Archive for July 23rd, 2008

Prosser, WA, and by extension Richland/Tri-Cities prove the rule that the more things change the more things stay the same.  Oddly enough this boom-and-bust desert town is growing but also dying off in the labs (Battelle PNNL).  Richland/Hanford is a so-called Superfund site.  The insidious part of the Manhattan Project which birthed from its loins the Hanford site and shaped the Tri-Cities as they are today (Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco) is that while it helped resolve the war decisively (thus saving MILLIONS of lives) it also guaranteed that the bill would come due at a later date, in the form of a radiological/toxic legacy.   The urgent part of the extraction and experimentation for the first bombs left Hanford and Savannah River in less-than-enviable condition, with some of the wastes not even being fully known, much less fully understood.  In the sense of “angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin” the debate could rage about this topic, but leave it at this:  There are many waste tanks out there that have cocktails of things that aren’t well documented, and some them are leaky.  And some of them are radioactive enough to kill a person in the vicinity in short order and like to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.  [ponder that – just ponder]

My picture didn’t turn out as nice as this one, but here is a picture of the Yakima River alongside which grows the famous Russian Olive Tree (Pieceofcrapius Assholicus Bushicus) which is a silver-leafed shrub/tree straight from the lower bowels (colon) of Hell itself.  They are silvery, leafy, bushy, and have placed at very strategic locations these giant-sized thorns capable of skewering your hand right through a glove.  They are also famous for purposely selecting to pierce the webbing between your fingers.  These demon-spawn trees are rampant in this area.

How do I know these things?  Because I lived here for five years at my first job (laser spectroscopy lab) and met/married Cruel Wife here 13 years ago to this very day.

Next is the ubiquitous Tackweed.  See those spikes?  There’s this real funny story about how Lemur King (yours very truly), upon just moving to this area, took his mountain bike out for a ride.  After about a mile it began to get very hard to pedal.  It seemed that it must be sand bogging down the works, but upon investigation it was found that the tires were both flat.  The tires were only flat on the bottoms but flat enough to spoil the party.  No less than 15 spikes in each of the tires.  Ha.  Ha.  Ha.   Funny, wasn’t it?  Even funnier, these little gems can puncture feet with a vengeance as they separate bones in your feet.  The wicked chuckle can be heard quietly in the background… ha…  ha…  ha…This is another example of how the desert seems to like “sticking it to you“.  Rattlesnakes abound as well. Rather than link a pic of a snattlerake, let me link you to a great story.  Fun for the whole family if you like giving them the heebiedejeebies.  The only story I can add is that the damn things would kill power to the area several times a summer by slithering into a transformer to get out of the hot sun.

Three or so days in Prosser, the high point for Lemur King meeting up with his best friend (and wedding day best man) for the afternoon to go see Batman the Dark Knight (kickass, the Joker was incredible and max creepy, too) then it was on to Ellensberg to visit fambly.

Portland – Prosser – Ellensberg

Ellensberg, WA – Coming Down from the Pass

We’re here until Thursday, then on to the Eugene, Oregon locale.  Willamette Valley and all it’s perks – mountains, pollen, and thistles (willamette is apparently native-indian-speak for “valley full of goddamned thistles”)

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