Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Pop Of Colour

An Update To "A Guidebook to 'Breaking Bad' Filming Locations: Albuquerque as Physical Setting and Indispensable Character"

I’d like to announce a new update to the 3rd edition of my book “A Guidebook to 'Breaking Bad' Filming Locations: Albuquerque as Physical Setting and Indispensable Character” (available on Amazon; on Kindle). More updates will come as need and information dictates. It won't really be done until Walt says it’s done.

(The book preview available on Amazon still shows the January update, but I’m reassured by the Amazon folks that the information will be updated in a few weeks.)

The book now contains filming locations associated with Season 2 of ‘Better Call Saul’ (BCS), with better punctuation (because it is a thing) and a few more pictures. There are also more stories taken from various sources regarding Vince Gilligan’s TV shows, possible sources of his inspirations, and the geography and history of Albuquerque and vicinity. Such stories include:

• Like Gus Fring, Jack Parsons got too close to the fire;
• The BCS plot line copped from ‘Beavis and Butthead’;
• Vince Gilligan is increasingly in thrall to New Mexico’s ancient Chaco Meridian;
• How a South Valley Messiah captured the imagination of the country in 1895; and,
• How Manhattan Project spies rendezvoused in downtown Albuquerque by employing a code embedded in Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’.

Target Nevada

Those with a different, more Strangelovian sensibility may appreciate "Target Nevada", a 1953 short film about nuclear testing. When Walt and friends were assembling their "First Tech Weatherman Film Festival", when we college students at NM Tech in Socorro in 1975, this was the audience's favorite. (The decontamination procedure at 6:28 still slays me.)

Lots of film footage here of Albuquerque too, as evidenced by the Sandia Mountains.

Of course, there were some problems too. We are at the 59th anniversary of the Albuquerque Broken Arrow, which occurred near "Q" Studios, home to "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul", on May 22, 1957, when a mammoth 10 megaton device was dropped on the outskirts of town:
No one knows precisely what happened aboard the B-36 aircraft transporting a nuclear weapon from Texas to New Mexico that day, but somehow the device fell through the bomb bay doors, plummeting about 1,700 feet into a field south of Kirtland Air Force Base. The conventional explosives detonated, blasting a crater 12 feet deep and 25 feet across. Luckily the nuclear capsule had been separated from the conventional explosives during transport for safety reasons, and that capsule was found intact. The only casualty of the blast? An unfortunate cow grazing nearby.

The MX Racetrack Concept

When I was a UNM work-study student at Albuquerque's Kirtland Air Force Base in the late 1970s, my job was closely connected to the MX Racetrack concept. Here is my 'capo dei capi', Maj. Bill Clapper, to explain the concept. (I also heard our office found a fatal weakness in the concept, but if I told you I'd have to kill you, so maybe another time):

Sandia Labs' Atomic Field Testers

For those who grew up in Cold War New Mexico, this documentary about Sandia Labs' Atomic Field Testers is most interesting. I was a work-study student at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in the late 70's, and our job was to reevaluate and model the data generated by these tests. Met some interesting people and heard interesting tales too:

A Sparky Memory

Before I walked Bella late at night on the streets of Sacramento, I walked my previous dog, a Pomeranian mix named Sparky (1994-2009), the same way. I should put together a collection of their stories. Here is a Sparky story from the Summer of 2002:
I was walking Sparky past the local adult bookstore on Broadway (L'Shoppe Amour) just when two beautiful women dressed in spandex catsuits parked and climbed out of their convertible. The driver looked at Sparky, gasped, and said "Oh, he is so cute!" The two women started doting on Sparky, who, of course, sat at attention, winning even more admiration from the beauties. After a surprisingly long time, and after much amiable conversation, the women finally entered the store. To my surprise, Sparky followed right after them, leaving me all alone outside on the sidewalk. I had to retrieve the ever-sociable dog from the aisles of the store.

A Tale of Three Cats

It was A Tale of Three Cats on Bella's walk last night.

Bella could hardly believe the first cat's insouciance. The Siamese was luxuriating in a driveway surrounded by chain link fence on two sides, and a wall on the third side. The cat was in full view, but completely protected, and therefore completely disdainful of passing dogs. Bella charged the fence, and barked, and tried to instill the cat with proper regard for the dog's place in the Universe, all to no effect other than making the cat yawn.

The second feline, a long-haired black cat, did the same, even though the cat was completely exposed in its own front yard. Bella didn't charge or bark - she understood now how this contempt worked.

The third cat was lying on the sidewalk directly in Bella's path. Bella got within inches before the cat hissed and hurriedly walked away.

I could tell Bella was disturbed. Where does this feline insolence come from? Whatever the source, feline disdain is out of control, and someone needs to do something about it.

I Decided to be a Surrealist

The Dangerous Acceptance of Donald Trump

To see the danger anew every day:
One can argue about whether to call him a fascist or an authoritarian populist or a grotesque joke made in a nightmare shared between Philip K. Dick and Tom Wolfe, but under any label Trump is a declared enemy of the liberal constitutional order of the United States—the order that has made it, in fact, the great and plural country that it already is. He announces his enmity to America by word and action every day. It is articulated in his insistence on the rightness of torture and the acceptable murder of noncombatants. It is self-evident in the threats he makes daily to destroy his political enemies, made only worse by the frivolity and transience of the tone of those threats. He makes his enmity to American values clear when he suggests that the Presidency holds absolute power, through which he will be able to end opposition—whether by questioning the ownership of newspapers or talking about changing libel laws or threatening to take away F.C.C. licenses. To say “Well, he would not really have the power to accomplish that” is to misunderstand the nature of thin-skinned authoritarians in power. They do not arrive in office and discover, as constitutionalists do, that their capabilities are more limited than they imagined. They arrive, and then make their power as large as they can.

Organic Bug Spray

The Emperor's New Clothes

What Was Old Is New Again

The Element of Surprise

Trump to Visit the Duke City on Tuesday

Undercover Albuquerque correspondent visits the Acme Yard to get the pulse of the city in advance of El Trump's visit this coming week.

A Supermarket in California

Gabe sends Allen Ginsberg's poem.

Sacramento Friday Night

Kept busy Friday night. 2.5 hours of exercise with Miles, and Kamila and Andre. Heard a favorite Zero-7 song, and Andre said Sia was the lead singer. Did not know that!

Saw "The Man Who Knew Infinity" at the Tower. Feared the subject would be Chandrasekhar (boring) but turned out to be Ramanujan (still not that exciting). Starred Dev Patel. Movies about mathematics are hard, but to it's credit, this movie kept the focus on combinatorics and prime numbers. Indian society is oddly hospitable for raising mathematicians, and England at killing them off.

Walked Bella. Woman in tight dress fawned over Bella at bus stop, but Bella focused mostly on spilled nachos. Strange old man was stuffing newspaper down his crotch.

Cats galore. Bella treed one, so she howled at it. Two cats were under a pickup truck, and one was very aggressive on defense, almost attacking Bella.

High spirited young people were leaving Step One about 1:15 am. Was this still Kings Dancers tryouts? No, dance crew. Dancers are the best!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Jetta Plays The Ghost of Dorothea Puente

Congratulations, Jetta, for representing the ghost of Sacramento's most well-known personage for a TV show (likely to be aired on the Travel Channel):
Hi Friends, I just got done taping for the travel station and I played the lead as Dorothea Puente "yes you heard right" the old woman who killed 8 or 9 boarders at her house, at the house 1426 F street, which of course is now owned by someone else (this probably doesn't help in getting a date, to say this). I don't know yet when it will be shown, will let everyone know. They told me what happened to the friendly Jetta that came in, she became scary (I guess that meant I did a good job). I was kidding around on the set by telling a man playing a corpse that this is what happens to you when you complain there is too much salt in your soup!

Alex, I'll Go With 'Crazy New Shit' For $100

Gone Fission

Hunter S. Thompson Knew


I Am The Danger

Dancehall Was Fun Last Night!

Kristen Stewart Is At The Cannes Film Festival This Year With "Personal Shopper"

Beyond pleased that Kristen Stewart has two movies at the Cannes Film Festival this year, including "Personal Shopper" with director Olivier Assayas. Their teamwork was fantastic with "Clouds of Sils Maria": this project is bound to be fantastic too. (The actor in the first scene of this trailer was also in 'Clouds', so Assayas must enjoy working with the same people on different projects, and Stewart played a personal assistant as well in 'Clouds'.):

Kristen Stewart's on a roll now. She's right where she needs to be. In twenty years, these Assayas movies will be classics, but right now they are as fresh as the morning dew.

The reason I like 'Clouds' is that it's pitched at such a sophisticated level that almost no one gets it. It's like being the only one who understands a secret code.

Woody Allen's "Cafe Society" looks good too!:

Kristen Stewart has yet another movie coming out this year. She must be the busiest person on the planet.

I need to go Cannes sometime. It looks like a lifestyle one could become attached to. A friend, Bill O'Brien, once made a movie that got shown there, and he'd go there every year just for the fun of it:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Deathbed Conversion

On his deathbed, former Utah Senator, Republican Bob Bennett, denounces Donald Trump's anti-Muslim xenophobia:
Instead, with a slight slurring in his words, Bennett drew them close to express a dying wish: “Are there any Muslims in the hospital?” he asked.

“I’d love to go up to every single one of them to thank them for being in this country, and apologize to them on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump,” Bennett told his wife and son, both of whom relayed this story to The Daily Beast.

Ahab and the Whale

Patience and Wisdom

Nothing Is Written In Stone

Peacock Experiencing an Out-of-Body Experience!

If Trump Were A Priest

Nevada Democratic Convention Chaos

Transparency is important in conveying the impression of Fairness. The absence of Transparency in Nevada doomed the proceedings there. The convention started before everyone was credentialed or even seated and was acting under Temporary Rules, with Roberts Rules of Order no longer in effect. No better recipe for creating chaos. I'm wondering if Hillary's supporters deliberately engineered this mess. In any event, the events there aren't very important either, and it's important to stay focused on the bigger picture.

Someone at Reddit put together a timeline of events.

The Clinton camp's take.

A Very Old Mastodon Kill

This discovery could push the North American timeline back more than a millennium:
Stone tools and mastodon bones found at the bottom of a Florida river point to humans living in the region 14,550 years ago. That's more than 1,500 years earlier than previously believed, scientists say.

"This is a big deal," said Jessi Halligan, one of the study's authors and an assistant professor of anthropology at Florida State University.

"It's pretty exciting. We thought we knew the answers to how and when we got here, but now the story is changing."

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

May 16th Walk With Bella

A quiet walk with Bella last night.

Four cop cars with five cops converged at the Money Mart on Broadway, the same one that someone shot out the plate glass window several weeks ago. There, the cops stood in a circle with their hands in their pockets. They looked baffled as to why they had been called, since nothing was going on. I wonder if someone is playing with them?

A raccoon loped across Broadway at 19th Street. Bella pursued, but it wasn't a hot pursuit, since she had to drag a slow human along too.

At one point, Bella rolled on the grass, having found a particularly good-smelling patch.

Kafka Lives

We Partied Like It Was 1999

Brain Goes To Pieces

Had a very energetic Zumba class tonight, went home, promptly fell asleep, and started dreaming about Game of Thrones. I don't even watch Game of Thrones; my brain was just making up Machiavellian power crap featuring reality TV and spiders. Get some good exercise, the brain just goes to pieces. Looking for a win-win here.

Why Do We Graar?

Outtakes From an Orson Welles Wine Commercial

Words don't suffice.

One Robust Dog!

May 15th's walk with Bella started inauspiciously. I arrived home and climbed the steps of the back porch, at the top of which Bella sat, eagerly waiting to forcefully lunge at my mouth for a kiss. My arms were burdened by a jumbo package of 12 rolls of paper towels, a can of soup, and sweatpants. I stepped on the sweatpants, fell on Bella, and flung her off the porch. She fell 1.7 meters (5 feet, 7 inches) onto concrete. To my vast surprise, she was completely unhurt, just apologetic that she had misbehaved in some way so that her master saw fit to hurl her off the porch. What a robust dog!

Just outside the yard, Bella detected something on the ground between the tree and the fence. It was a terrified squirrel, incapacitated by sickness or injury. I tossed the squirrel a peanut in the hope that helped, and pulled Bella away.

The walk itself was uneventful. Bella is fond of passing through the Neutral Zone, the area under the W-X Freeway where those homeless people who have cars choose to park and sleep for the night.

"Brigadoon" Closes

Paying Off My Primary Mortgage

On May 1, I started sliding into a period of quasi-retirement. There were a few matters to take care of first, however. Today, I mailed in the last payment on my primary mortgage. There is a home equity loan outstanding, so I'm not debt free by any means, but at least the debt is consolidated.

The history of my mortgage hints at some of the turmoil in the mortgage business in the last two decades. I assumed the Norwest mortgage (ARM, 6 to 8%) on Jan. 1, 1998. It was passed on like a hot potato to Wells Fargo in December, 2000, and passed on again for a hot minute to Fleet Mortgage in April, 2001. Was it refinanced in 2001? I can't tell anymore, but from July, 2001 to December, 2002, it was managed by Washington Mutual. The mortgage was refinanced by ABN AMRO mortgage (conventional, 5.375%) in December, 2002, and passed on again to the bargain barn of the American economy, CitiMortgage, in September, 2007, where it's been ever since.

I think my mortgage broke the back of the economy. I apologize. My bad.

A To-Do List

On May 13th, Bella and I went back to see if we could find again the homeless woman’s journal we stumbled across on Wednesday night. The journal was gone, but the few written pages in the journal had been ripped out and scattered, so I picked them up to read them in more detail, out of curiosity about life on the street.

It’s mostly relationship stuff, though. Discussing her boyfriend, she writes “im thinking he went to his MOMS but i dnt knoe so wat im doing is bout to look to see if he’s in the system I really hope he didnt go to jail I would be hurt”.

She also writes a “To Do” list. There was also another “To Do” list written by someone else and left lying in the street, that includes:

Go to meetup.com
Start journalling again, and coloring
Drop gov’t class
Need comfy pants
Look into things you want to do
Get organize
Start going to Chico more
Hike (by yourself)
Look up books you need
Clean the s..t out of your apt

A Journal

On May 11th's walk with Bella, I discovered a journal written by a homeless person laying on the sidewalk. There wasn't much in the journal, and what was there was pretty depressing. I liked the little reminder: "Don't forget to go to the ER!"

I wonder if the journal will still be there over the weekend?

Bernie Sanders Leaving the Woodie Guthrie Museum

Comancheria turned “Hell or High Water”

This new New Mexico movie will be great!

Picking Up Poo With Aplomb

An idea whose time is here.


Wind Chimes


Everyone's been looking!:
SACRAMENTO, CA—Putting to rest a mystery that has confounded scientists for a decade, a team of biologists from the University of California, Berkeley announced Wednesday that billions of bees believed to have died in recent years were discovered living anonymously in a quiet neighborhood in Sacramento. “Over the years, the scientific community has come up with a number of theories to explain the unusual disappearance of bee populations throughout the world, but it turns out they’ve been in Sacramento the whole time,” said Berkeley Department of Entomology director Lucinda Ronan, who admitted that she and her colleagues had “never thought to look” for the millions of colonies’ worth of flying insects in the sleepy, tree-lined Northern California city and eventually came upon them in an out-of-the-way subdivision entirely by accident.

President Barbie

Hillary Clinton Doesn't Bother Me Too Much

Even though I much prefer Sanders, Hillary doesn't bother me too much, because she responds to concerted pressure. She can be nearly as progressive as Sanders, if progressives continually lean on her (and lean, and lean, and lean). It's exhausting work, of course, which is why Sanders would be better:
“I’m also in favor of what’s called the public option, so that people can buy into Medicare at a certain age,” Mrs. Clinton said on Monday at a campaign event in Virginia.

Mr. Sanders calls his single-payer health care plan “Medicare for all.” What Mrs. Clinton proposed was a sort of Medicare for more.

The Medicare program covers Americans once they reach 65. Beneficiaries pay premiums to help cover the cost of their coverage, but the government pays the bulk of the bill. Mrs. Clinton’s suggestion was that perhaps younger Americans, “people 55 or 50 and up,” could voluntarily pay to join the program.

She made the remarks as she continues to face a determined challenge on the left from Mr. Sanders, forcing her to essentially fight a two-front war as she seeks to turn her attention to Donald J. Trump and the general election. While Mr. Sanders trails by a substantial number of delegates, his effect continues to be felt in the race as he pressures Mrs. Clinton to adopt more progressive positions.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sacramento Bernie Sanders Rally - May 9, 2016 - Insufficiencies At The Gate

I joined the rapidly-growing line at Cal Expo outside Bonney Field about 4:10 p.m. A variety of petition signature workers and political button vendors worked the crowd.

For a time, I talked with an elderly woman interested in online publishing. She had written an unpublished book regarding proper diet subtitled "No Mo' Yo-Yo" she wants to publish.

Entry to Bonney Field formally began at 5:00 p.m., but soon after it started, it ground to a near-halt, then halted altogether from about 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. The situation quickly became stressful. We were paralyzed just outside Bonney Field, standing stock still in the full setting sun. I could understand slow entry - people were going through metal detectors - but the complete halt I found just bizarre.

They probably lost some people. I know I was scared, and getting faint. I didn't bring water because I knew they didn't want water bottles at the event, but that meant I was unprepared to stand stock still just outside the gate in the full sun for an hour and a half. They had medical people nearby, but their purpose seemed to be to create a health crisis rather than mitigate one. Thank goodness this was May rather than August.

Still, it was fun! Do it all over again!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sacramento Bernie Sanders Rally, May 9, 2016 - Videos

I got good video from the Bernie Sanders rally yesterday (albeit shaky, under the circumstances), an embarrassment of riches, actually.

Joe Kye sings "I Will Survive"

Joe Kye sings "We Shall Overcome"

Here is Bernie Sanders talking about The Political Revolution, and Real Change is Coming.

Here is Bernie Sanders talking about political corruption, Super PACS, and the public funding of elections.

Here is Bernie Sanders talking about minimum wage, unequal wages, and climate change.

Here is Bernie Sanders talking about the 2003 Iraq War.

Here is Bernie Sanders talking about wealth inequality, unemployment, and infrastructure.

Here is Bernie Sanders talking about higher education. In my opinion, this was the best part of his speech.

Here is Bernie Sanders talking about undocumented workers and African-American issues.

Here is Bernie Sanders talking about prescription drugs, strength in diversity, and how Donald Trump will never become President.

Here is Bernie Sanders wrapping up his speech and urging everyone to go to the polls on June 7th.

Media Conspiracy? Hell, They Never Cover Anything Well

What was fun was that after the speech, Bernie ran onto the field, first along a barrier stage left, then stage right. I was bowled over by people trying to get close. I got within 15 feet of him:
Despite the mainstream media’s repeated assertions that the Bernie Sanders movement is now a thing of the past, enthusiasm from his base only seems to be growing, based on the overwhelming number of people who flocked to his rally in Sacramento this Monday night.

Supporters lined up for over four hours to see Senator Sanders outside Bonney Field — some of them even longer. The following video by Our Voice Media shows the massive scope of the line, as the videographers take several minutes to drive from one end of the line to the other. ....

...Somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 people were estimated to have been packed inside the stadium, with more than 10,000 more continuing to wait outside.

The hashtag #BernieInSacramento quickly exploded onto the top trends on Twitter, and yet the mainstream national media once again chose to ignore the massive influx of support and unprecedented turnout.

Sacramento Bernie Sanders Rally, May 9, 2016 - Photos

The political press.

Joe Kye entertained the growing crowd.

"The Wave".

Bill Camp.

Actor Danny Glover introduced Bernie Sanders.

What was fun was that after the speech, Bernie ran onto the field, first along a barrier stage left, then stage right. I was bowled over by people trying to get close. I got within 15 feet of him.


On tonight's walk, Bella sought out one of her favorite piles of garbage, at 26th St. and Highway 50. There's frequently food scraps there. There was the incessant roar of the freeway, of course, but there was something else too: a subaudible skittering....

Rats! A swarm of six, scrambling every which way. Bella jumped and bucked on her leash trying to give pursuit. It was all I could do to keep holding the leash.

The remainder of the walk was quiet. In one nearby homeless camp, someone was playing an opera recording.

Making Donuts

The portents were there for a good walk. Yesterday, I found scat indicating a mystery animal lurks outside my bedroom window at night, and I saw a mystery animal cross 19th St. at N St. that I thought might be a dog or a raccoon, but decided was instead probably a chupacabra.

Nevertheless, Bella's walk last night was quiet. For inscrutable dog reasons, she hewed very closely to the Highway 50 W-X corridor. Her big find of the night was an empty 40 lb. bag of what looked like cement, but proved to be donut mix. And we passed by the donut shop. Like a scene from the movie "Eraserhead", we watched the hardest-working man in all Sacramento making the donuts that fuel the city. He's always there, and always will be.

Chandra's T-Shirt Was a Big Hit!

Chandra in Los Angeles, these folks just wanted to say that the "Heisenbern" T-Shirt was, hands-down, the best T-Shirt of all the T-Shirts at the Sacramento Bernie Sanders Rally!
(Photo courtesy of Adam Sartain.)

You're One of Us, Aren't You?"

These folks were sitting behind me yesterday at the Bernie Sanders rally in Sacramento. Taking note of my advanced age, they asked, "You're one of us, aren't you?"

I explained that (to Gabriel's immense Millennial amusement) that I prefer not to self-identify as a Boomer, but prefer to belong to the late Boomers (called Generation Jones, a fact that Kendra helpfully supplied), although I actually prefer to belong to the Disco Generation (and even there, I'm one or two years too old to pass comfortably).

Basically, I radiated the kind of sincerity associated with Donald Trump explaining his evolving position on abortion, and just confused them, poor souls.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

You Cannot Make This Shit Up

American Airlines grounds a plane because a passenger was working on differential equations.

Erasure - Chorus

In an Eighties frame of mind:

New Trellis

The back yard of the apartment house next door includes a patch of land that is my rarely-visited unfenced property. When Gil and Sherry lived next door, they maintained that space, but since they left and the Blow 'N Mow crew takes care of the yard now, they religiously respect the invisible dividing line that is the property line. Thus, on their side, the yard is well-kept, but on my side, it resembles the yard of the Addams Family. (You'd think they'd look after my side too, out of self-respect if for no other reason - it's one yard after all! - but you'd be wrong. The Blow 'N Mow crew make a point of blowing their leaves onto my side. More convenient for them that way.)

Anyway, an aging trellis broke and dropped a huge mass of vines off my tool shed roof during a windstorm last month onto the patch of land. I knew nothing about it. After two weeks, an apartment dweller timidly informed me of the problem. I responded with my usual alacrity, waiting another week before addressing the issue.

What a mess! But it's fixed now, with a better-looking metal trellis too. Even the Addams Family like to tidy things up a bit.

Tev's Birthday

There was a Memoriam on page B7 of today's Sacramento Bee for Tevye Ditter. Today was hard: Tev's 42nd birthday fell on Mother's Day.

Tevye Anthony Ditter

Date Listed: May 8 

Tevye Anthony Ditter

May 8, 1974 - April 17, 2014


Happy Birthday to our Son, and Brother on Mother's Day. We miss you, Tevye. You are forever in our hearts.


Love, Mum and Family, Cosmo and Friends.



Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! Marjorie Louise Buzzell, 1941 graduate of Hirschfield High School in Chicago, IL.

Time Lapse of Undulatus Asperatus Clouds in Augusta, Georgia

Surreal Jellyfish

Discovered at the Enigma Seamount:

Communards - Don't Leave Me This Way

Picture Yourself

The Ego Transcendence Master