Saturday, March 08, 2014
One of the best dance sequences ever filmed, from Hollywood's Golden Age!
This clip was used tonight at the Sac State dance concert.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
'El Chapo' is the most-intelligent and most-effective drug lord the world has yet seen, and I hope his current difficulties don't lead to chaos along Mexico's Pacific coast.
The notorious Sinaloa cartel leader's nickname, which means "Shorty," belies the tall and near-mythic status Guzman achieved in recent years for his ability to elude capture by using bribes, safe houses and an army of cartel helpers.
...His 13 years on the lam ended Saturday inside a no-frills condo tower, where investigators found Guzman lying shirtless next to his beauty-queen wife.
...A key discovery earlier this month marked a turning point in the investigation: seven houses in the Mexican city of Culiacan, connected by secret tunnels that also tied in with the city's sewage system.
...When authorities raided one of them last week, it turned out to be Guzman's main residence in the town of Culiacan. The time it took Mexican marines to get past the house's reinforced steel doors was enough to allow Guzman to escape via a hidden hatch under a bathtub, the officials said.
"But the investigation was so thorough that we continued," Murillo said.
With authorities temporarily off his trail, Guzman slipped out of Culiacan through the sewer tunnels, the Mexican official told CNN. Eventually he made his way to Mazatlan, a beach resort city about 125 miles (200 km) away.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I got excited by my recent trip to ABQ and the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (Feb. 19-22). People encouraged me to write a guidebook to BrBa locations. So, I reorganized my material and submitted a book proposal today to McFarland Publishing. Maybe just the first of several. Feel like Dorothy looking down at the Yellow Brick Road.
Monday, March 03, 2014
But this crisis is Putin’s Waterloo, not ours.
Which brings us to perhaps the most bizarre element of watching the Crimean situation unfold through a US-centric lens: the iron-clad certainty of the pundit class that Putin is winning and Obama is losing. The exact opposite is true.
Putin has initiated a conflict that will, quite obviously, result in greater diplomatic and political isolation as well as the potential for economic sanction. He’s compounded his loss of a key ally in Kiev by further enflaming Ukrainian nationalism, and his provocations could have a cascading effect in Europe by pushing countries that rely on Russia’s natural gas exports to look elsewhere for their energy needs. Putin is the leader of a country with a weak military, an under-performing economy and a host of social, environmental and health-related challenges. Seizing the Crimea will only make the problems facing Russia that much greater.
...You don’t have to listen to the “do something” crowd. These are the same people who brought you the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other greatest hits. These are armchair “experts” convinced that every international problem is a vital interest of the US; that the maintenance of “credibility” and “strength” is essential, and that any demonstration of “weakness” is a slippery slope to global anarchy and American obsolescence; and that being wrong and/or needlessly alarmist never loses one a seat at the table.
The funny thing is, these are often the same people who bemoan the lack of public support for a more muscular American foreign policy. Gee, I wonder why.
Granted, it's not the Crimea, or anything:
The topiary dolphins at the entrance to Corona del Mar -- once shaped so precisely they appeared to be leaping out onto bustling Coast Highway -- have begun to resemble manatees.
Leaf-trimming couldn't save the creatures; no specialty pruner could be found. So the city has decided to remove the iconic bushes and hire someone to grow and groom new ones.
"It's very, very difficult to get them back to the original shape unless you're like an Edward Scissorhands," said Kathy Sommer, a horticulturalist who works with the city on plant care issues.
..."It just seemed to be part of that community. The community seemed to be part of the dolphin life," said Don Glasgow, who co-founded the local improvement district. "There was a really good relationship."
...It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the topiaries. A car once plowed into one of the dolphins and a city arborist was brought in to render a verdict on whether the plant would survive. It did.
On holidays, the dolphins are decorated by a group calling itself the “Dolphin Mothers”; the exception is St. Patrick’s Day, when a more underground group has dressed up the dolphins in green top hats.
John writes from Oklahoma:
Hey Marc,I reply:
We've had some odd weather here today. A major winter storm moved in and combined with energy from the Pacific system that dumped rain on CA yesterday. Today's high was around 15F but we had a fairly large amount of thundersleet. Previously I had seen and heard thundersnow at temperatures near freezing (in New Mexico and here in Oklahoma) but thundersleet, particularly at such a low temperature was a new experience for me. There are a few videos of it in Norman (just south of OKC). I'm linking one below.
Currently the city is pretty much shut down. Snow/sleet accumulations are only about 2" but it's packed on the streets and very slick. All schools and state offices are closed tomorrow. I guess I'll go up to the shop and sit around and drink coffee...
That’s real interesting. If the maximum temperature was 15 F (-9.4 C), and the zone of maximum charge separation is generally at -15 C (5 F), and since typical lapse rate is 6.5 deg C/km, it means the zone of maximum charge separation was no more than one kilometer above the ground. So, you were very nearly within the lightning-producing zone of the storm.
Rainfall amounts in Northern California were fairly modest. There was more rain in Southern California, but even there, the amounts were not close to records.