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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

All About Holes

Holes are very useful. The universe began as a hole in nothing. People are built around holes too.

People take fuel into their upper holes and expel waste and exhaust out lower holes. This is done by gravity. Gravity is what permits people to live on a big ball of dirt in the universe and not fall off. The big ball is planet Earth, which also has some impressive holes in it. Pictured over this essay is a really big one, the Grand Canyon. The state of Arizona is located in it.

When people are little in this part of the world, they like to go outside and try to dig holes to China, just as British kids dig holes toward the Antipodes. My brother and I did that all the time. We would dig and dig and periodically stop to listen. My brother said if we could hear people speaking Chinese through the bottom of the hole, we were getting close. I used to wonder if Chinese kids were digging holes to America and if we could talk to them if our tunnels met. My brother thought language would present no insuperable problem; American is just Chinese upside down.

The Grand Canyon was dug by kids trying reach China. This caused problems when it lowered the Colorado River so many miles that water had to be pumped upward at great expense just so people could get a drink or flush a commode. When I was Lieutenant Governor of Arizona, I proposed legislation that would prohibit children from any further mass-excavations to China. The initiative never became law however, despite my best efforts as Lieutenant Governor, because Arizona has no such office.

Our discussion of holes going down really addresses only half the enigma. Attention must be given to other directions as well. Blog friend and excellent writer, Jon, at Lonestar Concerto, furnished a dramatic description of West Texas dust storms the other day and posted some awesome photos of them in progress over the high plains. My photo does not approach the fearsome umber cloud that awarded Lubbock, Texas the "Toughest Weather On Earth", but I have converted my stock picture of crumbling buttes into a conservative approximation.

It is a matter of historical consensus that the first flight of a heavier-than-air craft took place at Kitty Hawk in 1903 but this is inaccurate.  Texas Ranger Thos. Lubbock achieved this distinction 20 years earlier by going outside in a dust storm with nothing more than a shovel and began digging upwards. Being a vigorous man, aided by gravity causing the dirt to simply fall away from his shovel, he achieved an altitude of several thousands of feet before the wind subsided. Fortunately, he was also quite resourceful and invented the parachute on his way down. There are some historical exploits that quite frankly cannot be exaggerated but I am unencumbered by facts here and this is not one of them.


  1. Good take on holes in general....and really, facts, who needs em. Did you see the latest picture from space showing a black hole having lunch? Fascinnating. I'd love to read your thoughts on that.

  2. I always find myself wondering if you are like this all the time, or turn it on just for blog posting.

    Interesting cranial lobes you have. You should leave the old spongy cauliflower to science, on the off-hand chance that they can i.d. whatever anti-matter fuels your reactor.

  3. Delores-- Thanks. I do intend to address black holes in the near future but time breaks down inside them so it might appear in the past.

    Geezers-- Surrealism overtakes us all from time to time. I appreciate your suggestion regarding my brain because it presumes its existence.

  4. The concept of featuring a blog post dedicated to holes is wholly unique, and in many ways an almost holy experience. As a child, I remember attempting to dig holes to China with the aide of a sand shovel and a vivid imagination.
    As an adult, I often find myself trying to dig out of holes that I've haphazardly gotten myself into.

    Having always had a desperate need for attention and validation, I'm delighted that you were kind enough to mention my blog.
    My writing is wholly unworthy of praise, and I'm certain that more than a few of my readers think I have too many holes in my head.

    As for West Texas, I've been holed up here far too long. Despite the aid of a steam shovel, I haven't yet been successful in digging my way out. Perhaps I should follow the example of Texas Ranger Thos. Lubbock and try digging upwards......

  5. Jon-- Thank You. Without your coverage, few --even a surrealistic few-- could fantasize the awesome reality of the West Texas sky.

  6. I always loved digging holes as a kid, except for when my dad made me dig 'em for a trash pit or to dig out stumps... Good insights here :)

  7. Geo, thank you for clarifying the issue about Thomas Lubbok.

  8. Sage --In the '50s we used to bury our cans in the sand beside the river and wonder what future archaeologists would make of them. Bottles got returned for deposits and everything else was burned. Not bad for primitives like you and me.

  9. DB --after his experiment in dustcloud ascension, I felt there was call for clarification.

  10. And here in Australia we also dug holes to China. Never quite got there, but tried very hard.

  11. "We are built around holes." I came across this disturbing concept when I listened to a RadioLab podcast on "Guts" recently. "The human body is a donut, and we have a hole all the way through us. What seems to be inside us, inside our stomach, is actually outside us."


    So maybe we could alternately title your post, "Of Buttes and Butts?"

  12. I used to dig holes to try to find crawfish or moles when I was a little boy. I usually just ended up finding a bunch of worms...

  13. You often inspire me, Geo. and this time I believe you've solved my "what to do this Summer?" problem. I'm ordering a shovel forthwith.

  14. I never tried to dig holes to China. I wonder if it's because my father put us to work digging up rocks and digging ditches for sprinklers as soon as we could lift a shovel.

  15. This is the best blog post I have ever read. You have an awesome mind Geo.
    When I was a boy I would dig holes and bury things in them, hopefully to be found in the future.

  16. I once started digging to China but got bored...


    p.s. Did you know that the pile is the natural enemy of the hole?


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