Saturday, August 23, 2008

"It's Biden!"

Arthur relates that he was closing The Avid Reader at 16th & Broadway at 10 p.m. Friday night, and his last customer was State Senator Gil Sedillo. As he was ringing up Sedillo's purchase, they talked about Obama's upcoming VP choice announcement, which was sensed to be imminent. Afterwards, Arthur escorted Sedillo out the door and locked it.

A few seconds later, Sedillo returned and knocked on the door. Sedillo waved his Blackberry through the door's glass as Arthur opened up the door a crack. "It's Biden!" Sedillo announced.
DMTC's Summer Youth Production - "Into The Woods" (Act I)

Left: Jack (Andrea Canas) and Little Red Riding Hood (McKinley Carlisle).

The summer teen group (ages 13 - 17) was very coherent and unusually talented this year, this time singing the sophisticated rhythms and harmonies of Stephen Sondheim's "Into The Woods".

Frankly I'm glad DMTC went edgy this year with the summer youth production. By presenting the teens with a real challenge, it forced the teens to step up to their potential. No one coasted with this show!

Left: Standing, left to right - Lucinda (Danika Carlisle), Steward (Juliana Wynkoop), Cinderella's Stepmother (Katie Gardner), Rapunzel's Prince (Joey Lemons), Baker (Chris Petersen), Rapunzel (Anna LeFlore), Cinderella (Anna Miles), Baker's Wife (Veronica Russell), Cinderella's Prince (Shane Bradley), Witch (Tayler Anderson), Narrator (Melanie Platt), Florinda (Cass Olson).

Seated - Granny (Ashley Hickman), Little Red Riding Hood (McKinley Carlisle), Jack (Andrea Canas), and Cinderella's Father (Moti Fox-Libet).

Left: Great set!

Left: Witch (Tayler Anderson). A great new face at DMTC! (Or, as I should probably say, a great new performer at DMTC!)

Left: Jack (Andrea Canas).

Left: "Agony". Cinderella's Prince (Shane Bradley) and Rapunzel's Prince (Joey Lemons).

Left: Cinderella (Anna Miles). (Is this right? - she sure doesn't look like Anna Miles, but maybe I'm fooled....)

Left: Baker's Wife (Veronica Russell), Witch (Tayler Anderson), and Baker (Chris Petersen).

Left: Witch (Tayler Anderson). Yes, she completely transformed!

Left: Cinderella (Anna Miles).

Left: Little Red Riding Hood (McKinley Carlisle).

Left: Wolf (Shane Bradley) and Little Red Riding Hood (McKinley Carlisle).

Left: Little Red Riding Hood (McKinley Carlisle), Cinderella (Anna Miles), and Jack (Andrea Canas).

Left: Jack's Mother (Caitland Martin), Jack (Andrea Canas), and "Milky White".

Left: Cinderella's Stepmother (Katie Gardner), Florinda (Cass Olson), and Lucinda (Danika Carlisle).

Left: Baker's Wife (Veronica Russell), Cinderella's Prince (Shane Bradley), and Steward (Juliana Wynkoop).

Left: Rapunzel (Anna LeFlore) and Witch (Tayler Anderson).

Left: Cinderella (Anna Miles).

Left: Granny (Ashley Hickman).

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sacramento Man Goes After Yreka

But is foiled:
A police officer and two civilians subdued an armed man who drove to a California probation office with 11 crude bombs, 70 loaded magazines and more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition, police said.

Michael Solano, 54, went to a California probation office with bombs and other weapons, police said.

"This guy was ready for war," Yreka Police Chief Brian Bowles said in a written statement. "We were very lucky this guy was stopped and nobody was killed yesterday."

The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon, when people saw Solano acting suspiciously near the Siskiyou County Probation Department and called police, Bowles said.

Solano aimed a gun at an officer, police said. Two civilians then jumped into the fray and, with the officer, subdued Solano and wrestled the gun away, police said.

During the scuffle, Solano repeated that he wanted to be killed and reached for the officer's gun and Taser stun gun, Bowles said.

Solano was handcuffed and searched. Police found a pipe bomb in his shoe, Bowles said. A neighborhood near the probation office was evacuated after Solano told police that he had 10 bombs in his car parked nearby, authorities said.

The bombs were "fragmentation grenades," loaded with nails and BBs, Bowles said. In all, police discovered 70 loaded magazines, more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition, one stolen pistol and two assault weapons. They also found in Solano's car three other weapons, including one with a silencer, surveillance equipment, a tactical vest and clothing with face masks, Bowles said.

...Bowles thanked Brett Duncan and and Darrell Bourne of Yreka, who he said helped subdue Solano.

"We are lucky that the quick response from officers and help from the citizens saved us from a very serious incident," he said.
Trying To Keep Ahold Of The Rural Ways

Political correctness runs amok in Thetford Mines, Quebec. Too bad, too. We are in danger of forgetting our rural roots. These folks tried to reintroduce urban folks back to the ways of the farm. Replacement pasttimes that might pass the political correctness test, like computer games, seem pretty tepid in comparison:
[The Thetford Chicken Massacre] has been taking place for several years on Labour Day when about a hundred people gather to watch decapitated chickens and turkeys flop around on a grid painted on the ground.

The animal rights group PETA wants to put an end to a tradition in the eastern Quebec town of Thetford Mines known as the 'Chicken Massacre.' Every year, a hundred people gather to watch decapitated chickens and turkeys flop around on a grid painted on the ground.

Participants bet in advance on which of the grid's squares the body will come to rest after the head is cut off. Driven by nerve impulses, poultry often run around frenziedly for several minutes after decapitation.

Protests arose after participants posted on the Internet a video of people laughing while decapitated chickens hopped around, as well as photos of past events on Facebook. The web pages were shut down Tuesday.

The U.S.-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called the activity "redneck" and "gratuitously cruel."

"You don't torture animals just to have fun," said Kristin DeJournett, spokeswoman for PETA. She said she was especially shocked to see spectators betting on the imminent death of animals.

"They are profiting off the exploitation and possible suffering of these animals," DeJournett charged.

She said the activity could violate section 446 of the Canadian Criminal Code, dealing with animal cruelty. But the Quebec provincial police said Tuesday no one has lodged a complaint.

Dr. Gaston Dorval, who hosts the party for his sons at his cottage every year, was adamant they are not torturing the poultry. He said the heads of the animals are clearly severed and that it is the fastest way to kill them.

"If this is torture, then we should close all slaughterhouses in Quebec," Dorval said from his gynecology clinic in Thetford Mines, about 230 kilometres east of Montreal. "They cut the chicken's throat and let them bleed to death. That's much more painful, but you don't see it."

..."It started out with people who came from the big cities and had never seen a headless chicken run. They wanted to see it to believe it," Dorval explained.

..."Our society is hypocritical," Dorval said. "People don't want to see how animals are killed. But I have news for them, the meat doesn't appear in their plate miraculously, you have to kill the animal."
Hell Hath No Fury Like A Customer Scorned

At Jerry's suggestion I'm pulling this post down. If I had personally been affronted by this merchant, that might be one thing, but I'm simply repeating hearsay, and have no evidence other than the posted flyer. Like they say, there are two sides to every story.

Not that I feel obligated to report the other side of the story - it's just that I don't have it.
Sparky Out Of Sorts

Sparky's been feeling ill the last two days. He seems lethargic and he's not eating much. Don't know what that's about. Hope he feels better soon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Home Is Where The Heart Is
Fay Spins And Spins

And looks like it might just graze Tampa....
Satan's Olympics Volleyball

Don't watch the tube! You-know-who established the dress code!:
Freehold, Iowa - Behind the locked doors of America's Christian bedrooms, young boys are getting swept up in a disturbing trend. "I had a frantic mother come to me the other day in tears," said Pastor Deacon Fred. "She told me that her son, Timothy, invited several of his friends over into his bedroom for private prayer and devotional scripture studies. What she told me next is enough to send shivers down the spine of every God fearing mother and father in our Christian Nation! Satan is in our midst, my friends! The Devil is using Olympics volleyball to lure young men into shedding their clothes, flopping around and falling off off their beds with him into the pit of iniquity.
Cake Wrecks

Oh, this is fun!: a blog devoted to cakes gone awry...
Grafton, Wisconsin Gets Serious About Crime

No more of this molly-coddling (and the dragnet catches others as well):
[Heidi Dalibor], 20, was arrested earlier this month in connection with a pair of books overdue for several months. Dalibor, who made the mistake of ignoring a court citation issued after she failed to respond to letters and phone calls from the Grafton library, was busted August 6 for failing to return copies of Janet Fitch's best-seller "White Oleander" (a 1999 Oprah Book Club selection) and "Angels & Demons," author Dan Brown's precursor to "The Da Vinci Code."
Plus others:
  • Theresa Sinner: Theresa Sinner's overdue material consists of one book, "Running With Scissors."
  • Kevin Pipkorn: Kevin Pipkorn's overdue material consists of one CD, "Jailbreak."

DMTC's Chris Petersen says my feminine look from "La Cage Aux Folles" reminds him of Oprah.




Plus, several people are just now, months after the fact, finally confessing to me what they thought about my feminine look in "La Cage Aux Folles". No doubt, they are prompted by DMTC's 2008 Elly Award nomination for Best Overall Production.

And no, Chris, "fugly" is not in the dictionary....

Yes, the road of fashion can be hard....

The key to winning the Elly actually hinges on the judge-bewitching properties of Darryl Clark's elegant, androgynous legs. They are our light sabers for fighting back the RSP onslaught (three nominated shows!)
God Save The Hairy Mexicans...

Left: Bao Xishun, right, shakes hand with He Pingping.

...Because, without the hairy Mexicans, China would rule the Earth:
Inner Mongolian goat herder Bao Xishun has regained the title as the world's tallest living man after the holder of the record, Ukrainian Leonid Stadnyk, refused to submit to an official measurement.

Guinness World Records (GWR) released a statement overnight announcing that Bao - who measures 2.36 metres (7 feet 9.5 inches) - won on a technicality after Stadnyk refused to submit to being measured by GWR officials.

Stadnyk, who lives with his mother in central Ukraine, is more than 20cm (8 inches) taller than Bao at 2.57 metres (8 feet 5.5 inches), according to a statement from his doctor tendered last year.

...Bao often makes celebrity appearances and in 2006 he was hailed as a hero after he used his long arm to reach down the throats of two dolphins to remove plastic bags they had swallowed.

Last year Bao married a 1.68 metre-tall (5 feet 6 inches) woman and the couple are expecting their first child later this year.

What was not mentioned in today's China Daily story, however, is that - according to the Guinness Book of Records - China is also home to the world's shortest man.

He Ping Ping, who measures 74.61cm (2 foot 5.37 inches) under the new guidelines, will be also included in the 2009 edition of the book.

China just falls short of being able to claim a unique trifecta. Yu Zhenhuan, who suffers from a condition known as hypertrichosis (also called Werewolf Syndrome) and has 96 per cent of his body covered in hair, was listed as the world's hairiest man in the 2002 Guinness Book of Records.

But the current record holders are two Mexican brothers, Victor and Gabriel Ramos Gomez, who have 98 per cent of their bodies covered in hair.
Whither Gasoline Prices?

They seemed to have reached an inflection point of some sort, but whether they go up again, or continue down, is quite uncertain:
Crude futures fell as low as $112.61 a barrel early today after the government said U.S. oil inventories last week jumped 9.39 million barrels, to an 11-week high of 305.9 million -- another sign that there’s no shortage of supply.

But prices rebounded later in the session, and the September futures contract closed up 45 cents at $114.98 a barrel, the second straight gain. Oil hasn't been up for two consecutive days since mid-July.

The market got a psychological boost from Goldman, Sachs & Co. after the brokerage’s commodities analysts reiterated their prediction that crude would rebound to $149 a barrel by the end of the year. ... Also, some traders were noting that U.S. gasoline inventories slid for a fourth straight week to the lowest totals since November. Refineries have been operating at relatively low levels, necessitating a drawdown of gasoline stocks. But with the summer driving season ending that hasn’t been worrying the market much.

...Is this the end of the slide? Market bears expect oil demand in the developed world to continue to weaken given the economy’s struggles, and they say that should put additional downward pressure on prices.
Making Traffic Do The Limbo

This sounds a lot like people I know:
Bungling engineers have been left red-faced after building a railway tunnel that's too small for trains to actually fit through.

The costly mistake was only discovered when inspectors measured the finished tunnel in the Polish capital, Warsaw, and realised the roof was so low that no trains would get under it.

Rail bosses claim the mix-up happened because workers who were laying new tracks didn't talk to the team that was building the tunnel.

...The cock-up is the latest in a series of public transport construction fiascoes in Poland.

A tunnel built recently to divert lorry traffic in Warsaw turned out to be too low for lorries.

Last year, the Polish road authority produced plans for two sections of major motorway that would have missed each other by five miles - each coming to a dead end in the middle of the countryside.
Fay Begins Coming Ashore Again

Fay's forward movement is so sluggish that it's a rain menace wherever it hits. Melbourne, FL is going to be a real mess before this is through - it's been raining there, hard, for more than a day. Mercifully, after being lashed all day, Daytona Beach is now in the eye. But rains there could pick up again soon.

Here's more on Melbourne:
The storm could dump 30 inches of rain in some areas of Florida and the National Hurricane Center said up to 22 inches had already fallen near Melbourne, just south of Cape Canaveral on the state's central Atlantic coast.
For the short term, both NOGAPS and GFS models seem to agree that the storm will move slowly across northern Florida. Already the storm seems to be coming ashore again, heading WNW. After that, Fay will then cross over into the Gulf of Mexico and rake the NE Gulf Coast. Such rain as there is should be mostly over in Tampa by Friday evening.

Then the storm will stall again around Mobile, AL and then either head north (NOGAPS) or reverse direction, begin falling apart, and sweep across Alabama, Georgia, and both Carolinas (GFS). The GFS prediction would be a canonical, standard finish to a tropical storm, and I think that's most likely to occur.

Tampa will get rain from Fay on Thursday and Friday, but compared to many other places in Florida, Tampa's experience with this storm will be rather mild.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Spanish Airliner Crash

An MD-82. Very bad.
"Face Off"

I saw 1997's "Face Off" on DVD on Tuesday (just the latest info here on Marc Valdez Weblog....)

Lots of terrorist fun, with lot's of stuff blowing up, and Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) and Sean Archer (John Travolta) trying to act just like each other. And a good tagline: "To destroy your enemy, you must find him, face him, and then... become him.":
Sean Archer is a very tough, rugged FBI Agent who is still grieving for the dead son Michael. Archer believes that his son's killer is his sworn enemy, a very powerful criminal, Castor Troy. One day, Archer has finally cornered Castor, however, their fight has knocked out Troy cold. As Archer finally breathes easy over the capture of his enemy, he finds out that Troy has planted a bomb that will destroy the entire city of Los Angeles and all of its inhabitants. Unfortunately the only other person who knows its location is Castor's brother Pollux, and he refuses to talk. The solution, a special operation doctor that can cut off people's faces, and can place a person's face onto another person. Archer undergoes one of those surgeries to talk to Pollux. However, Castor Troy somehow regains consciousness and now wants revenge on Archer for taking his face. Not only is Troy ruining Archer's mission, but his personal life as well. Archer must stop Troy again. This time, it's personal.
The script writers were so shameless. Every dramatic contrivance imaginable was used to maximize the tension (Wife is a pawn between her hubby and her worst enemy. Likewise, daughter. Enemy's squeeze has a winning son, and a heart of gold. On and on and on and on.... )

No wonder it was a popular movie!
Felicitous Florida Weather

Fay picked up a bit of strength today from the half of the storm being over the warm waters of the Atlantic, and in response to the lop-sided development, the eye has finally shifted offshore, just north of Cape Canaveral.

Nevertheless, since steering winds will soon start moving again, and move the storm onshore, it is probably too late for the storm to become a hurricane. The storm will move slowly west across northern Florida, dropping lots of rain.

Already, Tampa has seen 0.04 inches this evening (oppressively humid at 100% RH, and overcast too), and it will pick up, as Fay's rain bands bring scattered thundershowers periodically across Tampa over the next two days.

By mid-day Saturday, rains in Tampa will cease, and the storm will push on into Alabama, Mississippi, and either Arkansas, Tennessee, or both, depending how things work out.

So, it looks wet, and wet, but in regards to wind, not that bad.
D&D Prepares People For The Military

Annoyed veteran (and D&D player) Robert Mackey slams Michael Goldfarb's assertion that war gamers (like, perhaps those in Obama's camp) are too geeky to be trusted with the military.

(Judging from my high school friends, D&D players are actually more likely than most to become responsible soldiers):
Well, as anyone with half a brain should know, not all D&D players live in their parents' basement. Some live upstairs.

And others, the vast majority of them, became doctors, lawyers, excelled in business, the arts, and even politics. And a more than a few of them put on the uniform and stand by the colors. And more than a few of them have come back from the very wars that men like Mr. Goldfarb have sent them covered in the colors, the same colors that are given to grieving mothers, wives, and girlfriends.

Yes, Mr. Goldfarb, I play Dungeons and Dragons. And I have, in my home, a very large box filled with medals and decorations that prove my service to this nation. Where were you, sir, when your country called? Oh yes, writing for the Weekly Standard.
Shoplifting Does Not Pay

The Eaton County sheriff's department said two women fled a Lansing-area TJ Maxx discount store after spraying a security guard with Mace. A deputy found one of the women behind a nearby trash compactor.

Deputies say the woman wouldn't say where the other woman was hiding.

Shortly afterward, authorities got a call about a woman trapped in the trash compactor. Tyree Monique Tate of Delta Township was pulled from the machine by rescuers and taken to a hospital, where the 26-year-old later died.
Things To Avoid During Tropical Storms

A man is thrown across a Miami, Florida, beach while kite surfing during Tropical Storm Fay.
So, Who's It Going To Be?

The fundraiser from 21st Century Democrats awakened me at the ungodly hour of 10 a.m., and asked, among other things, "Who do you think Obama's VP choice will be?"

I said, after all was said and done, that it would be Bill Richardson.

She thought that was interesting, and that she had been leaning towards Edwards until the latest media fuss. And, of course, as she mentioned, we have the latest Joe Biden boomlet to deal with.

I think the VP will be someone who can be pulled out of their current job without doing the Democrats massive damage, which is why it won't be the fellows from Virginia, Jim Webb and Ted Kaine, who barely won their offices and must remain in power long enough to flip that Red State, Blue.

It won't be Edwards (sad, that).

It won't be Hillary Clinton (please).

I wish it was Wesley Clark. He's good! But does he have enough allies in the Democratic power structure?

Will it be has-been types, similar in stature to Dick Cheney: Tom Daschle, John Kerry, Sam Nunn or Joe Biden? Or Indiana's Evan Bayh? They might be enthusiasm dampers (although they bring experience to the ticket).

Or is it someone else? Kathleen Sebelius maybe?

Or is it the guy who made his bones in the Clinton Administration and who has been frantically signalling for weeks that he is tanned, rested, and ready: namely, the aforementioned Bill Richardson?

We'll see shortly....
Spinning Away At Cape Canaveral

And so Fay just spins away at Cape Canaveral, drifting ever so slightly to the north, and bit by bit, losing strength. That is a good thing! The lack of movement is bothersome, but at least it didn't head east where it could gain strength.

NOGAPS suggests a northward movement along the coast, finally coming inland around Daytona Beach and lingering in the Suwannee River basin tomorrow evening before finally heading into Georgia/Alabama.

GFS still forecasts the storm will pick up strength, cross Florida, park tomorrow evening around Cedar Key (where its rain bands will be close enough to Tampa to cause rain there), before heading west and raking the Gulf Coast before coming ashore in Alabama.

NOGAPS consistently projects less rainfall than GFS.

I'm still leaning towards the NOGAPS solution (NOGAPS performed less well than GFS regarding the Florida crossing, but it seems to be outperforming GFS now).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Inscrutable Fay

Fay is still inscrutable. The eye is on the east coast, and will probably move just off of the coast. Strengthening may happen tomorrow, but will be limited if a large portion of the storm remains on land. The important thing is to keep the storm moving north, and not east.

The forecasts haven't budged much: NOGAPS still suggests northward movement and weakening, and GFS suggests strengthening offshore and a new threat later in the week to the NE Florida coast.
Oh-Oh! Leonard's Grandstanding Again!

I rarely watch Cable TV, but I caught a glance of CNN today, and wouldn't you know it, Leonard's on national TV!

Colorful Sacramento personality (and gubernatorial and mayoral candidate) Leonard Padilla has got himself involved with the high-profile disappearance of Caylee Anthony:
Padilla arrived Sunday with his cowboy-hat-sporting, bounty hunter uncle Leonard Padilla to bail Anthony out of jail — and, rumor has it, shoot a TV show.

"My only interest ... is to get that child back," Leonard Padilla told FOX News on Monday.

His interest might also be a reality program called "Bounty Hunters" that he stars in on the National Geographic Channel. There have been rumblings that the elder Padilla has gotten involved in Anthony's case to have material for the small screen.

Anthony is charged with child neglect and lying to authorities about her daughter's disappearance on or around June 16.
The Pleasant North Shores of Lake Okeechobee

Currently the eye of Fay is at the north shore of Lake Okeechobee. It's beginning to head straight north.

NOGAPS suggests it will move parallel to the eastern shore of Florida, maybe just along the coast, steadily weakening, and eventually moving into Georgia.

GFS suggests the eye will move offshore (though not as far as it suggested last night), strengthen, come back ashore, and cross the state to strike Tampa on Friday before moving into the Gulf.

I'm thinking NOGAPS is correct, because generally it's a little better with the timing of the mid-latitude circulation than GFS is, as a general rule, and now that Fay is as far north as Florida, the mid-latitude circulation will determine its destiny.

So, we'll see.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sympathy For The Mayor

Mt. Isa is way, way out there, and the gender imbalance is real. He shouldn't have to toe anyone's idea of political correctness:
The mayor of an Australian outback mining town has come under fire for urging unattractive women to move in, assuring them they will find a man because there is a shortage of women.

John Moloney, mayor of Mount Isa in northwestern Queensland, told a newspaper his town was a place for "ugly ducklings to flourish into beautiful swans" and called on the "beauty-disadvantaged" to flock there.

In the face of outrage over his remarks, Moloney stood by his comments, saying he did not mean to cause offence but wanted to highlight the gender imbalance in the remote town of some 25,000 people.

"Well I said beauty disadvantaged," he told national radio. "Now beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty can be a good set of teeth, beauty is nice wavy hair. Beauty can be blue eyes or green eyes.

"There is such a thing as disposition, temperament, manners, general attractiveness, attitude and demeanour, all those things tend to make a person attractive."

Mount Isa city councillor Gary Asmus said that while there was a shortage of women, Moloney's comments were an insult to the town's menfolk.

The mayor was "returning us to the Dark Ages and making the guys that live in this town seem like sex-hungry starved men that will pounce upon the first girl that they see walking down the street," he said.

Anne Morris, who has lived in Mount Isa for 50 years, told the radio she had not come across anyone who she would call ugly.

"The people that are coming into town now are coming here to work and find a house and live and bring up their families, but with these sort of comments ... I'd say 'humph, fancy going up to that place'," she said.
"Just The Facts, Ma'am"

Like Cervantes' Don Quixote, this Canadian woman clearly believes "facts are the enemy of truth":
An 18-year-old woman from Guelph, Ont., is facing charges after she allegedly stripped naked on a highway, ran into a cow pasture and threw mud and feces at police officers.

The alleged incident occurred after police responded to a car crash on Highway 21 west of Owen Sound, Ont., on Sunday.

An officer tried to help an injured woman who exited the car, but police say she began acting irrationally.

Police say the woman smeared blood on the officer and then burned herself when she mounted a motorcycle belonging to someone who had also stopped to help.

The woman then allegedly took off her clothes and shoes and ran into a nearby cow pasture, where she spit at pursuing officers and flung mud and feces at them before being restrained.

One officer suffered minor scratches and abrasions.

An investigation showed the woman's vehicle had been involved in two separate fail to remain collisions earlier that day.
Heading NNE

Fay looks like it's going to start crossing Florida, in a line stretching from Ft. Myers to Daytona Beach. At some point, Fay's eastward movement will stall, and the storm will turn in a westerly direction.

The NOGAPS model has the storm stall while it is still over land. On the other hand, the GFS model carries the storm back over the Atlantic before it's eastward movement stalls. If the storm stalls over the warm waters of the Atlantic, that will be very bad, because the storm is likely to strengthen. On the other hand, if it stalls over land, it won't strengthen, and will lose energy.

It is still possible Tampa won't get it by the storm, or at least not hit badly. It's going to be close, though.
Diablo Canyon Off-Line

I helped prepare a permit for these guys. I wonder if they tried to set fire to it?:
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) - Authorities are investigating a fire at a California nuclear plant that forced a reactor to be shut down.

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant spokeswoman Sharon Gavin said Monday that there was no danger of a radiation leak after a fire the day before. The blaze was in a non-nuclear part of the plant.

Gavin says one of two reactors was shut down as part of standard safety procedures. She doesn't know when it will be restarted.
Geologic Changes In Your Lifetime

Jerry pointed this out last week - it's pretty interesting, actually. As it turns out, rock arches are a temporary state of affairs:
Wall Arch, located along the popular Devils Garden Trail at Arches National Park collapsed sometime during the night of August 4, 2008. Rock has continued to fall from the arms of the remaining portion of the arch necessitating the closure of the Devils Garden Trail just beyond Landscape Arch.
Yup, There's A Conspiracy There For Sure

Genius from the future, Newt Gingrich:
GINGRICH: Well, I got a very funny e-mail from a retired military officer in Tampa who pointed out that most tire inflation is done at service stations and you pay for it. And it’s actually a higher profit margin than selling gasoline. So Sen. Obama was urging you to go out and enrich Big Oil by inflating your tires instead of buying gas.
Ninth Anniversary Of The End Of Human Civilization

The Daily Rotten commemorates August 18, 1999:
A giant black rainbow encircles the Earth, sucking all oxygen from the atmosphere. The air returns shortly thereafter, but only after millions die from asphyxiation. On the bright side, the survivors go on to build a utopian civilization. It all happens precisely as predicted in the 1950s by Criswell, the TV psychic immortalized in the movie Plan 9 from Outer Space.
Somehow I don't remember this sequence of events, but I do remember reading one of Criswell's books, and being struck at how poorly he seemed to do compared with psychic Jeanne Dixon.

Of course, she wasn't that good either, but she seemed less prone to flights of fancy.

They should tried their hands at predicting the paths of hurricanes. Now that will separate the pretenders from the merely lucky!
Fay Makes A Break For It

Fay's making a break for it.

The storm's blowing through the Keys right now, and seemingly headed straight up the coast for Tampa.

Let's hope it just hits Tampa once.
Wolf Wants To Play

Mama Grizzly isn't too happy about it, but the cubs are up for some action!
Not Symmetric

Dwight writes:
HI Marc - Here is something on Fay that I found on the Weather Channel. Any thoughts?
The Weather Channel discussion (written by Stu Ostro) is interesting:
Within the past few hours, though (I'm posting this around 2:30 am EDT Monday), the most robust convective flareup the storm has had in a long time has sprouted, and it's spinning like a top as evidenced both by rapid scan infrared satellite imagery (in which images are taken every few minutes and looped) and the Key West radar.

At first it appeared as if this was one of two seemingly innocuous spins aloft, one on the west side of the center and one on the east. However, this eastern one has persisted, and it'll have to be monitored very closely given that it's not out of the question that the surface center relocates under the convection given how broad and weak the circulation was earlier.
My response:
Hi Dwight:

That discussion on the Weather Channel is very informative, and pertinent. Hurricanes are usually pretty axisymmetric, but tropical storms like Fay can have the center of circulation displaced considerably from the center of convection, creating an unsightly sloppy appearance, but making the storm susceptible to darting, unpredictable changes in direction, as the center of circulation will suddenly snap back to where the center of convection is.

I'm afraid that is what's happening right now with Fay. It's almost as if the storm is trying to hop over Cuba. All of a sudden, the storm looks like it is choosing some of the eastern paths I had hoped it would skip.

Currently, the NOGAPS model shows that the center of circulation will remain just off the western coast of Florida, and the center of convection will remain well on-shore. Then the storm moves south to north, raking the entire state with heavy rain.

If anything, the GFS model forecast is even more alarming. It carries the storm NNE across South Florida, hitting the Miami area quite hard, and perhaps clipping Tampa. Then the storm crosses back into the Atlantic near Jacksonville, strengthens, then comes westwards, crosses the Florida peninsula, clips Tampa a second time, before heading westward across the northern Gulf of Mexico, stopping, turning right, and plowing into the Mobile, AL area.

As much as dislike the GFS model, for this storm, it seems to have a better track record so far.

So, we will have to see. If Fay dallies too long, you might have to delay a return to Florida a second time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

DMTC YPT's First Summer Workshop - "Pinocchio"

Pinnochio (Gemma Vanover) and Geppetto (Will Forkin).

Coachman (Jasmin Mould).

Left: Pinnochio (Gemma Vanover) and The Blue Fairy (Nancy Kimball).

Left: Pinnochio (Gemma Vanover), Angelina (Yasmin Kochesfahani), and Antonio (Jasmin Mould).

Left: "Finale"

Left and Below: Candlewick (Kelly Ragsdale), Pinnochio (Gemma Vanover), and Gino (Brian Stewart).

Left and Below: "The Land Of The Toys" reprise.

Left: Signore Volpone, The Fox (Camila Ortiz) and Signore Gatto, The Cat (Kelly Ragsdale).
Wonder Who Those Guys Are?

Idling with the traffic on 19th Street at the light-rail crossing, I watched a fellow on bicycle roll up to the crossing arm, take out a bottle of spray cleanser from the bicycle's basket, and meticulously remove graffiti someone else had scribbled on the crossing arm.

Driving past the parking garage at 14th & I Streets, I glanced into the entrance and saw a fellow practicing his trumpet.
Nightmarish Possibility

The newest GFS run suggests a possibility that is disturbing. First, Hurricane Fay hits Tampa from the SSW, then crosses over the Florida peninsula to the Atlantic near Jacksonville. The storm then stalls, gains strength over the warm water, and starts moving west, crossing BACK over the Florida peninsula, hitting Tampa a second time, then heads west over the Gulf of Mexico to cause even more mayhem elsewhere.

If getting hit once is a problem, then getting hit twice is a real problem. I fervently hope this scenario is not the one that evolves.
Tampa Squeaker

The National Hurricane Center is shifting their forecasts a bit to the west, following the NOGAPS model lead. So now, NOGAPS calls for the storm to just barely miss Tampa, pass on by, and then shift NW and make landfall around Mobile, AL.

The FNMOC Web Site has yet to present the latest GFS model forecast, but checking on another Web Site for that, I note GFS has the storm nearly miss Tampa, but then jog NE and come into the Suwannee River area, and clip Tampa along the way.

The NOGAPS NW shift hinges on how rapidly a high-pressure system develops in the Illinois-Indiana area. Since the high pressure system doesn't even exist yet, it's hard to say too much about it. The GFS model has a slower-developing high than the NOGAPS model does, which is why GFS brings the storm into Florida rather than Alabama.

In any event, Tampa will be so close to the storm you'll be able to look out the window and watch the porpoises fly by. (so to speak)

Strength is hard to call - Class 1, most likely, but Class 2 can't be ruled out.
Cattlemens' Maze

Left: Cindy Gumpy (right), and her party.

Hmmm. More secret rooms here than I understood. I wonder how many other rooms there are here? Maybe there are some Vikings stashed in a secret corner over here, or Lumberjacks over there.

Went to Cindy Gumpy's 30th anniversary party of working with AT&T. One of her posse said "I started working at AT&T until something else turned up. Thirty years later, here we are!" (Funny how life works that way).

Talked to Missy (in the background here) and Megan on the phone (she likes married life in Jackson, TN). I get so confused: I thought Megan was in AL (Funny how life works that way).