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How Did I Miss That? Major Crack Problems in Wyoming

The Powell, Wyoming Tribune reported discovery the Big Horn Gash, a monster crack in the earth that was reported on October 29 to be 750 yards long, 50 yards wide, and growing. It seemed so unlikely that it was reported to Snopes.com, but there was no debunking to make it go away, so speculation kicked in.

The Los Angeles Times reported on guesses that it was a portent that the Yellowstone Super Volcano is waking up or perhaps a sign that graboids are moving north out of Nevada. So far, nobody has suggested that humans were directly involved in creating the Big Horn Gash.

Humans were directly involved in both the discovery and the creation of what became public when The New York Times reported that photos taken from space by NASA have led to discoveries in Kazakhstan of what are being called the Steppe Geoglyphs, manmade formations visible only from the air.

Some compare the Steppe Glyphs to the Thirteen Towers of Chankillo in the Peruvian desert or the more famous Nazca Lines, first discovered in modern times when air travel took place over the geoglyphs. The Nazca culture in Peru disappeared around 600 C.E.

Older than the Nazca Lines are the Paracas Geoglyphs, which date back 2,500 years. The Paracas sites are not such head scratchers because they contain petroglyphs as well and are on the sides of hills so they can be seen from the pampas below. The Nazca Lines require flight to see in their entirety.

The Steppe Glyphs, similarly, can only be noticed from the air. Some scientists object to the comparison with Nazca because the new discoveries in Kazakhstan are merely geometric shapes: squares, circles, and swastikas. The Nazca geoglyphs contain animals and plants, which are much more complicated. One explanation for that is that the oldest date for the Steppe Glyphs was 8,000 years ago, when the only peoples present were thought to be nomads. The Nazca culture was based on farming, contrary to what Europeans would claim over 2,000 years later.

NASA does not have space research to itself, and The Verge reported on a press availability of an all-female team of Russian cosmonauts that started out with their boss opining they “might be no worse than men” and went downhill as reporters asked questions about the lack of makeup and how they would do their hair in space. A male scientist remarked, "I'd like to wish you a lack of conflicts, even though they say that in one kitchen, two housewives find it hard to live together."

The women follow a group of male cosmonauts testing long-term isolation to simulate space flight. The prizes will be seats on the first Russian manned moon mission in 2029. The Russians are also said to have a manned Mars fly-by on their agenda.

Those of us who remember how the Sputnik scare goosed U.S. science education wish the Russians best of luck as we grit our teeth every time Americans have to hitch a ride on Russian spacecraft to get to and from the International Space Station.

I’d like to think that U.S. reporters would not have been so insensitive if interviewing female astronauts. I hope they’d take a cue from when the world champion U.S. women’s soccer team visited the White House. President Obama remarked, “’Play like a girl’ means you are a badass!”

“Spoken like a true lame duck,” my Republican cousin Ray Sixkiller snickered.

“Spoken like a man with two daughters,” I replied.

The big sports news was how the New York Mets, having destroyed the hopes of long suffering Cubbies fans, had their own hopes barbecued like a rack of Kansas City ribs.

Fox Sports video feed went down during the first World Series game, a nail biter finally won by Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer with a bases loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourteenth inning.

Moving to the indoor sport that plays for keeps---politics---outgoing House Speaker John Boehner gifted his successor with a budget deal that will wipe out further opportunities to shut the government down until there is no longer a black man heading it.

Paul Ryan, drafted by Republicans to replace Boehner, has released the “work” schedule in the House of Representatives for the next year. The people’s house will work 111 days total and only two “full” weeks, meaning five days. The traditional August recess starts July 16 and they come back to “work” after Labor Day.

“What do you expect,” Cousin Ray snorted, “ when the poor babies only get paid $174,000 a year?”

If those 111 they plan to work were eight hour days (which they are not), and we assume the most important work is legislating, that’s less than $200 an hour! When you came to Washington to blow up the government rather than to govern, I expect 111 days is enough and they can make up the money when they move to K Street.

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The Sunlight Foundation reported in 2014 that two thirds of revolving door lobbyists make more money trying to influence legislation than members of Congress do writing it.

I expect a lot of Congresspersons spend the time outside those 111 days raising money to run, since elections are funded privately rather than publicly. You can’t run for Congress for $348,000, which is the salary you would make in a two year House term. Tell me again how you expect honest people to come to the top in that system?

“Easy,” Cousin Ray muttered. “You only get honest rich people.”

For some reason, I thought of Congress when I saw a Mirror report. A Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400 cargo plane in route from Adelaide to Kuala Lumpur with some two thousand goats was forced to divert for an emergency landing in Bali when smoke detectors indicated a fire on board. No fire was found. After over two hours of investigation, the false alarm was attributed to a flatulent cargo.

Cousin Ray could hardly quit laughing. “Airlines do all kinds of crazy things to paying customers because they are worried about bombs and hijackers…and then a plane gets downed by goat farts!”

It was nice to get Cousin Ray’s goats, because I’ve had to chow down on a Washington Post report all week. The Post contained the news that a colloquial term for “crazy” in Norway is “texas.” A guru of Norway’s Language Council claimed the phrase “helt texas” (completely crazy) was used in Norway’s newspapers at least 50 times in the last year.

How is this news playing in Texas? The story broke in the first place in Texas Monthly. I never thought I’d regret that Sarah Palin did not get elected to national office, but if she had, the result would have been a different word for crazy. Palin would have baked Alaska.

“You guys in Baja Oklahoma,” Cousin Ray hooted, “just never got over Alaska becoming the largest state.”

This year’s national Republican candidates didn’t like the sawdust and greasepaint aspect of the last debate, in spite of the TV ratings. So they pulled together to try and take charge of the next one, but they had such problems staying together that the list of demands got shortened substantially.

The first big hassle was Trump and Bush differing over appearing on Telemundo, where Bush’s Spanish fluency is an advantage and Trump has a track record of disrespecting Telemundo reporters along with everybody else that speaks Spanish.

Cousin Ray said I should attend to the big picture. “Who would have thought,” my Republican cousin asked, “this gang would suddenly discover the value of collective bargaining?”

He’s right, and it would have worked if the gambit had not broken up with all the candidates’ firepower aimed at their own feet.

I wonder if 25-year-old Allie Carter is a Republican? CNN reported that she was hunting in northern Indiana with her dog, Trigger. She put her shotgun on the ground with the safety off and Trigger accidentally pulled the trigger, shooting Carter in the foot.

Embarrassment is a relative term, though, and the city of As Pontes, located in Galicia, had more reason to blush. The Guardian reported that As Pointes was advertising a culinary festival celebrating a staple vegetable grown locally, grelo.

The organizers ran the notice though Google Translate for Galician to Spanish, which made a minor error, inviting the public to a “Clitoris Festival.” The “Spanish” translation read in part that “... the festival has made the clitoris one of the star products of its local gastronomy.”

“Gastronomy?” Cousin Ray was puzzled. “That’s what they call it in Spain?”

Yahoo! News and just about every newspaper in the UK reported that Iranian actress Sadaf Taherian has had her license to work revoked by Iran’s Ministry of Culture for posting indecent photos on Facebook and Instagram. That is, photos that showed her face. Reports on the contretemps within Iran reportedly Photoshopped a hijab on her photos so as not to be involved in the indecency.

The Iranian mullahs claim that the hijab requirement is to protect women because men could not control themselves at the sight of women’s faces. In the Creek Nation, where I was raised, young men seemed able to swim with young women and control themselves. Cousin Ray said it was the same in the Cherokee Nation, where he grew up, “and the reason we had to start wearing bathing suits was not lack of self control.”

Ray’s right. We all get old.