Thursday, December 01, 2016

RIP, Gilbert Martinez

I never knew him, but knew OF him, as drummer for Miller Hilites.

A Big Slab of Buried Ice at Utopia Planitia

Even though Mars' Utopia Planitia is at mid-latitudes, they can detect a significant slab of water ice buried there - enough to fill Lake Superior:
It was found using a radar mapper on MRO. Called SHARAD, it sends pings of radar down to the surface, which are reflected back up to the satellite and recorded. Different substances reflect radar differently; the rocks on the surface aren’t particularly good at it, which is why the radar can penetrate the ground. Water, on the other hand, reflects radar quite well, so SHARAD can detect water ice down to a depth of a kilometer below the Martian surface.

Scientists focused their attention on a region in Utopia Planitia that features lots of odd, scalloped terrain (aresain?), which is similar to places on Earth in the Arctic that have underground ice. Combining the data from over 600 MRO passes indicates how much ice there is. The area of the ice deposit is over 300,000 square kilometers and the thickness ranges from 80 to 170 meters. So yeah, that’s a goodly supply of ice.

"Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night"

Leighton posted this. I had never heard of this article, but it may well have been the inspiration for "Saturday Night Fever".

My sense in the Seventies was that the revolution in music and lighting technology over the previous decade laid the ground for Disco. I remember seeing discos as early as 1970, but the attraction of listening to a stereo system in a club when it could be better enjoyed in a living room seemed perplexing. Then technology surged ahead, allowing discos to become Sonic Cathedrals. By 1974, the tempo of pop music was accelerating. By 1977, Disco had arrived:
Vincent was the very best dancer in Bay Ridge—the ultimate Face. He owned fourteen floral shirts, five suits, eight pairs of shoes, three overcoats, and had appeared on American Bandstand. Sometimes music people came out from Manhattan to watch him, and one man who owned a club on the East Side had even offered him a contract. A hundred dollars a week. Just to dance.

Everybody knew him. When Saturday night came round and he walked into 2001 Odyssey, all the other Faces automatically fell back before him, cleared a space for him to float in, right at the very center of the dance floor. Gracious as a medieval seigneur accepting tributes, Vincent waved and nodded at random. Then his face grew stern, his body turned to the music. Solemn, he danced, and all the Faces followed.

In this sphere his rule was absolute. Only one thing bothered him, and that was the passing of time. Already he was eighteen, almost eighteen and a half. Soon enough he would be nineteen, twenty. Then this golden age would pass. By natural law someone new would arise to replace him. Then everything would be over.

Carrier Took Trump 'Hostage and Won'

What a joke of a deal:
Sanders key point: If corporations want cushy tax cuts, all you have to do is threaten Trump and say "we're moving to Mexico."

"He has signaled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives," Sanders wrote.

My Sleep is Disordered of Late

I just finished breakfast. It's 3:30 p.m. Feels like the day is slipping past.

Vince Gilligan's Symbolism

I'm continuing to look at symbolism in "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul". I was struck by the similarities in composition between this image of Jimmy McGill's Nail Salon office and Salvador Dali’s 1954 “Corpus Hypercubus”.

Dali was convinced that the separate worlds of science and religion can coexist. I attended a talk a year ago (Davis, CA: 12/10/15) where Vince Gilligan expressed essentially the same thought.

The Interwebs Are Dark

Monday, November 28, 2016

Respect For the Multi-Tasking

Not everyone can do it:
FORT WORTH, TX—Credible sources within your office reported Monday that the guy on the third floor with two computer screens on his desk is not fucking around. "Amazing—he comes in here, sits down next to me and my one sorry-ass screen, turns on his two screens, and starts tearing it up," marketing assistant Todd Piotrowski said as the guy dragged a window from one screen to the other, which sources confirmed was like watching fucking Minority Report or something. "He's got three, maybe four programs open on each screen, plus some sort of group video chat running nonstop—he's going balls to the wall over there. How is he doing all this with only one keyboard?" Piotrowski also speculated that if there’s a limit to how many tabs you can have open in your web browser at once, this guy's gonna hit it.

Praying Mantis Hitchhiker

As I drove off this afternoon, I noticed there was a praying mantis on my windshield. I stopped to put the mantis on a tree trunk. As "The Compleat Idiot's Guide to Volkswagen Repair" notes, we'd all drive more safely if we were strapped on the front of our cars like Aztec sacrifices, but that doesn't apply to baffled insects.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

"Lord of the Trance"

At "An Irish Christmas" last night, I noticed that one of the dancers, Keara Osborne, listed her work with DJ Tommy Trash's "Lord of the Trance". Here is that:

"I Am Cuba" - 'Funeral' Scene

'Funeral' scene from the beautiful 1964 film "I Am Cuba".

"An Irish Christmas"

A Kerry Irish Productions show at the Harris Center in Folsom. Excellent show! But first, dinner at Mimi's.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Squirrel Gets Revenge

Take down a politician:
Howard Brookins Jr., the alderman for Chicago’s 21st ward, had publicly spoken out about a toothy menace plaguing the city’s garbage carts: urban squirrels, which in Brookins’s view were “aggressive,” and aggressively damaging the trash cart lids.

...Brookins was biking along Cal-Sag Trail on Nov. 13, when a squirrel darted into his path. The squirrel cut Brookins’s bike trip short by wrapping itself in the spokes of the alderman’s bicycle. The alderman flipped over the handlebars and landed with such a severe impact that he fractured his skull, broke his nose and knocked out a handful of teeth, the Chicago Tribune reported. A woman who passed by called 911. Brookins was only able to leave the hospital Thursday.

Secret Spaces

Painting yesterday in parts of the basement I haven't seen in a decade, I uncovered a secret nest built then by Cloudy the Bunny. Made me smile to see how carefully it was hidden! Bunnies love secret spaces.

Been Upgrading "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul" Posts

Next April, or so, I will issue a new version (4th Edition) of my "Guidebook to 'Breaking Bad' Filming Locations". I've been busy doing rinky-dink improvements to street and episode references in my blogposts and the draft Guidebook, to help lift the general level of the works. Since there are roughly half-a-million words in the reference blogposts, and nearly 70,000 words in the book itself, even the rinkiest-dinkiest of improvements take a long time to implement. Once Season 3 of "Better Call Saul" starts (sometime in February?) changes will come fast and furious. I have to be ready.

A holiday time is perfect for that effort. It's taken me two full days - I expected it to take two full weeks. Kick ass!

I have two books coming from Amazon in regards to the 1933-34 Chicago "Century of Progress International Exposition". Those books likely contain crucial information for the talk that I'm going to give at the SWPACA conference in Albuquerque in February. I will read with excitement!

I can hardly wait to give that talk in February!

Made a major financial adjustment today. Time to prepare for that fucker Donald Trump becoming President. I'll make more adjustments after the New Year starts.

There are other events coming up. Maybe a trip to Hollywood with Jetta. I have reservations about that trip.

Then, maybe in March (my host Andrew has requested a postponement), a trip to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia! Check out the scene there. Laugh at kookaburras and startle burrowing echidnas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Donald Trump's Conflicts of Interest Will Come Fast and Furious

Everywhere you turn:
“The question for us is: Will Trump as president use the power he has to interfere given he has a financial interest in the outcome?” says Bethany Khan, a spokesperson for the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas.

The NLRB is an independent federal agency with no enforcement power. Its ruling that Trump and Ruffin must begin to bargain with the union will be enforced or overturned by the D.C. Court of Appeals. Incidentally, the chief judge on that court is Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court. As a candidate, Trump had encouraged Republican senators not to hold hearings on Garland’s confirmation. Now, Garland will rule on Trump’s hotel while Trump will fill what might have been Garland's place on the Supreme Court.

Trump will also (in time) appoint judges to the D.C. Circuit, which rules on cases brought against federal agencies like the NLRB, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Finally, Trump (the hotel tycoon) could choose to appeal the D.C. Circuit's judgment to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court would probably not agree to hear the case. But if it did, the NLRB would be represented by the Justice Department, whose head would be appointed by Donald Trump (the president of the United States). Trump v. Trump.

DMTC's Upcoming New Year's Gala, 2017

An evening of food, fun, dancing and hilarity!

Enjoy a great show, delicious dinner buffet and then dancing on the DMTC Stage.

The evening includes:
-Full show
-Dinner buffet catered by ABC Catering
-Live DJ & dancing
-Champagne, sparkling cider & desserts
-Only $50/person

Catered buffet dinner from ABC Catering includes chicken, beef and vegetarian options, salads, rolls, desserts,
a chocolate fondues, and more.

After the show enjoy our live DJ, champagne, sparkling cider and dance the night away on our stage!!!

There is a $2 per ticket facility fee on all tickets

Tickets and information available at

DMTC's "Chess" Promo Video

Trump Lost Most of the American Economy

According to the Brookings analysis, the less-than-500 counties that Clinton won nationwide combined to generate 64 percent of America's economic activity in 2015. The more-than-2,600 counties that Trump won combined to generate 36 percent of the country's economic activity last year.

Clinton, in other words, carried nearly two-thirds of the American economy.

Here's how the researchers, at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, visualized that. You can see immediately what's going on: With the exceptions of the Phoenix and Fort Worth areas, and a big chunk of Long Island, Clinton won every large-sized economic county in the country.

Laure Courtellemont Is Coming To Sacramento On December 2nd!

She is AMAZING! I can hardly wait!:

Laure Courtellemont (Ragga JAM creator) is coming back to Northern California!

THIS TIME THERE WILL BE THREE LOCATIONS: Sacramento, Oakland, Corte Madera (bay area)!

Experience Laure's unique ragga style and learn the basics of dancehall! This will be an experience not to miss! All dance levels welcomed, but come ready to be MOVED & INSPIRED!

What is Ragga Jam? Conceptualized in Paris in 1996, Ragga Jam was born from a profound desire to democratize and to bring this very rich culture, through dance, to the grand public.It’s a pedagogic concept and choreographic vision of the Jamaican culture.For more info visit

There will be 3 LOCATIONS and 2 90 minute sessions at each location.

(excludes PayPal fee)



Friday December 2, 2016
Step 1 Dance & Fitness
1920 T Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
7:30-9:00pm Workshop #1
9:00-10:30pm Workshop #2


Saturday December 3, 2016
Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts
1428 Alice St.
Oakland, CA 94612
3:00-4:30pm Workshop #1
4:30-6:00pm Workshop #2


Sunday December 4, 2016
NOW: New OM World
67 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
1:00-2:30pm Workshop #1
2:30-4:00pm Workshop #2


Hosted by Presenter's Toya & Cat
Toy/Cat Dancehall Mash-Up

Monday, November 21, 2016

This Is Going To Go Viral

A Beautiful Poem About Growing Old

I Can Watch This All Day

GIF at the link.

Just the Beginning

There will be a lot of these confrontations in the days and years ahead. A friend went to the Rally Against Hate yesterday at the Oklahoma State Capitol, and some haters showed up too.

Kanye West Is So Done

I was never a fan, but never denied he was an incredible musical talent. Now he's done. The decay has been evident for years. When I saw this at the end of 2013, I fell off the couch laughing so hard. Next up, the incredibly-talented Chris Brown.

Kanye West Has Canceled The Rest Of His Tour

Mystified. You can't pull this crap even if you're just singing at the mall.:
Kanye West had a good thing going. His Saint Pablo tour was receiving rave reviews, his floating stage created an atmosphere and an energy at his shows that was unmatched by anything this side of Beyonce’s formation tour in 2016, and after all of the success, he even added additional dates to the tour. Then, well, Kanye went Kanye once he hit California. And now, apparently the tour is over, as The Los Angeles Times is reporting that he has canceled the 22 remaining shows between now and the scheduled New Years Eve date at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Things all started when he abruptly ended one of his Los Angeles shows. Then in San Jose he went into a political rant where he confessed that he would have voted for Donald Trump, if he had voted. Finally, in Sacramento, the proverbial sh*t hit the fan, exploded into a million pieces, and flew right back into his face.

Snoop Dogg reacts to the Sacramento disaster.

[UPDATE: And now Kanye is hospitalized:
Sources connected to Kanye tell us he was getting checked out by one of his doctors for severe sleep deprivation while he was at Pasternak's place ... and someone decided to call police.

The hospitalization comes on the heels of Kanye abruptly cancelling the remainder of his Saint Pablo Tour, and launching into a verbal attack on Jay Z and Beyonce.

As we told you, Kim Kardashian flew to NYC early Monday for her first public event since the Paris robbery ... but she's now officially bailed. It's a good bet she's wheels up for L.A.

My House Resembles a Haunted Mansion

Woke up from a disagreeable dream. Mysterious people are living in and dismantling parts of my house that I didn't know existed.

When it rains a lot, I dream about powerful rivers flowing in deep caverns below my house.

My house resembles a haunted mansion. Expect to bump into the dancers from CORE. Or Jack Nicholson with an axe.

Arthur's Birthday Get-Together

Dannette found an impressive-looking cake for Arthur's birthday get-together.

"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat" - DMTC YPT - 11/19/16

Some pictures of bows for Saturday's opening performance of DMTC's YPT's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat":

Sunday, November 20, 2016

"The Bubble"

5.5 Meters!

The northeast coast of New Zealand's South Island near Kaikoura jumped out of the sea with the recent 7.8M earthquake. There is a small piece of the coast that rose a shocking 5.5 meters:

A piece of coastline rose around 5.5 metres during the Kaikoura earthquake, startling survey teams measuring the extent of uplift caused by the magnitude-7.8 quake a week ago.

The amount of uplift along the coastline was highly variable, GeoNet said.

"The startling uplift of ~5.5m at Waipapa Bay is a localised block pushed up between two traces of the Papatea Fault and is thankfully not representative of the whole coastline."


Saturday evening: Went and saw the new sci-fi, first-contact movie "Arrival". Loved it! Here is the theme music:

Sunday evening: It was Joe the Plumber's birthday, so we went to see "Arrival". I saw it last night, of course, so I ended up seeing in twice in one weekend. Excellent music, especially this:

Fun Dancing Today With Travis Algarin, Pepper Von, and Barreto Brothers Zumba

Start of the Serious November Rains in Sacramento

We are about two inches behind for the month for rain, but since the forecast for the rest of the month is pretty rainy, we'll probably catch up.

The Sacramento Angle on Why There are So Many Vietnamese Nail Technicians

Had to start somewhere:
Forty years ago, the Hollywood actor traveled to Hope Village, a Vietnamese refugee camp near Sacramento, California, to meet with a group of women who had recently fled the takeover of South Vietnam by the armed forces of Communist leader Ho Chi Minh. Hedren was aware of the difficulties the refugees had faced and had been trying before her visit to think of a skill or trade she could help the women learn so they could support themselves in their adopted country. When she met with the group, she was surprised to find they were enamored with her manicure.

“We were trying to find vocations for them. I brought in seamstresses and typists—any way for them to learn something,” she told the BBC. “And they loved my fingernails.”

Thuan Le was there for the lightbulb moment. “A group of us were standing close to her and saw that her nails were so beautiful,” she recalled to TakePart. “We talked to each other and said they looked so pretty. I looked in [Hedren’s] eyes and knew she was thinking something. She said, ‘Ah, maybe you can learn nails.’ And we looked at each other and she said, ‘Yes, manicures!’ ”

Can Dish It Out; Can't Take It

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Weird Winter

Puzzling over Northern Hemisphere air flow. Just weird this winter, just like it was weird last winter. The polar vortex is displaced far from the pole, being closer to the Bering Sea and eastern Siberia. That displacement opens up a highway for the air. Warm air is funneling from the North Atlantic right over the pole into western Canada. Too much low pressure over Western Europe and unbelievably high pressure over Russia.

Story of Survival in the Desert

It happens:
Mitkova and Morganstein spent five days walking in the desert without food and with little water.

“In order [to] conserve their water they also drank their own urine,” Gonzales’ email states. “They saw helicopters flying, and actually were able to light a fire to get attention but no one was able to see them.”

The couple is said to have walked to a cellphone tower, where they saw maintenance workers who contacted the Border Patrol.

Mitkova “said that they were nearly dead, exhausted, dehydrated and thought that they were gonna die and then they ran into someone,” said Gonzales’ email, citing Mitkova’s cousin.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Paper Towel Roll Totem Poles

Last year, I saved bunches of paper towel rolls for Stacy, a kindergarten teacher in Davis, for an autumn totem pole classroom project.

Here they are!

All The Dead Trees in California

Just too many:
The California drought has killed more than 102m trees in a die-off of forests that increases the risk of catastrophic wildfires and other threats to humans, officials said on Friday.

The latest aerial survey by the US Forest Service shows there are 36m more dead trees since May in the state and there has been a 100% increase since 2015.

“These dead and dying trees continue to elevate the risk of wildfire, complicate our efforts to respond safely and effectively to fires when they do occur and pose a host of threats to life and property,” the US agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, said in a statement.

The Arctic is Insanely Warm

Second winter in a row:
"It's about 20C (36 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal over most of the Arctic Ocean, along with cold anomalies of about the same magnitude over north-central Asia," Jennifer Francis, an Arctic specialist at Rutgers University, said by email Wednesday.

"The Arctic warmth is the result of a combination of record-low sea-ice extent for this time of year, probably very thin ice, and plenty of warm/moist air from lower latitudes being driven northward by a very wavy jet stream."

Francis has published research suggesting that the jet stream, which travels from west to east across the Northern Hemisphere in the mid-latitudes, is becoming more wavy and elongated as the Arctic warms faster than the equator does.

"It will be fascinating to see if the stratospheric polar vortex continues to be as weak as it is now, which favors a negative Arctic Oscillation and probably a cold mid/late winter to continue over central and eastern Asia and eastern North America. The extreme behavior of the Arctic in 2016 seems to be in no hurry to quit," Francis continued.

Interesting Article on Power Line Dispute in Northern New Mexico

Filling in a hole, apparently:
At a BLM hearing in Hernandez north of EspaƱola on Wednesday night, many non-pueblo speakers expressed sadness or anger over Pojoaque, Santa Clara and Ohkay Owingeh taking unspecified payments from Hunt to allow the line to cross their lands.

...Jan Brooks of Santa Fe said, “I’m dismayed that the pueblo community would capitulate to something so obscene” in return for money for rights of way or leases from Hunt. “This is a corridor to Bandelier (National Monument)” and the route runs near San Ildefonso Pueblo’s landmark and sacred Black Mesa, she said, although it would not cross San Ildefonso land.

Santa Clara Pueblo Gov. J. Michael Chavarria, speaking late in the evening, noted what he called “the negative energy” in the room at Hernandez Community Center.

He said the Santa Clara tribal council has supported the project for five years and that it was important for his pueblo to engage in economic development to benefit social services, education for its children and elder programs.

“We understand that there will be visual consequences,” he said, to some gasps among the crowd. But he asked, “How much have we (the pueblo) lost? Who has been here first? What have we given up? Talk about fences – we only have 55,000 acres that we can call home.”

Recent New Zealand Quakes

From Geonet: They don't call them the Shaky Islands for nothing.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Just Wow!

The shoreline near Kaikoura changed in an instant:

Dramatic aerial pictures reveal the scale of the devastation caused on the coastline north of Kaikoura, on the country's South Island.

Scientists say the seabed lifted an estimated two metres on the foreshore and admit they have never seen anything like it.

It comes as rain and strong winds battered central New Zealand on Thursday, threatening further damage - just days after the quake killed two people and sparked with huge landslides.

More than 1,000 tourists and residents have since been evacuated from the small seaside town by a fleet of helicopters and a naval vessel since the 7.8 magnitude quake struck early on Monday.

Only Opposition Works

The lesson of the Republican opposition to Obama is, obstruction absolutely works in today's Washington. It's the only thing that works. That is why it is important to obstruct every single thing Trump attempts, no matter how small. Because only that approach will work:
One of the saddest things about this election is that it thoroughly vindicated Mitch McConnell’s strategy of massive obstruction. Obama had a general faith that the Republicans would be punished for this tactic. In one sense Obama was right: the approval rating for Congress is 15 percent. But the Republicans who brought us this dysfunctional Congress just got much stronger.

Trouble Navigating

Interesting to crowd-source an experiment on the onset of dementia.
The game anonymously records the player's sense of direction and navigational ability as they work their way through the levels.

Some require them to weave through waterways and fire a flare back home, while others challenge them to memorise a sequence of buoys and then sail round them.

Data harnessed from the flare levels is the first to have been analysed, by scientists at University College London.

And it suggests the sense of direction declines consistently after the teenage years.

Players aged 19 were 74% accurate at firing the flare back home, but accuracy fell year by year until it reached 46% at age 75.

Dr Hugo Spiers told the BBC: "What we're able to announce to the world is it does decline across the lifespan, the ability to shoot the flare back to the target - that sense of direction."

The data also suggests men have a slight better sense of direction than women and that the Nordic nations outperform the rest in the world, although it is not yet clear why.

The Trump Administration Will Be For WHITES Only

I have to agree with this. The Trump administration is WHITES only. There is no role for anyone who isn't COMPLETELY WHITE, and there is no reason for anyone else to cooperate with them on any level:
Warren and Sanders are wrong, and in a way that signals a significant misreading of the landscape on the part of the most influential Democrats. The simple truth is that Trump’s use of explicit racism—his deliberate attempt to incite Americans against different groups of nonwhites—was integral to his campaign. It was part and parcel of his “populism” and told a larger story: that either at home or abroad, foreigners and their “globalist” allies were cheating the American worker, defined as a white working-class man with a factory job. To claw back the dominion he once enjoyed—to “make America great again”—Trump promised protectionism and “law and order.” He promised to deport immigrants, register Muslims, and build new infrastructure. This wasn’t “populism”; it was white populism. Writes historian Nell Irvin Painter for the New York Times: “This time the white men in charge will not simply happen to be white; they will be governing as white, as taking America back, back to before multiculturalism.”

Nothing To Look At, Move Along

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Stress in Kaikoura

I didn't realize the quakes were happening all the way up to Wellington. That's a long way! That whole northeast corner of the South Island is a mess. The land rose out of the water 2 to 2.5 meters north of Kaikoura. The earthquake altered the South Island's shape!
Early indications are that this is one of the most complex earthquakes ever recorded on land. This complexity means we have had to take extraordinary efforts to determine the magnitude, depth, and locations …

Due to the size of the quakes, we’ve gathered data from our entire network of seismic stations. All of these stations would not normally need to be included in magnitude estimates.

Further, our techs at GeoNet went out to several sites which we lost communication with and we have now been able to upload this information, so we have a more complete understanding of the ground deformation and strong-motion data.

Finally, our science teams have been working tirelessly, going up and down the affected areas and measuring the length of faults and how much they moved. Their efforts have provided us with a clearer picture as to the size and length of the ruptures.

Based on all these ongoing efforts, we can say with some confidence that the earthquake was an M7.8.