Friday, September 21, 2012

Healing The Earth

Valer Austin, a Manhattan society girl living on acres of desiccated, left-for-dead earth in the Southwest rolls up her sleeves and does the miraculous.

This story is amazing, and it shows what just a few people can do to really make the world a better place:
"See the water there?" Valer and I are driving through El Coronado, the first ranch that she and Josiah bought, on a lark, 31 years ago. We climb out of her truck to look at a meandering stream. Cottonwood, white-barked sycamore, and juniper line the banks. As we drive on, we see fields of native grasses, a sunshiny yellow now in midwinter. "None of this was here when we first came," Valer says, her voice as light and emphatic as a girl's. The face she turns to me is small and delicate, almost pixieish; her eyes are brightly lit. "There was no water. None!" But that was before she and her husband took on the immense project of bringing water back to these desecrated landscapes.

...When Valer first saw El Coronado, she asked Josiah, "What do the cows eat, rocks?" The land had been grazed so relentlessly that the grasses were depleted, the creeks were dry most of the year and deeply eroded, the soil powdery and parched. The two had come down to Arizona on a vacation. A friend suggested they make an offer on this mountain ranch. They bid low because they weren't really serious, but the owner accepted and suddenly they were in possession of a 1,920-acre spread in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona.

...She knew nothing about science or biology, not a whit about water tables or soil composition, when she and Josiah arrived at El Coronado. "I came from New York. I knew cement!" she exclaims. "You don't even know when it's raining in New York, really. You can't get a taxi—that's it!"

..."We did thousands of these dams! We stopped counting at 20,000," Valer says. She pauses for a moment, her eyes fixed brightly on mine, to let that fact sink in. "You know like a little ant does something? We just kept on doing it." They planted willows and cottonwoods, though many of these trees came back on their own. They seeded native grass and the grass reseeded itself.

Today, in the middle of an ongoing drought across the Southwest, West Turkey Creek is flowing. Scientists come from all over to study the flora and fauna on El Coronado. A group of researchers from the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory are staying at the ranch while they count birds. A 20-plus-year study on Sonoran mud turtles is being conducted here. Every spring the Austins host a hummingbird banding project.

...All the Austin properties lie within the Madrean Archipelago, one of the most biologically diverse places in the world. This is where the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Madre, the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts meet. The temperate zone flows into the subtropical, and flora and fauna from mountains, grassland, and desert mingle. The Madrean Archipelago harbors over half the bird species of North America, more mammals than any other place in the United States, and over 3,000 species of plants, some found nowhere else on Earth. And yet that biodiversity is under siege. At least 70 percent of the vegetation has already disappeared and many of the animals found here, including the jaguar, the ocelot, and the Mexican spotted owl, are threatened or endangered.

...When the Horseshoe Two fire swept the Chiricahuas in the spring and early summer of last year, burning 223,000 acres, the animals made their way down the mountain flanks to El Coronado. "It was like Noah's ark here!" Valer exclaims. She rode the ranch on horseback, leaving bags of dog food for the bears. An injured bobcat slunk into their doghouse to die. Valer put water and mounds of cat food outside. Eventually, the big cat healed and took off.

"The animals came down because we had water," Valer says. "We had places where there were ponds. The only green that didn't burn was right along the river. I'll take you up there and show you that spot. We'll walk around here. How much do you walk? We can go up into the hills...."

Exasperation With The GOP

There is so much good writing coming out now about the problems of the GOP it will take librarians to sort through it all.

First, there is this article, talking about all the things that should be happening, but aren't:
So broken are the information outlets Tea Partiers in particular use to assess reality that for months they took Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich seriously as potential or actual presidential contenders. They had every opportunity to see the respective character flaws of these figures; they were mostly self-evident, and persuasively described in great detail by the political press. Ah, but that's the liberal media talking. With that phrase, any huckster can short-circuit the Tea Party reality-assessing apparatus for months. And while movement conservatism has failed for decades to shrink government, it has succeeded spectacularly in creating jobs for hucksters in the private sector.

...On the right today, they are so numerous, prominent and shameless, their pathologies so ingrained in right-wing media and politics, their wealth so corrupting to young talent, and their pathologies so seldom challenged by those who know better, that Republicans are operating at a persistent information disadvantage. (Too many believe even their own bullshit.) The Bush Administration showed that it's possible to win at the ballot box anyway -- but that the victory isn't worth much, save an ill-conceived war in the desert, exploding deficits, and a financial crisis.
Then this article notes something new in this year's campaign, and maybe even hopeful about the future (if not mismanaged, like it was in the 1930's, and almost certainly will be this time too):
McCain, speaking on his 76th birthday, all but apologized for bringing up the subject in the first place: “It is said that this election will turn on domestic and economic issues. But what Mitt Romney knows, and what we know, is, is”—he stumbled over the words, nervous, like he knew he was entering the lion’s den—“that our success at home also depends on our leadership in the world.” The crowd’s tepid response suggested they did not know that at all.

Soaring rhetoric about “our willingness to shape world events,” leading “shoulder to shoulder with steadfast friends and allies,” “giving voice to the voiceless, insisting that every human life has dignity,” got little reaction; McCain only coaxed real noise out of the crowd through references to the sacrifices of the troops, gratuitous slams on Obama and mentions of the glories of supporting Israel. His call to “renew the foundations of our power and leadership in the world” sounded like an applause line—but it got no applause. Likewise, “By committing to withdraw from Afghanistan before peace can be achieved and sustained, our president has discouraged our friends and emboldened our enemies.” By the time he got to “In other times, when other courageous people fought for their freedom against sworn enemies of the United States, American presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, have acted to help them prevail,” I felt like the crowd thought this old man would ramble on forever. McCain seemed to sense it, too. “An American president always, always, always stands up for the rights, and freedoms, and justice, of all people,” he said. You only repeat a word three times when you fear people aren’t going to hear it.

...So what happened? The Republicans used to love their wars so lustily! Don’t call the change “moderation”: given that the crowd’s indifference was in response to calls to mitigate human suffering, it better resembled the morally indifferent isolationism of the late 1930s and early ’40s, when the right opposed rearming the nation to fight Hitler.
And maybe the GOP doesn't even have the will to rule:
So even if he’s sputtering out now, Mitt nevertheless has the best of both worlds: he has vindicated his father before the people who count, and he wouldn’t have to actually govern. He can avoid the years of “gaffes” and words “not elegantly stated” and “you people” prying into his finances that his presidency would surely entail. And as Michelle Obama said: the office doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.

Anyway, Romney’s nomination has already done something very real for one of the few American institutions he truly seems to care about: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He helped to finally establish Mormonism as a legitimate part of the Republican Party hierarchy, not to mention American political history. Maybe he won’t be invited to speak at the 2016 GOP convention, but he did get Christians to at least nominally accept his once-persecuted faith.

Mitt Tries To Change The Subject

So, let's get everyone's mind off the 47% comment:
That's right. Mitt Romney has had such a bad week—again—that he's now trying to change the subject to his taxes. You know, those taxes that "you people" don't need to know about. That's how bad things are for Romney now.

By next week, he'll be trying to change the subject to that one time he strapped his dog Seamus on the roof of the car ...

Humanizing Mitt On FOX

When It Comes To Medicare, AARP Knows The Score!

White Women Are Dying Off

The clearest sign ever that there is distress in the country.

"The five-year decline for white women rivals the catastrophic seven-year drop for Russian men in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union." Just wow!:
The steepest declines were for white women without a high school diploma, who lost five years of life between 1990 and 2008, said S. Jay Olshansky, a public health professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead investigator on the study, published last month in Health Affairs. By 2008, life expectancy for black women without a high school diploma had surpassed that of white women of the same education level, the study found.

White men lacking a high school diploma lost three years of life. Life expectancy for both blacks and Hispanics of the same education level rose, the data showed. But blacks over all do not live as long as whites, while Hispanics live longer than both whites and blacks.

“We’re used to looking at groups and complaining that their mortality rates haven’t improved fast enough, but to actually go backward is deeply troubling,” said John G. Haaga, head of the Population and Social Processes Branch of the National Institute on Aging, who was not involved in the new study.

The five-year decline for white women rivals the catastrophic seven-year drop for Russian men in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, said Michael Marmot, director of the Institute of Health Equity in London.

Sacramento Space Shuttle Flyovers - Sept. 21, 2012

Here's Martin Lehman's video, with inspiring music!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


In a conference call with fellow evangelicals earlier this week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) shared his thoughts on the origins of the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. Rather than tracing the idea to the nation’s founders, Perry warned of a more nefarious source: Satan.

“Satan runs across the world with his doubt and with his untruths and what have you and one of the untruths out there that is driven is that people of faith should not be involved in the public arena,” Perry said during the call on Tuesday, organized by the Rev. Rick Scarborough.

Tropical Storm Nadine And The Outer Limits

Deborah asks:
Ever see the Crawling Eye?
One cloud.
Never moved

One cloud? Never moved? Eeeeeeee!

Several days ago, the computer modeling for Tropical Storm Nadine showed the storm approaching the Azores, stopping, then reversing direction along exactly the same path. In reality, Nadine veered before reversing direction, so it wasn't precisely the same path - more like an elliptical oval - but the idea of a storm that approaches, but never quite arrives, time after time after time, each time a little closer, struck me as something out of a horror movie (or, alternatively, just a typical summer's day in the Valley of the Sun).

Reminded me of the Outer Limits (Episode 'Cold Hands, Warm Heart'; given a different soundtrack here:)

Whether Or Not

Artwork by Deborah McMillion-Nering.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In The Car Repair Zone Today

Little stuff, but it adds up.

Slow leak in right rear tire leads to inspection of tires, which leads to noticing damaged front tire, which leads to purchase of two new tires. Since those tires date from 2009, maybe it's almost time for replacement.

Interestingly, because I sprung for tires, they reattached the front license plate assembly (damaged in last week's accident) for free.

Then, repairing driver's side rear-view mirror apparently requires a complete replacement, and not just replacing the bracket (I don't quite believe this, but since parts are often made in units it may be more-economical to do so).

And there's probably other stuff too. Small stuff, but it adds up.

Haven't Lost Any Weight In A Week-And-A-Half

Eating too much to sustain a weight loss! Must...stop...eating!

Closest Parallel To Mitt's 47% Remark

This response worked then: parallel responses work today!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"The Man Who Fell To Earth" - Talking Heads - 'Once In A Lifetime'

Last night, they showed "The Man Who Fell To Earth" on TV. Strangely enough, I had never seen it before. I started watching it well after it started, and never really understood it, but mostly I was just completely startled to see Albuquerque and New Mexico! Apparently much of it was filmed in New Mexico:
Filming began on 6 July 1975. The film was primarily shot in New Mexico, with additional filming locations in Albuquerque, White Sands, Artesia and Fenton Lake.

...New Mexico was chosen primarily because it had recently passed new labor laws which allowed the producers to import an all-British crew. But ultimately these changes were used by Nicolas Roeg for more interpretive and artistic purposes; the use of local sand dunes to depict Newton's home world was very useful.
The movie had an outsized effect on popular culture.
  • The film was used as one of the key elements of the novel VALIS by Philip K. Dick, with David Bowie appearing in the novel as "Mother Goose" and the film represented by the titular film "VALIS", although plot elements were changed dramatically, so that the film became something very different in Dick's novel. The novel also incorporates a - fictional - incident in which Dick visits David Bowie and Brian Eno, who turn out to be harbouring a small child who may be the messiah.
  • The music video to Guns N' Roses's 1987 "Welcome to the Jungle" was partially based on The Man Who Fell to Earth.[20]
  • The music video to Scott Weiland's 1998 song "Barbarella" uses themes from The Man Who Fell to Earth.[21]
  • The music video to Marilyn Manson's 1998 song "The Dope Show" uses themes from The Man Who Fell to Earth.
  • The film is referenced both lyrically and visually in the video for the song "E=MC2" by the British band Big Audio Dynamite.[22]
  • In 2001, David Bowie starred in an XM Radio commercial where he fell through the roof of a motel. Upon standing, he looks up and states "I'll never get used to that." [23]
  • Dr. Manhattan’s apartment and Ozymandias' Antarctic retreat in the 2009 film Watchmen were mainly based on the set of The Man Who Fell to Earth.[24]
  • The 2009 song "ATX" by Alberta Cross is based on David Bowie's character in The Man Who Fell to Earth.[25]
  • The television series Fringe features a recurring character who uses the alias Thomas Jerome Newton. The series had previously used a character named David Robert Jones, which is David Bowie's real name.[26]
  • In Bret Easton Ellis's 2010 novel Imperial Bedrooms, the main character mentions that he is involved with writing the script for a remake of The Man Who Fell to Earth.[27]
  • A movie poster for The Man Who Fell to Earth can be seen in the 2011 film Green Lantern.
Interestingly, the video accompaniment of 'Once In A Lifetime' by the Talking Heads is a perfect fit, and may well belong on this list!

Let's Get Ready To Rumble!

Conservatives finally take sides:
“[A]fter Clinton ended ‘welfare as we know it’ in 1996 it got harder to scapegoat welfare recipients. So conservatives decided [in abandoning their previous commitment to the Earned Income Tax Credit and other policies meant to reward the “deserving,” working poor], what the hell, there are no deserving poor.” This immediately prompted a thoughtful e-mail from a young conservative who objected to my painting conservatives with such a broad brush. Lots of conservatives don’t believe this garbage, he said, and it turns out he’s right. I mentioned earlier that Ramesh Ponneru of National Review trashed it last year. Others now criticizing Romney’s remarks include the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, Reason’s Matt Welch, the Daily Caller’s Jim Antle, and even National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, who ordinarily displays a weakness for blowhard arguments. Over at the New York Times, David Brooks wants nothing to do with Romney’s remarks, and neither (to judge from his Twitter feed) does Ross Douthat.

“Conservatives Agree: Romney’s Wrong,” declares Michael Warren on the Weekly Standard’s Web site. That’s taking things a bit far. In fact, plenty of other conservatives are in complete agreement with Romney. Slate’s David Weigel, CBS’s Stephanie Condon, the liberal watchdog group Media Matters, and Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray have been counting noses. Rush Limbaugh, of course, has long been an outspoken 53-percenter (“47 percent of the population is content to be slovenly, lazy takers”) and so has Fox News’ Sean Hannity. National Review’s Michael Walsh is calling this Romney’s “Gettysburg moment.” The somewhat classier John O’Sullivan, also of National Review, is similarly calling Mitt a misunderstood truth-teller. So are Rep. Allen West, R.-Fla.; Red State founder Erick Erickson; Dean Clancy of FreedomWorks; and Todd Starnes and Laura Ingraham of Fox News. The Wall Street Journal editorial page, which created this Frankenstein monster, is lying low for the moment, but will surely end up defending Romney’s remarks (perhaps echoing Romney’s lame excuse that they were “inelegantly stated”).

Brooks makes a useful distinction when he writes that “Romney’s comment is a country-club fantasy. It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other.” Romney’s remarks have opened up a rift between the Republican party’s country-club fatheads (he was speaking, after all, to $50,000-a-plate gathering at the $4.5 million Boca Raton home of a fellow private-equity tycoon—one who’s reportedly quite the party animal, but let’s set aside what Romney’s evangelical constituency will make of that) and the GOP’s pundit class. As the foregoing examples demonstrate, the membrane dividing these two groups is somewhat porous, and we must remember that it was the conservative intelligentsia that invented the lucky-ducky meme to begin with. A further complication is that some of those who decry Romney’s remarks support Paul Ryan when he makes the same case within the larger framework of his error-laden “tipping point” argument. (“Reform-minded conservatives argue that without making important changes to the welfare state, this is exactly the sort of future to which the United States is bound,” concludes the Weekly Standard’s Warren after assuring us that conservatives want nothing to do with Romney’s bĂȘtise.) Yet another complication is that it’s the Republican fatheads who fund the think tanks that employ most of the Republican pundits. That helps explain why conservative pundits’ worldview tends to coarsen over time.

Remember Reagan's Plan To Increase The Number Who Don't Pay Federal Income Tax?

From Yglesias:
Here's Ronald Reagan bragging about his plan to increase the number of low-income and disabled people who don't have to pay federal income taxes

Full Footage Of Romney's Fundraiser

Bon apetit!

Former Justice Souter Worries About Dictatorship

During a question and answer session last week at University of New Hampshire School of Law, Souter described “pervasive civic ignorance” as one of the biggest problems in the United States. He warned that Americans’ ignorance about their own government could lead to a dictatorship.

“I don’t worry about our losing a republican government in the United States because I’m afraid of a foreign invasion, he said. “I don’t worry about it because of a coup by the military, as has happened in some other places. What I worry about is that when problems are not addressed people will not know who is responsible, and when the problems get bad enough — as they might do for example with another serious terrorist attack, as they might do with another financial meltdown — some one person will come forward and say ‘Give me total power and I will solve this problem.’”

“That is how the Roman republic fell,” Souter continued. “Augustus became emperor not because he arrested the Roman senate. He became emperor because he promised that he would solve problems that were not being solved.”

“If we know who is responsible, I have enough faith in the American people to demand performance from those responsible. If we don’t know, we will stay away from the polls, we will not demand it and the day will come when somebody will come forward and we and the government will in effect say, ‘Take the ball and run with it, do what you have to do.’ That is the way democracy dies.”

Meth Teacher

Meanwhile, out in the parking lot:
[A]ccording to Linden police, chemistry teacher William Duncan from East Texas was arrested for cooking meth and selling it in the parking lot of the junior high school where he worked.

...He sold it to us at the school, at the junior high school where he teaches." More meth was discovered in Duncan's truck, parked at the school.

...Police do not suspect that Duncan sold any meth to students.

The GOP Made The 47%

Cartoon at Bipartisan Report.

Sober conservatives are fretting:
The development exposes a gulf between movement conservatives, who have embraced the view that nearly half of Americans are Democratic voters in thrall to a liberal welfare state, and their policy-minded fellow travelers who know the view is false.

“One thing that frustrates me,” wrote Salam, “is that many Republicans who’ve embraced the ‘takers’ interpretation of the fact that 46% of tax units didn’t pay federal income taxes forget why Republican policymakers of the past created policies like the EITC and the child tax credit in the first place…. We need conservative politicians who are willing to explain why low-income and middle-income parents should be removed from the tax rolls during the years they are making the biggest investments in their children, and who are willing to make the case for the EITC program as an alternative to worklessness and lifelong dependency.”

For Matt Welch of the libertarian magazine Reason, the problem is that Romney’s message contradicts the pitch Republicans made to voters at the GOP convention.

“This is economic determinism at its worst, going against the very message the Republican Party was trying to sell to the world during its quadrennial national convention last month,” he wrote. “Over and over again, we heard speakers there talk about how their immigrant grandparents came to this country, worked hard, built ‘that,’ never asked for a handout, and as a result their descendants have enjoyed the American Dream of ever-upward mobility. What the 53/47 dividing line says, to the direct contrary, is that income status is a permanent political condition, defrocking all Americans of agency and independent thought…. There are to my mind many more important things to consider in this presidential race than Mitt Romney’s reductive parroting of plausible-but-wrong GOP tropes. But the reason this controversy will have legs is ultimately because many Republicans think Romney’s comments were just fine. They are about to learn what the rest of the country thinks about that.”

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Reason Romney Is Doomed Is He Hits On An Unfortunate Truth

People want - people need to feel invaluable, and important, and vital to the future. Unfortunately, in the modern economy, most people are pretty much superfluous.

The Masters of the Universe - the Romneys of our country - need certain services accomplished. They will pay well for those services. But everyone else? Who needs them?

The children of the middle class? Useless spawn. The poor? Gawd, need I elaborate? The elderly? Superannuated human wreckage. The military? Except for the drone operators, helicopter mechanics, and the like, largely redundant. Cities like Albuquerque, or Amarillo, or Dubuque, or Baltimore, for that matter? No one will miss them. Los Angeles? Cut California off at the San Andreas Fault and sink the Left Coast Babylon! Women? Only the breeders are important; the rest talk too much.

No, it's not just the 47% of Obama supporters. It's almost everyone!

But it's those utterly useless people who will, entirely on their own, decide the election. In just a few weeks too!

To Romney, I'm sure it's an unfair situation. But the Masters of the Universe understood a long time ago that that is just how life is.

Then there is this alternative formulation:
The super-wealthy have to be looking over their shoulders, smothering their souls, constantly at war with their own consciences. Deep down, they fear - they KNOW - that they're just grifters, rich on what they steal from those who work for a living (or what they inherited from some grifter daddy or grandaddy). They know they should be ashamed. So they need someone to salve their conscience, someone to tell them that greed is good, someone to say that the poor deserve to be poor - money follows morality. If they can believe the poor are just lazy leeches, they can believe their wealth comes from hard work and morality. And at that point, tax cuts and other punishments for the poor become not just a matter of fairness to the "job creators", but a matter of morality. Government aid to the poor leads to "a discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class", as Henry Potter put it in It's a Wonderful Life.

And Mitt Romney, self-serving liar that he is, told them what they wanted to hear, in a way that forwarded his own interests (getting elected). He told them the poor were all Democrats, which is hardly true. And he told them he, the anointed leader of the Republicans, would protect them from the Democrat-voting rabble.

Liar. But, unlike most of the rest of us, the rich Republicans are stupid enough to believe it.

Romney Is Doomed

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It's All About The Branding

Some people have scoffed on the Internet recently about the idea presented on "Breaking Bad" that addicts would pay more money for a better-quality drug. Yglesias responds by pointing out that effective product branding would do the trick. The only question, of course, is whether such branding is chemically possible. I can just imagine Walter White mentioning the magic of chirality:
But what if your ultra-pure, locally sourced meth was manufactured by a special process that lends it a distinctive blue color? Well, that’s a game-changer. Instant branding. And even though the brand isn’t super-flashy, it’s got something more important than that: credibility. The hue of the product derives directly from the method of synthesizing it, so the only way to copy it completely would be to actually master the production process.

With This Tape, Romney's Campaign Is Over

Romney just destroyed his own candidacy. It's over. Not enough rocks to hide under after these comments:
It’s rare when the impact of some gaffe or embarrassment or revelation isn’t overstated on first blush. But this may just be that rare exception. This tape strikes me as absolutely devastating.

...As for the tape itself, this is a fine distillation of the most rancid version of the libertarian conservative worldview. Democrats are moochers and losers who can’t get their act together and think the government owes them food, board, health care and basically whatever else they want. You don’t need to look long to find this version of reality on the web. But this isn’t some right-wing blogger. It’s the Republican candidate for President of the United States.

Here’s the actual text…
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Shortly after this part Romney says this: “My job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
...Fringier folks in the GOP say things like this. Gary Bauer did just a couple days ago when he said Obama’s coalition was made up of welfare recipients and vote fraudsters. Bauer though was smart enough not to put a percentage to the charge. Doing so deprives Romney of a vital wiggle room. He’s not just talking about some few percentage points that make up the moocher vote. He’s talking about everybody who supports Obama.

So if some Democrat says that if you support Barack Obama, Romney is talking about you, that Democrat would be on steel-reinforced ground. Are you one of those 47% of the electorate that the polls consistently tell us support Barack Obama? He’s talking about you. It’s not an exaggeration.

So the country is divided in two: on one side, the self-sufficient and high-achieving Republicans and on the other side the losers who think government needs to take care of them.

This is the caricature of Mitt Romney, who was born on 3rd base (in Ann Richards memorable phrase), thinks he hit a triple and thinks the broad middle class who’ve relied on government for student loans or social security or anything else are losers who can’t get their act together and take responsibility for themselves. Only this tape says that caricature Mitt Romney is the real Mitt Romney.

Big problem.

Secret Romney Video

These "Romney-Unplugged" videos are really interesting!

Do Not Undermine The Authority Of Public Officials

The view from Zion:
LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks cautioned Mormons against joining or supporting "right-wing groups who mistakenly apply prophecies about the last days to promote efforts to form paramilitary or other organizations."

Such groups could "undermine the authority of public officials," Oaks said Sunday at a regional Mormon conference broadcast from the Marriott Center on Brigham Young University’s Provo campus, "in the event of extraordinary emergencies or even in cases of simple disagreement with government policy."

Don't Forget Yugoslavia Either!

All those little countries, so far away....

David Garibaldi and his CMYK's Finale Performance, featuring Flo Rida

Pepper was excited by David Garibaldi's appearance on "America's Got Talent", because Garibaldi's part of his local Sacramento community!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pet Turkey

After "City of Angels" at DMTC Saturday evening, the Barbieri's hosted a get-together in their fantastical home in Davis.

It was after 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning, but that didn't stop Tracia from fetching a most-important family member to introduce to the party guests: their pet turkey!

No party is complete without a pet turkey!

Victorian Frustration With The Bricks

The rebuilding of Christchurch, New Zealand's infrastructure in the wake of recent earthquakes has allowed the opportunity to document formerly-hidden problems with 19th-Century construction:
“During the 1870s there was a brick shortage in Christchurch, partially because of the 1867 Christchurch fire prevention act, which had made it law that new buildings in what is now the inner city had to have external walls made of “incombustible materials”.

“As a result it would have been a struggle to find the best quality cutting bricks to construct the Madras Street drain. What the current work has shown us is how the pipe builders dealt with this problem – by adapting the house bricks which were available. This was previously unknown from the historic record so is a great find for us.
TV News Video

Fourth Bike Ride With Joe The Plumber

Sunday evening, we started late (well after 6 p.m.), and with the sun setting earlier these days, we worked hard to quickly get to Old Sacramento. We followed a very similar path as on the third bike ride, and arrived about 7 p.m.

Our path there was:  south on 21st, west on Vallejo, south on Land Park Drive, west on Sutterville to the Sacramento River, then north on the bike trail to Old Sacramento. On the return trip, we went south on the bike trail, east on Broadway, south on Riverside, then east on Second.

We got ice cream in Old Sacramento, and were surprised by the Hare Krishna folks there. The primary purpose of our visit to Old Sacramento was to debrief each other about M.'s weird, manipulative behavior during last week's big Land Park washing machine drain line replacement project. After the bike ride, we were hungry, so we ate at Carl's Jr., and discussed the same subject. Because it's just too weird!


Flying west Saturday evening on I-80 across the Yolo Causeway towards Davis, just before sunset, I regretted that I was a few minutes too early to see all the bats stream out at sunset from under the Causeway. I liked that there seemed to be a lot of dragonflies in the air crossing the freeway, so there was lots of food available for the bats, but I was just two or three minutes too early to see the bats!

Just after parking at DMTC in Davis, I heard a strange sound: a sort of buzzing. I got out of the car and looked around and realized there was something alive trapped just under the car's hood. I popped the hood, and waited with anticipation to see what it might be.

An uninjured dragonfly popped out and took wing, headed towards a more suitable fate in the ecosystem than radiator roadkill.

The Dandy Warhols - Bohemian Like You

Heard this on the radio: like it!