Wednesday, May 25, 2016

El Niño Officially Ends

RIP: El Niño officially ends. Everything is hunky-dory at the Equator now. Indeed, La Niña may form later this year.

Meanwhile, in the North Pacific, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index is at an extreme value of 2.6. The Pacific north of Hawaii is much cooler than average, and the Pacific off the coast of California is much warmer than average. Storm after storm forms, then dissipates, northeast of Hawaii. Sometimes we get remnants of these storms. Next remnant forecast to arrive around June 7th.

Trump Thrashes Susana Martinez

No honor among thieves:
1. The riff underscored the hollowness of Trump’s promises to unite the fractured Republican Party. He has routinely attacked GOP governors this year. Recall his criticisms of Scott Walker before Wisconsin’s primary or Nikki Haley before South Carolina’s. But this is the first time he’s done so as the presumptive nominee of his party. And this is not just any chief executive. Martinez chairs the Republican Governors Association, one of the party’s most important organs.

2. Attacking the most prominent Latina in his party will make Hispanic outreach even harder. There are many conservative Latinos who might be willing to hear Trump out, even if they are uneasy with his talk about the border wall and Mexican immigrants being rapists. But showing disrespect for conservative leaders in the community — mixed with tone-deaf outreach (taco salads!) — means that whatever else he may have to say will fall on deaf ears.

3. Last night’s rally further illustrates why Trump is on track to get clobbered among women. Martinez is not just Hispanic; she’s also the first female governor of New Mexico. Tellingly, she was not the only target of Trump’s ire. Several other women were in his crosshairs, as well, and his language was quite gendered.

Albuquerque Unrest Regarding Trump's Visit

Hard to judge these things from a distance, of course, but based on media coverage, so far I'm fairly-pleased with the unrest in Albuquerque tonight regarding the visit by Donald Trump. People stood up and made a strong statement that they will not bow down to our wannabe dictator, Trump, and didn't get too carried away with the violence either. A measured response to a measured provocation.

Beth Ruyak's Interview With Liorah Singerman & Young Actor's Stage.

Beth Ruyak's Interview with Liorah Singerman, Alexi Ashida, Asa Williams, and Milan Williams with Young Actor's Stage. From 30:30.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"I Am Lorde!"

Doing post-worthy due diligence, and ended up here.

A Pop Of Colour

An Update To "A Guidebook to 'Breaking Bad' Filming Locations: Albuquerque as Physical Setting and Indispensable Character"

I’d like to announce a new update to the 3rd edition of my book “A Guidebook to 'Breaking Bad' Filming Locations: Albuquerque as Physical Setting and Indispensable Character” (available on Amazon; on Kindle). More updates will come as need and information dictates. It won't really be done until Walt says it’s done.

(The book preview available on Amazon still shows the January update, but I’m reassured by the Amazon folks that the information will be updated in a few weeks.)

The book now contains filming locations associated with Season 2 of ‘Better Call Saul’ (BCS), with better punctuation (because it is a thing) and a few more pictures. There are also more stories taken from various sources regarding Vince Gilligan’s TV shows, possible sources of his inspirations, and the geography and history of Albuquerque and vicinity. Such stories include:

• Like Gus Fring, Jack Parsons got too close to the fire;
• The BCS plot line copped from ‘Beavis and Butthead’;
• Vince Gilligan is increasingly in thrall to New Mexico’s ancient Chaco Meridian;
• How a South Valley Messiah captured the imagination of the country in 1895; and,
• How Manhattan Project spies rendezvoused in downtown Albuquerque by employing a code embedded in Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’.

Target Nevada

Those with a different, more Strangelovian sensibility may appreciate "Target Nevada", a 1953 short film about nuclear testing. When Walt and friends were assembling their "First Tech Weatherman Film Festival", when we college students at NM Tech in Socorro in 1975, this was the audience's favorite. (The decontamination procedure at 6:28 still slays me.)

Lots of film footage here of Albuquerque too, as evidenced by the Sandia Mountains.

Of course, there were some problems too. We are at the 59th anniversary of the Albuquerque Broken Arrow, which occurred near "Q" Studios, home to "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul", on May 22, 1957, when a mammoth 10 megaton device was dropped on the outskirts of town:
No one knows precisely what happened aboard the B-36 aircraft transporting a nuclear weapon from Texas to New Mexico that day, but somehow the device fell through the bomb bay doors, plummeting about 1,700 feet into a field south of Kirtland Air Force Base. The conventional explosives detonated, blasting a crater 12 feet deep and 25 feet across. Luckily the nuclear capsule had been separated from the conventional explosives during transport for safety reasons, and that capsule was found intact. The only casualty of the blast? An unfortunate cow grazing nearby.

The MX Racetrack Concept

When I was a UNM work-study student at Albuquerque's Kirtland Air Force Base in the late 1970s, my job was closely connected to the MX Racetrack concept. Here is my 'capo dei capi', Maj. Bill Clapper, to explain the concept. (I also heard our office found a fatal weakness in the concept, but if I told you I'd have to kill you, so maybe another time):

Sandia Labs' Atomic Field Testers

For those who grew up in Cold War New Mexico, this documentary about Sandia Labs' Atomic Field Testers is most interesting. I was a work-study student at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in the late 70's, and our job was to reevaluate and model the data generated by these tests. Met some interesting people and heard interesting tales too:

A Sparky Memory

Before I walked Bella late at night on the streets of Sacramento, I walked my previous dog, a Pomeranian mix named Sparky (1994-2009), the same way. I should put together a collection of their stories. Here is a Sparky story from the Summer of 2002:
I was walking Sparky past the local adult bookstore on Broadway (L'Shoppe Amour) just when two beautiful women dressed in spandex catsuits parked and climbed out of their convertible. The driver looked at Sparky, gasped, and said "Oh, he is so cute!" The two women started doting on Sparky, who, of course, sat at attention, winning even more admiration from the beauties. After a surprisingly long time, and after much amiable conversation, the women finally entered the store. To my surprise, Sparky followed right after them, leaving me all alone outside on the sidewalk. I had to retrieve the ever-sociable dog from the aisles of the store.

A Tale of Three Cats

It was A Tale of Three Cats on Bella's walk last night.

Bella could hardly believe the first cat's insouciance. The Siamese was luxuriating in a driveway surrounded by chain link fence on two sides, and a wall on the third side. The cat was in full view, but completely protected, and therefore completely disdainful of passing dogs. Bella charged the fence, and barked, and tried to instill the cat with proper regard for the dog's place in the Universe, all to no effect other than making the cat yawn.

The second feline, a long-haired black cat, did the same, even though the cat was completely exposed in its own front yard. Bella didn't charge or bark - she understood now how this contempt worked.

The third cat was lying on the sidewalk directly in Bella's path. Bella got within inches before the cat hissed and hurriedly walked away.

I could tell Bella was disturbed. Where does this feline insolence come from? Whatever the source, feline disdain is out of control, and someone needs to do something about it.

I Decided to be a Surrealist

The Dangerous Acceptance of Donald Trump

To see the danger anew every day:
One can argue about whether to call him a fascist or an authoritarian populist or a grotesque joke made in a nightmare shared between Philip K. Dick and Tom Wolfe, but under any label Trump is a declared enemy of the liberal constitutional order of the United States—the order that has made it, in fact, the great and plural country that it already is. He announces his enmity to America by word and action every day. It is articulated in his insistence on the rightness of torture and the acceptable murder of noncombatants. It is self-evident in the threats he makes daily to destroy his political enemies, made only worse by the frivolity and transience of the tone of those threats. He makes his enmity to American values clear when he suggests that the Presidency holds absolute power, through which he will be able to end opposition—whether by questioning the ownership of newspapers or talking about changing libel laws or threatening to take away F.C.C. licenses. To say “Well, he would not really have the power to accomplish that” is to misunderstand the nature of thin-skinned authoritarians in power. They do not arrive in office and discover, as constitutionalists do, that their capabilities are more limited than they imagined. They arrive, and then make their power as large as they can.

Organic Bug Spray

The Emperor's New Clothes

What Was Old Is New Again

The Element of Surprise

Trump to Visit the Duke City on Tuesday

Undercover Albuquerque correspondent visits the Acme Yard to get the pulse of the city in advance of El Trump's visit this coming week.

A Supermarket in California

Gabe sends Allen Ginsberg's poem.

Sacramento Friday Night

Kept busy Friday night. 2.5 hours of exercise with Miles, and Kamila and Andre. Heard a favorite Zero-7 song, and Andre said Sia was the lead singer. Did not know that!

Saw "The Man Who Knew Infinity" at the Tower. Feared the subject would be Chandrasekhar (boring) but turned out to be Ramanujan (still not that exciting). Starred Dev Patel. Movies about mathematics are hard, but to it's credit, this movie kept the focus on combinatorics and prime numbers. Indian society is oddly hospitable for raising mathematicians, and England at killing them off.

Walked Bella. Woman in tight dress fawned over Bella at bus stop, but Bella focused mostly on spilled nachos. Strange old man was stuffing newspaper down his crotch.

Cats galore. Bella treed one, so she howled at it. Two cats were under a pickup truck, and one was very aggressive on defense, almost attacking Bella.

High spirited young people were leaving Step One about 1:15 am. Was this still Kings Dancers tryouts? No, dance crew. Dancers are the best!