Saturday, May 24, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Miguel Jaramillo Talks About "Better Call Saul"

A Night Out With Jennifer Lawrence

Forty. Years.

And here it is:
The West Mesa class of 1974 will hold its 40th reunion on July 18-19.

A dinner and dance will be held from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. July 18 at Ladera Golf Course. Tickets are $100 per couple and $50 for a single person.

A family picnic will be held the following day, priced at $6 per adult and $5 per child.

RSVP to 720-3666 or 688-9466.
I also apparently have an invite to Michelle Schindwolf's wedding in Albuquerque just three weeks prior, so I have some considering to do....

The National Weather Service People Are Optimistic About Rainfall This Summer In New Mexico

In their view, beneficent amounts depend mostly on how rapidly El Niño develops:
Precipitation in previous monsoon seasons during the onset year of a moderate to strong El Niño event were above to well above 1981-2010 climatological averages at sites throughout northern and central New Mexico.

Data from the previous 7 onset years of moderate to strong El Niño events suggest that if current SST trends in the Pacific Ocean basin continue into late this Spring and early Summer, the probability for an above average 2014 monsoon season is greater to much greater than average.

If for some unforeseen reason a moderate to strong El Niño does not materialize or is slow to develop, chances for an above average monsoon season precipitation decrease and the probability for below average precipitation increases. This does not appear to be the case, however, with recent SST anomaly trends indicating a climatologically early onset.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Saw A Preview Of The New X-Men Movie

Justin Lau gets free passes and has taken to inviting me to big, splashy movie openings, generally of movies I would normally have no interest in going to go see. So, there we were yesterday evening at UA Arden Fair 6, waiting in line for the 7 p.m. show. I got there about 5 p.m.; Justin had been there since 2 p.m., or so. I felt a bit silly. I care little for comic book things, but here I was!

I did NOT understand what was going on, but liked the special effects and Jennifer Lawrence!

Here's the Trailer.

Here's the best part.

The Minions Of Mordor Drive BMWs

Take the battle to the enemy:
Portland, Ore. police responded to a 911 call at around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning from a woman who believed her car was under attack by a pirate. But instead of a routine pirate attack—oh, Portland—they discovered an armored man who claimed he was a High Elf.

He was at least half right. Although the man, dressed in chain mail and helmet, and equipped with sword, staff, and shield, wasn't actually an elf, he was definitely high.

Konrad Bass, 30, of Glendale, Ore., told officers he had taken LSD, and also identified himself as a "high-elf engaged in battle with the evil Morgoth." He was cited for criminal mischief and taken to a hospital.

Morgoth, the original dark lord and master of Sauron in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings mythology, has at his command various Balrogs, rivers of fire, and, apparently, BMWs (the official car of the Dark Enemy and sponsor of the last battle).

The Best Kind Of Lineage There Is!

I was astonished to learn during the run of "A Chorus Line" that Jessica Arena from Marin County was a student of Marc Platt, who died in March at age 100, and who was featured in the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo along with my first ballet teacher, the incredibly-handsome George Zoritch. I couldn't believe Jessica's and Marc's years of dancing overlapped! Marc Platt is best known for his dancing role in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."

Tonight, I'm astonished again to learn that Jessica was featured IN Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine's spectacularly-good 2005 movie "Ballets Russes" along with Marc Platt. (Jessica's the dark-haired ragamuffin behind the wagon at 2:01 in this video, which dates about to 2003.) It just vividly shows that ballet's genealogy is unusually compressed, and that only a few generations separate us from ballet's origins in the courts of 18th Century Europe.

I am totally amazed and thrilled Jessica was in the movie!!!!! It's something magical and cosmic! I wish I had an equivalent film to show. Well, who knows, maybe if I look I can find one!

Not finding much, and quality isn't the best. Still, here is George Zoritch and Milada Mladova at their Hollywood best: Begin the Beguine, from "Night and Day", starring Cary Grant.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Kylie Minogue - Love At First Sight

Another favorite from the 2002 Fever album!

Kylie Minogue - Come Into My World (Live Fever Tour 2002 Manchester)

I was sharing with JP my interests, which inevitably led to Kylie Minogue. She was particularly-good circa 2002. Always loved this entrance!

Irish President Michael D. Higgins Berates Tea Party Radio Host Michael Graham

Really, Higgins is too polite.

2003 California Gubernatorial Recall Election Alumnus Running For Lieutenant Governor

Paging through the Voter's Pamphlet, I notice a familiar Democrat:
As a Ph.D. scientist rather than a career politician, I will bring needed analytical capabilities and innovative thinking to Sacramento. While simultaneously being the father of young children and a successful entrepreneur relying on good money management skills, I believe strongly that funding for schoolteachers and higher education should take precedence over spending on government overhead. Therefore, to set an example of fiscal restraint for other state officials, I will cut the Lieutenant Governor’s staff and budget by 50% and accept no pension. As Lieutenant Governor, most of my energy will be devoted to fighting for your rights to efficient and cost effective government. I sincerely request your vote and look forward to hearing your ideas.
I remember Eric from San Diego! Met him once too! Struck me well: an amiable, scientifically-trained fellow would be good in higher office.

Vote for Eric!

What's New In Albuquerque?

From what they tell me. I'm not surprised, really: the rains last September did really-bizarre things with the vegetation on the mesas, and God knows what it did with the insects.


Monday, May 19, 2014

The Unseen Victims

The tragic murder of Tamisha Evette Ridge by Dameshlo Green (covered here and here by the Sacramento Bee) has another angle: her many fans. Apparently Tamisha Ridge had a loyal group of fans of her sewing shows on the Web, and those people are also heartbroken.

One of my Facebook friends posts:

DIYMeesha, MeshaloStyleTV, and Meeshaboo were her channels. She had 3 kids

John Adams - Nixon in China - I Am The Wife Of Mao Tse-tung - Kathleen Kim

I wasn't able to finish watching John Adams' "Nixon In China" on PBS Channel 6 when I returned Sunday morning at 2 a.m. after "A Chorus Line" - it was just too late to stay awake. Nevertheless, this is extraordinarily good! An amazing performance!

Tom McClintock Kind Of A Failure At Ratfucking

Tom McClintock is doing his ratfucking best to win his primary, but it isn't a very good performance. Daily Kos featured an article last week regarding how to ratfuck (with language switched, because it was meant as a guide for Democrats):
This is the most important part of the strategy. The trick to successful ratfucking is to get (Democratic) primary voters to support your preferred candidate while making them think it was their idea. The key is to use language that makes it look like you're attacking Joe Unelectable while in fact you're propping him up.
I'm against the practice myself. Even huge successes can backfire:
It's also important to use the right language when you're trying to prevent a strong candidate from advancing. California Democratic Gov. Gray Davis' 2002 gubernatorial campaign is a good case study for this. Davis was very vulnerable (indeed, he'd be recalled a year later) and knew he was in danger of losing a general election to former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. However, Riordan's opponent, businessman Bill Simon, was seen as much easier to beat. Only weeks before the primary, Riordan held a clear lead in the primary polls, but Davis' team set to work on making Riordan unappealing to primary voters. Davis spent about $10 million attacking Riordan for changing his mind on key issues like the death penalty and abortion.

It was clear to political observers what Davis was doing. Some Republican voters may have even caught on. But to the vast majority of primary voters what mattered wasn't the messenger but the message. The idea that Riordan was wishy-washy on conservative values was appealing to them, even if they came from Davis. Democratic interference wasn't the only reason Simon won; Riordan had his own missteps and Simon spent heavily at the end of the race. But Davis' decision to ratfuck the primary payed off big time. Simon transformed a massive polling deficit into a huge 49-31 primary victory. Davis proceeded to defeat Simon 47-42 and win a second (albeit abridged) term.
Bitter California conservative Republicans sponsored the 2003 California Gubernatorial Recall election, a serious backfire, which wouldn't have happened if Davis had had better discipline and hadn't had so much money to burn on stupid projects.

McClintock's problem this year is that he's violating a cardinal commandment about ratfucking:
Ratfucking works because most primary voters don't pay enough attention to politics to know it's happening. Still, it's always possible to be too obvious about it. It's vital never to admit you're trying to game the primary.
McClintock is WAY TOO OBVIOUS!:
McClintock, whose challengers include upstart Republican Art Moore and independent Jeffrey Gerlach, is sending campaign mailers to Democratic voters that portray Gerlach as the lone alternative and describe him as a “liberal” who supports universal health care, gay marriage and amnesty for illegal immigrants. McClintock’s flier says he’s led the fight to repeal the health care law, strengthen traditional families and secure U.S. borders.

...“Gerlach, who has not even raised enough money to file a statement, is a very little-known candidate that in most years Tom McClintock would ignore,” Uppal said. “He’s really just trying to say ‘the alternative to me is Gerlach,’ and it’s not. I think Democrats have a very good alternative in Art Moore.”

Moore, a businessman and combat veteran with roots in the region, is considered a formidable challenger and is also the subject of McClintock’s attacks. Still, the Gerlach mailer clearly illustrates the congressman is trying to select the weaker opponent, said Rob Stutzman, Moore’s campaign strategist.

“If I was McClintock’s consultant, I would probably be doing the same thing,” Stutzman said.

McClintock’s campaign rejected the assertion. Gerlach is the stronger candidate to place second in the primary and “we’re going after him,” campaign manager Jon Huey said.

...McClintock’s campaign, with its considerable fundraising advantage and unanimous support from local GOP activists, has stuck to focusing on Moore’s failure to vote in past elections. In separate mailers, McClintock took aim at Moore for never registering to vote, comparing the situation to a doctor who didn’t go to medical school or a pilot who didn’t know how to fly.

...The mailer omits that Moore, a West Point graduate, has a combined 14 years of active duty and reserves service that includes 30 months of overseas deployment. After it began hitting mailboxes last week, Moore’s campaign released a statement from local veterans and other supporters condemning the “deceitful attack” and calling on McClintock to apologize for criticizing a veteran.

Moore’s campaign also reiterated his decision not to participate in civilian politics until he registered to vote for the first time in January, and noted the practice was shared by such legendary military leaders as George S. Patton, Dwight D. Eisenhower and George C. Marshall.

“For Tom McClintock, who has never even sniffed an infantry boot, to criticize the manner in which Art Moore has served his country, is deeply offensive,” Stutzman said.

Huey defended the pieces, pointing to a Defense Department directive encouraging members of the armed forces to “carry out the obligations of citizenship.”

“Mr. Moore’s excuse that he was following some sort of military creed makes a mockery of the extraordinary efforts that our military personnel make under the most difficult circumstances to discharge the most basic obligation of citizenship – to vote,” Huey said. “Art Moore owes every one of our servicemen and women an apology for invoking his military service as an excuse for failing to take his responsibility as an American citizen seriously.”
I take Art Moore's point.  There is a long tradition of military men, particularly those in command positions, of not voting. They seek to preserve their neutrality and their oath to follow their leaders, whatever their party might be. Here is an instructive Letter to the Editor:
Re “Dems Blast McClintock for his mailer tactics,” (Capitol & California, May 15): Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, is dead wrong when he suggests there isn't a strong code among military officers to avoid all political involvement, including for many of us the personal decision not to vote while on active duty. We rarely discussed politics and never openly. The oath we swore was to obey the orders of the President of the United States, regardless of political persuasion. Nothing is more infuriating to veterans than to have politicians who never served cynically try to manipulate voters by weighing in on the ideals of military service. In West Point graduate and combat veteran Maj. Art Moore, the voters of the 4th Congressional District have an opportunity to elect someone who reflects the district's Republican demographic and conservative values, while adding military service and courage under fire to his qualifications. Those are character traits Mr. McClintock will never have.

Bruce Hupe, Lt. Col. U.S. Army (Ret.), Davis
I'm sure Democrats would like to support a liberal Democrat in the 4th Congressional District race, but given Gerlach's weakness as a candidate, they are free to support Republican Art Moore instead. Moore's qualifications are enviable. He appears to be a (gasp!) honorable Republican! Someone who even a liberal Democrat like me could envision supporting! And Art Moore isn't a failed ratfucker like McClintock, or someone like McClintock, who appears unable to recognize that financial crimes are even possible. (Just bad business decisions, McClintock says; no crimes were ever done, so just go away).

Yes, Democrats should look at Art Moore as someone they might prefer supporting.

Sacrificing Everything For The Almonds

California farmers lost flexibility over the last generation:
Almonds and other permanent crops require more water than most row crops. What’s more, almond orchards can’t be idled in a dry year like tomato or cotton fields. Farmers who planted almond trees in recent years have tens of millions of dollars at risk, and find themselves sacrificing other crops in a furious effort to keep their orchards alive. This year’s crop is expected to decline, although it’s not known by how much.

“This crop is one of the more vulnerable ones to the drought,” said California farm economist Vernon Crowder. “Almonds are the big one.”

The plight of California’s almond growers has economic implications across the state. Almonds are California’s third largest farm product, and processors such as Sacramento’s giant Blue Diamond Growers are crossing their fingers and hoping for a decent crop. There’s a political component as well: The drought has intensified century-old rivalries over how water is allocated in California, and the explosion in almond farming has given rise to complaints about overuse.

Some environmentalists say almond farmers and their expanded orchards have contributed mightily to the overtaxing of the state’s fragile water system. They say growers have behaved recklessly by planting permanent crops in areas of the state, particularly south of the Delta, where water supplies are unreliable.

Sac Bee Article On The South Natomas/East Sacramento City Council Race

I'm an enthusiastic supporter of friend Adam Sartain, and he's campaigning hard, so hoping he emerges from the pack:
Question to Adam Sartain: Can you provide a specific cause or initiative you plan to champion over the next four years at City Council?

Answer: I’d like to press for a greater level of support and care for the small business community in Sacramento. Whether it is subjective code enforcement, inequitable fee structures, or lack of ease in making sure an entrepreneur knows what to do to start, we simply do not have a reputation as a small business-friendly community.

I propose several steps to take that can help change that. It’ll take a lot more than one plan alone, but one I want to bring forward quickly is starting a small-business conference and convention series I would like municipal government to sponsor. This can expand into creation of a one-stop place where a prospective business owner can get all their permits handled at the city and county level, and also (if not especially) network. Jobs will undoubtedly arise from the project. The possibilities of these kinds of events are endless.

Kelsey B Come With Me (ShockPop Remix Video Edit)

Kelsey adds:
I love for this thank you to my amazing friend and fan Paolo Passalacqua for this beautiful edit of the music video to my fav remix by the talented Julissa Alexandria Veloz.

Fun Video Of A Georgia Moron

Damaged Faith Among Millenials for 'Investing'

Yup. It's a scam:
And it's not just the complexity. The whole ordeal just feels like a giant grift that taints your soul when you just think about it. I hear "we'll help you design the investment portfolio that fits your risk profile," and I translate "bankster scum are coming for your wallet."

The Recapture Canyon Stunt Heralds The End Of America's National Parks

More than a week has passed, and it still makes my blood boil. These bastards need teaching:
Dozens of people rode their ATVs and motorcycles on an off-limits trail in southern Utah in a protest against what the group calls the federal government's overreaching control of public lands.

...Recapture Canyon is home to dwellings, artifacts and burials left behind by Ancestral Puebloans as many as 2,000 years ago before they mysteriously vanished.

The riders may have damaged artifacts and dwellings that ``tell the story of the first farmers in the Four Corners region'' of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, BLM Utah State Director Juan Palma said in a statement.

``The BLM was in Recapture Canyon today collecting evidence and will continue to investigate,'' Palma said. ``The BLM will pursue all available redress through the legal system to hold the lawbreakers accountable.''

...The protest occurred nearly a month after Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters, some of them armed militia members, thwarted a BLM roundup of his cattle near Bunkerville, Nevada, 75 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Bundy, a states' rights advocate who refuses to acknowledge the authority of the federal government, owes more than $1 million in fees and penalties for letting his cattle use government land over the past 20 years.

...The agency warned riders all week to stay out, vowing prosecution against those who ignore a law put in place in 2007 after an illegal trail was found that cuts through the ancestral ruins. The canyon is open to hikers and horseback riders.

...Environmentalists and Native Americans criticized the protest ride, saying the ban is needed to preserve fragile artifacts. Mark Maryboy, a former Navajo Nation Council delegate, called it disappointing that the group had no respect for Native American culture.

"What I Did For Love" - DMTC - Final Performance Of 2014's "A Chorus Line"

Strategic Thought About The Corrales Bosque

Left: The Rio Grande River at Corrales' Romero Road riverside bosque access in August, 2010. This picture was taken before a fire broke out in June, 2012. The Sandia Mountains loom in the background.

The bank has been here long enough that Russian Olive Trees have had a chance to grow to maturity in the middle distance - that has got to be at least ten years!

Note how narrow the gap across the river, and prone to spreading fire from flying sparks.

The river here is showing signs of retrenchment, with the water running about three feet below the bank on the opposite side. This retrenchment process likely started with the completion of Cochiti Dam in 1974, which arrested the yazoo-making process of silt deposition. The dam has only a 100-year lifetime, so this retrenchment likely isn't permanent, but it's likely enough to change the character of the area, with the slow death of the cottonwood trees, unable to rejuvenate due to too-infrequent flooding.

A more-thoughtful approach to managing the bosque is under consideration that may slow or stop these changes:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed another foray into the Corrales Bosque Preserve with heavy equipment to carve out new “backwater channels,” depressions, clearings and re-vegetation efforts using a refreshed pot of federal dollars.

...Much of the modification in those areas would involve Corps contractors excavating depressions down to near groundwater to establish swales where willow could grow. He said the commission “didn’t want to support any wide-area thinning. The idea of applying an eradication program cutting down Russian olives, salt cedar, mulberry and other non-natives in a very wide area was not what we were going to recommend.”

...The Corps’ new proposal begins with a plan to monitor previous work done in phase one at the south end of the preserve and, “using adaptive management process… re-treat exotics, replant and reseed natives throughout in areas where native revegetation does not meet objectives or is inadequate.”

That objective is likely to displease no one, and addresses villagers’ ongoing complaints that the Corps’ work is left abandoned to return to the earlier, undesirable state, overgrown with salt cedar and other invasive species.

...Another part of the plan would re-vegetate about six acres in the burned area near Romero Road, as well as dig backwater channels that would draw water from the river to excavated pools (referred to as “small/deep pools).

That component would also excavate a three- to five-acre depression near the end of Lipe Road at the north end of the preserve.

Two small, backwater channels would also be dug near the Andrews Lane entrance to the bosque leading to a new willow swale adjacent to the shaded fuelbreak there.

The last work plan component, as presented in the packet for the April 22 Village Council meeting, is a project to dig out a five-acre “wetland depression water feature in general area indicated east of Via Oreada Road.”

The Corps’ “bosque restoration” project derives from a realization that the cottonwood forest along the Rio Grande is dying off, primarily due to lack of over-bank flooding that would allow the trees to re-generate. That, in turn, has resulted because earlier Corps projects upriver no longer allow the Rio Grande to flood over its banks to wet the bosque soil so cottonwood seedlings can sprout.

The Corps’ not-well-thought-out engineering to achieve flood control for the Middle Rio Grande Valley with upstream tributary dams created the cottonwood die-off. But it’s not so much that insufficient river water is released from the dams to achieve over-bank flooding into the forest.

Rather, it’s that the dams and other measures disrupted the river’s normal sedimentation patterns. In essence, the Corps’ work over the past six decades has upset the Rio Grande’s riverbed sedimentation balance.

Due to sediment-holding dams upstream and other factors, river flows have been scouring out the riverbed in the Corrales area year after year, decade after decade. As the riverbed goes down in the main flow channel, it carries more water there, leaving less to flood into the bosque.

The hydrology problem not only effectively eliminates prospects for natural cottonwood regeneration, but it significantly increases the threat of wildfires in the bosque. River flows that used to occur across the bosque floor washed away much of the fallen twigs, branches and other flammables. And, importantly, the soaked logs that remained on the forest floor decayed.

Now the tons of dead-and-down wood built up is considered an unacceptable fire hazard.

As cottonwoods have lost dominance in the bosque ecosystem, aggressive non-native species like salt cedar and Siberian elms have invaded.

The Corps has millions of federal dollar to fight back that invasion and to “restore” the bosque all along the Rio Grande from Corrales to Isleta Pueblo. The battle begins in the Corrales Bosque Preserve.

Here’s the battle plan. Since the river can no longer swell to flow over the river banks to flood the bosque, the Corps will dig one or more channels —basically irrigation ditchs— to divert water from the river into the bosque. Called “high flow channels,” these ditches would generally carry water only during peak seasons.

Corps planners have identified what they think are old channels cut by the river itself that would be enhanced by earthmoving equipment to make ditches to bring water to parts of the bosque.

Another tactic is to dig out swales (linear depressions) in some areas, removing earth down to near the water table to encourage vegetation growth there. Similarly, the Corps has proposed excavating ponds that would become seasonal wetlands.

A third maneuver —so far unapproved for the Corrales bosque— would be to carve away the river bank in some parts of the bosque, bulldozing it down a few feet to allow the river to flow into the forest during peak run-off. 

Reminiscent Of The Floods Last September

The weather forecast for this week in the Southwest still looks intriguing. The low arriving today at the West Coast will become a cutoff low in the Southwest early in the week. By Friday, that will establish a proto-monsoonal circulation that will pump moisture into New Mexico and Colorado in a way reminiscent of last September's colossal flooding situation. The Texas Panhandle is particularly-dry right now, and may be particularly hard-hit. It's always from-pillar-to-post out there on the High Plains!

Supercell In Wyoming

Just so cool. Sometimes they form counterrotating cells, but apparently not here.