Sunday, July 15, 2018

"It Wasn't Me"

Hot-Air Balloons Are Useless

And yet, they have served Albuquerque pretty well:
The first hot-air balloons drew huge crowds, inspiring onlookers to cry, laugh, even faint. One witness wrote, “Since these exhibitions, there seems to prevail a kind of aerial phrenzy among us. The term ‘balloon’ is not only in the mouth of everyone, but all our world seems to be in the clouds.” For some, the new invention was the culmination of Enlightenment science, the pinnacle of human ingenuity. Grand schemes abounded: using balloons to carry mail, to improve cartography, to bombard enemy fortifications. Then, almost overnight, the fervor subsided as everyone sobered to the fact that these vehicles, which couldn’t be steered, were largely useless.

Raising a Dove

Not usually a good idea to raise a bird, but sometimes it works out.

Calamitous Crash Near Bernalillo

Sounds awful, and it started with one of those damned rear-end collisions:
Three people are dead and 24 injured following a massive wreck Sunday morning involving a bus, semi-truck, passenger car and pickup just north of Bernalillo on Interstate 25, according to Sandoval County authorities.

...“This is definitely one of the worst accidents that I’ve seen in my career,” said Sandoval County Fire Chief James Maxon at a news conference Sunday morning. “A lot of agencies involved, we have a lot of patients, we have a lot of critical patients.”

Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Keith Elder said the first in a series of related crashes happened around 2 a.m. when a southbound passenger car rear ended a pickup truck, sending the truck into the interstate median. The driver of the car was ejected and killed.

“At that point, I’m told that the (car) was disabled to the point that they didn’t have any lights that were visible to any other vehicles,” Elder said.

The driver of an El Paso – Los Angeles Limousine Express, Inc. bus, also traveling south, came upon the wreck, “took evasive action to avoid the car and the ejected driver,” and lost control. The bus rolled onto its side and landed across both northbound lanes of the interstate.

A semi-truck headed north swerved to avoid the bus, sideswiped it, and crossed southbound I-25 and a frontage road before coming to a stop at the bottom of an embankment.

...A total of 24 patients were transported to five area hospitals. In total, 38 people, including the three who were killed, were involved in the crash.

Davis Aquastarz' 2018 "Dancing With The Starz" Exhibition

Photo selections from Davis Aquastarz' 2018 "Dancing With The Starz" exhibition last night. First time I've watched synchronized swimming. I was intrigued with how they launch each other upwards despite not being permitted to touch the bottom of the pool. Several DMTC girls here too. Thank you Jennifer Caplan-Barth for the invitation.

Nice coverage at the Davis Enterprise:

New for this year, the Aquastarz are fielding a USA Synchro team that will preform more specialized routines. That team of Molly Anderson, Madison Barth, Nellie Cox, Daelin Johnson, Mirielle Peauroi and Amanda Soeth showed off their advanced techniques with a pair of performances, one titled “Aftergold” with music by Big Wild and the other a music mash-up called “Can the Frog Tap Dance.”

This year is also an exciting one for Davis as it will serve as host for the VFCAL championships, which will feature league members Auburn Mermaids, Cordova Cordettes, FEC Stingrays and Sunrise Swans.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sicario Soundtrack - The Beast

I like this ominous theme music.

(The movie itself, not so much, but that's a different story.)

Purged From "The Purge"

Coming out of the movie theater from seeing “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” I passed by a group of four idle teens who were asking any passers by: “What movie did you see and would you recommend it?” They had been kicked out of “The Purge” because of the R rating, and kicked out of WalMart for some other reason, but did succeed with getting food at In-and-Out. They were full of random, thought-provoking observations. Fun group. Reminded me of my teen years.

Helicopter Scene in "Sicario: Day of the Soldado"

I was mesmerized watching the helicopter scene in "Sicario: Day of the Soldado," on Albuquerque's Bobby Foster Road, where so many scenes in "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul" were also filmed. I was like, "No, they're getting dust all over the road! Someone will have clean that up!"

The Puzzle of Santa Fe in Musical Theater

Seeing "Newsies," with its improbable-seeming opening number of "Santa Fe," I was struck again by the odd place of Santa Fe, New Mexico in musical theater. I gather it strikes Gothamites as an exotic paradise far from cares or concerns. Coming from New Mexico, it seems grittier to me, but you can't see the grit from Manhattan.

Here are some movie musical numbers featuring Santa Fe in one aspect or another:

Jeff Hudson's Backgrounder on Jimin Moon

Heartwarming article, with a DMTC mention: (All images copyright Charr Crail)
Jimin Moon — a local 17-year-old with a strong interest in theater, going into his senior year at Davis High School — is enjoying some time in the spotlight this week. Moon is appearing in the musical “Newsies” at the Wells Fargo Pavilion in Sacramento, in a production presented by the Broadway at Music Circus series (known prior to this summer simply as the Music Circus).

The show — which runs through Sunday, July 15, is loosely based on the 1899 newsboy strike in New York, in which hundreds of teenage newsboys protested a pay cut by going out on strike, pitting the jaunty teenage “newsies” against mighty (and very wealthy) publishing tycoons like William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer… in an era where child labor laws were essentially nonexistent.

“The character I play is Henry — he’s one of the newsies … They were young, ranging from age 12 to age 17. The musical shows them sticking together and working together to fight against injustice,” Moon said in a phone interview last weekend.

The role also involves appearing in a number of scenes. “As a newsies, we are on stage for a good long time during the show, singing and dancing.” Moon interprets Henry as a kid who’s got some mixed feelings about the strike — “he also wants to put food on the table for his family.”

In addition to playing Henry, Moon also appears briefly as one of the scabs (strikebreakers) who are hired to replace the striking newsies (leading to clashes between the strikers and the scabs).

Music Circus productions are put together on an intense, accelerated schedule, with two weeks of rehearsals (around 8 hours a day, sometimes a little more). And since “Newsies” is what is known as “a dance show,” Moon tries to get there early, so he has time to limber up. “I like to get myself ready for the day, because there’s so much dancing,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt myself, so I need to take a little time and make sure my body is in peak condition.”

...This is Moon’s second Music Circus production. “I was also in their production of ‘Oliver’ in 2011, playing one of the kids in Fagin’s gang.” Moon has also participated for three years in the Sacramento Theatre Company’s Young Professionals Conservatory (appearing alongside professional actors in STC shows like “Cinderella” and “Twelfth Night”).

He also dances with the Hawkins Contemporary Jazz Pre-Professional Company and the Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theatre Apprentice Company. He got his start onstage 10 years ago, appearing in several shows with the Davis Musical Theatre Company. (“When I went to see my first show there, I said ‘I have to do that (myself),'” he recalls.)

After Moon wraps up his three-week involvement in Music Circus, he will be heading off to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis (his first visit to that state), where he will participate in a two-week training program for teens with an interest in musical theater, training under professors from university theater departments and theater professionals, with the goal of prepping the high school juniors and seniors for upcoming auditions for college theater programs.

...But this week, his focus is squarely on “Newsies,” and he is encouraging folks who know him to see the show. “Little kids will love it, parents will love it, grandparents will love it.The dancing is incredible, and the cast is working incredibly hard under our director and our choreographer, to make this show happen in such a short period of time.”

Friday, July 13, 2018

"Newsies" at Music Circus

Scored a free ticket to second row back from stageside!

Here is Bev Sykes' review of the show:
At the turn of the 20th century, some 10,000 boys sold newspapers on the streets of New York, many of them orphaned and homeless. The boys paid to get the newspapers, and if they did not sell, the publishers would not buy them back.

During the Spanish-American war, when the desire for news was high, the publishers raised the price charged to the boys from 50 cents per hundred to 60 cents per hundred. But at the end of the war, when the interest dropped, publishers Pulitzer and Hearst did not reduce the price the boys paid, even though other publishers did. The boys demanded a return to the price that their peers at other papers were paying.

Under the leadership of a 15-year-old boy named Kid Blink, the “newsies” organized, held massive outdoor meetings and after two weeks, the publishers and the newsies compromised — they would keep the higher price, but would buy back any unsold papers. The stand-off was considered a major step in the child-labor movement.

In 1992, the story was made into a Disney movie, and in 2014 an award-winning musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and book by Harvey Fierstein. It is now a premier for Broadway at Music Circus.

...But this show belongs to the newsies themselves (if you look closely you can see Davis High’s Jimin Moon). The dancing is amazing and you do get the feel of their camaraderie as well as their desperation.
Jimin Moon is in the showHow time flies. I was in "A Christmas Carol" with him at DMTC in 2012.

Trump is Under Attack From ‘Multidimensional Luciferian Advanced Beings’

No, Trump’s under attack by good-intentioned people everywhere, but we’ll accept the advanced multidimensional scientific label if pressed:
Last week, End Times author Paul McGuire appeared on the Jim Bakker Show and declared that President Trump is currently engulfed in “the greatest spiritual battle in the history of all mankind.” He expanded on his claim on his radio program this Thursday, this time clarifying that the battle is with “advanced beings” who possess “supernatural multidimensional” powers.

And it gets even weirder.

“The physical battles that we see in our world and nation right now are a direct manifestation of the spiritual battles going on in the invisible realm,” McGuire said in an audio clip flagged by Right Wing Watch.

“There are people very high up in what is called the globalist occult or globalist Luciferian rulership system, and this rulership system consists of what used to be called the Pharaoh-God Kings, it’s what Aldous Huxley called ‘The Scientific Dictatorship,’ and these are advanced beings who know how to tap into supernatural multidimensional power and integrate it with science, technology, and economics,” he continued.

Anxiety Dreams

I have two recurring anxiety dreams about my house. The first is that there are many levels of caves and passageways below the house, often with rivers flowing through them. The second is there is an entire cramped alt-house attached to it where dozens of people live and pay exorbitant rents, not to me, but to a mystery landlord in Cleveland. Feels all too real, some mornings.

What Arson Will Get You

Pardoned by Trump, Oregon ranchers ride home in style on Pence ally's private jet.

In a photo published on his nonprofit's Facebook page, oil entrepreneur Forrest Lucas, far right, gives pardoned ranchers Steven Hammond, center left, and Dwight Hammond, center right, a ride home to Burns, Ore., in his company's private jet. (Protect the Harvest)

This Headline Makes Me Happy

Sarah Palin claims Sacha Baron Cohen duped her for talk

Faye Wray Shown Promoting New Mexico's First License Plate in 1929

Popular actress of the era Faye Wray shown promoting New Mexico's first License Plate in 1929.

Great Haboob Video

Southern Arizona is the best for these haboobs (video).

Dance Like It's 1518!

Five hundred year anniversary of a very strange event:
It started with just a few people dancing outdoors in the summer heat. Arms flailing, bodies swaying and clothes soaked with sweat, they danced through the night and into the next day. Seldom stopping to eat or drink, and seemingly oblivious to mounting fatigue and the pain of bruised feet, they were still going days later. By the time the authorities intervened, hundreds more were dancing in the same frenetic fashion.

... And it happened 500 years ago this summer in the French city of Strasbourg. It was there, over the course of three roasting-hot months in 1518, that several hundred people developed a compulsion to dance. The dancing went on and on until – to the horror of the crowds who gathered to watch – some of them collapsed and perished on the spot. Just what was happening?

...The rich burghers who ran the city were not amused. One of them, writer Sebastian Brant, had devoted a chapter of his moralising bestseller, Ship of Fools, to the folly of dance. Mystified by the chaos in the streets, he and his fellow city councillors consulted local doctors who, in keeping with standard medical wisdom, declared the dancing to be the result of “overheated blood” on the brain.

Work On The House - Eaves

Lots of rapid progress

Tuesday Progress

Thursday Progress

Open Office Layouts

Open office layouts, like open classrooms, just don't work very well. Creativity depends on being able to choose when to be sociable, not having sociability thrust upon you:
Why do companies deploy open office layouts? A major justification is the idea that removing spatial boundaries between colleagues will generate increased collaboration and smarter collective intelligence.

As I learned in a fascinating new study, published earlier this week in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, there was good reason to believe that this might be true. As the study’s authors, Ethan Bernstein and Stephen Turban, note:

“[T]he notion that propinquity, or proximity, predicts social interaction — driving the formation of social ties and therefore information exchange and collaboration — is one of the most robust findings in sociology.”

But when researchers turned their attention to the specific impact of open offices on interaction, the results were mixed. Perhaps troubled by this inconsistency, Bernstein and Turban decided to get to the bottom of this issue.

Prior studies of open offices had relied on imprecise measures such as self-reported activity logs to quantify interactions before and after a shift to an open office plan. Bernstein and Turban tried something more accurate: they had subjects wear devices around their neck that directly measured every face-to-face encounter. They also used email and IM server logs to determine exactly how much the volume of electronic interactions changed.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Ricky Romero, Back in the Day

Mike London's Sunday televised wrestling was an Albuquerque treat when I was young. This is 1975, though. A bit late. Ricky's a bit long in the tooth here.

Rushing Water Hits The Dry Santa Fe Riverbed

It's summer in New Mexico!

Sunday, July 08, 2018

The Hurricane Gaze Shifts West

There are two tropical storms east of the United States right now - Tropical Storms Beryl and Chris - but indications are both will stay well offshore.

The big action right now is the western Pacific. Super Typhoon Maria is likely to plow directly into China this week, with new typhoons waiting to generate in its wake.

Roses Are Red; Tacos Are Enjoyable

Thief in the Night

Sitting in the kitchen around midnight, I heard a soft surreptitious sound. My suspicions were aroused. It must be my old nemesis, that thief in the night, a raccoon on the roof! They can be so destructive. So I ran outside to confront the beast.

Instead, I noticed that a man was removing the window screen on the apartment next door. “I know how this must look, but I assure you, I’m not a thief,” he said. Deeply embarrassed, he hastened to explain that he was supposed to take care of the dog in the apartment, but the dog’s master failed to leave a key, leaving him no choice but to break in.

My first reaction was confusion, since this man looked nothing like a raccoon. But as unlikely as his story sounded, I knew he was being truthful, because he knew the dog’s name.

Microburst in Phoenix


Wandering through symbolic thickets here....

In "Breaking Bad" or "Better Call Saul," Monkeys, Chimpanzees, or Gorillas represent heavy-handed manipulation. Whenever you see a primate, someone is getting played.

Color may also play a role. When Jesse shows Jane his drawings from childhood, in the background a song is quietly playing: ‘Zungguzungguguzungguzeng,’ by Jamaican Reggae/Dancehall artist Yellowman ("Breaking Bad," Season 2, episode 10, 'Over').

Yellowman endured the stigma of being albino. He eventually embraced his uniqueness by calling himself Yellowman. Albinism is (or at least, used to be) a tough condition to carry in Jamaican society:

"Albinos in Jamaica were seen as not being "real" Jamaicans because blackness is seen as divine or godlike in the Rastafarian religion. And in fact, the darker you were, the more holy and worthy of heaven you were. So by default, and by Rastafarian teachings, albinos are seen as less of a human being and are accused of trying to be or looking like the white men of the west who colonized them."

As far as I know, this is the first time where the concept of a color alternative meaning white – yellow – is introduced in “Breaking Bad.” In some cases and circumstances (still not well-defined), yellow may also signal manipulation. Examples include:

• Jane sucks on a yellow popsicle while denying that she and Jesse have a relationship ("Breaking Bad," Season 2, episode 10, 'Over');
• Walt leaves Hank’s garage and immediately tries to contact Skyler while the neighbor kid is playing with a yellow R/C car (“Breaking Bad,” season 5b, episode 1, ‘Blood Money’; episode 2, ‘Buried’);
• The license plate number of the van Walter White uses to transport his money out to the desert "D4DD31" is HTML code for a shade of yellow (“Breaking Bad,” season 5b, episode 2, ‘Buried’);
• Both Hank and Walt wield bright-yellow containers of honey in their Awkward Guacamole lunch (“Breaking Bad,” Season 5b, episode 11, ‘Confessions’).

Another case where a yellow man, The Man with the Yellow Hat, represents white – a white European - is in the tales of Curious George.

Curious George is a particularly-intriguing chimpanzee. The relationship between Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat mirrors the relationship between Walt and Jesse in “Breaking Bad.”

The tales of Curious George, written from a European perspective, always have an undercurrent of white dominance. An undercurrent of – White – dominance….

Friday, July 06, 2018


The Russians mock the Republicans who came groveling at their feet on July 4th. No one likes traitors:
Russian broadcasters mocked the Republican lawmakers who visited Moscow over the Fourth of July holiday and gloated about the Kremlin’s role in electing President Donald Trump.

Seven U.S. senators and one congresswoman — Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Kennedy (R-LA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), John Thune (R-SD) and Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) — traveled to Russia for closed-door meetings with high-ranking Kremlin officials.

Blame Fabio

Why was Sacramento suddenly cloudy this morning? Blame Fabio, weather experts say:

While temperatures around Los Angeles and across the globe are hitting record highs, the Sacramento area is getting a one-day reprieve from its normal hot and dry weather due to the remnants of a dissipating tropical storm system off the coast of Southern California, according to the National Weather Service.

Hurricane Fabio was active off the coast just west of Baja from Monday to Wednesday, said Bill Rasch, a NWS meteorologist. While it was considered a weak storm system, Rasch said leftover clouds from Fabio have traveled north, keeping temperatures cooler in the Sacramento area and increasing humidity levels by 10 to 15 percent.

...Rasch did note that the lower temperatures and higher humidity can also be helpful for fighting fires.

California is smack in the middle of fire season, and recent weather conditions have fueled blazes across the northern part of the state.

As of Friday morning, the County Fire burning in Yolo and Napa counties has ravaged more than 88,000 acres, while the Klamathon Fire in Siskiyou County has burned 8,000 and caused one fatality.

The tropical weather push we are seeing in the area has helped the County Fire by bringing up field moisture, said Cal Fire spokeswoman Heather Williams. But she said that can change in a few hours.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Ballooning Spiders use the Earth's Electric Field

Spiders have no wings, but they can take to the air nonetheless. They’ll climb to an exposed point, raise their abdomens to the sky, extrude strands of silk, and float away. This behavior is called ballooning. It might carry spiders away from predators and competitors, or toward new lands with abundant resources. But whatever the reason for it, it’s clearly an effective means of travel. Spiders have been found two-and-a-half miles up in the air, and 1,000 miles out to sea.

It is commonly believed that ballooning works because the silk catches on the wind, dragging the spider with it. But that doesn’t entirely make sense, especially since spiders only balloon during light winds. Spiders don’t shoot silk from their abdomens, and it seems unlikely that such gentle breezes could be strong enough to yank the threads out—let alone to carry the largest species aloft, or to generate the high accelerations of arachnid takeoff. Darwin himself found the rapidity of the spiders’ flight to be “quite unaccountable” and its cause to be “inexplicable.”

But Erica Morley and Daniel Robert have an explanation. The duo, who work at the University of Bristol, has shown that spiders can sense the Earth’s electric field, and use it to launch themselves into the air.

Annual Fourth of July Cotton Candy Adventure

We return to Davis’ Community Park every year for Fourth of July, like salmon. Davis Musical Theatre Company sold cotton candy, popcorn, water and sodas. Last year, it was nuts here, like cotton candy was caviar, or something. It’s breezy (maybe too breezy given the County Fire), but temperatures were as pleasant as they have ever been.

There was just one disturbing element in yesterday's cotton candy adventure at Davis' Community Park: a wisp of a girl, age about eight, who approached and explained that she had no money, and her parents had no money, and could I just give her some cotton candy? We said no, but told her maybe come back later. I saved waste pieces of cotton candy for her, but she never returned. I just hope she's OK.

Afterwards, I was covered in cotton candy. Sticky and gooey!

I Want My Models Back

A couple of months ago, I dawdled on a news story featuring Victoria's Secret advertising, and accidentally clicked on the ad. The algorithms caught wind of my apparent interest in negligees, so for weeks afterwards, whatever web page I went to, there were beautiful models everywhere. Several days ago, I went shopping for security lights, which alerted the algorithms once again, so now all my web pages are a utilitarian gallery of lighting technology, often featuring just the same, single light. I want my models back.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

The County Fire Volcano

Driving across the Yolo Causeway, looking west through the forest fire smoke at what looks like an immense volcano in the hills (at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area).