Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Afternoon Mysteries

What's this? Someone with glamorous tastes abandoned their shoe on the grass just outside Office Max on J Street.
Beautiful shoe! If this belongs to Cinderella, then I'm her Prince!
It looks as if someone has surgically altered the "g" on the canvas awning for "Image" nightclub on J Street, and removed a considerable chunk of it. Why would anyone ever do that? What does one do with a portion of a "g"? Is someone making a collage somewhere?

2009 DMTC Teen Dessert Cabaret

Left: Jocelyn P. and Cody C. sing 'If I Were Gay' from "Avenue Q".

Left: Sarah R. and Cody C. sing a portion of 'Cell Block Tango' from "Chicago".

Left: McKinley C. and Shane B. sing 'Hello Little Girl' from "Into The Woods".

Left: Lisa P. sings 'Only Hope' from the movie "A Walk To Remember".

Left: Jabriel S. and Rebecca R. sing 'Street Singer' from "Brooklyn".

Left: Jocelyn P. and Cody C. sing 'If I Were Gay' from "Avenue Q".

Left: The company sings 'You Can't Stop The Beat' from "Hairspray".

Left: Rebecca R. sings 'Once Upon A Time' from "Brooklyn".

Left: Mark L. sings 'Sunset Boulevard' from "Sunset Boulevard".

Lisa P. and Camille T. sing 'I'm Yours' (a song by Jason Mraz).

Left: Jocelyn P. and Jabriel S. sing 'Wheels Of A Dream' from "Ragtime".

Left: Shane B. and Mark L. sing 'Agony' from "Into The Woods".

Left: Camille T. sings 'Part Of Your World' from "The Little Mermaid".

Left: Sarah R. and Cody C. sing 'As Long As You're Mine' from "Wicked".

Left: Up-and-coming young artist Nash C. sings 'The Alphabet Song', with encouragement from Kim C. and Rebecca R.

Left: Cody C. and company sing 'Time Warp' from "Rocky Horror Picture Show".

Left: Cody C. and company sing 'Time Warp' from "Rocky Horror Picture Show".

Pig's Pop Quiz

It's just too easy to stump the swine.


Shopping Malls As Sacred Space

I was reading about malls in trouble, and came across this.

The Voices In My Head Shouted "Eat More Fish!"

And so I shall:
The species of bream is normally found in the balmier waters of the Mediterranean and South Africa, was found by fisherman Andy Giles in his nets in the English Channel.

Mr Giles, 38, caught the fish, which is instantly recognised by its gold stripes running along its body, six miles south of Polperro, Cornwall.

"We were trawling for lemon sole and hauled up the net at the end of the day and almost immediately saw this striped fish, we didn't have a clue what it was," he said.

..."Now I realise what it was and the effects it can have, perhaps I should have taken it into town to sell to some clubbers!"

...But according to marine experts, certain species of plankton-eating fish, like the sarpa salpa, can give off hallucinogenic fish poisoning if the heads or other body parts are consumed.

The effects include vivid hallucinations within minutes of eating it which can last for days.

In 2006 two men, one aged 90, were hospitalised in the south of France after eating sarpa salpa.

The elderly man suffered from auditory hallucinations a couple of hours after eating the fish followed by a series of nightmares over the next two nights.

The younger man, aged 40, endured similar effects which took 36 hours to disappear.

Caitlin's Back!

For the summer! I was surprised to see Caitlin Kiley in my cardio funk fitness class today, but school's out in Tucson, and so she's back for the time being. I even had my "Brigadoon" shirt on - didn't realize it would be so apropos for the day. This fall, when she returns to study more musical theater, she's going to be living just a stone's throw from where I used to live in Tucson when I was a student at U of A.

Life always seems to revolve in circles and cycles - yes it does!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

You Have The Right To Remain Silent

Some political controversies are fun, because of the sense of confused mystery they generate:
A comment by a strategist for Gov. Rick Perry that the Republican Party shouldn't act like a brothel to lure new voters has infuriated prominent GOP women in Texas and given Perry's primary rival, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, fuel for their election fight.

Perry is trying to distance himself from the remark, published in The Dallas Morning News, by consultant David Carney, who said he agreed the Republican Party needed to attract new voters. But, he added, "that doesn't mean you take your principles and throw them out the door and become a whorehouse and let anybody in who wants to come in, regardless."

Former Republican National Committee member Denise McNamara is leading a group of GOP women demanding that Perry apologize for and repudiate the comment.

"As businesswomen, community leaders and mothers, it is always concerning and disheartening when we see people resort to behavior aimed at belittling women," they wrote in a letter to Perry on Tuesday. "Therefore, you cannot imagine how appalling it was to see your campaign's chief strategist liken our Senior Senator's primary campaign to `opening the doors of a whorehouse.'"

Perry spokesman Mark Miner said Carney was not speaking for the governor or referencing the gubernatorial race.

Hutchison's campaign didn't buy it.

...McNamara told The Associated Press in a phone interview that Carney's remark demonstrated a lack of class. "This kind of remark should ostracize social conservatives and people who appreciate civility in politics," she said.
My problem is that I don't know exactly what "become a whorehouse" means in this context.

Does it mean just adopt willy-nilly any principles that any faction of people might have? But surely a political party has to be somewhat responsive, and change its positions if its membership demands. Or is it a subliminal dig, associating Senator Hutchison with the trade, so to speak? Doesn't seem subtle enough, somehow. Or does it mean not charging people by the hour, but like the credit cards do, with an annual fee? Squalid either way, I'd say. Or does it mean not being discreet, since most whorehouses are discreet and feature relatively low-key advertising? Or maybe he's following Groucho Marx's dictum - "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members" - and hopes that the Texas Republican Party can find desirability through exclusivity? But whorehouses can follow the same practice: just ask Heidi Fleiss.

I'm not sure what the comment means, and David Carney probably wishes he had remained silent - like a good ho instinctively knows how. Maybe he can put on his poker face and be the Texas Republican Party's bouncer instead.

After The Fall

Here's what the broken building looked like on Thursday morning. The cafe is open for business, the sidewalk is clear, and a fence has been placed around the rubble:
About 2:15 p.m., the Volvo was headed west on U Street, stopped at the 16th Street stop sign, when the car began making its way into the intersection, said police Sgt. Norm Leong.

The Icee truck, headed north on 16th Street, swerved to try to avoid the Volvo, but the vehicles collided, Leong said.

Together, they careened into the building at 2030 16th St.

It's too early to tell who was at fault, Leong said. However, generally speaking, a vehicle stopped at a stop sign has to "yield to the right of way … until it's safe to enter an intersection," he said.

Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to play a role in the accident, Leong said.

The force of the impact caused the building to crumble because there were no steel beams in the walls, said city building inspector Josh Pino. Built in 1929, the structure was constructed with "unreinforced masonry," meaning the roof is about the only thing keeping the walls steady, he said.

Once the walls were disrupted by the truck, the roof caved, Pino explained.

The Strain Of The Recession Is Showing

I saw this headline:
The credit card bill is on its way to the president's desk
And my first thought was: "Ask them if they'll accept 50 cents on the dollar."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"I Will Call In My Fully Sic Boys"

As in American society, Australian society features a veneer of civility papering over a deep well of race-conscious fears and preconceptions.

Sometimes though, like here, in the aftermath of a 3 a.m. shooting, the veneer is stripped away.

Thanks in good measure to Tim Blair, Clare Werbeloff is now an Internet sensation.

Hmmph. Tim Blair. I haven't linked to him in six years. I thought I had grown out of that phase....

As helpful Australian readers point out, a "wog" refers to:
These days its middle eastern types and especially Lebos’ (lebanese).
and also:
Generally a person a Greek extracture!

In Australia we are comprised of many groups like wogs, gooks, dagos, chings, yugos, lebs, abos and to a lesser extent chocos and gypos. They all end in ‘s’ see? Means we are like fully united and all.

Come On, It's Just Three Little Zeroes!

The Kiwi police "go off like a proverbial frog in a sock" over just three little innocuous zeroes:
NEW Zealand police are searching for a couple who have allegedly fled with millions of dollars that was accidentally deposited into their account.

The couple is understood to have received a $NZ10 million ($7.8 million) deposit after asking Westpac Bank for a $NZ10,000 overdraft, NZPA is reporting.

The couple ran a service station in Rotorua, according to NZPA.

"The individuals associated with this account are believed to have left New Zealand and police (are) working through Interpol to locate those individuals," said Detective Senior Sergeant David Harvey of New Zealand Police.

Brisbane Reservoirs Continue To Swell

Amazing! 72%!

Birth Rate Abruptly Declined

The looming recession, plus the abrupt spike in the cost of gasoline:
Just before the earliest stages of the recession, there was a steep decline in the population growth of children less than a year old, newly released census figures show.

Experts have long known that with rising job cuts and home foreclosures, couples often decide the timing isn't right to add children to their household. But the mystery here is that the pregnancy falloff reflected in the government data actually began months before Wall Street's plunge last September.

The number of babies increased only 0.9 percent between July 2007 and July 2008, a sharp drop from the record-setting 2.7 percent growth for the preceding year.

Mississippi saw the biggest decline in the number of babies born during the year, dropping 3.9 percent, followed by Louisiana and Vermont. On the other end of the scale, North Dakota - historically noted for losing rather than gaining population - registered a 3.9 percent increase.

The numbers hint at the tantalizing notion that America's family planners outperformed its financial planners in predicting the rough economic times.

...There didn't seem to be outwardly clear signs of trouble around the corner. During the months when these couples were conceiving babies - or were choosing not to conceive - the stock market was still rising toward its peak above 14,000, unemployment was relatively flat at about 4.5 percent and consumer confidence was reasonably high.

On the other hand, housing prices were near their peak, a pressure on young families. And in hindsight, some banking failures later identified as early signs of the recession were occurring as early as summer 2007, when gasoline costs also began to rise.

The number of births tends to drop during economic downturns. Figures from the National Center for Health Statistics show a drop in the birth rate during recessions that began in 2001, 1982 and 1973. During the Great Depression, the rate plunged nearly 26 percent in a single decade.

...Decreases in the number of babies were concentrated in the Old South. Of the 13 places that reported fewer babies in 2008, seven - Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Alabama - were in the Old South. Two New England states, Vermont and Maine, had fewer babies. The District of Columbia, Hawaii, Nevada and Maryland also registered decreases.

...Meanwhile, North Dakota registered an increase as young workers flocked to the state's booming oil patch.

"North Dakota's economy is in better condition than some other parts of the country, and that may have had an impact," said Shannon Bradley, an obstetrician at the Mid Dakota Clinic in Bismarck. "I think people who aren't faced with economic troubles are more apt to be open to the financial decision of having a baby."

Sacramento vs. National Housing Prices

Looking at the bright side: at least Sacramento housing prices (red) are back in line with national housing prices (green) again....

Teen Dessert Cabaret Tomorrow Night!

Davis Musical Theatre Company Special Event!
Teen Dessert Cabaret
Thursday night, May 21, 2009 at 7:30pm

All proceeds goes to the DMTC Scholarship fund

Tickets are only $10 for the DMTC talented teens!!!

Come see DMTC’s teen performers light up the stage with great music and dance in the third annual Teen Cabaret! Dessert is provided and all proceeds from the event will fund scholarships awarded to graduating high school seniors. Come enjoy an evening with family and friends and support our teen performers

Purchase Tickets at

European And U.S. Unemployment Rates Converge

And so our disdain for the European economic model looks less and less viable.

People Ask; I Answer (III) - Electric Tents, And The End Of Western Civ.

Jerry asks:
Is this the end of western civilization?
Yes, it is the End of Western Civilization, but truth be told, Western Civilization was overrated anyway....
The Eureka N!ergy 9 is a 1 room tent that will sleep up to 5 people. It features a built in E! Power system with 3 outlets that let you power all sorts of 12v DC accessories including lights, fans, music, laptop, cell phone and more when using the optional E! Power Pak (#24512). For additional power the E! Port unzips to allow a grounded extension cord to be put in the tent. The multi-coated StormShield polyester fly and the polyester bathtub floor combine to provide excellent weather protection. It has 1 door, 2 windows, large wall and roof mesh vents for great ventilation. The shockcorded fiberglass frame is reliable and easy to set up. The hooded fly over the front and rear door windows allows you to leave the window partially open for more ventilation even in rain.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Congrats, Once Again, To Brisbane!

It's been raining like no one's business these last few days, and fortunately some of that rain penetrated a few miles inland to the water reservoirs: SEQWater totals are now at 63%! The amazing comeback continues!

But, of course, with rain comes problems. Big Problems:
One of Brisbane's busiest arteries, Bowen Bridge Road, has been cut by flooding, creating major traffic problems.

The heaviest rainfalls in almost a decade dumped more than 300mm on the southeast, causing flash floods and chaos across the region.

Roads are closed, schools are sending students home, pupils at one school surrounded by water are likely to spend the night there, and emergency services have been stretched by a series of rescues, as motorists are caught out by rapidly rising floodwaters.

Police are urging people to avoid non-essential travel if possible, given the treacherous weather conditions and widespread flooding.

On the Gold Coast, there are reports of barbecues and furniture being blown off high-rise balconies and one officer worker was knocked unconscious when an awning blew through his window.

... Windows were blown out of some buildings on the coast - with the Bureau of Meteorology warning of 100km/h gusts - and police sealed off part of central Surfers to ensure tourists and locals were not hit by flying debris.

...In the 24 hours to 9am today, Beerburrum recorded 302mm, its wettest 24-hour period in 17 years. In the same time period, Redcliffe received 151mm while Brisbane city picked up 89mm, its wettest 24-hour period in eight years.

Since 9am, the deluge has continued. Redcliffe has recorded a further 40mm in the last two hours, while Brisbane has received another 22mm.

...The rain is being caused by a low pressure system has formed just off the southeast Queensland coast. This low, combined with extremely high moisture levels and favourable upper atmospheric conditions, has led to the torrential rain says meteorologist Matt Pearce said.

"At the moment, we are seeing the focus of the heaviest rain in the region from Brisbane down to the Gold Coast, extending inland as far as Toowoomba. This rain will gradually extend further south through the rest of the day."

"Daily rainfall totals well in excess of 100mm will be commonplace, and we are expecting falls over the next few days to exceed 500mm in some locations. This will obviously lead to a significant flood threat across southeast Queensland through the rest of this week."

One positive from the downpour is the effect on Brisbane’s water storages. A 3.4 per cent rise was recorded in the total dam storage level overnight, with today’s rain expected to see that level rise even further.

"Heavy rain will continue across the region tomorrow before the main focus shifts south into northeast New South Wales on Friday. However, heavy showers will persist right through the weekend," Pearce said.

...Mr Wedd said winds of up to 90-100kmh were expected in exposed southern coastal areas, creating six to seven metres seas at their highest and the risk of heavy beach erosion.

"Conditions will be particularly dangerous and we're recommending people stay out of the water," he said.

"They Go Off Like The Proverbial Frog In A Sock"

Kylie discusses her North American tour, but then uses Australian Slang to do so:
1. go crazy, be raging; 2. (of a party, dance party, etc.) be excellent; be successful; fire; 3. (surfing) produce many good riding waves; really pump; 4. (of an illegal establishment) be raided by the police
I've never heard of any proverbs with "The Proverbial Frog In A Sock" (and somehow I hope I never do).

The Voters Show Their Independence....

....From my advice. Everything I supported, they opposed. Everything I opposed, they supported:
The governor and legislative leaders were counting on voters to help fill a gaping hole in the state budgets for the current fiscal year and the one that begins July 1.

Defeat of the measures would mean a projected $15.4 billion gap in the state's budget would grow to $21.3 billion. The governor has proposed that if the propositions fail, the lost revenues would be made up by cutting an additional $2.3 billion from elementary and high schools and community colleges; borrowing $2 billion from cities and counties; transferring some state prison inmates to county jails and some illegal immigrant prisoners to federal custody, and slicing deeper into health, social services and other programs.

People Ask; I Answer (II)

Q. Marc, what do you think about the pedestrian/bicycle bridge being proposed linking Curtis Park with Sacramento City College?

A. There HAS to be a better way to get people across the railroad tracks.....

Left: Image from Master Of Fuckwittery and Bollocks, at B3ta.

Trouble In Florida

(S & J leaving Sunday; returning Wednesday)

Trouble In Roseville

'Nuf said.

Change Delivered In A Teabag

And I thought elections (like today's special election!) delivered change....

Like Michael Steele says today:
You know it’s real. You can see it, and you can feel it. This change, my friends, is being delivered in a teabag. And that’s a wonderful thing.

Special Election Today

My impulse is to vote 'no' on every ballot measure, but I'm having a change of heart, and will likely vote 'yes' on every measure except 1F (which strikes me as knee-jerk juvenile politics at its worst).

With the recession, the drop in California state income has been so radical that no one will get anything like what they they believe they need or deserve. And no one is talking about addressing the tax inequities (e.g., Proposition 13, and the resulting excessive dependence on income tax as a revenue source) that are driving these budget deficits. And we can't wave a magic wand and instantly get better legislators. They represent the people, for better, and for worst (and wouldn't we all love to wave a magic wand in order to get better people?) So, we will have to make-do instead.

With advocates like Carl Reiner, I heartily disagree with all this cross-program-borrowing that the Propositions will permit. But in a genuine budget emergency, do we have any real choice?

So, I will vote 'yes', but I entirely understand if people vote 'no'. But 'no' means a much bigger budget gap to paper over, and your own interests might suffer as a result.

The best article I saw on the election, and the avenues of taxation NOT taken, was the lead article in the Sacramento Bee on Sunday, May 3rd. These ballot measures are assembled with the care usually reserved for Swiss watches:
"Any time you do a ballot measure – any ballot measure – you always sit around and say, 'Who could be the potential opposition?' " said Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, a Los Angeles Democrat and one of four lawmakers at the negotiating table. "You also always sit around and say, 'How do I get that opposition on board or neutral at best?' "

The entire architecture of the ballot pact that emerged was heavily shaped by leaders' desire to please – or at least neutralize – the state's most powerful political players.

Now, some of those very interest groups protected in the budget deal are bankrolling the campaign to ratify it.

For the oil industry, the package omits a once-proposed 9.9 percent oil severance tax. Energy companies have given more than a million dollars to pass the plan, led by a $500,000 donation from Chevron.

For the liquor, beer and wine industry, increased alcohol taxes were shelved. Alcohol industry heavyweights, such as E. & J. Gallo Winery ($100,000) and California's Beer and Beverage Distributors ($50,000), have all opened their checkbooks.

For the teachers union, the list of ballot measures includes a separate measure to ensure repayment of deep cuts to schools and protections for top-priority programs. The California Teachers Association has contributed $7 million to the passage of Propositions 1A and 1B.

For casino-operating Indian tribes, the state lottery measure avoids any new games that could threaten their gambling operations. Tribes, who could have been major contributors against the lottery proposition, have kept their checkbooks closed.

The influence of such groups is, more often than not, simply unspoken.

"If somebody has a history of putting tens of millions of dollars into lobbying and ballot measures, they don't have to say anything," said former Assemblyman John Laird, who was the Democrats' chief budget negotiator for several years.

In 2006, for instance, the oil industry spent $100 million to defeat an oil severance tax on the ballot.

Negotiators know that an industry with that track record "would quite probably be willing to do it again," Laird said.

At the start of 2009, lawmakers and the governor faced a daunting $40 billion budget hole made worse by a cash shortage so severe the state would soon no longer be able to pay all its bills.

Democrats, who control a strong majority in both houses of the Legislature, were stymied by Republicans and California's constitutional requirement that two-thirds of lawmakers approve tax hikes.

Lawmakers of both parties and Schwarzenegger squabbled for months before settling on a complex plan that raises broad taxes (the sales tax, personal income tax and vehicle fees) on most Californians, borrows heavily and slices deeply into state services.

...The linchpin of the ballot deal was Proposition 1A.

If passed, the measure would allow $16 billion in continued tax hikes and create a stronger rainy-day fund to constrain future state spending.

Large special interests played a key part in determining which taxes were raised.

Democrats had wanted to tax the rich, but GOP lawmakers nixed that idea. Then, on New Year's Eve, the Schwarzenegger administration proposed taxing oil, alcohol and extending the sales tax to certain services, such as sporting events.

The business community objected loudly, as did Republican lawmakers, who had long insisted on closing the budget gap without new revenues.

The California Chamber of Commerce said it didn't object to all tax increases – but didn't like those targeted at particular businesses.

Then, ever so slowly, the GOP leadership moved toward embracing broad-based taxes, such as the sales and income tax.

"If you're going to raise taxes, you should do it where everybody sees it and feels it and gets mad," said Assembly Republican leader Mike Villines of Clovis.

In the end, any industry-specific taxes were left out.

There was no new sales tax on event tickets. The Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and their parent company, Anschutz Entertainment Group, have combined to donate $200,000 for the measures.

Many industry donors declined to comment for this story. Those that did generally said they contributed because, as Chevron put it, they are "committed to playing a positive role in restoring fiscal health to our state and building a stronger future for all citizens."

Anschutz said "we should all be very concerned with these propositions" because, if they fail, "This will be catastrophic."

Linking the spending constraint and taxes in one ballot measure was also driven by Republican lawmakers, who feared a repeat of 2005.

That year, a package of Schwarzenegger's self-styled reform measures – including a controversial spending cap – went down to defeat thanks in large part to a $100 million union-led opposition campaign.

"Their demand at the table was that there be some relationship between spending restraint and the length of the taxes," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. " … They didn't want all of the constituencies that would ordinarily fight such a measure to be able to do so without some sort of an impact on revenue."

The structure of the ballot package has divided the union coalition that pummeled the 2005 measures. The state's two largest teachers unions are on opposite sides. The state council of the 700,000-strong Service Employees International Union has donated $850,000 to defeat 1A, while the California Labor Federation is neutral.

"You could have organized labor completely against Prop. 1A," Steinberg said. "You don't."

Lawmakers also linked Proposition 1A to Proposition 1B, which will take effect only if the first measure also passes.

Proposition 1B, which would require paying an additional $9.3 billion to schools in the future to compensate for current budget cuts, was designed to keep the California Teachers Association from bankrolling a campaign against 1A.

Education consultant Kevin Gordon said the move was "smart politics."

"A campaign with the education community led by CTA to oppose Prop. 1A would have been the death knell to all the measures on the ballot," Gordon said.

CTA President David Sanchez has called the final budget package "unconscionable" because of its deep cuts to school funding. Yet CTA is spending millions to ratify the package.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Paris Hilton Documentary

Via the Evil Beet:

Oh, this will be irresistable: A Paris Hilton documentary, as produced by Adria Petty, Tom Petty's daughter!

I always thought the coming-out party that her and sister Nicki had was brilliant PR. I wonder if that's in this film?

People Ask; I Answer

Here is an inquiry that forwarded to my blog:
renee is going to the lake to visit some friends if the lake is 60 miles away n renee is driving 40 miles per hour the entire time ow long would it take her to get to the lake
The answer is that Renee can't quite remember where the lake is located and even though she's driving through stop signs and skidding through intersections to maintain her speed of 40 mph, it will still take days and days for her to get there.

Here is another inquiry from
why can't I find a lawyer called Aslan arias in Arizona when he says he works there
Well, there's a lawyer by that name in Los Angeles. He doesn't have to have an office in Arizona to work there.

I just bet Aslan is waiting lakeside for Renee to give a lift to the office, but with her luck, it'll take just days and days....

Positively Monsoonal!

Jerry writes:
The flow looks positively monsoonal! (There's even a severe thunderstorm
watch box over Yosemite.)
Several days ago, I noticed that the forecasts were looking positively monsoonal. I'm glad to see them vindicated!

We've had some years in the past where May sets up as monsoon-like: 2006, in particular, I believe. It's interesting that it seems to matter less what time of year it is, and more on whether there's a high-pressure ridge present.

Shockley's Bequest

Interesting story from used to be Bruce's neck of the woods!:

Despite his racism, Shockley was a gifted scientist and inventor - one of the most important of the 20th Century! - and should be honored as his estate wishes:
AUBURN – A rare gift of 28 acres of wild forest just north of the city limits has sparked charges of racism and has pitted environmentalists against social activists.

The land known as Shockley Woods was bequeathed to the Auburn Recreation District with $50,000 for upkeep and one condition: It must be named for a man who believed African Americans are inferior and should be paid not to reproduce.

Before most of the district's board realized Shockley – winner of the Nobel Prize in 1956 for co-inventing the transistor – had another, more troubling side, the board voted 3-2 to accept the gift from Shockley's estate. They also agreed to the name: "Nobel Laureate William B. Shockley And His Wife Emmy L. Shockley Memorial Park."

...That was before the Auburn Journal published an article revealing Shockley's views on race.

What makes this conundrum particularly touchy is that the district didn't inherit a park named generations ago after a white supremacist, such as the former Charles M. Goethe Park in Sacramento County.

..."I sure don't like naming a park after a racist; no one does," Holbrook said. "But on the other hand, they (the Shockleys) are dead. … What happens if we ignore the request of the estate and call it whatever we want? I don't know if the estate police come after us."

...There's no record of the Shockleys ever living in Auburn. They resided in Palo Alto, where technology that Shockley developed was instrumental in shaping today's Silicon Valley.

...The gift along Shockley Road is a forest of century-old California oaks, manzanita and native grasses occupied by squirrels, birds, coyotes and rattlesnakes, Muscott said.

"It looks like a Hansel and Gretel forest to me," said Pamela Vann, the district's landscape architect, as she peered into the dense, dark woods. "It's a beautiful property and has a lot of potential for passive uses, such as trails and picnic spots."

...The Auburn land gift has pitted people who are "usually on the same side against each other," Smith said. "I hate seeing a park named after him, but the good outweighs the bad."

Tajbl, chair of the social action committee of the Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalist Church, doesn't think so. "Do we value parks over the rights of minorities? Do we want to be known as a racist community?"

...She noted that last year the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors renamed Charles M. Goethe Park because Goethe, a philanthropist, also backed the sterilizing of the "socially unfit," which he believed included Jews, Mexicans and Japanese Americans.

The site's new name is River Bend Park.

"Here in Auburn, we're going backward," Tajbl said.

Gordon Ainsleigh, who led the district board's 3-2 vote in favor of accepting the land, sees the name as a teaching opportunity.

"I don't see anything particularly wrong with naming the park after the man who was kind of the father of the electronic age, who Time magazine named one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century," Ainsleigh said. "It's a rare person in history that doesn't have a blemish on them."

The district has to name the park after Shockley, Ainsleigh said, but the gift "doesn't say how much we have to publicize it."

One constituent suggested putting the park's name on a rock and then turning the rock face down.

How about making the 13-word name even longer, Ainsleigh suggested, by adding the phrase: "Dedicated in 2009, the year when Barack Obama, a man of black African ancestry, took office as president of the United States."

"I like that a lot," Ainsleigh said. "I can only hope that Shockley is somewhere looking down and squirming."

Report From The Front: 'My Personal Credit Crisis'

Interesting story of how Edmund Andrews jumped on the slippery slide to hell:
If there was anybody who should have avoided the mortgage catastrophe, it was I. As an economics reporter for The New York Times, I have been the paper’s chief eyes and ears on the Federal Reserve for the past six years. I watched Alan Greenspan and his successor, Ben S. Bernanke, at close range. I wrote several early-warning articles in 2004 about the spike in go-go mortgages. Before that, I had a hand in covering the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the Russia meltdown in 1998 and the dot-com collapse in 2000. I know a lot about the curveballs that the economy can throw at us.

But in 2004, I joined millions of otherwise-sane Americans in what we now know was a catastrophic binge on overpriced real estate and reckless mortgages. Nobody duped or hypnotized me. Like so many others — borrowers, lenders and the Wall Street dealmakers behind them — I just thought I could beat the odds.

Cheney's Bunker Location Revealed

Not surprisingly, it's under the Naval Observatory, where one might expect it to be.

I just think it's weird that Cheney, against all evidence, seemed to interpret 9/11 as a decapitation attack, and completely modified his habits in light of that interpretation.

Because predictability is the enemy of security when it comes to a decapitation attack, and the Naval Observatory is the obvious site for Cheney's bunker.

JCS Controversy Into The Memory Hole

With the closing of "Jesus Christ, Superstar" I decided to finally read, in detail, all the comments on Bev's blog regarding her review of 'The Performance that dare not speak its name'. For me, a post-show review just confirmed the validity of Nick's complaint. Nevertheless, it also made me happy that blogs (a Web 2.0 technology) gave a venue where these complaints could be aired (and note: it is not 'unprofessional' to complain).

But it's time to let all that slide into the past, and into the archives.

Except it's funny what happens to archives. I also wanted to finally read the reviews regarding "Jesus Christ, Superstar", but they all seem to have vanished....

The Web is a place for Tricksters....

Latvian Urban Ninjas

This stuff is pretty cool. I'd like to do it myself, if I could somehow guarantee that I wouldn't die upon meeting my first unforgiving wall.....

Two Interesting Energy Use Graphs

Left: Away from the coasts, a lot of electrical power comes from coal.

Left: Away from the coasts, where temperatures are cold at night and where distances are far, people use a LOT of carbon! (whassup up with South Dakota?)

Steve Eve's Saturn V Model Rocket Launch

I heard about this more than a week ago on George Noory:
This is Steve Eve's 36ft 1600lb 1/10 scale "miniature" Saturn V rocket launch earlier today (April 25, 2009), commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon. The rocket was lofted by eight 13,000ns N-Class motors and a 77,000ns P-Class motor generating around 8000lbs of thrust!
Of course, 1/10 scale (!) is so large that the model Saturn V hardly qualifies as a model rocket anymore - it's a full-fledged rocket! An amazing accomplishment!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Jesus Christ, Superstar" - Final Show

Gotta Love NOGAPS!

The NOGAPS weather model gets so excited about warming temperatures that it forecasts a tropical storm to form off the Gulf Coast by late next week!

(GFS is more skeptical, though. In general, NOGAPS is so prone to forecast tropical storm generation that water warming in a microwave oven will get it excited...)