Thursday, August 17, 2017

Idaho Hiatus

Look at the Sun; don't look at the Sun; think about anything other than the Sun.

Don't Trust the Squirrel With a Child's Face

You Are Judged

People don't like being judged, but you know what? You are judged.

Paper Tiger

Trump's threats against Obamacare may have no substance. More poor people will get covered, but there will be huge premium increases for the middle class, if Trump tries sabotage:
After today, however, it might be time to stop worrying and learn to love Trump's bomb threats. According to the new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, ending the cost-sharing subsidies would likely backfire badly for the administration, costing the federal government $194 billion over a decade without fatally undermining Obamacare's exchanges. In fact, the move could even allow some Americans to obtain insurance coverage for free while modestly reducing the number of uninsured by 1 million.
And, in fact, the payments are apparently being made, for now. Trump has other fish to fry right now.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

People Heading for the Exits

Trump is losing the Neocons with Charlottesville. Many of them are Jews. They aren't down with White Supremacy. Trump's losing the Mormons too. Because their religious practice hinges on international outreach. People heading for the exits:

Never Forget

So Much Winning

A friend's Facebook post:
My Sad but True story. So today I was at a four way stop sign intersection waiting to turn left. When it was my turn I proceeded into the intersection and saw a last-minute pedestrian starting to walk across the street in front of my car. I simply slowed down and raised my hand and politely said "Sorry." I then waited for her to safely get to the curb. She scowled at me and angrily remarked "Oh ok Sic Heil." At first I was dumbfounded by the comment. But then I realized she literally thought that I was giving her the Arian Nation Nazi salute. I cannot believe how a friendly wave to a pedestrian turned into something racist. If you need me I'll be inside my house with my shades drawn listening to a.m. radio waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Dillinger House

From 1981-86, my home in Tucson was across the street from the Dillinger House, where the notorious gangster and his gang were captured on Jan. 24, 1934. According to Dary Matera's “The Life and Death of America’s First Celebrity Criminal: John Dillinger”:

"Incredibly, in a matter of hours, the “hick town” Tucson police had captured John Dillinger and his entire inner circle, seized their weapons, and confiscated $27,000 of their stolen money. It was the kind of devastating coup d’etat that eluded the embarrassed law enforcement armies of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and J. Edgar Hoover’s G-Men. To pile on the humiliation, the Tucson cops had done it without firing a single shot."

Even Mitt Gets It

Heading into the Eclipse Apocalypse

Sobering:
August 21st holds a special place in firefighting history. It is the date of the Big Blowup of 1910, when 87 people died across Idaho and Montana when massive winds fanned thousands of tiny fires in tinder dry forests (also after a wet, snowy winter). Primitive firefighting was no match for the flames, and most of the fatalities were firefighters caught in the inferno. Multiple towns were wiped completely off the map, and the then-booming metropolis of Wallace, Idaho, was evacuated among harrowing conditions that saw 2/3 of the town burn down.

...In 2017, however, I fear the worst. I fear hundred to thousands of tiny fires started by eclipse-watchers being blown up by dry, hot winds that are common in the west this time of year. I fear people panicking and trying to evacuate, then getting into accidents that block narrow, single-lane mountain and rangeland roads. I fear hundreds of people trapped in their cars, overtaken by flames, and no way to rescue them or suppression resources to save them. I fear we will finally see the wildfire that kills over 100 people, or many, many more.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Awww! Brian Liked It!

In March, I wrote a memoir about growing up in Corrales in the 60s and early 70s. A friend (Brian Cowlishaw, an English professor at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma) recently read it - and liked it! So, maybe some folks here might too.

Brian writes:
Full disclosure: Marc is a friend, so I'm not an objective reviewer of his work.
One of the greatest tests of memoir, I think, is how urgently it makes you want to get writing your own. By this standard, A New Mexico Childhood is pure gold! Marc writes scenes from childhood in brief, laconic micro-snapshot-style vignettes. Once in a great while, I found this just a tiny bit unsatisfying; I wanted him to go on with the story, tell more about the aftermath and/or his responses. Overall, though, the style works effectively. I got a whole lot of pleasure from reading this book, and I expect you will too, especially if you're, say, over 40!

The book is available here:
Kindle
Paperback
Here's a selection from the book - On The "Women's Report":
I was ten years old and it was Christmas time in Albuquerque, 1966. One of my classmates' mothers hosted a show every weekday afternoon on KOAT TV-7 called "The Women's Report,” a 15-minute daily segment filled with society news from an arid town that had hardly any society. Our 5th-grade teacher, Mr. Chavez, got our entire class invited to stage a Nativity Play. The entire 3:45-4:00 p.m. time slot was handed to us 10-year-old children. Because of my smooth delivery, I was chosen to narrate the story.

It's disorienting enough to enter a TV studio for the first time, but we were flummoxed by the appearance of Uncle Roy, KOAT TV-7’s kiddie-show clown. Uncle Roy already ruled our inner fantasy lives with his cartoons, jokes, natty plaid jacket, bowler hat, and zesty manic edge, but in person he seemed expressionless and inscrutable. It was worrisome; first, that Uncle Roy was a real human being with a real physical existence, and second, that he was there to watch everything we did. What would Uncle Roy’s trained eye see, or not see, in us kids?

The Nativity Play itself was a blur of stuttering, muffled voices. My classmates were petrified at the idea of being on TV. Byron Shealy vowed that he would never let a camera see his face, and he tried to keep his word. Clad as a shepherd, he never stood still, wandering hither and yon, veering away every time the camera's red light pointed his way, hiding behind the foliage and the stuffed sheep. My friend David, one of the Three Kings, forgot his lines and had to be prompted by a girl shepherd wearing a beard.

As Narrator, I gamely struggled on, with the camera relentlessly staring me in the face and impassive Uncle Roy visible in the distance. Towards the end of the play my eyes veered away from the prepared text. Suddenly, I lost my place in the script. I was on the verge of panic! All was not lost, however. Through obsessive over-preparation I had managed to memorize the entire text, and was able to save myself.

And then it was all over. The lights went dark. Uncle Roy disappeared, his judgment unknown. Uncle Roy's studio audience of excitable kids began arriving for his approaching show. Our 15-minutes of fame had expired. We hit the cold pavement outside just as it began snowing....

Elly Award Nominations 2017

Quite to my surprise, DMTC picked up about five or six nominations for the Young Performers Theater's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

Guess I'll have to bitch about something else for the next year.

Michael Chapdelaine Concert in Folsom


There is a California idyll - friends sitting in a back yard listening to music on a bright summer afternoon. Paradise!

Sunday was such a day, with Michael Chapdelaine on guitar. The occasion was a private concert with Alison and Daniel Roest in Folsom. Daniel is Artistic Director and former President of the Sacramento Guitar Society. In the early 90s, I took ballet class with Alison.
Michael Chapdelaine is a Professor of Guitar at UNM in Albuquerque. The purpose of the concert was to raise money to help replace thousands of dollars of musical and video equipment stolen from his Sandia Heights home just outside Albuquerque when he went on international tour.

After the concert, I talked to Michael about the theft. I could tell he remains livid. Very hard to lose all that. Doesn't speak well for Albuquerque either.

We also talked about spectacular bicycling accidents. He has stories to tell....






Swastika

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Politics, Mexican-Style

It's a bad sign when these fights end up on tourist beaches. No one benefits. Blame the recent removal of El Chapo Guzmán, the world's greatest drug lord, who was able to keep things quiet in the past, but is now living in a U.S. jail. His sons Jesús and Iván are prime targets.

In August, 2016, Jesús was kidnapped from La Leche Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, and held for a week. He was held by Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which is a considerable surprise, since Jalisco New Generation and Sinaloa Cartels used to be frequent allies. Jalisco New Generation got angry for some reason. Kidnapping is the Mexican way, even if you don't want to hurt the victim, but just make them squirm.

Life for Los Hermanos Guzmán has continued to be tough. They were ambushed by their father's ally Dámaso López in February, 2017, and barely survived, probably only because they were in the heavily-armed company of one of Mexico's most-powerful drug lords, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada. Dámaso López was arrested in early May 2017.

Now this thing on the beach.

Politics, Mexican-style.
Three people were shot and killed and two others were wounded Sunday when gunmen opened fire at a popular Mexican beach resort that was crowded with tourists, officials said.

The gunmen attacked the group at the entrance to Playa Pamilla in the Los Cabos tourist region at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula.

Mexican and foreign tourists were sunbathing on the beach when the bullets started flying.

“We heard the shots and just ran to get somewhere safe. It was automatic weapons fire,” a tourist told the BBC.

"Breaking Bad" Is Never Far From My Thoughts

Lately I've been puzzling about two matters. When Jesse has a triumph in "Breaking Bad," he is often shown affiliated with electricity and magnetism, for example, by showing him near power lines. Part of this may have been simple joy in the wizardry of technology and "action at a distance."
I was wondering whether Chuck McGill's fear of electricity was conjured when the writers were first trying to establish his character. They may have wanted someone whose character was the polar opposite of Jesse Pinkman's. Lawyers distrust action at a distance and instead get their power by trying to contain information under hermetic seal.

In physical Albuquerque, both their residences are located very close to one another. A clash between them can easily be imagined.

My second concern regarded the semiotics of "Breaking Bad": specifically, clerestory windows. I've noticed these windows are associated with healing in both "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul."

Even though I've eaten there several times, only now did I notice that clerestory windows are present at Garduño's Mexican Restaurant ('tableside gucamole', Season 5b, episode "Confessions"). There is no healing at all in that episode, however. Indeed, the venom was flowing more freely than ever. It's a big challenge to my idea.

If you remove all the bric-a-brac, the interior of the restaurant seems to resemble the interior of a Romanesque church. Maybe Vince was reaching for a different association than healing. A house of worship? With venom spilling everywhere? Strange. There's some subtlety I'm missing.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Can't We Reschedule?

Glen Calls On Elvis

Trump Throws Paul Manafort Under The Bus

But Manafort knows where all the bodies are buried. So, pass the popcorn:
So, six weeks after Trump seemingly admitted that he can use National Enquirer stories as leverage in personal disputes, the Enquirer has published a sensational attack on an individual who may (may!) possess incriminating information about Trump-Russia collusion.

Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell



Glen Campbell, Albuquerque resident and lead guitarist for Dick Bills and his Sandia Mountain Boys, 1954-1960.
"Wichita Lineman" is a song written by American songwriter Jimmy Webb in 1968. It was first recorded by American country music artist Glen Campbell with backing from members of The Wrecking Crew, and widely covered by other artists. Campbell's version, which appeared on his 1968 album of the same name, reached #3 on the U.S. pop chart, remaining in the Top 100 for 15 weeks. In addition, the song also topped the American country music chart for two weeks, and the adult contemporary chart for six weeks. It was certified gold by the RIAA in January 1969. The song reached #7 in the UK. In Canada, the single also topped both the RPM national and country singles charts.

In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" ranked "Wichita Lineman" at #195. It has been referred to as "the first existential country song". British music journalist Stuart Maconie called it "the greatest pop song ever composed"; and the BBC referred to it as "one of those rare songs that seems somehow to exist in a world of its own – not just timeless but ultimately outside of modern music"

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Yaquis See A Jogger

Another Tucson jogging story:

Near I-10 in Tucson, just off W. Grant and behind the smog inspection station, there is a distinct barrio, New Pascua, where many Yaqui Indians live. The Yaquis, originally from Sonora, started trickling into the U.S. in the 1880s, with a big surge after 1910 - refugees from the Mexican Revolution. The Yaquis established several villages in southern Arizona, including, by 1920, New Pascua, on what was then the fringe of Tucson. 20th Century growth engulfed the barrio as the city limits expanded. My customary jogging path ran right in-between the smog inspection station and the barrio.

One day, perhaps during Holy Week, I was jogging past the barrio when I suddenly noticed a number of Yaqui men, in full ceremonial Indian regalia, dancing in a line to the sound of tribal drums – perhaps their famous Deer Dancers. I had never before seen such a thing. I tried to jog past without drawing attention, but the Yaquis saw me. They broke their line dance, rushed up beside me, and began jogging in an exaggerated way right beside me.

The Yaquis were mocking me! I didn't know whether to be angry or to just laugh out loud. I smiled at them and continued jogging. After a while, the Yaquis broke off, and we parted ways, with a few waves and slight smiles.

"Atomic Blonde" Blue Monday

Just love this film! James Bond, reimagined. Blue Monday....



Or, depending on your taste:


Starting A Book About College Days

In March, I finished a book about my childhood. Now, I'm starting one about my college years, and thinking about those days.

I went to grad school at U of A in Tucson. In those days, I used to jog for exercise. Here's one jogging story:

On weekends, I used to jog in the light-industry area northwest of U of A, towards Grant Avenue, and beyond. Strange stuff out there.

For example, there was a welding yard full of metal artifacts, surrounded by a formidable fence, with several large Doberman guard dogs standing guard. They raised a huge ruckus every time I ran by. I taunted them by running back and forth right along the fence, just a few feet away from them, sending the dogs into an unholy frenzy of barking. I’d insert my hand through the fence, then quickly withdraw it as they lunged for an attack. We did this on weekends, for months.

One day, I sent the dogs into their customary howling fits as I jogged past, but I suddenly stopped short. The gate to the yard was wide open! Someone was inside! The dogs could easily reach me! And I could reach them! I was at their mercy, as they were at mine! All antagonists were now uncomfortably exposed.

I quietly walked past the wide open gate. For their part, just feet away on the opposite side of the property line, the powerful guard dogs did the same. Then I resumed jogging and dodging, and they raged in fits once more. Because, after doing this for months, the dogs had come to know me. They didn’t fear me; they just wanted our little game to continue.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Wallet

I need to give technology its due. I came home exasperated after driving all over town without my wallet. I inadvertently grabbed the iPhone and shouted rhetorically, "Where is my fuckin' wallet?"

With bright good humor, Siri answered "Good question!"

(Michael McElroy pictures this.)

Watch Those Plants!

Trump Has Herpes

That's California for you!

(The concerned CALTRANS spokesman mentioned in this story was part of our theater, 1998-2000.):


DIXON, Calif. (KCRA) — An electronic message board on Interstate 80 near Dixon was hacked, allowing someone to type a few words about President Trump.

A KCRA 3 viewer sent in a photo of the sign on Thursday night, which reads, "Trump has herpes."

The hacked sign was originally used to warn drivers about a major road project happening on the Pioneer Bridge. Because of the hack, motorists are not seeing the warning.

"That's an important message for motorists, so they can plan for congestion or take alternate routes," Caltrans spokesperson Gilbert Mohtes-Chan said.

"Atomic Blonde"

Saw "Atomic Blonde": LOVED IT! Like a garish, amped-up version of Deutschland 83, with amazing fight choreography and serious style.




Caveat Emptor

Man sues Republican National Committee and others, accusing them of fraud and racketeering, for raising money by promising to repeal Obamacare, when they knew damn well they couldn't. He wants his donations back. Good luck with that:
A retired attorney in Virginia Beach is so incensed that Republicans couldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act that he’s suing to get political donations back, accusing the GOP of fraud and racketeering.

Bob Heghmann, 70, filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court, saying the national and Virginia Republican parties and some GOP leaders raised millions of dollars in campaign funds while knowing they weren’t going to be able to overturn the law also known as Obamacare.

The GOP “has been engaged in a pattern of Racketeering which involves massive fraud perpetrated on Republican voters and contributors as well as some Independents and Democrats,” the suit said. Racketeering, perhaps better known for use in prosecuting organized crime, involves a pattern of illegal behavior by a specific group.

Shrkeli, Convict

Ultra-special Alt-Right snowflake is convicted. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy:
Businessman Martin Shkreli, once dubbed the “most hated man in America” for raising prices for critical drugs, was found guilty Friday of two counts of securities fraud and one of conspiracy in a federal court in Brooklyn.

The baby-faced and gutter-mouthed 34-year-old, often known as "Pharma Bro,” had been charged with eight counts of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit both securities and wire fraud. He was acquitted of five of the charges, including the most serious, which allowed Shkreli and his defense team to claim victory.

Prosecutors claimed that Shkreli ran what was effectively a Ponzi scheme, defrauding investors by exaggerating his own credentials – for example, claiming that he attended Columbia University. He used their money to capitalize a new drug company, Retrophin, which he then looted to pay them back, they alleged.

Shkreli was acquitted on the charges relating to Retrophin, but convicted of making fraudulent misrepresentations regarding two hedge funds he ran.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Power

For a lark, J. put his Tesla Model X into Ludicrous Mode for maximum possible acceleration (I heard 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds, or about 0.86 g).

I felt the blood drain out of my hands, and felt a surge of blood from the front of my brain to the back. I wondered for a second if I was going to stroke out. And we even ended early, reaching only 50 mph.

These are race car accelerations! Still, the challenging roller coasters can reach 4g, and fighter pilots have worse to deal with. But for a civilian car, quite a shock!

I need aspirin....

Angelyne's Real Identity Is Finally Solved

This is fascinating! She was one of the candidates in the 2003 CA Gubernatorial Recall Election (which I ran in as well):
"This one," he said, pointing at a 1967 Monroe Senior High School sophomore from the San Fernando Valley, third from right, "is Angelyne." A schoolgirl with hooded eyes and long center-parted locks, in a button-down white shirt and tie, stared out across half a century. "Also known as Renee Goldberg."

The Hollywood Reporter has since independently confirmed this is Angelyne's real identity with public records and family members. Far from the archetypal transplant-with-a-dream, as she has tacitly long alluded, she's the locally raised daughter of Holocaust survivors, a Jew who has found refuge in shiksa drag. It's a fascinating, only-in-L.A. story of identity, history and a symbiotic yearning both to be forgotten and to be famous.

...Copies of immigration, marriage and death records pointed to a cloaked prehistory of Renee Tami Goldberg (originally Ronia Tamar Goldberg), which seems to reveal the trauma Angelyne had both emerged and escaped from. She was born in Poland on Oct. 2, 1950, the daughter of Polish Jews who'd met in the Chmielnik ghetto during World War II — they were among 500 to survive out of a population of 13,000, the rest sent to death at Treblinka. According to the documentation — obtained from the International Tracing Service, established by the Red Cross as an archive of Nazi crimes — her parents, Hendrik (aka Heniek or Henryk) Goldberg and Bronia (aka Bronis) Zernicka, endured unimaginable horrors at a series of concentration camps, first together at Skarzysko, where prisoners' main job was to make munitions, and then apart at the 20th century's most infamous hellscapes, including Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen.

...They boarded a ship leaving Haifa for New York and settled in L.A.'s Fairfax District. Her father worked as a tool-and-die mechanic. Then, in 1965, her 44-year-old mother died of cancer. Goldberg was 14.

The next year Hendrik (now Henry) remarried another Holocaust survivor, a seamstress divorcee named Deborah, and Goldberg acquired a younger stepsister, Norma. She and her father moved from the Westside to Panorama City, deep in the San Fernando Valley, where she'd begin high school and Henry and Deborah would run a strip-mall liquor store in nearby Van Nuys. She'd have a brief marriage to the son of a Beverly Hills executive, living in Hollywood with him. Goldberg's paper trail ends with their divorce in 1969.

...Angelyne had single-handedly created and then inhabited a modern myth of L.A.: the platinum blond bombshell in the bright pink Corvette forever circumnavigating the city, seeking to enchant by dint of her sheer superficial glamour. It had the aesthetic power and emotional resonance of genuine performance art, Marina Abramovic by way of John Waters, particularly as she kept on rambling around the city over the decades while she aged.

A Few Political Buttons

I found the Kennedy button in 1976: jarred loose after helping move a desk to a new location.

“Alt-Right” Activists Decide To Pick Up Some Extra Cash

“Alt-Right” activists charter a boat to disrupt migrant rescues in the Mediterranean, and get caught trafficking migrants:
The members were stopped in and deported from a sea port in the self-declared Turkish state of Northern Cyprus Thursday after spending two days in detention for document forgery and potential human trafficking of 20 Sri Lankan nationals who were aboard the C-Star, the campaign’s ship. Turkish Cypriot authorities deported nine crew members, including the ship’s captain and a German “second captain” believed to be neo-Nazi Alexander Schleyer. The authorities also transferred the director of the company that owns the ship, Sven Tomas Egerstrom, to Greek-controlled Cyprus for further questioning.

Watch Your Trampoline

Tucson, AZ.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Time For Ballet Class!

I knew Andrea Blankstein briefly when she was a girl. Now she teaches (with performances):

Monday, July 31, 2017

Napa



Joe Arpaio, Convict

Time to break out the pink underwear and prepare a cot in the hot Arizona sun! Sleazeball Joe Arpaio is now a convict:
(CNN)The lawman who once boasted he was "America's toughest sheriff," could find himself behind bars after a federal judge found him guilty of criminal contempt on Monday.

Former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was accused of violating a court order in a racial profiling case by continuing patrols targeting immigrants. US District Court Judge Susan Bolton handed down her verdict in court papers signed on Monday.

Bolton wrote that Arpaio knew of the court order and what it meant for his department's policy of detaining immigrants to turn them over to federal immigration authorities. But the evidence showed "a flagrant disregard" for the order, Bolton wrote.

"Not only did defendant abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise," Bolton wrote.

The Best Picture of a Microburst Ever Taken


So good!:
The image speaks for itself; it is an astounding shot of the microburst at the exact moment it crashed down from the heavens — 4:34 PM Mountain Daylight Time on Wednesday, over El Paso. The local National Weather Service office found itself in the bull’s eye, with one meteorologist scrambling up to a nearby mountain to snap some other shots of the colossal downburst.

The photo above, captured from a plane by El Paso resident Alfredo Maldonado, is gorgeous; it shows the rush of air dropping to the ground and fanning out in all directions. “I was flying from El Paso to Denver,” Maldonado said. “The flight was on time. It was smooth — no turbulence whatsoever, no wind, no rain.”

But just a few miles away, Maldonado spotted what appeared to be a plume of “water dumping from the sky.”

“I had never seen something so isolated,” he said. His children had the window seat, but he immediately thought to snap this picture — and the weather community is extremely glad he did.

“Just seeing the raw power of Mother Nature was incredible. We could see what almost looked like little waves or ripples where it was hitting the ground,” Maldonado said. “It’s been rainy for the past week, which is always a relief in the desert. Usually we can see where the storms are hitting, and some have flash floods, so these are known to come with force, but this one looked different.”
Microbursts are so dangerous. I recall reading about an airliner takeoff in Tucson in 1976. A microburst hit the runway during takeoff roll. The airliner couldn't gain altitude at first in the downdraft, and actually hit power lines. Then it reached the edge of the downdraft, with its curlicue of rising air, and was saved.

California's National Day of Dance - July 29, 2017

California's State Capitol building in Sacramento, west steps:

Good Day Sacramento:




Videos of Kamila Emilia (KESFit):





Part 2 of video.


Dolly Rizzo's The Majestic Ones



Link to video.




Marc with Kamila.

Mooch, We Hardly Knew Ye!




Watch For Children

Friday, July 28, 2017

He's Mavericky Like That!



I wondered when John McCain voted to allow Senate debate to start the other day whether he planned to sink the ship in a spectacular fashion. I recall seeing commentary that opening debate might be a Pyrrhic victory for the Republican party. Indeed, that proved to be the case:
Video of the vote, tweeted by entrepreneur and activist Michael Skolnik, shows McCain walking to the front of the Senate floor before his name is called, stretching out his hand, pausing and saying “No” loudly enough for all to hear. His colleagues gasp, and some applaud as he makes his way back to his chair.