Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Valley Girl

Talking with Coury Murdock the other night (he's playing Che in DMTC's "Evita", opening on June 19, 2015, in Davis, CA), he disclosed an unusual insight, maybe even brilliant. His observation is that the Valley Girl sociolect derives from Mexican Spanish, which apparently also features rising intonation at the end of a sentence. If so, that might explain why it was noted first in Southern California in the Seventies. How the jump between languages occurred would be interesting to understand.

On the other hand, people's brains being so plastic and all, perhaps the sociolect entered Spanish from English. More studies are needed!

Here is a recent study out on Valspeak.

Oddly enough, I remember hearing Valspeak growing up in Albuquerque, NM, when I was in middle school: specifically, about 1969. I just bet Valspeak has been around for a long time, long before the Seventies, and not just in Southern California, but completely nameless until Frank Zappa had the great good fortune to notice it, and provide a label.

It would be great to study the origins of Valspeak. The decline of malls in recent decades has done great damage to American English.

Rick Santorum Tells A Joke

“The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think that we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists,” the candidate insisted.

Ha, ha, ha, HA, HA, HA! The scientists gave their considered opinion, well-buttressed with unassailable facts, decades ago, which the GOP steadfastly denigrates. Scientists welcome the Pope's support!

Kevin Johnson Takedown

I've always been suspicious of him. This takedown just adds to my suspicions.
The filings allege that Johnson covertly organized a public/private consortium to launch what he called a “coup” against the NCBM. It was a study in overkill. His army included three public-sector PR firms plus his own mayoral communications staff, a law firm that boasts about its prominent role in the charter school industry, and his wife, the charter-school activist Michelle Rhee.

For all his side’s might, Johnson’s mission was a disaster. As soon as the old group’s old guard fought back, Johnson changed his goal from taking over NCBM to abolishing it. Then he started a clone organization. His first act upon founding AAMA was to install himself as president. His new group’s mission statement claims “AAMA was founded on the principals of transparency and accountability.” Johnson probably meant “principles,” but either way, there’s lots of evidence that Johnson viewed “transparency” as the enemy of his campaign. The story of his NCBM debacle features so much Machiavellian scheming, in fact, that even seasoned Johnson watchers are awed.

June 1st Means Hurricane Season

June 1st inaugurates hurricane season, and it's been showing signs for the last month it's going to be an active one. Current forecasts suggest Hurricane Blanca will clobber Cabo San Lucas this week, cross the Sea of Cortes, and rain out far inland, well into New Mexico. That pattern is something you'd normally see late in the season, like September or October, not June.

Regarding California, zip, zero, nada. Nothing of much note will happen in California until November, as always. Still, there were rains in portions of the Sierra Nevada in May: in some places, well above average. An optimistic note in the California dirge:
Rain and snow have fallen week after week during May in the high country. Temperatures have dropped below normal most days, reducing the amount of water lost to evaporation. Southern California has received an unusual amount of rain, too: San Diego has seen 2.4 inches of precipitation in May; it normally gets 0.21 inches.

Climatologists said the wet weather has not put much of a dent in California’s drought, now in its fourth year. Yet some experts said the recent precipitation could offer a promising, albeit uncertain view, of what’s in store for winter, even raising the prospect of a rain-filled El Niño season.

As of Friday, more than 4 inches of water had fallen in parts of the Sierra Nevada, some of it as rain, some as snow. That’s more than five times the normal amount in some places. It has rained more during May in some parts of the Sierra than it did during the entire winter, federal data show.

...Several climatologists expressed hope that an El Niño weather pattern could settle in and bring more rain.

Bill Patzert, climate analyst at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, is among those who are optimistic about the coming winter. He said the destructive storms that hit Oklahoma and Texas this week were related to El Niño, and he expects significant precipitation in California this winter.

“It’s pretty big in terms of size and intensity. This thing looks as promising as anything I’ve seen in the last ... 18 years,” he said.

But Patzert and others cautioned that the upcoming El Niño is likely to strike mainly in the southern half of the state, missing the major mountain ranges and reservoirs that act as the primary source of California’s vast freshwater delivery network. That would limit El Niño’s effectiveness as a drought remedy.

“Where we really want the snowpack and the really steady winter rains is Northern California,” Patzert said.

Michelle Mead, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, agreed that an El Niño is forming, but she said it probably will not pack much of a punch. “It’s going to increase our probabilities (of rain) up to 70 percent, but it’s not guaranteeing it will be enough rain to end the drought,” she said.

Prognostications aside, many in the Sierra Nevada are simply thrilled that so much precipitation fell on their lakes, streams and trees.

“We’ll take all the rain we can get,” said Robert Peek, a ranger at Bodie State Historic Park in Mono County, where total precipitation has been measured at more than 6 inches so far in May.

What's Good For The Goose...

Is good for the gander:
An attorney for a Florida man charged with shooting at George Zimmerman said Friday that he planned to use a "Stand Your Ground" defense — the same legal strategy considered but ultimately not used by lawyers for the former neighborhood watch leader who was acquitted in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Jack Warner's "Onion" Defense

I think every major official accused in a scandal should cite "The Onion" in his defense, because "his strength comes from the collective effort of all of you."

Summer Solstice Is Coming

For no discernible reason, last night I dreamt I had gone back to school in a ruined English fortress city called Angwin. The place was 50 times more awesome than any drafty, GoT English fortress could ever be: like Hogwarts on steroids. Pretty girls, rock-and-roll, elaborate rope climbs to get back to your room, plus a scale model of the entire place.

The dream is a manifestation that June is the Month of No Sleep. The sun is racing to solstice and invades my bedroom window (with its northeasterly-facing aspect) way too early, every morning.

Help Me From The Consequences Of My Own Actions

Of all the dumb ideas:
The organizer of an anti-Muslim hate rally in Phoenix, Arizona now says he needs patriots to donate $10 million to him so that his family can be safe from Muslims – even though none threatened him.

We all saw it coming, but 10 million?!

According to Jon Ritzheimer, he doesn’t fear for his own safety (because he’s a tough guy) but his family has been put in harm’s way by his actions, and therefore he humbly asks that Fox News watchin’, Muslim-hatin’ America lovers please give him $10 million so he can fortify his house.
I never saw a business opportunity in drawing the Prophet Mohammed. It sounded provocative, insulting, and maybe dangerous. I figured I couldn't even eke out a living doing that. Even sidewalk portrait artists in touristy places like Old Sacramento have a hard time making a go of it. Still, who knew there might be a business niche in appealing to the public for self-protection? GoFundMe dropped him, however, so maybe it's not such a robust business model after all. How about blackmail? If you don't pay me a bunch of money, I'll spray paint a portrait of the Prophet Mohammed on the wall of your business? That sounds more lucrative, without all those annoying death threat issues.

"Pedestrian At Best" - Courtney Barnett

She recently performed at Bottlerock in Napa.

"I'm a fake, I'm a phony, I'm awake, I'm alone, I'm homely, I'm a Scorpio"

Subliminal Weekend Ideas

What to do? What to do?

"Broad Out" - RDX

I was perusing through Jamaican Dancehall YouTube videos trying to find the best available dancing version of RDX's "Broad Out". There's all kinds of videos, from the original (I thought exploitative) video, to high-production-value videos produced by various exhibition dancers and Zumba classes, but the one I liked the best appears to be from none other than LaToya and Cat, here in Elk Grove! Or, at least, I think so. This looks like the Falls Event Center in Elk Grove, but I can't say for sure.

The energy of the dancers on stage and in the hall, and just the pure fun of the movement, makes the video stand out from its YouTube competition, and illustrates what a good scene we have going on in the Sacramento area.

"La Fille Mal Garde" - Hanneke And Company - Veterans Memorial Theater

Ania Mieszkowska (Madame Simone) got us all to see this fine show. Sarah Nguyen and Kris Kazaks were excellent as Lise and Colas. Dani van Winkle was excellent as well as Alain.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Woodland Opera House

I liked Violet Beauregard and her mother the best in the cast: lots of energy! Act 2 was better than Act 1 (more movement in Act 2). Recent shows at WOH haven't had very bright lighting: this show continues that trend.

Erik Catalan as Willy Wonka.

Mad Max "Fury Road" B-Roll

The Mad Max "Fury Road" movie was pretty spectacular. Filmed in Namibia; not Australia. I don't know which tag line I prefer: "You will ride eternal; shiny and chrome," or "I am the scales of justice; conductor of the choir of death."

The B Roll is interesting too: the intricate business of making an action-adventure movie without killing anyone. The 'pole cats', for example, look like they were made for disabling stuntmen in the most spectacular manner possible. Making action-adventure movies is awesome!