Wednesday, August 22, 2018

"Something Beautiful"

I'm intrigued with symbolic uses of architecture in BCS. In "Something Beautiful," after stealing the Hummel figurine, Jimmy chases Ira down an alley and into a parking area covered with skeletal gentle arches. Usually gentle arches signify feminine power, but it's unclear whose power is being referenced here. Interesting too is the illuminated gentle arch displayed in the distance down the alley, from the Taco Bell located at 5215 Lomas Blvd NE. In general, bells signify danger and death - “Never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."

JJ Totah in the News

JJ was part of our theater, and he refers to a small town in the story (which is Davis). His sister has tons of talent, but JJ is the one Hollywood made famous:
Former Disney star J.J. Totah has come out as transgender.

In an essay published by Time magazine Monday, the 17-year-old shared her news and announced her new name.

"My pronouns are she, her and hers," she wrote. "I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah."

Totah wrote that while she is grateful for the acting opportunities she's had including in the TV series "Champions" and "Glee" and in films including "Other People," she feels "like I let myself be shoved into a box: 'J.J. Totah, gay boy.' "

"When I was really young, growing up in a small town in Northern California, people would just assume I was gay," she wrote. "On the playground, I was the type of kid who wanted to sing with the girls, not play soccer with the boys. Then I found myself playing that role once I got into the entertainment industry, and people kept assuming my identity."

That included being asked in interviews how it felt to be a young, gay man and being introduced as such while presenting an award for an LGBTQ organization.

"I understand that they didn't really know better," Totah wrote. "I almost felt like I owed it to everybody to be that gay boy. But that has never been the way I think of myself."

Clear-Headed in a World Aflame

She's got the goods:
In her latest revelation about working at the White House and on President Donald Trump’s campaign, Omarosa Manigault Newman released a video of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen boarding a campaign plane around the same time he was reportedly orchestrating hush payments, to a porn star and a model, for Trump.

Manigault Newman released the footage on MSNBC Tuesday evening, just hours after Cohen reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors and pleaded guilty to eight counts associated with his financial wrongdoings.

“The first thing the President is going to say is that ‘Michael Cohen had nothing to do with the campaign, he was just a coffee boy, he wasn’t involved,'” Manigault Newman said, referencing dismissive comments Trump has made about former campaign associates accused of wrongdoing like George Papadopolous and former chairman Paul Manafort.

Holy Crap, This is Stephanie!

Right now, Stephanie is the most-politically-connected person I know. She was among the two speakers who introduced Bernie Sanders at a rally on the west steps of the California State Capitol early in November 2016. Now here she is in some kind of altercation with a Republican state legislator.

If it comes down to a fight between Stephanie and some low-life Republican, I'm with Stephanie a thousand percent! (She works out, so she has the edge):
The California Nurses Association is calling for a lawmaker to resign from the Senate and withdraw his candidacy for the state Board of Equalization after an altercation with its lobbyist at a Sacramento restaurant near the Capitol.

The California Senate is investigating allegations that Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, threatened to “bitch slap” the association’s female lobbyist during an evening fundraiser at The Diplomat Steakhouse.

Anderson was kicked out of the restaurant after allegedly harassing the woman during the Aug. 13 altercation, which he describes as a misunderstanding.

The nurses identified the woman as Stephanie Roberson, the association’s government relations director, and said she filed a complaint with the Senate.

“Specifically, at that event, as witnessed by several people in attendance and restaurant staff, Sen. Anderson engaged in both physical and verbal acts of sexual harassment, that were followed by repeated threats of violence when Ms. Roberson objected to his behavior,” said Bonnie Castillo, executive director of the California Nurses Association, in a statement.

Sources present that evening who asked not to be identified said Anderson appeared to be drunk and asked Roberson why the nurses never endorsed him. Around 8 p.m., witnesses allege Anderson approached her again, became upset and and loudly threatened to “bitch slap” Roberson on more than one occasion.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

My First Crush

Facebook can be amazing. Fifty-seven years ago, I lost contact with my first crush, a girl I knew in nursery school, back when Kennedy was President. Finally reestablished contact! She's fond of geology and helps run this web page:
We, at A COMMON GEOLOGY, endeavor to provide a fresh look at the world of geology for the curious non-geologist and the budding scientist. We plan do this by amassing a catalogue of geologic features and curiosities, at first around the United States then at sites around the world. We take high-resolution, close-up images of rocks, then tell their stories in non-intimidating language without compromising the facts. We introduce our visitors and end-users to the geologic earth through photography, prose, poetry, and music. Through this art-science technique we feel that we can make viewers of all ages into time travelers, stepping back into the Earth’s deep past to learn the workings, history, and future of our planet.

Interview With Terry Wallace

By hook and by crook, I obtained a copy of the NM Tech alumni magazine, "The Gold Pan," featuring an interview with Terry Wallace, former classmate who has recently been named head of Los Alamos Labs. He is among the highest-octane performers of NM Tech's alumni.

I was perturbed by Terry's interview. In a discussion focusing on scientific literacy, Terry offers an example:
Offering the example of climate change, Wallace says there simply isn’t enough general solid understanding to make an argument on either side. “We have moved too much toward assessment outcome rather than just being literate.”

One slick asshole! One of the most important reasons the government supports research is to support action in the face of uncertainty. Terry doesn't support that mission and doesn't even defend the climate scientists and environmental researchers under his direction at Los Alamos Labs - scientists who are under daily attack by well-funded opponents.

Back in school days, I never got close to Terry. I sensed calculation. It's gotten him this far. It won't save him for much longer.

They Just Head On Down The Alley

On Sunday, I talked to an older black man going through the recyclables in the garbage cans in the alley. He told a tale of going through another set of garbage cans in another alley, when a woman came out to recover $3,700 she had inadvertently thrown away in the garbage. "Can you believe it? What a cheap skate! She only gave me $2!" he said. We commiserated about the fecklessness of women who don't just hand away money. Then my friendliness began to worry him. "People don't just become friends on the street - it don't work that way," he said suspiciously. He then headed down the alley.

Later in the afternoon, a Spanish-speaking fellow with some sort of mental challenge was going through the recyclables. He got agitated because there was a loose dog by the garbage cans. Someone had left the front gate to her yard open and Addison, the dog from next door, had escaped and come around to the back gate trying to get back into the yard. "Ella vive aqui," I reassured the man, as I climbed precariously atop a broken piece of furniture in the alley to open the back gate for the dog. The man then headed down the alley.

Sunday evening, I was trying to open the lock on my back gate when someone down the alley began yelling, "Hey! Hey!" I quickly entered my yard and locked the gate behind me, hoping to avoid detection, but I had been spotted. The man continued yelling, "Get a camera! You're going to see something you've never seen before! I've got fireworks! It's going to be AWESOME! Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy BIRTHDAY to me, happy birthday to me!" I retreated indoors and refused to look as the man set off a small display of fireworks by my back hedge, mostly for my enjoyment I guess, before he too headed down the alley.

My Mom Made Sure Tom Lehrer Was a Crucial Part of Our Education

Here's the album my mom had. From 1953.


Caption: This bluff overlooks the spot where many believe Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate met a delegation of Etzanoans. David Kelly / For The Times)

Legends the Spanish Conquistadors heard of Quivira were based on hard facts:
Francisco Vazquez de Coronado came to central Kansas in 1541 chasing stories of a fabulously wealthy nobleman who napped beneath trees festooned with tinkling gold bells. He found no gold, but he did find Native Americans in a collection of settlements he dubbed Quivira.

In 1601, Juan de Oñate led about 70 conquistadors from the Spanish colony of New Mexico into south-central Kansas in search of Quivira in the hopes of finding gold, winning converts for the Catholic Church and extracting tribute for the crown.

According to Spanish records, they ran into a tribe called the Escanxaques, who told of a large city nearby where a Spaniard was allegedly imprisoned. The locals called it Etzanoa.

As the Spaniards drew near, they spied numerous grass houses along the bluffs. A delegation of Etzanoans bearing round corn cakes met them on the river bank. They were described as a sturdy people with gentle dispositions and stripes tattooed from their eyes to their ears. It was a friendly encounter until the conquistadors decided to take hostages. That prompted the entire city to flee.

Red Rock Used Cars

Looking at Albuquerque filming locations, you sometimes uncover surprises. For example, this establishment, 'Red Rock Used Cars', was seen in the movie musical "Rent" (2005). The actual location is a former Putt Putt miniature golf course, 9801 Lomas Blvd. NE, across the street from Los Altos Skate Park.

John's Party

House Sitting Two Dogs And a Cat

Walking the two dogs is a bit of an unruly adventure. Walking past a fenced yard, a pit bull launched a sudden attack, hurling himself into the air and burrowing into the intervening fence. In turn, the dog’s owner, Some Dude in Sunglasses and a Wifebeater Shirt (SDSWS) started screaming at the pit bull and chasing it all around the yard. The SDSWS spectacle had my attention, but the two dogs affected indifference, their victory in the encounter already secured.

Idaho Idyll

This video by my cousin Paul Buzzell shows how my Idaho cousins live the best life!

"Shrek, the Musical" - Woodland Opera House

A Valentine From Gus

Cerebrus Guarding The Gates of Heck

Beat Up Those Grandmothers

A risk-averse police culture that prefers overwhelming force:
An 87-year-old grandmother using a knife to cut dandelions in the woods near her rural Georgia home last week was taken down by a police Taser and arrested, according a police report.

Martha Al-Bishara was arrested for criminal trespass and obstruction of a police officer, according to the report. Chatsworth Police said Al-Bishara did not drop a steak knife despite several commands and a demonstration by officers. At one point, she walked toward officers with the knife, police said.

Ignorance is Bliss

Get rid of pesky quarterly reports, since the less investors know, the better:
In a statement to reporters, Trump said outgoing Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi suggested a six-month reporting schedule.

"I'd like to see twice but we're going to see," Trump said. "So we're looking at that very very curiously, we're looking at twice a year instead of four times a year."

Public companies must report their sales, profits and the state of the company's balance sheet every quarter. That has been required since the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which was put in place to give more confidence and transparency to investors in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash. That act also created the SEC, which sets the regulations which govern those quarterly reports.

Businesses have long complained that the reports require company executives to focus too much on the short term. Juicing numbers impresses investors, but it can force companies to miss out on long term trends. One of the reasons Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk wants to take his company private, he told his employees last week, was the way quarterly reports distort decisions at the company.

Free TV

I guess in celebration of the death of net neutrality, AT&T is upgrading my infrastructure, so I’ll be getting TV and Internet for the same price of Internet alone that I’ve been paying, all on fiber optic cable rather than the system of pulleys and falling dominos used previously. I don’t know how much TV I’ll watch, but I guess it doesn’t really matter.