Friday, May 03, 2013

Good Upbringing/ Bad Upbringing

Now, I suppose, we'll hear how this shooting shows bad upbringing, whereas the Crickett rifle accident in Kentucky shows good upbringing:
A judge in Arizona on Thursday order a 35-year-old grandmother held in lieu of $500,000 bond after she was charged in the death of her 3-year-old grandson, who allegedly shot himself in the face with her handgun.

In a court appearance on Thursday, Yuma Justice of the Peace Greg Stewart notified Rachel B. Spry that she was charged with reckless manslaughter, possession of dangerous drug, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession or use of a weapon in a drug offense, according to the Yuma Sun.

The Yuma Police Department said that officers had arrested Spry on Wednesday after reports of a child being shot. Her grandson, 3-year-old Darrien Nez, was later pronounced dead at Yuma Regional Medical Center.

Court documents indicated that Spry had placed her 9mm handgun in a backpack and left it on top of a dryer while helping her daughter pack for a move. She had seen her grandson come into the room where the backpack was located, but she continued packing. About five minutes later, she heard a gunshot.

The court records also claimed that a methamphetamine pipe was found in the same backpack as the gun, and that she had admitted to using the drug the evening before the shooting occurred.

Dr. George Fischbeck To Be Honored

This is real nice!:
Dr. George Fischbeck is 90 and effusive as ever, his giddiness over the phone like someone speaking to a long-lost friend.

To those of us who grew up in Albuquerque in the ’50s and ’60s, he was a friend – a funny, frenetic one with a bushy mustache and bow tie who beamed black and white through the magic of television into our fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms to teach us science.

Oh, he was a zany one, this science guy, creating his mad little world out of beakers and boxes of spiders and snakes and anything he could come up with to prove his hypothesis that his world, our world, was pretty wonderful:
Wall of Fame dedication: 11:30 a.m. July 8, Alvarado Transportation Center. Reception to follow.
Dr. George Day at the Ballpark: 7:05 p.m. July 9, Albuquerque Isotopes Stadium.
Book signings also planned at various locations. “Dr. George – My Life in Weather” is available at, Barnes and Noble and local bookstores.

What Fischbeck proved along the way was that he was pretty wonderful, too.

“Adios, muchachos, muchachas,” he’d say as he wriggled his mustache at the close of each program, filmed in the tiny studios of public broadcasting station KNME-TV, Channel 5. “See you again, real soon!”

We saw him again for 12 years. And then we didn’t.

In 1972, Fischbeck left for the bright lights of Los Angeles to become one of the most celebrated TV weather guys in Southern California history – still a teacher in many respects, but with a much bigger classroom.
...Fischbeck’s memoir chronicles his life from his earliest days as a New Jersey farm boy to his unexpected rise to fame as an LA weather guy Marlon Brando called personally for forecasts.

Fischbeck’s memoir also reflects upon on his love affair with Albuquerque, lured here by the anthropology program at the University of New Mexico and rooted here by the students he came to know.

In 1959, the KNME program director asked Fischbeck, then five years into his teaching career, whether he might be interested in an experimental 30-minute TV science program for Albuquerque students. A year later, “Science 5″ was launched. The program later expanded its audience to schools in 25 cities across the country.

“It was an absolute joy to be a part of,” he writes. “I wasn’t nervous, because it didn’t seem like television. It was a classroom, and I was the teacher.”

In 1970, he was approached by KOB-TV, Channel 4 – then second in ratings to KOAT-TV, Channel 7 – to anchor the weather report for the 6 and 10 p.m. weekday news alongside news anchors Johnny Morris and Gordon Sanders and sports anchor Mike Roberts.

Within weeks of his joining the news team, KOB shot up to the top-rated news program in New Mexico.
Dr. Fischbeck was my childhood inspiration!

He was the first TV Celebrity I ever encountered. I remember taking a train trip (of only two in my childhood - and, I think, maybe ever in my life) from Albuquerque to Lamy, NM, and back. I think it was part of a Cub Scout activity, probably about 1966. Dr. Fischbeck was on the trip. I sidled up to him while he sat at a table and pondered a chess board with three other Cub Scouts, and murmured something like: "Good morning, Dr. George Fischbeck." Lost in thought, he didn't hear me. I sidled off, appalled by my foolishness at approaching someone as famous as he, and expecting a response.

Nevertheless, he remained my hero. I was also impressed how, for a time, as he conquered the LA television scene, he still did the unheard-of thing of traveling back to Albuquerque on weekends, just because he liked to do so.

Here he is in 1980:

Third Weekend Of "Oklahoma!" Is Here!

New Mexico Edges Nebraska For Worst Drought In The Country

I've never seen anything like this drought!:
New Mexico this morning rose to the top of one of those lists of US states that you don’t want to be on. Drought conditions here are now the worst in the nation, according to this morning’s federal Drought Monitor:
Meanwhile, the fire near Placitas is 50% contained.

Crickett Rifle Takes Down Its Website And Closes Its Twitter Account

Well, got to start somewhere, I suppose. But the totally-predictable damage is done:
Firearms made for minors represent a new market for gun makers, said Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center. As the gun market has been saturated, Sugarmann said, gun makers have followed a “path trailblazed by a wide range of other industries, particularly the tobacco industry, and focused its efforts on women and children.”

Yet despite the availability of triggers for tiny fingers, gun makers and marketers are hesitant to actually spell out what age a child should be before handling his or her first firearm, said Sugarmann.
They start early in Kentucky:
In rural southern Kentucky, far removed from the national debate over gun control, where some children get their first guns even before they start first grade, the accident stunned the community.

Kristian’s rifle was kept in a corner of the mobile home, and the family didn’t realize a bullet had been left in it, Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said.

...“The whole town is heartbroken,” Phelps said of Burkesville, a farming community of 1,800 about 90 miles northeast of Nashville, Tenn. “This was a total shock. This was totally unexpected.”

Sacramento Ballet - Solos, Duets, And Trios - UC Davis' Mondavi Center - 5/2/13

Vanderhoef Studio Theatre was the location for one of UC Davis' Mondavi Center's Studio Dance Series Events: Sacramento Ballet - An Evening Of Solos, Duets, And Trios.

It is really nice to see dances in a more-intimate setting. In part II, I was actually sitting in the first row, and there is something magical to seeing the dancing so closely that you could stand up yourself and enter the dance.

I missed the Dancer Films just before the event.

Hard to say what I liked best. Probably 'Tarantella' with Lauryn Winterhalder and Christopher Nachtrab, because of its relentless energy, followed by 'Wunderland (Excerpt)' 5th Movement, with Alexandra Cunningham and Stefan Calka.

I really liked 'Scars Already Seen', choreographed by Nicole Haskins, and featuring Ava Chatterson and Stefan Calka. Nicole Haskins is really an excellent choreographer, with a designer's eye, and full of interesting surprises. If there was anything wrong with the dance it was that the dance was too brief.

There were several crowd-pleasers: 'Jazzin', with Ava Chatterson; 'I Think I Love You' with Lauryn Winterhalder and Rex Wheeler, and 'Mexican Trio', with Amanda Peet, Christopher Nachtrab, and Oliver-Paul Adams. Amanda Peet danced a Tchaikovsky pas de deux with Richard Porter, but decided not to appear later, because of an annoying injury.

There was a particular ballet movement I really liked. Who was it? Ava Chatterson or Lauryn Winterhalder? She extended her leg - a développé - toward her partner, while holding hands with him, all the while rotating around a common center between them. She displayed no hesitation or indication that there was anything difficult about it at all. The circle was perfectly-round.

That reminded me of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and Richard Feynmann's investigation of it. He made a very valuable point regarding just how difficult it is to keep round things round:
Then I investigated something we were looking into as a possible contributing cause of the accident: when the booster rockets hit the ocean, they became out of round a little bit from the impact. At Kennedy they're taken apart, and the sections—four for each rocket—are sent by rail to Thiokol in Utah, where they are packed with new propellant. Then they're put back on a train to Florida. During transport, the sections (which are hauled on their side) get squashed a little bit—the softish propellant is very heavy. The total amount of squashing is only a fraction of an inch, but when you put the rocket sections back together, a small gap is enough to let hot gases through: the O-rings are only a quarter of an inch thick, and compressed only two-hundredths of an inch! I thought I'd do some calculations. NASA gave me all the numbers on how far out of round the sections can get, so I tried to figure out how much the resulting squeeze was, and where it was located—maybe the minimum squeeze was where the leak occurred. The numbers were measurements taken along three diameters, every 60 degrees. But three matching diameters won't guarantee that things will fit; six diameters, or any other number of diameters, won't do, either. For example, you can make a figure something like a triangle with rounded corners, in which three diameters, 60 degrees apart, have the same length. I remembered seeing such a trick at a museum when I was a kid. There was a gear rack that moved back and forth perfectly smoothly, while underneath it were some non-circular, funny-looking, crazy-shaped gears turning on shafts that wobbled. It looked impossible, but the reason it worked was that the gears were shapes whose diameters were always the same. So the numbers NASA gave me were useless.
So, basically, Sacramento Ballet can do things that NASA didn't realize it couldn't do.

Dancers leaving the stage after the post-show Question-and-Answer session.

Rain In Forecast For Northern New Mexico On Monday

We'll see. These days, all rain seems to stop at the border.

Even Better Than Late-Night Albuquerque TV Ads

Staying Current With Young-People Speak

Aussie Star Wars

Thursday, May 02, 2013

CO2 Levels Will Reach 400 PPM Soon!

Things just keep deteriorating.  We are going to reach 400 pm this year - it was less than 300 ppm when I was born.

Yeah, Where Do All These Low-Information Americans Come From?

Important Texas Milestones

I did not know this:
Ya'll know, of course, that Jimmy Buffett wrote "Margaritaville" in Austin in 1976 after tasting his first margarita at Lunga's Cocina del Sur restaurant, which was at the former Fuddrucker's location in the Village Center strip mall on Anderson Lane. After drinking that first margarita at Cocina del Sur , Jimmy sat on the deck of the house at which he and the Coral Reefer band were staying and began singing some lyrics about flip-flops, pop-tops and a lost shaker of salt.

I'm always struck by the randomness of history. What would have happened had Jimmy had whiskey sour that night? "Wasted away in whiskey sourville" just doesn't have the same ring.

But it's true: Margaritaville was written in Austin, as so many other good songs have been.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The Big Banana

I understand the temptation:
An innocent carnival arcade game turned into a vicious cycle for Henry Gribbohm of Epsom, New Hampshire, who spent his entire life savings, only to walk away with a giant banana. ... “You just get caught up in that whole ‘I’ve got to win my money back,” said Gribbohm, who ultimately lost the game. However, he did return the the next day to plead his case, and the vendor agreed to give him back $600, along with a giant banana clad in a Rasta wig.
I read once, years ago, that the EU regulates the appearance of false bananas, including something like this, so that infants don't eat them. Americans aren't so fussy.

Anyway, I hope this fellow never visits a casino.  Bananas are just the beginning.

Learning From The Master

Mr. Potter Is A Republican

Listening to Rush Limbaugh this morning was interesting. He was talking about the importance of community in conservative life, and strove to label the character of Mr. Potter in Frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life" as a Democrat. But Mr. Potter isn't a Democrat - George Bailey is: a Roosevelt Democrat. Mr. Potter is a Hoover Republican:
Throughout the entire film, Henry F. Potter is a heartless, cold, apathetic, and downright evil man. Everything that Mr. Potter does in the film is motivated by money and greed. Be it "saving" George Bailey's clients during a bank run or offering George the job of his dreams, all are thinly veiled plots to fill his own wallet.

...Though he is also a mill owner, banker and slumlord, Mr. Potter is a businessman at heart. If there's one thing he's talented at besides making people's lives miserable, it's his ability to manage, plan, and keep order. During the whole length of the film, he seems particularly deft in the ways of finance and business, much to the chagrin of the good people of Bedford Falls. His business propositions may seem fair, even charitable at first, but his ulterior motives are of a far more sinister nature. Thus, he will stop at nothing so long as it means more money in his coffer and the downfall of the Bailey Building & Loan. In his first appearance in the film, he is seen being transported in a decorative horse and buggy, which causes the Angel 2nd Class Clarence Odbody (who is researching George's life) to ask "Who's that, a king?", to which his superior, Joseph, answers "That's Henry F. Potter, the richest and meanest man in the county!"

...Potter is annoyed at Peter Bailey for refusing to foreclose on debtors who are past due, whereas Peter rebuts by saying the economic downturn has hit people hard, which will only be worsened by immediate foreclosures. When Henry Potter berates the elder Bailey, this infuriates the younger Bailey, who interrupts the business meeting to tell Potter he is nothing but mean-spirited. To Potter, this action by George convinced him further that the Bailey clan was annoyingly upstanding.

...In one scene, Potter scoffs at the idea of a lowly man such as Ernie Bishop, the taxi driver, receiving a loan because George can vouch for his character. Potter snorts, "What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class." At that, George Bailey protests that those hard working people deserve a decent standard of living such as owning a properly equipped home, which the reasonable loans provided by the Building and Loan makes possible.

...In this, George's ultimate moment of need, Potter merely taunts the desperate George cruelly.
Look at you... you used to be so cocky. You were going to go out and conquer the world. You once called me "a warped, frustrated old man"! What are you but a warped, frustrated young man? A miserable little clerk... crawling in here on your hands and knees and begging for help.

Business Is Booming

Texas slimeballs have their panties in a twist over this cartoon. Eff them, I say.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater - 'Wade in the Water' from "Revelations"

Tonight, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed their signature piece, "Revelations" (1960) at UC Davis' Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. I believe I've seen "Revelations" at least twice before in its storied career. Never get tired of that Gospel feeling. 'Wade In The Water' is the most iconic part.

Petite Mort - Jirí Kylián - Nederlands Dans Theater

Tonight, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed this piece, Petite Mort (1991) at UC Davis' Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts (performed in these videos by Nederlands Dans Theater).

I LOVE Jirí Kylián. I think he is the greatest living choreographer. I could watch this forever!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ballet Class Reunion Party

On Saturday, I visited Victoria and Dorothy Johnson in their new Elk Grove residence. Victoria (taking photo) was one my ballet instructors until 2009. Dorothy is her mother, and both are former ballet professionals. The occasion of our get-together was the retirement of Helen Pelton (left), and departure to Ohio. Here, Helen, Dorothy, and myself pose.

Jason Phillips - Lego House by Ed Sheeran (Acoustic Cover)

Jason came to see "Oklahoma!" at DMTC this last weekend.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Jetta Says Watch "America's Got Talent" On June 4th

Jetta returned from LA last night, and finally revealed where she had been.

"They treated me so nice on 'America's Got Talent'. So nice! Howard Stern liked me. I know: he even touched me! It's the craziest thing I ever did. I can't say anymore!"

So, watch "America's Got Talent" premiere on June 4th to see what Jetta's been up to!

Maybe That Coup D'Etat Wasn't Such A Good Idea

Cruella Day O'Connor has second thoughts:
Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says she has second thoughts on whether the Supreme Court should have accepted Bush v. Gore -- the deeply controversial case that effectively decided the 2000 presidential election.

"It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue," O'Connor told the Chicago Tribune editorial board last Friday. "Maybe the court should have said, 'We're not going to take it, goodbye.'"

In a 5-4 decision at the time, O'Connor voted with four other Republican-appointed justices to shut down the recount in Florida, the decisive state in the election.

"Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision," the retired justice told the Tribune editorial board. "It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn't done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day."

O'Connor, the first woman Supreme Court justice who retired in 2006, lamented that the case "stirred up the public" and "gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation." Legal experts have noted that the Court has not cited the decision even once since it was made, which some interpret as a testament to its soundness.

I Wish My Molar Was Indestructible

When departure from the norm is a bad sign. After lots of drilling this morning, my dentist stood back with a perplexed look on her face, and said: "You have a very unconventional tooth."

The trouble is my rear, lower-left molar. It's suffered through years of grinding at night, throughout my restless sleep. It's undergoing 'external resorption', an autoimmune reaction whereby a traumatized tooth dies from the outside-in. Unfortunately, it's doomed, and in a week, they will remove it entirely, and start a very-expensive process over the rest of the year to replace it with an implant. The main reason it seems advisable to have something there is because the molar from above will grow down inexorably in the absence of the lower molar, and eventually rub against the lower gum. Anticipated cost is $6,600.00, plus change.

Now, the Novocaine is wearing off, and the chilly diet soda I just had hurts like the Dickens.

Birthday Get Together For Scott Griffith

On Sunday evening, at William Hedge's behest, the DMTC gang gathered with others at Kebab Corner in West Sacramento to wish Scott Griffith a (belated) Happy 50th Birthday (which was actually in January). Good Pakistani cuisine!

Among the guests were several people involved in various aspects of Sacramento theater, including Tina Cole, a member of the King Family (of 60's TV fame) who is best known for her role as Robbie's wife on the 60's TV show, "My Three Sons".

Here, she discusses portions of her career:

No One Suffers Like The Cat Lady Suffers

M.: Let me see if I understand. You spent $16,000.00 to convert your back yard into a caged playground in order to house the feral cats?

C.L.: It was my dream.

M.: And you were placed under medical care because, despite your precautions, the tiniest of the feral cats managed to escape, and disappear?

C.L.: I blame myself for everything.


This week, the Facebook page "GunOwner's4Liberty" has been using this year-old Salt Lake City news story for propaganda purposes:
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A citizen with a gun stopped a knife wielding man as he began stabbing people Thursday evening at the downtown Salt Lake City Smith's store.

Police say the suspect purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon. Smith's employee Dorothy Espinoza says, "He pulled it out and stood outside the Smiths in the foyer. And just started stabbing people and yelling you killed my people. You killed my people."

...Then, before the suspect could find another victim - a citizen with a gun stopped the madness. "A guy pulled gun on him and told him to drop his weapon or he would shoot him. So, he dropped his weapon and the people from Smith's grabbed him."
I can't believe the gun nuts have such short memories, and are using this event as propaganda. Remember, this supermarket is right around the corner from Trolley Square, where six died and four were injured in a mass gun slaughter in 2007:
A man with a shotgun ran into Trolley Square and fired multiple shots, killing five people and hitting multiple other victims before he was killed Monday night, police said.

...An off-duty Ogden police officer was in the mall at the time and fired his weapon at the shooter, killing him, according to Barrett Dodds, an antique-shop owner who witnessed the event.
I think folks have completely-forgotten about the victims of Trolley Square. The gun nuts shouldn't touch anything from that neighborhood for propaganda. It speaks of desecration to do so. Every single thing that is wrong about the easy possession of guns was revealed there.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Because Airline Passengers Like Nothing Better Than Whiling Away Their Time At 30,000 Feet Watching Documentaries About Airliner Crashes

Facebook friend Michael F. recently flew from LAX to ABQ, and wondered about whether this in-flight movie was entirely appropriate:
OK now HERE's something stoopid. I am on a plane. Traveling at 700 mph at approximately 30,000 above this glorious planet on which we live.... and THIS is the in-flight movie.... (shot on my iPhone, forgive the quality...) but D A Y U M!!
This, of course, was the spectacular 1978 crash of PSA 182 in San Diego.

Maybe the airline made a fine distinction here. The PSA Flight 182 crash was a genuine accident. At least they didn't present the Air France 447 crash, which enrages me every time with its profound idiocy. Maybe the airline was presenting what it considers its understanding, human side.