Friday, September 06, 2013

Breaking Bad - The Dukes Of Hazzard

Puzzled By The Low-Sulfur Focus

I mean, those cruise liners can really crank out the NOx! But if today's focus is sulfur, so be it:
Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise operator, agreed to spend $180 million to cut sulfur emissions from 32 ships, bowing to demands by the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up pollution it causes near ports.

Under the agreement with the EPA, announced today by Carnival and the agency, the company will to install scrubbers and diesel particulate filters on its ships to cut pollutants that can exacerbate smog or discharge microscopic particles dangerous to humans’ lungs.

Solar Power Nostalgia

I liked this retrospective on solar power, mostly because Steve Baer's Zomework is located less than a mile from my childhood home. We were always, like, "What are they doing up there on the hill, anyway?"

"Breaking Bad" To Enter Guinness World's Record Book As The Critic's Most-Favored TV Show Of The Year, Worldwide

99 out of 100 points. Not bad.

Meanwhile, in Manchester, UK, in true Albuquerque style, they are painting wall murals of the characters near the site of a former meth lab.

And far away, out towards Cairns, AU, prisoners are ruining TVs to light cigarettes, in apparent imitation of Walter White. (Although, to be fair, they might have come up with the idea on their own.)

Comparing Age Distributions Of Australia And The United States

When I went to Australia, I was struck by the young vibe on the street. Indeed, a typical Australian is considerably younger than a counterpart in the USA.

Sources: AU & USA

Thursday, September 05, 2013

“House of the Rising Sun” - Andy Griffith

A Slow Week, Which Meant It Was Easier To Get To B3ta's "Best Answers" Page For "Question Of The Week"

This week's question:

Willenium tugs our sleeve and says: Tell us why the past was a bit shit. You may wish to use witty anecdotes reflecting your own personal experience.
My answer:
The middle school approach to gym nakedness

Youth was nerve-wracking, full of abrupt demands to comply with irrational rules. I remember the transition from elementary to middle school as being particularly worrisome. In elementary school, recess was carefree, but in middle school, physical activity was more regimented. I worried about showering with other boys. What good could come from that? I lost sleep over it.

First came the gym clothes. We were required to purchase clothing and write our names on it using magic marker. Since the ink bled, the letters had to be large to be legible, but of course, the larger the letters, the shorter the name had to be. Planning the damned thing was hard. And no mistakes either.

Then there was the jock strap. I didn't know such exotic semi-clothing even existed, but to protect our precious balls, we were required to wear one. The arse, of course, was fully-exposed.

The locker room was a dark warren of lockers packed with smelly, sweaty clothing, lorded over by my classmates, a pack of baboons. Resembled the opening of "2001: A Space Odyssey", excepted that they were all hairless.

The first day of gym class, I stripped down, and carefully put on the jock strap. The locker room fell silent. I looked around and realized everyone's mouth was agape. Despite the clear written requirement, no one else had actually complied and bought a jock strap. Everyone else had briefs. I was the only one with an exotically-exposed arse. Much hooting from the baboons.

The shower was a nightmare too. I had a protruding breast bone from inadequate calcium nutrition when I was three, and it attracted attention. At one point, I was the target of a towel-snapping attack by a cluster of naked baboons. I lunged to grab a towel, missed, and grabbed the baboon leader's bollocks instead. Which led to much more hooting and an accelerated attack.

These days, if I want physical activity, I go to aerobics classes full of exotically-dressed women. Better for the psyche.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, On Gay Marriage

Syria's Gas Attack Might Have Been A Big Screwup

According to Der Spiegel, one of the parties in the intercepted phone call was a “high-ranking member of Hezbollah,” the militant Lebanese movement that’s sent fighters to support the Assad government. That Hezbollah member told the Iranian that “Assad had lost his temper and committed a huge mistake by giving the order for the poison gas use," according to the magazine’s account.

The U.S. intelligence assessment reached a similar conclusion, finding that the alleged use of chemical weapons may have been in part because of “the regime’s frustration with its inability to secure large portions of Damascus.”

...According to Der Spiegel, the call was intercepted by the German naval ship Oker, which is known to gather intelligence and to be off the coast of Syria.

The motivation for the chemical weapons attack is one of the unknowns that surround what took place in the Ghouta region of Damascus province. Those who are skeptical of Assad’s responsibility have noted that Syrian government forces had been on the offensive recently and had succeeded in pushing the rebels out of some areas the insurgents had long held.

But the German account and the American one suggest that the inability of Assad’s regime to take control of the eastern Damascus suburbs after months of attempts drove a decision to use chemical weapons.

An unclassified French intelligence summary also suggested that the failure to unseat the rebels lay behind the Aug. 21 attack. It called the use of chemical weapons followed by a ground offensive “a classic tactical scheme” consistent with Syrian military doctrine.

...It also said Assad’s forces had used a highly diluted chemical agent in previous attacks on rebels and that the high death count Aug. 21 might have been the result of “errors made in the mixing of the gas” that made it “much more potent than anticipated.”

That would be consistent with a suggestion from an Israeli official, cited by The New York Times, that the attack was “an operational mistake.”

Not Hatin' On Miley

Fixing Breaking Bad

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

"Breaking Bad" - Just The Superb Time Lapses

Emmy's Are Coming Up!

I wonder who's gonna win?

Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens - "Street Of Bakersfield"

Does It Ring A Bell?

Justin Timberlake "Take Back The Night"

Justin Timberlake is rejuvenating this strain of sophisticated dance music. I couldn't be happier!

Joe Craven's Group Is Going To Be Filmed By PBS!

Musician Joe Craven — perhaps most familiar in Davis for his annual appearances as emcee and performer at the “Home for the Holidays” concerts each December, benefiting the Davis School Arts Foundation — will give a pair of solo shows this week: one at The Palms Playhouse in Winters, the other at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.

Both shows will be recorded for an upcoming broadcast on PBS television, and Craven will be sharing the bill with singer/songwriter/humorist and storyteller Antsy McClain.

Craven has lived in various parts of the Davis area for years; he currently makes his home in Dixon. His son Cody is a recent graduate of Da Vinci Charter Academy (and starred as Jean Valjean in a Davis High School production of “Les Miserables”); his daughter Hattie just started seventh grade in Da Vinci’s junior high program at Emerson, and is enjoying the acclaim generated by the recent release of her debut album “Eleven,” which was recorded when she was 11 years old. (She’s since turned 12.)

...“I love giving people the ‘ah ha’ moment,” he continued. “When education is at it’s best, it is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. My work as an educator is like that. Folk music is social music, a social process, and an informal one.”

...Filmmaker Peter Berkow will be filming the concerts featuring Craven and McClain, and editing the recorded concerts for a program that will be distributed to PBS affiliates sometime during 2014.

More than anything, Craven said, he wants people to experience “the joy of making music. It needs to be something that enhances your life, and gives you a sense of joy.”

Rediscovering Orwell

This author suggests having a predominant superpower creates a terrifying world that George Orwell didn't foresee in "1984":
Such a world should be fantastical enough for the wildest sort of dystopian fiction, for perhaps a novel titled '2014'. What, after all, are we to make of a planet with a single superpower that lacks genuine enemies of any significance and that, to all appearances, has nonetheless been fighting a permanent global war with… well, itself — and appears to be losing?
Except that Orwell really did foresee it. The differences between Orwell's Tri-partite world, and our own, is only a matter of degree.

There won't be a "2014", mostly because Orwell is still a useful guide. What makes today's situation more dangerous, however, is that it is far more-efficient for a superpower to wage war against a terrorist group than to have the Tri-Partite skirmishes Orwell posited. Efficiency is deadly.

Quoting Orwell:
"Inefficient nations were always conquered sooner or later, and the struggle for efficiency was inimical to illusions. Moreover, to be efficient it was necessary to be able to learn from the past, which meant having a fairly accurate idea of what had happened in the past. Newspapers and history books were, of course, always coloured and biased, but falsification of the kind that is practised today would have been impossible. War was a sure safeguard of sanity, and so far as the ruling classes were concerned it was probably the most important of all safeguards. While wars could be won or lost, no ruling class could be completely irresponsible.

But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous. When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity. Technical progress can cease and the most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded. As we have seen, researches that could be called scientific are still carried out for the purposes of war, but they are essentially a kind of daydreaming, and their failure to show results is not important. Efficiency, even military efficiency, is no longer needed. Nothing is efficient in Oceania except the Thought Police. Since each of the three super-states is unconquerable, each is in effect a separate universe within which almost any perversion of thought can be safely practised."


I maintain two blogs, with identical content. The primary blog gets about 200 page views per day; the secondary one gets maybe 20. 'Breaking Bad' is by far the most popular subject, but still, traffic is modest.

Except, on Sunday, the secondary blog got hammered by nearly 2,400 page views: a 12,000% increase. What happened?

I presented photos of my March 11th visit to a filming location (The Grove Restaurant). Folks participating in five separate 'Breaking Bad' fan forums are furiously gaming out possible BrBa series conclusions (plus one meta-commentary site), and separately trying to read possible futures based on the clothes worn by the actors. My photos are the equivalent of aluminum tubes in the high-stakes contest to see whose theory triumphs. I apparently placed myself in the direct path of an Internet stampede. Who knew there were so many fans?

Ain't the Internet grand?

Forum 1
Forum 2
Forum 3
Forum 4
Forum 5

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

So The Rim Fire Was Due To These Freelance MJ Plantations?

Time to get medieval on some stoner ass:
The fire started in a remote area Stanislaus National Park known as Jawbone Ridge. The area is familiar to locals not only for the ruggedness of its terrain, but for the recent appearances of “marijuana plantations” in its more inhospitable reaches.

“We know that these illegal pot growers are out in our forests, and I think this fire just wiped out a whole bunch of them,” said Randy Hanvelt, chairman of the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, told the San Jose Mercury News. “It’s a problem in all the Sierra forests. When we find them, we pull out like 20,000 plants at a time.”

Satellite imagery of the fire does indicate that it began in an area known for illegal marijuana production, but McNeal’s statement is the first to directly ascribe blame to any party for the blaze which is, at this time, the fourth largest fire in California history.

"Breaking Bad" And The Sin Of Pride

Via Gabe, the Catholic take:
James Joyce in “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” observes that falling into one deadly sin opens the door to all the others. For Stephen Dedalus, his first great sin is lust and, through lust, all the other sins come crowding into his soul. Walter White is a perfect example of this truth. He starts with pride, but lust, envy, gluttony, greed, wrath and sloth all follow in various forms. He is clever and charismatic, just like Satan, but every move he makes worsens his situation and his life falls apart as his sins and culpability increase. There is a strong sense, throughout the show, that if Walter could let go of his pride, just once, he could somehow set himself right and atone for his sins.

One Thousand Year Kind Of Storm?

A 1,000-Year event? Um, I seriously doubt it. The July 26th storm was powerful, yes, but not that powerful.

Anything to weasel out from the blame for shoddy flood planning, I suppose:
The storm that hit Corrales Friday, July 26 was one for the record books.

Fierce winds, hail and rain pummeled parts of the village in such intensity that it has been calculated to occur just once in 1,000 years.

“The storm that hit on Friday night in some areas exceeded the 1,000-year event,” reported Chuck Thomas, executive engineer of the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA).

“Probably over the vast majority of Corrales it was the 100-year, two-hour event. So it was a very significant storm. “

Some parts of Corrales reportedly received more than three inches of rain and hail during two hours of that intense downpour.

Poking Around The California State Capitol Building

West side of the State Capitol on a sunny day.

In the peanut gallery.


Scoping out Room 126 for our celebration of ten years since the California Gubernatorial Recall Election of 2003 (plus my book-signing party) that we are planning for October 12, 2013.

Fifteen seats on the dais, six below (seven counting the extra chair, plus eighty seats for some spectators.  Sweet!  Still, it's possible we might relocate to the Sacramento Bee if they offer better film viewing.

Nice Dust Bowl Exhibition there.

Yolo County display.

Sacramento County display.

Governor's Office.

Apparently the bear belongs to Arnold Schwarzenegger, and has to be returned to him if he wants it back.

Road Signs

That Fairfield Freeway Fire

On August 31st, traffic was still slowing on I-80 in Fairfield, CA, in order to gape at where six homes burned down on the 27th from a fire that spread from the freeway:

The fire started a little before 4 p.m. in vegetation adjacent to the freeway before jumping a nearby creek and skirting a cinderblock sound wall, Velasquez said. The inferno hit a wood-framed roof before moving into the trees and through the neighborhood via the treetops, he said.

Boy, these trees went up like matches!

The whole hillside behind the freeway went up too!

Farther down the freeway, near Vacaville, another fire burn scar.

A Horse Thriller

Did I fail to post this one? Anissa noted it months ago, and I thought it hilarious.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Filming "Breaking Bad" In Albuquerque's Civic Plaza

Artesa Winery

All part of that fairytale-like Napa Valley scene:

Di Rosa Art Museum, Near Napa - Proliferation Of Images

Great place!:

"World's Largest File Cabinet", with a dismembered car filed within (65 feet tall; dates to year 2000).

"Field Hands"

"It's All About ME". Bath/shower filled with bowling balls, each embossed with the letters "ME". (And since Marq Smith and Ed Candelaria in Albuquerque produce a podcast called "It's All About ME", I thought it was particularly interesting.)

Making smoke-like rings in a silo, using dry ice in water. You just press on the top, and poof! Here comes your ring!

Di Rosa Art Museum, Near Napa - A Variety Of Mental Challenges

Great place!:

Could be a George W. Bush memorial.
Bottle House (like a Bottle Tree).
This is my career!
Bird Carriage.