Friday, March 02, 2007

Advice From Pepper

I had a harder time than usual in Pepper Von's aerobics class this week - the joint to my left big toe hurt and I was out of shape from skipping class last week for "Camelot" tech week. So, after class, when we started chit-chatting, I wasn't surprised when he began asking some gentle questions, but I became curious when he began asking about my diet: cereal in the late morning, Subway sandwich in the late afternoon, frozen dinner in the wee hours, with assorted cookies and crackers. I was especially surprised by his recommendation:
I think you need to eat more calories.
That made my outer Fat Boy wake right up! Pepper said it's hard to keep up the high-energy activity if there isn't enough of an energy reserve already available, so he also recommended front-loading the calories in the morning, rather than backloading them late at night like I do now.

Changing my caloric intake timing, I get. That's a good idea. Increasing overall calorie intake: I don't know - given my restful desk job, that might be a major mistake. In any event, Pepper sure knows how to grab your attention if he wants to!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tom Friedman's "The World Is Flat"

Thank God for blogs. You discover all kinds of wonders!

Here are selections from one of the funniest book reviews ever, of Tom Friedman's "The World Is Flat", by Matt Taibbi:
Thomas Friedman does not get these things right even by accident. It's not that he occasionally screws up and fails to make his metaphors and images agree. It's that he always screws it up. He has an anti-ear, and it's absolutely infallible; he is a Joyce or a Flaubert in reverse, incapable of rendering even the smallest details without genius. The difference between Friedman and an ordinary bad writer is that an ordinary bad writer will, say, call some businessman a shark and have him say some tired, uninspired piece of dialogue: Friedman will have him spout it. And that's guaranteed, every single time. He never misses.

...The significance of Columbus's discovery was that on a round earth, humanity is more interconnected than on a flat one. On a round earth, the two most distant points are closer together than they are on a flat earth. But Friedman is going to spend the next 470 pages turning the "flat world" into a metaphor for global interconnectedness. Furthermore, he is specifically going to use the word round to describe the old, geographically isolated, unconnected world.

... Predictably, Friedman spends the rest of his huge book piling one insane image on top of the other, so that by the end—and I'm not joking here—we are meant to understand that the flat world is a giant ice-cream sundae that is more beef than sizzle, in which everyone can fit his hose into his fire hydrant, and in which most but not all of us are covered with a mostly good special sauce.

... Let's speak Friedmanese for a moment and examine just a few of the notches on these antlers (Friedman, incidentally, measures the flattening of the world in notches, i.e. "The flattening process had to go another notch"; I'm not sure where the notches go in the flat plane, but there they are.) Flattener #1 is actually two flatteners, the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the spread of the Windows operating system. In a Friedman book, the reader naturally seizes up in dread the instant a suggestive word like "Windows" is introduced; you wince, knowing what's coming, the same way you do when Leslie Nielsen orders a Black Russian. And Friedman doesn't disappoint. His description of the early 90s:

The walls had fallen down and the Windows had opened, making the world much flatter than it had ever been—but the age of seamless global communication had not yet dawned.

How the fuck do you open a window in a fallen wall? More to the point, why would you open a window in a fallen wall? Or did the walls somehow fall in such a way that they left the windows floating in place to be opened?

Four hundred and 73 pages of this, folks. Is there no God?
Bev Sykes' Review Of "Camelot"

Everyone experienced this moment at least once:
Up to this point it has been a delightful first scene. As the royal couple exited, the curtains closed and Lancelot du Lac (Tae Kim) appeared in a spotlight. When Kim opened his mouth to sing, everybody in the near-capacity audience sat up straighter. We all experienced a stunning moment together. Kim, a medical student newly moved to the Davis area, is, amazingly, making his very first theatrical appearance--ever, yet he has the confidence of a seasoned professional and a voice worthy of any professional production. He lifted the production to a higher level.
Mysterious Hominid

Me no Tarzan, me no Jane, who am me?:
It wasn't exactly a Bigfoot sighting, but motorists reported seeing someone wearing a gorilla suit in the center divide of Interstate 280 on the Peninsula at the start of this evening's rush hour, the California Highway Patrol said.
National Scandal, New Mexico Angle

From Josh Marshall:
So there it is. Former US Attorney David Iglesias has now all but named Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) as the two members of Congress who pressured him to indict a New Mexico Democrat before the November election. He didn't use their names. But he said they were "two members of the New Mexico delegation." The other three have each categorically denied it was them.
The Virus Is Deep

Associated Press goes cold turkey about mentioning Paris Hilton at all, and ends up going rabid after a week.
Flippant Tony Snow

I was disturbed by the flip attitude expressed by White House Press Secretary Tony Snow regarding the level of training new U.S. 'surge' troops will get before going to Iraq:
White House press secretary Tony Snow on reports that two U.S. combat brigades will "surge" into Iraq without undergoing the usual counterinsurgency training in California's Mojave Desert first: "Well, but they can get desert training elsewhere, like in Iraq."
There was a big article last year in the New York Times regarding this kind of training. Even though it occurs at Ft. Irwin in the Mojave Desert, it is not desert training. They've set up a mock Iraqi town, and soldiers learn vital skills, like how to hold a town full of civilians without compromising basic security by trusting the wrong people. They also teach soldiers urban street fighting, with particular focus on Iraqi conditions. Without this focused training, 'surge' soldiers will be painfully underequipped for the chaotic realities of Iraq - sitting ducks, really. Training saves lives. For Snow to gloss over that is shameful.
Horse's Head In The Bed?

Interesting suggestion that the suicide bomber who attacked the gate at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan when Dick Cheney was there may have been delivering an unmistakable message from Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to ditch the idea of pressuring Musharraf about his current appeasement policy regarding the Taliban. The fact the bomber hit when Cheney was there suggests a security breach (presumably the Pakistanis knew where Cheney was going), yet the fact the base wasn't hit harder suggests no assassination attempt. Just - a message.
Australian Weather Forecasts Diverge Over The Next Week

The NOGAPS synoptic forecast model, the one I trust most, suggests that a tropical storm will soon develop off the coast of Queensland and be in a position, on Monday and Tuesday, to cause some rainfall in the Brisbane area as it passes southward offshore. Although the model doesn't suggest the rains will penetrate that far inland, it may be in a position to help Lake Wivenhoe a little (this morning at 19.41% storage).

The Queensland office of the Australia Bureau of Meteorology is taking this development seriously.

Nevertheless, there is an interesting divergence of opinions about Australian weather over the next week.

NOGAPS also suggests that the tropical low now over Arnhem land in the Northern Territories will blossom into a major tropical cyclone, and perhaps menace the West Australia coast in 10 days or so.

The Darwin office of the Australia Bureau of Meteorology is currently dismissive of the chances of that tropical low developing.

I've noticed that NOGAPS tends to overestimate the chances of tropical cyclones developing, in general, so maybe the Darwin office has reason to be complacent, but it will be interesting to watch and see who is right.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Can't Remember The Details

Nominated to an ambassadorship, a major contributor to the Swift Boats Veterans has to testify directly to Massachusetts Senator John Kerry about his role.
When Reporters Talk To Meteorologists

When tech talk raised its ugly head, tribune shrugged shoulders and said:
Weatherwatch spokesman Anthony Cornelius said cooler air in the upper levels across southern Australia had led to higher storm activity than usual because rising hot air was hitting a cold level, leading to heavy rainfall.
No Snow

Tokyo fails to get snow in the December-February period for the first time in 130 years, since 1876.
The Enabler Speaks

Bob Woodward, who has done more than almost anyone to propel Bush Administration lies in the press, with his celebrity books and failures to report on news in a timely fashion, now worries about his handiwork. Typically, he casts blame on unrealistic deadlines, but the fault is not being able to recognize when he is being used.
The celebrated Washington Post reporter said the media should have done more to verify whether Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had secret weapons as alleged by US President George W. Bush as a reason to go to war.

"We should have been much more aggressive," Woodward told a conference in Tokyo.

"I've thought what I could have done," he said. "The only way to find out if (weapons of mass destruction) really existed is to get on the ground."

But he said the round-the-clock deadlines of the modern media were hampering investigative journalism.

"It's a crazy media environment. We need to slow it down. We need weeks, months or even years to work on stories," Woodward said.

... "The real impulse is to make the government accountable so we do not get a secret government," Woodward said.

"The nightmare is that the president gets so closed off, so secretive, so convinced they are doing the right thing or just unable to face the possibility that they've made a very, very serious mistake," he said.
Too late, Bob! Just take a look at Dick Cheney - if you can find him! And the nightmare applies to the press, too. After all, you had a significant piece of the Plame puzzle (the identity of Richard Armitage as the prime leaker) in your hands, for years, and didn't report on it because it seemed like such a nothing, and so contrary to the interests of the Bush Administration, and maybe useful in a future book. Thanks a lot, Bob, for the 'closed off, so secretive, so convinced they are doing the right thing' press! How people like you are going to make the government accountable, when they are busy doing the government favors, is beyond me!
Intriguing Memo

Excerpts from Pentagon #2 Gordon England's memo regarding Pentagon goals over the next year reads like so much clunky government-speak, but it also suggests that liberals are right to complain that the Global War on Terror is just a Republican partisan project.
So "to ensure that warfighters and taxpayers receive maximum benefit from on-going initiatives," England suggested, "it would be highly desirable to complete current projects by the summer/fall of 2008."
Just in time for the election! Victory in the Global War on Terror will likely be proclaimed in October, 2008, just like Vietnam's 'Peace Is At Hand' was proclaimed by Kissinger and Nixon in October, 1972. And Al Qaeda? Who cares about those folks! This war was never about them anyway.
"Camelot" - First Weekend

Left: Seen from behind and below - Anne Marie Trout as Morgan Le Fey.

Gil Sebastian as King Arthur, Paul Fearn as Pellinor, and Adam Sartain as Dinadan.

Jon Jackson as Mordred, and Anne Marie Trout as Morgan Le Fey.

Anne Marie Trout as Morgan Le Fey.

Left: The enchantment of Merlin. Left: Meg King as Nimue Dancer and Paul Fearn as Merlin. Above, Bridget Maguire as Nimue Singer.

Left: Gil Sebastian as King Arthur.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Should The Democrats Get Involved?

I'm of two minds about this:
National Democrats on Tuesday urged Republican Party chairman Mel Martinez to stop the independent College Republicans from holding "Catch an Illegal Immigrant" events around the country.

... "These despicable tactics have no place in our public discourse or on our college campuses," the letter said.

The game is a variation of hide and seek, with one player posing as an illegal immigrant and everyone else trying to find the person. The winner usually gets a prize.

Tracy Schmitt, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said "we find these activities both egregious and offensive and condemn them wholeheartedly." But she noted the College Republicans are independent of the RNC: "We do not control their activities."
Independent my ass, but that's another argument. This game sounds offensive enough, and worth complaining about, but it also sounds like it's designed to bait Democrats into a whiny, politically-correct protest. Why not let the Republicans alienate people with their little game? Give 'em rope, I say. Just show up with a bunch of video cameras and get material for TV ads aimed at the Hispanic market during campaign season.
Breeding Ground For Australian Cyclones

It's been a pretty dreadful summer 'rainy' season Down Under, at least in the Brisbane area, where Lake Wivenhoe continues to drain away, but up along the northern coast, they've been getting lots of rain, and now that the cyclone season is in full swing, they likely will get even more.

The cyclone likely kicking up this week will germinate in the Gulf of Carpentaria, but will be raised in the warm, sheltered Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, which looks like the perfect breeding ground for tropical storms. From there, they spring westwards across the Indian Ocean, where they soon recurve upon meeting the mid-latitude westerlies and come crashing into more-populated coastal areas down south, towards Perth.
"Smokey Joe's Cafe" - RSP

Opens this weekend! The one week offset from DMTC's "Camelot" means I'll at least have a chance of seeing it!
"It's About Time" St. Patrick's Day Concert At Davis High School

Plans for Saturday evening, St. Patrick's Day, look too tame? Andy Sullivan suggests:
[T]he jazz band that I play in is doing a benefit concert to support the Davis Unified Junior High School Music departments on March 17th at 7 PM. It will be a fun evening of great music. The show will open with the big band from Emerson Junior High School, followed up by the small group jazz stylings of the Holmes Junior High School jazz combos. After a short intermission the It's About Time Band will come to knock your socks off. Tickets are $10 and all of the proceeds go to the Junior High Music departments at Emerson, Harper, and Holmes Junior High Schools. You can find all of the information about this concert (and the It's About Time Band) at
This looks like an excellent joint concert, to help out all the Davis junior high music departments! Lots of good dancing opportunities!
Sparky, Get Your Ass On That Moon!

So, she likes dogs too!:
Kylie Minogue may have dumped Olivier Martinez, but she is still in love with his dog.

The 'Spinning Around' singer, who ended her four-year relationship with the 41-year-old French actor earlier this month, can't give up her ex-lover's pet pooch Sheba.

During a recent trip to Paris for a cancer check-up at the Institute Gustave Roussy Kylie stayed at Olivier's apartment and took Sheba out for a walk.

Scissor Sisters singer Jake Shears, who is good friends with Kylie, told Britain's Grazia magazine: "Kylie loves that dog. I'm sure she'll still see her whenever she likes."
Darwin Candidate Goes High Tech

Some activities do not mix:
A 28-year-old Chico man was killed Monday after he lost control of his car while working on his laptop computer while driving, according to the California Highway Patrol.

"We have reason to believe he was operating his laptop because it was still on and plugged into the cigarette lighter," said CHP Cmdr. Scott Silsbee.
It's Hard To Kill Zombies

Cheney OK after Afghan blast; 23 killed
Robbie Waters Campaign Funds

Looks like Robbie Waters doesn't understand the concept of CORRUPTION!:
City Councilman Robbie Waters' campaign finance records show he's paid himself $500 each month since July 2004 to house a district office for constituents in his framing shop in south Sacramento -- a potential violation of state law.

...Asked where the 7th District office is in the Rush River Drive store, Waters explained that it is hidden behind a partition -- and that the public can't go in it because of liability issues.
And just who decides what the rent is, Robbie? Who? Who? Who? And can I rent some space there too? I don't want to actually house anything there, understand I just want to spend $10,000 a month renting the space - because you are such a nice guy, and we see eye-to-eye!
Campaign finance experts, however, suggest that paying himself $6,000 a year from his campaign funds for a district office may not be a "legitimate expenditure," regardless of whether he set up the office in the leased framing shop.

State Government Code 89517 prohibits using campaign funds to purchase real property, or to lease property controlled by a candidate, a candidate's family member or a campaign member with authority to approve committee expenditures, according to Fair Political Practices Commission documents.

Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles, drafted the state's Political Reform Act. "The bottom line is, you shouldn't be enriching yourself with campaign funds," Stern said.
This is a penny ante version of the same practice that got John Doolittle into so much trouble in his last campaign.

Elected to the City Council in 1994, Waters said he has been using campaign funds to pay for his district office for years and that nothing in the city codes prohibits it.

"I'm very comfortable that what I'm doing is not a violation of the city law," Waters said. "If it is a violation of state law, I'd certainly take a look at it."

Of the mayor and eight council members, Waters is the only one who paid himself from campaign funds to maintain a district office in the past three years.

Campaign records show that from July 2004 through December 2006, Waters paid his framing business $12,400 in rent for a district office. Waters would not disclose the store's monthly lease payment, saying the amount is immaterial.

In addition to the office rent, Waters paid his son, Dan Waters, $2,000 for consulting work and the councilman spent nearly $4,000 for phones, a computer, construction work and other expenses for the framing shop's district office, the records show.
Dumb, dumber, dummier....

JoAnn Fuller, executive director of California Common Cause, said Waters' expenditures offer a good reason the city of Sacramento should have an ethics commission to monitor how campaign funds are spent.

"The law prohibits these arrangements because they effectively funnel dollars from campaign donors directly into the pocket of an elected official," Fuller said. "The risk of self-dealing is compounded when the funds are not even spent on legitimate campaign purposes."

Last week, the City Council voted 5-4 to form a task force to examine creating an ethics commission or an ethics officer post, charged with investigating contributions and possible campaign violations. Waters was among those who voted no.
Vote bought and paid for? Hard to tell!

The council also approved closing some loopholes in its matching funds program for candidates accepting public money. One of the fixes bars those candidates from giving public funds to their own business or to a family member.

However, this restriction applies only to those taking matching funds -- it's not likely to include incumbents, such as Waters, or other well-funded politicians. Waters voted no on the amendment changes.

Waters said he sees a difference between what the council voted to prohibit and his own campaign expenditures. "They're using public money, I'm not," Waters said.
Campaign funds are not public money, but they aren't private money either, they are campaign money, the most radioactive kind of money. Ask yourself, Robbie, would this money be coming to you if you weren't in public office? The answer is "NO!" and hence you must NOT enrich yourself with it, or APPEAR to be enriching yourself with it, or your family members, or close associates.
Councilwoman Lauren Hammond, who heads the council's Law and Legislation Committee that reviewed the proposed amendments to the city's campaign finance code, pushed for the restriction.

Before last week's vote, she said she believed that spending campaign funds on a candidate's own business, or giving it to family members, was a conflict of interest. "People shouldn't be making money off their candidacy, with or without public funds," Hammond said.
Hammond is absolutely correct here!
TV Weather Forecasts

Apparently local meteorologists bobble the forecast quite often. As an air quality meteorologist, I sympathize very much. After all (casting blame elsewhere) the dearth of temperature soundings over the nearby Pacific Ocean practically guarantees bad forecasts (although this weakness can be mitigated by carefully reading the satellite pictures).

In New Mexico, my Dad had an explanation for the bad forecasts. "Marc, they lie," as he used to say. "No, they don't," I used to reply, "they use the very best information they can get their hands on, it's just sometimes not enough." He responded, "liars, liars, liars!"

The New Mexico solution, as elsewhere, is to put a good gladhander up on the tube. KOAT-TV had Howard Morgan doing the weather for years, and KOB-TV pulled science whiz-bang George Fischbeck off of educational KNME-TV to do their weather for awhile, until George went to LA and became a local star there. These days, Joe Diaz rules KOAT-TV, because it's easier to stomach the lies, or whatever they are, from an amiable person named Diaz, than for any other particular reason.

Monday, February 26, 2007

"Camelot" - Saturday And Sunday

We got a little more sure-footed over the rest of weekend. The Saturday audience was quite small (it was raining, but Lauren and MikeMac came out), but the Sunday audience was quite large.

Still having trouble with the set change going into "Guenevere": on Sunday, I didn't get the back curtain open when it should have (I was worried about Gil's footing).

Get well soon, Alex!
Lieberman's Op-Ed

In today's Wall Street Journal, Joe Lieberman appeals to all of us Iraq naysayers to just shut up until summer. I would if he would, and he won't, so I won't:
Two months into the 110th Congress, Washington has never been more bitterly divided over our mission in Iraq.
This is the natural consequence of having committed hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives over four years, and having almost nothing to show for it.
Congress thus faces a choice in the weeks and months ahead. Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq--or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here?
No political position has been more fixed and more bloodthirsty, or so little affected by the "real fight over there," than Lieberman's.
For the first time in the Iraqi capital, the focus of the U.S. military is not just training indigenous forces or chasing down insurgents, but ensuring basic security--meaning an end, at last, to the large-scale sectarian slaughter and ethnic cleansing that has paralyzed Iraq for the past year.
If only it would end, Mr. Lieberman. Unrealistic, pollyannish hopes hardly seem appropriate at this time, particularly since the U.S. seems to be in retreat to Baghdad.
Al Qaeda's stated strategy in Iraq has been to provoke a Sunni-Shiite civil war, precisely because they recognize that it is their best chance to radicalize the country's politics, derail any hope of democracy in the Middle East, and drive the U.S. to despair and retreat. It also takes advantage of what has been the single greatest American weakness in Iraq: the absence of sufficient troops to protect ordinary Iraqis from violence and terrorism.
And yet, the U.S. Administration has never made averting a Civil War a priority, because it never understood that it was a possibility until far too late, nor supported placing sufficient troops in Iraq, because it did understand just how unpopular a move that would be at home. The Administration still doesn't understand how ineffective English-speaking U.S. troops are at securing basic security in a hostile foreign setting, but that will come soon enough (previous historic culture-clashing examples include the failed Napoleonic French occupation of Spain). It's sad how easily we play into Al Qaeda's hands....
The new strategy at last begins to tackle these problems. Where previously there weren't enough soldiers to hold key neighborhoods after they had been cleared of extremists and militias, now more U.S. and Iraqi forces are either in place or on the way. Where previously American forces were based on the outskirts of Baghdad, unable to help secure the city, now they are living and working side-by-side with their Iraqi counterparts on small bases being set up throughout the capital.
And so what happens in the outskirts of Baghdad now? Politics abhors a vacuum, after all!
At least four of these new joint bases have already been established in the Sunni neighborhoods in west Baghdad--the same neighborhoods where, just a few weeks ago, jihadists and death squads held sway. In the Shiite neighborhoods of east Baghdad, American troops are also moving in--and Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army are moving out.
Hmmmm..... I'm unconvinced. It's not as if the Mahdi army is an occupier - east Baghdad is it's home turf. The only way the U.S. can 'secure' these neighborhoods is by either killing everyone there, or chasing everybody away.
But the fact is that we are in a different place in Iraq today from even just a month ago--with a new strategy, a new commander, and more troops on the ground. We are now in a stronger position to ensure basic security--and with that, we are in a stronger position to marginalize the extremists and strengthen the moderates; a stronger position to foster the economic activity that will drain the insurgency and militias of public support; and a stronger position to press the Iraqi government to make the tough decisions that everyone acknowledges are necessary for progress.
A change of strategy is not a stronger position. The strategy is changing because the position is extremely weak. Will alone is insufficient against bullets and bombs.
Unfortunately, for many congressional opponents of the war, none of this seems to matter. As the battle of Baghdad just gets underway, they have already made up their minds about America's cause in Iraq, declaring their intention to put an end to the mission before we have had the time to see whether our new plan will work.
Four years, buster! Four years! How many times do we have to go down this same lethal road?
There is of course a direct and straightforward way that Congress could end the war, consistent with its authority under the Constitution: by cutting off funds. Yet this option is not being proposed. Critics of the war instead are planning to constrain and squeeze the current strategy and troops by a thousand cuts and conditions.
Whatever works!
In fact, halting the current security operation at midpoint, as virtually all of the congressional proposals seek to do, would have devastating consequences. It would put thousands of American troops already deployed in the heart of Baghdad in even greater danger--forced to choose between trying to hold their position without the required reinforcements or, more likely, abandoning them outright. A precipitous pullout would leave a gaping security vacuum in its wake, which terrorists, insurgents, militias and Iran would rush to fill--probably resulting in a spiral of ethnic cleansing and slaughter on a scale as yet unseen in Iraq.
The lesson of Vietnam - the lesson of the Cambodian incursion - is that the longer we stay, the more likely the worst-case outcome will be. If we had not invaded Cambodia, it would not have been drawn into that war and there would not have been a genocide. The longer we persist in Iraq, the more likely we will indirectly get tens of thousands killed, and maybe many more, by pressing on and on, harder and harder, perhaps by invading Iran as well, until we trigger truly calamitous disaster....
Gen. Petraeus says he will be able to see whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer, so let us declare a truce in the Washington political war over Iraq until then.
Are you kidding? And let you creeps throw more lives into the bonfire unopposed?
We are at a critical moment in Iraq--at the beginning of a key battle, in the midst of a war that is irretrievably bound up in an even bigger, global struggle against the totalitarian ideology of radical Islamism.
Fantasy. Delusion. Madness.
Is It The Chicken, Or The Egg?

Men who take lots of common painkillers are more likely to have high blood pressure, but is it because of the painkillers and their effects, or is it that men who need lots of painkillers are in poorer health to begin with? I'm so confused!
Popular painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen can raise blood pressure and thus the risk of heart disease among men, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

Men who took such drugs for most days in a week were about one-third more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure than men not taking them, the researchers found.
Sparky's Heart Medicine

My dog Sparky has been taking this medication for a year, but this is the first time I've checked to see what it actually does. It makes for interesting reading:

Enalapril is an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor, also called an ACE inhibitor, or simply an ACEI. In order to understand what this means, it is important to have some understanding of the body’s renin-angiotensin system, an important hormonal mechanism used in times of blood pressure drop.

The kidney is a uniquely well perfused organ, receiving approximately 25% of the blood pumped by the heart directly. Given this fact, it is not surprising that the kidney would possess special areas for the sensing blood pressure changes. In the event of a drop in blood pressure, as might occur with a significant bleed or in heart failure, the kidney’s sensors perceive this drop and release a special hormone called renin.

The healthy liver normally produces a substance called angiotensinogen that innocuously floats around in the blood in case of a blood pressure emergency. Should angiotensinogen meet up with renin, an activation reaction occurs leading to the production of angiotensin I. As angiotensin I in the blood circulates eventually into the lungs where an enzyme called angiotensin converting enzyme converts angiotensin I into angiotensin II.

Angiotensin II acts as the superhero in this time of need. It is probably the most powerful constrictor of blood vessels known. This helps re-route circulation so as to preserve blood flow to the most important organs: the brain, heart and kidney.

As you might guess, an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor curtails the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II. Why would we want to reduce levels of a life-saving protein like angiotensin II?

One must remember that the above system evolved to protect us from blood loss due to injury as might occur in an attack from an enemy or predator. It was not designed to protect us from a more chronic blood pressure drop such as progressive heart failure. The re-routing of circulation produced by angiotensin II leads to more blood returning to the heart and more blood for the heart to pump forward. The failing heart cannot handle this extra work and will fail more rapidly.

Enalapril effectively acts as a dilator of blood vessels. This effect opens up circulation peripherally. (If one thinks of the circulation as a roadway system, this is analogous to achieving less highway congestion by opening more side streets.) Blood pressure drops and the heart has less work.