Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Sausage Party"

I have trouble with animated movies featuring characters with big eyes. The "uncanny valley" comes into play. I feel a serpent writhing around in my head.

This movie made me very uncomfortable. But, hey, it's perfect for your 12-year-old at heart.

The Devil Whispered In My Ear

Hillary's Dank Memes

400-year-old Greenland Shark ‘Longest-Living Vertebrate’

"The Greenland shark's eye lens is composed of a specialised material - and it contains proteins that are metabolically inert," explained Mr Neilson.

"Which means after the proteins have been synthesised in the body, they are not renewed any more. So we can isolate the tissue that formed when the shark was a pup, and do radiocarbon dating."

The team looked at 28 sharks, most of which had died after being caught in fishing nets as by-catch.

Using this technique, they established that the largest shark - a 5m-long female - was extremely ancient.

Because radiocarbon dating does not produce exact dates, they believe that she could have been as "young" as 272 or as old as 512. But she was most likely somewhere in the middle, so about 400 years old.

Just Like Backstage At Our Theater

"I Don’t Know That We Need To Get Out The Vote"

A marvel! Here is a man who truly believes in the magic of media, and just doesn't believe in what politicians know in their bones to be true:
"We are gonna have tremendous turnout from the evangelicals, from the miners, from the people that make our steel, from people that are getting killed by trade deals, from people that have been just decimated, from the military who are with Trump 100 percent,” he went on. “From our vets because I’m going to take care of the vets.”

“I don’t know that we need to get out the vote,” the Republican nominee concluded. “I think people that really want to vote, they’re gonna just get up and vote for Trump. And we’re going to make America great again.”

And THIS Is Why God Gave Us Star Portals!

Best Accent Ever

Trouble comes for Laurel County:

The Aussies are almost as good:

Ru Paul Gets It

Go Hillary!:
I fucking love them. I have always loved them. And let me just say this: If you're a politician — not just in Washington but in business and industry, you have to be a politician — there are a lot of things that you have to do that you're not proud of. There are a lot of compromises you have to make because it means that you can get this other thing over here. And if you think that you can go to fucking Washington and be rainbows and butterflies the whole time, you're living in a fucking fantasy world. So now, having said that, think about what a female has to do with that: All of those compromises, all of that shit, double it by ten. And you get to understand who this woman is and how powerful, persuasive, brilliant, and resilient she is. Any female executive, anybody who has been put to the side — women, blacks, gays — for them to succeed in a white-male-dominated culture is an act of brilliance. Of resilience, of grit, of everything you can imagine. So, what do I think of Hillary? I think she's fucking awesome. Is she in bed with Wall Street? Goddammit, I should hope so! You've got to dance with the devil. So which of the horrible people do you want? That's more of the question. Do you want a pompous braggart who doesn't know anything about diplomacy? Or do you want a badass bitch who knows how to get shit done? That's really the question.

Who Will Rid Me of This Meddlesome Woman?

He Didn't Mean That

Robert De Niro Gets It

Travis Bickle, in the flesh:
During a question-and answer session Saturday at the Sarajevo Film Festival, De Niro said, like Bickle, the U.S. Republican presidential candidate is where he shouldn't be.

"God help us," he added.

De Niro says the media, which he claims has given Trump too much attention, are now starting to say "come on Donald, this is ridiculous, this is nuts, this is insane."

At the end of "Taxi Driver," Bickle goes back being a cab driver, De Niro noted.

OK, Paul Petrovich, This Is War!

I've studiously avoided the Curtis Park Village/SCNA controversy, because it mostly affects the southern part of my neighborhood, and I live on the north side, but this means war. The City of Sacramento was WELL WITHIN its authority and Petrovich was WELL OUTSIDE his authority at that City Council meeting.
The lawsuit alleges that the city wrongfully denied the permit and violated the developer’s right of due process. Petrovich wants a judge to overturn the city’s decision.

City officials have denied Petrovich’s charges, saying the council decision came after a lengthy debate and “a clear basis for council action to deny the conditional use permit.”

According to a city staff report, Petrovich’s lawsuit also charges that the city “did not adequately respond to a request for records pursuant to the California Public Records Act.”

In a move met with alarm by some neighbors, Petrovich’s lawyers last month subpoenaed 38 Curtis Park residents asking for records of their email and other communications with city officials about Curtis Park Village.

The subpoenas were put on hold late last month under an agreement between the attorneys for both sides. But the idea that Petrovich would come after private citizens as part of his lawsuit has left neighbors, with whom Petrovich has frequently feuded over the development, feeling especially upset.

“This is really just harassment, an attempt to harass private citizens exercising their right to petition their government,” said Patrick Soluri, an attorney for the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association. “There’s a laundry list of 38 individuals he was trying to serve. It’s his way of trying to exact some kind of petty revenge against residents.”

Bill Dause Has a Libertarian Attitude Problem

Looks like Bill Dause at the Parachute Center has a Libertarian attitude problem. That doesn't work in a heavily-regulated field like aviation. The FAA has a difficult mandate and one way they cope is through attention to record-keeping as a proxy for attention to detail. Treating instructors as independent contractors, failing to monitor certifications, and failing to register the Center as a USPA member signal a disdain for detail - the sort of thing that gets you killed:
The instructor killed Saturday in a tandem sky dive with an 18-year-old student near Lodi was not certified, a violation of federal regulations, according to the national certifying organization.

The United States Parachute Association has no record of certification for Yong Kwon, 25, of South Korea, said Executive Director Ed Scott.

Kwon and first-time jumper Tyler Nicholas Turner of Los Banos died after sky diving from a plane operating out of the Parachute Center in Acampo. Authorities said their parachute did not open and the two hit the ground.

Under federal regulations, the instructor is responsible for packing and maintaining the main parachute used in a tandem jump.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Yeah, A Little Consistency, Folks

Trying To Get Some Sanity In Here



A new statue in Germany:
Berlin, Germany –This past Friday life-size bronze statues of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning were unveiled in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz Square in front of German politicians and activists.

In Germany and much of the world, the three are considered heroes in the fight for freedom of information and speech, for their respective leaking of classified U.S. documents.

“They have lost their freedom for the truth, so they remind us how important it is to know the truth,” said the artworks creator, Italian sculptor Davide Dormino, during the unveiling.

Trump Goes Travis Bickle

.@realDonaldTrump makes death threats because he's a pathetic coward who can’t handle the fact that he’s losing to a girl.

The Struggle Is Real

Life Support

Evan McMullin announced his candidacy for the Presidency on Monday. The national security branch of the GOP is panicking. And rightfully so. The GOP is responding by running pictures from February when Hillary slipped on some stairs. Lotsa luck with that. Meanwhile, the UK press puts Trump on life support:
The lasting impact of Trump’s disastrous week came from its echoes of the Democratic convention. Each round of dispute with the Khan family only served to reinforce the criticism that he had sacrificed nothing. Each bone-headed response underscored Hillary Clinton’s attack on his temperament and qualifications to serve as commander-in-chief.

In the middle of his own circular firing squad, Trump decided to shoot at the one unifying Republican who has politely ignored his insanity: House speaker Paul Ryan. Trump’s support for Ryan’s primary opponent was – like the construction of so many hideous Trump Towers – wholly unnecessary.

Not a Jobkiller


35th Annual Elly Award Nomination Party

Oy. Just two.

Brush Your Meerkat

I Hate Thinking


People break wide when Bella comes down the sidewalk, but there are exceptions. One fellow on a bike flagged me down to ask if I had a flashlight for sale; puzzling, since I wasn't using one.

Mostly quiet on our walks, of late. I've been wondering why people have been idling in their cars not far from our house - some Pokemon thing? I was startled by someone slamming an apartment window directly above our heads. Bella has been working out the food-friendliest parts of the Safeway Supermarket parking lot. I've been working out the comings and goings of the Midtown bat colony.

I finally turned in the stolen purse we found to the Sacramento Police Department, after first getting word to the victim via Yuba Community College's Police Department that her purse had been found.

Overheard part of a conversation between a homeless man and woman. Apparently the woman was in the process of stealing back a bicycle cart from another woman. She said: "She took it from me, and she completely trashed it, and it was like ripping my heart out, you know?" The woman then followed Bella and I back to our home alley. A little strange.

Last night, about 1:10 a.m., when Bella and I turned into the 16th Street/ Highway 50 underpass, two cops bearing flashlights came from the opposite direction on the other side of the street. They were searching for something. Uh, oh.

The AM/PM Convenience Store at 16th & W Street was closed with police tape. We approached and learned that a robbery had been committed. Police were interviewing witnesses. (No report yet on Sacramento Police Log.) That convenience store has such easy access via freeways - the perps were likely far gone.

Bella dragged me on to the 17th Street corridor. A block away, police were continuing to search for something, perhaps a weapon. I started looking in the shrubbery too. Bella picked up on the searching theme, and found a cat under a pickup truck.

I like the fact that the people in this area are concerned with self-esteem issues (on 16th, near R Street).

[UPDATE: Here is what we missed, by 40 minutes, or so: "16-232125 (Robbery): 2200 block of 16th St at 0029 hours.

A male suspect entered the business location armed with a firearm. The suspect fired the weapon striking the victim employee. The suspect stole an undisclosed amount of cash and fled on foot. Sacramento Fire Personnel responded to the location to check the non-life threatening injuries. Officers canvassed the scene for evidence. The investigation remains active and no arrests have been made."]

Monday, August 08, 2016

Nirvana on Nineteenth Street

Every night, Bella has been making a beeline for the Safeway Supermarket parking lot, where much food can be found. Nirvana on Nineteenth Street!

On Thursday night, the Delta Breeze roared in remarkably cold and strong from San Francisco Bay. The surprised, night-dwelling folks in front of Safeway blamed government weather control for the unexpected weather.

The Friday night theme was: Missed Connections.

Uber or Lyft? There was a quarrel in front of Pour House on Q Street. A woman in front of the club was shouting "Lyft?" out the passenger-side window of her vehicle. A man on the sidewalk answered "Uber?" The woman elaborated "Someone here ordered a Lyft." Another woman on the sidewalk proclaimed "I had a friend order me a ride, but I don't know whether it was Uber or Lyft, and I'm not going to get in a car with a stranger if you can't tell me who placed the order." The driver apparently couldn't comply with that request. So, the standoff continued. Bella and I walked away.

After we turned right down 20th Street, about 2 a.m., we found a purse on the side of the sidewalk between Q Street and the light rail overpass. It's a bit dark there, and not that far away from several nightclubs - a convenient place for a thief to rifle through a stolen purse and toss the undesired remnants away. The purse had no money or credit cards, but was full of ID. The owner is a Yuba Community College student, and I taught there in 2014, so I can connect eventually, but not on the weekend. I know, it's uncomfortable to be without your ID, and I hope she can wait. If all else fails, I suppose I could try to locate her residence, but it's 40 miles away, I might miss her, and there are 2 possible addresses. No phone number either, or Facebook contact, or discoverable contact on Google. As my friend Jonathan says, "Is it not amazing with all the various ways we have invented to talk to each other it is now damn near impossible to actually do that?"

I somehow injured my strong right ankle walking from the bed to the bathroom at 7 a.m. Saturday morning. I wasn't able to find my cane (last time I used it was in 2009), so I borrowed one from Joe the Plumber. I worried about walking with a cane. It might signify weakness on the street - an undesirable quality. As it turned out, it made me "safe" and easier for people to approach. But it also meant I walked much more slowly than usual, to Bella's great exasperation.

The Saturday night theme was: Da Fuq?

Walking on Broadway at 20th St., a frustrated, elderly black man approached and asked "What's going on? Tower Liquor on 16th is closed, and C&B Liquor is closed too." I was surprised. I replied, "It's not even 1 a.m. yet. Why would they be closed?" Further on, at 19th, two men in their late 20's approached and one said "All the liquor places on 19th Street are closed." I informed them that the liquor places on Broadway were closed too. Something had to be going on. It was like the Apocalypse, or something. How could the entire neighborhood run out of liquor on a Saturday night? Sacramento residents are tough, and ready for any contingency, but not for something like this. I told him, "You'll have to go home, get in a car, and drive somewhere else for liquor." Clenching his jaw with resolve, the man said "I might do just that!"

The ankle issue lasted just one day. I recycled all the expired medication in my house last month, so I had no medication left in the house, but I got some of that wonder drug, aspirin, and it did done wonders! Sunday night, I was back to normal.

The Sunday night theme was: Wonder!

Someone abandoned a big catalog of wall coverings outside of Safeway on Sunday night. It was as if they were overwhelmed by all the possible choices of wallpaper, despaired, and left.

We discovered an astonishing thing too. There is a small colony of bats in Midtown. Bella and I watched one or two dozen squeaking bats leave their home and travel a tiny distance to a bright street light to scoop up flying insects. How convenient! I was amazed how the accidental architecture of the place was perfectly designed for the happiness and health of bats.

Bella and I looped back through the 24th Street freeway underpass, where someone was loudly singing. I'm surprised I haven't heard singing under the freeway before. The acoustics there are great for voices loud enough to overcome traffic noise. I couldn't make out if the song was a rap song, or an improvised drinking song, or a string of epithets imaginatively strung together. As we approached, the man retreated from the underpass to a nearby apartment. I guess he goes there for stress relief. Damn, I should have thought of that! I wonder if I can get Bella to howl there?

Approaching home, there was an unexpected shuffling of cardboard in an otherwise quiet corner. An older, bald-headed man was making a bed for the night.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Ice Cream Tension

There is no more iconic summertime Sacramento activity than visiting one of the city's storied ice cream parlors, so Joe the Plumber and I decided to go to Gunther's Ice Cream Parlor on Franklin Blvd.

We arrived at the height of the crush. The stress was incredible. We were trapped in a hellish seventh level of an ice cream inferno - noisy, crowded, grasping - a Willy-Wonka-like hellscape. After 40 minutes, we finally retrieved our garbled order and walked outside into traffic, grateful for the stress relief of just dodging cars. They do an amazing job there at Gunther's, don't get me wrong, but trapeze artistry or BASE jumping is more relaxing.

Wannabe Predator

I've never played Paintball, but out of curiosity today, Joe the Plumber and I wandered into Predator Paintball on Watt Ave.

RIP, Pete Fountain

So sad! Pete Fountain passed away! He had the hardest time adjusting to the ascetic Lawrence Welk Show:
Mr Welk said to me, "Peter, I would like you to run the bubble machine tonight. You will be backstage anyway, waiting to come on, so just put the fluid in it and then let the machine run during the first number."

...I poured in too much fluid. I didn't know any better. The bubbles were supposed to drift gracefully up from behind the band and float out across the ballroom.... That night they crowded down over the band like Niagara Falls! There were bubbles everywhere. I thought that the effect was great, so I poured in some more. There were so many bubbles that the guys couldn't even read their sheet music.

Early-August Conjunction

I caught a glimpse of the conjunction Friday night - so pretty!:
From the eastern U.S., the moon will appear to hover about 2 degrees below Jupiter, but the gap between them will get noticeably smaller as they both descend in the western sky. From the western U.S., the celestial bodies will appear even closer together — only about a degree apart.

The Best Fate For Assholes

Gimp Saturday

Today is Gimp Saturday. I dance hours every day, and walk nearly three miles with Bella every night, and yet somehow injured my strong right ankle walking from the bed to the bathroom at 7 a.m. this morning. Wonder where I put my cane? It's been years since I needed it....

[UPDATE: Non-Gimp Sunday: I recycled all the expired medication in my house last month, which meant I had no medication left in the house, so I went out and got some of that wonder drug known as aspirin. It's done wonders! Today, I went to ballet class without a problem. It's still a little sensitive, but should be fine with any luck.]


Bopping around Stockton Blvd., buying pieces and parts to fix things with Joe the Plumber. Ran into Chris Petersen at Yankee Hardware!

Stolen Purse

Well, dagnabit, I found a stolen purse, and I have a name, but no phone number to get in contact with the woman.

I found the open purse at 2 am on Bella's walk, lying on the side of the street in a nightclub district. It looked rifled, no money or credit cards, but full of ID.

I have an address - two addresses, in fact - one in an apartment (later) and one in a house (earlier). What I was hoping to do was get word to her this weekend, but no phone number is a complication. If I give it to the police, they will mail the purse, which means it could be more than a week before she gets word.

Like Donald Says, Something Is Going On Here....

"Captain Fantastic"

Saw "Captain Fantastic" with Viggo Mortensen tonight at the Tower Theater. Loved it! Connected with me on several levels:

1.) Counterculture, but with a hard survivalist edge;
2.) Beautiful Pacific Northwest locations, but parts were filmed in hometown Albuquerque (that church is in Paradise Hills), as well as Las Cruces, New Mexico;
3.) Has the great actor Frank Langella in it;
4.) Has strange absurdities, like a celebration of Noam Chomsky's birthday.

Here, three of the girls sing "Sweet Child O' Mine" (which they do so beautifully in the movie). And the youngest has taken to pleading with her mom to let her bring home roadkill so her taxidermy skills don't get rusty:

Gary Johnson Is Worse Than Trump

Johnson hasn't updated his positions for years:
If all you’ve done is watched a few clips of Gary Johnson on the internet, it’s easy to be taken in. He knows how to talk like he wants to stand with ordinary folks against those big corporate interests. But Donald Trump does that too, and he doesn’t mean it either. Gary Johnson is a deceitful person who sells himself as Bernie Sanders lite while in reality he has consistently supported a far right agenda that would devastate the country. He hawks his liberal positions on social issues while concealing a deeply disturbing and malicious economic agenda.

There is Always Hope

No, It's HER fault!