Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tahitian Uber Waves

I came across this rather remarkable video montage of some monstrous waves at Teahupoo, Tahiti, that some brave souls actually deigned to surf during a off day in the Billabong Pro. Surprising to me nobody was seriously injured. These waves bring to mind Mavericks on the California Coast.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tea Party Rivalries

In 2006 Smirnoff developed a new product line of alcoholic beverages that contained various flavors of tea to which they ascribed the commercial label Raw Tea. As part of their marketing campaign they smartly created two hip and clever promotional videos that went viral. The videos, not released simultaneously, but successively, not only lampooned and satirized young elites from the two distinct cultural zones of the East Coast and the West Coast, in particular New England and Southern California, but also the East Coast - West Coast hip-hop/gangster rap rivalry. Watch these two videos in the order they are presented from top to bottom for maximized effect, to wit, Tea Partay which corresponds to the "old money" East Coast scions and Green Tea Partay which corresponds to the nouveau riche West Coast hipsters.

Tea Partay

Green Tea Partay 


Monday, August 29, 2011

LifeVantage/Protandim Is a Scam

Over the past year a friend of a close friend of mine who has now himself become a casual friend of mine has been trying to get me to get involved in his MLM (multi-level marketing) endeavor buying and better yet for him, selling a relatively new (about 10 years old) herbal remedy marketed by LifeVantage as Protandim.

I don't wish to get into explaining much about Protandim as that would be freely promoting the product on this blog and I have no desire to do that. However, I don't want you to merely take my word for anything but do your own research so I provide links both from the company and the skeptics for you to do your own research. Please check ALL links as none are repeated so even the two Protandim links above are not the same but one is the Wikipedia link and one is the product link.

Please consult the links above to get some background information and then check out  these rather fascinating and insightful, not to mention damning sources below:








For starters is is worth noting that the very first scene one sees on one of the Protandim propaganda promotional videos I watched is the following statement: "While independent studies continue to validate the effectiveness of Protandim, this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease." This is a HUGE red flag and rather ironic because then the very same propaganda promotional video proceeds to spend the next ten minutes doing just what it says it does not intend to do.

Dr. Joe McCord did not invent this product as the propaganda promotional videos I watched state (or rather embarrassingly, as one of the company hacks promoters dogmatically asserts) which is a blatant lie and a smoke screen for the simple fact somebody else with much less credibility than Dr. McCord did so, to wit, Paul Myhill, a theologian... amongst other things. I'm sure he's really interesting to talk to about God and orphans but I don't trust an herbal remedy developed by the guy.

However, Dr.McCord is a part owner of the company and yet there are no notices in any of the product propaganda promotional videos stating he has a financial interest in this company as ethically ought to be the case. ALL the other people in the propaganda promotional videos are drug mules "independent distributors" or even officers in the company. That is like listening to a promotional pitch from a cocaine trafficker to get an accurate sense if cocaine is worthwhile.

Not only is Dr. McCord part-owner of the company but he is involved with distributor training. This strikes me as odd that a research scientist is spending time training salespeople. I smell a stinky rat!

Not only are all the people interviewed in the propaganda promotional videos company people but they are talking more the money side of selling the product than the health aspects which is a huge red flag. Indeed there are many red flags in all the promotional materials for Protandim not the least of which is the over-the-top hype and even some maudlin over-sentimentality in some of the interviews on the propaganda promotional videos.

If one has a real-deal product one can afford to be smug and not have to frantically over-hype and over-reach to convince others the product is good as LifeVantage does. Think Apple products like the iPod and iPhone for which there are no Apple barkers selling them in "network" marketing fashion.

Why does LifeVantange refer to their marketing plan as "network" marketing and not just call a spade a spade and admit to the obvious fact it is a MLM?

The online defenders of Protandim claim all skeptics are hacks for Big Pharma and its proxy the FDA. That is a straw man argument and diversionary in the extreme. Most of the critics are actually finance experts who can smell a financial rat, er racket,  when well, they smell one. On the other hand a typical LifeVantage/Protandim hack is somebody like J.J. Bernsdorff who in his blog not only defends the product while toothlessly attacking its detractors but also promotes the damned product in ads on the same page. This classifies as a mother-of-all-conflicts-of-interest in my book.

Of course the AMA doctors are against Protandim even if they are pushers of legal drugs. The drugs they use and prescribe have to pass muster with the FDA and usually do work while the herbal products have not been thus proven and do not have to prove ANYTHING. At least the FDA-approved stuff has gone through one more layer and level of scientific scrutiny and inquiry than the herbal remedy stuff like Protandim which needs not prove anything.

Of course I have yet to even touch on the scammy nature of MLM's in general here (of which LifeVantage is one) but won't get into here in any depth but welcome you to do your own research on it via the links I have provided as well as other sources you find. 

I have reached the obvious conclusion that Protandim as currently marketed is a scam (even if it actually works as preventative medicine) and consequently I have decided to not get involved with this product and the ethically-challenged company that markets it.

Update: It has been suggested to me that Protandim is essentially glutathione but with a lot of smoke and mirrors and one heck of a dog and pony show - and with a lot of additional cost. I cannot confirm this but I encourage our more biochemistry-backgrounded readers to offer some insights in the comments below.

LisaRob updates taken from her comments to this article in mid-April, 2016:

A few things have happened that I'm not sure have been covered here. I briefly scanned through the comments, but didn't see them, so here goes.

1. McCord retired from the company a few years ago and collected a hefty paycheck after signing a nondisclosure agreement.

2. Lifevantage has been through several other Chief Science Officers since then (one only lasted a few months). Another, Shaun Talbott, had a very sketchy history and judgement against him for making false claims about another product before being hired by LV. Talbott didn't last very long and was unceremoniously kicked out after he had a disagreement with the higher ups.

3. Lifevantage sued Lazyman and he had to remove his blog because he couldn't afford to fight the lawsuit in the long run. (Your link to his site will only bring up his statement about that lawsuit, and none of the great information that used to be there). I believe the Budgets are Sexy site has also removed its Protandim discussion.

4. Paul Myhill (the "inventor" of Protandim) admitted on his Facebook page that he no longer takes Protandim and has moved on to other things. He ended up taking the statement down, but I have a screenshot of it. I heard LV was going to sue him, or perhaps they still are. Not sure either way.

5. There is growing evidence that flooding your body with antioxidants is bad for people who have cancer. This is concerning because you have to wonder how long a person has cancer before it is actually detected. Maybe it's not such a great idea for anyone to be boosting their antioxidant levels.

Here is the press release for the new product:

McCord's retirement package. He was an "at will" employee, so one can only guess why they felt it reasonable or necessary to gift him with 1.7 million dollars:

"The Agreement contains provisions relating to, among other things, confidentiality, non-disparagement, return of company property, and a general release of claims in favor of our company. The Agreement requires that we make twelve (12) equal monthly payments to Dr. McCord in the aggregate amount of $1,700,000. Dr. McCord has agreed to consult with us on matters relating to his previous work for our company for a period of nine (9) months after the effective date of the Agreement."


Regarding Shawn Talbott and the judgement against him for making illegal claims about CortiSlim before LifeVantage hired him :

Here is a link where Talbott discusses being unceremoniously dumped from LV. It was rumored that Talbott wanted to move the company away from the MLM format, but I have no proof of that:

LV now has a Sr. VP of Research and Development (not sure why the there isn't a Chief Science Officer) named Nathalie Chevreau, PhD. She has run afoul or the FTC in the past, also:


One thing I forgot to mention was the stock price of LifeVantage. In the past, LV has taken great pride in being traded on NASDAQ, and has even used it as a marketing tool. Last year, their stock had fallen below $1.00 a share for 6 months and was in imminent danger of being delisted. To avoid that, they did a 7:1 reverse stock split to bring the price per share up to avoid delisting.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2011 Virginia Quake Remembrances

In the aftermath of the recent significant earthquake in Virginia a couple of different friends have shared with me these two funny visuals that directly satirizes the local reaction to the earthquake by a populace not accustomed to being shaken like that and indirectly satirizes the at times maudlin 9/11 remembrances.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Don't Believe Everything You Think

Dear Christian,

I've noticed you post this sort of thing periodically on this list as well as others over the years. Your postings have a decidedly ideological slant.

Here are a few of my thoughts about the piece you've posted and about its author and even my thoughts on you.

Ethnic cleaning? More like natural selection excepting those cases where folks were not ambulatory or not ambulatory for any significant distance. Anybody capable of walking out of the Lower 9th Ward whom did not as Hurricane Katrina approached and perished had only themselves to blame. When judging these sorts of matters I generally follow the rule of W.W.I.D. (What Would I Do). My feet are for walking... dozens of miles if my life depends upon it. I and anybody else walking in that situation would probably get a ride somewhere along the way, too.

The Universe is not concerned in the least with melanin levels in the skin of human beings or whom plays the victim card most effectively and whom utilizes false guilt the best. If a human being makes choices that place themselves in the path of the Universe's hammer they will get squashed every time.

In a town that is predominantly Democratic Party-controlled how would donating to the Republican Party get an emergency management firm a contract to develop a faulty disaster plan?

The U.S. Government and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was not responsible for the flooding of New Orleans, LA, in 2005 and the Universe could give a rat's ass what conclusion some asshole judge reached in a court case about it. New Orleans flooded because nobody bothered to move the damned city out of the way of the largest river on the North American continent.... and where it meets the Atlantic Ocean no less.... and immediately adjacent to and down-wind of one of the most fertile hurricane breeding grounds on Earth.

There were no buses to move those whom needed moving out of the Lower 9th Ward and were willing to leave and could not walk (like I would have) because those buses were neatly parked in their parking lot where Mayor Ray "Pass-The-Buck" Nagin left them. Nagin murdered those people and when the good people of New Orleans reelected him to office afterward that ended the last bit of my sympathy for Nagin's "Chocolate City" (Nagin's words, not mine).

The ancient Egyptians in the Book of the Dead left an instruction NOT to fuck with the river (Nile) but being a lot younger civilization we haven't quite figured that out yet with our largest river.

Christian, I hope someday you develop into an intellectually sophisticated person capable of grasping that the world is a whole lot more complicated than the Republicans being bad guys and Democrats being good guys (or vice versa as other hayseeds believe).

The truth is vastly more complex and layered with level upon level of context and nuance. When the next revolution happens both unrepentant Democrats and Republicans will have good reason to be gravely concerned. Thomas Jefferson would have it no other way.

Greg Palast is a Neo-Liberal hack with an ax to grind and preaches to the choir in an echo chamber.

What guys like Palast and even you seem to fail to grasp is that if one looks at any group of human beings long and hard enough one will find malfeasance. Neo-Liberals like you (and Neo-Cons, too) should know better than to throw stones in glass houses.

One can be simple-minded and think like a cave man and make simplistic mental groupings like all big furry animals with large claws and huge fangs are dangerous or all rich people are greedy and got that way doing naughty things on the backs of workers.

This sort of unsophisticated thinking fails to account for the fact that without a lot of those people in The Hamptons whom Palast mocks we wouldn't have a civilization of note. Any significant civilization requires elites to rule and the Universe in unimpressed and unconcerned with the romantic perception-as-reality of fellow-travelers like you and Palast.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Monsoonal Sunset - August 2011

All day today monsoonal moisture has been streaming over the Central Coast of California from the south and east. I figured this evening would provide this region a gorgeous sunset and it did not disappoint. The following images were taken from northwestern Paso Robles, CA, during a brief detour and stop on my way home from work.


All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

During the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season during which Florida was slammed by not one but four damaging and deadly hurricanes, to wit, Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Ivan, and Hurricane Jeanne,  I finally got my own online access and my own computer after borrowing friend's computers and online access prior to that year. By whatever means I found it I remember not but somehow I came upon the website and immediately was taken with it and fully availed myself of its utility throghout the course of that season and those four hurricanes. I must confess that even by the following year during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season which included super-hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, I did not utilize it nearly as much or at all as I recall. For some reason my mind has been put on it a lot lately (even before 2011 Atlantic hurricane season really got going) and I'm paying attention to the website once again. I have yet to check out any of their podcasts. and live streaming coverage of storms. In fact, they are based in Florida and during at least one of the 2004 Florida storms they were hit and knocked offline. Given the current hurricane emergency developing on the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States with Hurricane Irene this website is particularly useful. To visit the website click on the icon below.

hurricanecity,Atlantic Hurricane Tracking

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We're All Sheeple!

Last week in the first session of my economics class this Semester our instructor played the following video for our class. As you will find if you watch it that not only is it rather entertaining but also remarkably insightful to to the point of being vaguely disquieting on multiple levels.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mendez vs. Westminster

By Kim Patrick Noyes for History 210

Much as been written and spoken about the landmark United States Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education made by the progressive Warren Court in 1954 which stated that "separate but equal" is inherently unequal and thus unconstitutional and thus illegal. Much less known is it important precursor seven years earlier in Orange County in the community of Westminster, CA.

During World War Two a Japanese-American farmer in that community was interned in Arizona. A Mexican-American farmer named Gonzalo Mendez offered to lease the farm and keep it going while the owner was interned which offer was accepted and the deal went into effect. Mendez and his wife became very successful doing this work on the 40-acre farm even employing Braceros from the United States Government.

The Mendez Family pior to this lived in the Mexican-American district of Westminster and their several children attended a "Mexican" school in that part of town (the "wrong side of the tracks" as it were).Not immediately but eventually after taking the lease on the Japanese-American farm which was located in a white part of town the Mendez children were moved to their new home on the farm.

Their aunt, who had married a man of French decent and carried his name and whose mixed-race children were allowed to enroll in the segregated white school in that part of Westminster, attempted to get her brother Gonzalo's children into the same school. This attempt failed on the justification that "Mexican" kids needed to attend "Mexican" school. She pointed out that her own children attended the same school. However, this did not matter apparently due to their "mixed" ancestry.

When she informed her brother of this he responded without bitterness and optimistically went to both the local school board as well as the Orange County school board fully intending to get things cleared up.  Both school boards informed Mr. Mendez  that the ruling would stand and that it was quite legal.

Mr. Mendez then contacted a local Latino advocacy group to represent him in fighting this obvious injustice, but they would have nothing to do with the case.... at least initially. The Mendezes then decided to use their own resources acquired through their now quite successful agricultural enterprise to hire a private attorney to represent them in filing and executing a lawsuit in trial court against the Westminster School District.

The Mendezes' quite effective effective legal representation exhaustively researched and prepared their case adn marched a host of impressive witnesses before the court. To the surprise of many, Judge Paul McCormick found overwhelmingly in favor of the Mendez Family and repudiated the concept of  "separate but equal" way back in 1947, seven years BEFORE the Brown Decision.

The Mendez Decision occurred during the tenure of California Governor (and later United States Supreme Court Chief Justice in the Brown Decision) Earl Warren who within a couple of years signed legislation ending segregation of Asian and Native American children in all California public schools.

Additionally, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) attorney Thurgood Marshall was involved in this case and would later be involved in the Brown Decision. Marshall and to a greater extent one of his subordinates, Robert L. Carter, wrote a supporting brief on behalf of the complainants in the unsuccessful appellate court challenge to the Mendez Decision. This brief would form the basis for the brief in the Brown Case seven years later.

There are three interesting footnotes to this story. First, Gonzalo Mendez' sister in protest of her brother's children not being allowed in the "white" school her own children attended pulled them out of that school and enrolled them in the same "Mexican" school her brother's children continued to attend. Second, it is worth noting the irony in all of this that there is now a school in Westminster, CA, name for Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalo Mendez. Unfortunately, they did not live to see it built and dedicated. Third, one of the Mendez' daughters while attending U.C. Riverside came across a written account of the Mendez Decision in a book she was reading. This came as quite a surprise to her as she and her siblings were utterly unaware of the case as they were too young at the time to remember it later and their parents never discussed it while they were growing up.


Monday, August 22, 2011

The Bracero Program

For History 210 with Dennis Judd

The subject of Mexican immigration to the United States, particularly the illegal variety, is as topical a matter as there can be at this juncture in our nation's history. Regardless of where one's personal political views rest on the political spectrum one very ironic aspect of it is virtually unknown to 99% or more those those who deign to even ponder upon and discuss this controversial issue.

The basic fact of the matter is that the United States Government initially working on behalf of the people of the United States in the context of the war effort during World War Two but subsequently to that working corruptly on behalf of agribusiness interests at taxpayer's expense actually created the flow both legal but more significantly, illegal, of Mexican migrants to the United States of America.

The Bracero (translated meaning "strong arm" and holding similar meaning and equivalency to the expression "coolie" of an earlier period in U.S. and more particularly, California history) Program as it became known started informally and unofficially during World War One as a means of replacing agricultural laborers lost to the war effort. During the Mexican Civil War of that period it was easy for the Mexican Government to acquire indigent men (refugees) and send them north.

During the 1930's in the context of the Great Depression and its pervasive unemployment over half a million Mexicans were deported back to Mexico. During that period what agricultural jobs existed were filled by poor white Americans, especially refugees of the Dust Bowl.

Upon the occurrence of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the resulting entry of the United States into World War Two a wartime employment boom ensued in California. This boom was filled by mostly white Americans, many of them former Midwest agriculturalist refugees of the Dust Bowl, and the many Japanese-American agriculturalists in California were by now interned and thus a dangerous farm labor shortage ensued . The resulting labor environment led to the Bracero Program being formally and officially reinstated following a summit between the U.S. and Mexican Presidents wherein Mexico was encouraged to side with the Allies and wherein the details of the Bracero Program were hammered out. The agreement called for Mexico to provide workers for the United States while the U.S. promised to provide transportation, housing, health care, unemployment insurance and a minimum wage. The program immediately went into effect and succeeded in filling the labor vacuum for the duration of the war.

By 1946 the Braceros should have been back home to stay in Mexico. American citizens, including the interned Japanese-American farmers should have returned to the fields and earned an honorable wage. Unfortunately, this is not what happened as U.S. agribusiness interests making full use of their corrupting influence in the Federal Government found a means to maintain the Bracero Program long after it rightly ought to have ended. In fact, through a series of political machinations from rewriting the program to weaken protections for workers to repeatedly re-extending it very two years when it came up for renewal as required by law up to and throughout the duration of the Korean Conflict  which was lamely used to justify those extensions and revisions as enacted by the Truman Administration. In fact, the Bracero Program was perpetuated until its final extension into the period 1963-1964 with some lingering contractual obligations extending until 1967 which placed it squarely within yet another major military conflict, ergo the Vietnam Conflict.

Agribusiness frequently used the Braceros, as they were known, to break strikes and break unions. Regardless of the specific context in which they were used the Braceros' handlers systematically exploited them failing to comply with all the elements of the agreed upon provisions for the Braceros per the original contract between the U.S. and Mexico.

It is worth noting that the Bracero Program after World War Two not only victimized the Braceros themselves as well as the aforementioned unions and any attempted strikes but it victimized the entire agricultural labor force by artificially suppressing wages and benefits.

To make matters worse the terms of the Bracero Program called for the United States Government to pay one-half of the Bracero's wages directly to them while they were working in the U.S. and then in order to encourage them to return to Mexico when their work was completed the U.S. Government transferred the remaining one-half of their wages to the Mexican Government to disburse to the Braceros upon their return to Mexico. Quite predictably, that disbursement often did not happen.

Whereas the Braceros were a legal immigration labor force their mere existence encouraged much illegal immigration by virtue of news spreading south of profitable work up north and former Braceros realizing they could simply show up for work at their former places of Bracero employment and cut out the U.S. and Mexican Governments as middle man and negotiate their own contract.

Karma is a bitch or as the Bible says "you have sown the wind and you will reap the whirlwind". We Americans as a nation didn't do the right thing in 1946 and end the Bracero Program  when the justification for its continued existence had concluded. This tragic choice was made for the sake of naked greed and political expediency. The concept unintended consequences has manifested itself mightily in this matter as the United States is increasingly awash in attitudinal Mexican immigrants, both legal and illegal. In the long haul it is difficult to quantify the cost-benefit ratio to our civilization from this trend of economic refugees and excess population coming from Mexico into the United States. Furthermore, as Mexico continues its current decent into "failed state" status due to the Narco Wars the U.S. can expect more waves of "refugees" from Mexico.

What is undeniable is that the United States during a period of white dominance unintentionally opened the door to a future period of brown dominance in American history that will have profound implications and consequences for all Americans, black and white and brown and yellow and red and olive.

Some of these consequences will be good and some will be neither good nor bad. What is less certain is if their will be bad consequences, to wit, will the ongoing and future Narco Wars follow the brown immigrants into the United States and will this brown migration from Mexico become elevated to "First World" status or will America become more "Third World-ized".


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Flashbacks From The Cross - Soundtrack To My Soul

The movie Cyborg starring Jean-Claud Van Damme was a fun movie but not a very good movie from an artistic and quality control standpoint. However, one element of the movie always stood at to me from the very first time I watched it and that is its musical score by Kevin Bassinson. I find this ambient soundtrack music terribly haunting and stirring. It is this music that is the only saving grace of this movie. Well, aside from the bad-guy coolness of the chief pirate, Fender Tremelo, played by Vincent Klyn who although not a very good actor makes an impressive visual impact. The part of the composition that most effects me is the part at the beginning of this clip that is very melancholy and lonely-sounding. It is oft-repeated throughout the movie whenever our hero Gibson Rickenbacker is experiencing a flashback to a woman he still loves who was killed by his nemesis, the aforementioned Fender Tremelo against whom he seeks vengeance. This piece and a handful of other musical compositions I feel come closest to being what the soundtrack to my soul would sound like if such a thing existed. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Melancholy Rose by Operatica (Richie Santana Remix)

In Spring 2001 I was walking around in the now-defunct Wherehouse store in Atascadero, CA, for one of the first times since I started rejoining the human race after a dozen-year hiatus (up to that point but it wasn't over yet). The management was playing over the in-house stereo system various sample tracks from a series of CD's on display up at the counter that were being heavily promoted. I was at the time getting back into music after recently coming to the then-revolutionary-for-me realization it wasn't the devils work after all (I'm only half-joking but that's another story for another time). I was only looking for music cassettes which they were selling greatly discounted as that was old-school technology by that point but was the only recorded music-playing medium I was familiar with having been in cultural hibernation since the late 1980's. I was entirely unfamiliar with CD's and DVD's and how they functioned and how to operate them and I was determined to stick with what I knew for as long as possible. Of course this limited what I could purchase as by that year many artists were no longer doing the apparently common 1990's custom of producing their albums in both cassette and CD (or DVD) form.

As I stood in the sorry-looking picked-over cassette section by the back wall something began to play over the stereo system that pulsed through the building and made the ground move and moved my soul as well. It was my very first encounter with trance music and as corny and sappy as it sounds it changed my life. How trance transformed my life is something I'm eager to share but that is for another future posting here entirely devoted to that subject. The track that I heard at that moment was a trance remix of an electronica piece by music project Operatica (by Lord Vanger) and was a remix of "Melancholy Rose" off their "O: Volume 1" album. This remix was by Richie Santana and was on the A-Side of the Club Nation America CD (which I highly recommend) by the Ministry of Sound which was mixed by Johnny Vicious (meaning he selected the songs created by other artists and blended them together into a single uninterrupted orgy of aural sex for the ear). The haunting vocals were by opera professional Maureen O'Flynn and that opera element blended magically with the atmospheric and ethereal trance mastery of Richie Santana remixing Lord Vanger's original gem. This generated what I still feel is a musical masterpiece that was virtually ignored by the music mainstream as has happened to trance in general.

Unfortunately, since that time two things have occurred to trance. It has now peaked in artistic quality and on not an entirely unrelated note become more commercialized and mainstream taking it ever further from it's 1990's roots. It has also inevitably morphed into numerous other sub-genres some good and some less so perhaps.

One more thing about that day in the Spring of 2001. I asked about the song at the counter and was told the name saw the CD cover and after finding out there was no cassette version of it I purchased the CD and a CD player the next day as I remember and that started my then-new addiction to electronica in general and trance in particular.

Please play this video and if possible on good speakers:

Here for purposes of comparison is the original version of the track:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool XXXIII

I regret I have not checked in with a status update lately nor did I post here for an entire week during the past nine days. I have been incredibly busy with what work I could find as well as with getting my class schedule for the Fall semester at Cuesta College established and getting settled in my new classes. I've also been spending a lot of the time I typically spend here instead working on my Ebay store.

Back To School

This week I started the third semester of my return to school following a 21-year hiatus from higher education. I am currently enrolled in 10 units at the North County Campus of Cuesta College. I had hoped to do 13-16 units but found out I could not take the math and English I wanted due to the need to take an assessment test in both subjects. I did not take those tests out of the mistaken belief that my taking math and English classes during my previous educational campaign at Cuesta College two decades ago qualified me for the next level now. This turned out to be false despite the fact those classes two decades ago count on my G.P.A. and are bringing my cumulative G.P.A. down despite my 4.0 G.P.A. the previous two semester this campaign. I feel this is wrong and unfair but I am powerless to do anything about it and must accept it.

I am enrolled in a 4-unit Spanish class with Ms. Solis on Mondays and Wednesdays, a 3-unit History of the United States class with the wonderful Mr. Judd on Mondays and Wednesdays, and a 3-unit Economics class with Ms. Stapp on Tuesday evenings.

K&K Earthwerks Store is Back!

I finally have gotten through my entire store inventory on Ebay and removed what will not work for me on Ebay and reduced the price on nearly every other item given these items have been on Ebay for a number of years now having not sold at the prices then accorded them. I have now also added nearly 40 new items with many hundreds yet to go in just the first wave of restocking my store. I invite all my readers to check out my new prices on my old inventory as well as my new inventory.

  We Always Hurt the Ones We love: Update

My dear friend with whom I had to reset our relationship late last June with a rather painfully frank discussion (first mentioned here in Random Musings XXXII) continues to not communicate with me which makes me sad. However, the more time passes the more certain I am that I did the right thing for the most part with the notable exception of my initial ill-advised popping off. In the meantime she seems to be moving forward in her process and has taken a series of correct steps which has greatly encouraged me and makes me proud of her. Hopefully in the coming weeks or months we will be reconciled God willing.

Speaking of Resetting Relationships

For years and months and weeks and days tension had been building in my relationship with my mother whom I adore and love. I finally stopped putting off what needed to be done and cleared the air with her as I had done with my dear friend. This exercise had a more immediately gratifying result although the long-term fruit of it remains to be determined. We cleared the air and our relationship has moved past that and is now growing healthily.

I had a similar air-clearing with my grandmother about a decade ago which poisoned the air between us for several years following but now things are better than they have ever been. I also cleared the air with my ex-girlfriend after we broke up when the gloves came off for both of us and we opened up on each other with both barrels. That outcome has not been as gratifying as she is not at all amenable to even constructive criticism and being the passive-aggressive type she has indirectly made it clear she wants no contact all the while ignoring my olive branches via email. We have not talked over the phone in over a year and have not exchanged emails in over half a year. This has occurred despite our mutual promise when we were together to maintain our friendship if we ever broke up.

I also had it out with my now ex-landlady around the time of the break-up with my ex-girlfriend. Mom recently had an incidental encounter with the ex-landlady which was amicable enough but it was clear she did not take well my brutally honest assessment of reality back at the time.

Having cleared the deck in regards to the women in my life I now need to start dealing with some of the men in my life with whom there are problems in our relationship and/or in their lives that are driving me nuts and to which I'm unwilling to endure indefinitely.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Twin Oaks Incident 2011

Today on the way to work out at the end of Jensen Road off Vineyard Drive in the Adelaide area of the North County of San Luis Obispo County I spotted a rather impressive looking header (smoke column) not too far away to my southeast. I elected to be late to work and thus commenced a fire chase. By a mix of luck and good instincts I drove directly to the fire being rather unfamiliar with the roads in the immediate area of the fire. Only once before have I been to this location and that was with mom when she showed me where Pipestone Vineyards and Winery was located which happened to be right across Via Munoz and down it a very short distance. I didn't realize this at the time until tonight when I looked at the area on Google Maps and spotted Pipestone and realized "D'Oh!". This fire was known as the Twin Oaks Incident and appeared to burn not more than 20 acres give the area and given the volume of smoke although I never did get more than a partial glance at the burn area so I don't really know. I was not on top of my photographic game today and missed a couple of primo air tanker drop opportunities but even had I nailed those there wasn't much for me to see as I arrived after the tanker drops had slowed things down considerably. Nonetheless, given how slow this fire season has been locally thus far I found this interesting enough. I don't feel that photo captions are necessary for this collection of photos so I'm presenting them in gallery format.


All photographs by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

When Dana Carvey Upstaged Everybody

I have always profoundly appreciated the humor and comedy of Dana Carvey going back to his Church Lady days on Saturday Night Live (SNL). However, harking back to that period he is every bit as well-known for his devastating impression of then-President George Herbert Walker Bush (Bush 41). Both before and since that time many other comedians doing Presidential impersonations have come and gone on SNL, most notably Will Ferrell's devastating rendition of President George Walker Bush (Bush 43) and Darrell Hammond's devastating President Clinton imitation. With those two possible exceptions nobody else has come close to Carvey's Bush 41 impersonation. In March 2010 a political comedy movie short was filmed with the express purpose of garnering support for a new federal government agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (Bureau) which was created a year later. The movie short was and still is shown on the website This project reunited all the living SNL Presidential impersonators starting with and in chronological order Chevy Chase as President Ford, Dan Akroyd as President Carter, Dana Carvey as President Bush 41, Darrell Hammond as President Clinton, Will Ferrell as President Bush 43 and Fred Armisen as President Obama. The late Phil Hartman who used to play President Reagan was replaced by Jim Carrey who did a fine job. Below I have put up three videos. The first video is the movie short I'm talking about and I feel it clearly shows Carvey upstaging the whole lot of his co-stars. The second video is an ad-libbing outtake that shows Carvey and Will Farrell trying to one-up each other and make the other laugh.The third one video shows Carvey in all his comedic ad-libitum glory going on a riff in his Bush 41 incarnation.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fourmile Canyon Fire in Photographs

Last year a member of Californiadisasters named James Nelson who lives in Colorado sent me a series of fascinating photos over several days time of the disastrous Fourmile Canyon Fire as it occurred. I have his permission to share them with you here albeit belatedly as the one-year anniversary of the start of this disastrous fire is less than a month away.

This fire burned 6,181 acres as opposed to the largest fire in that state's history, the 2002 Hayman Fire which burned over 138,000 acres. However, the Fourmile Canyon Fire destroyed 169 homes versus the Hayman Fire's 133 homes destroyed.

The airport pictured here is the tanker base at Rocky Mountain Metro AP in Broomfield, CO. Tanker 21 and Tanker 25 are P-3 Orions while Tanker 45 and Tanker 48 are P-2V Neptunes. The helitankers are S-64 Sikorsky Aircranes manufactured by Erickson Air-Crane thus making them officially Erickson Air-Cranes. The Type-2 helicopter is a Bell 205 "Huey".

All photos are posted in the order they were sent to me.

 Tanker 25

 Tanker 25

 Tanker 25 with Denver, CO, in the background

 Tanker 25 with media and gawkers

 Tanker 25

 Overhead heading back to the incident command post

 Incident Command Post (ICP)

 Manitou Springs water tender refilling at ICP

 Road block into the evacuated zone

 Helitanker 733

 Helitanker 719

 Unknown helicopter unit with bucket

 Fourmile Fire burn area

 Fourmile Fire burn area

 Fourmile Fire burn area

 Tanker 21 and Tanker 25

 Tanker 21

 Tanker 48

Tanker 45


All photos by James Nelson (all rights reserved)

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Vagina Stone Monologue

For some time now I have noted with a mix of scientific curiosity mixed with a dose of testosterone the structural similarity these chalcedony roses (also known as conchas) have to a most remarkable part of a woman's physical anatomy. After numerous discussions in recent years with various male and female admirers of stones (and in many cases of vaginas as well) I have come to realize I'm hardly the only person to make this connection. I mention this not to be vulgar in any way but since nobody else seems to have mentioned it on the internet I figure I might as well be the one. For those of you not "getting" my title it is simply a catchy (I hope) derivation of the now-infamous Vagina Monologues. For all the talk about phallic-looking stones such as stalactite formations of various mineral types like quartz and malachite and even calcium carbonate it deserves to be officially stated that the ladies are represented in the mineralogical world. 
Chalcedony Roses from the Turtle Mountains of California.

Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

44th Annual OMS Show - Sayonara St. Jo Edition

This weekend the Orcutt Mineral Society (OMS) held it's 44th annual gem and mineral show at the St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Nipomo, CA. Set-up for the club and the dealer was last Thursday while the show ran from last Friday through today.

I helped my friend Dave set up his booth on Thursday and helped him in his booth today both in sales and in packing up this evening after the show . Dave did well as always but it was a slow show overall the reasons for which I'll get into shortly.

There was a good bit of controversy at the show this year which cast a dark cloud of bad karma over the whole weekend; the feeling was quite palpable. Apparently, our host church has a new parish priest, Father Alberto, fresh off the train from Guadalajara, Mexico. Being new to this parish he is unfamiliar with our show and what we do and how we do it. Being unfamiliar with Western Culture, American Culture in particular, he is entirely unfamiliar with the concepts of the rockhound and the gem and mineral show. The previous parish priest knew us and appreciated the money we brought the church for very little effort or sacrifice on their part as we basically did all the work. All St. Joseph Catholic Church had to do was stay out of our way for 4-5 days and stick out their hand and grab our check.

A woman who volunteers in the church office but is not payed staff has long been opposed to the presence of our show on that church's grounds. She feels it is an inappropriate use of church property all the while having no apparent reservation over reverse raffles. This manipulative woman could not gain any traction with the previous parish priest so she immediately went to work on the new parish priest, Father Alberto, and poisoned his ear against us and manipulated and inappropriately influenced Father Alberto to pull the plug on show being held there.

Father Alberto, quite unfortunately, treated our club leadership with disdain and contempt and animosity. Father Alberto's arrogance and condescension were beyond the pale and entirely unconscionable. Father Alberto's ignorance and unsophistication are a liability to his new parish and his tone and manner are hardly an evangelistic and missionary asset in spreading the Gospel message nor in representing God in this world nor representing his church in the community.

Furthermore, our members who were involved in the behind-the-scenes negotiations were given the distinct impression that Father Alberto has no time nor use for Anglos. If  I were a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Nipomo I would be embarrassed and outraged at Father Alberto's blatant incompetence and incivility in the handling of this matter as well as his giving the appearance and impression of racism against non-brown members of the community. It is perhaps or perhaps not significant that Father Alberto is quite probably not an American and seems to have brought his Mexican ax to grind with him when he crossed the border.

Getting back to the topic of why the show was slow there are manifold reasons. The economy is one reason, of course. Another is the demographics of the Nipomo Mesa not being a money area overall nor is the Santa Maria Valley for that matter. Another fact is there are too many dealers in the show. This means that each dealer's split of the pie of the buyers' money (in the aggregate)  is smaller than if there were fewer dealers.  I know many dealers in this show whom did not do well at all. Dealers tend to be more frank with each other than with club members or show organizers. Although I'm a member of OMS I'm also a recently retired dealer myself and am seen in that light by other dealers so I get the unedited hot skivvy. It seems obvious the show would do better were it held in an area with more money based in the community such as the Five Cities area or the Santa Ynez Valley. Another improvement would be to have fewer dealers while charging more per dealer so the club would get the same amount of money while the dealers who remained in the show made more money and in turn would not mind paying more to be there. Those who balked at paying more don't belong in such a show.

On a side-note, this was the first time in a number of years at this show while I was there that a fire of significance was not visible at the show. Nothing happened this year, but granted I was merely helping out and visiting a little this year and never attended last year. However, my last year there (2009) saw the La Brea Fire start within sight to the east up in the nearby Los Padres National Forest. Each day of the fire during that show the most notable thing to happen all day was the afternoon appearance of spectacular pyrocumulus clouds over the main convection columns. In 2008 while doing the show an RV caught fire in the neighborhood to the west of the show across the field and creek. The prevailing onshore winds carried large ashes from it and deposited them inside the show area even cropping large cinders into display boxes holding minerals that were displayed on tables in the blacktop area in upon which I was located. In my first year in the show as a dealer (2007) we had the Zaca Fire going full-tilt in the nearby Los Padres National Forest to the southeast. Throughout the entire show it gave us a daily late morning to early afternoon spectacle of  tremendous pyrocumulus clouds.

Below are several images I captured of some of my favorite people in the rock show circuit whom were in attendance at this year's Nipomo show:

Scary Gary From Tulare and his wonderful wife Janice
Cameron showing off his Rose Parade Queen Wave
Max keeping it real
Ernie, Ernie, Ernie...
Tom hiding in the shadows of his hat.    
My friend and former booth-mate Mike

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Obama to Pray For Texas Gov. Perry

This photo is of the bloody red surface of O.C. Fisher Lake Reservoir near San Angelo, Texas. Chromatiaceae bacterium have overrun the lake due to the lake level dropping so low in Texas ongoing epic drought.

Photo courtesy of Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press

Texas Governor Rick Perry has in the past day conducted a public prayer asking "Father, we pray for our President, that you would impart your wisdom upon him...".

Next up, President Barack Obama will conduct a public prayer asking "Father, we pray for Governor Perry, that you would impart your wisdom upon him....".

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pisgah Crater Truth 2011

 Recently a video (followed by a series of follow ups from the same source) was created and posted on Youtube that created a minor ruckus on the internet after making the rounds through the Tin Foil Hat webforum world where Chemtrails and HAARP Signals are stock in trade.
The following video published on July 23, 2011, got the ball rolling: 

It was followed by this more elaborate example of perception as reality in the pseudo-intellectual world of Conspiracy Theorism and Junk Science:

 Other videos followed along with a myriad of feedback loops throughout various chat rooms, email lists, and webforums. This foolishness got out of hand enough that the USGS had to bitch slap it with this reality check:

USGS rules out volcanic origin of plume-like feature seen in NEXRAD in Mojave Desert (California)

Inquiries have come to the USGS regarding a potential eruption in the vicinity of Lavic Lake Volcanic Field (LLVF) in Southern California. The inquiries stem from a citizen report noting a plume-like feature on NEXRAD radar imagery from July 23, 2011. USGS volcanologists evaluating the situation find nothing to indicate that the NEXRAD feature results from volcanic activity. Satellite images from the same period do not show the steam or ash clouds that accompany volcanic activity, and there is no seismicity in the vicinity indicative of volcanic unrest/eruption. No earthquakes were located within 20 miles of LLVF during the last week (USGS-Caltech Seismic Net update 14:10 PDT July 27, 2011 ). No reports of eruptive activity have come in from ground observers (LLVF is within 2 miles of Interstate 40) or from regional pilots (Barstow Daggett County Airport is within 10 miles of LLVF).

The USGS monitors volcanic unrest and provides announcements of volcanic activity within the US as soon as detected and confirmed. Often, warnings of possible volcanic activity are issued in advance, based on data from satellite or ground-based sensor networks. The status of US volcanoes is always available at the Volcano Hazards Program website.

Background: The Lavic Lake Volcanic Field is located in the Mojave Desert, south-central California (34.75 deg N / 116.625 deg W). Lavic Lake Volcanic Field is a collection of cinder cones and lava flows produced during effusive (non-explosive) eruptions of basaltic lava. The age of Lavic Lake volcanism is not well constrained, but the most recent eruption (Pisgah Crater) likely occurred about 25,000 years before present (Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program). It is a seismically active area cut by numerous Basin and Range faults.

My good friend Lin discovered this follow-up gem of Tin Foil Ass-Hattery on Youtube:

These two sweet, simple souls named Yvonne and Angie (sisters actually) went on a windmill jousting, er, "volcano-chasing" excursion to Pisgah Crater (actually they ended up at Amboy Crater  40 miles EAST of Pisgah Crater but let's not confuse the issue with annoying facts.) 
Anywho, they did capture some cool scenery both geological (how can anybody not like the sight of a lava flow next to a dry lakebed?) as well as meteorological (monsoonal moisture) not to mention some cool Route 66 images.

The plumes they captured on camera are clearly located within the confines of the post of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms. These plumes are caused by dummy shells containing no ordnance that are fired by either tanks or howitzers conducting gunnery practice. Quite possibly some of the plumes are alternately dust devils and/or dust-ups caused by military vehicles traipsing around in the desert conducting maneuvers.

That these two people conducted this Route 66 in full belief of Dutchy's Delusions and then posted it on Youtube days later by which time it was clearly not what Dutchy suggested is somewhat of a surprise to me but perhaps I'm being overly charitable or even just a bit naive ... or even a bit of both! Cheerio!

Check out the comments below the video on it's Youtube page... the peanut gallery has spoken and ignorance has become elevated to a high art form.

Okay, I freely admit I'm a gummint hack trying to trick you into disbelieving there has been a huge eruption of a volcano right next to Interstate 40 and within sight of Barstow, CA, and and the traffic between Sin City and La-La Land but that does not matter. It requires my elaborate lies to suppress this truth.

With the Birther Movement now fully discredited and the 9/11 Truth movement laying fallow within pseudo-intellectual confines of the lunatic fringe I call for the next big conspiracy theory movement to be the 2011 Pisgah Truther movement!