the old line about the “megalomaniac Khadaffi”- not long ago these
same assholes were talking about he had changed, and had joined the responsible world leadership- just listen to these jackasses now, piling on
with the rest, while at the same time the arms salesmen  talking heads go on
and on about the latest and greatest weaponry being brought to bear on the
Libyan government forces.

At the risk of offending some, why the f--- are we just bombing Libya? Why not
Yemen also? Where is the outrage in our government and others over the Yemeni sharpshooters and snipers killing 40 or so protestors, shooting them in
the head and chest, some shot were children, I say again, where is the outrage?

Perhaps as some have suggested, maybe oil is the reason? I don’t know, perhaps.

Of course, if we are imperialists looking to snatch up all the oil in Iraq as an
example, we have to be the stupidest, dumbest empire in the whole history of empires in this planet’s history, because we sure as hell haven’t received a damn thing but a whole lot of coffins coming home to Dover Air Force base.

Look here folks, I am no strategist, but even I know that we missed our chance
from the very beginning with this Arab freedom uprising, we should have been supporting the freedom fighters from the beginning, but since we loved their dictators so much, we, as a nation, chose to stand by and see what would happen. The train of history left the station, without us.

And now, we are bombing the shit out of another Arab country.

I believe we will rue ever getting involved with this mission. I believe Arab
street opinion will change overnight about the west, once the images come out again, another Arab nation suffering more civilian casualties
from bombings and missile, more wailing people mourning loved ones
deaths and nobody really giving a damn about it in the west.

There is a historical reason for the west being called Crusaders after all. That
phrase resonates in that part of the world today still, hundreds of years after the fact.

Just so we are clear, I am standing firmly with the people over there in Libya.
Standing with the average person on the street, the one who will suffer the
most, no matter what else happens or who ever ends up in charge there. I have read about and listened to knowledgeable folks who say that the rebels have the capability to do their own training and can handle their defense. If the outside countries were so concerned, as far as I know, we still have a whole
bunch of Stinger portable missiles, shoulder fired by amateurs even, which
could shoot down whatever jets and helicopters that the Colonel might throw
at them, which then would have evened up the odds a little; after all the rebels
did have the Colonel’s forces on the run for awhile, if I recall.

Nah, the west decided they have to go in, our president can now act and talk
tough (like Bush in Iraq), just like with his war in Afghanistan, a war he did campaign on, AND KNOWING THAT, I and other liberals, still voted for him, all these leaders including those in the Arab League, who made the invitation, giving political cover to the west, now belatedly call for restraint as the bombs drop, all of them now can act macho, while the average Abdul and Fatima get bombed back to the Stone Age.

The never ending hypocrisy and self serving policies just will not stop it seems. Here we have the west, especially Britain and America, in the worst
economic situation seen since the 1930’s and our answer to all of our problems
seems to be: bombs, bullets, missiles, raining death down from the skies
like Zeus hurling thunderbolts of old Greek mythology…………………
and which cost lots and lots of money that we will have to borrow from foreigners to pay for. This does not compute, people!

But this is real,folks, no myth, I guar- damn- tee before this is over
that a whole of dying is gonna happen, a whole lotta misery is gonna rain
down on more brown people,  not that it will matter a tinkers damn to folks in the so called “first world” who are too busy watching T&A on their computers or tv’s to notice the horror beginning for the little guys, the shopkeepers, the normal family people, in far away Libya.

“Only the dead have seen the end of war” an ancient Greek said.

At least in those times, they fought face to face, and not from some computer
screen in Nevada, where you lived or died in the moment and not virtually,
as is being done now with these cruise missile and drone and air strikes.

I have no doubts this military escapade will not end up in the way that the west
hopes it will, and that until we face up to our hubris and ask ourselves why is
killing first and talking later our seemingly only response to each and every
problem, why we have to be the world’s policeman, why we only consort with
dictators in the developing world, why we can never respect the will of the people, as in our handling of Haiti’s Aristide situation reveals- we will continue
down this path straight on to our eventual bankruptcy; morally, and financially.

What goes around comes around, they say. I truly believe that.

We are kicking ass and taking names right now, but one day that boot is gonna be on another foot, and it is going to kick our asses till our nose bleeds, you can take that to the bank. Guaranteed.


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Saturday, March 19, 2011

An interesting short hike near the Palm Springs windmills

This post is a work in progress, as I process video etc it will be added on to here.
Late note- 3 soundclips taken on this hike can be found here. They will be the
ones dated 3-14-2011, they are real audio type files. Feel free to listen to
any of the sound clips there as well as any of the other pages, all are open to
the public and to my blog readers.

It is amazing how much you can see in a two hour hike in the desert.

Here is a video. I will be adding more photos and videos over the next couple
of days, as well as some voice notes. This particular post will be done gradually
as to be quite honest with you guys, driving a bus and humping luggage lately
for around 9- 14 hours a day has taken the writing gene right out of me Sad smile

This video is directed to my brother, but all are welcome to view, consider it my
invitation to all of you to get out from behind your computer and tv screens, and
enjoy this magnificent desert wilderness before it is all gone.

Here is another video showing the raw material that is present now, which may
be tender for a major desert fire later. I am thinking these may be non-native
grasses which are overtaking the desert ecology, if I am wrong I am sure someone here will correct me.

In this video, you can see the windy conditions that I encountered hiking up this ridge. A couple of times higher up, I almost got knocked down by the
never ending desert wind.

If you want to escape the wind, walk this way.

This clip shows the down and dirty climb up the sandy ridge and 2 surprising
discoveries found on the way uphill.

Here a few photographs taken from the area and up on the ridge top for your
0311pshike 002

At this point I reached the end of the ridge, to the left is a steep drop off and it
was too windy for me to try to descend, so I turned around and started back
downhill, deciding to go down the leeward side of the ridge.
0311pshike 005

The remains of an American flag planted here long ago by previous hikers I guess.
0311pshike 006

I ended up going this way. and going down that jeep trail/dirt road seen in the bottom middle of
the photograph just above my logo.
0311pshike 008

From atop there I made the previous photos.

After descending down a jeep trail which was at least a 10 degree grade, I
came out upon a giant wash which followed the edge of the mountain foothills
heading toward the Palm Springs area. In this video I talk about the wash and
the effects of the water upon the landscape.

I decide to take a small detour around a side channel of the wash here in this video.

a little further and to the right I come face to face with Senor Creosote!

Just when I need it, I come across a “footstool” left in the wash, and take a
needed short break and do this video.

0311pshike 011

I am not sure if the old plant above is dead or alive, but if it is dead, it
obviously had a long life span. It takes years to attain such size in such an arid

Well I guess this finishes this short hike trip report. It only took a couple of hours, and I found out again what physical shape I am in, but it was a lot of
fun. It was appalling to find that others who climbed up the ridge before me
so thoughtfully left their trash behind, mainly empty plastic water bottles.
A note of caution for anyone wanting to climb this ridge- the high grasses growing all over serve as cover along with the craggy rocks for some of the deserts’ residents. Watch where you place your hands and feet. You might
step on a rattlesnake up there, an encounter I can assure you that won’t be forgotten, trust me.
Some of the rocks are loose and there are holes and
fissures in the surface covered up by the grasses. So be careful.

The wind was blowing at around 30 miles per hour when I was there and it literally almost blew me over 2 or 3 times with higher gusts.

There is a reason why thousands of wind turbines are located here.

But it really was great fun, and I sincerely doubt that you will have to “share the
trail.” If that is your cup of tea, you crave solitude and like to hear yourself think,
then this area is the place for you.

Here is a google earth photo showing the area, the 2 yellow pins are where I
parked the morongomobile and where I ended up on the ridge, unable to go
further due to the dropoff.
ScreenHunter_01 Mar. 19 11.42

This really was a blast. Looking at the satellite view from 2 kilometers up it
really doesn’t seem like much, and it really wasn’t in the grand scheme of
things, but it was a chance to escape the big city and to see a spot that I
always wanted to walk and to explore, and to challenge myself by doing a
little climb up into some real wind gusts, it was great.

I hope to see some of you out there one day.

This concludes the trip report, hope you liked it.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Practice “safe computing,” use a surge protector!

I had a computer “accident” that was totally preventable and entirely my fault.

About a week ago, I plugged my laptop sans circuit protector into a loose
electric outlet, minus its’ cover plate, in the drivers lounge at the bus yard
where I work. The second I plugged it in, the laptop was running on battery,
there was a loud pop and the screen got white then black, all power out on
the unit. I waited about a minute after unplugging the power adapter for any
excess voltage buildup to dissipate, then hit the power on button with some

To my amazement, it came back on, apparently without suffering any damage,
except to the power brick which never worked again on any known good plug.

I have been kicking myself ever since, why in the heck did I plug into that
power source, without my surge protector? Laziness is the answer.

Since then I have received the new adapter from Dell which is a story for another time, which will remain untold if they don’t screw up the billing. If they do, I have a juicy story to tell complete with the chat log Winking smile

So I am back from offline, self induced he—, and look forward to posting soon here.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hate makes a comeback in Orange County, California

Folks, please watch this whole video if you can stomach it,
you will hear such talk, talk the likes of which would make the Ku Klux Klan green with envy. Absolutely disgusting.

Just when you think that we, as a society, have evolved into a kinder, gentler
nation as President George H.W. Bush, once famously said, something like
this “lynch mob” mentality shown in this video, reaches out and forcibly grasps
us by the neck and shakes us into the reality, that hate and fear have in fact
never left the American psyche, but is still there bubbling merrily along
right below the surface.

Hate Comes to Orange County from CAIR LA on Vimeo.

On Sunday, February 13th 2011, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Relief held a fundraiser to raise money for women's shelters, and to help fight homelesness and hunger in the U.S.

How many of these “protesters” thought about how they might be scarring these young children for life with their display of hatred? Not many, I would guess.

Hate Comes to Orange County from CAIR LA on Vimeo.

On Sunday, February 13th 2011, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Relief held a fundraiser to raise money for women's shelters, and to help fight homelessness and hunger in the U.S.

Now it’s time for a little trip down memory lane, just in case anyone thinks
that I am making a mountain out of a molehill.


That is Elizabeth Eckford, 15 years old at the time, walking through the
gauntlet in Little Rock, Arkansas; over 50 years ago, a searing experience
made worse by the National Guard refusing to protect her, this occurring
in her young formative years had bad consequences and effects, that last
unto this day.

She was part of the “Little Rock nine” who were the students that were the
first to integrate the all white schools there, against the wishes of the then governor, Orvil Faubus, and which led to President Eisenhower sending in the
United States Army to ensure the student’s safety. Oh, one thing I forgot to
mention, young Miss Eckford was thrown down a flight of stairs at school, I
sure the miscreants are proud of their participation in that act, and I hope the
Lord remembers that act when they face him one day at Judgment time.

How many of those young children walking that Orange county gauntlet recently, will end up scarred for life emotionally? How many lost their innocent,
trusting nature forever? How many one day may not be able to cope any more
and give up on life? What those protesters, supposedly Christian, don’t get
and never will, is that actions have meaning, words have meaning, words and
actions can inspire violence, not just from their ranks, but from others outside
their number that are looking for a cause, something to give their own miserable
lives meaning, and violence is the quickest way to get known.

This group wasn’t Christian but I will tell you one thing, it definitely inspires, at
least in me, a response that Christ thought appropriate once, I feel a strong
urge to pick up a scourge, I really do. For what they did to those young children
is something unforgiveable in my book.

At the least, they should be shunned by society.

What a bunch of sorry bastards, I hope they burn in hell for what they did to those kids.


The best desert photograph I have seen in years!

And no, I did not take this photograph.

That honor and all the credit goes to Los Angeles Times photographer,
Gina Ferazzi, who took this marvelous shot on March 7, 2010.

Here is the photograph, again from the Los Angeles Times, link below
for you to view it directly.
High winds

This display on my site does not do this masterpiece justice. To see this
photograph displayed in a manner that does, you need to click here.
I strongly suggest you go to that link and also see the other great work
on display there.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why I haven’t posted much on Ivanpah or the other solar sites lately.

A fair question since I posted so much about it in the first 10 months or
so of this blogs’ short existence. This post is prompted by a conversation
that I had recently with a friend and fellow blogger, Lee Murray, whose
blog can be checked out here.

As I pointed out many times here in these electronic “pages”, the fight was
ultimately destined to end up in the court system, since the state and federal
officials were hell bent on ramming these projects through, regardless of the
fiscal or environmental costs. That is where I believe 5 of the projects are
now, including Ivanpah.

Once it is in the court system, then the ball is in the lawyers hands, most of
whom for our side, are representing major environmental groups. They are
paying the legal bills and have the major say over tactics and strategy. Nobody
has a crystal ball and really has fore knowledge of how the courts will rule.
Like the old saying goes, everyone has an opinion and an- I will leave that
term out, you get the drift.

Another thing was that the fight was picked up by activists and the tactic changed to a “teach-in and camp- in” stage at the sites. Unfortunately, I worked
most weekends and never could attend one of those meetings, which would
have been an interesting experience. I am pleased to say that the tactic had
some success in educating the average person about the impending danger
the desert was facing from this “renewable energy land rush.”

Another blogger mentioned the negativity of the last year and I agree, it was
a very negative time, depressing also often, to see all these lands being eyed
for development and really not seeing too much opposition, except for a few desert activists and others, the major environmental groups seemed to be taking a “wait and see” approach, and quite frankly I didn’t see much average
citizen interest either. The other side was very crafty in wrapping themselves
in the flag and in using JOBS,JOBS,JOBS as their main talking points, with
reducing our dependence on foreign oil thrown in for good measure.
archivecd18 206

I must confess the negativity got to me a little and when the tactics changed
to the site visits, that was a time to drop my focus on the issue. I think I write better when I am ticked off about something, but eventually it got to me and
I stopped writing about the issue.

I did not stop caring about the deserts though.

There are many fine blogs and sites dealing with the desert and desert energy
and environment issues such as Basin and Range Watch, Coyote Crossing, the  Desert Protective Council, as well as others to check out for the very latest
news and commentary. I will comment from time to time on the issue, as we
watch and see how the court issues pan out, but my focus really has shifted to
trip reports of my visits to the desert, as well as my take on issues that affect
us all.

Late addition: I almost forgot to add the Mojave Desert Blog which can be found

Note, the links at the top of the page. One is a listing of all my Ivanpah posts
up to that date, those of you coming in for that subject might check that link out, I believe I had 40 or 50 story links there related to Ivanpah and other desert
energy matters.

In the interests of making this site load quicker, I have removed some elements,
including my blogroll and followers section. I still read all the blogs and thank
everyone who followed this blog, and hope you continue to do so.


Monday, March 7, 2011

"My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it until now."

These famous words were used by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 to
his aides in describing the steel barons after they jacked up steel prices,
after the administration worked long and hard with them and the unions, to
create a noninflationary new worker’s contract.

What then occurred was the administration using all the tools in its’ arsenal
to force the steelmakers to roll back the massive price increases within
about 3 days, surprising the president. These tools included jawboning
from the bully pulpit to having the Justice Department under Bobby Kennedy issuing antitrust indictments.,_Bush_and_Oil

How is this interesting bit of history relevant today?

Because we are faced with a similar situation involving a vital component of our
economy, oil, whose price some people, including this blogger and others, believe is being manipulated upwards by financial shenanigans in the commodities futures markets, causing grave injury to average citizens, small
businesses, as well as the global economy as a whole.

The reason for the price rise ostensibly is the crisis in Libya, causing nervousness in the markets, alleged supply and demand issues, as well as
various and sundry other fear factors; all being bandied about by numerous talking heads, politicians, pointy headed intellectuals and others, and don’t forget that good old peak oil theory!

What they don’t talk about, just like a couple of years ago when oil mysteriously
shot up to $147 a barrel and then just as mysteriously quickly dropped back
down to a normal price, well some did mention it after the fact, was the hundreds of billions of dollars of red hot hedge fund and banking money that rapidly flowed into the exchanges, including the unregulated London one, and then rapidly flowed back out, once the gargantuan profits were made.

Now at this point, may I take the liberty of taking Mr. Joseph P. Kennedy’s
words of advice to his son, and update them for modern times? Simply substitute these words, your choice, instead of businessman, use bankers, or investment bankers, or hedge fund managers, or politicians, or bureaucrats.

Your choice, in my opinion all would work just as well.

Those of you who took the time to visit the Smirking Chimp link above, you
know where I am going with this. Our current leader, President Obama, needs
to be channeling his inner JFK and FDR and TR right now. And let me say
right now, in no uncertain terms, I DO NOT BLAME THE OIL COMPANIES

This man elected with such high hopes, needs to start showing the BIG
DAMNED STICK right now, he needs to take the old play right out of JFK’s
playbook, and start beating up on these financiers running up the oil and
also running the rest of us into the financial dirt, right damn now!

It worked then and it will work now.

Since JFK a lot has changed in Washington and the world. But one thing has
gotten overwhelmingly stronger and more entrenched since that time- I am
referring to the power of the presidency, which has become almost imperial in nature.

All that is required is the will, the guts, and the audacity to ACT ON THE MOMENT, and wield the powers of the presidency.

Sadly such words unfortunately don’t seem to apply to the bunch in the executive branch at this exact critical moment in our economic, and political

But as I have said before on these pages, Hope springs eternal.

What good is power and ambition, if they can’t be harnessed to work for
the public’s welfare? Yes, I know some of you reading this may be just burned out with cynicism, well deserved considering all the
crap that has gone on over the years, but this is a prime example of working toward a common good, of working, not to enrich yourself, but
to punish, even scourge politically and financially of course, those who
are cynically using Libya’s travails and agony, to stick the rest of us with
a huge bill!

In other words, a chance to right a wrong, and in the process teach the
wrongdoers a lesson they will not forget for a long, long time. As that
noted financier, Billy Ray Valentine opined once, “the best way to get
even with rich people, is to turn them into poor people.”

This is a life lesson even the nerds in the administration should be able to

I know I have said bad things about this president. But I still have hope, despite
everything that has occurred, despite all the water that has passed under the bridge, that deep down, he wants to do good by us, the average folks, and not just for the rich, despite all the evidence that points to a feeling I have, that they really are his natural constituency and the ones he is most comfortable with.

I still believe, and I believe others do as well.

Again, Mr. President, it is time that you take a moment and familiarize yourself with the above mentioned trinity; JFK , FDR, and TR, act boldly
and decisively, with righteous anger, secure in the knowledge that you are
right, and that we, the American people, stand firmly in your corner.

Fight like the man we believe you are; as you said yourself, you are from
Chicago, where politicians know a thing or two about using their sharp
elbows, and we will have your back, sir.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Each of these 3 video’s moved me today.

While sitting in my bus off duty today, I decided to see if I could
find my favorite all- time television commercial. From 1979 I believe,
this short 29 second video has it all. Directed by Ridley Scott of
Bladerunner fame.

Share the fantasy indeed. Anyone know who played Catherine in this?

I also liked the song in this commercial. Turns out there is controversy
over whether this version is by the Ink Spots or Bobby Short. Bobby Short
did play piano. Any ideas?

I don’t want to set the world on fire by the Ink Spots.

This is not really a video per se, it is the singer’s voice with the lyrics and
a background image, something you see a lot of on Youtube. I don’t know
why, but this song really moves me, brought tears to my eyes.

White Flag by Dido.



Thursday, March 3, 2011

An open apology to the Smirking Chimp website and readers.

It was brought up in a recent comment made by a reader that it might
not be a “news link” to link to a post on my blog.

That never occurred to me and for that I apologize. Perhaps a better choice
would have been to place the link under a “commentary” section, if there was

I have removed the offending link plus have removed any and all links to your
site, including the blogroll link, as well as removed my 2 previous news links.

Never let it be said that the morongobill doesn’t respond to any concerns
about propriety, especially since I have reintroduced ads which, by the way,
have never paid one red cent to this blog or this blogger.

I hope this mea culpa relieves all those concerns that might have or not been
suitably expressed or vented.

As I have said before, I am just a bus driver, this is all new to me, but once
someone points out an error, I will respond quickly to address it.

And for those with any lingering doubts, the purpose of the ads is to aid the
site for now, I would love to explore the MNP in great detail, but lack funds to
do it. This would be a way to raise the funds, in return I would post trip reports.

I consider that a valid reason for ads, as a lot of people have expressed interest
in my trip reports, particularly the ones to the proposed solar sites such as

I am sure if there is a problem, someone will bring it to my attention, via email
or commenting.