Thursday, July 23, 2015

Getting The Bicycle Back!

A fellow here in Midtown was walking back to work after lunch, when he recognized his bicycle (which had been burgled away) roll past. So he pursued the perp (pictured) 9 blocks on foot (a slow chase), called the cops, and, lo and behold, will get his bike back!

Terminating The Wordpress Blog

In 2012, I got in a panic to move my Blogspot blog over to Wordpress (comment support was ending, and I tried to preserve them). Nevertheless, the transition didn't go well, and I ended up with two more-or-less identical blogs. Costs are escalating with the new Wordpress blog, however, so I will abandon that at the end of August. My old Blogspot blog will remain, however, and given Google's predilection to hoover up and keep every byte of information in the world, it will probably outlast the Pyramids.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jumping Oak Gall Time!

The snapping and sizzling sound emanating from the ground across the Sacramento area means it's high summer, and time for the jumping oak galls!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Things Are About As El Niñoish As They Ever Get

So, how El Niñoish are things these days? Checking today's biweekly Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) summary, things are about as El Niñoish as they ever get - like, ever! The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is practically falling off the chart!

Albuquerque Groundwater Rebounds

Re-engineering the sources of Albuquerque drinking water over the last 20 years, in order to recycle more and rely more heavily on river water, appears to be a success. The aquifer is rising. (And, who knows, maybe there are health benefits too, since ABQ groundwater is rich in natural arsenic.):

You can still see the impact of pumping in the graph’s squiggles, as the aquifer drops in summer and rises in winter. We’re not off of groundwater completely, and never will be. But the overall trend is headed in the right direction. It’s driven in part by the fact that, unlike a lot of western states, New Mexico recognizes the connection between groundwater and surface water in our water rights administration. Yay us!

Donald Trump Insult Generator

Because you want it, don't you?
Donald Trump sez:

"Marc Valdez, an irrelevant clown, will be fired like a dog. if you were smart, which you are not, you would oppose the monstrous windfarms that will destroy your country. The word is getting out, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

Meanwhile, The Onion says:
Admit it: You people want to see just how far this goes, don’t you?

My campaign’s just barely begun and I’ve already got you begging for more. Sure, you can say you oppose me or that you don’t even take me seriously. But let me ask you: How many articles have you read about Ted Cruz lately? How many news segments have you watched on Bobby Jindal? Or Rand Paul? But if those stories have the name “Donald Trump” in them, well, look who suddenly can’t get enough.

Australians Never Get Lost

There's a know-it-all at the eatery table next to me explaining about the directionally-nuanced language of Australians, and how they don't refer to their left leg, but rather their southeast leg, and how they organize things east to west, and nuance language according to direction. I don't think he means aborigines either. Is he talking about Homo Australius G'Day-us? Sounds like he needs to be blindfolded, given a Foster's, spun around, and left out somewhere in the Darling Downs.

Corrupt Admirals

Catching up with some of the leaks of ship movements and general corruption of the Bush Administration:
Three Navy admirals forced into retirement after being linked to a bribery scandal had enjoyed fancy dinners and cigars, sightseeing trips, shopping binges and high-value hotel accommodations from the key figure in the case: colorful Singaporean businessman Leonard Glenn Francis.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Like A Matchstick

I was baffled by the heavy tread marks on the sidewalk. Then I looked up and realized the fire department had recently paid a visit, less than a block from my house. This palm tree went up in flames and now looks like a spent matchstick. It isn't just wild lands at risk from fires as this endless drought drags on!

G-Boogie's Birthday

Click your heels three times.

California State Fair 2015

Golden bears.

I had to laugh at two teenage girls walking towards me at the fair. One was talking animatedly and walking distractedly, while the other girl kept bumping her friend towards me, and trying to force a collision between us. Teenagers!

Andrew Hong's "Boy" (left) and Lola Dale's "Sunny Day in LA" (right), ages 5-9, California Youth Arts.


Braille Pyramid Puzzle.

Parrot working a stick.

Anthony Padilla's "Behind Closed Doors."

Jeff Carter's "Staircase."


Fabric arts.

Presidential quilt.

Chinese checkers.


Collecting supportive signatures for troops.

A better mop?



Backlit glassware.




This is a fine cow.

One fine cow.

Better to approach from the front than the back.

Have Angus, Will Travel.


Riders prepare for an entrance.

Red, white, and blue.

Getting ready.

The Geography Of Cursing

"Gosh" is big in Utah. "Asshole" is big in New Mexico. Don't know why.

One Very Unusual Storm!

Remnants of Hurricane Dolores have entered southern California with more force than I think people expected. Interstate 10 is closed at Desert Center, and Los Angeles recorded the wettest July on record. Of course, it almost never rains in Los Angeles in July, so almost any rain they receive will break the record. It's been raining heavily in parts of northern Arizona too. And it began clouding up in Sacramento too!

Storms like this make one believe more in global climate change. It's quite astonishing that a Pacific hurricane could cross the long, hostile expanse of cool water off the California coast with enough force to do this. I remember once poring through climate records trying to identify storms like this in the 20th Century, and there was maybe just one:
A washed-out bridge on Interstate 10 that cut off a vital shipping route with Arizona, mudslides in Moreno Valley and snarled Southern California freeway traffic from heavy weekend rain is only a preview of problems that could come with a strong El Niño this winter, forecasters say.

The weekend storm that washed over the region Saturday and Sunday was not only remarkable for its timing -- July rain storms are rare events in Southern California -- but for its strength, the National Weather Service said.

More than a dozen local rainfall records were broken over the weekend, the weather service reported, and more rain was forecast for Monday.

Apocalypse Now

First time I visited California, I watched the progress of a nearby brush fire, and felt the Apocalypse approach:
A few minutes before they had been on the vacation of a lifetime, but now Russell Allevato and his family were running for their lives from a raging brushfire that had trapped them and hundreds of other terrified people on a traffic-jammed highway connecting Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

"People were screaming. It was just crazy," said Allevato, who watched helplessly Friday afternoon as flames engulfed his rental car and destroyed everything inside it while he, his nephew and two teenage daughters fled to safety.


Saw the tragic biopic "Amy" Friday night at the Tower. Surprised at the fairly-large audience - about 40.

So amazingly talented! Enough drink and drugs to kill several horses. So many paparazzi flashbulbs it was like strobe lights! And such a recent story too. Her climb to fame started only in 2003. And it was over by 2011. Tony Bennett said it best: "Life will teach you how to live it, but you have to live long enough first."

[UPDATE: Saw it a second time too. Can't figure her out, exactly.]

Chicago's Biggest Employer

I like the superlatives in this article about El Chapo. A brand-new chapter in our fascination with gangsters ------:
"Chicago renamed him "Public Enemy No. 1" after the escape. El Chapo is only the second crime boss named such by Chicago authorities, with Al Capone in 1930 being the first. El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel is said to employ as many as 100,000 Chicagoans among that city’s gangland, as the city, once Capone’s, is now the American hub of the largest drug operation on earth....Seemingly immediately following his escape, songs celebrating the prison break made their way onto rap tracks. ...That escape will go down as one of the greatest: A mile-long tunnel complete with an elevator, electricity, air conditioning, telephones and a motorcycle rigged onto a track to expedite passage."

25th Anniversary At My Job

July 16th was the 25th anniversary at my job. Co-worker Josh photoshopped a 25-year-old picture of me.