Friday, October 16, 2009

Lottery Hoax Woman

The lottery-hoax woman and her fun.

It does sound like it would be fun to play rich for an hour or two! The key is to get sponsors, and proper television coverage.

What The Housing Bubble Looked Like In Phoenix

Wow, that's quite remarkable! Housing prices nearly doubled in a two-year period, then collapsed!

I wonder what the next bubble will be?

Arizona Drought

The situation there is getting worse, quite rapidly! They need some rain!

Political Analysis In One's Sleep

I remember back in high school, when I would sometimes wake up in the morning with a blinding flash, having solved some physics homework problem in my sleep. Once I put the solution down on paper, however, I realized that, not only was the approach to solution unnecessarily labored, but the answer was wrong too.

This morning I awoke with a blinding flash, having solved the political problem of accounting for Sarah Palin's popularity. According to my nocturnal analysis, she is popular because she is, or at least resembles, the female equivalent of Teddy Roosevelt. There is, or there should be, a space in the American political firmament for a female version of TR. It would be natural that John McCain, an admirer of TR, would naturally fall under her spell.

Of course, since I thought of it in my sleep, millions of other people must have thought of it when they were awake, and sure enough, the Internet reveals lots of such comparisons, mostly of a superficial nature that hides the great dissimilarities between the two people. For example, TR was a well-read scholar and writer: Palin, not so much.

So, betrayed by my sleeping mind again. Time to dream again and set the matter right.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blame, Blame, Blame Everywhere

Yet none, oddly enough, for himself:
Conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh lashed out at NFL union leader DeMaurice Smith, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the media a day after being dropped from a group trying to buy the St. Louis Rams. On his syndicated show Thursday, Limbaugh said he was approached by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts earlier this year about participating in a Rams bid. Checketts assured him his involvement as a minority investor had been vetted by the NFL, he said.

"I said to him at this meeting, 'Are you aware of the firestorm?' He said 'We wouldn't have approached you if we hadn't taken care of that,'" said Limbaugh, a conservative favorite who is reviled by many liberals.

Limbaugh added that Checketts had told him his involvement had been cleared at the "highest levels of the NFL."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Colts owner Jim Irsay each expressed misgivings this week at a league-wide meeting about Limbaugh's involvement, with Goodell saying Limbaugh had made "polarizing" comments and Irsay vowing to vote against him. On Wednesday, Checketts said Limbaugh had been dropped from the bid.

During a 15-minute counterattack at the start of his show, Limbaugh said he believes he's been made an example by a players' union seeking leverage in talks over a new collective bargaining agreement. What happened to him was an illustration of "Obama's America on full display," the commentator said.

...Limbaugh blamed Smith, executive director of the NFLPA and an "Obama-ite," along with Sharpton and Jackson, whom he referred to as "race hustlers," for Checketts' decision to drop him. He said his sacking was an example of the political clout wielded by President Barack Obama's administration.

"What is happening to the National Football League, what is about to happen to it, has already happened to Wall Street, has already happened to the automobile business," Limbaugh said.

Limbaugh said he was victimized in the media by "misreporting, lying, repeating the lies while also saying 'Limbaugh denies,' repeating the made-up quotes, the blind hatred."

"Believe me, the hatred that exists in this is found in the sports writer community, it's found in the news business, it's found in the race hustler business," Limbaugh said.

Limbaugh said Checketts telephoned on Tuesday, asking him to withdraw from the group. Limbaugh responded that he wouldn't withdraw and that Checketts would have to "go public and fire me," and thought the news would be made public Thursday morning.

Smith, the NFLPA head, last week voiced his objections to Limbaugh's bid with Goodell, and urged players to speak out. Sharpton and Jackson also attacked Limbaugh's involvement, asserting that Limbaugh's track record on race should exclude him.

Limbaugh said the real reason he's out is the NFLPA's attempt to influence negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. "It's designed to intimidate the owners, frighten the owners, and say 'We're running this league now, gang, not you,'" Limbaugh said.

Limbaugh said he's "lost nothing" over the episode and vowed to continue being the "biggest non-paid promoter of the sport."

Karaoke Video

Today, I'm taking video of Jetta's karaoke, because she wants to be a star (who doesn't?) and because the deadline for video submittals for Oprah's national karaoke contest is this Monday. So, if you want to compete, get your act together!

Scary Citrus Heights Resident

It's hard to change your relatives, but sometimes it's worth the effort:
A man stabbed and bludgeoned his sister and her husband to death in El Cerrito in 2006 because he thought the couple were too liberal, were raising their children wrong and because they hadn't invited him over for Christmas, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday.

Edward Wycoff, 40, of the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights coldly planned the slayings, including getting Lasik surgery and using night-vision goggles so he could find his way around the house where Julie Wycoff Rogers, 47, lived with her husband, Paul Rogers, 48, prosecutor Mark Peterson said.

He also purposefully picked the date for the killings - Jan. 31, 2006 - Peterson said in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez. That was 20 years to the day after Wycoff's grandmother, whom he hated, left his home after breaking her hip, the prosecutor said.

Wycoff regarded his grandmother as "evil" and thought his life improved considerably after she left, Peterson said. Because he believed the couple had also been making his life miserable, he chose that date to break into their home on Rifle Range Road overlooking Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, stab them repeatedly with a knife and bludgeon them with a wheelbarrow handle, Peterson said in his opening statement in Wycoff's murder trial.

Although Wycoff was also armed with a gun, he didn't use it because he didn't want to boost the cause of gun-control supporters, the prosecutor said.

Wycoff, who is serving as his own attorney, told jurors that he still hates the couple "a little."

"They owe me a life," he said. "This has ruined my life, and Julie and Paul owe me for that."

Wycoff agreed with the prosecutor that he resented members of Paul Rogers' family for their liberal politics, and that he thought the couple were at times "too easy" when they disciplined their children.

He also said that "it wasn't just Christmas" when he wasn't invited over. It was also Thanksgiving in 2005, the year his and Julie Rogers' father died.

"When someone does that, they hate you - they're out to destroy you," Wycoff said.

Peterson said Wycoff had planned to adopt the couple's three children after he committed the killings.

...In an interview from jail after the slayings, Wycoff, who is 6 foot 5 and weighs 300 pounds, said he had tried to disguise himself during the killings by wearing a motorcycle helmet and attaching a ponytail with his late mother's hair.

...Wycoff's opening statement indicated he would try to justify the killings to the jury, rather than deny he committed them.

At the close of his remarks, Wycoff told the "few fans" in the gallery to contact his advisory attorney, David Briggs, if they wanted autographs.

Rush Sacked

The NFL is an unforgiving meritocratic place where you don't get do-overs, there are few consolation prizes, and where actions have consequences. It is also filled with rich black men who know racism when they meet it and will crush it when they can, which is often.

Sorry, Rush:
Rush was hanged by his own very real words. There's too many example to quote here, but here are three examples of the many, many episodes over the years.

Limbaugh says "NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips." On January 19, 2007, Limbaugh stated: "Look it, let me put it to you this way. The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There I said it."
Limbaugh on Survivor series: "African-American tribe" worst swimmers, Hispanics "will do things other people won't do." On August 23, 2006, Limbaugh suggested that the competition in a season of CBS' Survivor, in which contestants were reportedly divided into competing "tribes" by ethnicity, "is not going to be fair if there's a lot of water events." In support of this assertion, he cited a March 2, 2006, HealthDay article reporting that "young blacks -- especially males -- are much more likely to drown in pools than whites." He later added that Hispanics have "probably shown the most survival tactics," that they "have shown a remarkable ability to cross borders," and that they can "do it without water for a long time, they don't get apprehended, and they will do things other people won't do." On his September 29, 2006, show, Limbaugh claimed "[t]here can only be one reason" Survivor scrapped "segregated" competition after two episodes -- "the white tribe had to be winning."
Then there's this, from Newsday in 1990:
Recalling a stint as an "insult-radio" DJ in Pittsburgh, he admits feeling guilty about, for example, telling a black listener he could not understand to "take that bone out of your nose and call me back."
You see, it's "insult radio," so that makes it OK! And it one sense, it is. We've argued here a lot this year about free speech in America, and what it means. Rush Limbaugh is free in America to say what he wishes -- and I go even farther, in that I have no problem with him hosting a radio show for whatever Americans choose to listen to his dreck. But words have consequences. If the Eagles had the right as a private employer to fire the "Dam Eagles R retarted" Facebook guy, then the NFL -- also a private entity -- has the right to choose who they want to "hire," and they are choosing to reject Rush Limbaugh because for all of his Dittohead radio listeners, there are millions more who find his speech -- these real quotes, well documented -- to be offensive.

Because words are free but they also have consequences, even for a politically influential multi-millionaire like Rush Limbaugh.

Worried About "No Worries"

Australians long ago adopted "no worries" as a sort of reflexive national mantra. Paycheck late? "No worries!" Tax bill due? "No worries!" Tsunami approaches? "No worries!"

Interestingly, though, I notice "No worries!" is creeping into American English. I just heard it today at the office. I've heard it several times just this week at the office. I'm not sure why, exactly, or how. Is there a popular TV show to blame? If anything, Australian media influence in North America seems to be waning these days, not waxing. But there is the telltale sign of cultural imperialism anyway!

That's OK, though. Australian English teachers have been exasperated for years about the cultural ruination caused by American English.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Spouting Off About Camille Paglia Spouting Off Again

Today, has their monthly Camille Paglia feature, where she opines contrarily about any number of things. Lately she has, in my opinion, been giving too much weight to the importance of Talk radio and Tea Parties. Thus, my rebuke:
I'm surprised Paglia can't spot the men behind the curtain running the supposedly-spontaneous Tea Bag demonstrations - the corporations and the folks at FOX. The Tea Parties are ersatz - protest kitsch - Disneyfied imitations of political demonstrations that would be best based on real anger. Like the post-1970 Vietnam War demonstrations compared to the pre-1968 ones, they possess a real cynical heart. If Paglia thinks listening to Talk Radio gives her an insight that other metrosexuals don't have, she's wrong. We listen to Talk Radio too, and we think those folks are way, way off base!

In California, at least the anti-Prop. 8 demonstrations have a seed of anger: the gays briefly had a right that was taken away from them. Like one sign I remember seeing: "Married October 22, 2008 - Screwed November 4, 2008".

With the Tea Partiers, however, what these suburbanites lost was the complete dominance they had from 2000-2006 over the American political agenda. Sorry, but elections have consequences! Urban 'enclaves' make up the majority of the country! Wake up!

The media does a dreadful job covering Tea Parties, but they've always done a dreadful job covering any kind of demonstrations. And if the mainstream media disdains the Tea Parties, perhaps there is a reason. Unlike academics, the MSM can't be caught mistaking gilt for gold, and it's hard to fake real anger.

I'm Too Sexy For Your Standards

Apparently the latest outrage to community standards, at least according to Bill O'Reilly and his FOX Culture Warriors, was a dance routine at Rio Americano High School. Following my usual pattern of first offering opinions about things I don't understand, and then informing myself, I will first comment about the story, and then look at the video.

I guess they got all worked up over there at FOX:
Fox News television host Bill O'Reilly's show recently blasted Rio's song team for provocative dance moves during a performance at a back-to-school rally.

His "Culture Warriors" segment featured Fox commentators Margaret Hoover and Gretchen Carlson dissecting the dance routine while a recording of the most titillating moves played over and over on a loop. "They were absolutely overtly sexual," Hoover said. "What do you call spreading your legs and shaking your booty? They look like they're in an MTV music video, not at a high school performance."

Then Carlson chimed in:

"Can you imagine the young teenage boys sitting in that school audience? How in the heck were they concentrating on algebra after that?"

Not very well, apparently.

Senior John Butterfield, 17, had a front-row seat at the performance. He left the rally so shaken that he wrote an opinion piece for the Mirada, the school's student newspaper.

"Moves like we saw at the Aloha Rally are not allowed at normal school dances or even in most socially acceptable settings," Butterfield wrote. "This is a high school rally, not the latest music video, and when the song team spends most of the routine bent over, while it may (elicit) catcalls from the audience, it is simply not appropriate."

About 50 parents attended the Aug. 24 rally, and none of them complained, Principal Brian Ginter said.

The song team's routine didn't strike him as anything particularly noteworthy. By high school dance team standards, the girls were modestly dressed in loose-fitting light pink blouses, full-length pants and sneakers.

"What our girls did at their dance routine wasn't really anything different than I've seen in dance routines across the country," Ginter said.

Butterfield's 450-word piece Sept. 25 on Page 6 of the school newspaper ignited media interest. First News10 did a segment, and then O'Reilly.

"I enjoy the fact that people are talking about it," Butterfield said Tuesday.

The song team, on the other hand, is not so happy people are talking about it. The coach and student dancers declined to be interviewed for this story. Ginter said they feel the television coverage was unfair to them.

The girls face no discipline because they didn't break any rules, he said. And even before their routine was skewered by Fox pundits, Rio's song team had revised its dance in response to Butterfield's criticism.

"They went through the video and the article and looked at the things he felt were inappropriate. They looked at the dance they did and said maybe this is something that could be considered overboard," Ginter said. "There were adjustments made."

Trent Allen, spokesman for the San Juan Unified School District, said the only complaints that have come to the district have been from O'Reilly viewers outside Sacramento. He praised the song team for accepting Butterfield's opinion as constructive criticism.

"That shows a huge amount of professionalism from a high school team," Allen said.

For Butterfield, the whole episode has been a lesson in the power of the pen. He's thinking about how he can spin the story into an essay for his college applications.

"It makes me feel good that people considered what I wrote in the paper and thought about taking action," Butterfield said. "In high school, a lot of the time we feel powerless. � It makes me feel hopeful that if the adults keep listening to what we put in the paper, things will get better."
First, except for furtive book perusal in the bleachers, few people ever go to the gym to study algebra. Even back in the Jurassic Era, when loud-mouthed Bill went to school, hardly anyone went to the gym to study algebra.

Now to the video:

(After watching the video) Great dancing! I like the way they hit the floor on their knees, and not be crippled for a week, like I would be if I tried it.

Nevertheless, this supposedly overt sexuality doesn't even approach the level offered by other high schools across the country. The dance wasn't choreographed to be over-the-top sexy. It was choreographed to be hip-hop. When, according to the commentators, the coach said that the team was trying to keep up with the competition, he meant the hip-hop competition, not the sexiness competition. There are strict standards that must be met, and Rio Americano can't fall behind! Dance standards, fool!

The dancers weren't trying to make a statement about sexuality or teenage life, but it certainly gives an opportunity for others to grab a soapbox and do so. I like Margaret Hoover's forthrightness when she declares: "Girls need to know, Bill, that the most important thing about them is their character and their intelligence, not their sexuality." Nevertheless, she is wrong. Adolescence is when sexuality inevitably becomes an important part of their life and they have to successfully integrate it with their character and intelligence. That is as it has always been, in every society, always! To try to deny "teh sex" is to deny reality.

And I wonder about this John Butterfield fellow. The song team did not spend "most of the routine bent over". Look at the video again, if you disagree. It's time for Butterfield to spend some time trying to successfully integrate his sexuality with his character and intelligence. And it would be helpful if he learned something about hip-hop. He speaks from a position of ignorance.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Inflatable Ball-Gate

Just weird:
Kings co-owner Joe Maloof ordered an e-mail sent to the NBA's other 29 teams, hoping to spread the word about unforeseen dangers that can arise when performing even basic workouts with an inflatable exercise ball commonly found in many gyms and homes.

More Final Weekend "Seussical" Pix

Madder'n A Wet Hen

E.: MMMMAAARRRCCC! It's ridiculous! I'm mad! The newspaper boy threw the paper into the patio!

M.: (The patio? There is no patio...)

E.: The newspaper is all wet! It's in the sink drying out. I'm going to complain! Call me at work. Don't forget! I left a paper with instructions on how to leave a message for me.

M.: (Instructions on how to leave a message?)

E.: And above all, don't go to Davis! It's too dangerous!

M.: Absolutely! (Whatever!)

Airlines Everywhere Will Take Heart, I'm Sure

Fire a laser at an airliner as a prank and maybe they'll blow your fender off:
KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — The Air Force and Boeing say an airborne test last month of an advanced tactical laser damaged a moving ground vehicle.

A Boeing spokesman says the Sept. 19 test was aimed at damaging, not destroying, the vehicle.

A C-130H aircraft took off from Kirtland Air Force Base and fired a high-power chemical laser above White Sands Missile Range, about 200 miles south of the Albuquerque base.

The Air Force and Boeing say the test completed the project's first air-to-ground, high-power laser firing at a mobile target.

They say the beam control system guided the laser's energy to the unoccupied target, putting a hole in a fender.

They say the test demonstrates the project's ability to aim and fire a high-energy laser beam at a moving target.

Doughnuts Over Moscow

Last night, I tuned in late to Coast-to-Coast AM with George Noory, and they were discussing this halo in the clouds over Moscow. Discussion by UFO expert Nick Pope was so dilatory and fraught with fake stage excitement it made me itch. "No meteorologist can explain it," he said. "Ask me," I thought. I know what's causing it even though I haven't even seen a picture of the phenomenon yet.

When ice crystals are dropped, from above, into supercooled liquid water stratus clouds, they will slowly consume the droplets and punch an ice-crystal-filled hole through the cloud deck that can be very circular in shape and be very-interesting to look at as well. The ice crystal seeds could come naturally from a descending ice crystal tail from cirrus clouds above (cirrus uncinus), could be artificially-seeded by cloud researchers, or even simply drop from an aircraft passing above. Other such holes have been observed in numerous other places. It's fun and pretty easy to do too, if you have an aircraft at your disposal. It's Science! - there is no reason to worry about Alien Mother Ships or what British Intelligence thinks.

Next freakin' question, please.....

Kamikaze Birther

Bravado will eventually get Orly Taitz disbarred:
Reached on her cell phone by TPMmuckraker and informed of the $20,000 fine imposed on her by a federal judge this morning, Birther attorney Orly Taitz responded, first, with laughter.

"So he didn't recuse himself?" Taitz asked, after letting out an extended, nervous-sounding chuckle.

Still defiant after months of legal wrangling and, by our count, three written denunciations by federal district court Judge Clay Land, Taitz said she had absolutely no plans to pay the $20,000 fine.

"Are you kidding? Of course not," she said, asked whether she planned to send a check. "This is a form of intimidation."

Instead, she plans to file yet another written response (though it's unclear whether the court will even accept one).

"I'll go to the circuit court of appeals. I'll take this as high as I have to go," Taitz said.

Asked about the judge's promise to refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney if she didn't pay within 30 days, Taitz said she'd have to take a look at the order.

Vegan Spider

Time to give up the predator lifestyle?:
SCIENTISTS have discovered the world’s first known vegetarian spider.

Bagheera kiplingi, a South American species, lives almost exclusively on leaf buds and is thought to be the only spider of about 40,000 species to have rejected a carnivorous diet.

Instead it has developed a laidback lifestyle based on nutritious wild acacia plants — and has no need to spin a web to catch its prey.

The females have even dispensed with the time-honoured spider custom of eating their sexual partners immediately after mating.

“This is the first spider known to ‘hunt’ plants as a primary food source,” said Christopher Meehan of Villanova University, in Pennsylvania, who observed the creatures, about the size of a thumbnail, on a field trip in Mexico.

The vegetarian diet of B kiplingi appears to have prompted other changes. Since it no longer needs to go through the energy-sapping business of catching prey, it has diverted its web-spinning abilities to building family homes. Mothers use the nests to rear their young.

Thrashed That Left Foot

Yup, I've really messed up my left foot. I'll probably have to be careful for months to come!

In general, I have weak feet, but for the last 27 years have managed to keep the problem at bay by regular ballet exercise. But this summer, the balletic regularity got disturbed for the first time. First, my dad got sick, and then he died, and then Ron Cisneros moved his studio. Class was effectively dismissed for nearly two months. My feet slowly weakened, and so when I finally resumed ballet, I was primed for an injury, which, sure enough, followed as I feared (Ron was substituting for Victoria Johnson on Saturday, and I tried an outside pirouette on the left foot and felt something rip). So now, it's time to recuperate....

But I don't want to give up Monday evening aerobics, which I attended, and didn't do very well in, but at least survived.....

And how about the Wednesday and Thursday aerobics classes? Can't miss those either...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ham Radio, Colorado's Fourteeners, and Goat Cams

Lisa sends this. Admirable and strange at the same time.

"Seussical, The Musical" - Final Weekend

Left: Horton the Elephant (Kyle Hadley).
Opening number. Kimmie R., Ana C. (JoJo), Mina A., Kyle Hadley (Horton the Elephant), Helen Spangler (Court Marshal), Steve Isaacson (Judge Yertle the Turtle), Jennifer Berry, Elena L. (Cindy Lou Who), Jeffrey Lloyd Heatherly (Genghis Khan Schmitz), Chanel Charity, Kendyl I., Cole Y., and Riley S.
Mayzie LaBird (Kay Hight) hands off her egg to Horton, for good.
General Genghis Khan Schmitz (and occasional Sneetch; Jeffrey Lloyd Heatherly), at ease.

The Bloogosphere

This is my experience of the Internet, in a picture (from "Oh, the THINKS You Can Think!", Dr. Seuss, 1975).

At the restaurant last night, after Seussical strike, people were passing around a copy of the book. Jojo had this page opened. I looked over Jojo's shoulder, and was charmed!

Dianne Feinstein Wants A Rally

Senator Feinstein wants a health care rally on Thursday in Davis. It would be nice to comply, then change the subject to why she is so shrill for war in Afghanistan. I mean, after all, one of the main competitors for health care dollars is the military:
Where: Enterprise Newpaper 3rd and G Street (in Davis)

When: Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009, at 10:00 AM