Nature (as social construct): Make some time in your life for Jordan Fisher Smith's memoir of days as a California state parks ranger, Nature Noir.
"I can't make up my mind whether Jordan Fisher Smith is John Muir at the crime scene or Elmore Leonard with a backpack," writes Mike Davis in a cover blurb.
M. and I are also reading (listening to on CD, actually) Nevada Barr's Hard Truth. It's a tightly plotted mystery, starring her series protagonist, the indestructible National Park Service ranger Anna Pigeon,but Barr should fire her field researcher. (She is living in Mississippi now.) There is no manzanita in Rocky Mountain National Park, and Abert squirrels on Colorado's Eastern Slope are solid black, without the white tail of the Kaibab Plateau race.
Culture: Bumper sticker seen on a Range Rover in Chama, New Mexico: "Never mind the car. My real treasure is in Heaven." Evidently the Range Rover's owner is a member of the Elect and knows it. Translation: "I am rich, and I am saved."
Environmental news: After my Mexican spotted owl post, I had lunch with Erik Brekke, the BLM biologist who supervised M's and my owl-census fieldwork in the early 1990s. He said that several of the owls banded then are still alive, two of them 13 and 15 years old, which seems ancient for a wild bird. Tough little guys!
He also said that he started hearing Eurasian collared doves in Cañon City, Colorado, as long as four years ago. So maybe this was just the year that M. and I became sensitized to their presence.
Dogs: Radley Balko writes The Agitator blog and works for the Cato Institute, where you will find this essay on family pets killed in SWAT team raids.
The "poster dog" was the Labrador retriever shot down in the misconceived raid on Randy Weaver's house, just before FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi gunned down Vicki Weaver as she held her baby. (Big terrorist that she was, y'know.)