Thursday, January 21, 2016

Good Ol' Sarah Again

Well, there are two ways to look at this. One is the Party of Personal Responsibility is just full of it. They blame everyone else but themselves at every opportunity.

Or two, maybe there's the beginning of wisdom here. Families pay a price for warmongering. Best not to invade foreign countries unless there is no choice. As there was a choice with Iraq. Peace.

Citing his past as a member of the military, Palin said her son returned from the Middle East "hardened" and "a bit different." Palin continued, linking her son's alleged PTSD to the assault charges against him. The former failed vice presidential candidate then turned her attention to the president, stating, "It starts from the top, the question though it comes from our own president, when they have to look at him and wonder, do you know what we go through." Paul Rieckhoff, the head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), was critical of Palin blaming the president, stating that he hopes it "doesn't become a portable chew toy in a political campaign."

The allegations by Palin against the president contradict with the details in question. Palin blames Obama for her son's actions and his possible PTSD that he suffered as a result of spending time in Iraq. However, Track Palin was a part of Alaska's 25th Infantry Division's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team that served in Iraq for one year in 2008. While honorable, the time he spent in Iraq that Palin claims caused his PTSD was under the orders of then President George W. Bush, and not President Barack Obama.
Then, there is the argument she's actually a genius:
No, Palin is the vanguard of a new way of right-wing speechifying, a surprisingly avant-garde method of political outreach for people who think of themselves as the protectors of tradition. Her methods are the most outrageous, but as with most artistic revolutionaries (in this case, with the art of making political speeches), what seems iconoclastic now will swiftly become the norm for those who follow.

The Bigotry

Funny New Zealand TV Ads

I like the Marmite ad in particular.

Four Enormous Thumps

The neighborhood was as calm and collected tonight as I've ever seen it. Amazingly warm, too, for January. Very pleasant!

Bella and passed through the intersection of 26th Street and 2nd Avenue. Suddenly, from the apartment complex at the southeast corner, came Four Enormous Thumps. Bella and I backtracked to puzzle at the noise. A dog barked in the distance. No explanation. Peace resumed once more and we continued home.

Big Bellied Patriot Loon

Bamboo Bikes


Do Australians Feel Love; Are They Capable of Love?

Flight of the Conchords

Just This Once

Elvis And Dylan

Wandering the city with Bella. Found a scattered music collection, and beaded bracelets. On X Street between 22nd & 23rd. Mostly Elvis & Dylan. Also noted someone's trunk popped open on 26th. (Are these CD's from there?) Also noted 3 Mysterious Dudes lurking next to the cemetery, but our nearby uncomfortable presence seemed to provoke them to leave.

Watching DVDs

Got new DVDs of my two favorite shows. Watching "Dr. Atomic", and marveling at how well De Nederlandse Opera did their New Mexico homework. For example, the set features a brilliant skyline, which I recognize as the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as seen from Los Alamos (featuring Santa Fe Baldy and the Truchas Peaks).

And watching "Clouds of Sils Maria", and marveling at how Director Olivier Assayas slips Friedrich Nietzsche's expressions and thought into every Alpine nook and cranny. Rendering the densest philosophy into a popular movie must be the hardest thing imaginable. Kristen Stewart is the most humane, empathetic character of the film, which means, in Nietzschean terms, she's the one who gets annihilated.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

California Weather Experts Are Beginning To Stumble Into Their Own Bullshit, And It Has To Stop

I was completely exasperated by an article by Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times about El Niño, so I wrote him a letter:


I’m not a registered subscriber, but I check the LA Times every now and then, particularly on El Niño stories. There was just too much wrong with your last story to let it go without comment. I think the weather experts are getting caught up in their own inconsistencies. Quoting from your story:

“The answer is that much of the rain Northern California has received in recent months is not significantly related to El Niño. Most of that precipitation — including this week's storms hitting San Francisco — is coming from the typical winter weather pattern in California: cold storms from the northern Pacific Ocean, coming northwest of the state.”

This was true early in the season, but the storms that have been hitting Northern California over the past week originate from just north of Hawaii and are definitely influenced by tropical air, and thus are definitely influenced by El Niño. They aren’t northern, Gulf of Alaska storms. Temperatures in Northern California are well above normal. It’s a misfortune that the storms aren’t also hitting Southern California – the storm patterns are offset a bit too far to the west – but the rains in Northern California have been exactly the high-frequency, low-total storms that Bill Patzert has previously-described as the trademark of El Niño.

“One reason why storms haven't been able to get through to Southern California in recent weeks is an area of high pressure southwest of the state that has been unusually persistent, Stanford University climate scientist Daniel Swain said.”

The trouble with this statement is that the area of high pressure southwest of the state is almost always there. It’s not adequate to describe it as unusually persistent, and just leave it at that. What does unusually persistent mean if it’s always there? It’s like describing the Rocky Mountains as unusually persistent. Is the area of high pressure stronger than normal, or larger than normal? Really? Skepticism is warranted!

“Patzert said there was yet again another weakening of the so-called trade winds in the central Pacific Ocean, which will allow the ocean west of Peru to heat up again, further fueling El Niño. ‘This thing is getting ready to have a second peak,’ Patzert said.”

Possibly, but hardly assured. The Australians see a general weakening of El Niño and aren’t calling for a second peak. Patzert needs to be pressed harder on this point. Why does he think there will be a second peak? Are the Australians wrong? Why are they wrong?

The general sense of the reader’s comments is one of increasing skepticism. There is merit here. The rainy season is nearly halfway done. El Niño may eventually arrive in Southern California, but it may not stay long if it arrives just as the rainy season ends. Questions to the weather experts need to be harder and more skeptical.

Marc Valdez
Sacramento Meteorologist

Monday, January 18, 2016

Auburn Road's "Fancy" is So Strong!

I've been listening to Auburn Road's "Fancy", their first album, and I'm awestruck how good it is! Any one of the songs could stand alone as a single (with the exception of the 45-second "Mic Check", which wasn't supposed to be anything but some fun). I like "Tuff Girl", in particular. Michael Anderson and crew have done an outstanding job!

At the album release party, band member Kristen Brown made one observation and one announcement. First, at the moment, the Country-Pop charts don't feature enough women. Time to change that. Second, they chose not to use AutoTune. That is the correct choice: Auburn Road's strength is their harmonies.

Now, all WE have to do is catapult them to the top of the Country-Pop charts!

Days of Olde

Weather Outlook

Generous 0.98" of rain at Sacramento Executive Airport during the last day. Two more storms are forecast to sweep through this week, with clearing next week, and slipping back into the rain the week after that.

El Niño appears to have peaked right at the start of the year, so during the year the equatorial Pacific will slowly get back to normal. Waters off of California have cooled somewhat, but not enough to prevent that Really Resilient Ridge from popping up sporadically like an unwelcome Zombie. Living in Cali means accepting the ever-present threat of drought.

The recent storms have affected Southern California very little. If this continues, an even bigger gap will open up water-wise between NorCal and SoCal than usual. Not good. The storms coming in near the end of the month may extend down south, but we'll see.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Time Passes Fast!

When I ventured to get a picture with the girls of Auburn Road, I explained that I had been in their Fierce Funk class. I saw a flash of recognition cross their faces, and one said "that was so long ago!" Made me smile! It's amazing how fast time passes when you are young. To me, it was just the day before yesterday!

Auburn Road opted for a sophisticated look for tonight's album release party. Their roots are deep in the Sacramento community scene. Here is a video from a year-and-a-half ago:

Auburn Road "Fancy" EP Album Release Party

An excellent time tonight at the Tower Theater, at the Auburn Road "Fancy" EP album release party. Turnout of about 240 excited fans. Great to see Michael Anderson's hard work in progress!

Their "Fancy" EP is available on Itunes.