Thursday, June 15, 2017

Lawyerly Advice

A Facebook friend who is a lawyer writes (lightly-edited):
Trump is so screwed if he keeps tweeting about the Russia investigation. I have hundreds of stories where "innocent" remarks, or even denials, got people convicted. I once represented a client who burglarized a residence and a road house with a juvenile accomplice. The kid confessed and ratted. But we had a complete defense: you may not convict based on the uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice alone. Unfortunately, when they were releasing my client, the releasing officer said "You really did the road house burglary, didn't you?" to which my smart-ass little client replied, sarcastically, "Yeah, sure!" At trial, I objected to introduction of this statement on the grounds that it was not an admission, but functionally a denial. The judge, with a slight smile, said, "Unfortunately, it's up to the jury to decide how he meant it."

The jury convicted, of course. We appealed. The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of the residential burglary - no corroboration. They upheld the conviction for the road house burglary - the jury could have taken his statement as an admission thus sufficient corroboration. Justice was done.

If you are being investigated for a crime, shut up. Don't say you did it. Don't say you didn't do it. Don't say you were in Poughkeepsie. Just shut up.

Reaping the Whirlwind

I am remarkably pleased with recent events. The proper response delivered to the proper people, for once.

Do these guys think they can keep gun laws loose and strip health insurance from more than 20 million people, causing the early death of tens of thousands, just to provide tax cuts to their rich campaign contributors, and not be held accountable? Apparently so.

These days, with the red-blue divide, vote-suppression, and gerrymandering, Republican politicians are insulated to a remarkable extent from political challenge. No group of politicians has been as insulated from challenge in American history, ever. They can "fire a gun down 5th Avenue," and no one cares. They are Supermen. So, Rand can blubber about slavery in his narcissistic Libertarian way, just like all Libertarians do, as if that's even relevant to anything in the real world. But there are still ways to break through that bubble, as Rand himself experienced. The only question is whether he's learned anything.

I doubt it. We are at the beginning of a long educational process.

Classic Cars of Hollywood

Don't Let Them Out of the House

CORE- Lost Angles

The folks at CORE are the very best!

Plus, this work is very congenial to the Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul aesthetic, with which I'm currently deeply preoccupied as I prepare my revised "Guidebook to Breaking Bad Filming Locations."
You could be a wolf one day
Just howling away
Don’t you look at me though
‘Cause I'm fine
I would never hurt you
You're how I get through
There's a reason
That people move
Or people don't
People change or people
Stay the same completely
When it's such a
It's such a shortened life
So why accumulate it
Only then to leave it
Is it better

Plus, it's nice to see Taylor Payne dancing. I've seen her dancing since she was a tween.

Choreography by Jared Baker
Videography by Andrea Cavaliere
Music by James Vincent McMorrow

Facebook is Coming For You

Mystified by Facebook. Nine months ago, I reported someone. Just now, they were chastised: "Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have warned the reported account against this type of behavior, and we kept your report anonymous. If they continue this behavior, their account may be blocked."

Watch out! Facebook will block you! Sometime after the next Olympics, maybe.

Complicit Productions Presents!

Excellent Time at Margaret's Crowdfunding Dance Day Special

New Ways to Look at the Old Problem Measuring Snowpacks

This is a superb article about new methods to measure the water content of snowpacks. There are lots of variables and current snowpack surveys don't always capture them:
The sampler is marked like a ruler on the outside to measure snow depth, while its hollow center digs out a “core” of snow. That snow is then weighed to determine how much water it contains.

“Manual measurements are still the backbone of the program and will be for the foreseeable future,” Gehrke said.

The technique has worked for more than a century, state water managers say, but it’s not 100% accurate. Since the surveyor must force the tube into the powder, the snow is compressed and over-sampled by about 10%, said Ned Bair, a UC Santa Barbara hydrologist.

The sampler is used on some 250 “snow courses,” or areas where folks like Gehrke and Armstrong will dip it into the snow 10 to 15 times along a 300-meter path.

The snow courses sometimes overlap with decades-old snow telemetry, or SNOTEL, stations. These sites use ultrasonic sensors to measure snow depth and large, antifreeze-filled bladders, or “snow pillows,” to measure the weight of snow gathered on top of them.

SNOTEL stations aren’t foolproof though. They can be smashed by falling trees or avalanches, or damaged by curious bears. The stations also generate inaccurate data when ice forms over a pillow and causes inaccurate weight readings, Armstrong said.

Estimation errors have also become more frequent in recent years, because none of California’s snow courses or SNOTEL sites are located above 12,000 feet altitude — a zone that is increasingly experiencing late-season snowmelt because of climate change.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"The Man With Icy Eyes"

Here is an unusual piece of Italian film noir, "The Man With Icy Eyes," filmed in Albuquerque in 1971, and starring Victor Buono and the beautiful Barbara Bouchet. The film shows many BrBa and BCS filming sites back in the days when neon signs still dominated Central Ave. For example, at the start of the film, the first victim dies at the house directly behind Jesse's (and briefly seen in BrBa). The framed shooter flees in a panic, and tries to run behind Chuck's House. Then there is the Courthouse too.

It's amusing how the needs of Hollywood don't change. They all look for a settled, wealthy, professional or upper-class neighborhood. In Albuquerque, that means they gravitate to the same suite of 20 or 30 homes, decade in and decade out.

I'm amused by the Italian-accented Spanish accents. I was intrigued when a witness suddenly gets a stroke and sits mute in a wheelchair (1:03:30). I wonder if this film influenced the development of Hector Salamanca's character?

There are many personal touchstones: sitting in a sidewalk cafe on a frigid day (a stone's throw from where my mom started working in 1972), a glimpse of Lerners Shops (where I worked in 1974), and a wrestling poster featuring my childhood idol, Ricky Romero. Plus, the bad guys share my name.

The offices of a long-defunct newspaper, the Albuquerque News, were used for the Albuquerque Sentinel. When I was in high school, the father of a friend was a reporter there. We sometimes got advance info about the movements of politicians from him. No one seems to remember that newspaper anymore, even though it wasn't that long ago. Google was useless. The building is now gone. I had to query a website of Albuquerque antiquarians ("Albuquerque Memories") to find even one soul who remembered where that place formerly was.

Interesting blog post here.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

From the Former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox

Republicans Turning the Senate Into a Joke

That's a Mama Dove!

Continuing to paint out front. Finishing the job might be problematic, though. It slowly dawned on me that the dove in the nest is not a baby. That's a mama dove, which means that baby won't be out of the nest for quite a while yet.

Happy Hummingbirds

Raccoon on the Roof

Raccoon on the roof; raccoon on the roof,
Ninja fur ball sneaking fast like a goof,
Your mask does not fit,
Breath like demon's pit,
Soon every dog will resound with a woof.

Julia has a follow-up:

Racoon on the roof, a sad refrain,
His nightly sojourns make me insane,
Across the shingles He patters,
But what really matters,
At least it's not snakes on a plane!