Friday, March 22, 2013

The Question Is, Is This Enough For Rain In ABQ Around April Fool's Day?

Sacramento Ballet - "A Midsummer Night's Eve" And "Western Symphony"

Delightful time with the ballet dancers at the Sacramento Community Center Theater.

Question Time!

Afterwards, Bento Box.

If It's Friday, It Means Joe The Plumber Needs Help

J.: ...So, I was wondering, could you help me buy another cell phone?

M.: What happened to the old cell phone?

J.: I smashed it. People kept telling me they couldn't understand what I was saying. I have money coming in this weekend - just not at the instant.

M.: Well, you could come by my house tomorrow morning....

J.: My vehicle isn't running right now. I could ride my bike over to your place, but it's miles and miles from here.

M.: Well, we could meet....

J.: HEY! Someone just stole my bike!! COME BACK!!!

M.: Hello? Hello? Hello?

It May Be A Hoax In Tucson

Reports of gunman on campus. Everyone scrambled! Apparently 2nd & Mountain was a staging area. That's right next to Hillel!

Tough Time To Be A Groundhog

And it's not 'How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying' either:
Authorities in still-frigid Ohio have issued an “indictment” of the furry rodent, who predicted an early spring when he didn’t see his shadow after emerging from his western Pennsylvania lair on Feb. 2.

“Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early,” Mike Gmoser, the prosecutor in southwestern Ohio’s Butler County, wrote in an official-looking indictment.

Gmoser wrote that Punxsutawney Phil is charged with misrepresentation of spring, which constitutes a felony “against the peace and dignity of the state of Ohio.”

Little Big Town - Tornado

Country music goes all meteorological.

Tucker Carlson - Dead Man Walking

The noose tightens:
A top Dominican law enforcement official said Friday that a local lawyer has reported being paid by someone claiming to work for the conservative Web site the Daily Caller to find prostitutes who would lie and say they had sex for money with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

The local lawyer told Dominican investigators that a foreign man, who identified himself as “Carlos,” had offered him $5,000 to find and pay women in the Caribbean nation willing to make the claims about Menendez, according to Jose Antonio Polanco, district attorney for the La Romana region, where the investigation is being conducted.
The story is still developing. The critical people aren't under oath yet. Still, it suggests Tucker Carlson's avocation of journalist may face an abrupt end in the near future. Multi-million-dollar lawsuits can do that, you know.

Amazed By My Low Blood Pressure

Last night, I reversed the usual order of activity for a Thursday and ate first, then did aerobics. Thus, I went to musical theater rehearsal in the evening both fatigued and perhaps slightly dehydrated.

I was unusually sleepy during rehearsal, which was characterized by bursts of intense activity. I experienced lightheadedness and occasional shortness of breath.

When I went home, I measured my blood pressure as 96/74, far lower than the usual 120/80, and my usual of 130+/90+. I was surprised I was still conscious with such low blood pressure. It's kind of thrilling, in a way, that my quest for lower blood pressure has been answered so well.

The symptoms were consistent with Postprandial Orthostatic Hypotension, probably caused by a combination of eating, dehydration, and use of blood pressure control medications. So, this morning, I eased up on my dose of medication a little bit. As thrilling as this new adventure on the other side of normal is, it's a bad idea to collapse on stage. Actors live in the moment, and are very, very good at responding to stage crises with instantaneous and effective remedies, but actors really, really hate surprises, and an unanticipated collapse would cause nothing but unnecessary worry in the audience.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Just Shut Your Privileged Piehole Up, Michele Bachmann!

Michele Bachmann gets emotional:
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) marked the third anniversary of health care reform’s passage in the House of Representatives Thursday by warning that the law will soon begin to kill American citizens.

...“Let’s repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens,” Bachmann said on the House floor. “Let’s not do that. Let’s love people. Let’s care about people. Let’s repeal it now while we can.”
You know what gets people killed, Michele? Not getting medical care because they have no health insurance at all.

I'll see all your people who get killed by Obamacare, and more than match them with all the people Obamacare will save!

Still Time To Vote For Corina Bianca's Beyonce Cover "Run The World"

Sacramento's own entry is lagging in this national contest and needs votes! Watch the video and see Sacramento sights! Head on over to Ryan Seacrest!

Paul Krugman Discusses The Cyprus Crisis

It's an amazing thing!:
In fact, it looks as if Cyprus has managed to combine in one place everything that has gone wrong elsewhere.

1. Runaway banking. Cyprus has a huge banking system — assets around 8 times GDP — based on a business model of attracting offshore money with high rates and good opportunities for tax avoidance/evasion.

I’ve done some asking around, and cleared up something that was puzzling me. Officially, only about 40 percent of the deposits in Cypriot banks are from nonresidents, which would imply resident deposits of almost 500 percent of GDP, which is crazy. But the answer is that I do not think that word “resident” means what you think it means. Some of the money is from wealthy expats living in Cyprus; much of it is from rich people who have resident status without, you know, actually living there. So we should think of Cypriot deposits as mainly coming from non-Cypriots, attracted by that business model.

And the business model only works until there’s a big loss somewhere; since Cypriot banks were investing in Greece and in their own domestic real estate bubble, doom was inevitable. Which brings me to:

2. Big domestic real estate bubble, Spain or Ireland-sized. Not yet fully deflated, which means lots more losses to come. And the combination of the real estate bubble and the income from dodgy banking also led to:

3. Massive overvaluation, with Cypriot prices and costs having risen much more than in the rest of the euro area. In 2008 the current account deficit was more than 15 percent of GDP!

What can be done? First off, Cypriot banks cannot honor their debts, which unfortunately overwhelmingly take the form of deposits. So a default on deposits is inevitable.

As I now understand it, the initial screwup was a joint error of the Europeans and the Cypriots. Europe didn’t want an explicit bank resolution, which would among other things have given clear seniority to small insured deposits; instead, it wanted this essentially fictitious tax scheme. Meanwhile, the Cypriot government still has the illusion that its banking model can survive, and wanted to limit the hit to the big overseas depositors. Hence the debacle of the small-deposit tax.

In the end this probably comes, in some version, to what it should have been from the start — a big haircut on deposits over 100,000.

The News Is Everywhere! You Brush Your Teeth With The News!

Half Measures

The trouble here with filibuster reform is likely that Harry Reid used these same filibuster rules well when George Bush was President, and he's afraid of diluting his own power should the Democrats end up in the minority again. Nevertheless, even he has to see that phoning in threats is useless. He will have to take action:
So Harry Reid and other Senate Dem leaders are again threatening to revisit filibuster reform, in response to a procedural move by a GOP Senator that blocked a vote from moving forward on the Senate Democratic plan to continue funding the government:
“It is things like that that will cause the Senate to have to reassess all the rules because right now they accomplish so little,” Reid said late Tuesday on the Senate floor. “I’m disappointed.”
Reid’s discovered that the agreement reached between the two parties as part of the weak filibuster reform deal earlier this year is not having the desired effect. And he’s threatening to revisit that deal.

...Indeed, at this point, I’d add that if Democratic leaders are not serious about revisiting reform, they should just stop with the idle threats already. They’re threatening to become counterproductive.

...That’s good to hear, but look: If Dems are not going to revisit rules reform, just make that clear already. Empty threats just risk further angering Dem base voters who are already ticked about the filibuster reform punt earlier this year. Empty threats needlessly inflate expectations that Dems are finally going to take real steps to deliver to their supporters a functional Senate, one that is at least somewhat more capable of moving forward with the agenda so many of them worked so hard for in the last campaign.

Empty threats make Dems look weak and do nothing to discourage continued GOP obstructionism. If the status quo is really acceptable enough to Democratic leaders to forestall further action, they shouldn’t bother pretending otherwise. If this is the Senate we’re going to have to live with, Dems should just level with their voters on this point. No more feints and hints without real action.

Shooting Tuesday Near McClatchy

OK, this worries me. McClatchy High School is within easy walking distance of my house:
A woman was shot at dinnertime Monday along a bustling section of eateries in Land Park, an apparent bystander in an argument that suddenly turned violent.

Blood pooled on the sidewalk where the unidentified woman was shot in the right thigh at about 6:40 p.m. between the McDonald's and Round Table Pizza restaurants on Freeport Boulevard near Fifth Avenue.

She was rushed to the UC Davis Medical Center where she was "alert, awake and giving statements" to officers, said Sacramento Police Sgt. Bill Wann. Her wound was not considered life-threatening.

Witnesses described a brief argument between a man in a silver sedan and a second man on the street in the minutes before the shooting. Police do not believe the woman was connected to the men involved in the altercation, according to Officer Michele Gigante, a police spokeswoman.

One witness, Michelle Thao, was sitting outside the McDonald's with friends just feet from the argument-turned-shooting.

"We were all just sitting, hanging out. (The driver) pulled into the driveway," Thao said, referring to the McDonald's entrance. Words were exchanged, she said, and then "they rolled down the passenger window, and that's when she got shot."

Witnesses say the man fled, driving north on Freeport. As of late Monday, police were still looking for the shooter and his passenger and were interviewing potential witnesses and reviewing businesses' security videos for possible clues.

The shooting occurred two blocks north of McClatchy High School on a commercial section of Freeport frequented by students and Land Park residents alike. Besides pizza parlors and carry-out restaurants, the stretch houses boutique establishments such as Freeport Bakery and Taylor's Market.

Meth-Contaminated Homes

Wonder how this happens?:
The number of seizures has gone down more recently, but methamphetamine use continues to rise. Officials estimate tens of thousands of homes and other properties have been contaminated by the chemicals used to make the highly addictive drug.

The spilled or vaporized ingredients can be easily absorbed into a variety of home interior carpets, ducts, wall boards, tiles and fabrics -- and even trace amounts can linger there for years. And the chemicals associated with meth -- either in its production or usage -- can cause injuries to the brain, lungs, liver and kidneys, and they can damage a person's nervous and reproductive systems.

There's an economic impact, too. The Denver Post reports more methamphetamine-cont​aminated properties are being discovered as the housing market recovers. While contamination is especially prevalent among foreclosed homes and low- to mid-range rental units, it has been found in all sorts of neighborhoods and in high-price homes as well.

With more homes getting sold these days, the market for home test kits for meth has grown dramatically. "We probably do hundreds (of these tests) per week," said Paul Pope, project manager at ALS Environmental Laboratories in Salt Lake City, Utah -- one of only a handful of U.S. companies selling meth test kits.

Hurry! Methopoly Gets Pulled Today!

Joanne Silverman writes:
Wanted to let you Baddies know that the counsel for Hasbro, Inc. got in touch with me today and is demanding the removal of my Methopoly website.

I hope that anyone that was interested in downloading the game was able to do so. It was truly a labor of love to make and share with all of you. Dedicated to one of the greatest shows in television history.
Head on over to the "Files" menu at the Web Site to download this free game!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Crossing The Street

Ain't it the truth!

The Advantage Of Opposable Thumbs

Walking through a parking lot to lunch on Monday, I noticed a crow peering intently into a translucent plastic container that had been dropped on the pavement. It occurred to me the crow could see food in the container, but couldn't open it. So, I walked up and unlatched the sealed container. There wasn't much - the chicken bone had been picked clean by some human - but there were a few grains of rice that might make a good crow snack.

You Know California Spring Has Arrived....

With the robust return of fleas in the basement.

Trying To Get A Handle On The New Mexico Drought

I was trying to get a better feel for the New Mexico drought by plotting up annual precipitation, for a station in the Albuquerque area, in particular.  Here is a plot for COOP station #290234, which is the Albuquerque International Airport COOP site.  It has had a continuous annual record since 1949.

Even though the recent Southern, Southwestern, and Great Plains drought seems to be easing somewhat - happily, it's raining again in Arizona and Texas - if anything, it's getting worse in New Mexico. My impression is that the current drought is unprecedented in my lifetime. Massive dieback of vegetation is inevitable, given the current, brutal reality.

And the data seem to bear that out. The last two years are worse than 2001 - 2003, or any other individual year since I was born, in 1956. Nevertheless, just before my lifetime, there was a damned-hard, seven-year period from 1950 - 1956, that was even worse. So, as bad as things are now, they are not as bad as they could be.

Comparisons are useful. In 2006, I visited Chinchilla, Queensland, Australia, and marveled at the utter wreck of the nearly-dry Condamine River. At the time, most of Australia was locked in an epic drought (which, with recent La NiƱa conditions, has eased dramatically, except in Southwest Australia, near Perth). Here is what I posted then:
In 2006, the town of Chinchilla, Queensland, AU, out on the Warrego Highway in the agricultural district of the Darling Downs, had just 174.0 mm (6.85 inches) of rain, the lowest annual rainfall ever measured in 117 years, demolishing the previous annual low record of 302.9 mm (11.93 inches) in 1922, and barely making a quarter of the average annual rainfall of 668.6 mm (26.3 inches).
What most impressed me most was that 6.85 inches was less than the annual average rainfall of arid Phoenix, Arizona (8.29 inches), and completely inconsistent with the practice of just about any kind of agriculture.

And yet, for the last two years, the rainfall in Albuquerque has been well below those xeric levels. And we have entered a third calendar year too, with the driest months upon us, right now. All I have to say is, we'd better have one hell of a monsoon this summer.

Elsewhere, climate scientists have noted that, droughts aside, there seems to be a long-term increase in precipitation in the American Southwest. Anthropogenic Global Warming is the likely underlying cause!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BrBa Update

After some tweaking this morning to improve readability and correct minor errors, my Breaking Bad Film Locations Web Pages have been fully updated to reflect new information gathered during my March, 2013 trip to Albuquerque, NM.

Meanwhile, the informational fruit of our visit to Mike Faris' Used Car Lot last week continues to spread across the Internet like a wildfire. I first posted a picture on the Unofficial Breaking Bad Fan Tour (UBBFT) Facebook Group on Tuesday, March 12. I could sense that the information was of broad interest, because the few Germans in the group reacted instantly to the news with excited comments. I posted about it on this Weblog on Friday, March 15. The information got picked up by a Toyota Tercel specialty Web Site on Saturday, then somehow got over to TMZ on Sunday. Now, the UK's Daily Mail has it (first posted by them on Sunday)! Hot information can sure travel fast on the Web!

[UPDATE: Now, Wednesday, March 20, 2013, there are more than a hundred Web Sites across the globe carrying the news! And that's just in English - who knows about French, German, Russian, etc. The news momentarily led the day's breathless reporting of several major Hollywood gossip sites! For once, Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, and the rest of their kind had to take a back seat! I don't get acknowledgment for being first with the news either. TMZ did the responsible thing and called up Mike Faris directly, and gave him credit for the news (and cut me out of the chain in the process). But maybe it's better that way. It's Mike's car, to do with as he pleases, and that's what counts.

But you heard it here first!]

Optical Illusion Dance


Monday, March 18, 2013

Britney Spears-The Circus Tour Intro (Perez Hilton)

This video with Perez Hilton opened Britney Spear's 2009 "Circus" tour. It's a most amazing pop culture artifact! Spears and Hilton have clashed in court, and they seem to have a co-dependent love/hate relationship. The fact that Spears decided to open her tour with Hilton speaks to his power, her self-awareness and humor, and her understanding of the realities of modern Hollywood.

"Urinetown" Closes

So impressed that Jenifer Foote came to see "Urinetown" today! She doesn't forget her roots, and I hope we entertained the heck out of her!

Valdez Hilton

Holy s***! First time ever that information that I placed on the Web was considered important enough to carry on TMZ!

The photos on TMZ aren't mine (I posted my photos in this post). The information got picked up by a Toyota Tercel specialty Web Site on Saturday, then somehow got over to TMZ on Sunday. Hot information can sure travel fast on the Web!

Mike Faris also showed me another famous Breaking Bad car that he was keeping for resale later this summer. He swore me to secrecy regarding the exact identity of this car. Nevertheless, Mike Faris decided to release that information on Sunday. Why did he do that? Well, because the 800-lb gorilla of Hollywood, TMZ, was calling! I'm sure he wants to make a killing with his two cars, and there is no better way to do that than talking to TMZ!