The history behind the West’s megadrought, simplified

Lake Oroville, California, supplies water to a quarter of America’s crops, helps run hydroelectric power, and beckons tourism. Unfortunately, it is at an alarming 39% of capacity and will reach the lowest level ever by August. Photo by Gemma Burgazzi, Wikimedia Commons.

There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be. ~Edward Abbey

To a farmer or rancher, nothing could be sweeter than the sound of an approaching storm.

Dogs are terrified of thunderstorms. Like fireworks around the 4th of July, they shake and tremble and cower as if they’re trying to make themselves as small as possible against the unknown beast.

As a child growing up in the far southerly reaches of Tornado Alley, I don’t think they bothered me. (Mom?) …

Albuquirky is just one of our nicknames

Albuquerque as seen from the Sandia Mountains. Photo by Donald Trujillo.

After 35 years in Chicago, it was time to turn the page.

Even though I spent the first 13 of those years in a suburb(Skokie), it was close enough to the City (three miles) to say that we were from Chicago. To live in Schaumburg or Aurora and say you’re from Chicago is another thing altogether. So when people say they’re from Chicago, scrutinize. It would be like living in the OC and saying you’re from Los Angeles. You’re not. OC: Republican. LA: not Republican.

But enough of my mishigas. I moved to…

Turn off the Water When You’re Brushing Your Teeth!

Los Angeles. This is a big, thirsty city to water—photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash.

Drought begets drought, so the saying goes.

Extreme heat dries out the soil, which dries out the atmosphere. As a result, there is not enough moisture in the soil to help the formation of thunderstorms. Thus, more heatwaves are in the forecast for the summer of 2021. According to Park Williams, a University of California climate and fire scientist, the soil in the Western half of the U.S. is the driest it’s been since 1895.

This is the third of a three-part series examining the effects of long-term drought in the West. …

Abilene, Ventura, Lincoln, Santa Fe, Skokie, Cedar Rapids, Chicago, and Albuquerque are my homes.

Gardening has always been my favorite hobby. Photo: Author’s Mom.

Hello! Arthur Keith is my pen name. I dropped my last name for this purpose. I always wanted Keith to be my first name. I could have made it happen when I moved to a new city (Albuquerque) two years ago. No one knew me here. Would my life be any different if I had been Keith?

I’ve always loved writing and have been told that I’m pretty good at it. I guess I’ll let the audience decide on that. While I became a Medium Member…

“Home of the Brave” by Jody Miller

Photo by Silar on Wikicommons. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Before the 1960s, such notables like Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and The Weavers wrote and recorded songs about the labor movement, non-intervention in World War II, and unequal treatment of Black draftees.

The age of McCarthyism began to see activities like this in the entertainment industry as acts of pro-communism. The Hollywood Blacklist was formed, naming 151 individuals believed to be communists or involved in communist activity.

Of note were Harry Belafonte, Barbara Bel Geddes (the matriarch on “Dallas”), and actors Eddie Albert and Frances Farmer. …

Looking for Meaning in The Details

Photo by Albany County, Wyoming Sheriffs Department. ©Arthur K. Small

It is 9/11 as I write this.

I did my dutiful job locating an image, putting together the words, and posting a remembrance on Facebook.

There are so many other 9/11 tributes online it seems like a “me too” post. But as a United Airlines employee at the time, it was significant and personal.

But something else is bugging me a lot more today. It’s an unopened envelope. I got home from a nine-day road trip yesterday, and it was waiting for me upon my return. …

It’s The Natural Course Of Life

A happy work team is satisfied with their outcome—photo by Ann Lukens, licensed under the

There’s one thing I’m not enjoying about retirement. You’re no longer relevant in the way you once were.

Lately, I’ve been spending more time scrolling on LinkedIn.

It’s the place to see and be seen if you’re working.

My career was in the travel industry—the airline business, to be specific. When I started in 1998 (my second career), the Internet was just coming of age. LinkedIn didn’t even begin operations until 2003.

Now, LinkedIn is an integral part of one’s workday. It’s where you find out about all things work, like the latest promotions…

How climate change has affected the Southwest

Badwater at Death Valley National Park. Photo by Author.

While man’s intervention since the Industrial Revolution may have hastened its start, we now focus on the results of our effect on planet earth. Climate change is primarily about water: too much or too little, and the warming of the polar areas.

If you live in the West, you may think how much rain they get in the East is not fair. However, in the East, they may say back to you, “yeah, deal with another flooded basement, then tell me how you feel.”

So I took a drive through five western states…

Seeing climate change first-hand

Outside of Page, Ariz. Red Rock Country. Nothing much ever grows around here anyway—photo by author.

Can you see climate change where you live? Are there any visible signs?

If you live in the Eastern half of the U.S., you probably can’t. The land is green and verdant, just like it always is. Sometimes it’s greener than others, but lately, drought has been a stranger to the East. If anything, you’ve had too much water. The map below illustrates that.

What’s COVID Got To Do With It?

Murder in the U.S. increased by about 25% in 2020. The trend continues in 2021. Photo by Kat Wilcox,


In March, I began a series of stories focused on some of America’s fastest-growing and fastest-shrinking cities. It evolved into crime after focusing on race, with 13 American Cities Plagued With Murder And Death.

My theory on the latter was, with America in quarantine for much of 2020, the number of murders in some of the most crime-ridden cities would decrease.

Boy, was I wrong.


There are two ways to look at this: one is the murder rate (per 100,000 residents), and the other is the raw number of murders.

Let’s take my…

Arthur Keith

My life in the context of 20th-century history and pop culture — infused with a dose of fun (where appropriate!) More to come when I get my sea legs on here.

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