Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."


Zebulon Pike

Brig. Gen. Zebulon Montgomery Pike, Jr., was born near modern-day Trenton, New Jersey during the Revolutionary War. In 1805, as a 27-year-old Lieutenant, Pike was charged with mapping the upper Mississippi River while a more-famous expedition mapped the Missouri River for President Jefferson.

Though Pike incorrectly designated Leech Lake as the Mississippi's headwaters (some 20 miles to the east of Lake Itasca, the "veritas caput" -- or "true head"), upon his return he was immediately ordered to lead a southwestern expedition to find the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers.

It was on this expedition that the peak that bears his name in south-central Colorado was mapped. Pike never reached the 14,115' summit of "Pikes Peak" -- turning back atop Mount Rosa (the peak to the southeast of the higher summit) in waist-deep snow after having gone without food for two days.

Though captured by Spanish authorities during this expedition, his incarceration in the Mexican state of Chihuahua led to several findings: access to more maps of the southwest, and the revelation of Mexican discontent with Spanish rule.

Pike continued to serve in the U.S. Army. At the Battle of Tippecanoe he is listed as a Lt. Col. with the 4th Infantry Regiment, and during the War of 1812 he was Quartermaster-General and Inspector-General in New Orleans.

His final expedition was the successful attack on York, Ontario (contemporary Toronto) in April 1813. During surrender negotiations, the retreating British garrison detonated their ammunition depot without warning. Pike was struck and killed by the debris on this date, April 27th, 1813.

Zebulon Pike's account of his travels, published in 1810, became required reading for all explorers who followed in his footsteps. His insights into the politics and economics of Chihuahua led to the establishment of the Santa Fe Trail to promote trade, and ultimately to the Mexican independence movement of the 1810s and 1820s.



En Pointe

Colorado Springs has some incredible dance studios. We just had Shelby fitted for her third pair of pointe shoes -- here she's modeling her new Russian Pointes. They grow up so fast....


Home Office Tourney

Blogfriend (and occasional co-imbiber of fine fermented beverages) Zenpundit has tagged me in his "Tournament of Home Offices". Though we only moved in to our present home two-and-a-half weeks ago, I am more than happy to oblige....

First, there is the Library (which CINCHOUSE continues to urge me to "downsize" -- as if I'd never find a need for my "Elements of Classical Dynamics" text from college, or my hardcopy notes from Joint Maritime Ops at the Naval War College circa 1992!):

Then there is the fightin' hole:

The clocks show all the important time zones in the world: Hawaii Standard Time, Tehran, Greenwich Mean Time and (of course) local time of the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center in lovely Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The bike is my Mercier Aero II (hoisted on a Minoura Rim Drive Action System for those blustery snowy days, or just about any time between Labor Day and Memorial Day).

The pen holder is a re-linked chain of .50-cal casings from a long-ago Science Advisor developmental test of a remote fire control system. The book next to the monitor is none other than Michael Tanji's edited work Threats in the Age of Obama.

And the beer is an Easy Street Wheat from Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado. There are a lot of benefits from living in the epicenter of U.S. microbreweries....

Of course, what Zen fails to mention about the esteemed Thomas P.M. Barnett office is the map painted on the walls/ceilings:

Hands down, Tom has the rockin'est home office.

I tag Sean Meade of interact, General of the Hordes Subadei, and Prof. Sam Liles of selil (who has the most impressive C2 / Info War library I've seen) to join the fray.

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Loveland 2

Shane at the top of lift 2 (taken by the J-man)

[Moblog] Loveland

Man-cub is off from school today (thanks to a District-wide "staff development" day) so we're testing the 12,000'+ air at Loveland Basin. Shred on!


A fitting reward!

[Moblog] Barr Trail

We left the kids at home (under Shelby's able stewardship) and took a
"grown-up's" afternoon in Manitou Springs. By the Cog Railway Station
(the easiest way to ascend Pikes Peak) is the trailhead for Barr Trail
- one of the harder ways to reach the summit.

Though Barr Trail stretches 12.6 miles and ascends 7,600' (an average
gradient of 11%), we only tackled about three percent of it for this
afternoon. Someday (before I turn 50) I'll have to try the Pikes Peak
Marathon. Or maybe just the Half Marathon...


Another Rockies Spring Day

O.K., just because my last three blog posts have shown snowy days, there really have been some nice days here too! Just 24 hours ago I was running around the base perimeter in shorts. Ah, variety!!


I'm dreaming of a white ... Easter!


[Moblog] Welcome to COS

We arrived in Colorado Springs this afternoon and are now in a mostly empty house. We'll house-sit for a local friend while we wait for our household goods to be delivered (on Monday).

While unloading our SUV & small U-Haul trailer, we discovered that one of the many Toroni syrup bottles featured at Shanebucks had failed to hold its contents. So about half of the bottom-layer items have a nice coating of what smells like cinnamon syrup.....

The cats and chinchillas are all fine, as are the kids. Just so long as I get Shelby to a working cable drop and TV before the American Idol results show tonight.