Friday, March 10, 2017

D.O. Mills Building Will Be a Food Zone

Sounds like fun!:
Construction crews are at work inside the five-story building. When finished, planners say, the soaring ground floor that once served as a bank lobby will house a 33-foot-long bar and space for up to a dozen eateries/kiosks, featuring local chefs and recognizable names among the food purveyors.

A mezzanine will form the second level, with window views of downtown and access to another bar featuring specially crafted cocktails, champagne and fine wines. The basement – where two old bank vaults still dominate the space – will become a taproom packed with locally produced brews, plus plentiful, wall-mounted flat-screen TVs.

Significant space is being built to host private events, including the closed-to-the-public roof garden.

“The idea was to create something that is unique in its own right, not just in Sacramento,” project spokesman Patrick Harbison said during a tour of the building this week.

What Do They Do Down There On The Hopi Reservation Anyway?

I always look out the window when I fly anywhere, which is why I noticed this odd pattern while flying across northeast Arizona on Valentine's Day.

Look at those parallel strips! I got excited. Might this be modern Hopi religious expression? The strips are aligned north-south, mirroring Ancestral Pueblo parallel roads at Chaco Canyon. Oooo-weee-oooh!

Things looked murkier the closer I look, though. This land is Hopi Grazing Unit 568, near the eastern boundary of the Hopi Reservation. The strips aren't quite north-south. Strips maintain integrity despite crossing fences at oblique angles. Sagebrush-light strips are 175 feet across; sagebrush-dense strips are slightly-wider, at 180 feet across. And livestock trails riddle the landscape.

Why would anyone alternate sagebrush-light strips with sagebrush-dense strips? What possible benefit for what must have been a lot of exacting work?

I doubt there's any subject as subtle as rural land use.

Thursday Night Dancehall Fun

I Stop Parking in My Accustomed Spot at Work For a Few Months

And look what happens!:

Coming Soon: Big Fitness Fundraiser On Saturday

So, Get It Done Already!

Timothy Dimal's "The Greatest Hits Collection"

Ever since sales of Timothy Dimal's "The Greatest Hits Collection" starting spiking across Northern California, people have been asking: 'What is the secret of his success?' Is it his screaming mob of tween admirers? No. Is it his silken voice and suave demeanor? No. Is it because his agent relies heavily on a tool-of-the-trade that rhymes with 'Crayola'? No.

The unknown fact that has powered this locomotive of musical ambition off every trestle in Northern California is that THIS schmo took the album cover photo (just drop me a message for your album-cover needs).

Feeling Hungry

I'm as Dense as a Box of Doorknobs

My sister gave me a copy of Bob Odenkirk's book "A Load of Hooey" more than a year ago, but I didn't look closely at it until today:

Open Up Your Reading Habits

"Access" is Bullshit

As Josh Marshall says, "Access" is bullshit. What counts is "Coverage". And given the sharp reduction in money proposed to be spent, what's coming now is a whole lot of worthless "Access":
Here is the simple secret of health insurance and health care provision policy: You can create efficiencies and savings by constructing functioning markets. But at the end of the day, more money equals more care. Or in the proxy we judge these things by, more money means more people are insured. If you see a plan that costs a lot less money than Obamacare, it means many fewer people will be covered. It's as simple as that.

Creepy Chopper

California Cattle Rustling?

Californians doing weird shit:
Officers responding Saturday along a mountain pass in Southern California's Riverside County discovered a calf trying to escape from a Honda Civic's open trunk.

Another calf was crammed into the floor of the backseat. Both calves' hooves were tied.

Investigators say the driver was nowhere to be found. The car is registered to an address in Tulare County, more than 250 miles away.

Authorities said Monday that the vehicle had not been reported stolen. It's been impounded as evidence.

You Can't Fight The Chicken

The Uncanny Mountain

I was trying to understand how I got so wrapped up in "Breaking Bad". I think it's because I no longer live there, so the city is slightly unfamiliar. At the same time, I know it fairly well.

Vince Gilligan's Albuquerque is a nearly-perfect simulacrum of the city. It constantly surprises the viewer with its filming locations, and seems to be saying that even familiar places are not at all what you thought them to be, but contain hidden menace around every corner. The places scream "Stay alert to your surroundings!"

In many ways, it's the inverse of the "Uncanny Valley". More like an "Uncanny Mountain". In other contexts, it's been noted elsewhere.

For example, with regards to geeky humor, "xkcd" has a cartoon about the "Uncanny Mountain":

Getting Impatient, Waiting For "Personal Shopper"

I can't wait until "Personal Shopper" arrives. The Assayas-Stewart collaboration is producing the best movies of this century:
In the role, Stewart doesn’t act so much as inhabit a persona. She’s a full-body actor, her hands and arms and shoulders and back working as hard as her mouth and her eyes. As Maureen, Stewart broadcasts a crushing insecurity, a discomfort with even the simple act of being alive; she’s constantly opening beers and brewing coffees and then leaving them behind unconsumed. (The only liquid we see her drink with any ease is straight vodka.) During the film’s most frightening scene, she’s practically animalistic, reacting to a spectral threat like a dog might; the scene ends with her curled up on the ground. It’s a committed performance, but more than that, it’s a deeply felt one. The movie deliberately blurs the line between Stewart and Maureen, leaving her tattoos uncovered and dressing her in a style reminiscent of how she dresses in real life. In interviews, Assayas has been giving Stewart co-authorship of the film, and it’s not hard to see why.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Coming Slaughter

An initial look at the Republican health care bill suggest that not only will 7 million people lose insurance in the individual insurance market (i.e., Obamacare), but another 20 million people will lose employer-provided health insurance. Basically, most people who earn less than an average income will lose health coverage altogether, since the incentives for employers to make health insurance available will evaporate.:

Monday, March 06, 2017

Trump the Dictator Has Started Stripping Away the Rights of American Citizens

A slippery slide to hell:
Originally from Pakistan, Khizr Khan has been a US citizen for 30 years. His family made the ultimate sacrifice for America when his son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, was killed in service in Iraq.

Reports indicate that Mr. Khan has had to cancel a speaking engagement in Canada this week because his travel “privileges” are being “reviewed” by the US Government.

Nugent Brasher's "Exploring the Coronado Trail - A Case Study For Historians"

I'm so pleased! Nugent Brasher, the opinionated petroleum geologist who has been making huge waves this century in American archaeology with his efforts to pin down the exact location of the 1540-41 Coronado Trail in the American Southwest, has just published a new article in the New Mexico Historical Review (Volume 92, Number 1, Winter 2017, pp. 21-52) entitled: "Exploring the Coronado Trail - A Case Study For Historians". (Available for a fee at the NMHR website.)

I posted in 2007 about Brasher, and the clever way he associated Coronado's fabled ruin of Chichilticale with Kuykendall Ruins in Arizona. The connection eluded historians for many decades. A Eureka moment if there ever was one! There are other Coronado Trail hunters out there too (e.g., Buck Wells), and they seem to be gravitating towards a new consensus that the Coronado Trail passed from Arizona into New Mexico to Hidden Valley along the Gila River, following Blue Creek and the San Francisco River north. More direct routes to Hawikuh through Sheldon, Arizona, or farther west, are now in disfavor, simply because there isn't enough water on those routes. The huge size of the Coronado expedition meant they had to follow the water, no matter what. And now, there is some physical evidence to support the Hidden Valley/Blue Creek route - the discovery of 16th-Century artifacts: a belt buckle at Hidden Valley and an aglet on the Minnie Bell Ranch.

Brasher's new work is mostly a historiographic study of his methods: reading the original documents in Spanish rather than possibly-misleading translations, walking the ground, drawing on trail-walking experience in the third world, talking to ranch owners and others with intimate knowledge of the landscape on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border, making maps, building visualization software, and rating leads in order of importance. Brasher's (unstated) opinion seems to be that people who don't look for Coronado's Trail using the methods of petroleum geologists, or methods very similar, are a special breed of idiot. Brasher's right, you know!

Italian Importing Company Will Close Soon

These guys are two doors down from where I worked. An excellent store!

Nevertheless, I had an awkward relationship with them. I'm not a foodie and I know little about Italy. Not an auspicious start. By the time I started patronizing them they were all crusty old guys, and I was too. There is a reason customer-service businesses prefer to use young people. "What's this?" I'd ask, and they'd all roll their eyes.
Best known for her research into local culinary history, Burns traces Italian Importing Co. back to Mazzuchi Bros., a noodle and ravioli company at 622 J St. that opened in 1905. She says it was common in those days, especially for Italians, to have brothers form a food business, including Corti Brothers. Italian Importing changed hands several times, but the business has run uninterrupted to this day.

Drive-By Shooting Nearby

Within walking distance of my house:
Four men injured in a drive-by shooting Saturday night in Oak Park are expected to survive, Sacramento police said Sunday.

The men were shot after stepping outside of a quinceaƱera at a school on 33rd Street, according to police spokesman Matt McPhail.

The victims were transported to a hospital, with two men suffering from life-threatening injuries. By Sunday, all four looked as if they would recover from their wounds, though one victim’s condition was “touch and go,” McPhail said.

The shootings occurred at 7:31 p.m. Saturday in front of the Aspire Capitol Heights Academy and the Immaculate Conception Parish. By midday Sunday, there was no evidence of the violence the night before. Parishioners milled around the church’s parking lot, eating food and conversing.

Donald Trump Keeps Kicking the Beehive

Now everyone can speak on the record:
If I were to try to document all the evidence that the intelligence community sought to surveil associates of Trump during the campaign, it would make this too long of a post, so I’ll try to do that in a follow-up piece. For now, I’ll just point you to reporting done by Louise Mencsh at Heat Street, Paul Wood at the BBC, and Julian Borger at the Guardian, all of which supports the idea that there was a FISA court warrant issued in October to look at connections between the Russians and members or associates of the Trump campaign.

...Whether or not a FISA Court warrant was issued in mid-October or not may be relevant to what Trump has claimed, both as to whether surveillance occurred and whether it was illegal. But the broader question of surveillance during the campaign shouldn’t be in question. What, after all, do you call a task force that “included six agencies or departments of government” that was set up (in April or shortly thereafter) to look into allegations of collusion?

It’s obvious that collusion is suspected and even believed as an article of faith within a broad segment of the intelligence community, and they’ve been leaking like a sieve about it for months because they’re desperate to keep the investigation alive. But, until Trump invited this congressional investigation, none of these folks had permission or the ability to speak on the record or to testify as to what they know or suspect.

Republican TBD

Damned Elves

We have a lot more than one choice:

Sent to Flood the World

Maybe a transplanted Californian:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE)– Police say a man who claimed he was trying to flood the world was arrested Friday night.

According to a criminal complaint, the resident of a home near Lomas and Central called police saying an intruder was flooding his patio with a garden hose.

The resident reported the man was in his underwear and claiming to be an angel sent to flood the world.

The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

Obama Has Scissors!

Stephen King knows how to do this:
He followed up by saying, “Obama tapped Trump’s phones IN PERSON! Went in wearing a Con Ed coverall. Michelle stood guard while O spliced the lines. SAD!”

And concluded, “Trump should know OBAMA NEVER LEFT THE WHITE HOUSE! He’s in the closet! HE HAS SCISSORS!”

Wistful Memories of Sean Spicer's Good Ol' Days....

Back when he had some clout:
But alas, glory fades. Today’s beloved Easter Bunny becomes tomorrow’s despised, trembling poodle, kicked with disgust by its owner into the foyer to yap futilely at solicitors. No doubt there are times when Sean Spicer still closes his eyes and wishes he were back strapped inside that deliciously suffocating, vision-obstructing, fur bondage suit, where he finally feels loved.

There is No Atrocity Worse than a Geographical Atrocity

"J.Crew's New Mexico T-shirt is a geographical atrocity":
J.Crew has other state-themed T-shirts. Maine, for example, has moose and lobsters and canoes all over the place. Fine, probably accurate, who cares. California has the Golden Gate Bridge generally near where the Golden Gate Bridge is. The cities and lakes of Florida are meticulously identified, all in their correct places.

...But New Mexico? Eh, throw those landmarks wherever the hell. No one lives there anyway.

Nay — we, the downtrodden chile eaters, shall not be silent. We demand respect, J.Crew! J.Crew will not defeat us!!!!

A Good Analogy