Friday, June 03, 2016


Bella's walks have been pretty quiet lately. We said hello to several homeless people. Bella found a deeply-attractive pile of garbage at 16th & W St. Bella also located a lonely German Shepherd locked in the back yard of an apartment building on 26th St., so now they're friends.

Last night, there was a woman on the sidewalk loudly proclaiming her outrage into a cell phone: "Take my point, muthafucka, I don't disrespect you, and you sure as hell don't disrespect me!" Ah, the relations between the sexes!

Suddenly, Bella started eating huge amounts of grass. "Oh, no," I thought, "she's either eaten something toxic or she's turning into a cow." I worried even more when she stumbled badly over a curb on Broadway. She seemed quiet this morning, but I'm still watching her.

We found several Rose Stair Goodman religious pamphlets. They lack the homemade charm of Jack T. Chick pamphlets. When I attended the 2015 SWPACA meeting in Albuquerque, I met a religious scholar who plans to write his Ph.D. dissertation on Jack T. Chick, who is 92 now, and as far as I know, still cranking out pamphlets. Some people have all the fun!

A Slight Weakening

This morning, it looks like the forecasts have weakened the system somewhat. The storm system is still likely to evolve into a tropical depression and move across Florida, starting Sunday afternoon. So, lots of rain, but winds will be strong only locally, in association with thunderstorms.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Beginning to Watch for the 2016 Hurricane Season

I’m beginning to watch for the 2016 hurricane season. Unfortunately, the models are suggesting a fast start to the season. Both the NVG & GFS weather forecast models suggest a tropical storm approaching Florida from the southwest, with a June 7th landfall near Naples (NVG) or Tampa (GFS). Fortunately, these models have the poorest track record regarding storm creation to the south, so these forecasts may yet mean nothing. If anything at all is going to happen, we should know in about two days, so no worries yet.

Jonathan Pie on Donald Trump

New Mexico Urban Planning

From "Inhabitants of Burque":

She’s A Cat Trapped In Human Body

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Wonder What's Up?

June 1, 2016 has been the day with the 7th-highest number of unique views recorded at my blog.

Bring Him Home

One feature of Bernie Sanders' rallies is David Bowie's song, "Starman".

Here is the Starman section of the movie "The Martian". Next Tuesday, Californians will attempt to rescue Bernie Sanders, stranded on desolate Planet Clinton:

Navy Vet's Bernie Car - UC Davis 06/01/16

I was busy attending a meeting at DMTC early in the evening, so even though I tried to visit the Bernie Sanders rally at UC Davis, I arrived just as Bernie Sanders finished and left the stage.

Nevertheless, it was fun milling around with the students. Here, they were invited to sign a car:


Temperatures jumped to extreme levels very quickly at the end of May, so it was no surprise that nighttime Sacramento streets were still very active during Bella's walk last night.

I was trying to talk on the cell phone while simultaneously walking Bella, and thus displayed a disturbing lack of situational awareness. We blithely walked into an arrest scene on Broadway. Several cop cars had responded to a break-in at the Used Car Lot's office. The office door was open, a suspect had his hands behind his head, and cops were puzzling over paperwork. Decided to hang up after that.

Further on, we nearly blundered into a homeless person carrying a large pillow. We also passed a balding man putting his shorts on. What was odd about that was the night before we had passed the same balding man putting on his shorts in exactly the same place in exactly the same way. I can still hear the elastic of his waistband snap against his skin. Yeah, it's a real Twilight Zone at night under the Highway 50/16th St. underpass!

Despite my resistance, Bella suddenly dragged me over to investigate a tree next to a late-night Mexican food joint. Geez, it was 1:45 a.m.! This place is still open!

I was suddenly in a neon-lit spotlight directly in front of five men having a late-night meal. An awkward silence ensued. "Nice shirt," one man ventured. I was wearing Chandra's "Yeah Bitch - Magnets!" T-Shirt of "Breaking Bad" fame. Everyone loves that shirt, so I did an awkward catwalk turn while Bella tried to investigate the opposite side of the tree. "How's the food?" I asked. "It's borderline," the man replied. I found this reply ambiguous. "You mean it's from the border?" I pressed. The man replied with a waffling hand motion indicating the food was barely acceptable. I started telling a story about Nogales, Sonora, where I didn't understand a menu item, asked for a translation, which turned out to be brains. "Brains are good," the man replied. "98% fat!"

Satisfied with the tree, Bella dragged me away....

Maybe Take a Nap Instead

Just too much going on today. Donald Trump at the airport at 7 p.m. Bernie Sanders in Davis at 8 p.m. This weirdness never happens in the Sacramento area. 2016 is so strange.

Plus, a DMTC marketing and fundraising meeting at 6:30 p.m. And Zumba at 5:30 p.m.

And it's hot.

Maybe take a nap instead.

Australia Has The Best Wildlife

It's a Feature, Not a Bug

By failing to stoop to politics as usual, Sanders alerted the electorate to the novel nature of his candidacy. That's smart politics. Besides, the E-Mail so-called controversy reeks of desperation. No one cared about the far worse E-Mail scandals of the Bush Administration, and no one cares about Clinton's woes either. This campaign is about more important matters:
What Sanders should have done after he failed to pull off that double was to begin to incorporate Clinton’s email troubles into his stump speech — using the ongoing investigation to raise questions in Democratic voters’ minds about both her trustworthiness and her electability.

But, time and again, Sanders turned away from that strategy — or anything like it.

Memory From The Eighties

Here is a nice picture from my first ballet recital: Annette Paul (Madam) and Marc Valdez (Gambler) in a Gay-90's-themed Act I of "Round and Round", a recital presented by Tucson School of Ballet (Tucson Community Ballet; now Tucson Regional Ballet) at Rincon High School on May 19, 1985.

That first recital was a revelation. Because of the lights, I couldn't see the audience, but I could hear them in the darkness, breathing.....

Tucson Regional Ballet has gone on to great success over the years, but because I attended when the school was fairly new, and small, I'm a kind of living fossil, a grizzled pioneer of the old days. In September, 2012, the school created a history wall - a kind of museum - and they put me there too.
Also, a picture from 1986 auditions.

Stumbled Onto "Clarke and Dawe"

Tired of the American election? It's more fun to watch "Clarke and Dawe" interview segments from Australia:

Catastrophe at the Arizona Geological Survey

The State of Arizona has decided to eviscerate the Arizona Geological Survey. Help, if you can:
We must vacate our State offices in Tucson by June 30. We will move to the former Arid Lands building east of the UA campus. We will go from 10,600 square feet to about 2,600 square feet, a reduction of about 75%.

The Arizona Experience store will be closed. Watch for news about our going out of business sale.

The Tucson scientific-technical library which is open to the public, is being reduced by ~75% to preserve the most critical materials. The UA libraries have been invited to examine our holdings to see if they want anything. If we find the resources in time, we hope to move priority volumes for which we will have no space, to the mineral museum in Phoenix. Whatever we cannot save will be made available to the community.

The State of Arizona has disavowed any responsibility for moving files, furniture, or staff, either in Phoenix or Tucson, saying that is the duty of the agency. Unfortunately, since this is the end of the fiscal year and none of this was budgeted, we have few remaining funds to pay for the move. We are working on options to move our assets before we have to dispose of them.

Schick's Beauty Ad

Since I don't watch TV anymore, I rarely see ads, but they featured this at the Tower Theater while I was waiting for the newest Euro-art cinema. I was just sucked right it by the musical theater approach:

Glenn Beck Gets So Emotional

I've always been puzzled by Glenn Beck. He's not your ordinary conservative, but more like an undercover cryptoliberal. Like a late-night radio broadcast that took human form. Max Headroom for the Tea Party set. Anyway, his head is in a dark place:
SiriusXM radio suspended conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck this week after a recent guest on his show warned Donald Trump poses an “extinction-level” threat to the country and suggested a “patriot” might need to remove him from office by any means necessary, Politico reported.

Bavarian Techno Chicken Song

Smooth Criminal

The Libertarians Uncharacteristically Choose Gravitas

The Libertarians nominated a ticket with an unusual amount of gravitas (for the Libertarians), and so maybe there is a place to go for Republicans unhappy with Trump:
At the middle of this madness—literally, given that he stood at the center lectern when the debate stage lights flashed on and the microphones went live—was Gary Johnson. Johnson served as the Libertarian presidential candidate back in 2012. He received 1 percent of the vote. You might also remember him as a generally respected former two-term governor of New Mexico who was re-elected by a solid margin.

Despite his establishment bona fides, Johnson is still outside the norm for a politician with White House aspirations. He believes in total abolition of the income tax, he has invested in a cannabis company, and he freely admits he’s consumed marijuana within the past month. But in the land of the freakish candidate, the merely refreshingly odd candidate is king. Johnson looks like a typical politician, with a typical politician haircut, and he exhibits no outwardly evident desire to surround himself with teenage sex workers. Perhaps because of this, or perhaps in spite of it, he was the clear favorite to win the Libertarian nomination as the debate kicked off.

Sidewalk Issues On Bella's Walk

Bella was entertained on tonight's walk. We passed by a young couple at 19th & Broadway. The girl was repacking a backpack. The guy was sitting on the grass, and he said, "Hey, can you spare some change?" He smiled and said, "Nice dog!" Bella lunged at his face like a cruise missile to kiss him, throwing him off his appeal.

Bella wanted to hang around the Flame Club on 16th St., but the place makes me uneasy. The club is a bit 'hood, and many people were hanging around outside in the parking lot. That's where trouble usually starts, in the parking lot, but for a dog, the place appeals!

We passed by the intersection of 18th & T St., Where All The Cats Are (plus several dogs and a couple of raccoons) and stopped to listen to a catfight near V and 24th St.

There were a couple of sidewalk issues. Someone dropped a bunch of what appeared to be caramels outside Step One. The caramels had partially melted onto the sidewalk, and looked so tempting in the half light (although I noticed Bella had no interest).

The sidewalk on 21st St. near T St. is fairly new, and when the concrete was drying someone had written: "Defy Social Implantations. Animal Liberation Front. Meat = Murder." Felt a twinge of guilt. I had ribs and chicken at a Memorial Day barbeque earlier in the day, so I remained a slave to Social Implantations.

Complete History Of The Soviet Union, Arranged To The Melody Of Tetris

Umberto Eco On Fascism

I pointed Michael McElroy to Umberto Eco regarding Fascism, and Michael located this excellent article written by Eco on Italian Fascism, which he experienced firsthand. Eco has tried to boil down the definition of Fascism to specific points, many of which Trump shares, and which Michael sees also in the Sanders campaign (and which I think are transient phenomena). Here's Eco:
Fascism became an all-purpose term because one can eliminate from a fascist regime one or more features, and it will still be recognizable as fascist. Take away imperialism from fascism and you still have Franco and Salazar. Take away colonialism and you still have the Balkan fascism of the Ustashes. Add to the Italian fascism a radical anti-capitalism (which never much fascinated Mussolini) and you have Ezra Pound. Add a cult of Celtic mythology and the Grail mysticism (completely alien to official fascism) and you have one of the most respected fascist gurus, Julius Evola.

But in spite of this fuzziness, I think it is possible to outline a list of features that are typical of what I would like to call Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism. These features cannot be organized into a system; many of them contradict each other, and are also typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism. But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.

Michael McElroy writes:
After reading and re-reading "Ur-Fascism", by Umberto Eco (which you pointed me towards the other day, thank you), I began thinking further about its points and what it has to say, and I have started to think that while certainly the comparisons line up most favorably with DT, there's actually some disturbing parallels with BS as well, and if indeed "Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances", it deserves consideration as well.

Consider, in particular, points #6, 7, 8, and 13. Some arguments can be made for certain of our fellow supporters exhibiting #4 as well ("disagreement is treason").

I reply:
There are some parallels, but many modern political movements share some of the same attributes. Fascism is more of a syndrome of attributes. Bernie's campaign necessarily has a short time horizon, and so some these effects are temporary. I don't think that Bernie folks worry about treason by Clinton folks (#4). Eco worries about fascism in the petty bourgeois (typically small merchants) but Bernie folks tend to be academic folks, or recently passed through (#6). Bernie folks worry about plots (#7), but because there is a contest underway, many of these fears are justified. Attributing both weakness and strength to the opponent (#8) has emerged as a problem within the last 2 months, but I think it's temporary. I'll grant point #13, but it's a point widely-shared among many modern movements, not just Bernie. I detected a disturbing zeal among Bernie fans, and it bothers me a little bit, but I think it's a feature of the instant, and will quickly become a memory.

Maybe I grant portions of #4 too, but the treason of interest is of the Clinton folks, and the legacy of the DLC, from the broader interests of the Democratic Party. These concerns have been of note since the late 80's, and a primary motivator of the left blogosphere since 2001. Bernie inherits these concerns, but others share them as well, like Black Lives Matter, or Occupy Wall Street.

Conservatives Totally Fail To Understand Fracking

Conservative click bait here gets the definition of fracking precisely backwards - the best, cheap illustration I've seen this year of the disappointing nature of modern conservative propaganda. Whatever happened to simple editing? A lost art on the 24/7 Internet. So, yeah, let's all mock Bernie Sanders for looking up facts, and weighing arguments, and all that annoying bullshit liberals like to worry about.

I'll reproduce the article in its entirety here, because it's so stupid it's bound to be yanked off the Web and shoved into the Memory Hole as soon as conservatives realize it's a detriment to their cause:
Bernie LIES About Fracking While Standing In Front Of Oil Wells

By Robert Gehl

In perhaps the stupidest photo-op of the entire campaign, Bernie Sanders stood in front of functioning oil wells and essentially proclaimed them evil.

He was talking about fracking – more on that in a minute – but he railed against all fossil fuels.

He may as well have walked over to the wells and shut them down himself. How many people does that oil field employ? Was he on private property? What did the manager of that facility think of what he was saying?

Anyway, he started to attack fracking – which involves pumping water out of rock formations to get to oil natural gas reserves – saying it was “poisoning our aquifers.”

“We have got to end fracking. It is just not worth the risk to poison our aquifers, at a time when we are seeing the kind of damage we are from climate change and drought,” Sanders told reporters, flanked by oil drilling machinery. “We have to be very concerned in making sure we protect our water supply –and fracking moves us in the wrong direction.”

Blah, blah, blah. What utter nonsense.

As we mentioned a short time ago, an exhaustive study of fracking and groundwater proved that its impact on water supplies is precisely zero.

Liberals and the mainstream media are trying to hide this from you – with the collusion of the school where the study was done. Maybe that’s why he thinks he can say fracking “poisons” our groundwater.

But it’s total horses**t.

Fracking like this actually produces thousands of jobs, saves people money and does NOT pollute groundwater.

Most fracking is to extract natural gas – a cleaner and cheaper alternative to oil.

Sanders is just pandering to the radical environmentalists who don’t want to see our use of any fossil fuels of any kind, for any reason.

Cows Remember

Giant Meteor

Shouting At Clouds

Dianne Feinstein was on the radio pleading with Bernie Sanders to give it up already, saying that cooperation would help Hillary focus on Trump. OK, that's a valid point. Goodness knows, we need focus. But should Bernie give it up already yet? Hillary's been making some concessions on the platform committee, but you can sense her resistance. She probably wants to keep her options open until July, but further delay means further alienating Bernie voters. Hillary needs to get a move on.

So, why not name Elizabeth Warren as VP choice? And name her right freakin' now, before serious damage gets done? Warren is better than Bernie as a left-progressive candidate, and has strengths that fortify Hillary's strengths.

Because Hillary's friends shouting at clouds isn't doing the job:
Warren is off-the-cuff, free-wheeling and direct in all the ways Clinton is cautious and rehearsed. But it is a reinforcing rather than an invidious contrast and likely helps bring to the surface Hillary's progressive background that has been buried by decades at the pinnacle of Democratic party politics and years as the punching bag of the left of the party which feels excluded by the seemingly endless Clinton ascendency.

It may sound crazy to attach so much to her recent Twitter contretemps with Donald Trump. But the tone, rhythm and style are exactly what the Democrats need to knock Trump down and bring out his toxic mix of personal insecurity and emotional instability. It's not over-earnest or off-key or droning (traditional Democratic tonalities - let's be honest). She's mocking, substantive and constantly on target.

Les Misérables (Liberty Cast) - Young Actor's Stage

I caught the last performance of YAS' Les Misérables (Liberty cast) at the 24th St. Theater. I didn't bring a camera, so instead I'll share this trailer by Alex Greenlee (Jean Valjean).

(Alex Greenlee is such a talent. He was totally amazing in Runaway Stage Production's "Catch Me If You Can" too.)

It's been a five-month long rehearsal and performance schedule for the cast, with the certainty that now summer is here, some of them won't see each other again after this afternoon. With the stirring music and script, it was hard for the cast to keep their emotions in check for the final performance. Tylar's voice cracked in her song, but I understand....

At intermission, I stood next to some cast members of the Revolution cast, who were audience members for the final performance. They talked about how hard it was to keep from singing out loud in the audience. They've been drilled in exactly that, after all!

Excellent jobs by all, including Alex Greenlee, Asa Williams (Thenardier) and Adan Hensley (Javert). Tylar (Eponine) was wonderful, plus Kate Brugger (Fantine), Abigail Telander (Enjolras), and Megan Muchowski (Gavroche)....

Swallow The Pill

Political Correctness

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Feeling Offput By Poverty Ridge

Over the last 15 months, Bella has become intimately familiar with the Sacramento neighborhoods of Richmond Grove, Poverty Ridge, Newton Booth, and the northern parts of Curtis Park and Land Park. Nevertheless, lately I've noticed she's actively avoiding entering Poverty Ridge. To a human, Poverty Ridge is a most-pleasant and posh neighborhood, but to a dog, there aren't enough heaping piles of refuse or drunken derelicts sleeping in the middle of the sidewalk. The historic homes house only the most tedious and well-mannered cats and dogs.

Bella loves the Broadway corridor. Lots of restaurants, and people carelessly toss food everywhere. Tonight, we watched a policeman start disassembling a traffic stop on Broadway for drunken drivers. I had thought things seemed a little too placid on Broadway. People must have been actively avoiding the area.

Three preteen girls bicycled past at 1:00 a.m., singing a song. I didn't recognize the song, but their harmonies were great.

New Narcissus

"I Have Never Been More Proud to Be New Mexican" - Generation Justice

Existentialist Heaven - Vanishing Point

Yeah, I have to do The Seventies over again. I never bothered to see this movie back then, because it struck me as mind-numbingly stupid, but reading around, I discover that this movie is an all-time favorite of Existential Philosophers. Heh. Totally intellectual fare. Didn't know.

I like the scenes here of Goldfield, Nevada. The car chase must have been a blast:

Stevie Wonder - Living for the City

Head in an Old School place. Damn, I want to go back to high school and do it all better:

Remenea - Watatah

Head in a Zumba place:

Lil Mama - Shawty Get Loose ft. Chris Brown, T-Pain

Head in a hip hop space: