Barcelona 1979

Scenes from the Spanish Civil War, a gruesome reminder still today.
BarcelonaChurch
The church has a really big and spectacular vaulted ceiling, one huge arch from end to end. But you are facing away from the front of the church with your back to it, looking at the smaller chapel in the gated church courtyard.
In Winter-time when I was there the sun did not rise very high over the 24-foot tall, sturdy stone walls, and the general temperature was like a cold Summer day in San Francisco.
On the left are big, rectangular double-doors guarding the entrance leading into the circular courtyard. They are made of wrought-iron and heavy-timber. The stone walls are over six-feet thick.
The long row of pock-markings along the wall are from machine-gun bullets. The fountain is also still partially demolished, marked by bullet-fire. Here is where many-many people died, rounded-up in numbers and executed by one group or another.
To the right of the fountain and behind the tree there is a much smaller, single-door or secondary exit – a “Priest’s door.” That small but heavy wrought-iron door has a curved top and a small face-sized grate-opening in it. It also is covered in pock-marks.
The floor of the courtyard must have been awash in blood. It happened over a period off several days or maybe even weeks, all the killing.
And various factions still hate each other.

The Value of Failure

It’s good to be rejected and lose-out. You learn. You learn a lot, a whole damn lot – about yourself and about other people. That hot cheerleader babe who seemed so sweet but who went and humiliated you at lunch in front of the Football Captain – now you really know she’s not so nice. All that work helping her in American Lit. was for naught. But now the Football Captain (who knew he was a virgin?) will smack her when he gets a strange and unpleasant rash below the waistline. Later when she runs into a bridge-abutment while texting on her iPhone, at least it wasn’t you in the car. You learned.
If your name is not Hercules or Gilgamesh, when things don’t turn out so well your measure as a person isn’t necessarily how much and with mighty effort you bent the force of Heaven to your Iron Will (shades of Nietzsche), so much as how fast you let go of that stupid lever before it sliced-off your arm. Hercules could stitch himself back together – but maybe your poor First-Aid recollection and the fact you left the tourniquet in the truck, fifty-fleeting yards away, your odds otherwise diminish.
Pain is a good teacher, often the only one for many of us, that’s why God gave us fire and hammers. And that’s why thick-headed Alpha Males strut through the underbrush smacking each other with their antlers, or on TV wearing helmets and shoulder pads. We get to watch and learn vicariously. They get the not-so-nice but hot-hot cheerleaders, and brain damage. Meanwhile the other girls, the nice ones with a sense of kindness, the ones who don’t insist on being special, are just glad the flaming bitches went away. They don’t represent. Brute to bruté. And NotClauswitz is also NotHefner, so no worries.
Not everybody is wired-up the same way, and it’s not all about status and hierarchy. History get’s written-down by whoever remembers anything, so a good memory is more important than you might think. Brain-damage doesn’t help, or the biggest pile of skulls. The first President of California during the Bear Flag Republic’s 27-day effort, William B. Ide, was a guy who nobody even remembers and they’re not even sure where he’s actually buried.
Not everybody can go Isosceles with a 1911, or else Glocks and Weaver wouldn’t exist. Some still go tea-cup Weaver, but at least they got a gun. Some want to die on a mountain of brass. I can’t afford a mountain, but I would like a view out over the far-horizon.

Windy-Rainy Wednesday

Heavy gusting winds followed a night of sluicing downpour, various locations in the King and Rim fire burn areas are under a Flash-Flood watch. We had half-an-inch yesterday, and have already gotten over half an inch of rain today – and another half or more on its way. Down in soggy Sacramento they’ve already gotten over an inch and there’s flooding. Probably won’t be able to get a shot of the snow-capped Sierras today.

Sacramento has an interesting flood-history of real serious inundations. It probably would never have become the State Capital (San Jose was Capital for a while after the Monterey Presidio was taken from the Californios, and later Vallejo (Alcalde land-grant graft-opportunity), Benecia (same), and San Frandisco) unless they had made some very major efforts to curtail flooding, because the whole region would become simply impassible and access to Sacramento itself was threatened.

In fact at the end of 1861, beginning on December 24 1861, it rained for 45-days and nights – a proverbial deluge. The whole central valley was one big inland-ocean, and not for the first time.

The entire Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys were inundated for an extent of 300 miles, averaging 20 miles in breadth. However, later it was estimated that approximately one-quarter of the taxable real estate in the state of California was destroyed in the flood.
Dependent on property taxes, the State of California went bankrupt.

USGS  ARkStorm (for Atmospheric River 1000 Storm) Scenario

USGS ARkStorm (for Atmospheric River 1000 Storm) Scenario

To rectify that calamity what they did (eventually, after fits and starts) was to essentially create an island out of the city of Sacramento. (UPDATE#2: And begin the building of the levee water-control system.)

In the downtown area they built-up the streets and buried the buildings to the level of the 2nd-floor, leaving the 1st Floor as a basement – God-knows what happened to the former basements. Spaces fronting the building where there were once sidewalks became subterranean tunnels connecting some buildings – it was rather hit-or-miss depending on the property owner and his neighbor. And robbers tried to tunnel into the Banks, of course.

Interestingly enough there is some precedent or evidence of a storm and flooding of such magnitude. Early reports from some Spanish explorers who came up the coast, say that they sailed thorough two large promontories (what we now call “the Golden Gate”), and made their way (by sail) up north and as far inland as the Chico/Red Bluff Butes on a large, placid, inland sea…

UPDATE: We got our half-inch of rain, and more than another half. Also a Flash-Flood warning for our area, but up on the Low Granite Outcropping it’s all downhill from here! Winds in the 20-30mph range tipped over an already-furled, small umbrella so we went out and laid the others down to avoid further drama. In the late afternoon some impressive sweeps of black clouds zoomed up from the flatland to darken the sky and brought wind and rain together, and then as evening approached a thunder cell came over the ridge that alternately blackened the sky and lit it up with peals of Thor’s Hammer. WOOT!