Happy 4th of July!

by John Holbo on July 4, 2017

I got up at 5 AM to take a hike in the Arizona desert with older daughter. Nothing around me but cactus, rocks, and the sun getting it together to glare over the mountains. (Older daughter was a couple hundred meters away, around the bend. I was alone!) A few bird noises. Ah, nature! How … natural it all seemed. Suddenly - voices! Two hikers, their words carried across an ancient, solemn landscape, although they are invisibly off in the distance. They are arguing, loudly, about Trump and how stupid his tweets are. And yet all I see is primordial desert. Trump has, to all appearances, managed to troll the desert itself - patient floor of a primordial, long-dead sea. That guy is a pro, as trolls go.

But don’t let it get you down! On the way out I remembered to photograph a teensy bit of desert, dawn fireworks. Didn’t come out so well, but you get the idea.




Jonathan Weinberg 07.05.17 at 2:01 am

Hey, don’t suppose you’re down in the Tucson neck of the woods, er, cactus, are y’all?


Russell L. Carter 07.05.17 at 2:52 am

That’s a cholla, don’t touch! Although KH prolly has given you basic desert interaction principles. Welcome! It’s much nicer this week than last, if non-record heat is a factor in your localized utility function. We just narrowly missed another burn… it’s only a matter of time.


Dr. Hilarius 07.05.17 at 3:04 am

Thanks. My graduate work was at the University of New Mexico and I spent much of my time in various deserts watching lizards go about their lives. Stay hydrated and wear a hat.


Waiting for Godot 07.05.17 at 5:54 am

Spent 13 months in the high New Mexico desert in charge of a medical dispensary on the White Sands Missile Range in 1968-69 10 kilometers from the first A bomb test. I was serving out my time after spending a year in the central highlands of Vietnam I haven’t been back since but a number of times over the years I have remembered the moments alone, especially at night with a good moon, when I shivered from a feeling of permanence that defies any dependence upon human presence or consciousness, almost a condescending disdain for the human stain on the planet. I was moved at those moments to think that we humans are just prisoners of the war between history and truth and that Mother Nature will take care of the planet after we’re gone, kinda like cleaning a stain on the carpet. Sounds like the desert can still do that for folks today. Thanks for reminding me Citizen Holbo.


reason 07.05.17 at 7:23 am

OK, I’m confused they were arguing about how stupid his tweets were? So one was saying they were deranged and the other was violently disagreeing that they were only a decoy to distract the easily distracted? (Of course they could be both at once).


kidneystones 07.05.17 at 12:47 pm

WTF? Happy 4th of July to one and all, especially John and family. Here’s a little food for thought. Given the Trumpmeister’s redefinition of normal, I’d give this approach at least a 50-50 chance of generating serious traction.


Ogden Wernstrom 07.05.17 at 4:10 pm

We now return from our celebration to the plutocratic oligarchy, already in progress….


arnold 07.05.17 at 4:13 pm

The desert and politics–perfect for sustaining a search for one’s own personal freedom…


J-D 07.06.17 at 12:05 am


Joseph Brenner 07.06.17 at 1:00 am

In recent years, Gary Trudeau has gone into semi-retirement and only writes new Doonesbury cartoons for the Sunday editions. The dailies are re-runs from the 80s… and we’ve just gotten up to a sequence from 1989 where he’s making fun of the Tee-rump:


It’s like some later-day Doctor Who plot: Donald Trump has infected the fabric of space-time without any of us noticing, like the baddest of Bad Wolfs.


Peter T 07.06.17 at 1:15 am

re 10

I found a compilation of Doonesbury of the Bush II era at the back of the bookshelf the other night. All there – the stupidity, corruption, greed…Change the names and nothing has changed. Sigh.


Eszter 07.07.17 at 1:03 pm

Lovely, John! I was in the Badlands on the 4th and pondered the beauty of the land there. (Anything political I encountered was not bashing Trump, it was a reality check for sure.)

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