Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Has the Malaysian Airlines aircraft finally made an appearance?

I recall on the morning after the disappearance there was a strange aircraft sighting in the Maldives, which is far to the north of Reunion island (but upstream with respect to the currents).
Apparent airplane debris found off the coast of Reunion island, a French department in the western Indian Ocean, is being examined to see if it is connected to the 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a member of the French air force in Reunion said Wednesday.

The debris was found off the coast of St. Andre, a community on the island, according to Adjutant Christian Retournat.
The folks from the Maldives have been trying for some time to make their voices heard. Like the diminutive Whos that only Horton the Elephant could hear, they have been drowned out and had their stories discounted. I bet, when all is said and done, they will be proved correct. The Maldives are upstream, with respect to Indian Ocean currents, with Reunion Island:
Fresh testimonies from a small island community in the Maldives has reignited reports that missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could have crashed over 5000 kilometres away from the official search led by Australian authorities.

Locals from the island of Kudahuvadhoo, located in the southern area of the Dhaalu Atoll in the Maldives, reported witnessing 'a low-flying jumbo jet' on the morning of March 8 last year, when the flight disappeared while travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

The reports come as acoustic scientists from Curtin University refuse to rule out the possibility that 'distinctive' data they recorded from the area at the assumed time of the crash may have come from the impact of the aircraft as it hit the Indian Ocean.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"Fiddler on the Roof" - DMTC YPT's Summer Youth Show

Gotta Love This Guy

Chiru - Bollywood's entertainment answer to entertainment problems we didn't know we had....

My eyes....THEY HURT. What was that.

Posted by Rupan Bal on Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mad Max Fury Road - Yakety Max

The Crows Are Taking Over

I was in the back yard filling the dog's dish with water when I heard the hedge shrubbery rustle behind me. "The crows," a voice said. I recognized the voice: it belonged to one of the DMV parking lot guards, who no doubt was on his rounds when he saw me through the leaves. "The crows?" I asked, without looking behind me as I ran the hose. "They're taking over," he intoned ominously.

Indeed, I've noticed over the last month, as summer's heat compounds the drought shredding the local ecosystem, that crows and ravens are getting organized on the hunt for food. They've gotten together before, of course, but I've never seen this scale of organization previously.

California crow populations have increased mightily over the past century, and they may well be the biggest beneficiaries of the drought as other bird populations collapse under the pressure. Here's an article from 2012 in regards to the Bay Area.
Not so long ago, common ravens were uncommon in the Bay Area. A 1927 reference calls them "rare" except at Point Reyes. American crows lived mostly along the Marin County coast, not in the East Bay.

In 1991, Audubon Christmas Bird Counts tallied 17 crows and 54 ravens in San Francisco; 60 crows and 23 ravens in Oakland. The 2011 San Francisco count reported 599 ravens and 566 crows; Oakland had 1,152 crows and 193 ravens.

Remarkable, especially considering that crows, if not ravens, are highly susceptible to the West Nile virus. California Department of Public Health statistics show more dead crows than any other bird species testing positive for West Nile: 1,792 in 2008; 468 last year. (Raven mortality was minor.) The disease devastated crow populations in the East and Midwest, but California populations weren't dented.

...What brings them here? Kevin McGowan of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology notes that they don't get shot in cities; they benefit from both federal protected status and local firearms ordinances. That alone may encourage boldness. Also, he says, cities tend to be warmer than the countryside, and have large trees for night roosting. Urban crows are less likely to encounter their mortal enemy, the great horned owl, and city lights let crows spot owls before the owls spot them.

There's food, too: not so much the landfill smorgasbord (more the gulls' beat) as the fast-food parking lot buffet. "We eat so much out of doors now that these very intelligent birds can access all those food scraps we just drop or toss on the street," said Dan Murphy, compiler of the San Francisco Christmas Count. Some people feed them on purpose, too.

Weird Japanese Candy

RIP, Senaida Valdez Aragon

From March, 2013. My sister, Michelle Browning, my nephew Aaron Christopher Browning, Marc Valdez, and my 93-year-old aunt Senaida (Sadie) Aragon.

It looks like I'll soon be making an unexpected trip to New Mexico. My father's elder sister, Senaida Valdez Aragon, passed away this morning at the age of 95. I had almost thought of her as indestructible, as uncomplaining and in comparatively good health she had spent most of her life, but alas, it was not to be.

Uncomfortable Tryst

Stumbling across what appears to be a tryst on the hard pavement of the DMV parking lot at 1:20 a.m. took even human-jaded Bella by surprise. Closing time is in just a few minutes and impaired drivers will be zooming through that short cut any second. And with a grassy cemetery so close by too!

National Dance Day - West Steps of State Capitol - July 25, 2015

National Dance Day, West Steps of State Capitol, Sacramento, CA.

Good Day, Sacramento had fun with it.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Getting The Bicycle Back!

A fellow here in Midtown was walking back to work after lunch, when he recognized his bicycle (which had been burgled away) roll past. So he pursued the perp (pictured) 9 blocks on foot (a slow chase), called the cops, and, lo and behold, will get his bike back!

Terminating The Wordpress Blog

In 2012, I got in a panic to move my Blogspot blog over to Wordpress (comment support was ending, and I tried to preserve them). Nevertheless, the transition didn't go well, and I ended up with two more-or-less identical blogs. Costs are escalating with the new Wordpress blog, however, so I will abandon that at the end of August. My old Blogspot blog will remain, however, and given Google's predilection to hoover up and keep every byte of information in the world, it will probably outlast the Pyramids.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jumping Oak Gall Time!

The snapping and sizzling sound emanating from the ground across the Sacramento area means it's high summer, and time for the jumping oak galls!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Things Are About As El Niñoish As They Ever Get

So, how El Niñoish are things these days? Checking today's biweekly Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) summary, things are about as El Niñoish as they ever get - like, ever! The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is practically falling off the chart!

Albuquerque Groundwater Rebounds

Re-engineering the sources of Albuquerque drinking water over the last 20 years, in order to recycle more and rely more heavily on river water, appears to be a success. The aquifer is rising. (And, who knows, maybe there are health benefits too, since ABQ groundwater is rich in natural arsenic.):

You can still see the impact of pumping in the graph’s squiggles, as the aquifer drops in summer and rises in winter. We’re not off of groundwater completely, and never will be. But the overall trend is headed in the right direction. It’s driven in part by the fact that, unlike a lot of western states, New Mexico recognizes the connection between groundwater and surface water in our water rights administration. Yay us!

Donald Trump Insult Generator

Because you want it, don't you?
Donald Trump sez:

"Marc Valdez, an irrelevant clown, will be fired like a dog. if you were smart, which you are not, you would oppose the monstrous windfarms that will destroy your country. The word is getting out, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

Meanwhile, The Onion says:
Admit it: You people want to see just how far this goes, don’t you?

My campaign’s just barely begun and I’ve already got you begging for more. Sure, you can say you oppose me or that you don’t even take me seriously. But let me ask you: How many articles have you read about Ted Cruz lately? How many news segments have you watched on Bobby Jindal? Or Rand Paul? But if those stories have the name “Donald Trump” in them, well, look who suddenly can’t get enough.

Australians Never Get Lost

There's a know-it-all at the eatery table next to me explaining about the directionally-nuanced language of Australians, and how they don't refer to their left leg, but rather their southeast leg, and how they organize things east to west, and nuance language according to direction. I don't think he means aborigines either. Is he talking about Homo Australius G'Day-us? Sounds like he needs to be blindfolded, given a Foster's, spun around, and left out somewhere in the Darling Downs.

Corrupt Admirals

Catching up with some of the leaks of ship movements and general corruption of the Bush Administration:
Three Navy admirals forced into retirement after being linked to a bribery scandal had enjoyed fancy dinners and cigars, sightseeing trips, shopping binges and high-value hotel accommodations from the key figure in the case: colorful Singaporean businessman Leonard Glenn Francis.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Like A Matchstick

I was baffled by the heavy tread marks on the sidewalk. Then I looked up and realized the fire department had recently paid a visit, less than a block from my house. This palm tree went up in flames and now looks like a spent matchstick. It isn't just wild lands at risk from fires as this endless drought drags on!

G-Boogie's Birthday

Click your heels three times.

California State Fair 2015

Golden bears.

I had to laugh at two teenage girls walking towards me at the fair. One was talking animatedly and walking distractedly, while the other girl kept bumping her friend towards me, and trying to force a collision between us. Teenagers!

Andrew Hong's "Boy" (left) and Lola Dale's "Sunny Day in LA" (right), ages 5-9, California Youth Arts.


Braille Pyramid Puzzle.

Parrot working a stick.

Anthony Padilla's "Behind Closed Doors."

Jeff Carter's "Staircase."


Fabric arts.

Presidential quilt.

Chinese checkers.


Collecting supportive signatures for troops.

A better mop?



Backlit glassware.




This is a fine cow.

One fine cow.

Better to approach from the front than the back.

Have Angus, Will Travel.


Riders prepare for an entrance.

Red, white, and blue.

Getting ready.