book: I’m rereading bits and pieces of Rivers of Empire, Donald Worster’s 1985 book about water and the west. When I read it 20 years ago, I was sympathetic to Worster’s argument that the concentration of power required for great irrigation works defined the social and political structures of the west. Not entirely convinced, but sympathetic. At the time, I was living in LA and spending a good deal of time writing about water politics. I’m still not entirely convinced, viewing the guarantee of an available water supply a necessary but not sufficient condition for the political and social structures I see around me today. Which brings me to my….

Quote of the day: “The idea that nature has something to do with the shaping of culture and history is an idea that is both obviously true and persistently neglected.” – Donald Worster, see above.

word(s) of the day: “slow-worm,” a legless lizard. (You can tell the difference by the eyes. Lizards have eyelids.)

days: Our saint-of-the-day is Thomas Becket, who got whacked in his own cathedral by four knights (“Will no man rid me of this turbulent priest?”) 835 years ago today, causing everyone to feel so bad that he was sainted two years later. This is also Admission Day in Texas, commemorating its membership in The Union. Various people were whacked in the leadup to that event as well.

Music: A certain Christmas elf (who shall remain nameless because of questions involving federal copyright law) gave me a great mix CD with Bob Dylan, k.d. lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and a rockin’ version of “Mustang Sally” by Buddy Guy.