Friday, February 03, 2012

Pepper Von Motivational Speech

Pepper Von has several arenas where he likes to exert his training and natural magnetism. I know him best, of course, as a physical fitness instructor (specifically, his challenging aerobics classes). But one of the arenas he shines in best is as a motivational speaker.

Flippers In Trouble

This is a depressing but educational Web Site: Sacramento Area Flippers In Trouble.

On the flip side, maybe it's a good time to buy real estate.

Bboys Battle At Sac State

From last summer, apparently. Looks like fun!

Whimsical Mitt

So far, I'm not terribly offended by all these supposed misstatements by Mitt Romney. It's just Mitt being Mitt, after all.

Valdez Is Coming

This was on the tube last night. Saw part of it; didn't understand it, except for this part:
The elusive shadow that appears, attacks, and vanishes.

Valdez was a methodical machine of destruction: swift, silent, and deadly.

Certain Kinds Of Protests Are Quite Dangerous

I was perturbed by this:
A woman threw flour at front-running French presidential candidate Francois Hollande as he made a campaign stop Wednesday, in what she said was a protest against his Socialist Party.

Hollande was giving a speech on housing in La Porte de Versailles, in Paris, at the time of the flour-bomb attack.

Video footage showed Hollande, who is the main challenger to incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy in the election in the spring, looking surprised but not panicked as flour showered down on him at the podium.
People don't seem to realize that suspended dust, like flour, is highly-combustible, and can explode with just a bit of static discharge. That's why grain silos explode, after all:
Many materials which are commonly known to oxidise can generate a dust explosion, such as coal, sawdust, and magnesium. However, many otherwise mundane materials can also lead to a dangerous dust cloud such as grain, flour, sugar, powdered milk and pollen. Many powdered metals (such as aluminium and titanium) can form explosive suspensions in air.

The dust can arise from activities such as transporting grain and indeed grain silos do regularly have explosions.

Groundhog Day In The Most Wretched Winter Ever

Same story every day. Rain about a week away. It's raining a lot about 1000 miles NNE of Hawaii. Why can't we get some of that?

Kelsey B. "Boy If You Only Knew (Barona & Hull Remix Video)"

I like the Barona and Hull remix of Kelsey's song.

Crackin' Up

Craig sends this:
The pencil-thin line across the satellite image of Pine Island Glacier (above) is actually more than 18 miles long, 800 feet across in places, and 180 feet deep.

And it's growing. In the next few months, scientists expect the glacier to create an iceberg about 350 square miles in area. It will probably float northward, melting as it goes.

..."These things happen on a semi-regular basis in both the Arctic and Antarctic, but it's still a fairly large event," said John Sonntag, Instrument Team Lead for Operation IceBridge, in video recorded on the plane.

Komen Foundation Skepticism

Arched eyebrows:
I want to be really clear about what’s going on here. Obviously, Komen has taken a huge amount of heat in the last few days, far more than they’d anticipated, and they’re scrambling to contain the damage. They’re in disarray, and trying to keep this from becoming an even bigger problem for them than it already is. This statement is a reflection of that, and in that sense it’s a good sign. But what they’re hoping this will do is take the spotlight off, and if it has that effect, they’ll have a lot of room to maneuver later. So folks who want to see Planned Parenthood refunded need to be extremely skeptical, and extremely loud in voicing their skepticism, in the near future.
Apparently a hundred baseball-bat strikes to the forehead finally caught the attention of the Komen Foundation. They'll say anything right now to make the pain stop. Extreme skepticism of their actions is warranted.

Conspiracy Theories About 'Fast And Furious' Not Paranoid Enough For Me

I'm getting tired of paranoid conservative theories about gun control plots festering within the Obama Administration: they are just too bone-headed simple:
“You know what the Republicans just did? They sold out every mother’s son who put their life and career on the line to try to bring this truth out,” Vanderboegh told TPM. “Another display like this and people will forget the whole thing.”

So why did Republicans, at least as far as Vanderboegh is concerned, back off? He suggested it could be as simple as the FBI blackmailing the speaker of the House.

“I submit to you that it is entirely possible that the fix is in,” Vanderboegh told TPM. “It could be as simple as a picture of something like John Boehner with a sheep, you know. Because they’ve done that before. The FBI blackmails people routinely. They always have.”
If only! No, the game is much more complicated than that, and not nearly paranoid enough.

Basically, the Obama Administration is arming the Sinaloa Cartel, in order to contain the power of Los Zetas, whereas the GOP (through its NRA affiliates) is doing the opposite, because of the money-making possibilities. If it appears Boehner is backing off a bit, it's probably just a tactical retreat. The ultimate game is control of United States armed forces in the Southwest - Border Patrol, Army, Air Force, Navy - in order to facilitate the movement of both arms and drugs between the two countries. U.S. control of the border is more fragile than it appears, and susceptible to corruption at every level, including (and probably especially) Capitol Hill.

There are many angles to the game, and nearly an infinite variety of ways of selling out. Conservative bloggers just don't have the imagination necessary to see all the working parts. If they were working the UFO angle, they'd imagine all aliens had to come from Mars, without even giving Venus its due.

Get Ready - Rare Earth - 1970

Michelle sends this fun video of Rare Earth in 1970, not just because it's fun music, but because of the famous painting of Albuquerque's Central Avenue in the Sixties (at 1:54).

Standup Comic Sandra Day O'Connor

According to ESPN's Tony Kornheiser, who was at the Capital Hilton for the dinner, O'Connor said that of the two leading Republican candidates, "one is a practicing polygamist, and he's not even the Mormon."

Les Voyageurs Sans Trace

Les Voyageurs Sans Trace--Fun, Retro Trailer from Ian McCluskey on Vimeo.

Deborah sends this.

Young French couples on a lark in the American West are prone to making bad decisions. I remember being driven around Organ Pipe by two French astronomers based for the summer at Kitt Peak. We nearly flipped the car on a downhill dirt road section. Turned out, one was steering and the other was working the pedals. Because they wanted to be close. So close they couldn't coordinate.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Julissa Veloz - Very Brady Day (Acoustic)

Prepping DMTC's Theater For The New Seats

Working with Jan and Stacy and Nikki and James et al. on removing the old seats and painting the seating risers.

Rehearsal underway for "Damn Yankees".

So, Will The Komen Foundation Cut Off Catholic Hospitals Too?

Hypocrisy watch:
So do investigations like these of the Catholic church and its financial dealings mean that Georgetown University and other Catholic institutions will be prohibited from receiving Komen grants? In 2009-10, per Komen’s 990 [pdf], GU got grants of $599,985 and $250,000 for research (pdf pp. 43 and 47) and $73,750 for treatment programs (pdf p. 54). (FY: 4/1/2009-3/31/2010). Note that the above is the 990 for the main Komen for the Cure organization, which is separate from the local affiliates who have to file their own 990s. Undoubtedly there are other RC organizations who receive Komen funds.

The Modern British Slave Trade

Apparently vulnerable Britons are being kidnapped and forced to pave Swedish driveways, or something like that:
Criminal elements of the British and Irish travelling community have been transporting vulnerable British men abroad to work as virtual slaves.

An investigation by the BBC Ten O'Clock News and Radio 5 Live Breakfast has uncovered at least 32 victims.

The European Commission describes it as modern slavery and says this is the tip of the iceberg.

There have been confirmed cases in six European countries, including Sweden, Norway and Belgium.

The gangs pick vulnerable men off the streets in the UK, who are often homeless and many have drink or drugs problems.

They are promised well-paid work, but are then transported abroad where they are forced into long, hard days tarmacking or paving driveways for little or no money.

...The men worked 14-hour days for little or no pay and lived in appalling, cramped conditions. They were too frightened to escape, until the Swedish police offered them help. He says there was a culture of violence.

"I've seen people threatened with pickaxes. I've seen people kicked, punched. I've nearly been pushed off a moving vehicle. It's very tense. You're waiting for the next thing to happen, " he says.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Stolen Wallet; Stolen Keys Means A Crappy Day For Joe The Plumber

Spent the last several hours at Motel 6 near Richards Blvd. & I-5 with Joe The Plumber, and driving him around on errands. Joe's story doesn't cohere:
I was so tired last night I just fell on the bed and fell asleep. But sometime in the middle of the night someone came through the window, and Bella (the dog) didn't bark. They took my wallet and the keys to my van and the automatic toothbrush, but they didn't take my hawk's claw. The security service woke me up in the morning when they saw the window screen on the ground outside my window. I tracked the guy down to the river where I challenged him to a fight. The fellow accepted, but only down the slope where he was. So I came back.
My thought is that whoever this thief-person might have been was probably there by Joe's own invitation (hence the dog that didn't bark). Whatever.

So, I called the locksmiths and we went to the bank to change passwords and tried to cancel the phone service.

We stopped at McDonald's, where an uber-Manager was leading a discussion with about ten managers:
Q.: Unlike this store, at the drive-through at our store we have headsets.
A.: That is a very good question! Like you say, some drive-throughs have headsets and some don't.
So, I'm back briefly at work, and hopefully the locksmith will eventually show up, and Joe can get up off the floor board of life once again. A perfectly idiotic day. I'm kicking myself a little, because I recommended that particular motel row to Joe in the first place.

[UPDATE] Because Joe lost patience and broke the ignition system to try and start his van, the repair cost $430.00.]

Tar Plumber

Joe The Plumber calls with the news that someone broke into his motel room and stole a bunch of his stuff. And I guess I get to help with this.

Uh Oh, The Susan G. Komen Foundation Just Committed Suicide

And here it comes:
It’s not that Komen is some questionable, Wyclef Jean-esque mess. It gets high marks from both the Better Business Bureau and Charity Navigator. Yet this is an organization that has repeatedly come under fire for its extravagant promotion of itself as an organization dedicated to a “cure,” when only a small portion of its expenses go to, you know, curing cancer. Komen itself cops to portioning just 24 percent of its funds to research – and 20 percent to fundraising and administration. For an organization with reported revenues of nearly $350 million, that’s still a lot of money for research. It’s an awful lot for itself, too.

Yet Komen remains pretty damn territorial around that whole “cure” thing. In a 2010 story for the Huffington Post, writer Laura Bassett pointed out that, according to Komen’s own financial records, it spends almost “a million dollars a year in donor funds” aggressively going after other organizations that dare to use the phrase “for the cure” – including small charities like Kites for a Cure, Par for the Cure, Surfing for a Cure, Cupcakes for a Cure, and even a dog-sledding event called Mush for the Cure. Let me just give you that number again. A million bucks a year. Robert Smith, better watch your back.

Komen has also, in its relentless pursuit of ubiquity and corporate sponsorship, aligned itself with more dubious product placement than a “Jersey Shore” marathon.

...Komen also famously outsources its merchandising. It’s teamed up with the likes of KFC for “Buckets for the Cure” – because nothing says you care about women’s health like a big vat of fried chicken. Komen has additionally sold a pink-hued “Promise Me” perfume that contains several toxins – including galaxolide, a synthetic musk that critics claim is a hormone disruptor.

...And what of Komen’s latest, most potentially damaging stunt with Planned Parenthood? Komen says the move is just about “newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities.” You know what else is pretty “new” around Komen? Its senior vice president of public policy, Karen Handel. During the Sarah Palin-endorsed, Tea Party favorite’s 2010 campaign for governor of Georgia, Handel declared, “I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood” making clear that she “strongly supports” laws prohibiting “the use of taxpayer funds for abortions or abortion-related services.” She did, however, emphasize that she “strongly support(s) the noble work of crisis-pregnancy centers.” If you were one of the world’s biggest charities and were looking to hire someone who had women’s welfare as her greatest imperative, would you go for someone who’d send them to a place that offers breast cancer screenings – as well as ovarian cancer screenings and HPV tests? Or someone who prefers a bunch of right-to-life fanatics pretending to be a medical facility? If you picked the former, you’re smarter than Komen for the Cure.

Greek Statistics

This is what happens when the human beast gets cornered:
ATHENS, Greece — Greece has won strong endorsements in the past year for shoring up its economic statistics after years of fudging data to conceal its deficits and financial mismanagement, but the man who's responsible for restoring the country's reputation is now the target of possible prosecution.

He's been accused of exaggerating Greece's deficits in a conspiracy to strengthen the hand of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

..."It's as if ELSTAT, Eurostat" — the Luxembourg-based Statistical Office of the European Communities — "the Department of State and the planet Mars conspired to change the deficit numbers so that Greece would have to turn to the IMF for more help," the official said. "It's crazy. It's even crazier that we are devoting part of our time" to responding to the charges.

...On a half-dozen occasions from 2005 to 2010, Eurostat issued "reservations" about the reliability of Greece's statements of its deficit and its proportion of debt to GDP. Before Georgiou's arrival, 10 special missions to Greece by the European Commission, the EU's executive body, had failed to bring the quality of Greek data to the level of the other EU countries, the commission said in a January 2010 report.

The report found "severe irregularities" in informing of the EU of excess deficits, "submissions of incorrect data and non-respect of accounting rules." Sometimes data were collected by telephone. Having the national statistical authority report to the Finance Ministry didn't guarantee the authority's independence, integrity and accountability.

...When he began his job, Georgiou discovered that he had to report to a board of experts — including a representative from a government employees' union — who wanted to have a say in the reporting of statistics to the EU. When he resisted, board members proposed to break up the institute.

After he learned that his official email account had been hacked, apparently by the deputy board chairman, and its contents distributed to the board, Georgiou went to the police and stopped holding board meetings. At his request, Parliament dropped all members of the board except the union representative.

Now Georgiou has to contend with the prosecutor in the conspiracy case against him, who's taken testimony from former board members, journalists and outside experts — everyone but Georgiou. After the prosecutor recommended that the case be turned over to Parliament, without hearing his defense, Georgiou went to the supreme court last week demanding to be heard.

All this despite a public letter from the head of Eurostat that defended Georgiou in no uncertain terms. Eurostat, Walter Radermacher wrote Dec. 1, "refutes all allegations that the deficit of 2009 was overestimated." The compilation of 2009 and 2010 data has been published "without any reservation ... in contrast with previous periods." Radermacher credited Georgiou and his staff with implementing "new and strengthened procedures" and "a high level of professionalism."

Now the question is whether the Greek political establishment will observe the European standards or insist on "Greek statistics."

Respect My Authori-TAY!

The American Police State advances:
A Montara man walking two lapdogs off leash was hit with an electric-shock gun by a National Park Service ranger after allegedly giving a false name and trying to walk away, authorities said Monday.

...The ranger, who wasn't identified, asked Hesterberg to remain at the scene, Levitt said. He tried several times to leave, and finally the ranger "pursued him a little bit and she did deploy her" electric-shock weapon, Levitt said. "That did stop him."

...Hesterberg, whose age was not available, was arrested on suspicion of failing to obey a lawful order, having dogs off-leash and knowingly providing false information, Levitt said.

...Babcock said Hesterberg had repeatedly asked the ranger why he was being detained. She didn't answer him, Babcock said.

...Rancho Corral de Tierra has long been an off-leash walking spot for local dog owners. In December, the area became part of the national park system, which requires that all dogs be on a leash, Levitt said.

The ranger was trying to educate residents of the rule, Levitt said.

The Turnout Problem

By continually exaggerating the supposed dangers of Obama, the GOP has left their party nowhere to go. How to generate enthusiasm when the FOX News machine long ago electrocuted their audience with dire warnings?:
In the 2008 Republican primary in Florida, in which John McCain beat Romney by a margin of 36%-31%, a total of nearly 1.95 million votes were cast.

But in tonight's primary, turnout was actually much lower. At time of writing, with 98% of precincts reporting, the total turnout is only about 1.65 million -- a drop-off of 15% in terms of the raw number of voters.
In the Iowa caucuses, GOP turnout fell short of expectations. In the New Hampshire primary, it happened again. Turnout in South Carolina was strong, but after another weak showing in Florida, it's proving to be the exception.

This is not at all what Republican leaders anticipated. On the contrary, GOP officials in the states and at the national level assumed the exact opposite would happen.

Remember, Republican turnout was supposed to soar in these early contests because of the larger circumstances. GOP voters are reportedly eager, if not foaming-at-the-mouth desperate, to fight a crusade against President Obama, and they had plenty of high-profile candidates trying to stoke their enthusiasm.

Lobsters Everywhere

According to a report on Yglesias, Maine has a surfeit of lobsters:
The state fisheries commissioner announced that Maine’s lobstermen last year harvested more than 100 million pounds of lobster, the biggest catch ever. ... The previous record of 94.7 million pounds, worth more than $313 million, was set in 2010. ... Lobster accounts for 70 percent of the value of seafood caught by Maine fishermen. The lobster population has benefited from conservation measures, warmer waters off Maine and a decline in predators like codfish, said David Cousens, the longtime president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Less Than Zero

Paul Krugman discusses the zero-bound, and what we do (like we're doing now) when we prevent the government from generating the demand needed to pull the economy out of recession:
[T]here’s a definite change in the character of recessions after the mid-1980s. Before then, recessions were basically brought on by the Fed, which raised interest rates sharply to curb inflation, causing a slump in housing. When the Fed decided that we had suffered enough, it let rates fall again, and there was a surge from pent-up housing demand. Morning in America!

Since then, however, inflation has been well under control, and booms have died of old age — or more precisely, they have died because of overbuilding and an excessive level of debt. The Fed is then in the position of trying to goose housing (which is the principal channel for monetary policy) even though housing may already be overbuilt (which was the point I was making, sarcastically, when I said long ago that the Fed has to create a housing bubble), and it is cutting rates from an initial level which isn’t that high. So the odds of running up against the zero lower bound are high, and recovery can be a long time in coming.

You can see what I’m talking about here:

The early-80s slump was brought on by a huge rise in the Fed funds rate, which left lots of room for cuts, and was driven by a deep slump in housing, which meant that there was lots of pent-up demand when rates fell again. The 2007-? slump was brought on by the bursting of a housing and debt bubble, and left the Fed largely pushing on a string.

Elsevier Working To Deny Americans The Fruits Of Federally-Sponsored Research

Elsevier has always done what it can to overcharge everyone:
In 2008, under bipartisan pressure from Congress to ensure that all Americans would be able to access the results of taxpayer-funded biomedical research, the US National Institutes of Health instituted a Public Access Policy.

...The policy has provided access for physicians and their patients, teachers and their students, policymakers and the public to hundreds of thousands of taxpayer-funded studies that would otherwise have been locked behind expensive publisher paywalls, accessible only to a small fraction of researchers at elite and wealthy universities.

The policy has been popular – especially among disease and patient advocacy groups fighting to empower the people they represent to make wise healthcare decision, and teachers educating the next generation of researchers and caregivers.

But the policy has been quite unpopular with a powerful publishing cartels that are hellbent on denying US taxpayers access to and benefits from research they paid to produce. This industry already makes generous profits charging universities and hospitals for access to the biomedical research journals they publish. But unsatisfied with feeding at the public trough only once (the vast majority of the estimated $10 billion dollar revenue of biomedical publishers already comes from public funds), they are seeking to squeeze cancer patients and high school students for an additional $25 every time they want to read about the latest work of America’s scientists.

Unable to convince the NIH to support their schemes, the powerful publishing lobby group – the Association of American Publishers – has sought Congressional relief. ... A new AAP backed bill – the “Research Works Act” – was just introduced by Reps Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Darrell Issa (R-CA). Its text is simple and odious:

No Federal agency may adopt, implement, maintain, continue, or otherwise engage in any policy, program, or other activity that: (1) causes, permits, or authorizes network dissemination of any private-sector research work without the prior consent of the publisher of such work; or (2) requires that any actual or prospective author, or the employer of such an actual or prospective author, assent to network dissemination of a private-sector research work.

This bill would not only end the NIH’s Public Access Policy, but it would forbid any effort on the part of any agency to ensure taxpayer access to work funded by the federal government.

Why, you might ask, would Carolyn Maloney, representing a liberal Democratic district in New York City that is home to many research institutions, sponsor such a reactionary piece of legislation that benefits a group of wealthy publishers at the expense of the American public? Hmm. Wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with the fact that she’s the biggest recipient of campaign contributions from the publishing industry, would it?

According to MapLight, which tracks political contributions, Dutch publisher Elsevier and its senior executives made 31 contributions to members of the House in 2011, of which 12 went to Representative Maloney. This includes contributions from 11 senior executives or partners, only one of whom is a resident of her district.

It is inexcusable that a simple idea – that no American should be denied access to biomedical research their tax dollars paid to produce – could be scuttled by a greedy publisher who bought access to a member of Congress.

...Several people have commented that the language of the bill I quoted refers to “private sector work”, thinking that this means it does not refer to work funded by the US Government.

...They are using intentionally misleading language to distinguish works funded by the government but carried out by a non-governmental agency as “private sector research”. Thus, under this bill, works funded by the NIH but carried at a University would be “private sector research”.

This language is in there because the US Copyright Act specifically denies copyright protection to works carried out by federal agencies, and the authors of this bill did not want it to be seen as amending Copyright Act, something that would have ensured its defeat.

Fairbanks Ice Fog - 2012

It's been cold up there recently, but the cold weather will break soon for them:
Veteran Fairbanks photographer Eric Muehling posted this great video of ice fog at 50 below. It includes a shot from Farmers Loop of the downtown power plant plume, which is mostly fog that forms from water vapor, and a dashboard view of local roads on a chilly winter day.

Muehling compressed four hours into 90 seconds, which is plenty of time to capture the essence of the cold conditions.

..."It's interesting that the high-altitude clouds appear to be moving to the east," he said. The plume is moving west.

I Must Be Arriving At The Doorstep Of Old Age

One of the comical sides of watching old people live their lives is watching how they can't manage the number, frequency, and variety of pills that they are required to take. All the little pill boxes with bright day-of-the-week labels, and all the rest.

I couldn't figure out why I was bedeviled by a headache this week. Finally figured it out. They changed my blood pressure medication recently, and so now the pill looks similar to another pill. Instead of taking BP medication I was taking Viagra, one of whose side effects is a headache.

Homes Of The Mexican Narco Elite

Gary Johnson Says Repeal The Patriot Act

It would be interesting to know what the most-common real-world effects of the Patriot Act have been. Unfortunately, such knowledge would likely require solitary confinement, with occasional waterboarding:
Former New Mexico governor and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson called for the Patriot Act to be repealed Sunday night during a national American Civil Liberties Union conference.

...“Ten years ago, we learned that the fastest way to pass a bad law is to call it the ‘Patriot Act’ and force Congress to vote on it in the immediate wake of a horrible attack on the United States,” Johnson said. “The irony is that there is really very little about the Patriot Act that is patriotic. Instead, it has turned out to be yet another tool the government is using to erode privacy, individual freedom and the Constitution itself.”

For Those Who Want Rain During The Next Week

The forecasts say "eat my dust."

Monday, January 30, 2012

On The Meadowview Line

I think everyone was horrified by the Light Rail accident on Saturday:
The train, carrying about 50 passengers, was southbound on the Meadowview line at 4:10 p.m. when it hit the SUV on 26th Avenue and pushed it 20 yards. The train stayed on the tracks, but the SUV flipped upside down, said Sgt. Andrew Pettit, Sacramento police spokesman.

Investigators looked at video and other evidence from the crash site and confirmed initial reports - that the driver of the SUV drove around a 26th Avenue crossing arm just before the vehicle was hit broadside by the Sacramento Regional Transit train, police said Sunday.
Three fatalities, and numerous injuries.

Out of curiosity, I drove down to the crossing tonight. Westbound on 26th Avenue, it looks like there is enough space for drivers to reconsider going around the crossing arms even if they had already started to do so.

But eastbound is another problem. As others have mentioned, visibility is limited. The street is hemmed in a bit, and there are sound walls right next to the track, so you might not see a train until you are on the tracks:
"It's crazy behavior, but I understand why," Tolmach said. "It's another form of road rage. You can't predict how long you'll be trapped."

In several heavily traveled neighborhoods, including south Sacramento, Rosemont and Rancho Cordova, the delay can be doubled, because light-rail trains share the same rail corridor as freight trains, and trains sometimes pass through on separate tracks just seconds apart.

Saturday's fatal crash happened during what may have been a perfect storm for frustration and danger at a rail crossing. The 26th Avenue crossing arms were down continuously for 7 1/2 minutes while first one, then another freight train passed on two of the corridor's four tracks, according to on-site recorders, Sacramento Regional Transit officials said.

After the second freight train cleared the crossing, recorders show there was a 37-second gap, with crossing arms remaining down, before a light-rail train came through on its track at an estimated 50-55 mph.

During those 37 seconds, authorities said, video shows that the Nissan Pathfinder pulled onto the wrong side of the road to angle past the down crossing arm. It may have jumped a four-inch plastic center divider just west of the crossing

Interestingly, it looks like the engineers who designed the crossing foresaw the problem. That four-inch plastic center divider on the median of the street on the west side of the tracks is there specifically to discourage people from even thinking about going around the crossing arms. The engineers anticipated the frustration that might conceivably happen. Maybe the barrier should have been six inches, or even eight inches tall. Maybe the center divider doesn't extend far enough from the crossing (but how to avoid inconveniencing people using driveways near the track?) Maybe. Maybe a portion of the sound wall should be demolished in order to enhance visibility. Maybe. But maybe there's only so much engineers can do. People just make stupid decisions sometimes.

Drag U

I drifted asleep Sunday evening in front of the TV, and awoke to RuPaul's Drag U. Apart from 'Breaking Bad', RuPaul's shows are the best on TV:
The episodes start with RuPaul introducing three "students" to their assigned drag professors for each episode. The students meet RuPaul, who explains the competition, and then asks them to "walk this way" to the Drag Lab. The students then meet their professors, who ask them some intimate questions and try to find out what has brought them to Drag U. RuPaul presents each student with their "Dragulator" image and name, and lets the students and professors start working on their images.
And RuPaul's 'Word of the Day' slays me too. Just some random word. Because education enhances attitude!

Blithe Drift

Nearly collided with a pickup truck on the way into work this morning. The driver of said truck simply drifted into the lane where I was, forcing me to take evasive action. No signal, no hurry, no glances around. Perched as high as the driver was, I think the driver simply didn't see me.

Awesome Tennis At The Australian Open

First there was Victoria Evarenka and Maria Sharapova. Maria Sharapova always looked like the kind of competitor who could reach into your chest and seize your beating heart and eat it without ketchup. Except that's what Evarenka did to her. Short and brutal match!

And then there was Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. I finally went to bed at 3:00 a.m. after two very-long sets, but woke again at 5:00 a.m., and found to my horror that the game was still going on. Indeed, Nadal's Sisyphean struggle to defeat Djokovic turned into the longest match in Australian Open history - nearly six hours long - and ultimately ended in Nadal's defeat.

Just amazing stuff!


Chicago Play « Good Day Sacramento

Chicago Play « Good Day Sacramento

Now a fond, fond memory!

"Chicago" Closes

Bows at DMTC.

Tony Ruiz (Billy Flynn) gestures stage left.

Jenny Ribadeneira takes her bow.

Choreographer Pamela Kay Lourentzos is honored.

The cast acknowledges the fine orchestra, as the trumpet player closes out the proceedings.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

DMTC's "Put On A Happy Day" Raffle

Today was the final day of DMTC's "Put On A Happy Day" Raffle.

At the end of intermission for DMTC's final performance of "Chicago", Steve and Jan Isaacson, and Adam Sartain, began looking for an audience member to actually draw the winning name. An audience member in the third row suggested one of their party: she was blind, and thus uniquely qualified to draw the name.

Steve announces the winner: Marty Shoen, who does a lot of volunteer work with the Young Performer's Theater (YPT).

Amber - Sexual (li da di) 1999

Time seems to whip by. I was listening to the Thunderpuss edit of this tune and realized it now qualifies as a form of dance nostalgia.

Dog In Trouble

MikeMac sends this:
Apologies for the notification e-mail, but time's a factor here. +Sarah Rippy is working emergency at the UCD Vet Hospital tonight, and a dog came in that was beaten up by another dog. Is anyone in the market for a (slightly used) dog? The owner is planning on euthanizing soon. :-\

RIP, Anthony Andrade

The musical theater community is affected by the loss of Anthony Andrade from Woodland in a terrible car accident. I didn't know Anthony, but several friends did, and the loss is keener for that:
FAIRFIELD — Two Sacramento men were killed in an early morning traffic accident on westbound Interstate 80, just east of Air Base Parkway.

They are Vincente Santos, 25, and Anthony Andrade, 33, according to the Solano County Coroner’s Office.

The driver of one of the cars, Michelle Henry, 42, of Sacramento, was arrested for felony DUI and possession of a loaded firearm in her vehicle.