Wednesday, June 22, 2016

New Mexico Hiatus

Flying to Albuquerque to attend wedding of Honesty Leatham and Anthony Valdez, see a few relatives, take "Better Call Saul" Season 2 related pictures, and feel the pulse of the throbbing city at the hottest time of year, typically late June.

A Pun

Travis Bickle, I Presume

Man on a mission:
A motorist stopped with a trove of guns and knives in his truck while heading into the Holland Tunnel en route to New York City claimed to police he was rushing to "rescue" a teenage girl who recently overdosed, sources said.

Police recovered seven guns — including rifles and handguns — as well as four knives, 10 clips of ammunition, body armor and a military-grade helmet from the bright-colored truck owned by John Cramsey, a police source said.

...Cramsey -- whose own daughter died from an accidental heroin overdose, according to the medical examiner -- told police he was driving to New York City to "rescue" a 16-year-old girl from a drug den, sources said.

An employee at a Pennsylvania gun range owned by Cramsey told ABC News that ever since his daughter’s recent death, Cramsey has been on a mission to save others from a similar fate.

A police source said the teenager Cramsey claimed he was headed to save told authorities, “I don’t need to be rescued.”

Old Sacramento on a Lazy Tuesday Afternoon

Menace to Trump Downplayed (Oddly)

Illegal British immigrant makes an effort to kill Trump. The UK press are on it:
Another neighbour in Dorking described him as "a very quiet lad".

"He was alright. He got on well with his mum as far as I know. His mum is nice and is a friendly character."

One elderly neighbour, asked if she was surprised by what is said to have happened, said: "Kids do strange things and he (Trump) is a horrible man anyway."

Mr Sandford attended Powell Corderoy Primary School in Dorking, then went on to Ascombe School, whose headteacher David Blow declined to comment.

One classmate, who was in Mr Sandford's Year 6 class, said: "My boyfriend's mum showed me an article about it this morning and asked if I had gone to school with him and as soon as I saw the picture I recognised him.

"All I remember about him from school - he was a bit of a strange one and I never really spoke to him."

Bubble Nostalgia

This insider tries to make sense why the Bubble popped. It was, after all, a Mighty Fine Bubble. He sees less fraud, and more delusion:
In my last months at Citigroup I would field several calls a week from CitiMortgage’s servicing people who were trying to work out payment plans for delinquent homebuyers. What they—the servicer, the homebuyer, and if they had been consulted, most MBS investors—would have liked was to reduce the principal and interest on the mortgage to a reasonable level, one that would keep the homeowner in the house making at least some payments. But any reduction in principal or interest was barred by the securitization documents, which could only be amended by a vote of two-thirds to 100% of the bondholders, a procedure that was never attempted. The best we were ever able to do was to defer payments, which didn’t help much, and we weren’t always able to do that; it depended on how the documents, which had evolved over the years, read for the particular securitization.

Trump, The Successful Casino Mogul

Ran his Atlantic City properties into the ground:
In retrospect, David Hanlon, a veteran casino executive who ran Merv Griffin’s Atlantic City operations at the time of the Resorts battle, said, Mr. Trump succeeded in repeatedly convincing investors, bankers and Wall Street that “his name had real value.”

“They were so in love with him that they came back a second, third and fourth time,” Mr. Hanlon said. “They let him strip out assets. It was awful to watch. It was astonishing. I have to give Trump credit for using his celebrity time and time again.”

...“People underestimated Donald Trump’s ability to pillage the company,” said Sebastian Pignatello, a private investor who at one time held stock in the Trump casinos worth more than $500,000. “He drove these companies into bankruptcy by his mismanagement, the debt and his pillaging.”

Scott Baio, Oy!

The life and times of a forgettable person:
This week Baio went from obscure trivia answer to national laughing stock when he appeared on Fox Business to float the idea that President Obama is a secret Muslim whose “end game” is to “totally eliminate the United States as it was created.” Baio’s evidence for these rather serious allegations: A few right-wing memes and the words of Donald Trump, who spent this week accusing Obama of cooperating with ISIS.

When one accuses the President of the United States of treason, he or she might expect a bit of push back. But when it came, Baio became unglued and has been threatening to sue those on Twitter who are currently having a blast mocking him.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Compound Bows

I haven't seen Joe the Plumber much lately, but he came to my workplace unannounced today. "I want you to take care of my two compound bows, and thirteen arrows," he said. "Worth $2,000!" When I asked him why he wanted me to hold them rather than storing them in his storage unit, he laughed, and said the Hell's Angels were looking for them. Heh. I smiled. Joe is funny when he gets plowed for lunch.

I decided against bringing the bows into the workplace, and put them in my car's trunk instead. One of my co-workers once indicated her greatest fear was someone at work 'going postal.' My work mates are probably the least postally-inclined group you could find, but I'm sensitive to her concerns. Gaily walking into work while carrying weaponry is counter to workplace team-building, and might impede communication.

No Ground Game

By Trump effectively deciding against running a ground game for the Fall election, and continuing to rely on free media, I'm reminded of the Bush Administration's refusal to commit more troops to Iraq, particularly due to the influence of Mr. Shock-and-Awe, Donald Rumsfeld. In both cases, heavy reliance on technology is substituted for the hard work. We'll see how that decision goes this time. Didn't help with Iraq:
No presidential campaign can really outsource its field operation to the party. That just means that the party has to build a whole additional field staff in addition to the one its already building (set aside not being able to control its strategy, quality of work etc.) That's not possible, or at least not possible to do well. The way this works in the modern campaign is that the presidential campaign has its field operation, the party has an additional field operation and they are coordinated together and in some ways integrated together in the fall for maximal impact.

Two Chittering Raccoons Watching From Above

Bella shows poor sense of when to cross streets. I keep trying to teach her the importance of looking both ways first, but it's unclear if the message is getting through.

Last night, a train crossed Broadway just as we got there. I decided to let Bella decide what to do about it.

Bella was baffled. She could see through the wheels to the street beyond, but there was this huge, roaring, clanking thing in the way. She pondered for a full 40 seconds, looking for suggestions, before deciding to hide behind me.

Bella chased a few cats. There was a white cat that provided special sport. There were a few wary dogwalkers out there too, and those dogs were entertaining too.

There was a strange noise atop a two-story building. Two raccoons were laying flat on the roof, peering over the edge, and chittering to themselves. Reminded me of these guys:

DMTC's "The Music Man" - Tuesday Night, Tech Week, 6/14/16

I've had few good opportunities as Stage Manager for "The Music Man" to get photos, but I did get a few of Tuesday night Tech Week rehearsal:

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Today, I cut dead wood out of the back yard's tree canopy and watered plants. Bella helped with the watering part by attacking the stream of water coming out of the hose, but it was frustrating work, because all she got was wet.

Some of the piles of trash we see at night are associated with homeless people who are there only in the day. This afternoon, I caught a glimpse of the man who reads religious pamphlets and smashes whiskey bottles under the 24th St. underpass. He was leaning back, drinking whiskey. I also saw a man, holding court with a bunch of people like Jabba the Hutt at another pile of trash on X Street.

Three nights ago, I saw a surly young woman ride past on a bicycle, park off the street, and then start removing the wheels. Always wary of bike theft, I began staring, and she said "What are you looking at?" She started saying more, but then Bella dragged me off.

Tonight, Bella and I were walking down the sidewalk, and we heard a woman shouting behind us. We turned around, and an unleashed small puppy was standing right behind us, wagging its tail, eager to play. The same surly young woman biked up, shouting at the puppy. "Shorty! Get back here!"

"Look at that!", I said, "A little Black Labrador puppy!" "No," she said, "Shorty is a Chih-Weenie." "A what?" I said. Exasperated - clearly she felt she was dealing with an idiot - the surly young woman rolled her eyes and shouted "A CHIH-WEENIE! SHORTY! COME ON!" They charged down the street and vanished around the corner. Shorty the Chih-Weenie reappeared for an instant, looked back longingly and hoping we'd catch up, then vanished again when summoned.

On the way back home, we saw a young man in olive green fatigues vanish in the distance around a building. There was a sign of mischief beside the building - a toppled outdoor ash tray and a broken sprinkler head. I wondered if that man had done this.

Suddenly, the young man was running towards us at full speed as if he had to pee real bad. He was about 30 years old and had a classic meth addict look. He looked at Bella, smiled, and with a toothless lisp said "Is that a Labrador? I had a Labrador named George." He then ran past us into the night.

Busy Weekend Stage Managing DMTC's "The Music Man"

(Photo by Karen Karoly.)

Segment of Disney's Cartoon About Geometry and the Golden Rectangle

Glass Block Windows And Walls

Kelvinator House (also known as Raabe House), Albuquerque, NM, 1938.

I was quite struck in "Better Call Saul" by their design team's widespread use of glass block and glass block walls. Sometimes there are just a few glass blocks; sometimes many. Sometimes (like the scene at Chuck and Jimmy's mom's bedside) the glass walls become oppressive. Vince Gilligan and his team pay very close attention to detail and locale, so I know the glass block walls must mean something more than Art Deco frippery. But what?

I think the answer is here. The popularization of Art Deco glass block walls in Albuquerque architecture (like in other American cities) came via the crowd-pleasing thirteen houses of the future displayed at the 1933–34 Chicago World’s Fair “Century of Progress International Exposition”. Glass block walls gave certain Albuquerque houses a kind of avant garde 20th-Century sensibility that people really liked:
The 1933–34 Chicago World’s Fair buildings, at the time considered the height of American modernity, influenced United States architectural design for many years thereafter.... That fair, called the “Century of Progress International Exposition,” which had been planned before the crash of 1929, opened in the middle of a worldwide economic crisis. Despite that fact, or perhaps because of it, the Century of Progress resolutely focused on an optimistic vision of the United States yet to come, a premise that proved wise: it attracted so many visitors that organizers kept the fair open for a second year.

One of the 1933 fair’s most popular exhibits featured thirteen futuristic houses clustered together on the shores of Lake Michigan. Those houses, built from innovative construction materials and with several examples clearly paying homage to the European “International Style” or the colloquial “Streamline Moderne,” turned out to be crowd pleasers. Few fairgoers actually contemplated living in homes like George Fred Keck’s Glass House, a three-story, glass-clad, polygonal tower suspended from a central pole that clearly owed a lot to Le Corbusier’s idea of the house as a “machine for living,” but most attendees marveled at the technology displayed within and without. Keck’s house controlled its own climate via central systems and sealed windows. It included not only a garage for the car but a hanger for the family plane. Keck’s design, which the fair billed as the “House of Tomorrow,” made the June 1933 cover of Popular Mechanics. The idea of an “automatic” house that heated and cooled itself, rotated to face the sun, and opened its own venetian blinds caught the fancy of fairgoers. It likewise influenced architects throughout the United States in the subsequent years before World War II. Bits and pieces of the fair’s dramatic architecture showed up on the cultural periphery, even in places like New Mexico, a location that many Americans thought was not even part of the United States, and even in Albuquerque, its largest city but one that contained only about 30,000 inhabitants in the mid-1930s. One of those architects, William Burk, Jr., a local practitioner in Albuquerque, demonstrated this far-flung influence and the way it transformed residential architecture in the United States. He brought the design elements of both the International Style and the more mass-market-oriented Streamline Moderne style together in the house he built on Hermosa Drive SE in the late 1930s, in the city’s Granada Hills district, the subject of this case study.

In a town full of faux-adobe casitas, Burk’s white stucco construct, featuring a wall of windows on its downslope side behind a glass brick prow aimed toward Highland Avenue (now Coal Avenue), was like no other dwelling in the city. Burk’s second floor, flanked on both sides by the railings of the roof decks, looked more like the bow of the Ile de France than it did a dwelling, at least from the south side. Since it stood on a treeless hill with almost no other houses around it, the house attracted a lot of attention even before completion. The only structure it resembled for most observers was the Phillips 66 service station on nearby Central Avenue that, not so coincidentally, Burk had also designed.

I suspect the glass block walls in "Better Call Saul" signify the Chicago past Jimmy McGill can't escape. No matter where he goes and what he does, he will always and forever be "Slippin' Jimmy".

The design team's intention has been clear from the start. Here is Gene's Omaha apartment living room ("Better Call Saul", Season 1, episode 1, 'Uno'). There is a glass block wall.

Glass block windows, a significant part of the background in the Alley scene near Third Street and Central Avenue, behind Jimmy John's Pizza ("Better Call Saul", Season 1, episode 4, 'Hero' and episode 10, 'Marco').

That telephone building also has other glass block windows.

In the episode "Marco", the Chicago Bar is fitted with glass block windows in a repeating 3-4-5 Pythogorean Triple pattern. These guys are subtle.....

Albuquerque Examples of Glass Block Walls

The former Brasserie La Provence restaurant, soon to reopen, features self-conscious International Style Art Deco storefront.

Brasserie La Provence glass block wall.

Nob Hill Business Center Blue Tower.

Larry's Hats.

Astro Zombies Comics.

Hotel Blue Lobby.

Hotel Blue Lobby.

Kelvinator House.

Barrymore's Antiques, on Morningside SE (just one block from Walter White's (and Vince Gilligan's) apartment.

Barrymore's Antiques, on Morningside SE (one block from Walter White's (and Vince Gilligan's) apartment.

Barrymore's Antiques, on Morningside SE (one block from Walter White's (and Vince Gilligan's) apartment.

Jimmy and Kim's new office.

Jimmy and Kim's new office.

Jimmy and Kim's new office.

Jimmy and Kim's new office.

Off Center Gallery.

Absolutely Neon.

Space-Port Pros.

Sunwest Silver.

Donald Trump's Insult List

Wow, even Ronda Rousey is on the list (and she fights back).

The Toll