Friday, February 14, 2014

Restored Captive

A life so hard:
On a May morning in 1836, at a stockade called Parker’s Fort near the Navasota River in Texas, some ninety miles south of present-day Dallas, a nine-year-old girl was taken captive by a Comanche raiding party. At the beginning of March 1955, a famous director at a crisis point in his career began shooting a movie distantly derived from that earlier event.

...Cynthia Ann Parker too became a restored captive, having surrendered, after twenty-four years with the Comanches, to a force of US troops and Texas Rangers in 1860, at what has been variously called the Battle of Pease River and the Pease River Massacre. She was then thirty-three years old.

...At Pease River, as soldiers shot down old men, women, and children, a woman in a buffalo robe, holding her infant daughter, called out “Americano!” It took a while for her to be identified as Cynthia Ann Parker. She now spoke only Comanche and at first said (through an interpreter) that she had forgotten her original name. An observer wrote: “She was sullen…a hard looker…as dirty as she could be and looked to me more like an Indian than a white woman.” Her rescue was hardly an occasion for public celebration. Apparently it resembled more a second captivity. Withdrawn, terrified, grief-stricken at the loss of her husband and of her two sons, she was passed from relative to relative, no one knowing what to do with her.

... She tore off the clothes she had been dressed in and tried to run away. At her uncle’s house in Fort Worth, she crawled under the bed to avoid the stares of strangers. She was bound with a rope and put on public display for curiosity-seekers: “Tears were streaming down her face, and she was muttering in the Indian language.” She made a fire in the backyard and practiced a Comanche mourning ritual. In a rare encounter with a Comanche speaker, a retired Indian scout, she pleaded with him all night to take her back to Comanchería: “My heart is crying all the time for my two sons.” Around 1865 she died unmemorialized, devastated by the recent death of the daughter she had with her when she was rescued. Her uncle Isaac Parker called her “the most unhappy person I ever saw…. She was as much an Indian as if she had been born one. She knew no other people except as enemies.”
And from that suffering, came this:

"The Goblin Song"

Nora Unkel is making a big push right now for funding for "The Goblin Song". Her team is casting Cody Craven in the film, so you know it will be good.


Vampire Squid Update

Jeopardizing the world again:
Allowing one company to control the supply of crucial physical commodities, and also trade in the financial products that might be related to those markets, is an open invitation to commit mass manipulation. It's something akin to letting casino owners who take book on NFL games during the week also coach all the teams on Sundays.

The situation has opened a Pandora's box of horrifying new corruption possibilities, but it's been hard for the public to notice, since regulators have struggled to put even the slightest dent in Wall Street's older, more familiar scams.

...For instance, in just the past two years, fines in excess of $400 million have been levied against both JPMorgan Chase and Barclays for allegedly manipulating the delivery of electricity in several states, including California. In the case of Barclays, which is contesting the fine, regulators claim prices were manipulated to help the bank win financial bets it had made on those same energy markets.

...The motive for the Kochs, or anyone else, to hoard a commodity like oil can be almost beautiful in its simplicity. Basically, a bank or a trading company wants to buy commodities cheap in the present and sell them for a premium as futures. This trade, sometimes called "arbitraging the contango," works best if the cost of storing your oil or metals or whatever you're dealing with is negligible – you make more money off the futures trade if you don't have to pay rent while you wait to deliver.

...Loosely translated, Masters was saying that there was a limited amount of money to be made simply trading commodities in the traditional legal manner. The solution? "We need to be active in the underlying physical commodity markets," she said, "in order to understand and make prices."

We need to make prices. The head of Chase's commodities division actually said this, out loud, and it speaks to both the general unlikelihood of God's existence and the consistently low level of competence of America's regulators that she was not immediately zapped between the eyebrows with a thunderbolt upon doing so.

...When Goldman bought Metro in February 2010, the average delivery time for an aluminum order was six weeks. Under Goldman ownership, Metro's delivery times soon ballooned by a factor of 10, to an average of 16 months, leading in part to the explosive growth of a surcharge called the Midwest premium, which represented not the cost of aluminum itself but the cost of its storage and delivery, a thing easily manipulated when you control the supply. ..."In layman's terms, they were artificially jacking up the shipping and handling costs," says Mehta.

...Every time you bought a can of soda in 2011 and 2012, you paid a little tax thanks to firms like Goldman. Mehta, whose fund has a financial stake in the issue, insists there's an irony here that should infuriate everyone. "Banks used taxpayer-backed subsidies," he says, "to drive up prices for the very same taxpayers that bailed them out in the first place."

...The other, perhaps even darker problem involves the new existential dangers both to the environment and to the stability of the financial system. ... How long before one of these fully loaded monster ships capsizes, and Morgan Stanley becomes the next BP, not only killing a gazillion birds and sea mammals off some unlucky country's shores but also taking the financial system down with them, as lawsuits plunge the company into bankruptcy with Lehman-style repercussions?

...Banks in America were never meant to own industries. This principle has been part of our culture practically from the beginning of our history. .... Then, with a few throwaway lines in a 1999 law that nobody ever heard of until now, that whole struggle went up in smoke, and here we are, in Hobbes' jungle, waiting for the next fully legal catastrophe to unfold.

"My Insane Asylum Would Be Like A Mirrored Room"

More Music Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with TSMS Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Kelsey was interviewed on the Sasha Marina show earlier this week (gap in the middle).

RIP, Kip Korth

Valued Delta Chamber member and Delta marina owner Kip Korth passed away on February 7th, 2014. He is survived by his wife Linda and his daughter Lauren. Kip was a friend to many of us and will be sorely missed. Kip’s family requests that any donations in his memory go to Restore the Delta. A memorial will be held at a future date.

Valentine's Day Video


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Loop-The-Loop In Albuquook

Someone asked if I could recommend a two-to-four hour self-guided tour of BrBa sites in the ABQ area. I'm fairly clueless about that, but began noodling with the more-general question of how to drive past almost all the BrBa sites in urban ABQ outside the downtown core in an efficient manner, and so came up with eleven nearly-autonomous clockwise loops that minimize repetition. I have no idea if it's useful information - many BrBa sites aren't compelling attractions - but maps are fun, as is imagining quixotic journeys across them.

(P.S.: the loop near "Q" Studios should be counter-clockwise.)

Formal Opening Of Ivanpah

I had a small role in this:

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, formally opens Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles ranging from relocating protected tortoises to assessing the impact on Mojave milkweed and other plants.

The $2.2 billion complex of three generating units, owned by NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy, can produce nearly 400 megawatts — enough power for 140,000 homes. It began making electricity last year.

Pilgrimage Of The "Breaking Bad" Super Fan

Been waffling, but finally decided to go next week to the 35th Annual SWPACA Pop Culture Conference in Albuquerque. Nick Gerlich invited me to sit in on their Roundtable as a Breaking Bad Super Fan, and hopefully add some color to interesting discussion with Serious Academics. Plus, I want to clap at inappropriate times when Miguel S. Jaramillo speaks.

It's fun looking at the meeting and talk titles of this thing. Something for everyone! Unmasking and the Politics of Literacy in "The Hunger Games"; Fat Positive Genre Fiction; "That Curious Sense of Your Own": Dimensions of Deadhead Identity; A Bit of the Old Ultraviolence; James Bond, Espionage, and Eurospy; Mystery Science Theater and the Culture of Riffing; Performance(s) of Identity, Hyperreality, and Psychic Fragmentation; Identity Construction in "The Vampire Diaries"; Production, Pedagogy, and Fandom in "Doctor Who"; Roundtable: "Whither the Zombie?"; Women and Hip Hop; Alfred Hitchcock 2: Psycho Is for the Birds, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", Archetype and Identity, Teaching History With Horror Film, The Internal (Harry) Potter; Theology of "Breaking Bad" and Girl Geniuses; "Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog" Singalong; How American Beat Poetry Influenced Portuguese Beat Poetry; Warnings Against Gender Equality in Orwell’s "1984".

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rush Limbaugh Thinks Michelle Obama Is Fat

Neener! Neener!

Flappy Bert


The Big Fish Are Getting Littler

Ominous news from the oceans:
For generations, tour boats have been collecting fishing enthusiasts in Key West, Fla.: taking them for a day of deep sea casting; providing them rods, bait, companionship; and then, when the day ends, there's a little wharf-side ceremony. Everyone is invited to take his biggest fish and hook it onto the "Hanging Board"; a judge compares catches, chooses a champion, and then the family that caught the biggest fish poses for a photograph.

...Loren visited this wharf in 2007 and discovered, as she writes in her scientific paper, that these display boards "had not changed over time," which meant she could measure the board, and then (using the photos) measure the fish. Clearly, these fish are way smaller than the ones from the 1950s.

Greta Gerwig Going Mainstream

Greta is making that critical jump:
CBS announced last night that indie darling Greta Gerwig will star in the How I Met Your Mother sort-of spinoff How I Met Your Dad. It's Frances Ha herself heading to a network sitcom!

...Gerwig will play the show's protagonist Sally, a "female Peter Pan who has never grown up and has no idea of where she’s going in life," according to a casting breakdown. This is Gerwig's jam! That is pretty much Frances in Frances Ha, Lola in Lola Versus, maybe even Hannah in Hannah Takes the Stairs. Gerwig's specialty is making emotional despair seem very compelling. That's how Greenberg worked, at least: She embodies that feeling of flailing without making it seem pathetic or, even worse, adorable.

...Indie work aside, Gerwig will also serve as a producer on HIMYD and is expected to write for it as well, so she has a hand in the series' style and content.

"Cake Or Death" - Eddie Izzard

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday Train

A Shameless Exercise In After-The-Fact Retrofitting Of The Recent Data To Some Past Price Pattern

Madonna - "Let It Will Be"

Whoever did the camera work for the Confessions Tour video was phenomenal! It's really the best rock concert video I've ever seen!

Reminiscing back to the Confessions Tour, San Jose, May 30, 2006.

The Definition Of Insanity

AGT again.

The Good Ship Lenin-pop

Despite endorsing Republican California Governor Frank Merriam in 1934, at the age of five, Shirley Temple was still investigated for communistic tendencies, at the age of ten. No pleasing some people.

Giorgio Moroder Was The Prophet

I remember the first time I saw discotheques. On Central Avenue in Albuquerque. It must have been 1972, or so. I was no older than fifteen. I asked someone what they did there, and they said it was a bar where people played records and danced, while drinking. Sounded peculiar to me. After all, you could do that in someone's living room, and pay a lot less money.

The first time I remember hearing this song - Spokane World's Fair of 1974, I think - I knew SOMETHING was up with the Zeitgeist:

There was a big-band future for Disco music - an alternative future that ultimately wasn't followed. It's still there, a wilderness mostly unexplored. It's more resource-intensive, but also more collaborative, and in a way, more rewarding. (The economics are deadly - Big Bands are very expensive to operate):

With time, Disco went for electronica and BPM - a more-solitary future. Giorgio Moroder was the Prophet and the Promised Land that Donna Summer showed us with "I Feel Love" was filled with brilliance. His descendants remember - Kylie Minogue in 2000, for example, followed up by Madonna in 2006.

When I saw this - Madonna's Confession Tour rolled into San Jose on May 30, 2006 - I was agog. Costumes by Jean-Paul Gaultier and everything! Moroder is proud, I'm sure!

TIME Magazine Says We'll have An El Niño Next Year

Or at least they heard someone say so:
There is a 75% chance an El Niño event will occur in 2014, according to an early warning report published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) Monday.  The report uses a research method that projects the occurrence of the weather system a full year out—versus the six month maximum typically predicted by other methods.
Hmmm..... That's interesting. What do the folks in Australia think? They are a little less-convinced:
The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) state is neutral, with climate models suggesting neutral conditions will persist at least until the end of the austral autumn. However, some warming of the Pacific is likely in the coming months.

Most international climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest the tropical Pacific Ocean will warm through the austral autumn and winter. Some, but not all, models indicate central Pacific Ocean temperatures may approach El Niño levels by early winter. Model outlooks that span autumn tend to have lower skill than outlooks made at other times of the year, hence long-range outlooks should be used cautiously at this point. Neither neutral nor El Niño states can be discounted for the second half of 2014.
Here's a nice article that summarizes the doubt:
However, climatologist Tim Barnett at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., who did not take part in this research, said the methods the researchers employed were outdated.

"The techniques the researchers used made me feel like I was back in the 1980s and 1990s," Barnett said.

Climatologist Anthony Barnston, chief forecaster at Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society in the Palisades, N.Y., who did not participate in this study, noted that this latest research did not model the physics of the seas or atmosphere, but only looked for statistical patterns in temperature readings.

"A common problem with statistical methods is that you can always find a statistical relationship if you look hard enough," Barnston said. "Also, while they looked at data from 1950 to 2013, there is relatively lower quality temperature data from that area in the '50s and '60s. We wish it were better, but it isn't, and when you're using a statistical method and define the (statistical) relationships from not-so-great data, you lose a considerable degree of success."

"The simplistic calculations they use basically ignore all the physics we've discovered about the ocean and the atmosphere of the equatorial Pacific," Barnett added.

Barnston and Barnett noted their own forecasts also suggest an El Niño may occur later this year. "However, our forecast is based on physical models," Barnston said. "If we used their method for the next 20 years, I bet their method will begin underperforming, because it's not based on physics and is not based on enough high-quality data."

Christopher Chase Shootout Cop-Lapel Video

DAMN, this is exciting hometown video! Cop lapel video of the Christopher Chase shootout in Albuquerque on October 26, 2013. The video shows cops applying a field dressing to a wounded officer. The Marquette Ave. overpass is visible. They pass northbound under I-40 (maybe on Broadway) and fly southbound past Gemini Fireworks through Fourth and Solar (where I enjoyed a wonderful meal with the Schindwolf's at Luigi's Pizzeria on my last visit). And finally the gas station at Fourth and Montaño, where my cousin works as a cashier (and my sister lives two blocks away). You can even see the McDonald's! Scares the crap out of me!

More detail:
Albuquerque, NM - Back in October, law enforcement in Albuquerque was attacked by a single shooter. Christopher Chase went on a rampage, stealing a police car and shooting three APD officers as well as a Bernalillo County deputy. KOB Eyewitness News 4 has obtained the chaotic lapel camera footage from all the APD officers involved. It shows from the start of that horrific day to the violent end that left Chase dead. As law enforcement chased around the city, after multiple calls come in about an active shooter, their cameras were rolling, capturing the chaos. The suspect, Christopher Chase, wounded Officer Michael Hannum and took his police car, tearing through Albuquerque. At one point, you can hear another officer, Daniel Morales, actually get hit. Deputy Robin Hopkins was also shot, severely injured. Witnesses tell police they saw the man firing everywhere. Police snipers set up a kill zone near 4th and Montano. In one officer's lapel video, you can see him speeding through the area, firing shots out the window. You can see the officer's window is shattered. The officer arrives at the gas station where Chase crashed the police car, and reloads. The video shows several officers taking cover behind their cars, waiting for confirmation that Chase was dead. The autopsy for Christopher Chase was released Tuesday. It shows Chase died from eight gunshot wounds.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Valentine Dreaming

Persia takes wonderful photos!

Grand Zumba Get-Together At Step One

Zumba with the Barretto Brothers and guest host Martin Mitchel from D'rd was lots of fun! I'm near the top, on the right.

Funny thing is, the half-lit Zumba class was filled with so many enthusiastic and energetic people, I didn't realize Krystle Morales was even there until I saw this picture.

Martin shared this video from the recent LA Zumba Conference, with many cute testimonials for the song 'Metela Sacala' (which he performed with us yesterday too). The international reach of Zumba is amazing - a Pax Columbiana - spanning the entire Earth!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Annual Dessert Auction 2014 - DMTC

Christine Deamer's Strawberry Cake.

Katie Smith-Induni's Cake.

Richard Kleeberg obtained this brownie.

South Pacific theme.

Tessa Hickman's cake.

Katherine Coppola won this amazing cake!

Katie Smith-Induni's blueberry South Pacific cake (which I won, and which is quickly turning me into Violet Beauregarde.

Jen Nachmanoff's two sets of pottery cupcakes (I won the one on the left).

Travis Nagler

Dannette Vassar.

Jan Isaacson, and Katherine Coppola presenting cupcakes.

Steve and Jan Isaacson.

Giorgio and Karina Selvaggio.

John Ewing.

Dani Barnett.

Matt Taloff.