Friday, October 26, 2012

Understanding The Fear Of Frankenstorm

R. is not persuaded:
Are you in on this one ... with your forecasting work? There seems to be a lot of hysteria building on the web about this hurricane. how come?
I reply:
Ah, yes, Frankenstorm! It’s mostly because, as Hurricane Sandy weakens and becomes extratropical over water, it collides with a strong cold front over the eastern U.S., strengthening again, with maximum low pressures forecast to reach depths that have never been observed – EVER! Even in the Long Island Hurricane of 1938 – the gold standard of worst-case East Coast weather!

I’m hoping that it won’t be that bad. Today’s forecast didn’t look as bad as yesterday’s forecast, so maybe there’s hope after all! But certain places, like New Jersey, might get hammered no matter how things transpire.
R. replies:
what I'm not getting is why the great concern when it is cat 1 today, expected to weaken, might then strengthen when it merges with the other fronts, and the prediction is for 40-60 mph winds. That's very strong winds, but not hurricane force. The baro goes really low, but why is that a particular concern for damage, loss of life, etc. How does this outdo Andrew and Katrina? Is it just a slow weather month?

Thanks for any insight you can offer.
I reply:
Here’s some of the press freakout.

Part of the trouble is that the area that will experience high winds is very broad – broader than a hurricane by itself is capable of reaching. Another is that it is highly urbanized, and a third is that trees still have lots of leaves on them, and so are unusually vulnerable right now to damage. The geography of Long Island Sound is perfect for a storm surge as well, and so that’s a fourth concern.

The June 2012 derecho demonstrated that the infrastructure of the NE is now too antiquated to maintain First-World civilization under challenging conditions. It took about a month to restore power in some areas from all that. This storm might be worse than that one was!

So, there are a lot of valid concerns.
R. replies:
I am beginning to believe that the problem is the winter storm, not the hurricane. It seems to me the hurricane's role is to strengthen the winter storm and they are worried about ice, freezing rain, storm-force winds breaking trees, lots of rain producing flooding inland, and the high tide/weak hurrican combo causing flooding along the shore.
I reply:
Yes, that’s the package! The hurricane adds in a lot of moisture, heat and its pre-existing cyclone that just helps accelerate things.

Pieces and Parts

This election has always been about the parts, not the whole:
If you are a single female, living in Pasadena, working at a university, driving a Prius, shopping at Whole Foods, watching "The Daily Show," reading books by Anne Tyler, listening to music by k.d. lang and vacationing in Rome, the Romney campaign does not need to waste time trying to get your vote. If you are a male, living in Tuscaloosa, managing an auto parts store, attending a Foursquare Gospel church twice a week and listening to Toby Keith in your Dodge Ram pickup as you drive into the countryside for a day of deer hunting, the Obama campaign is not likely to spend a cent on you.

FOX News Needs Seagulls Of Its Own

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Catraz - Knock Knock

Flying Denizens Of The Sea

This reminds me, back in 1988, when I visited Parkland Hospital in Dallas. There were fish scattered in the parking lot. But there was a bird roosting place not far away, and a lake that wasn't far either, so it all made a kind of sense:
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (AP) — Golf club employees in Southern California came to the rescue when a shark dropped out of the sky and flopped around on the 12th tee.

San Juan Hills Golf Club operations director Melissa McCormack says a course marshal found the leopard shark Monday afternoon and brought it to the clubhouse. It had puncture wounds where it appeared a bird had snagged it from the Pacific Ocean, about five miles away.

They stuck the approximately 2-pound shark into fresh water before somebody remembered it came from the sea, so they got some sea salt from the kitchen and mixed it in.

Another employee rushed the shark to the ocean where McCormack says it was very still for a few seconds before twisting around and speeding off.

Southern Ozone Hole Fairly Small This Year

Good news!:
This spring the Antarctic ozone hole was the second smallest it’s been in the past 20 years, satellite data shows.

Alarm at the damage being done to the ozone layer, which blocks most of the sun's skin cancer-causing high frequency ultraviolet rays, led to the 1987 Montreal Protocol.
Under that pact, countries agreed to phase out the use of ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons.

It was the first United Nations treaty to be signed by every country in the organisation. Since then, the overall amount of atmospheric ozone has stopped declining, with the thinning of the ozone above Antarctica reaching its greatest extent in the spring of 2000 when it covered 29.9 million sqkm.

...The minimum concentration of ozone this year was 124 Dobson units, compared to typical ranges of 240 to 500 DU when the hole was not present, Nasa said.

To monitor the state of the ozone layer above Antarctica visit ozonewatch.

"Bitter! Table For One!"

I'm sure McCain's bewildered. What's so unappealing about War Against Everyone, Everywhere, All The Time?:
John McCain bitterly denounced former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday for supporting President Obama for a second straight election.

“General Powell, you disappoint us and you have harmed your legacy even further by defending what is clearly the most feckless foreign policy in my lifetime,” McCain told Brian Kilmeade on his radio program.

Paul Ryan, Misunderstood Teen

Obama sympathizes with the outcast Ryan:
GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan confused a lot of people when he credited writer Ayn Rand, whose books idealize fierce capitalism, individualism and a disdain for charity, for his foray into public service. In a new interview published in Rolling Stone, President Barack Obama commented on the writer, taking another jab at the candidate:
Q: What do you think Paul Ryan’s obsession with her work would mean if he were vice president?

Obama: Well, you’d have to ask Paul Ryan what that means to him. Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we’re only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we’re considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that’s a pretty narrow vision. It’s not one that, I think, describes what’s best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a “you’re on your own” society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.

Two "Breaking Bad" Tunes From 'Gliding Over All'

These two tunes really made the final episode of Breaking Bad's first half of Season 5! (No spoilers; just tunes.)

First, Tommy James and the Shondell's 1969 song 'Crystal Blue Persuasion' (featuring scenes in Albuquerque's Grove Cafe & Market, among other places):

Second, MGMT's 2005 knowing song 'Time To Pretend' (which plays during the happy pool scene):

Sandy On The Move

There is no sign of a western jog, and the NOGAPS forecast has now snapped back to the National Hurricane Center forecast, so Tampa will be spared inconvenience. The Bahamas will be a mess, and the beaches of eastern Florida might see some heavy rain, heavy surf and some wind, though.

[UPDATE] It’s possible that even eastern Florida will be spared trouble, the storm being far enough offshore, but the latest forecasts are showing possible landfall in New Jersey, or New York City, on Monday, so we haven’t heard the last of this storm yet!

[UPDATE 2] Ha! The forecasters are calling it ‘Frankenstorm’!:
WASHINGTON (AP) — An unusual nasty mix of a hurricane and a winter storm that forecasters are now calling "Frankenstorm" is likely to blast most of the East Coast next week, focusing the worst of its weather mayhem around New York City and New Jersey.

Government forecasters on Thursday upped the odds of a major weather mess, now saying there's a 90 percent chance that the East will get steady gale-force winds, heavy rain, flooding and maybe snow starting Sunday and stretching past Halloween on Wednesday.

Meteorologists say it is likely to cause $1 billion in damage.

The storm is a combination of Hurricane Sandy, now in the Caribbean, an early winter storm in the West, and a blast of arctic air from the North. They're predicted to collide and park over the country's most populous coastal corridor and reach as far inland as Ohio.

The hurricane part of the storm is likely to come ashore somewhere in New Jersey on Tuesday morning, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco. But this is a storm that will affect a far wider area, so people all along the East have to be wary, Cisco said.

Who Needs To Make Strategic Choices?

Drones, battleships, AND bayonets!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Richard Mourdock Is The GOP's Anchor

Toss him in the deep, blue sea:
The national Republican freeze-out that greeted Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin after his “legitimate rape” comments in August will not be repeated in Indiana after GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said “when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen” on a debate stage Tuesday night.

Mourdock will go forward into the final days of the Senate race with Mitt Romney and national Republicans in his corner, despite Democratic outrage. When it comes to Mourdock, the GOP is (for the most part) all-in.

...Mitt Romney, who is currently starring in an ad running on Mourdock’s behalf statewide in Indiana, distanced himself from Mourdock’s line at the debate but stood by his full-throated endorsement.

“We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him,” a Romney spokesperson told the New York Observer.

Them Lost Boys Feat. Kelsey B - "Drop This"

Paraplegic, Alone, On A Deserted NM Road

This is scary!:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A paraplegic man, who says he was stranded in the New Mexico desert without his wheelchair, dragged himself about four miles down a dirt road over three days before a motorist stopped to help him.

...Gilmore said he was dropped in the desert by a couple in a white truck who he met while he was hitchhiking on Oct. 16. He had invited them to his home for steaks and they later went for what Gilmore thought was going to be a joyride.

When he declined to share his alcohol with them, Gilmore said the man grabbed him by his feet and threw him out of the truck while parked along the desolate road.

...It was early evening and Gilmore had nothing -- no wheelchair, no food, no water, no coat -- to help him endure the flat desert scrubland.

He said he spent the first night under a bush. But with the sunrise, survival mode kicked in.

Gilmore said he attempted to flag down at least two passing cars as he dragged himself along the road, but they only honked and kept going.

After spending a second night at the side of the road, Gilmore said he woke up sore and thirsty and did not want to move, but continued onward anyway.

On the third afternoon, a man in a blue pickup truck stopped and called for help.

"In Darkness"

Last night on the TV, "In Darkness" (2011) was on. What a frightening Holocaust movie!:
While there have been other movies dealing with Holocaust this one is unique in its complexity. It takes place in Lvov, town populated by a number of ethnic groups which had coexisted in an uneasy truce in a sort of a Tower of Babel which first the Russian and then the German occupations easily destroyed.

The mix of peoples is apparent by the mix of languages spoken: Polish, Yiddish, Ukrainian, German . The subtitles by the way are excellent and easy to follow.

The movie shows the risks involved in helping Jews under the German occupation a very important but often forgotten point. Heart wrenching scenes caused more than one person to wipe their tears in this Polish audience. The humanity of Socha the imperfect hero makes him one of the most heart warming characters that I recall.

This movie is a thriller, a morality tale and in some ways reminds one of a classic Western where honor, justice and love survive under most adverse circumstances.

DMTC's Haunted House, Opening Soon!

Heidi Johnson's 'Miss Creeps' (with flash).

Over the last ten days, the Haunted House Committee at DMTC has worked hard to prepare for DMTC's upcoming Haunted House Fundraiser. The decorating process has gone better than I had hoped. There are still some tweaks to work out (tweaks are like trolls, except they live under theater seats rather than bridges) but it's gone quite well.  The next two days will be devoted to getting the performance aspects to work well, together, and in sync.  I'm so excited!

Hurricane Sandy May Exercise Shock And Awe On Florida

Even though the National Hurricane Center forecast for southern Florida keeps the eye offshore, and thus downplays some of the impacts, the latest NOGAPS forecast shows a sharply more pessimistic view for Florida interests from Hurricane Sandy. The NOGAPS forecast shows the eye jogging west as it crosses Cuba, with the net result of a nearly-direct hit on Ft. Lauderdale, and huge amounts of rain for Florida on Friday and Saturday – perhaps some heavy rain for Tampa too.

In addition, the storm seems to be moving rapidly, so there isn’t much time to prepare. The Miami press isn’t gearing up as fast as it should, given the potential danger.

There is no danger of a direct hit on Tampa, but Tampa may get sideswiped by some of these rains. Fortunately the storm is moving rapidly, so even if heavy rains fall, they’ll be comparatively brief.

Keep a close eye on Sandy as it crosses Cuba. If this jog west actually occurs, it’ll be in the next 12 hours.

Richard Mourdock's God Works In Mysterious Ways

So, is rape part of God's plan? All rapes, or just some rapes? Is it justified to fight back against rape, particularly if it's part of God's plan? What are the criteria?

What is God's plan, and how is one to know if one is advancing it? Are we Heaven's soldiers, or are we the minions of Satan?

These are the conundrums of life!

I think it's God's plan that I kick Richard Mourdock in the nuts:
GOP Senate nominee Richard Mourdock told reporters at a press conference Wednesday in Indianapolis that people misunderstood him during Tuesday night’s debate when he said, “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

During the press conference, Mourdock, who is pro-life and opposes rape exceptions to abortion bans, repeatedly accused his political opponents of “twisting” his words while also expressing regret if the words were interpreted in a way that was offensive.

“I spoke from my heart. For speaking from my heart, for speaking from the deepest level of my faith, I cannot apologize,” he said. “I would be less than faithful to my faith if I said anything other than life is precious, I believe it is a gift from God. I believe that God would never want anyone harmed, sexually abused, raped. I believe it’s wrong when people want to take what I said and twist it. And if in any way people came away with the wrong meaning, then for that I do apologize.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Visit With Deborah McMillion-Nering & James Bucanek

Tucson Mountains, as seen from shuttle bus on I-10, heading from Tucson to Phoenix, and ultimately to Ahwatukee, just south of Phoenix.

Deborah, and my good friend from Albuquerque, Karl Schindwolf, who joined us for dinner.

James prepares a sumptious repast.

Big-screen TV, used for Deborah's art.

Many eyes watch from above.

Lunch at Pomegranate Cafe

Colorful lunch!

Visit With Tucson's Linda Walker

A hearty spaghetti dinner!

Lunch at McMahon's Steakhouse.

San Pedro Chapel, adjacent to Ft. Lowell.

Stained glass in Linda's dining room.

NM & AZ Trip Graffiti

'Value'. I-25 Bridge over the railroad, south of Albuquerque, near Isleta Pueblo.

F--- Trains. P---- Runner.

NM 550 Bridge over the Rio Grande River, at Bernalillo.


King Clier.




S--- Kickers Rule.

(A Variety).


Tanque Verde Rd. Bridge over Pantano Wash, Tucson, AZ.

Smoke Weed.

Tanque Verde Rd., Tucson, AZ, sidewalk. Juggalo 4 Life.

NM Trip - Trains

The Railrunner, after sunset, near Sandia Pueblo.

Albuquerque station.


The Railrunner.

The Railrunner promises transport with ease and safety.

An AMTRAK train barrels south through the overpass, as seen from near the Isleta Railrunner station.

AMTRAK train.

Santa Fe Southern locomotive at Lamy.

Cry For The Lowbrow Dancers

The judges clearly haven't tried pole-dancing for themselves. That stuff is hard!:
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Lap dances are taxable because they don't promote culture in a community the way ballet or other artistic endeavors do, New York's highest court concluded Tuesday in a sharply divided ruling.

The court split 4-3, with the dissenting judges saying there's no distinction in state law between "highbrow dance and lowbrow dance," so the case raises "significant constitutional problems."

The lawsuit was filed by Nite Moves in suburban Albany, which was arguing fees for admission to the strip club and for private dances are exempt from sales taxes.

The court majority said taxes apply to many entertainment venues, such as amusement parks and sporting events. It ruled the club has failed to prove it qualifies for the exemption for "dramatic or musical arts performances" that was adopted by the Legislature "with the evident purpose of promoting cultural and artistic performances in local communities."

The majority reached similar conclusions about admission fees to watch dances done onstage around a pole, as well as for lap dances or private dances.

W. Anderson McCullough, attorney for the club, said he and his client were bitterly disappointed by the judges' ruling.

"We thought they were listening, and some of them were," he said.

If ice shows with intricately choreographed ice-dancing routines to music haven't been regarded by lawmakers as qualifying, then it was "surely ... not irrational" for the tribunal "to conclude that a club presenting performances by women gyrating on a pole to music, however artistic or athletic their practiced moves are, was also not a qualifying performance entitled to exempt status," wrote Judges Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, Victoria Graffeo, Eugene Pigott Jr. and Theodore Jones Jr.

In the dissent, Judge Robert Smith wrote that it was a question of what the law and regulations actually say. The law defines a "dramatic or musical arts admission charge" for "a live dramatic, choreographic or musical performance," he noted. Choreography means dance, and clearly the women at Nite Moves dance, he wrote.

"The majority implies that since the Legislature did not exclude from the entertainment tax other lowbrow forms of entertainment, such as baseball games and animal acts ... it would not have wanted to exclude pole dancing; but the issue is not what the Legislature would have wanted to do, but what it did," Smith wrote. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Judge Susan Read agreed.

Reposting Swedish pole dancing:

Walking Dead Media

It was completely obvious that President Obama walked all over Mitt Romney last night. But the media aren't buying it. In order to support ratings they want the presidential election horses in a dead heat when they reach the finish line, whether or not reality supports that scenario. And they can collectively decide to fantasize instead about what they want rather than what IS!

And the right-wingers headed into the swamp - waiting for their vindication by the voters. Tactical silence on their part, at last!

Two more weeks, and we get a reprieve from this media circus.

Here's Kevin Drum's post, in full, because it can't be repeated enough:
Think about what we saw last night: Mitt Romney dispassionately marched through the entire oeuvre of conservative obsessions on foreign policy and rejected virtually every single one of them. He's getting out of Afghanistan with no conditions; he's happy we helped get rid of Hosni Mubarak; he'll take no serious action against Syria; he wants to indict Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the World Court; he didn't even mention Benghazi; and he refused to say straight-up that he'd support Israel if they bombed Iran. It's the kind of performance that should have had a guy like Charles Krauthammer tearing his hair out, but instead we got this:
I think it's unequivocal: Romney won. And he didn't just win tactically, but strategically.
Was there any rending of garments anywhere else? Not for a second. Conservatives just reveled in the fact that Romney apparently made himself acceptable to undecided voters. Yuval Levin: "Romney clearly achieved his aim." Ramesh Ponnuru: "Advantage Romney." Rich Lowry: "Romney executed what must have been his strategy nearly flawlessly." Bill Kristol: "Tonight, Romney seems as fully capable as—probably more capable than—Barack Obama of being the next president." Stanley Kurtz: "Romney has now decisively established himself as a credible alternative to Obama." Erick Erickson: "Mitt Romney won this debate."

On a substantive level, Romney's performance from a conservative point of view was worse than Obama's in the first debate. It was pure rope-a-dope, with Romney abandoning virtually every foreign policy position the right holds dear while utterly refusing to attack President Obama as the weak-kneed appeaser they believe him to be. And one seemed to mind. As far as the right is concerned, two weeks before an election is no time to get too worried over principle.

Taylor Swift + Breaking Bad Parody - 'We Are Never Ever Gonna Cook Together'

Monday, October 22, 2012

"A Southwest Nutcracker" Rehearsal - Tucson Regional Ballet - October 13, 2012

If it's October it's time to start Nutcracker rehearsals!

Tucson Regional Ballet has its own rendition of the annual spectacle - A Southwest Nutcracker:
This original, full length classical ballet translates the traditional Nutcracker to Tucson in the 1880's complete with the battle of the coyotes and the US Cavalry. Travel with young Maria (Clara) and the Nutcracker General over the glistening, falling snow of Mt. Lemmon to a Desert Dream of Chili Peppers, Mama Pinata and the waltzing Desert Poppies. The live musical accompaniment, lovely costumes and breathtaking, professionally designed sets; along with the giant growing Christmas tree, enhance the strong TRB dancing.
Here, Cianna (Snow Queen) and her group practices, together with the younger cavalry and coyotes.