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.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

DeHoarding Myself

For years, I never got around to reading all my magazine subscriptions. I put them in boxes in the basement *for later*.

Well, now is later. I want to be *more nimble* as I get older. I can't *be nimble* with boxes in the basement full of magazines.

So, I'm looking through them, cutting out interesting articles as I see them, and throwing the rest into the recycling bin.

I should be there for a few more months.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Bella is declining pretty swiftly. Her stamina is gone. These days, we take two short walks a day - one in the daytime and one at night, rather than going on one long nighttime walk. Bella rebelled against using the cart I assembled for longer walks - it's just too unnatural for her. She prefers to sprint on her three legs to reach one of several nearby patches of lawn, and rest there until she has enough energy to sprint home. She worries about wandering too far from home - a first, for her.

For me, the short walks are dull. We watch people and animals walk past, and listen to distant traffic. There is a palm tree growing in the corner of the cemetery near where we rest at night, and I spend my time watching it, since I can hear an animal (a raccoon at home?) rustling among the fronds. One of these nights, I'll actually get to see it.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dread Boomers Strike Again

In general, Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts usually focus on making sure the elderly and infirm get to the polling booth, but this year, due to the dread Boomers favoring Trump, it's better to focus on young mothers, harried shift workers, and college students.

Privacy and the Frontiers of Technology

Beyonce - Daddy Lessons (Auburn Road Cover)


Arsenals of fear:
The study, released before publication to the Trace and the Guardian, estimates that nearly half of the 265 million guns now owned privately belong to just 3 percent of Americans. Though most of the country’s 55 million gun owners possess one to three guns, about 7.7 million owners have eight or more.

Most of the guns added in the last twenty years are also handguns, often procured for self defense, the Trace reported. Smaller guns like revolvers and pistols have boosted the percentage of handguns to 42 percent of the national stock, compared to just 34 percent in 1994.


What Orwell could never get over when reporting on the Spanish Civil War was the sudden, disorienting communist propaganda flip-flops, whereby fighters for the people became enemies of the people, overnight. Orwell ended up sleeping in a cemetery, for fear of arrest.

Trump's Birther flip-flop is just like Communist flip-flops of yore. These were among the reasons Americans used to hate communists. Hell, a Birther soldier refused to deploy to Afghanistan, got court-martialed, and is in prison now. How would Trump explain the flip-flop to him?

Trump employs gaslighting and other forms of psychological abuse when campaigning among the American electorate. Bitch-slapping is an unusual way to campaign. The question is, does it work?

At least my house is adjacent to a cemetery. I may be sleeping there next year:
The Trump campaign is making a bet that it can barrel through the debates without offering an honest accounting of birtherism. That he and his surrogates can gaslight media elites and passive news consumers about Trump’s role in coopting the birther movement, and turning it into an intimidating source of right-wing grassroots politics.

As grotesque as their effort is, and as nakedly as it reveals the Trump campaign’s disdain for media and the news-consuming public, it is not an entirely new strategic innovation. Don’t-believe-your-lying-eyes revisionism has a lengthy pedigree, and a mixed record, in conservative propaganda. And though it is unlikely to prevail in this instance, we’ve never seen it put to use at such a high level of Republican Party politics. The emergence of birther-truthers within the GOP leadership is the most fitting testament to the way Trump and the Republican Party are now one and the same.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Twisty-Stick Bugs II

Bella's been a good girl, so tonight I drove her over to the Safeway supermarket parking lot, her happy place. Bella found discarded slices of pepperoni there, plus a few other goodies.

The hour leading up to 2 a.m. is always interesting at Safeway, since every drunk within a two mile radius tries beat the clock for purchasing alcohol. Had to dodge a Party Bro urinating in the landscaping.

There's nothing like the sight of a limping dog to bring out concern among people, particularly women. One young, hot, drunk preschool teacher fawned all over Bella, who was only too happy to return her kisses.

"Did you do as I suggested?" a woman suddenly called out from her red vehicle. Oh no, it was the Twisty-Stick Bug Lady again!!!

I admitted I hadn't doused Bella's foot in insecticide, as she recommended at our last meeting. "What do you have to lose?" she said. "Look, look at this," she said as she got out of her vehicle. She was dressed in holiday wear bearing images of cartoon characters. She pointed at the sole of her foot. "See these three points? They might be hard to see - I was down by the river today." I didn't see anything, but I nodded yes. "Ant-roach spray really saved me here!"

"Look, look, do you see the white spot on my shoulder?" I remembered seeing that spot from our previous meeting. She said at that time that she had forced a Twisty-Stick Bug out of her skin there. Tonight, her story changed.

"I still have a Twisty-Stick Bug here in my skin. I could chase it out, but - but, I have my reasons for keeping it. I can't reveal ALL my secrets at once!" I suddenly realized she was getting flirtatious. It was time to go home.

I wonder if she incubates Twisty-Stick Bugs? Something like the plot to the movie Alien?

Upon arriving home, I took Bella out of the car. When I turned around, Bella hopped back into the car. She wanted to go back to Safeway.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fifth Element Diva Song - Evgenia Laguna

Having a Sad

There just isn't enough pepper and Diet Pepsi in the world.


It's a formula. You should know that by now:
Things went very differently. The press conference proved instead to be Trump’s troll of the media, a rick-roll—as everyone called it later—on the grand scale. It was effortlessly brought off and all it required was a manipulation of media incentives and cable news control-room politics, plus a carefully arranged use of space and taxpayer-funded security detail. You can have all your earnest thinkpieces about false balance and the like; Trump’s event on Friday was enacted media criticism.

MSM Media Are Such Chumps.

They never learn. They never, ever learn:
"To be clear, we have been told this event would be an event where Donald Trump would address his past trafficking in the birther issue, the notion that President Obama was not born in the United States," Berman said. "He opened the event making a plug for his hotel, it is a new hotel, so in a sense, you could say he was leveraging five years of birther conspiracy to promote his hotel."

Thursday Fierce Funk

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Nightmare Before Christmas Live

This is awesome! The most-influential animated film of the Nineties, by far, come to life!

Can't Wait Until Election Day!

Of Course!

Andrea's Cat

Helped out there. The cat died, and Andrea had trouble with the idea of handling the cat's body which we took to Banfield's Truxel location).

Quiet Ambles

Pretty quiet ambles around the local neighborhood. Last night, we ducked down a side street and endured the Gauntlet of Dogs (who were all spooked by the rattly cart and odd-looking Bella). Tonight, Bella found remains of an egg roll in a parking lot. Makes it all worthwhile for a canine.

Expositions of the Thirties

1933-34 Century of Progress World's Fair

So influential!

1936 Texas Centennial

Strippers and fighting dinosaurs. Not a bad idea!

San Francisco World's Fair 1939

This looks like it would have been fun!

Trouble For The Virus

In real trouble now:
WASHINGTON—Expressing regret over its reckless decision to infect the Democratic presidential nominee, the virus causing Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia was reportedly terrified Monday after remembering what the Clintons were capable of. “Oh shit, what the hell was I thinking—you don’t get on the wrong side of these people,” said the infectious agent, which became increasingly worried while recalling just how far the Clintons were willing to go to get what they wanted, as well as what often happened to those who dared to cross the powerful politicians.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Walks With Bella Continue

In light of the paralysis of her right front leg, walks with Bella are now sharply-limited in scope.

In light of the failure of Friday night's wheelbarrow experiment, on Saturday, I purchased a hand truck that converts into a cart, in order to give Bella the option the option of riding rather than hobbling through vacant stretches of pavement. So far, Bella seems to grasp the concept, although she hasn't yet learned to jump up on the cart when she is tired. We haven't run into many homeless people yet, but so far their reaction seems to be, "hey, nice cart." Oh, and "poor dog."

So, walks with Bella continue, for now.

As If There Ever Was A Question

"Hell or High Water"

Tonight, I went to the Tower Theater to see "Hell or High Water" with Jeff Bridges. My interest, of course, is that the movie was filmed in New Mexico (with many scenes set in Portales, Clovis, and Tucumcari), but it also has a sky-high 98% critics rating on the Tomatometer (Rotten Tomatoes).
The movie feels as if "No Country For Old Men" and "Breaking Bad" had a child together. The personal interactions in the movie seem cobbled together with bits and pieces from both influences. I disliked the first half of the movie, but the action sequences are awesome, so the second half is great. There are some logical jumps I didn't like (but, hey, it could be worse).

Some scenes are also set in Albuquerque, and what looks like the Route 66 casino west of town, with the awesome action sequences set in To'hajiilee.

I notice that Albuquerque-acquaintance Jackamoe Buzzell is an Archer City, TX, deputy in the movie (we are likely distantly-related, since both our families hail from Maine).

I really like the opening establishing shot of the movie, featuring Dale Dickey (Skank, from "Breaking Bad") and the (Streamline Moderne style) Three Crosses of St. James Episcopal Church, 1117 Main Street in Clovis, NM.

Donald Trump On 9/11

Never a low too low for Donald Trump:
A long Politico piece that looks at what Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were doing on Sept. 11, 2001* and how it shaped them, begins with an interesting little nugget that few people probably remember. On that fateful day, when everyone was struggling to understand what had just happened, Trump seemingly had no hesitation to brag about the fact that his building was now the tallest in Lower Manhattan.

Wheelbarrow Experiment

Jan graciously gave Bella some dog treats, which she has already started digging into. Thank you!

I'm astonished by the speed of Bella's deterioration. On Monday, I thought her limp was getting worse. By Friday, her right front leg stopped working altogether. It won't be long at this pace. Oddly, she doesn't seem to be in much pain. A small favor.

Friday night, I experimented by pushing Bella around in a wheelbarrow. We didn't get very far down the sidewalk, but at least we spent some time together. We even heard a raccoon in a tree, but these days Bella isn't much of a threat to them - more the opposite.

Burning Man 2016 Videos

Have yet to go. It looks awesome!