Dry wit

My bucket list includes water.

Our friendly neighborhood water wizard John Fleck got to make a big wake by the boat dock in The New York Times this morning, taking California to task for “trying to protect its outsized water supply at the expense of others in the region. …”

Those others, in case you were wondering, include Your Humble Narrator and his friends and neighbors in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona.

John writes:

If we approach the challenge with a sense of fairness and shared sacrifice it will be possible to save the West that we know and love.

From your lips to God’s ears, as my people say. What was the line about learning to share in kindergarten? Maybe California needs some remedial education. That juicy Colorado River pie has become something of a dried-out shit sandwich, and we’re all going to have to take a bite.

Check out the entire essay, and follow John over at his own little adobe hacienda on the banks of the Great Digital River.

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14 Responses to “Dry wit”

  1. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Beef, it’s what’s for dinner.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    “…California justifies this imbalance with an outdated interpretation of the river’s allocation laws, but it’s really just an excuse to hoard resources on behalf of the farmers who raise alfalfa, the valley’s most dominant crop, and the cows that eat it…”

    When people ask me why I stopped eating meat, I can add this to the reply. Cows or people? Lawns or people? Too many people eating cows, nurturing lawns, and living beyond the Southwest’s means.

    Now I have nothing against cows, but since they are only being raised to be rounded up and killed, what’s the point? California has 40 million people or so, not to mention, the other 300 million plus Americans. If we are all eating at the top of the food chain and living the good life, then what the fuck do we think will happen to scarce resources?

  3. Shawn Says:

    If I was one to think about being first at something, I suppose I’d emulate the legend of Inuit peoples words and phrases for the varying types of snow, and begin to develop a dictionary of the words for dry in the desert southwest. Of course, “dry” would start it off and then somewhere in there would be the word “thosegoddamnedthievenwaterstealingcalifornicators”.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Thing is, California is just selling everyone what they want.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      And, they think they can’t do without these things. Almonds are another water intensive crop. These interests have large and well connected lobbyists. No one wants to give up anything or wear a mask. Same thinking, different public emergencies. These are both emergencies that we saw coming decades ago.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        You know that the grim news has yet to sink in when people are still piling into Rancho Chingado outside Scottsdale despite the highly publicized fact that it’s drier than a popcorn fart.

        “We’ll put the pool over there.”

        “Uh, a pool of what, exactly? Scorpions?”

      • khal spencer Says:

        Other species were killed off by predators, flood basalt eruptions, asteroid impacts, or some other sort of catastrophic event, with due respect to Abraham Werner’s initial ideas. We will do it to ourselves, by holding our own gun to our own head and pulling the trigger. Too smart for our own good. We are not even smart enough to do it to Julia.

  4. Tom H. Says:

    Hello, I stumbled onto your blog a few years ago when searching for bike related info and have kept reading because I enjoy your wit and commentary and because I’m curious about happenings and riding there from a local perspective as my wife and I have talked about moving there in the past. My family is taking a road trip in a couple of weeks and will stay one night there along the way from Austin to the Grand Canyon. I want to keep near the I40 corridor. Do you have a recommendation for whether we should look along the east side or drive through to the west side? And!… any good newmex dining recommendations for dinner while there? Thanks in advance and I hope this isn’t a bother. – Tom

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hey, Tom — thanks for enjoying the lowbrow comedy we serve up around these parts. It’s not always top shelf, but the price is right.

      If you want to stay near I-40 and have a few perks within walking distance, we’ve stayed at the Homewood Suites by Hilton-Albuquerque Uptown. It’s right off the freeway (Louisiana exit) and an easy stroll from a Trader Joe’s, Total Wine, and the ABQ Uptown open-air shopping mall (Apple Store, Eddie Bauer, North Face, etc.).

      Back in the Day® I used to stay at the Hampton at Carlisle and I-40 — right on the bike path, Whole Paycheck just across the interstate — but the area’s gotten pretty sketchy over the past few years.

      As for New Mexican food, we favor El Patio. Their Rio Grande location is just a short hop north of I-40 past the Big I (the intersection of I-40 and I-25). I like the green chile chicken enchiladas; Herself usually gets the chile rellenos.

      The Grand Canyon, eh? Gonna be in Flagstaff? Late for the Train is a great coffee shop, and if you like solid pub grub the Beaver Street Brewery is worth a visit.

      Hope that helps. Holler if you have any other questions.

  5. Jon Paulos Says:

    California doesn’t play fair in the water wars? This is news? Go back and read the history of the water wars that went on about a hundred years ago. California has never played fair when it comes to water. Do a Google search on “California Water Wars” and read about Owens Valley. For a contrasting example of how water rights can actually be worked out without shooting, see the Great Lakes Compact. Pretty strict, but agreed to by all parties (and signed into law even by notable village idiot Rod Blagojevich of Illinois), and when the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin tried to draw on Lake Michigan, they got their hand slapped because they were 1.5 miles outside of the allowed boundary.

    I look forward to the lawsuits when the Feds are forced to step in and decide for the various states what will happen. I shoulda been a water rights lawyer. I coulda had job security for life.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      Word. And the Great Lakes Compact states were not amused when the chatter about building a pipeline to the West carrying Lake Michigan water started. I think PBS had a program, maybe an episode of American Experience, about Owens Valley.

    • Libby Says:

      The movie , “Chinatown”(1974) set in 1930s L.A., which I saw when it was released introduced me to the Southern California water “story”. The plot of the noir mystery draws on a real life dam failure and the crooked business of acquiring water.

  6. Pat O’Brien Says:


  7. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Here’s the thing….while we may be Bogarting 90% of the country’s fresh water supply…well it ain’t so fresh after all. Due to factory farms and rampant chemical dumping by industry our water quality is quickly failing to meet test standards. And those standards are weak and poorly monitored. All because Rethuglican legislators stripped laws and regulations away when in office. Allowing polluters to simply slide sideways and declare bankruptcy after they’ve sheltered their ill gotten gains. And no criminal charges against them. I keep begging out-staters to contact Joe The Biden and support shutting down fekking Line 5 pipeline under the Mackinac bridge. You may indeed need this water down the road and it would be nice if it wasn’t poisonous.

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