Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Hit Of Hits 2012" - DMTC

Trying To Avoid Formation Of a Black Hole In My Basement

In his capacity as company librarian, Gabe supports me donating my back issues of "Science". That takes a weight off my mind! Don't know what to do about the "National Geographic" back issues: that's enough for a full-blown neutron star right there. But moving forwards, it's always good to ditch the weight, and at least it's an important start.

"Cabaret" - Green Valley Theatre Company

This show is apparently the second revival version (1998). Very edgy!

Regarding the leads, Lindsay Grimes (Sally), Don Masden (Cliff), and Joseph Boyette (The MC) are awesome!

I was also very impressed with Megan Sandoval's dancing. She was right on top of things opening night. The best I've ever seen her perform!

Excellent dancing, in general. Christina Castro, was amazing, of course.

Enjoyed Mariana Seda as Fraulein Kost, Michael Manley as Herr Schultz and Mary Young as Fraulein Schneider.

'Even ze orchestra is beautiful!'

Hitchcock's The Birds - The Original Ending

Caption: The Birds co-writer Evan Hunter talks about the original ending of the Birds that was in the shooting script but was never shot.

Got Birds? (in store window in village of Bodega).

This afternoon, they were showing "The Birds" again on TV. I was screaming like a little girl! So scary! And the good citizens of Bodega Bay seemed to be so ineffective about organizing workable defenses.

A commenter makes an interesting point on imdb:
Younger viewers may get irritated with the slow stealth of the opening scenes and may want to thrash the T.V. when the film comes to its beautifully droll conclusion, but from once those birds start attacking, every viewer is riveted. It was fine Hitchcockian innovation that took this very slim, cock-a-mamy story and turned in to a tense thriller. But the greatest innovation is the film score - there isn't any. No director is more closely identified with the music of their films, but in Birds, Hitchcock created a horror that is uniquely quiet. The great man appreciated something that so few others do - the atmospheric potency of silence, and how, in different settings, silences can differ in character. Yet so many who watch the film seem to forget that the music isn't there. That's the film's greatest attribute.

Last year, Sally and I went to visit Bodega Bay. The birds we saw seemed to be leading quiet, purposeful bird lives.

Left: Alfred Hitchcock as a clotheshorse for a local merchant.

What is it about Hitchcock and his ice princesses - women like Tippi Hedren?

One sea gull, no problem.

Two sea gulls, and I'm beginning to get nervous.

Trying To Go All 'Karen Carpenter' On Myself

Hard to do in a world filled with caramel corn and hot dogs.

So, Paul Ryan Will Get The GOP VP Nod

Well, this is one way to solve the entitlements problem. With Paul Ryan's nomination, we will get to have a debate about it first.


Deborah wonders about the disintegrating hurricane SW of Baja California:
I love…what? Gilma? Wilma or Gilgamesh?
According to the Sumerian queen list, Gilma (born from meshing Wilma Flintstone and Sumeria's King Gilgamesh) ruled the prehistoric cartoon universe for 126 years. Currently, she is contributing moisture to the thunderstorms blossoming this afternoon near Tucson and Nogales.


So, the National Hurricane Center is content for the moment to call Tropical Storm Ernesto/ Hector by the name Tropical Depression Eight-E: at least for the moment. The storm arrived in the Pacific, and swiftly collapsed. Then it fluoresced with thunderstorms, and this morning, those thunderstorms collapsed. Now, it's rebuilding, and slowly reassembling itself.

The storm will recuperate for a few days before heading NNW. It likely won't hit Cabo San Lucas, but will trouble the area all about.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Paul Krugman Is Mystified By Fraud-Entranced Economists

Can professional shaming work? Romney must weave a strong, hypnotic spell!:

Simon Wren-Lewis wonders what could have possessed Mankiw and Taylor to sell their souls this way. I won’t pretend to have a full answer. But surely part of it is simply that they have been caught up in the vortex of the broader Romney campaign — a campaign that has made fraudulence part of its standard operating procedure. Remember, Romney spent months castigating President Obama because he “apologizes for America” — something Obama has never, in fact, actually done. Then he spent weeks declaring that Obama has denigrated small business by claiming that businessmen didn’t actually build their own firms — all based on a remark that was clearly about infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Romney’s tax plan is now a demonstrated fraud — big tax cuts for the rich that he claims would be offset by closing loopholes, but the Tax Policy Center has demonstrated that the arithmetic can’t possibly work. He turns out to have been dishonest about when he really left Bain. And on and on.

So this is a campaign that’s all about faking it — fake claims about Obama, fake claims about policy, fake claims about Romney’s personal history.

Is it really surprising, then, that the economists who have decided to lend their names to the campaign have been caught up in this culture of fraud? Maybe some of them were initially reluctant, or thought they could support the campaign with selective renderings of the truth. But the pressure was on to be team players, to give the campaign material it could use — and so, one day, they all ended up putting their names to a report that is just plain dishonest, in ways that can be and have been easily documented.

Annoying 'Journalist' Apologizes For Plagiarism

Fareed Zakaria.

Accuweather Tropical Update

Ernesto transforming into Hector.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

A Few Other Tropical Storms Have Managed The American Crossing

This new toy is handy! One can do historical research easily!

Several recorded tropical storms have crossed through Central America or Mexico:
(unnamed): 1876
(unnamed): 1911
Iva: 1961
Irene/Olivia: 1971
Fifi: 1974
Debby: 1988
Diana: 1990
Gert: 1993
Dolly: 1996
Ernesto: 2012 ????
But usually the storms were so weakened by the crossing they quickly died.

Only two recorded previous storms seemed to have had significant careers after the crossing, and both storms headed up towards Baja California for dissolution.:

Irene/Olivia: 1971

Debby: 1988

Of course, the storm whose destructive example helps keep me up late at night is Octave: 1983.

Look how far Octave was from Arizona when it started breaking up! It never occurred to me that it presented a danger. Nevertheless, despite its distance from the Grand Canyon State, the rains resulting from its death plume of moisture meted out destruction far and wide in southern Arizona.

Might Tropical Storm Ernesto end up in nearly the same place? Will something similar happen this time? Stay tuned!

Deborah Asks Me To Explain More About Tropical Storm Ernesto

Previously, I wrote:
Tropical Storm Ernesto is the most interesting Tropical Storm I’ve ever seen, and it might be sending some tropical juju your way.

Deborah replies:


Keep on telling!

Right now, Tropical Storm Ernesto is pushing through the maze of death known as the highlands of Mexico.

I’ve dreamt about whether you could ever get a tropical storm that would last weeks and weeks, and travel right around the world. It could start off the west coast of Africa and travel right around the semi-tropics, crossing central America, negotiating the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and venture westward right across the Indian Ocean, before running into the east African coast. It would be like a really tempestuous ghost ship, or something! A semi-permanent Land of the Lost.

Reality, though, is a hard thing. It’s hard to keep tropical storms in the semi-tropics forever: wind patterns eventually push them into the mid-latitudes, where they die. And tropical storms have the darndest time pushing across significant land barriers. Over the years, I’ve watched hundreds of storms crash into the Americas, and despite many promising, powerful contenders, none of them make it.

Hurricane Dean almost made it across in 2007. It was one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes of all time – a “5”! What a ferocious storm! Some of the weather forecasts were encouraging for a safe passage, but magic did not happen.

I began to lose hope.

But here comes big, fast-moving, but terribly sloppy, Tropical Storm Ernesto! It’s not THAT well organized, or powerful, but it is a big system: just big enough to straddle Mexico across its narrowest point (the Isthmus of Tehuantepec). The waters on the Pacific side are warm. In fact, those particular Pacific waters are the best place on Earth to initiate new tropical storms. So, if the storm could just reach across the Isthmus, it might just catch fire there.

And the weather forecasts are showing that it will! It has a much better chance than Dean ever did! Paradoxically, its Ernesto’s sloppy organization that gives it that chance. The more tightly-wound and intense a tropical storm gets, the smaller it tends to be, and the less-likely to be able to straddle the Isthmus. So, powerful, Promethean storms like Dean can’t quite make magic happen. Only the ‘B’ and ‘C’ students can make it happen.

Once Ernesto makes it across, as it’s likely to do, then they will likely change its name. There is a formal system about who has the rights to name storms, and they aren’t prepared for storms to just willfully cross bureaucratic barriers like that. So, then the renamed storm will start reorganizing itself again.

Forecasts show the storm won’t be the ghost ship I yearn for – it will start getting pushed to the death-dealing mid-latitudes. Nevertheless, it is likely to strengthen and finally reach hurricane status. Then it will wander north, towards Cabo San Lucas at the tip of Baja California.

Then forecasts start diverging. The GFS model shows it falling apart and raining out over Sinaloa and Sonora. The NOGAPS model (which I trust more) shows it moving north almost to Punta Eugenia before raining out, over Sonora and Arizona.

It’s still early. The story may change in the days ahead. But, whatever happens, there’s no doubt in my mind: Tropical Storm Ernesto is the best tropical storm ever! It gives me hope!


The swelling is down today, but I got a little freaked out. The fluid sac grew nearly to baseball size. Someone suggested it might even be a spider bite, but K.M. says bursitis, with wrapping and ibuprofen and rest the most reasonable recommendations.

The Cast Of "Breaking Bad" Go Bowling

1983 Redux?

The latest forecast seems to show that rejuvenated Tropical Storm Ernesto (or whatever they'll decide to call it once it gets to the Pacific side of Mexico) will proceed on a similar path that Hurricane Octave did in 1983, breaking up off of Baja California's Punta Eugenia.

When Hurricane Octave broke up, its moisture came streaming into southern Arizona and caused unprecedented flooding. I know! I was living in Tucson at the time. It was a completely-unexpected nightmare!

Will a similar catastrophe happen this time around? I can't wait to find out!

This Tropical Storm Ernesto is the best Tropical Storm ever!

Looking Forward To The DMTC Haunted House

Shared by an old classmate (Kennard) via the CHA.

I'm amazed: Via theater, I'm already Facebook friends with the person who shared this on Facebook (Anissa). I didn't know she had horses! Two completely different realms of friends, who presumably don't know each other, but have a common interest, come into contact, via Facebook.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

This Is Going To Be A Thing Of Beauty!

When Tropical Storm Ernesto crosses the Isthmus of Tehuantepec into the Pacific. It's such a rare event! I'm privileged to have lived long enough to see such a meteorological wonder!

Loss Leader

Soon it won't matter what you order on-line. Whatever it is - music, or clothes, or shoes - you will receive a high-powered assault rifle instead:
Seth Horvitz, a Washington D.C. resident, ordered a flat-panel television online but instead had a high-powered assault rifle delivered to his door, according to a report from WTTG-FOX 5.
Rifles are like software, or cigarettes. If you order one, and get entangled, you will order more. Hence it makes sense to just give the first rifle away. Give them to youth, particularly.

Mitt Romney Outsources His Michigan Ad To Oklahoma

Using the Third World to his best advantage:
It's fine to pander to the voters in battleground states (even if your message is "vote for me, because I wouldn't have even tried to help you damn people"), but it loses a bit of impact when you can't even be bothered to get footage from the actual state you're pandering to.

Vince Gilligan On The Origins Of "Breaking Bad" - Conan O'Brien

Vince Gilligan talks about his aversion to cinematic violence.

Minute Debate

Yesterday evening, Joe the Plumber rendezvoused with me at work, for the very important purpose of driving to get ice cream cones at Gunther's Ice Cream Parlor.

I had just locked up and turned towards my car when a passing, bespectacled young man muttered with something of a snarl: "He's going to LOSE!" Surprised, it took me a few seconds to realize he was referring to my boldly-lettered "Obama For President - 2012" bumper sticker. I turned towards him, and his demeanor abruptly changed, and became almost too nice - treacly, in a way. (We all live in fantasies where we use heavy-duty weaponry to deal with our political opponents, and having shown a glimpse of his private mental space, he was wise to abruptly shield it from view.)

"I just want to speak with a liberal," he said. Genuinely-bewildered, he asked: "How can you support that guy? He is a BAD man, and a terrible President!"

I hesitated. Joe was doing a U-Turn in his vehicle so we could drive off in tandem for the very important purpose of getting ice cream cones at Gunther's Ice Cream Parlor. I could afford only a brief minute for a political debate.

"He's a fine President," I replied. "he inherited a big mess."

Despite his hunger for an extended exchange, the stranger caught the necessity of keeping the political debate brief. He approached, declared his intention not to harm me, declared his status as a military veteran, and checked his pockets to be sure where his money was located. He proceeded:
  • Obama has no birth certificate;
  • Obamacare is a disaster;
  • Treasury Secretary Geithner is former head of AIG, and a bad man.
I replied:
  • Obama has a Hawaiian birth certificate;
  • Obamacare is just getting started;
  • The Treasury Secretary has to come from the world of finance - look at Hoover's Andrew Mellon!
The fellow continued: "What about the health insurance mandate? How can they force people to buy insurance?" "There are many mandates in society," I replied. "The mandate for drivers to buy auto insurance, for example, or the requirement to register with the Selective Service." (Although I may have hurriedly said 'Secret Service' instead.) The fellow nodded thoughtfully and said: "You do have a point there."

By this time, Joe the Plumber had turned his halogen flashlight on to 'strobe', and was insistently and impatiently flashing my face from his vehicle. It was time to bring the conversation to a close.

"Nice car," he said, looking at my Saturn. I looked at the worn car, with the side mirror still duct-taped on after the collision with garbage cans last month and silently disagreed, but mumbled a pleasantry in reply. We shook hands, and parted ways.

My Left Elbow Is Swollen Today

I aggravate it slightly at work, the way I lean on my chair's armrest. Then, last night, I did something in my sleep - don't know what - to really push it over the brink. Owwww!

Ernesto's Going To Make It!

There is every indication that Tropical Storm Ernesto will be that rarest of storms to actually successfully cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific (across Mexico's Isthmus of Tehuantepec) and after losing Tropical Storm status, to regain it.

I always thought only a very intense hurricane could be strong enough to cross, but apparently a big, sloppy, loosely-organized storm is better-suited for the crossing. The storm system has to be big enough to straddle Mexico to successfully make the transition, and intense hurricanes, paradoxically, are too small.

Crossing fingers!


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Reaping The Fruits Of Extreme Partisanship

I saw Mike Baldwin's cartoon, and it reminded me of Harry Reid's campaign to get Mitt Romney to release his taxes.

Back in the old days (say, before 1994) it was always possible for the mandarins of either party to exert enough influence on the other party to get the other party's mandarins to back off on a campaign like this. There was enough shared interests between the parties such that it was in everybody's interest to back off.

No longer.

With two decades of scorched earth tactics to their credit, the Republicans no longer have a claim on Harry Reid at all. They can't make Harry Reid shut up. They no longer have any shared interests.

They can call Harry Reid names; they can call in favors to Nevada interests; they can get apoplectic; they can bluster and bellow: it doesn't matter. The best they can do - the only thing they can do, really - is to ignore Harry Reid. But they find they can't ignore Harry Reid either.

Call it reaping the fruits of extreme partisanship. Call it reaping the whirlwind. Call it what you will. Harry Reid's utterly shameless. And I love it!

Landing Debris

Complicated landing; complicated debris:
The four main pieces of hardware that arrived on Mars with NASA's Curiosity rover were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured this image about 24 hours after landing. The large, reduced-scale image points out the strewn hardware: the heat shield was the first piece to hit the ground, followed by the back shell attached to the parachute, then the rover itself touched down, and finally, after cables were cut, the sky crane flew away to the northwest and crashed. Relatively dark areas in all four spots are from disturbances of the bright dust on Mars, revealing the darker material below the surface dust.

Around the rover, this disturbance was from the sky crane thrusters, and forms a bilaterally symmetrical pattern. The darkened radial jets from the sky crane are downrange from the point of oblique impact, much like the oblique impacts of asteroids. In fact, they make an arrow pointing to Curiosity.

Gawd! Judy Miller, FOX News, and The GOP Have Just No Shame At All! None!

Crazy Democrats Dancing On The Fiscal Cliff

These higher rates of taxes that we'll be paying after the New Year were common in the Nineties, and will be lower than was common in the Eighties. We've been paying ultra-low taxes for so long that we're spoiled. So, get over it already! And these higher taxes are easy, easy, easy to avoid too, but if and only if Congressional Republicans finally decide to start negotiating with the Democrats. If not, buh-bye low taxes! We've got the hostages, and we're not afraid to shoot them either. In fact, we're eager to shoot the hostages! Bang, bang, bang! Watch 'em fall! No one can out-crazy Crazy Democrats! So, deal!:
So why would Democrats willingly fling themselves over a fiscal cliff that threatens their own party more than the opposition? The answer to that requires a close look at what this struggle is really about. If no action is taken, taxes will rise by nearly $400 billion. But that scenario can only happen if the GOP sticks to its guns in refusing a tax hike on the wealthiest Americans. This whole fiscal cliff nightmare just goes away if Republicans are willing to make a deal that includes some revenue increases.

The closer you look, the more untenable the GOP’s negotiating position becomes. A majority of Americans support higher taxes on the rich. But the GOP is willing to crash the economy to defend historically low taxes on the Americans who have prospered the most over the last 30 years.

There’s only one reason why the GOP is refusing to budge. As history has shown again and again, Democrats will cave. So far, that doesn’t seem to be the case, a fact that justifiably has the business community worried. Executives are freaking out because Democrats are signaling that they can be crazy too. Maybe it’s time for them to pressure their GOP proxies to cut a deal — in the interests of everyone.

Fresher Than My Mouth

Today, I Am The Social Leper

(Cartoon by Tom Scott, via Stuff New Zealand)

Because last night, I ate garlic.

Bioavailability In The Old West

(h/t Karina, on Facebook)

Mt. Tongariro On New Zealand's North Island Begins Erupting

A "total surprise":
The volcano rumbled into life at 11.50 last night, sending ash and rock a kilometre into the air, prompting a potential threat warning for central North Island regions.

The "small scale" eruption was a total surprise, with the volcano last erupting in 1897, GNS Science said.

Though there had been no escalation in background seismicity today, the mountain could blow its top again depending on what is causing the unrest, GNS scientist Brad Scott said at a press conference in Taupo this afternoon.

''If it is steam driven ... it's unlikely to do much more because once the initial pressure drops occurred you'll just get smaller activity.

''If it is being driven by a longer term magmatic process with molten material being intruded into the volcano it may take days to weeks before that sort of shows itself.''

...No one was found injured or dead during a police search of all huts and tracks around Mt Tongariro, Conservation Department Ruapehu-Whanganui area manager Nic Peet.

However, the Ketetahi hut was significantly damaged.

''The track into the hut has got boulders of up to a metre in cross section that have landed on the track and caused impact craters and the hut itself has holes through the roof, the floor and the bunks inside it.''

People could have been injured or killed had they been inside it, Mr Peet said.


Your Toaster Wants To Talk

Modern toaster that burns messages into your bread.

Might It Cross?

Will Tropical Storm Ernesto be that rarest of storms, that actually completely crosses Mexico, in order to re-emerge in the Pacific? Likely not, but it can't be ruled out yet.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Time To Send All The White Supremacists To Re-Education Camps

This is a Sikh, this is a Sunni, this is a Shiite, this is a Jew - why am I even bothering? You're too stupid to understand the differences anyway. And no matter what anyone says, I don't believe for a moment that you are 'crazy' (although I am surprised that, as a veteran, you didn't know more):
Details are going to emerge in the coming days, but I already know what they’ll amount to. A white man, in his 40’s, nursing resentment over 9/11 for more than a decade, planned for a long time to kill some “enemies.” The guns will turn out to be legally acquired, or if not, so accessible as to make the law meaningless. The man will turn out to be mad. In the debate, people will argue that the cause is racism…no, it’s gun control…no, it’s mental health. It is impossible for us to navigate the deadly tangle of all three.

Elton John Disses Madonna

What does this mean? They don't have strippers at the fairgrounds:
He tells music mogul Molly Meldrum on Australia's "Sunday Night" show, "Why is she such a nightmare? Sorry, her career is over. Her tour has been a disaster ... If Madonna had any common sense she would have made a record like 'Ray Of Light' and stayed away from the dance stuff and just been a great pop singer and make great pop records, which she does brilliantly. "But no, she had to go and prove ... she looks like a f------ fairground stripper. She's been so horrible to Gaga."
Well, Madonna has always been hard on other pop artists, and when they talk back (e.g., Mariah Carey), they get a world of grief. So, we'll continue to buy concert tickets like good little soldiers, and try to avoid getting on either Madonna's bad side, or Elton John's, or Lady Gaga's, or Mariah Carey's (a mathematical impossibility, actually).

Lockup - New Mexico (And The Infamous Robert Fry)

This weekend, I watched this 2006 MSNBC TV show "Lockup - New Mexico", describing the maximum security operations at the New Mexico State Penitentiary, near Santa Fe. What an eye opener!

The NM State Pen erupted in a riot in 1980, and 33 people were killed. The TV show covers the period after the riot, and the many, positive changes there in the way they manage the inmates. Still, what a bunch of a**holes to manage!

In particular, there was NM's most-infamous serial killer, Robert Fry, practicing what this fellow calls "cheap grace":
But there is another, uniquely religious aspect that also comes into play: the predilection of fundamentalist denominations to believe in practice, even if not entirely in theory, in the doctrine of “cheap grace,” a derisive term coined by the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. By that he meant the inclination of some religious adherents to believe that once they had been “saved,” not only would all past sins be wiped away, but future ones, too—so one could pretty much behave as before. Cheap grace is a divine get-out-of-jail-free card.

NASA JPL's "Curiosity" Lands On Mars!

I was so worried about jinxing this whole thing that I dared not blog about it before now. Phenomenal teamwork by everyone in NASA and JPL and elsewhere! The sense of relief is overwhelming!

I can't believe they got a picture of the parachute!

Even better!:
Late last night, in the morning hours of Aug. 6, as NASA's Curiosity rover fell to the surface of Mars, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured an image of the rover gliding on its parachute. The image was taken with the orbiter's High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera.

Today, the MRO team located another object in this image -- not present in prior images of the same region -- which is the right size to be the rover's heat shield. The heat shield was ejected from the rover and its back shell before this image was taken. The team thinks the heat shield is still in free flight, because, if it were to have already hit the surface, it would have kicked up a dust cloud. The HiRISE image of NASA's Phoenix lander on its parachute also captured the heat shield in free fall. Other image products from the same observation are, or will be, at .

Here is that famous "Seven Minutes Of Terror" video:

DMTC Awards Its Two Scholarships

Left: Just prior to the final show of DMTC's Summer Show, "Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", Steve Isaacson presents McKinley Carlisle with a $500.00 DMTC scholarship. He also presented her with a gift (some sort of box). The other scholarship recipient, Juliana Wynkoop, accepted her award on Friday night.

Tropical Storm Ernesto (III)

Barreling its way westwards across the Caribbean. Looks right now like it will miss Cancun, crossing into the Yucatan south of there, and then re-emerge into the Bay of Campeche. Then, its forward momentum will slow, and it will drift north, then move west again, crossing the Mexican coast again, south of Matamoros.

My question is whether it will drift north far enough to menace Texas, or not. I see no reason why it couldn't, but it all depends on how quickly a high pressure system settles across the Great Plains, and how strong it will be.

Happy 31st Birthday, Sierra!