Dispatches from Boulder the Damned
Saturday, May 18, 2013
The Storms of Hell Are Upon Us!
Well.....no, not really, but things are getting edgier around the planet regarding rising tides and boats too tightly anchored. Venice, Italy, is having a god awful time of it of late, and all those beautiful buildings are going to inundated absent a huge influx of cash and concrete, and walling the city in. That would, you'd think, focus attention on melting glaciers and all that but......no, not really. Climate change deniers point out that Venice has flooded for centuries, just not as bad as recent years. Anyway, that's just nature.
In California, they're in a state of persistent fire. Santa Clarita has been nursing these fires along for weeks, now.
Here in America, we're to believe that Obama is in free fall because of Benghazi, and Hillary Clinton will self destruct before the next election cycle because she, somehow, is responsible. Then, the IRS broke procedure but probably not law investigating various Tea Party outfits, much as it has done in the past only the concerned entities were liberal in nature. Atop that, the Justice Department violated the AP's emails, although even that is looking weak. On the 15th, that was the commentary.
And the winds do blow.
Colorado Pols has had a good week. They got a good graphic (below) celebrating a stupendous session of government, with an incredible 440 bills passed in 120 days. They attribute it to the high percentage of women in the legislature, and they make a strong case for it given the lead foots and reactionaries are indeed mostly those with a penis and Republican. A high percentage of these passed bills were:
"...the Colorado Asset Bill led by Sen. Angela Giron and Rep. Crisanta Duran, gun safety bills led by Rep. Rhonda Fields Rep. Beth McCann, and Senator Evie Hudak, comprehensive sex education led by Sen. Nancy Todd and Rep. Crisanta Duran, a bill to connect wrap around support services to early childhood education led by Rep. Millie Hamner and Sen. Mary Hodge, and a bill extending the job growth incentive tax credit championed by Rep. Dianne Primavera." Safety and kids and family protections. Wimpy women.......
ColPols also credits Channel 9 in Denver with using college kids as fact checkers for the campaign. I noted they were going after misstatements more than some others, and was grateful, but somehow missed that were using the Universities and colleges about. Well, Denver University grad students. You'd think this would be a common feature, but no.
Sprinkled about the BlogaBoulder today are photos from the National Geographic via the Atlantic. One I like a lot is the one of the little boy at a Harley Davidson rally. In China. Yes, the Red Chinese are now totally into rebellion with motorcycle gangs, although more than here it seems to be a family affair and outing. Still, talk about blending cultures, and how different from traditional OR Communist China can you imagine a Hog herd roaring around on the highways? It fits in the US, but China? Especially a more or less Red China?
Gotta be a good thing and the authorities must be mellowing if they let this sort of stuff continue.
Here in Boulder the Damned, the city is trying to suss out the good and bad of municipalizing the electric grid within and kicking Xcel to the curb. It's fueled, so to speak, but greenie think: that the city can obtain more power from wind and sun and other regenerative procedures to drop our carbon footprint. Also, they think they can do it cheaper.
Needless to say, that isn't at all clear or for sure, and it might not be a realistic goal. Yet, the city passed two bills to allow them to figure it out a while back and so far everything seems to suggest it is, indeed, possible. Making it so is, of course, an entirely different thing.
The City would buy or 'obtain' Xcel's various power plants in most theories of how this would go, and some of the substations power housing in County land outside the city in two areas of about 5k-6k people total. Those trying to stop the process are demanding that those households are being forced into something they don't want. That may be true, but it may not. I've been hounding in the message boards for someone to pay for a poll. If there is a huge difference between those households and Boulder proper's in opinion on the process, then we'll at least know and work to harmonize the situation. If they are for it in the same percentage or higher than Boulder's, we can ignore it.
But like everything in Boulder, this isn't a clean, issue driven controversy. It's olde Boulder whining about change and how the old 'upper class' of farmers and business folk no longer are in today's economy, and there are layers of wealth and power above them. They hate all that, but cannot directly whine about it without seeming what they are. So, they focus on the alleged incompetence of the City Council and in particular a group called Plan Boulder, which has a membership of mostly elder folks that has bent activity to their concept of what Boulder should be through the years. And, they want a lovely, quiet, city of parks and restricted growth that somehow will be able to employ all levels but favoring high tech and the arts and provide housing for most to live here.
It's not a totally unified group, and they can be snotty, and they often have candidates for and members on the City Council and various commissions, but over the decades the public has supported their efforts and seems to agree, in general, with their concepts.
Of late, it has gotten ugly. A member who was mayor deceived on her resume that she was a graduate of Radcliffe, but referencing herself as an alumna. She did go there, but she graduated elsewhere. And, yeah, she wanted the social cachet of the Seven Sisters. Another Council member took advantage of iffy tax appraisals to get his house valued way down while selling it way high which, again, is legal but rubs people wrong in an elected official.
Not a few people note that Council is well to do in general and 'don't understand' the average Boulderite's issues, when in fact they do understand the majority of Boulder better than the critics who don't want to have to admit what Boulder has become, which is too expensive for themselves to live here. Gentrification in spades, and all the trivial things on Council agenda - from prairie dog protection to ennobling pets as Companions and the other end of the leash, if leash be needed, to Guardians, and all the strict and getting stricter bike and driving rules - gets exaggerated in importance because an aging Olde Boulder is getting more parking and speeding tickets and blue collar workers are finding it hard to make a go here. All true. Whether someone is at fault, or they have just failed in the competitive world, isn't an enjoyable choice, but they lean towards blaming the City government.
I don't know if there is a solution, and I certainly do not understand nor claim to be aware of all that needs to be understood for municipalization, but I certainly lean towards favoring it. I do so because Boulder is famous, and this is a big move, and if it, for any reason, fails and becomes a complete fiasco costing the citizens a ton for lousy service, the vanity of those responsible for leading the effort would never survive the failure. They'd be dead politically and dead nationally within the progressive and ecologically concerned groups that near all of them regard highly. If they cannot do it, I think the specter of what failure might cost THEM as well as the city would make a negative decision easier. It would still be hard.
Bill Maher on the IRS. Sorkin, Cupp, and Moore have the predictable songs on it, but also good stuff.
Oh. About Benghazi. CBS News broke the news, and the GOP admits, that their Congressmen faked emails and read them into the record. THIS is the only crime, so far, and when people focus on it, I don't see it ending well for the Republicans.
It has been a rough Spring, here in Boulder. We had heavy snow, record snow, and seventy degree shifts in 24 hours, and it was kind of odd every day. A month ago, we were at what? 55% of our normal snow melt. Now, we're above normal in some areas, and the snow on the divide is deep, heavy, and wet and hasn't begun to flow down yet. The river peaks will be later than normal, I think, and it turns out we have more rain and snow coming. I kind of like it IF we can count on it, but we're not really settling in to a monsoon season, despite use of the phrase by weatherfolk.
In that regard, it's scary, because our seasons are already distorted. Half the trees have leaves starting, half have not budded yet. That's odd, face it.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Richie Havens has died. He was the lead act at Woodstock, and in fact may have been the best. He was energy and good vibes, an underrated singer and a guitarist whose rare tunings played primarily with this left thumb gave a unique sound. Atop all, he was an entirely decent and good person whom I recall meeting. That doesn't mean it happened, but he played the Boulder Theater when I was there.
He wasn't supposed to be the first act on stage at Woodstock, but that horrendoplasty of organization saw the first four delayed by travel issues, and so the poor guy had to face a quarter million - wasn't it? - for the first three hours. His performance of "Freedom" became instant icon. This slice starts with "Handsome Johnny", an anti-war song of a type common then, not all that accurate, but still forceful. Then "Freedom", which is also known as "Motherless Child."
If it's been a while, watch it here. This was a magic moment, and you can still feel it.
Friday, April 19, 2013
These are three new species of .....shoot, I cannot recall. It's from NatGeo, and they're crabs, hermit crabs, of some rare sort and thought extinct, but not. It's the most colorful way to start off after an awful week. I'm not one of those who think we're in decline and will destroy the planet. We certainly could eliminate ourselves and much else, but ever we cannot eliminate all life and destroy the planet. The standard bit would be to point the similarity to Stephen Jay Goldman's punctuated evolution and weird Cambrian creatures from the Burgess Shale, positioned to replace us after a million years of warm up.
They have more taste in dress, but beyond that, eh.
Let's be honest: that has been an impressive five days that has resulted in the death of one and perhaps both of the brothers who pointlessly set off two bombs last Monday. As I type, they're waiting to see if they can get the younger brother alive. I hope.
Overwhelming police power - local, state, federal, military - in arms and numbers would not have made squat of difference if all those cell phones and street surveillance cameras had not documented the crime and their escape. Really, where would we be if all that had not been recorded? Interviewing suspicious neighbors from serious to tin foil hats about a slew of weird and probably foreign looking people and their prejudices? Scary to realize that. But the whole community was focused on this - the whole nation - and we were spared. Thank God, and good work, everyone.
We're now hearing that a number of IED's have been found, seven at least, and so the two were dedicated to killing as many as possible. I almost hope it's merely political, and not that two could become so competently homicidal over nothing, or something petty.
What remains curious is NOT that the Boston municipal area COULD - as it is feared other cities could and now will - be brought to a halt by just two guys, but that Boston voluntarily obeyed and was on this. For all the horror, only three from the bombs, a MIT police officer, and a suspect have been killed. Of the over 200 wounded by the bombs, 40 remain hospitalized. Good luck to them.
At least twelve and likely many more died in West, Texas in a fertilizer plant explosion that happened while this was going on. A far worse tragedy, but limited in scope. Sort of. Nobody was feared to be at large setting off bombs as in Boston. Still, NBC sent Matt Lauer from the Today show to West, Texas and he's had no air time to speak of. I'll be surprised if nobody wonders, aloud, if the Media favors anything in the 'East' over the worst disaster in the West. Like many, I was thinking we only knew it too place in west Texas, but no, there is a town called West in West Texas, but it still rings wrong at first.
The fire was burning for a bit. Then a huge tank exploded. How big was it?
The Boston horror ended in Watertown, an up Charles River city to the west. There are questions.
In the shootout last night at another location, the youngest brother was wounded. He ran over his dead brother on his way out in what is described as a dramatic scene not equaled in the movies. He dripped blood, which was the clue that alerted the owner of a covered boat on a trailer in her drive. But canine units running through the neighborhood somehow failed to pick up the scent. Odd, that.
No, just told the twenty block secured search ended a block and a half way, so forgive me, pooches.
As I return, the suspect is alive, and they are calling for a medic. How? Well, the least of it.
But, back to me. I've had an HP computer that I've been happy with except for the last year it's been crashing and to the point it stayed dead this week. Only three years old and expensive. Mumble. My Geek - Free Range Geeks here in Boulder, recommended - came over we discovered that the video card that was in, had died. Okay. Happens. What annoys me a great deal is that the card served no purpose since the video on the motherboard works better. The machine is now quieter, faster, great. So........what the living hell was the card doing, bought new as it was, reducing the machine's ability?
Vinc, the Geek rep, thought the whole card may have only served the purpose of providing a HDIV (?) port for TV. If so, I'm really pissed.....
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Starting back early in the last decade, I've wandered Goose Creek path early in the morning, usually on my way to KGNU. It's a great walk through the city, with lush growth around the water way and all sorts of birds, snakes, rats, and people sleeping or, like me, finally getting it together early with a steaming cup of coffee. We silently toast each other as we pass in silence. Joggers, bikes, everyone behaving and silent except for one group of female joggers/walkers and what looks to be an ROTC group or college athletic team, who converse in deafening stage whispers, but everyone's trying to fit in.
The ducks, long a favorite of mine simply because they're colorful and their low volume quacks sound like any muttered conversation in cadence have plenty to eat and are not unusually present, and because I bake bread and stink at it - also oatmeal cookies which I've taken to calling scones and then stones and then share with the ducks - I often can gather a group of ducks and related individuals about to share coffee time. It's nice, just before and after sunup.
And there was a small pond in the creek run, that always caught my eye because of splashes indicating fish of size about. Also, a water mammal or two whose presence was only rarely noted, but their smooth coat and large eyes and silent rising to look at me (and wondering what was being eaten by the aviary group), and then sink as silently. I caught sight of one's posterior vanishing into the pussy willows once, but that and the rare head looking at me from pond center was all I had. It could have been a beaver, but I never noted the buck teeth, so I concluded it was a weasel of some sort, probably an otter, and cool. An otter. I mentioned it on the air and in writings but I never thought about it overmuch.
It's not unlikely I - me, Mr. Wonderful - was the first to note what is now being hailed as the first sighting of a Northern River Otter in Boulder in a century. Yes, me. But out of ignor..... humility I never made a big deal about it as SOME people have, just because they knew what they were looking at and I did not, if what I saw is what they caught on film. But: Me. I saw it first.
Pause for applause.......annnnnd we continue.
Roger Ebert just died. He's been fighting cancer, or enduring it, for a few years and lost his voice, jaw, and what looked to be 200 pounds in the interim till he broke his hip, recently, and during the repair they noticed cancer had returned, not a surprise. A few days ago, he said he was taking a leave of presence but would continue and he sounded energetic and still with us. It was obviously a suicide, I think, by drugs two days later to save his wife and friends and himself the final weeks of agony and pointless emotional horror for all. If so, good for him. Hope I have the strength to do it if necessary.
Ebert was a national fixture for over forty years, maybe fifty, and while I did not agree with him about some stuff, he was a valuable critic because he was consistent AND when he changed his mind he had no trouble saying so, a problem that usually becomes worse with age in us all, and especially those whose ego is exposed to the public. Stuff he didn't like but I did, say, could be correctly applied to his reviews and by and large that formula worked for me. He had courage, he leaned towards art, he had good taste along with sentiment and he nurtured some good people but, bluntly, he saw too damned many movies which, it should be said, deforms the mind in thinking about the movies, as what he saw and vectored in on would not be what the average joe would. He talked a lot about the magic of the cinema and all true, but what would surprise and charm someone not as frequent a ticket holder would bore and annoy him and any critic or person whose seen just too many movies. Rare is it that any movie can proceed devoid of the templates and set pieces that have become cliche and cant.
In the past I took him to task for his re-review of To Kill a Mockingbird here, where the standard concept of the Southern codes for speaking of and about racism and its violent past he seemed to have missed in high school, and later for his review of The Lord of the Rings, which I don't think he liked but he had trouble admitting he hadn't liked or perhaps actually read the books, which he also seemed to only pretend he had. It was like he didn't understand that the three movies were three parts of the same movie, as the book was written as one volume but issued in three, and so comparisons to movie sequels and all that, where scripts were hammered together to take advantage of a surprise hit, weren't applicable. He said something resoundingly stupid about the last of the three about now understanding Peter Jackson's vision which made no literal sense whatever but seemed a template phrase critics use.
I spoke briefly with him once on the phone, and he was exactly as he seemed on tv. Hard not to like someone so secure and happy in his own skin and funny and a gracious writer when elevated moments were needed and a blistering flame when called for. He had honor and fairness in him. He seemed a good man, and bluntly I also liked the fact he had a black wife and they seemed to get on well. The inner Liberal, I guess, but he was conventional in many ways otherwise, at least to the public and I claim no insight beyond what was allowed them. Us, rather.
Siskel and Ebert was a great show just for the discussions. I favored Ebert's taste, but Siskel was rapier sharp and they made each other better. When Siskel also got cancer and faded away, Ebert's handling of his partner in his final shows was gracious and not condescending and full of regard. They are both missed today.
The standard sign off is 'he will be missed' but that's bullshit. He's been missed in Boulder for years since he stopped attending the CWA in 2011 and even before that with his illness, losing that calm voice we're all familiar with, and his Everyman demeanor. When they took out the jaw, he had no problem having his picture looking like Popeye with a mouthful of alum on the cover. Courage, he had, did I mention?
It's been a long descent, but Roger Ebert handled it as well as anyone ever has, with grace and dignity and humor. Hail.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
So, Easter Week, an event of no particular importance to me. Yes, I'm an atheist. Even so, it's early Spring and normally that's a reason to celebrate and was for years before Christ, and so I find it somewhat satisfactory that the rabbit or - to keep in step - The Bunny is somehow appended to the holiday. Fertile and horny, rabbits spend a great deal of time producing and providing for their young and even, in times of drought or scarcity, reabsorbing them in the womb to prevent unsupportable numbers. That's a great device from nature and one wonders why we, of all creatures, were overlooked for the installation. A world of too many rabbits is a problem that would not last long, given it also reads as a world of too much food to predators and would even out.
But we, God's Gift To Earth, just keep multiplying to an extent that embarrasses any self respecting rabbit or Mayfly or any other creature on the planet. From this all environmental issues emerge. Curing it all environmental issues - well, most - vanish. It's true that idiots from time immemorial have tried to damn certain groups with responsibility for volcanoes and earthquakes but that has remained remarkably unconvincing in societies advanced enough to read else than religious texts.
This Easter, the world labors under a new Pope, since former Hitler Youth, the Very Gay Benedict the XVI wimped out and retired, leaving us with Francis I. Even though the Catholic priesthood has all but officially been admitted and revealed to be a haven for male gays with an elevated percentage of predators, the celebrations and festivities continue as if there were still nations without a Catholic Church rape/pillage/perversion scandal. Are there any still?
The basic horror is the hypocrisy: the Church buys Leviticus in part but not whole, damns gay men and women in fact while professing love in spirit. But being gay, according to the Holy Bible is no more an abomination than eating pork, and the church has yet to bring Bell, Book, and Candle to those convicted of eating bacon. And good luck should they ever try, but aside from being decidedly effeminate, morbid obesity is not rare among the upper ranks. You don't notice till all the Cardinals gather, say to elect a new Pope, how decrepit a bunch they are.
I still claim that what made John Paul II unique in the College of Cardinals was that he was not gay, and women sensed it right off, and his interactions with women were visible proof. He liked women, and whatever tempted him in life was not another male. The day in 1993 when he was in Colorado up along the Million Dollar highway and he wandered out with a small entourage to greet people gathered at a rope line convinced me of that.
The new Pope is Argentinian and an enabler of their military juntas in the day. He's also a Jesuit, which probably means he's a lot smarter than his brethren, and he's politically savvy in that he took the name of St. Francis, who was not a Jesuit and had iffy opinions about them. Francis, though, was one of the few undeniably good eggs the Church produced, and being against Francis - the man, not necessarily his own order, the Franciscans - in his day and ours is akin to drop kicking baby rabbits down the road.
Romantic Catholics are hoping that, given the name choice, we have the first environmental Pope, but as with anyone so described he has to be pro-birth control. Passing the most strict Greenie programs mean nothing if our population doesn't reduce itself sanely.
Photography and art have gotten to the point where I cannot tell photographs from paintings either by subject matter or display. Below is a graphic of the facing of a house in Europe, and I've seen things like this but not as detailed and, well, verging on the overdone. It could be fake or real, and frankly I don't care because it's a step back into the childhood of huge picture books of stories and tales with such detailed illustrations children can stare at them - in silence with the mind going a mile a minute - for hours on end. Well, blocks of twenty minutes on end. I know I did. This must be a photo. Resolution too high.
But, what about this? First impression, painting, but there are the alterations and odds and ends that make me think it could be a photo altered. The background looks like a painting.
It speaks to the deep memories of European folk tales and traditions than we're told can possibly be handed down biologically but the method remains uncertain. Still, stock myths and tales can be handed down any number of ways without illustrations or oral transmission, but by the language and choice of illustrative examples and facial expression. It's no coincidence these are all utilized by Tolkien in his stories, and his concept of minimizing departures from the realities of his readers is what makes his tale so memorable and enduring. Like, and yet not like variants of the same fairy stories he attempted to unite and gift to his homeland of England.
Tolkien, a devout Catholic, always said his stories were of a pre-Christian Europe as he imagined it could have been. March 25 was the original day of the New Year in reality, and in Tolkien's world it's the date of the end of Sauron, Gollum, Frodo's rescue, and the end of the Third Age in reality if not in formality. All the dates in Tolkien, including those that hover around Easter, are coordinated to Christian events. The detail in his time lines and histories are remarkable and, with the exception of some minor errors - fewer than exist in real historic records - mesh totally. The substance derived from building in a linear way as opposed to the 'prequel' mentality is what made him near unique in literature.
In Tolkien you find the best of religion and the inspiration it can generate. His books are religious, the wars are religious, and he does both the Bible and Milton better than they. I'm an atheist, and he impresses the hell out of me.
The Supreme Court is huffing about Proposition 8 today, the California move to make marriage solely between and man and a woman. Devout conservative Catholic Tony Scalia has shed much of his cover in the last few years and is now pretty much revealed as nothing less than a Catholic inquisitor, serving his church and not his country, although he would feel that he serves his nation by serving and strictly serving his church. He said today:
“If you redefine marriage to include same-sex couples you must permit adoption by same-sex couples, and there’s considerable disagreement among sociologists as to what the consequences of raising a child in a single-sex family, whether that is harmful to the child or not. Some states do not permit adoption by same-sex couples for that reason.” What stats I've seen show no harm to kids from gay parents, so he's advocating caving to bigots.
If there was anything the US was formed to protect us from, it was the feudal power of monarchies and religions, and this contemporary monarchy in Rome is therefore an enemy in fact if not in practice absent the power. I'm in no doubt that so are the Mormon, Baptist, and Lutheran hierarchies, but they have so little power in comparison. They're all patriarchies designed to fluff the self value of the average man, and if it requires subordination of the other gender or another people so be it.
I'm still thrilled by photos like this, of the Curiosity rover on the red planet. We're drilling to find signs of water, and apparently all so far suggests Mars has water, either frozen beneath or hidden in some other chemical domain. This is important in that water conceptually means we can live there, and with more advance - a lot more - perhaps terraform the planet and give in an atmosphere and make it a cooler version, but livable, of earth. Water also means fuel for hydrogen powered engines, I read, although I'm not sure that's the way to go. Still, this Easter, it's entirely possible and remotely possible in my life time that we'll get to Mars and make a go of it. I'd think God would be pleased, if he existed. The thing is, we have to devote energy and time and money to things other than the morality of gay marriage or gays in general, and the nonsense of Biblical literalism.
A creationist, although allegedly a scientist as well, has challenged the evolutionists to put up $10k like he has to have a 'trial' to prove that no science backs up evolution at all. The Dawkins group lapped that up and is being condescending, which is always dangerous. Logical and well stated thought in memorable phrase can defeat what is true if defended by assumptions of agreement and the parameters of the debate. So....in that sense, I hope it isn't done in a half-assed way. Like, say, a certain President did during his first debate. He won the debate on points and truth, but that didn't matter.
Along with drones, we're being made aware of a serious movement to make commercial flights robot piloted. As scary as that sounds is the fact that at least half of all crashes are pilot error. Certainly I have no issue with that for small plane tragedies, of which Boulder has seen way too many in increasing numbers each year of late. But I'd have thought mechanical or some hidden dysfunction would top the list, and not just because of the pilots' union.
There is something that scares the hell out of me with us devoting so much time to remote control and communication over distance. If we lost all that, as by a nuclear pulse wave attack which is just an airborne nuke explosion of no particular accuracy, how would our anti missiles and our own strike backs work? In nuclear war, as in any fist fight, the guy who gets in the first shot seems to have the best shot of victory. Imagine a small nuke sent up by primitive rocket exploding near New York with all the planes in the air at a busy day or night and suddenly they are unable to communicate with each other or the tower or with anyone? This was pushed as something to fear a while back and now it's totally ignored while we become more dependent upon electronic wave communications.
Meanwhile, the crappy standards we have for pilots, air control equipment and people, and gate security doesn't soothe. The story here is enough to scare the hell out of you. The Mad Men Playboy Years mentality still lives and is unforgiven in more complex world.
Ability grouping, a teaching fad of merit that was phased out years back, is now making a comeback. This tickles me because it is a refutation of the whole 'gifted' child horse hockey that made no sense whatever beyond forgiving parents.
An exception can be found in gifted and talented programs. These programs -- some of which begin as early as third grade -- are a reaction against the low expectations brought on by full inclusion. These programs often make matters worse. They can be rigid, excluding late bloomers by testing them into a "non-honors" track early in life. In other words, the elimination of ability grouping has become a tracking system in itself that leaves many students behind.
Want to remember this when Boulder starts whining about its 'gifted' children.
Friday, February 22, 2013
On the cover, two infant platypusses. By any standard, a ridiculous creature that isn't all that pleasant as an adult (think of the bullying issues.....) with a poison unit on its legs. Still, look at these things. You want one, admit it.
So. The Saga of Texan Lance Armstrong is coming to a close, as the Justice Department has announced it is joining a fraud case against the one time seven time Tour de France winner, cancer survivor and thriver, and all around athletic icon. Really, it cannot get worse than this for the guy.
At main issue is whether the federal government got screwed when Armstrong was sponsored by that sorta/kinda government agency at about $30 million a year for his race season. Now, "The Justice Department joined a lawsuit Friday against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong that alleges the former seven-time Tour de France champion concealed his use of performance-enhancing drugs and defrauded his longtime sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service." He's admitted near all of this already.
Myself, I don't see how the Postal Service got any damage from this, and how in the world that will be proven, since he was with them a decade and more back. Given they're starting a clothing line, they can't make themselves more ridiculous in any case. But certainly the lies and arrogance and dishonesty need a sharp kick on principle. And true, "The Postal Service has now seen its sponsorship unfairly associated with what has been described as 'the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.'"
Armstrong is apparently dealing to see if he can get credit for squealing on others. I'd hope not. That offends me, and I imagine many far more important and relevant, because he's been the hypocrite screaming about the lies of others, yet here he is begging to be the worst of them. But it still offends me more that all the ramora that attached themselves to Armstrong and defended him mightily have conveniently now discovered what a cad he is and slam him at every chance. The logic so obvious now was so obvious then, and it took willing ignorance not to see it. Or, financial gain. Bike races are still in the running to make boxing look honest and honorable.
"Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in my life, I am ashamed of my country." So said morbidly obese Chickenhawk Rush Limbaugh yesterday. I don't know why. Let me look.......
Ah. He's upset because Obama claims the sequester of funds would be a devastating blow to the economy and to government agencies, affecting everyone with longer lines at the airport to fewer meat inspections. In perfect irony, Limbaugh claims its exaggeration and fear mongering, two categories I think he tried to trademark at one time. Well, good luck with that, fat man. To my continued approval and surprise, the public is working its way around to even higher approval levels for Obama.
This would not be happening if he had ever succumbed to anger and hysteria or left behind his natural role as optimist. That takes a lot of innards.
Here in Boulder the Damned, the Plantlife is upset because the City is proceeding with their investigation into municipalization of energy, by which is meant replacing Xcel Energy with a hybrid ownership or a complete takeover by City government. The advantages, some on the staff feel, is that Boulder could get the same or better deals and not increase costs while dropping our carbon footprint considerably. Variations in timing and how this might happen, but the first report is in and we're set for nearly two months of public hysteria over Evil Gubmint inflicting socialism upon us or hysteria over Evil Corp'rations continuing in power and robbing the people.
I have no clue, but I certainly think it is something we ought to investigate. I fully realize one of the payoffs is Boulder succeeding and propelling those who pushed for it into national spotlight and considerations for higher office and prominence. If it works, they'll deserve it.
But if it doesn't, and Boulder is extorted by power companies to compensate for an idiotic implementation, the same people might as well declare bankruptcy and die. They'll be castigated for generations and deservedly so. They must know this, and that's the sort of large caliber gun to the temple which focuses attention and allows the logical to say 'nope, won't work' or 'too iffy.'
If it does work, it may well inspire, as Boulder often does, others to proceed and an overall rebuild of the national grid might well be the needed and easily included outcome. That's asking a bit too much, but it is possible, and certainly elevates the issues to above merely 'important.'
Also, here in Boulder, the inevitable Arts crews are trying to take advantage of the Civic Center notion to get their empires of financially doomed productions and entities paid for by the public. Somehow. That's not to say some of them, at least, shouldn't be, but all these projects from the Civic Center, Convention Center, Performing Arts Center, Arts and Culture Manager, and even the recent Pro Bike Race use the same smoke and mirrors to confuse a not tuned in public and entrance elected officials with dreams of landslides by grateful voters or, rather, their names on buildings and stationary for at least a generation.
The civic center is a disaster, a Public Endangerment Program, that continues to put valuable buildings infested with innocents along the Creek in what is surely the stupidest choice available. City employees get great views and cool breezes from their offices near the great restaurants on Pearl St., but the floods will happen on all these self insured buildings. The Justice Center, the Library, the Municipal Building (City Hall), the Tea House, the Art Museum, many restaurants and businesses are to be joined by a Performing Arts Center, a multiple screen art movie theater, a Conference Center. It's insane and already dangerous.
Also, expensive and pointlessly so.
The map below is what the states might look like renamed and equal in population. The Electoral College is a remnant of the slave issue and 18th century communication issues, and could easily be replaced today and should be. Requires a constitutional amendment, but I think it is overdue. There are several additional amendments that could be included with it.
For example, I'd like it clear that American citizens cannot risk the financial stability of the nation by fictions of surety for loans, which to me is clear treason when all potential profit is theirs and all risk falls on the citizens. Below constitutional level, would like to see Savings Banks return, which pay decent interest and money just sits there out of the clutches of those who hate large piles of other people's money they cannot use. Glass Steagall need not reappear, but some of the activities it affected need cleaner and harsher scrutiny with cleaner and harsher penalties for their violation.
Also, I don't want weapons allowed to people not trained in their use or need.
But I wouldn't mind living in the state of Ogalalla which, since you asked, was the Sioux tribe to which Red Cloud and Crazy Horse belonged. Sitting Bull was a Hunkpapa. Just saying....
Below is convenient chart for those of you spiritually confused and unsure what tribe of God would most appreciate your presence. Given that the Catholic Church is in long deserved hypocritical meltdown over its corruptions and hypocrisies with the biggest enabler of priestly pedophilia, the current Pope, stepping down next week.
If any of you have HBO, see Mea Culpa, the documentary about the school for the deaf run by the Church where predators lurked, were protected, continue to be protected. Although there are many priests and bishops to hate clearly revealed, there are several to praise for absolute courage and absolute devotion. I'm an atheist, but I admire anyone who walks their own talk. Some can.
It's also uplifting to come across this: a merchant in the 18th century who understood what slavery was and that his business profited from it, and did a one man boycott of products from the slave states. Initially thought to be a Massachusetts man (Haverhill, probably) it was determined he was British, and too early for Wilberforce to have touched. He did this on his own. Had to hurt him. Had to have lessened his popularity. Even if done because abolitionists would approve and support, you weren't inundated by others following.
My addiction to birds seems to be common with people of my age. Owls and raptors especially. Wisdom, age, all that. There is a certain near fuzziness to owls that reminds of mammals, upon whom they mostly feed, I think.
And like the mammals that change coats by season, owls do as well and they are, by any account, beautiful, creepy, efficient, and silent. I have no doubt that the wing wash of unseen or heard barn owls were the cause of many ghost stories and tales of witches back in the day. When I lived north of Boulder for a bit, there was a gigantic owl that - because I was on a schedule walking four miles to work - frequenting took off from a large tree and glided down and gave its first flap above my head as it picked up speed and regained altitude. If I hadn't seen it do this without me below as I started on that job, the down wash of early spring air would likely have
scared the crap out of me. I no longer had the imagination to scare easy, but even when I instantly knew what it was, I ducked, swore, and stepped to the side.
But not scared. Not that. Dark owl, unseen with a near six foot wing span whooshing by above. Knew that....
The graphic below needs know introducksion. It's about spellczech.
And, it's an olde joke. Shaw insisted we could spell fish 'ghoti' because all you needed was to sound out:
gh as in laugh
o as in women
ti as in motion
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Aside from baby elephants, as on cover today, what's cuter than we are under age three? Have no clue who this is, or where, but if you were to imagine how art can affect us, and the very young 'us' in particular, this will do nicely. In the age of instant animation and 'interaction' the stagnant painting still works, still lights the fire, still throws the switch. On the other hand, the kid might be just re-enacting a Transformer cartoon she's seen and this is coincidence. But, I really like this picture.
I haven't spent time with my Grand nieces but I recall my several female children of my brothers, my mere nieces but their Moms, at that age, and those of friends here in Colorado, and it's rather on the nose. I hope it wasn't scripted. I hope she was having as much fun as it seems. And good on 'er. I stole this from a friend, Jennifer Heath, and her Facebook page. She's married to one of the famous Beat era - well, a tad after - poets, Jack Collom, and she's an author herself whose works are to be found in the ad column to your left. She was a military brat and grew up in Afghanistan. Right away, an interesting woman.
So, the truth is I haven't been enthused about much of late, and I should be and hope to regain it. I've reached the age of losing friends and peers with regularity, and it isn't something I'm adapting to well at all. Thanatophobic I am not. I hate death, I don't fear it.
Wait! What was that.........?
Been participating in everyone else's blogs but not my own. There have been issues here in Boulder that have drawn my attention, everything from this idiotic Civic Center to the Murdered Elk to the continuing fiasco of the Pro Bike Race (is there a future with the Armstrong scandal, ongoing and now including the possibility of prison?) to upcoming CU football horrors. I wish the university well, and I have nothing against football, but in reality college football has almost nothing to do with college anymore, and is a dubious device for alumni giving and local economics. That a few make a ton of money off it is used as a cover story for the many who lose on it, like taxpayers.
Only magical bookkeeping keeps that secret. If the the Chess Club meets in the football stadium, then it's a general use facility and on the general Athletic budget and not exclusively on football's, where it belongs. Certainly at CU, anyway.
So, I've been involved elsewhere. And frustrated. You can, your time being apparently worthless, read up such here. Dealing with the Great American Plantlife, Boulder Division, can be frustrating. Very, very frustrating.
I thought the Keith Richards-Lance Armstrong comparison unusual and accurate. More or less.
We have had the Pro Bike race here in Boulder, which is where it belongs and to which it will likely return but not this year. It was promoted with falsehoods and transparent nonsense (again, see Foremost Felon - me - via the link above) that was easy for me to predict, and easy for anyone with any experience. Whether Art Center, athletic stadium or event, or Conference Center, they're all promoted the same way: as a benefit for the citizens in general so it should be built or supported by regressive taxation that will be paid back by increased business for individuals and increased tax income for the government. Rarely works out, and surely did not for Boulder, which lost about a quarter million dollars when it was hyped as something that could give us an $8.1 million boost for the year.
How they constructed that idiocy requires reading, but take my word.
The Atlantic has gone graphic big time, and while some of their collections are from the National Geographic and other well known sites, they did up lesser known photographic resources. They're nearly all spectacular, with only a being merely fantastic. Currently they have sites in French with color photos from around the world taken in the early 20th century. The ones of Paris from before the Great War are fascinating, and that's an era I've been hooked on since reading Barbara Tuchman's The Proud Tower a half century ago while in Spain. About.
Trying to be what we are not. Ah, love this cartoon. Shouldn't, since I have to lift weights again today, but I've realized I'm never going to be able to go shirtless again with any hope of dignity. Absent a stapler, skin sags whatever the musculature beneath. Look at Ahnald, not that I'm remotely in that class. Not that I'm pushing the envelope at all, there, but after pneumonia - now recognized as symptom and not disease - I'm keeping the lungs and chest in good shape. Better shape, anyway.
It's been interesting to see some of my neighbors in this apartment building, who appear to be Muslim, adapt to sharing a gym room with others, primarily men. Some started out in full burqa attire but now at least one young lady - I think a Mom - is bare skinned at the midsection in shorts, tights, and T shirt and she smiles and engages in conversation and is - as they all are - entirely pleasant. There is a little girl about the age of the one dancing to the painting above, who is very serious and doesn't make eye contact, but I try to always smile and not seem horrifying, which old men can certainly be to the young. Not sure how successful I've been, but once or twice they smiled back. Nobody has run screaming from the room yet.
I hope they're immigrants and not just visitors. People my age are most appreciative of the food immigrants bring, whole new concepts that have made eating out a genuine pleasure compared to what awaited us at the diners of my childhood, which was not much different than what awaited - and frozen - at home. When I worked in Spain, we went to Tangier and ate some terrific stuff and I still feel that those who choose to hate Arabs or Muslims need to at least eat their grub, because it's healthier and tastier than much of our own. Even the food we adapt - like Mexican and Chinese - we corrupt to make it fat laden ......well, fat. With salt and sauces composed mostly of sugar.
Of course, mostly I like eating with my fingers lying down. Who does not? Eh? I ask you.....
In the Atlantic, if you click the hyperlink above and go down to near the end, there is a photo of North Korean children - young kids - doing a dance. Girls. It's incredibly creepy, because the kids are not in NK traditional garb, but the sort of outfits that designate child beauty pageants of the hated west, specifically the sort of thing that Jon Bonet Ramsey might have worn.
Ramsey is again in the news because the gist of her Grand Jury inquest was revealed, and it seems the GJ indicting both of her parents, which seems right given what was known at the time. In the years since, we've been told that foreign DNA on her body was not from anyone the police knew about, so if that doesn't exactly exonerate the awful Ramseys, it does defend them against those posters in the Daily Camera who wanted them convicted, essentially, 'just because.' I hate stage parents and every photo of Patsy Ramsey infuriated me because she was palpably lying and a bad actress and just rubbed everyone's face in it.
The one thing that a poster provided was a comparison of the ransom note writing and examples of Patsy Ramsey's, which were to this unschooled eye exact.
It has been enjoyable both nationally and locally watching the old and fatuous frameworks of conservative nonsense collapse. The Boy Scouts, generally believed to have been founded in England and here by gay men or the next thing to it, are now considering allowing local groups allow gay children or not into them.
Gays can be just as predatory as straights, but the institutional hypocrisy of the Boy Scouts has been far beyond the pale. Some groups disallow members whose mothers or fathers are gay even if the kid isn't or at least has no reason to think so one way or another. The homophobia is of the sort that calls into question the inclinations of those so hysterical about it. And that's atop the near weekly revelations of scout masters or associates being the exact sort of predators that you'd think would have to have been well known as such and kept secret, much as the Catholic Church has illustrated.
In Washington, the far right Israel lobbyists have set up a grotesque camapaign against Chuck Hagel, a moderately conservative Republican, to be nominated as Secretary of Defense. Hagel is quite capable and willing to tell Israel to shape up and behave like an enemy of the Taliban and not act as our or just the west's version, much as the fanatical conservative patriarchs of the various nitwit Christian churches are indistinguishable except for the chants. Bill Krystal and his cronies are infuriated, and for that alone you'd think it would be worth appointing Hagel.
Given Bibi Netanyahu wants us to bomb Iran so they won't be alonge, this would be a good thing. Israel's right wing is every bit as idiotic and dangerous as our own and they really do think they are doing the work of God, much like all the presidential candidates thought that God had told them to run. They should be treated as the Phelps family should be treated, as frauds whom God must clearly hate, since they lost big time and were revealed to be not even the sharpest knife set in the Republican Party. Think about that.
The Phelps, the guys who picket our soldiers' funerals because their death is punishment for allowing gays to exist, are despicable. I've always wondered why God doesn't tell someone that all that is wrong with our nation would be cured if Phelps was water boarded, dress like a whore, photographed for posterity and burned at the stake for disgracing our species. I'm an atheist, but I'm afraid I might enjoy that.
Meanwhile, our idiot Republican House of Representative is trying to redefine words so they can backtrack totally on immigration reform, on the debt ceiling, on the budget, on everything so that they do not have to admit error or unpopularity or selfishness, all of which currently applies to them and the stuff that got them into this political quagmire.
They've liked to think of themselves as the adult, responsible party, but having become almost entirely a grouping of Third Rate Southern white men with racial prejudice, misogyny, deep scientific and even basic educational ignorance as their most obvious characteristics, and touting a moronic Christianity that reflects almost none of Christ's unique virtues: compassion, wisdom, peace. Always the first to hurl stones from glass houses, always the first to demean and laugh at from the hitherto safety of numbers, always the first to call people traitors and cowards despite their glistening Chickenhawk status.
Dubya wanted us to go back to the moon and on to Mars without doing much to ensure we'd be able to do it. Our colleges have to recruit from overseas to find kids worthy of our universities because local yokels have made our high schools, in left leaning areas, self esteem laden douchebags who play football and get grade inflated reports and near worthless degrees in what is sorta liberal arts. Ethnic Studies here at CU. Most of Naropa. We then have home schooled Christian students from the right wing who are demented by rote and religion as most madras schools in the Muslim world. Our own kids aren't as American in temperment or education as the immigrants. They've got a sense of entitlement by birth - the sort of thing the Revolution was against - and weak scientific and mathematical ability.
They aren't going back to the moon absent some serious slaps upside the head and some societal condemnations of their idiot educations, so called, to that point.
All material on this site copyright Richard L. MacLeod (Dark Cloud) 1968-2013 unless otherwise stated.