Monday, June 18, 2018

The Horrible Act of Dehumanizing Others

Woody Guthrie, the conscience of our nation, once even wrote a song about a Trump. But this song haunts me, especially in these evil days...
Plane Wreck at Los Gatos
(also known as "Deportee")
Words by Woody Guthrie, Music by Martin Hoffman
The crops are all in and the peaches are rott'ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be "deportees"

My father's own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.

Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract's out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, "They are just deportees"

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except "deportees"?

Here is a version sung by Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls:

Friday, June 1, 2018

In Memoriam: Ron Schott

I should be getting some sleep right now, as we are leaving early on our journey to the Colorado Plateau, but I received sad news today, and couldn't let the moment pass to mention the life of Ron Schott. He passed away unexpectedly, and long before his time. Ron was a modern geological pioneer, writing one the earliest geology blogs (The Geology Home Companion) which was a factor in my decision to begin blogging a decade ago. He was a leader in utilizing all forms of social media to promote geological knowledge, and was especially well known for his production of Gigapan images.

Early on, I learned of Ron because of the "Schott Rule" in the "Where on (Google) Earth?" web contest. He was so good at tracking down the location of the most obscure Google image that as I recall, he had to wait to give others a chance to find the location.

I was privileged to meet him several times when our paths crossed in the field. Most memorably, he met us outside Bakersfield late one rainy night when we were expected to arrive for camping on the first night of our yearly Death Valley trip. He actually made chocolate chip cookies for the entire crew.

Ron will certainly be missed. My condolences to his family and friends.