Saturday, October 01, 2016

It REALLY Hurts!

Decision Time For Hurricane Matthew

So far, forecasts show Matthew will miss Florida, although it's likely to clip Jamaica, cross eastern Cuba, wreck the Bahamas, and march up the eastern seaboard, perhaps going into New England (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts). It's possible it might trigger a huge rain event extending from Ohio to Nova Scotia, even in areas very far away from the storm itself.

According to the models, the storm should start executing a 90 degree turn (which storms rarely do) right now. The storm is very far south, though. It's almost scraping the coast of Venezuela, where easterly winds are usually stronger and southerly winds are usually weaker. The longer it takes to make this turn, the more likely a direct hit on Jamaica becomes, as well as a direct hit on Florida. It's a real test in the reliability of the models.

So, we'll see.

The Orange Asshole Again

Trump can't stop talking about Alicia Machado. Can't. Stop. Even though it hurts him every time he mentions her:
The words amount to what we might term 'stand-up narcissism', a demonstration of a personality defect so profound and total that it becomes comedic in a way that makes a decent run at transcending its own awfulness. His self-regard and consciencelessness is so total that it is beyond him to realize that his "a good deed never goes unpunished" lament doesn't make him look like a chauvinist asshole so much as a clownish version of a chauvinist asshole. It so perfectly mirrors Trump's self-immolation with the Khans that it's hard to believe the Clinton staffers who planned this could have imagined it would work so well.
Trump has some nerve talking, having starred in porn himself.
Because Alicia Machado was reigning Miss Universe when Donald Trump took over the Miss Universe Pageant, she isn't covered by one of Trump's aggressive Non-Disclosure Agreements, and can say pretty-much whatever she pleases (same with Jodie Seal, Miss Australia, who was also a candidate in the 1996 pageant):
Since Trump is so notorious and public about his aggressive use of NDAs and non-disparagement agreements in all his businesses, it would stand to reason that he used them as owner of the Miss Universe pageant too. But we don't have to speculate. As GP notes, in 2013 Trump secured a $5 million judgment against a former Miss Universe contestant who publicly claimed the contest was rigged.
But that was post-1996. Alicia Machado had the great good fortune to escape Trump's legal trap.

Forgot To Account For The Hypocrisy

I was mystified how Sean Hannity, who was paid $29 million last year and has a private jet, could have the arrogance to lecture anyone about elite, out-of-touch media. Then I remembered he was talking about media in DC, and he's based in NYC:
My overpaid friends in the media — they have their chauffeur-driven limousines,” he said. “They like their fine steak houses and expensive wine lifestyles. None of them are feeling [the negative impacts of President Obama’s policies] — the people you’re watching on TV.

Friday, September 30, 2016

I'm With Her

I'm with her:
For Trump, Machado must be like a terrifying nightmare: a strong, beautiful Latina, draped in an American flag, who is intent on hurting him but who he is incapable of injuring.

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich is calling the situation "The New Benghazi". OK, if Newt insists, we'll go down this rabbit hole.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What's The Delay?

Mystified that the National Hurricane Center seems to be delaying dubbing Tropical Storm Matthew. The storm's strong enough; it's about to hit the Windward Islands; it rates. I guess everyone needs to sign off on it, and like all bureaucratic procedures, that takes time.

[UPDATE: Here they go, at 8 a.m. PDT. All the boxes are finally checked. Now the storm can officially start breaking things.]

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

PDO Index Began Dropping Sharply In July

There is some evidence that The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) Index, which tracks sea-surface temperature anomalies, began dropping sharply in July. It's the first real sign that the drought-ridden climate that's afflicted California since 2013 might begin to budge a bit. (Unfortunately, El Niño didn't do the trick last winter.)

This animated gif (via Australia's BOM) is focused on the equator, but one can see at the top of the map how the central Northern Pacific warmed abruptly in July, and how temperatures along the California coast began cooling.

I'd like to think that means rain.

Australians Are Expecting a Stormy Week

Sandy II

I'm getting uneasy about the tropical storm developing near the Windward Islands (soon to be named Matthew). Current forecasts send it across Jamaica, eastern Cuba, the Bahamas, just offshore Florida, hitting Cape Hatteras, NC, with eventual landfall in New Jersey (Sandy II). Forecasts will certainly change, so who knows, but that kind of path is precisely what we don't need.

Just A Word

The Arizona Republic Endorses Clinton

In its 126 year history, the 'Arizona Republic', among the most conservative newspapers in the country, has never endorsed a Democratic candidate for President. Never.

Until now.

Lowest Ratings in its 47-Year History

Monday Night Football suffered its lowest ratings in its 47-year history:
The game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints drew a 5.7 overnight rating, according to USA Today. Previously, the lowest reported overnight rating for a Monday Night Football game was a 5.8 for a game between the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers on Christmas Eve 2007.

The Most Watched Presidential Debate in History

The history of Presidential debates shows the first debate is usually the most important.
More than 80 million people watched the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Monday night, making it the most watched debate in history.

There Are Ways To Cope

The media have been very, very broken for some time now, but there are ways for candidates to cope. It's an important skill, to be able to change the subject quickly, and steer the debate towards one's preferred subjects. Because Hillary has been subject to very bad press for a very long time now, and because she prepared well for this debate, she was ready for press failure.

Trump wasn't ready, mostly because he improvises at every turn. When the available time is short, and he's in the moment, he can land blow after blow without reprisal. Press failure is his ally at times like that.

Improvisation doesn't quite work in a one-on-one debate, however. There is simply too much time available. Trump has to keep talking even if the product is word salad. And he didn't carefully prepare his steering paths in advance. He was rusty. Hillary was able to block his efforts and steer the debate to subjects of her choosing.

I was just happy Lester Holt distanced himself from the match.

Boxing is one of the oldest sports, because it's simultaneously open and confrontational. It's completely artificial in its own way too, like an American Presidential debate. Training helps, of course. Nothing like an uppercut. Time for Trump to get with the spirit of the sport.

The Limits of Improv

Donald Trump likes to freestyle. In his overheated, screwball way, he’s a master of the form. His improvisational skills are pretty much the core of his appeal—he’s not scripted, he’s good television. His faith in his ability to let it rip is the essence of his swagger, which apparently appeals to a vast audience. There aren’t many people who can pull it off, and it has worked far better than anyone could possibly have imagined. Monday night, however, his improvisational skills failed him—and he slammed up against the limits of his political talents.

Vote Him Off The Island

Not ready for prime time:
What on earth was that? For 90 minutes, we watched one candidate for president display the seriousness the office demands while the other did what was once unthinkable: show up unprepared for a globally televised job interview. The first presidential debate between reality-television star and wealthy builder Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was mind-blowing. Trump brought the vaudeville shtick that worked for him in the primaries to the main stage and bombed.

Monday, September 26, 2016

My Impression Of The Debate

I saw parts of the last half of tonight's debate.

My impression was that Trump was demanding respect from Hillary, and that she wasn't extending it. Trump seemed peeved that Hillary has been saying bad things about him in her advertising spots.

Demands for respect might be suitable, or even necessary, if she was insulting him to his face, but she kept it more-or-less polite. Hillary's advertisements occur outside the debating hall. They were not part of this debate. Trump's complaint struck me as whining.

One reason people like to watch boxing matches, wrestling matches, and debates is that outside stuff gets left outside, and only things inside the ring matter. A test of will and skill. Mano a mano; face to face.

I'm afraid Donald needs to "man-up", as they say.

Roller Coasters For Kidney Stones

Interesting treatment!:
But one particular gentleman really inspired Wartinger. The man rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, and then passed a small stone. Then he did it again and passed another. And then another. “That was just too powerful to ignore,” Wartinger said. “I'd been hearing these anecdotal stories for a couple years, and then I thought, okay, there's really something here.”

If there were a way to make people pass stones while they were still small, Wartinger realized, the potential benefits could be enormous.

Cocaine Donald

Sample it for a song.

Spin Cycle

Spin, spin, spin, .... Repeat!

So Many Ways To Go With This Presentation!

Unbelievable New Orleans Heat Record

Can anyone say Global Warming?:
During one of the country’s hottest summers, New Orleans quietly set a mind-boggling record. On 43 nights, the temperature did not drop below 80 degrees in New Orleans, according to the Louisiana state climatologist.

It blows the previous record out of the water — 13 nights in 2010. It’s also incredible considering in an average summer, New Orleans has just 2.1 nights at or above 80 degrees.

Hillary vs. Donald

Rats In The Trees

Bella's health has stabilized, but the horizons of her world have foreshortened. She can't patrol as she once did. One indignity is that raccoons have been coming into the yard at night and gathering peanuts I've scattered for squirrels and Bella. The raccoons wash the peanuts for easier eating in Bella's drinking dishes, fouling her water with dirt in the process.

Nevertheless, these raccoons probably don't live in the palm tree located in the corner of the cemetery, near where we rest on our walks. After studying that tree, and listening to the squeaks, I'm now of the opinion that rats inhabit the palm tree fronds. A tree top strikes me as an odd home for rats, but it may provide advantages to small mammals.

"The Magnificent Seven"

Last night, I went to see "The Magnificent Seven" with Denzel Washington. Before I went, I checked filming locations on IMDb, which were listed as Flagstaff, AZ, area, plus Baton Rouge, LA. Watching the film, I kept thinking it didn't look like Flagstaff. Instead, there was Pedernal Mountain, a dead giveaway for Abiquiu, NM. Should I believe IMDb or my lying eyes? Sure enough, it was filmed in NM!

The location of Rose Creek is supposed to be Amador County, California, so I was delighted to learn that Baton Rouge represented the deepest, darkest heart of iniquity, the city we all know and love, Sacramento, California. There were also CGI mountains to represent the Sierra Nevada that just confused me to no end, since they didn't look quite right.

Like the 1961 movie, much of this movie explores the motivations of the gunfighters, with just as many unanswered questions as with the original. Many bullets are fired. Many, many bullets. Bushels of bullets.

Did I like the movie? I dunno. I thought the bad guys were too wicked. Worse than Nazis. At least you can have a beer with a Nazi. Not these bad-ass Sacramentans. The action scenes have lots of action, though. A plethora of bullets.

The Pepper Shaker Approves

Weekend Three in the can.


Saw a turkey strut past DMTC- envied the idyllic life of Davis Turkeys. Pulled out onto 2nd Street and saw pulverized turkey fragments everywhere - maybe that life isn't so idyllic.

Ballet And Couture

Six Ways Ronald Reagan Ruined The Country

The Reagan/Bush button says it all:

(Jamaican) Dancehall Daze

Kickboxing Blow-By-Blow

Bank Error

Hillary Clinton On "Between Two Ferns"

TV As It Was Meant To Be

Sitting with a rapt audience in the Jiffy Lube lobby as TED ED TV explains the physics behind ballet's fouetté turns. TV as it was meant to be.