Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring In Indiana Brings Robins

Jerry writes:
I was mowing my back yard for the first time this year and was about to move the hose out of the way when I saw this on top of the hose spooler.

From The Land Of The Unemployed, A Video Resume

Trying To Connect Two Mexican Drug Violence Dots

I've long-felt the need to develop a deeper understanding of the Mexican Drug War. It's close enough to us that we can all be affected by it, and there is nothing to say it might not envelope us sooner or later (as it already is enveloping the folks in South Texas).

Like many U.S. citizens, though, my understanding of Mexico is laughably-small, so it's hard to find a good entry point that is both small enough to be understood and big enough to be useful. I doubt even the Mexicans have a good understanding of the Mexican Drug War. It's hard to learn things when you are terrified, particularly when there are VERY BIG incentives to NOT learning things.

There are strong geographic biases in Mexican Drug War violence. The border areas are particularly violent, but paradoxically, large parts of Mexico are quite safe: safer even than the U.S., if statistics can be relied upon. Local knowledge is a must, if it can be gained. So, I thought I'd focus on areas that I visited while travelling on the cruise ship I was on last November/December. As estranged as I was from the local scene by my tourist status, at least I have some clue where these places are.

Attacks on the police are a constant theme in Mexican Drug War violence. It's no different in Sinaloa. There is a recent story about a hit on the police in the northeast Mazatlan suburb of Colonia Villas del Sol (working from a Google translation):
Thursday April 28, 2011: Yesterday an armed group came to the Colony Villas del Sol, and attacked Hector Aguilar Javier Portillo, 42, who worked as an agent of the state police in Mazatlan, Sinaloa.

Neighbors noticed the execution and called authorities. The man's body was found next to his white van. The site found dozens of spent shell casings from AK-47 rifle.

An expert Personal Service agent picked up the corpse belonged to the Base 38 of the Ministerial Police.
But that isn't the only recent hit on the police - there was another one just two months ago, in the same general neighborhood (working from a Google translation):
MAZATLÁN: A city police officer was shot dead when he was near his home in the subdivision Villa del Sol.

The policeman who had at least 5 years disability was identified by relatives as Juan Gabriel Morales Medina, "The Peewee", who was 48 years old, and lived on the avenue Genaro Estrada of that housing project.

Reports provided by police elements who arrived in the area indicate that the deadly attack originated at 11:20 pm outside a store named "Cactus" located down the street Aurora Borealis.

Two young men arrived on board a black motorcycle, and came to where the policeman was allegedly playing a wind instrument.

One of the murderers took from his clothes a gun and shot at close range the uniformed officer, who fell on the sidewalk next to his instrument of trade.

After committing the deadly attack, the thugs accelerated and pulled down the same street Aurora Borealis due west ....

Minutes later the area was plagued by military and police officers and Red Cross paramedics who tried to give first aid to the victim, who unfortunately had already ceased to exist.
So, a state police officer, and a disabled city policeman.

Villas del Sol is a suburb of Mazatlan: on the fringe of the metropolitan area, but near a major highway. From what I can tell, it's a pleasant-enough place, but someone clearly has it in for the police - any police - in this particular neighborhood. I wonder why?

Clarifying The Ways Of Nobility

Arcade Fire at the Grammys 2011 - "Month of May"

With the news from Tuscaloosa and the South, I felt I should start the day with a good tornado song. "The Month of May" is a pretty-good fit.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jillian Owens Was On "Good Day, Sacramento" (04/13)

Tornado Footage

Maybe on a par with 1925!

What The Hell Was That? - 'Sucker Punch' at IMAX

Joe the Plumber had been saying for weeks that he wanted to see 'Sucker Punch'. Out of the loop as ever, I had no clue what it was about, but agreed to go anyway.

So, last night, we saw 'Sucker Punch', on the six-story tall screen at the IMAX. With a zillion speakers hammering us on all sides.

I still haven't much of a clue what it was all about, but I do note that sexy but vulnerable women possessing superhuman-like powers while sporting heavy armaments and exercising maximum violence in a fantasy wargamelike dreamscape is a pretty good formula for Hollywood success.

A little incoherent on the story - how do beautiful model-like women get trapped in an insane asylum anyway? Can't they get trapped somewhere else, like an engineering firm? - but who is paying that much attention to the story anyway?

This trend of people narrowly-surviving maximum violence started with 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' in 1980, and it's been downhill ever since. Quentin Tarantino, and movies like 'Sin City' (which is the stylistic model for 'Sucker Punch') have severely aggravated the trend.

For example, I really liked the way these women could leap from an flying aircraft onto a moving train right into a three-point crouch. Very pretty! Very agile! If I did the same, however, the result, while interesting, would not be pretty (more like a 'Jackass' video gone horribly awry, or an advanced training video for paramedics). At the Battle of Stalingrad, the Soviets dropped lots of skydivers into snowy fields behind Nazi lines, hoping to break the Nazi siege, but lo-and-behold, they couldn't afford parachutes, so the planes flew ultra-low and slow and they hoped for the best with the cushioning effect of snow. That wasn't very pretty (particularly in those fields windswept of snow). Impressed the hell out of the Nazis, though.

Joe The Plumber liked particular quotes:
Don't ever write a check with your mouth you can't cash with your ass.
For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the sheltered will never know.
Or the trenchant philosophy:
Who honors those we love for the very life we live? Who sends monsters to kill us. And at the same time, things that will never die. Who teaches us whats real, and how to laugh at lies. Who decides why we live, and what we'll die to defend. Who trains us, and who holds the key to set us free. It's you. You have all the weapons you need. Now fight!
But I was reminded more of this article at The Onion, which Buffee mentioned on Facebook:
"My whole life I've made a concerted effort to give people a fair shake and understand different points of view because I felt that everyone had something valuable to offer, but it turns out most of what they had to offer was complete bullshit."

Joe the Plumber thought it was the best movie, ever! I'm still trying to figure out what the hell happened.

This 'Big Secret' Is A Big Time-Wasting Pain In The Ass

But fortunately it looks like "How to Succeed..." will interfere, so I'm under no obligation to go to Los Angeles too....

The Folks In Vegas Can't Quite See Trump's Payoff

But they can smell a rat a mile away:
Anyway, what we see here is a pattern of the White House and Trump flirting over ballrooms and oil spills. All we need is another dot.

Enter Glenn Beck: “So a lot of people think that George Soros is nothing to worry about, Donald Trump. Donald Trump took investment money from George Soros to build the Trump Tower in Chicago.”

Aha! Soros. Soros, the billionaire financier who has supported democracy efforts in former communist bloc countries and left-wing causes in the U.S.

And ... Chicago. Hmm ... Chicago. What foreign-born U.S. president learned radical Saul Alinsky-style politics in Chicago? You know who.

So, we know Trump is connected to Soros, and of course we know Soros is secretly running the White House.

Now, what does Trump get in return for his service to the White House, what does he get by acting like a loathsome buffoon and making a mockery of the Republican nominating process?

That I haven’t figured out yet. There’s some dirty deal, and I suspect Las Vegas has something to do with it. We always do.

Folks Stunned By The Tornado Outbreak

One of the biggest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history:
Tuscaloosa, Alabama (CNN) -- Storms of near-epic proportions cut wide swaths of destruction across the South, killing at least 272 people in six states, ravaging whole neighborhoods and crippling towns.

The vast majority of fatalities occurred in Alabama, where 184 people perished, said Yasamie August, Alabama Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman.

A breakdown provided by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's office showed that violent weather claimed lives in 16 Alabama counties. Thirty people perished in DeKalb County in northeastern Alabama; the death toll in the hard-hit city of Tuscaloosa, in west-central Alabama, was at 36 as of Thursday morning, said Mayor Walter Maddox.

"I don't know how anyone survived," Maddox said. "We're used to tornadoes here in Tuscaloosa. It's part of growing up. But when you look at the path of destruction that's likely 5 to 7 miles long in an area half a mile to a mile wide ... it's an amazing scene. There's parts of the city I don't recognize, and that's someone that's lived here his entire life."

Thirty-two people died in Mississippi, emergency officials said. Tennessee emergency officials said 33 people died in that state. Fourteen were dead in Georgia, eight in Virginia and one in Arkansas.

Entire neighborhoods were leveled and hundreds of thousands of people were without power in the affected regions. As of 10 a.m. (11 a.m. ET), Alabama Power said nearly 348,500 customers had no electricity. As of Thursday morning, about 61,000 people in Georgia were without power, according to Georgia Power and the Georgia Electric Membership Corp. Bentley estimated as many as half a million to a million people had no electricity in Alabama.

It's A Very Bad Idea To Have A Military Man Lead The CIA

The strength of the CIA is that it is civilian in nature. The CIA is one of the very, very few institutional checks on the power of the Pentagon. Sometimes it is necessary to speak truth to power, even within the hierarchy of U.S. Government power. The CIA can state the unpleasant but necessary facts, but not if it is run by a military leader.

The role of the CIA is to assess. The role of the military is to execute. Soldiers obey orders. It shouldn't be the role of the CIA to obey orders. Checks and balances make the U.S. Government work. Without them, we are in for Big Trouble:
The first four Directors of the CIA (from 1947-1953) were military officers, but since then, there has been a tradition (generally though imperfectly observed) of keeping the agency under civilian rather than military leadership. That's why George Bush's 2006 nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden to the CIA provoked so many objections from Democrats (and even some Republicans).

The Hayden nomination triggered this comment from the current Democratic Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein: "You can't have the military control most of the major aspects of intelligence. The CIA is a civilian agency and is meant to be a civilian agency." The then-top Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman, said "she hears concerns from civilian CIA professionals about whether the Defense Department is taking over intelligence operations" and "shares those concerns."

...Of course, like so many Democratic objections to Bush policies, that was then and this is now. Yesterday, President Obama announced -- to very little controversy -- that he was nominating Gen. David Petraeus to become the next CIA Director. The Petraeus nomination raises all the same concerns as the Hayden nomination did, but even more so: Hayden, after all, had spent his career in military intelligence and Washington bureaucratic circles and thus was a more natural fit for the agency; by contrast, Petraues is a pure military officer and, most of all, a war fighting commander with little background in intelligence. But in the world of the Obama administration, Petraeus' militarized, warrior orientation is considered an asset for running the CIA, not a liability.

That's because the CIA, under Obama, is more militarized than ever, as devoted to operationally fighting wars as anything else, including analyzing and gathering intelligence. This morning's Washington Post article on the Petraeus nomination -- headlined: "Petraeus would helm an increasingly militarized CIA" -- is unusual in presenting such a starkly forthright picture of how militarized the U.S. has become under the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner:

...One reason why it's so valuable to keep the CIA under civilian control is because its independent intelligence analyst teams often serve as one of the very few capable bureaucratic checks against the Pentagon and its natural drive for war. That was certainly true during the Bush years when factions in the CIA rebelled against the dominant neocon Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/Feith clique, but it's been true recently as well.

Albuquerque Slang

Michelle S. pointed this out on Facebook. Some of the slang is fairly-new. I've heard 'Spaghetti Bowl' used for the enormous and confusing Hwy 95/I-15 interchange in Las Vegas, but not for the smaller Big-I in ABQ. Someone who's been in both places simply applied the same term, probably after recent Big-I remodeling, and it's sticking. 'Burque' is new to me (resembles burka, so probably from last decade). My synonym is 'Albuturkey', but so far that isn't sticking. Hadn't heard 'Tamalewood', but it doesn't surprise.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Arcade Fire - City With No Children (Ukrainian Culture Center,Los Angeles CA 2/11/11)

Dingoes Didn't Get Away With It - This Time

When I locked myself out out of the Mt. Glorious house in 2006 and had to walk through the early-morning darkness seeking help, the housewife I approached seemed surprised that I wasn't afraid of dingoes. I was surprised she was surprised. The idea of getting attacked by dingoes so close to Brisbane seemed alien. Too primal for the modern era!

Then again, maybe it's not such an alien idea after all:
Australian rangers found and killed two dingoes believed to have mauled a three-year-old girl as her family was preparing to board a ferry following a camping trip on Australia's Fraser Island.

The dingoes, wild dogs native to Australia, attacked the girl and dragged her by the legs Monday after she wandered away from her family and into the sand dunes on the island in northeastern Queensland.

Witnesses watched as the dogs attacked the little girl, yelling for the child's parents and for the dogs to scatter, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"I was running and yelling and screaming and pointing at these people behind the dune," witness David Law told the network. "I finally got their attention and pointed behind, and one of the men ran over the dune, and scared the dog off the little girl."

The family has not been identified. The two dogs were reported found and destroyed.

Some 200 dingoes are believed to live on Fraser Island, a national park and popular camping destination near the Australian city of Brisbane. The island is home to one of the last groups of purebred dingoes, which are a protected species under Australian law.

Doesn't Natural Mean Better For You?

Confusion on the vittles front:
Sea salt is not a low-sodium version of table salt, but 61% of Americans believe it is.

...The survey of 1,000 results had at least one encouraging finding—59% of Americans know their blood pressure numbers.

...But whether moderate wine drinking is heart-protective or just neutral (excessive drinking is widely regarded as a bad idea), only about 30% of adults know the heart association has recommended daily limits on wine. The association's position on drinking to your health:

“If you drink any alcohol, including wine, beer and spirits, the American Heart Association recommends that you do so in moderation. Limit consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.”

...In the same survey, 46% thought table salt is the primary source of sodium in American diets. Actually, most sodium that Americans consume—about 75%--comes from processed foods, soups and canned foods.

Bringing Wagon Mound Values To Washington, D.C.

Since I'm in California, it's hard to weigh this appropriately. It seems to me Martin Heinrich still has the edge in the primary. But it's nice to have an open race. May the best candidate win!

Trump In 2012

Ezra Klein's blogpost, reproduced below, in full:

What just happened?

There’s only one explanation that makes sense to me in light of this morning’s events: The Obama administration wants Donald Trump to be the GOP’s nominee in 2012, and this is their effort to strengthen him in the primary. Of course, that explanation violates my axiom that almost nothing in Washington is really a complicated plan and almost everything is a rushed decision made by tired people with insufficient information.

Which leaves me with a much more depressing explanation for the morning’s events: Maybe our politics really have become this stupid.
The GOP has long-favored budget plans that cater to the rich. There hasn't been much real thought given to this policy: it's automatic and axiomatic. That's what you get when ideology rules the roost: very little real, original thought. No looking at the battlefield with fresh eyes. And so, the GOP will reap what it has sowed. They are almost completely-naked to an attack from the rich: the uber-rich, the super-rich, the filthy-rich. And maybe they deserve what they get.

I Want To Keep The Birthers Around A Little Bit Longer

Daily Kos lists the reasons why Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate is a good idea:
Sure, it might seem like "giving in" to the enemy -- responding to right-wing hysteria and releasing the long-form birth certificate. But here's why the move is a canny one:

1. It keeps the issue in the news. Even more so, it gives it that much more visibility. And let's face it, this is a huge loser for the GOP. What better way to show how out-of-touch and irrational Republicans are, than to rub this in their face.

2. The media has already treated the birthers harshly, equating them with the truthers (and deservedly so). But while the truthers never got buy in from any progressive of note, the birthers have been fully embraced by top conservative leaders. Heck, Donald Trump has based his presidential flirtations entirely on birtherism. So if the media was harsh to the birthers before today, how do you think they'll react when the headlines are: Trump Adviser: Even If Long-Form Birth Certificate Is Genuine, It Doesn’t Prove Anything.

3. The narrative now is how Republicans deal with this outburst of crazy. It's the kind of GOP vs GOP story we rarely get. Enjoy it.

4. The entire birther movement used to revolve around the single question: "Why won't Obama release his long-form birth certificate". While their claims were idiotic, that demand had a smidgeon of reasonableness to it. Now that Obama has verified the obvious, the birthers have lost all semblance of rationality. At this point, those who cling to their Kenyan theories are beyond redemption. (As we all knew they were.)
Nevertheless, I hope Obama's dastardly release of a usually-tedious public document won't ruin their movement.

When you have a fish in a barrel, you shouldn't move the fish into another barrel, or into an aquarium, or - heavens no! - into a river. Keep the fish right where it is! The birthers make the GOP look even more irrational than they already are. They are the GOP's perfect shock troops. Donald Trump is already adding his baroque flourishes, by inquiring into Obama's grades in college. That is the right spirit!

Ask question after question: Does Obama pay his bills on time? Has Obama ever been in a shopping mall? Can Obama drive a car? Has Obama ever mowed a lawn? These are the important questions! Not tedious, wonky stuff like: why is Leon Panetta taking over at the Pentagon?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last Typewriter Factory Calls It Quits

And that's that:
"We are not getting many orders now," Milind Dukle, Godrej and Boyce's general manager, told the paper. "From the early 2000s onwards, computers started dominating. All the manufacturers of office typewriters stopped production, except us. 'Till 2009, we used to produce 10,000 to 12,000 machines a year. But this might be the last chance for typewriter lovers. Now, our primary market is among the defence agencies, courts and government offices."

"Source Code"

Last night, Joe The Plumber was bound and determined to see the movie "Sucker Punch", but we left certain details unchecked: like when the movie started. Once the last movie starts at IMAX, they seal the theater tight as a drum, and we couldn't figure out how to get into the theater.

Instead, we saw "Source Code". It is an excellent movie!

Ishi Mural Painter Profile

Yesterday, the Sacramento Bee did a profile on Alex Forster (a.k.a. Cabrón), who painted the Ishi mural at 24th & Broadway.

Sometimes filling up with gasoline leads to revelations. I remember a rather unpleasant revelation back in - oh, was it 1999? - when I was filling up in Davis, at a station where they had just installed gas pumps with TV screens, which just happened to be tuned to CNN. I heard a horrible rasping sound, and turned to look at the gas pump. My jaw dropped: there was Yasser Arafat, speaking to me from the pump.

This mural is much, much easier on the eyes and ears than the late Yasser Arafat. A very pleasant revelation!:

At first the intersection of 24th Street and Broadway seems like any other. Gas station on one corner, fast-food restaurant on another.

But that prosaic quality ends when one notices the eyes.

They are a pair of black-and-white eyes, 2 feet tall. They belong to an enigmatic face that, in turn, anchors a bold cinema screen-sized mural adjacent to a 76 gas station and market.

The mural is the work of 36-year-old artist Alex Forster (a.k.a. Cabrón). From end to end, the artwork measures 16 feet by 80 feet.

The striking face is Forster's depiction of Ishi – the renowned last surviving member of the Yahi tribe. In 1908, Ishi walked away from a solitary and nomadic life in the Sierra foothills and into the nascent 20th century to become a living specimen of an American Indian culture almost fully extinguished.

In the mural, Ishi holds a gold nugget in each hand, with rays of gold radiating outward. The nuggets are Forster's nod to the Gold Rush – the historical moment that sealed the fate of the area's remaining American Indians circa 1849.

The fact that Forster's mural carries such historical weight is no accident. The mural was commissioned by the nonprofit organization Valley Vision. That organization solicited designs from area artists with the intention of covering a bland, east-facing wall. The mandate was that the mural inform either the past or present state of life in the Sacramento Valley.

Forster's Ishi design was picked from a pool of 20 entries and earned him a $1,000 prize.

"I wanted to paint something big that would strike people right away," he said.

It took 160 hours of labor and $500 worth of paint. And when it was finished, its owners were pleased.

..."I went big so that you could see it," said Forster.

...Forster said he feels that working on murals will be a new horizon for him as an artist.

"This mural is more of a Los Angeles-style mural – where murals are done over big walls," he said.

Some, like local artist and cultural activist Xico Gonzalez, see the mural as fitting squarely within a proud tradition of muraling in Sacramento.

..."This style is different than the old guard of muralists in the region, since it is done in a graphic style rather than a painterly one."

The Chinese Go All-In With The Stupid

The Kid In The River

Jerry tells an interesting and odd story from the banks of Indiana's St. Joe River, at Mishawaka. I’m sure the emergency people see everything at one time or another, but even they must have been taken aback. Delusion can be a very strong force! People live halfway in the real world and halfway in a fantasy world anyway. Kids, more than most, can be affected.:
My brother and I heard a loud commotion while walking by the river. At first we thought it was some kids goofing around, but then a boy (around 12, I'd say) said that a little kid had fallen into the river and asked us to call 9-1-1. We did, but it turned out that they had already received a call. Shortly thereafter, emergency personnel began to arrive (firemen), and we saw that the commotion was being caused by a screaming woman who was running back and forth along a stone wall next to the river. She seemed to be indicating that her son had fallen into the river. Some other people were with her, but they didn't seem to be acting with the urgency one might expect under the circumstances. The woman seemed to be directing her shouts at one man in particular, at one pointed yelling, "We're through!" Firemen with ropes were walking along the paths on both banks, peering intently into the river and they even launched a rescue boat. We didn't really know what to do, so we continued walking, constantly looking down into the river, but seeing nothing out of the ordinary. We again encountered the kid who asked to call 9-1-1 (he was looping back after crossing a footbridge). We asked him for more details, and he now said that the kid who had fallen into the river was his ten-year-old brother. Odd that before he had merely said that a "little kid" had fallen into the river; now, it was his brother. The whole thing began to ring false; if this had really happened, wouldn't the boy have said, "Please help, my brother fell into the river!"? Then, within 20 minutes, the firemen were gone. That evening, I looked for something about this incident on the news -- nothing. In the paper the next morning -- nothing. It never happened. Very strange. One possibility is that the woman has some sort of mental problem and that the firemen were so informed by the people who were with her. But who was that boy?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Morning Driveway Doings

I was roused from sleep at 5 a.m. this morning by the sound of a car idling in my driveway. The idling was going on too long. It was about the time I expected E. to show up, but the extra idling was atypical. Was E. having some kind of problem in the driveway? So, I looked out my bedroom window....

Instead, through the dawn's early light, I saw an unfamiliar black sedan parked in the driveway next to my car. I could see someone in the car rifling through bags. The car was parked outwards rather than inwards: the driver had backed into the parking space. Highly-unusual.

I started hypothesizing as to why he had parked that way. It's dark next to hedge that borders the driveway. He could be seeking ultra-darkness, for some nefarious reason. Alternatively, he could be minimizing the distance between the driver's seat and my garbage can, maybe also for nefarious reasons. But I couldn't let him remain: E. would arrive shortly and a confrontation with her could be unpredictable. So, I got out of my bed in my pajamas, climbed downstairs, and approached the sedan from behind.

The tall, jug-eared man (who looked like a cross between Lyndon Johnson and Bruce Willis) was just leaving the car with a couple of sacks, and approaching the back of the car just as I was approaching the car. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was parking the car there temporarily. I asked him to move the car. He sighed, but complied, and apologized again just as I retreated back into my yard. "No prob," I replied.

But it was all highly suspicious; he was dressed head-to-toe in black, with a black cap, and he didn't appear to belong to the neighborhood. I did not get a license plate number, or make and model of the sedan. Under the circumstances, I thought it best not to get too close.

More than many folk, the criminal element behaves rationally, and will act to minimize friction, if given the opportunity. It's not like the over-dramatic musical theatre folk, who tend to behave the opposite.

I sent a brief report to the police on the Internet, but failed to give all details, so I will have to send again.

Are Pills More Stable Than Realized?

I take potassium chloride (KCl; a highly-soluble salt) as a potassium supplement to offset the wasting diuretic effect of my blood pressure pills. Recently, the KCl pill was shifted from a capsule form to a pill form, probably because that generic form was a bit cheaper. No problem, I thought. Along with the active ingredient, pills are made of some kind of stabilizing goop, but KCl is so soluble it shouldn't be able to survive passage through the gut, stabilizing goop, or not.

Nevertheless, the doctor wasn't satisfied with the dosage. He kept trying to increase it. Apparently I wasn't getting enough. Odd, I thought. I felt like those turkeys on Mauritius, when the botanist realized in a blaze of brilliant insight that a certain rare tree couldn't reproduce anymore because the seeds hadn't passed through a bird's gut, because the bird in question - the dodo - had been extinct for centuries. So, the botanist grabbed turkeys and started force-feeding them tree seeds, in a Hail-Mary effort to save the rapidly-dying trees [note: this is Marc's embellished history of a real event, and may not coincide precisely with true events]. I complied with the doctor's wishes regarding higher dosages, but wondered, does a person really need that much KCl?

Today, I made a scatological discovery: The KCl pill CAN survive passage through the gut nearly-intact! Amazing! That pill goop must be much-more-stable than I could have imagined! The KCl sails right through the system, rather than getting absorbed! It now means I have to crunch the pills in order to assure proper dosage! Who would have thought?

I Just Love The Internet Meme "What The Hell Is An Arcade Fire?"

Hilarious capsule history of "Arcade Fire":

Back in 2004, friend Walt posed this question on this blog:
This year is the 50th anniversary of Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock". I've been thinking about the state of rock music today.

Its easy to detect the arrival of a new phenomenon, but its harder to recognize when something fades away. I've noticed that rap stars make headlines much more often today than rock stars; and in Italy rap is more popular than rock. The other day I listened to part of American Top 40 Countdown -- the show that Casey Kasem used to do -- and there was a lot of rap, but little rock.

So I'm thinking that rock is moribund. I don't mean that it is "creatively exhausted", or that today's rock is "low quality"; I merely mean that it is no longer very popular. Perhaps rock is yesterday's news. I asked several teenagers about it, none of whom were particularly eager to talk to me, and I got mixed results. Some said rock was ancient history, some said it was very much a going concern.

Even rap is older now than rock was when we were college freshman!!

So what are your thoughts on this?
We had a big ol' discussion about it back then.

Today, Salon discusses the rock band "Arcade Fire":
Remember when that indie band won album of the year at the Grammys, causing a huge uproar and a couple of Twitter posts asking "What is an Arcade Fire?"

Well, in an effort to get more of Middle America (read: non-hipsters) aware of their existence, two members of the group showed up to sing at the seventh inning of a Chicago Cubs game Saturday.
My opinion on "Arcade Fire" and the evolution of rock music is fairly-well set:
One possible outcome for rock music is to follow the path of jazz music. Jazz was popular on the street in the 1920’s, but by the 1960’s it had evolved into a specialized interest. Similarly, rock was popular on the street in the 1960’s, but today it is caught in a web of nostalgia, and may be on the way to becoming a specialized interest as well.

I think the indie rock band “Arcade Fire” is probably the best rock band of the last 20 years, but because of its eccentric history it still isn’t very well known, despite having won at the most-recent Grammys. Apparently they are trying to reach out to the masses, but are as yet having indifferent success. It sure is a different career arc than followed by a band like The Rolling Stones.
Yesterday, I purchased "The Suburbs". I particularly like "Half Light II (No Celebration):

Welcome To International Politics

Even though I'm a supporter of the Libyan intervention, there's no denying the truth of this cartoon.

Julissa Veloz Performs at MOVA in Miami Beach

Patriotic Locomotive

Wiser/Lea/Dickson Seder

Skynet Is Self-Aware And Looking For Action

This news can only be good:
According to the franchise's most recent story line, 8:11 PM on 19 April 2011 marks the precise moment that the artificially intelligent Skynet global digital defense network becomes self-aware and triggers a worldwide nuclear disaster. On April 21, Skynet deploys legions of robot killers to wage war on the remaining humans.

"April 19 was a revised date in Terminator mythology established in TV spin-off The Sarah Connor Chronicles," writes NME. "In the original movie Skynet was initiated by Cyberdyne Systems on August 4, 1997, with the first strikes coming 25 days later on Judgement Day: August 29, 1997."