Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: A Record Year For Scorpion Stings

According to the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center in Phoenix, 2011 will set a record level for scorpion stings in one year. In 2010, the center logged 8,718 scorpion exposures.

Doctors at the Banner center say the total for 2011 will be about 10,000 stings throughout Maricopa County. Include the rest of the scorpion stings throughout the state reported by the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center in Tucson, and we're talking some serious numbers.

[originally posted video removed by link]

Source: Phoenix ABC News Channel-15

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Neigborhood Revitalization | Phoenix

Your neighbors making urban eyesores a better place to live.

Source: Valley of the Sunflowers Project

Get Up Arizona | Graffiti

Every Arizonan has differing opinions about writers, bombers, or taggers, and you may view them as criminals and vandals instead of artists. But, no matter what you think of them, just like most other states in America, Arizona has it's share of so-called, graffiti "artists".

Also, like everywhere else in the United States, the larger the size of the city, the larger the volume of graffiti. As such, if you live in Phoenix, Arizona's most-populated metropolitan area, you can't travel anywhere without something being covered in graffiti.

So, I thought I would link to the following documentary film about graffiti in Arizona in order to possibly get a better understanding of why writers, bombers, taggers, or "graffiti artists" do what they do. I'll leave it to you to decide whether it should be considered crime, or be considered art.

According to the filmakers -
In the Valley of the Sun, two hip-hop heads set out on a mission to document some of the illest graffiti and street art in their state. Along with photo and film contributions from other artists, they put together a kaleidoscope of graffiti art footage and photos, live legal and illegal painting, interviews, hilarious run-ins with street-folk, a graffiti animation featuring real graff art from local writers, Arizona issues and culture, old PSA's and local news reports on the AZ graffiti scene, live local B-Boys, Poppers n Lockers, MCs and DJs, scraps, and all other types of insanity! Scouring all over the valley, the two captured some of the best images of graffiti art from pieces, throw-ups, and characters, to stickers and tags and even some stencil and wheat-paste art.

All of the graffiti art featured in GET UP ARIZONA is strictly from the Valley, Tucson, Yuma, San Luis and Northern Arizona. All of the incredible music featured in the film is from local MCs, DJs and bands as well... Phadeone and Sage are tremendous proponents of graffiti culture. They felt the need to make a film to represent that culture, not just for Arizona, but for graffiti artists and graffheads everywhere!
Here's a trailer for the film. The full version can be found on GraffMonger's Youtube playlist channel.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Arizona: The Five "Cs"

Arizona: The Sixth C Is Cactus
Arizona has changed dramatically in just the short time that I've lived here. But, change isn't always a bad thing.

During the first century of statehood, the five "C"s - cattle, citrus, climate, copper, and cotton - which are depicted on the state seal, have made Arizona shine.

Now, the copper mines that once dominated many towns are closed. Vast expanses of citrus groves have been replaced by multiple housing subdivisions. Arizona's favorable climate, which has driven the population growth for decades is also imperiled by that growth. Cattle ranchers continue their traditions against a backdrop of environmental regulations, political, and economic pressures. And cotton production, which has risen and fallen over the years, has seen a resurgence of late due to global demand.

This Cronkite News special report examines the status of these "C"s, elements that helped chart Arizona's transition from the "Wild West" to a cosmopolitan western state this past 100 years.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays - Hummingbird Fever!

While the rest of the country may be experiencing freezing temperatures for the holidays, we here in the Sonoran Desert are enjoying the best part of our year. As Matthew James Price shows, even the migratory hummingbirds enjoy spending the winter months in southern Arizona.

According to the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory, though there are a few hummingbirds that stay all year in the warmer parts of our state, most of the hummingbird species that make southern Arizona so special arrive in April or May and leave by early October. You'll find the most spectacular diversity of hummingbirds during the late summer rainy season, when local nesters overlap with Mexican species following the rains northward as well as northern nesters on their way south into Mexico. In a week of birding in southern Arizona between late July and early September, it's possible to find up to 15 species of hummingbirds, more than you'll find in any other part of the United States.

Hummingbird Fever! from Matthew James Price on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Celebrating The Centennial

Some of us Arizonans are often considered weird and insane, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It goes without saying that we've got our share of unsavory characters living here, but this state is also blessed with preponderance of very creative artists.

Here's one of Phoenix's local artists, Michael Levine, improving the Phoenix warehouse district while also celebrating our state's centennial. According to Michael -
In 1999 I purchased "a few" signs from the Arizona State surplus yard. 12 years later I put them to work.

- Over 500 AZDOT Highway signs
- Over 3,000 Self drilling screws
- 6 Days installation
- 27' High X 140' long

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Border Ranching At It's Worst

Things were safer when it was only illegal immigrants seeking work who crossed into Arizona border ranches, but with drug smuggling becoming pervasive, ranchers now fear for their lives. According to the Arizona Daily Star's, THE BORDER: LIFE THEN AND NOW, ranchers in Southern Arizona's smuggling corridors used to have a "live and let live" relationship with the numerous illegal border crossers. Now, it's become too dangerous to be polite.

But, don't just take my word for it. Here's a recent incident between Mexican drug smugglers and an Arizona border rancher caught on video -

Monday, December 12, 2011

Arizona At 100 Years

It's hard to believe that the State of Arizona is only going to be 100-years old this February, it seems longer. On February 14, 1912, after nearly 49 years as a U.S. territory and thousands of years as a sacred home to indigenous peoples, Arizona became the 48th and last of the contiguous states to enter the Union of the United States of America.

Welcome to The Sonoran
I've been living in Arizona for approximately the past twenty-five years. My parents were always on the move, continuously changing cities and states through my childhood, so I never really considered anywhere I lived to be my "home". Although I was born in another state, after spending most of my life living here, I've come to consider Phoenix, Arizona to be my home, a place to leave my legacy.

Arizona is a beautiful place to live and enjoy. Not only is the landscape and weather diverse here, but people of all races and cultures live here, creating a socially diverse, entertaining and exciting place to live. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. But, that cultural diversity often creates conflicts not usually experienced in other states. That's why Arizona is often depicted as a boiling cauldron of conflict, crime, and corruption, or as a weird and crazy place to live.

Although I love living in Arizona, in some ways, I have to agree with that depiction. A lot of strange things happen in this state. So, to celebrate the centennial, I thought I would blog about the crazy stuff that makes life in our state so interesting and unique.

Image Source: NPS: The Sonoran Desert