Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top Ten Most Significant Disasters of 2015

Below are what I consider the most significant disasters of 2015 in descending order of relative significance to me. Others undoubtedly and perhaps justifiably would arrange these differently and trade some out for other events not listed. There were other events I was tempted to list but this is my final selection for 2015.

  1. El Niño 2015-2016 - This event effected the entire world throughout most of the year and whose ancillary events killed thousands of people around the world in droughts, famines, wildfires, floods, storms, landslides, and such. 
  2. Nepal Earthquake - M7.8 event on April 25th in the Himalayan Mountains killed over 9,000 people and injured over 23,000 people.
  3. Mina Hajj Stampede - The most deadly stampede to date at the hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, killed 2,411 pilgrims on September 24th. Worshippers from all over the world, particularly Persian people, were among the casualties which further soured relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran. 
  4. Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 - This passenger flight was destroyed by an ISIS bomb over the Sinai Desert of Egypt on October 31st killing all 224 people aboard.  
  5. Tianjin Explosions - This spectacular nighttime industrial accident in China on August 12th killed 173 people officially but possibly actually 1,400 people, including 95 of over 1,000 firefighters fighting the fire as well as 11 policemen.
  6. Illapel Earthquake - M8.3 event on September 16th along the coast of Chile generated a Pacific-wide tsunami with local run-ups to 15 feet and 3 feet in Hawaii. 13 people were killed by the quake and 6 are missing.
  7. Western North America Drought - The ongoing Western Drought continued this year with California entering its third or fourth year of drought depending upon how one counts it. This drought in the aggregate may become the most costly disaster in United States history. California was the hardest hit by the drought in 2015 which led to water shortages and rationing, massive water pumping and resulting damaging land subsidence in the Central Valley, distressing tree mortality in forests across the state, and unprecedented wildfire behavior.
  8. Valley Fire - This 76,000 acre fire began on September 12th in Lake County, California. It was pushed by powerful winds in drought-withered fuels quickly over-running a helitack crew burning 4 firefighters on the initial attack and killed four civilians in the following hours. It devastated parts or all of entire communities including Anderson Springs, Cobb, Harbin Hot Springs, Hidden Valley Lake, and Middletown, CA. Destroyed were 1,955 structures including 1,281 homes, 27 multi-family structures, 66 commercial properties and 581 other structures.
  9. Hurricane Patricia - Strongest cyclone ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere struck Mexico on October 23rd with no casualties (6 were killed earlier in Central America). At its peak it had the most powerful maximum sustained winds ever recorded anywhere on Earth (200 mph) and the lowest barometric pressure ever recorded anywhere on Earth (879 mb).
  10. Canadian Wildfires - A perfect storm of longer-term climate change, short-term drought, and decades of fire suppression conspired to generate unprecedented wildfire behavior in the boreal forests of Canada this year.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Nocturnal Texas Tornado

Today there was yet another unseasonable tornado outbreak in the eastern U.S., this time in the Dallas Metroplex. Worst hit were Garland, TX, and Rowlett, TX. I am familiar with both communities having driven through or near them in April, 2002. Eleven* people were killed this afternoon into this evening in these communities and environs. My mother's mother's family comes from Rockwall, TX, which was just east of Rowlett, TX. Below are some dramatic images taken variously from Rockwall or Rowlett, TX, and environs, generally looking west and south. Tornadoes at night are the most dangerous type. Also, it is noteworthy that this was a long-track supercell thunderstorm unusual for any time of year let alone the day after Christmas.
*Updated 12/27/15 at 9:10 p.m.

Rowlett, TX, tornado. Photo by Kathy Turner (all rights reserved).
City of Rowlett, TX, water tower + tornado + lightning bolt. Photo by Ian Bentley (all rights reserved).
This image is taken from Lake Ray Hubbard on the Rockwall, TX, side (east side) looking west over the lake at West Rockwall and Rowlett, TX, as tornado translates left to right across the field of view of this image. Note traffic traversing highway at right which crosses the lake surface. Note power flashes behind tornado. Photo credit unknown (all rights reserved).

California Christmas Calamity The Morning After

Here is another aerial image of the 1200-acre Solimar Fire which began last night as viewed from a Ventura County Sheriff/Fire Helicopter (not sure which one). The Pacific Ocean is visible to the left and the smoke is clearly blowing towards the sea in a classic Santa Ana Wind pattern. This HERE is how the fire looked last night. Photo courtesy Ventura County Sheriff/Fire (all rights reserved).

Friday, December 25, 2015

California Christmas Calamity

Tonight a Santa Ana Wind-driven wildfire began about an hour ago and is raging along the Highway 101 corridor between Highway 33 to the east and south and Highway 150 to the west and north. This wildfire is called the Solimar Incident and is being managed by the Ventura County Fire Department with ample mutual aid from other agencies. Highway 101 is closed  between the other two highways and communities like Solimar and Faria are threatened. Image courtesy of Ventura County Air Unit #7 (all rights reserved).

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Folsom Tornado Blues

This afternoon there was tornado touchdown at Folsom Lake which even raked the top of part of the dam and came close to harming some people out walking atop it. Below are three different views of the event.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Quote of the Day - Climate Change Denier/Holocaust Denier

I was struck by the images in the photogallery HERE which reveal how warm this late autumn/early winter has been in the northern hemisphere and thought to myself:
I have often heard climate change deniers make the conflictingly garbled claim, "There is no climate change happening , but climate change has always happened." It reminds me of a particular type of Holocaust denier who claims, "The Holocaust never happened but I sure wish it would happen again."

Monday, December 21, 2015

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool LI

It has been four days past a year since I last checked in with this column. In that period of time this blog has reached over 557,000 distinct visits and 1,800 posts. A year ago this blog was at 456,000 distinct visits and 1,509 posts. Over the course of 2015 I found difficulty consistently blogging to the degree I have in previous years, especially 2014. Now that autumn 2015 is coming to a close and a grueling fall 2015 quarter ended a week ago I hope to get back in the rhythm of daily blogging. I have a lot of catching up to do here as much has happened this year in my life of which only a small amount I have shared. Note: in the above title the LI is the Roman numeral for the Arabic numeral 51.

Winter 2015 Cal Poly Quarter Synopsis

The Winter 2015 quarter began and ended oddly for me. In the first few weeks I was invited to go visit a dying childhood friend awaiting a heart transplant in San Diego who seemed to be giving up living after many disappointments and setbacks and a long wait for a new heart. I was invited over the MLK holiday weekend to join childhood friend Jannine and her mom Patsy to visit Jon Marsh which experience I shared HERE back at the time. This quarter I took on only 12 units which is the minimum to maintain full-time student status. Click to view my Fall 2014 Quarter review.
However, I'm glad I did take only 12 units as I had all I could handle with a 3-hour-a-week, but 4-unit Historiography class taught by Cal Poly's history teacher of the year Dr. Matthew Hopper (History 304) which required a lot of reading and not a little writing and some research towards the end for a 3-part/20 page paper.

I also took my terminal Spanish class Intermediate Spanish I (Spanish 201) which is a subject I struggle with at my age and as you recall I got a C in the Spanish class the previous quarter. Fortunately for me Dr. Fernando Fabio Sánchez is a wonderful professor and I thrived in his 4-unit class.

Finally, I took History of Modern America (History 322) with Dr. Sarah Bridger who is an engaging instructor and the class covered some of my preferred subject matter in history and thus I thoroughly enjoyed the 4-unit class even if I felt I should have gotten a better grade.

Aside from the distracting but magical trip to San Diego as well as my usual mild case of wintertime S.A.D. I also was struck around the time of finals week by the horrible distraction of substance abuse/addiction problems in somebody very close to me for which I had to drive them down south to detoxify and all the while worry about their survival.

Despite all this I managed to stumble my way into a B in History 304 although I was capable of getting an A in the class but failed to earn it, a B in Spanish 201 which was the best I could have hoped to do in that class, and a B+ in History 322 in which I felt I should have gotten an A- or A.

Spring 2015 Cal Poly Quarter Synopsis

The Spring 2015 quarter continued the pattern of mental-emotional turmoil from the substance abuse of the aforementioned individual, but due to the change in the seasons and my own growing sense of optimism and confidence I had my best quarter at Cal Poly to date. This was my first time ever taking as many as 16 units at any level be it Cuesta Community College or California Polytechnic State University SLO. It was also my first quarter at Cal Poly in which I made the Dean's List.

I took Dr. Tom Trice's Lure of the Sea 4-unit course (History 317) which is about the history of human activity on the seas and in the adjacent littoral zones. I thoroughly enjoyed that class and the professor is wonderful.

I took history department chair Dr. Lewis Call's History of Network Technology 4-unit course (History 354) which was the high point of the quarter and one of the most fascinating classes I have taken at Cal Poly which focuses on the history of the internet and operating systems and some ancillary issues like hacking and cybernetics and such.

I also took Dr. Cameron Jones' Topics & Issues in Latin America 4-unit class (History 442) which focuses on subversion in Latin American history of which there has been much. Dr. Jones (which I always call him in an ominous Indiana Jones villain voice) is one of my favorite professors at Cal Poly and yet given his lecturer status makes as much money as I will be making as a high school teacher soon. This is wrong.

Lastly, I took new professor Dr. Eileen Peña's Cultural Geography 4-unit class (Geography 150) towards getting my minor. This professor was high-strung and insecure which showed often and her inflexibility about late homework assignments cost me a solid A in her class.

Once again the aforementioned person close to me had a slip and I had to take them to detox down south around the time of my finals week to go with the fact I was taking 16 units for the first time. Despite all this I managed to get A's in History 317 and History 354 and A-'s in History 442 and Geography 150.

Summer 2015 Cal Poly Quarter Synopsis

For the first time ever I took a college/university summer course which in my case was a class I had hoped to be able to take while at Cal Poly but feared I would not: Fire & Society (Natural Resources 308). Although the foreshortened summer session with Dr. Christopher Dicus is not as intensive and scholarly (not as much reading of books by Dr. Stephen Pine and such) as are the regular sessions of the class) it was nonetheless a fascinating overview of fire and American society and to a lesser extent Australian society as a counterpoint to the American relationship with wildfire. It was also a de facto history of wildfire in America so I loved the class given my interest in both history and wildfire, After a slow start I ran away with the class and earned a solid A while once again dealing with drama from the previously-mentioned person close to me and their ongoing addiction problem.

Fall 2015 Cal Poly Quarter Synopsis

The fall 2015 quarter saw me back at 16 units trying to squeeze in a geography minor to go with my history major by graduation time next June. I unwittingly took a history class I did not need to take instead of a geography class I needed to take in order to complete my minor by graduation day in June 2016. The only way to fix this would be I were to take an extra quarter (Summer 2016 quarter) to graduate just to capture that minor, but then I would not be able to walk with my class in June. Between what God was telling me and my own cost-benefit analysis I elected to drop the minor during this quarter which in my case requires nothing on my part other than to stop taking geography classes.

Given that I began the quarter planning on acquiring the minor, I did take Dr. Thomas Keese's Geography of Resource Utilization 4-unit class (Geography 301) which was challenging but informative in an integrative sort of way and showed me a glimpse of how many careers may be had with a geography degree. I co-wrote and co-presented an overview of Clear Lake in Northern California which my partner and I aced.

I took the fun but one-too-many history course Britain at War: The British, the Americans and the Struggle for Freedom, 1939-1945 (History 336) which was a 4-unit class taught by Dr. Mike Carver, the only professor I have ever heard throw F-bombs in class (usually in the same sentence with Nazis) to which I salute him.

I took Dr. Kate Murphy's fascinating but difficult 4-unit History of the Scientific Revolution (History 350) which was as engaging and instructive as Dr. Call's History of Network Technology last spring. Unfortunately, my ongoing struggles with deadlines and Dr. Murphy's inflexibility with deadlines combined to make the final grade on this class less than satisfying.

Finally, I took Dr. James Tejani's 4-unit History of the American West, Southwest Borderlands, and California (History 433) which I thoroughly enjoyed and found most fascinating given my interest in the American West since I was a child. Thankfully, Dr. Tejani was much more flexible with deadlines but nonetheless my worsening issues with deadlines caused me to turn in late the three largest and most important papers in the class which when penalties were applied prevented me from achieving my full potential in the class quite unfortunately,

In a disturbing continuance of a year-long pattern, as as if on cue, the that person close to me once again fell of the wagon during my finals week but this time did so near the end although I smelt trouble all through the week which did distract me somewhat. However, it was my fault for leaving so much work to be done until the last week of school which included to in-class finals as well as a paper due Monday I turned in Tuesday and a paper due a few weeks earlier I turned in Wednesday and a paper due Friday morning I worked Thursday into early Friday morning and a paper due Thursday I turned in early on Saturday morning. I need to get over my paper phobia and start getting on these things early and often as next up is my senior project which will be a 30-page paper.

Anywho, despite my own self-created drama and the drama of my deeply troubled dear one, to go along with my annual touch of S.A.D. down the stretch as the days shortened and the sun sunk in the sky, I managed to eke out B+'s in History 350 and History 433 and I achieved A's in History 336 and Geography 301. My Cal Poly G.P.A. now stands at 3.486 and my overall G.P.A. is 3.536.

My Career Goals Narrow, Solidify

My general career plan upon graduating next June had been through much of this year to try to get into emergency management first choice or write content for some internet-based company second choice. Becoming a journalist after all (back in late high school and my first year at Cuesta College circa 1989-1990 I had thought I would become a sports writer) was probably my third choice while teaching was in the cellar at fourth choice.

However, I received from God an epiphany about this last September when I realized that I am and always was supposed to be a teacher (high school and perhaps even some community college). For years people told me I should go to college and I always poo-poo'ed that idea time and again. Subsequently, I went back to school and completed Cuesta College career picking up two Associate of Arts degrees (History and Social & Behavioral Sciences). My parents both have bachelor's degrees and my brother has at least one Associate of Arts degree and a nursing certificate of some sort. I have been the odd man out heretofore in regards to education.

Of course, just because somebody says something does not automatically make it true. However, in my case in regards to going back to school such people were right as they were merely pointing out the obvious. Well, the same goes for my natural ability to teach to which I have been in denial for years as people have often told me I should be a teacher and I poo-poo'd that as well. However, like the Holocaust, never again. My mom's mother was a schoolteacher by trade. My mother was educated to be a schoolteacher but ended up not liking it and instead going into the mom and wife business. My father was educated to be a history teacher but went off in a different direction, initially working for NSA and later installing television antennas, the latter of which got him killed. I realize that just because other generations in my family did something or were educated to do something or should have done something does not automatically mean I should do those things. However, sometimes God does call families to particular careers spread over multiple generations. I am supposed to be a teacher (and coach) and that is all I know for now.

With this in mind I have contacted various people about it and have received some marvelous counsel of which much of it God has directed me to implement. Currently there is a dearth of school teachers in California and on the Central Coast in particular. That makes my career move seem all the more prudent at this time. On top of that, my two preferred schools at which to teach, Paso Robles High School and Atascadero High School need teacher-coaches.

I was already contemplating for some time now to volunteer locally as an assistant football coach at either of the aforementioned schools just for shits and giggles long before I ever contemplated teaching. I was told by wise counsel to absolutely do that self-same thing starting this spring practice. By doing so I would already be involved volunteering in a local school district and if I could get a coach to pay me even $1 then I would technically already be employed as a coach. It also helps that I know both head varsity football coaches at Paso Robles High School and Atascadero High School having been coached by Rich Shimpke (head varsity football coach at Paso Robles High School) back when he coached me at Atascadero High School in junior varsity football and both frosh and junior varsity basketball and youth basketball in eight grade. Head varsity football coach Vic Cooper at Atascadero High School played varsity football there while I played junior varsity but was called up to play in the playoffs his senior year. I also played varsity with his younger brother Christian who is also now a coach and teacher at AHS. My dear friend of mine named Marty is a Rotarian and knows the superintendent of Paso Robles Unified School District (Chis Williams) who is also a Rotarian and whom Marty has told about me and is interested to hear from me I am told. I also know the athletic director Sam DeRose at AHS who was one of my varsity football coaches at AHS and is currently a part-time co-worker at Vino Vice. Atascadero High School is especially noted for its use of alumni who come back home to teach/coach.

Now you're probably asking why I am listing all of this minutiae? Well, the explanation is simple. This area despite its population growth still functions much like a small town and so much that happens and is transacted happens through the good 'ole boy network for better and for worse. Needless to say, I will be contacting these various personages after the upcoming holidays have past.

Upon graduating Cal Poly next June, Lord-willing, I shall begin the teaching credential program there next fall and hopefully have my own classroom by academic year 2017-2018.

Winter 2016 Quarter Preview

It is rather quite serendipitous that I dropped the geography minor when I did because the class slots that decision opened up will become fully filled by classes I absolutely must take before I can start the teaching credential program next fall.

This next quarter I am signed up to begin my senior project with Senior Project I (History 460) with history department chair Dr. Lewis Call being my project adviser. That is a 2-unit class focused on the research end of my project.

I'm also signed up for Dr. Christina Firpo's History of Prostitution 4-unit class (History 421) which will double-count for both my third of three required 400-level history classes and my third of three required non-European/non-U.S. history classes.

For nearly my entire time at Cal Poly I have been aware of wanted to take Nuclear Science & Society (Science & Math 335) given my interest in nuclear war and the growing specter of its threat returning as well as the fact the only operating nuclear power plant in California is located 45 minutes' drive from my house.

I could not sign up for so I must crash a Healthy Living (Kinesiology 250) 4-unit class required for my teaching credential. These courses add up to 14 units in total.

Spring 2016 Quarter Preview

The plan at present for my final quarter of undergrad work at Cal Poly is to take four final classes for 14 units just like I hope to have achieved the quarter previous.

I plan on taking Senior Project II (History 461) with Dr. Call which will also be 2 units but will focus on the writing end of my senior project. The finished paper should be about 30 pages long and in it I ask the question as to why there is such a prevalence of End-of-the-Age-themed movies and television shows and literary works

I'm also planning on taking Dr. Cameron Jones' Political Economy of Latin America and the Middle East (History 214) 4-unit required course which I unsuccessfully crashed the first day of Winter 2015 quarter nearly a year ago.

To graduate I must take a writing-intensive English class and being the movie buff I am I have elected to sign up for Film Styles and Genres (English 371) in lieu of Film Directors (English 372)  the other film-related English class which is even harder to get into from what I have heard. Both 4-unit classes are high-demand but at Cal Poly there is a special privilege afforded seniors in the quarter immediately preceding graduation to help speed them through. Needless to say, I shall not "check my privilege" to get into that class.

My last remaining course slot to fill will be filled with Historical, Philosophical, and Social Foundations of Public Education (Education 300) which is the second of two required 4-unit courses for me to complete before I can enroll in the teaching credential program.

My First Intership Offer

Last month I received an email from one of my history professors at Cuesta College (Dr. Christopher Nielson) in regards to a paid position at Cuesta College as an embedded tutor helping instructors in the classroom. I conveyed interest in this opportunity and await word back as to if there will be a scheduling conflict or not (I sure hope not).

Ixnay the M.A. (For Now)

Since last I shared here, I decided to apply for the Masters program in the history department at Cal Poly. That plan is on hold as it appears it is not feasible to be in a Masters program simultaneously with being in a teaching credential program. I still fully intend to get the Masters degree later on after I am securely in a teaching career. I want to do this both because I want to have a Masters since I won't be going for a PhD as that is too much time and money to start this late in life and, more importantly, I believe it is not God's will for me. A Masters degree is a nice compromise and consolation prize and it will get me paid more money as a teacher. Some have suggested it is better not to have the M.A. when applying for a teaching job anyway as school admins are looking to hire cheap.

Things I've Done OR Still Haven't Done At Cal Poly

For the second consecutive year I worked security (crowd control really) at the June 2015 Cal Poly Graduation. In 2014 it felt unreal that I would actually even be attending Cal Poly. This year it felt real, of course, but graduating still felt a long way off and perhaps a bit unreal. Now that I am about six months away from graduation and have all my remaining classes mapped out it feels a bit more real now. At this pace I will not be working the June 2016 Graduation at Cal Poly because rather I shall be IN the ceremony (with any luck at all).

This year I never did get around to volunteering to work on the Rose Parade Float as I had originally wanted to do when I first entered Cal Poly. It simply is not convenient to do such things when not living on-campus or nearby but rather living 30 miles up the highway from campus.

I did check to see if the on-campus Christian group was meeting when (11 a.m. on Thursday mornings) and where (northwest corner of Dexter Lawn) they claim to on their sandwich sign that is often visible in that part of campus.

I have also not yet used the free athletic club on campus which is one of the nicest in the state at any public school. I also haven't yet attended any athletic event or artistic event or academic event. I had planned on attending a couple of talks this Fall (one on the Cold War and one on the California Drought) but for various reasons neither worked out for me to attend,

I have managed to sans any effort on my part form a clique of friends/acquaintances with whom I hold court in a particular part of campus on a daily basis (second floor of Kennedy Library near Julian's).

No, I have not yet dated anybody I've met at Cal Poly (staff or student) but there is still time. Actually, I have not dated anybody since the night of Vine Street Victorian Christmas in Paso Robles in December 2012.

As previously revealed, I made the Dean's List last spring, but did not achieve that this fall quarter.

Something Else I Didn't Do But Instead Did Do

I have not managed to loose any weight this year (especially in the summer) as I did in 2014 when I lost 25 lbs. to go from 265 down to 240 lbs which I gained back my first quarter at Cal Poly. What I did manage to do this year is gain 25 lbs. placing me at a whopping 290 lbs., the heaviest I have ever been in my life. Although I am heavy I carry this weight fairly well and visually pass for being less albeit still overweight. However, this is not a good development in my life and will kill me eventually if I do not take corrective action. I do not exercise nearly enough. I do avoid processed foods and carbs to a reasonable degree, but I also eat for energy quite often and during times I am not exercising but rather studying. I also do not sleep right by being a night owl and often not getting enough hours of sleep per night. All of this contributes to my weight gain. This has become a battle for my life.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Star Wars Sans Star Wars

My dear friend Teddy W. told me about and then shared with me this wonderful short film which makes an interesting point relating to that thing which is all the rage right now, to wit, the latest Star Wars movie franchise installment entitled Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Things That Happen

Tonight while patrolling Youtube for some oldies but goodies of electronica to share here I found this rather more recent uplifting trance gem from half as far back as I was looking for (2009 instead of early 2000's or late 1990's classics). I am now fully enamored with "Things That Happen" by DJ Will Holland featuring the haunting voice of Line Frøyset as remixed by Temple One (all these characters are new to me). I find myself listening to over and over since I found it a little while ago. The two best segments that will give you goosebumps start at roughly 2:30 and 6:00. The lyrics are somewhat hard to peg but below the music player is the best version I could find.

Like an oak tree
In blooming
Stares to the sky

Carry on your burden
Like the water
Still running fast
Growing from the past
Things that happen
Are just meant for me
I'm running fast

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Top Ten J.V. McGee Things You Probably Didn't Know

Here are ten things I bet most of you did not know about my late maternal grandfather, John Vernon McGee, known to you as Dr. J. Vernon McGee.

  1. Hated his first name John, hence "J. Vernon" McGee.
  2. Was a reserve in the US Army cavalry as a very young man. 
  3. While casting about as a youth, at least once attended a Communist Party meeting.
  4. Met his soul-mate, Ruth Inez Jordan, on a blind date set up by mutual married friends.
  5. Tried to enlist as a chaplain during World War II but was informed he was too old.
  6. Was an avid rockhound often heading to the High Desert in the 1940s & 1950s. 
  7. Enjoyed photography, especially of flowers and Pasadena's Rose Parade.
  8. Favorite flower was the camellia which grew in abundance in his back yard.  
  9. Was strongly afraid of flying in an airplane (but flew a lot anyway).
  10. Once received a high-end popcorn maker from actress Joan Crawford (long story). 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Everything Is Gonna Get Better

On the way home from a sad and emotionally draining trip down to Santa Barbara earlier tonight I listened to some of my trance music CD's I used for music therapy a dozen years ago. In the course of doing that at some point while driving along Highway 154 in the dark I re-discovered this amazing track "Get Better" by KMC featuring Sandy on vocals from way back in 2003. Note: KMC is a trance/house project whose lineup includes DJ Benny Benassi. I undoubtedly heard this track back in the day when this music was contemporary, but it did not stand out from the other tracks on the album for me at that time. Being a different person in a different place in life now this track means more. Although single and thus not in a relationship to which the lyrics' relationship part can apply I just like the optimism in the "get better" lyrics. Perhaps someday I'll be in a relationship with somebody whom will think like this and talk to me like this. Below the music player are the wonderful lyrics to this track. Note: this makes for great nocturnal listening and be sure to crank up the speakers!

All my love is up to you
Got no reason to go through
Baby you know you make me blue
But I wanna get better
I don't mind if you say no
Darling let your spirit go
If you just try to watch our love
You know we're gonna get better
aaah, aaah get better
Everything is gonna get better

I'm waiting for you
I'm alone and I wonder
trying not to lose my mind
But it doesn't matter
Cuz my feeling is hungry
I just wanna see your eyes
So what can I do
If you say that you're gone now
I dont ever lose my time
If waste in each other
your words and letters
Things are gonna get better
Aaaah, aaah I just wanna get better

But you
Don't wanna too much
So I've been
Looking for another life
And now I feel better
Because you know I'm so stronger
So what's the use
Of your lies
in all these empty days and nights
Cuz it's over
And they're gonna get better
Aaah, aaah I just wanna get better
Aaah, aaah This love should last forever
Everything is gonna get better

Oooooh, my love's up to you
I send a kiss to you
Said I do love you
Said I, said I, said I love you, ohhh
The time of my life
Is gonna get better
The future for us
Is gonna get better
Cuz you turn me on
And I lose control
If we stay together
Yeah we're gonna get better
You know that my love
Is making you strong
And day by day
You will never be alone
Cuz I will be there
Be by your side
You know that
Everything is gonna get better

Read more: KMC - Get Better Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dubya 2016

Night-before-last this Will Ferrell-as-George W. Bush skit premiered on Saturday Night Live which has sucked for a number of years but this skit knocked it out of the park.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Venues I've Worked Security

Recently I did a mental tabulation of all the properties at which I have worked my security job with Vino Vice since I worked my first job with them at the 31st Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival at the Paso Robles City Park on May 19, 2013. Below is my updated list which currently stands at 88 distinct locations/properties for 74 clients including jobs not worked as a VV employee. (*) denote properties no longer open to events. (**) denotes work outside Vino Vice. (***) Cal Poly is managed by different entities and thus each venue noted here may be managed by different entity. (A) denotes any alcohol control duties, (G) denotes any non-alcohol-related guard duties, (P) denotes traffic control duties, while (V) denotes valet parking specifically. *Note: last updated 2/05/21.

Atascadero AARP Building (G) 
Atascadero Best Western Colony Inn (A)
Atascadero Colony Park Community Center (A)(Wayne Cooper Celebration of Life in 2018)
Atascadero Downtown (A)(G)(Dancing In The Streets in 2018)
Atascadero Elks Club (A)
Atascadero Lake Park (A) (Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival in 2017 & 2019)
Atascadero Lake Pavilion (A)(G)
Atascadero Sunken Gardens (A) (2nd-4th Annual Tamale Festival in 2017-2019)
Avila Beach Golf Resort (A)(G)(P)(inc. 805 Concert in 2013 & Central Coast Wine Classic in 2014)
Avila Village Inn (G)
Bianchi Winery (A)(P)
Broken Earth Winery (A)(P)(inc. Young Dubliners concert in 2014 & Rhone Rangers in 2017)
Cal Poly SLO (G) (Rec Center / Stadium / U.U.)(inc. 2014-2017 graduations & Shwayze concert in 2013)
Calcareous Winery (P)
CaliPaso Winery & Inn (A)(G)(formerly Villa Toscano)
Camp San Luis Obispo Officers Club (A)
Cayucos 4th of July Celebration (P)(parade and parking lot traffic control in 2016)
Castoro Winery (P)(Beaverstock 2013)(46 West Wineries Summer Block Party 2017)
Dallidet Adobe & Gardens (A)(G)
Daou Winery (P)
Dark Star Cellars (A)(P)(46 West Wineries Harvest Block Party 2017)
Dune Lakes (A)(P)
Eberle Winery (G)(P)(inc. Halloween Haunted Cave in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
Firestone Brewery (A)
Four Lanterns Winery (A)(P)(46 West Wineries Summer Block Party 2018)
Greengate Ranch & Vineyard (A)(G)
Groves on 41 (G)(P)
Halter Ranch Winery (P)(inc. Paso Fork & Cork Festival in 2013)
Hartley Farms (A)(P) ("Evening Under the Estrella Sky" Winemaker's Dinner 2016)
Heritage Square Park (P) (Central Coast Classique 2017)
Hope Family Wines (P) (winery / production facility)
Hummingbird House (G)(24th Denim & Diamonds in 2018)
Justin Winery (P) 
Le Vigne Winery (A)(inc. Mac & Cheese Festival 2013)
Ledge Vineyards (P)(Ledgefest House Concert 2018)
Linne Calodo ** (G)
Madonna Expo Center (A)(P)
Madonna Inn Outdoor Venue (P) Cow Parade 2016)
Mission San Miguel (Fall Fiesta 2013 & 2014)
Mission San Miguel Parish Hall (A)
Mountainbrook Community Church (G)(SLOHS Grad Night in 2015 & 2017)
Oyster Ridge (A)(G)(P) (Cow Parade Auction in 2017)
Paso Robles Centennial Park (A)(G)("Everyone In The Pool" 2016)
Paso Robles City Park (A)(31st Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival in 2013)
Paso Robles Event Center (A)(G)(P) (a.k.a. Mid-State Fairgrounds)(CHSRA Rodeo 2013, 2017, 2019)
Paso Robles Golf Club (A)(inc. Paso Robles High School Class of 2005 10-Year Reunion)
Paso Robles Holiday Inn Express (G)(inc. 2016 Paso Robles A's gathering)
Paso Robles Inn (G)
Pomar Junction Winery (A)(P)
Paso Robles Idlers (G)
Pear Valley Winery (A)(P)
Pepper Tree Ranch (A)(G)(P)
Ramona Gardens Park (A) (G)
Ranchita Canyon Vineyards (P)
Rava Wines (A)(G)(P) (Harvest, Hope, Healing Gala 2017, Shelby Sudbrink Memorial Fundraiser 2017, Jerry Rava Surprise 80th Birthday 2018, Bellamy Brothers Concert 2019, Makeshift Maker's Market 2020)
Red Soles Winery (A)(P)
Rio Seco Vineyard & Winery (G)(P)
River Oaks Hot Springs Spa (A)(G)(P)(inc. Central Coast Shakespeare Festival in 2013)
Robert Hall Winery (A)(P)(V)(inc. Robert Hall memorial service in 2014 & Salt Lick BBQ Dinner 2016)
San Gabriel Elementary School (G)(special assignment following school closure in 2015)
San Luis Obispo Apple Store (G)
San Luis Obispo Christmas Parade (2018)
San Miguel, CA**(P)(town parade traffic control in 2014)
Santa Margarita Ranch (A)(G)(P)(inc. Savor the Central Coast in 2013, Jack's Helping Hand in 2013, 2015, 2016, & 2019) 5th Annual Battle of the Badges in 2017, From The Barrel in 2016 & 2018, Best of the West Antique Equipment Show 2018 & 2019)
Schooners (A)(G)(4th of July Celebration Party 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019)
Sculpterra (A)(G)
Silver Horse Winery (A)(G)(P)(V)
Spanish Oaks Ranch**(A)
Star Farms (A)(P)(Real Men Drink Pink in 2013 & 2014)
The Station Los Alamos (A)(G) ("Old Days" Open House 2016)
Sunstone Winery (G)
Swallow Creek Ranch (G) (Coast Union H.S. prom 2016)
Talley Farms (A)
Templeton Park (A) (Templeton Wine Festival in 2018 & 2019)
Terra Mia Vineyards (G)
Thacher Winery & Vineyard (G)(P)
Tolosa Winery (V) (I supervised the company's first ever event here in 2016)
Tooth & Nail Winery (G)(P)
Trinity Hall SLO (in Edna Valley)(G)
Villa San-Juliette Winery (A)(G)
Vina Robles Guesthouse (A)(G)
Vino Robles Winery (A)
Virginia Plaza (G)(overnight security @ En Soleil Pharmacy
Whalebone Vineyards (G)(P)
White Barn at Edna Valley (A)(G)(P)(Inaugural Open House 2017)
Windfall Farms* (A)(P)
Zenaida Cellars (P)(V)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Garbage In, Garbage Out!

Today I have been debating with a "christian", ultra-Conservative high school classmate against Donald Trump's abject racism and shameless nativism and got accused of being an apostate or heretic. At the same time I have been debating with a secular, ultra-Liberal high school classmate against Barack Obama's feckless and destructive Presidency and got accused of being a Trump supporter. It boggles the mind how limited and utterly predictable one's perception of reality becomes when one elects to exist inside a cultural bubble whose membrane functions as a grossly distorting lens through which altered inputs pass. Garbage in, garbage out!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Picture of the Day - Mustang Tinker Toy

Today I was spent some off-day time at the Kennedy Library at Cal Poly. In the inner patio area I observed (from the second floor) an engineering group or class project coming to completion as this week is the final week of regular instruction this quarter.
Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Picture of the Day - Cuesta Fire Revenant

In recent weeks I have noticed sporadic smokes rising out of last summer's Cuesta Fire (began August 16 and contained August 28, 2015) burn area. Over the past week I have noticed this escalate to two or three smokes rising simultaneously. Yesterday and today it became several such smokes despite the rainfall last night and other rains in recent weeks. This is testament to both how "dirty" this part of the burn area is (meaning incomplete burning within the burn area allowing for later flare-ups) as well as to the dryness of the fuels as the record-setting drought continues despite recent rains. I shot this image this afternoon from the shoulder of US101 just north of Highway 58 en route to Cal Poly. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved). 

Picture of the Day - Muh Girls

My cat Rocki adores my dog Tequila who does not reciprocate the affection . Rather, my dog is perpetually jealous of the cat despite getting more of my time by virtue of the cat being a homebody while the dog goes with me everywhere I can take her. The two of them have developed a rather entertaining-to-watch relationship as the cat likes to provoke the dog while the dog likes to chase the cat, something the cat encourages as the cat can easily elude the dog. The cat would prefer to snuggle with the dog who usually will have none of it. However, tonight a rare exception occurred which I captured here unposed. Within a minute of this image being captured the dog repositioned herself facing away from the cat and no longer up against her.
Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Picture of the Day - Etna Nocturnal Ash Storm

This image of a newly-erupting Mt. Etna in Sicily was captured last night. Image courtesy of Barcroft (all rights reserved).

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Graphic of the Day - So Elemental A Table

This is my favorite presentation of the periodic table which stands to reason given I am very much a visually-oriented creature.
Note: click on the image to zoom in for closer view.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Picture of the Day - Opalized Limb Cast

This opalized limb cast was found near the Village of Cikole, Maja, Banten Province, Indonesia.
It is 5" inches long and formed in the void space of a limb that was buried in volcanic ash.
Image courtesy of LGF Foundation, Inc. (all rights reserved)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Graphic of the Day - Sarlacc Schematic

Given the Star Wars craze enveloping the land of late due to the impending release of the next movie in that franchise I do here share this wonderfully esoteric diagram filled with entirely fictional bio-minutia on the dreaded Sarlacc of Return of the Jedi infamy.
Note: click and then click again for magnification of image.
Image courtesy unknown artist via a chan (all rights reserved).

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bringing You The Sun

I found this most excellent progressive trance track tonight quite by providence. I always enjoy making new discoveries. This is "Bring You The Sun" by the British trance band Trilucid.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Quote of the Day - Agent Smith

Of late I have noted with satisfaction that there is tangible progress in both my own life and personal growth as well as in that of one particular person extremely close to me. This follows years of stagnation for both of us. This has happened and continues to do so by the grace of God who taught us many things during that Great Stagnation. From this period we continue to draw meaning and identify new lessons applicable to now. While pondering upon these things, a particular sequence of comments from the second Matrix movie as spoken by Agent Smith has come to mind frequently of late. Today I shared this sequence with mom and showed her the scene in the movie in which it appears. I now share this here with you because this is a universal truth applicable to any and all people regardless if they know God or not. We were all created for a purpose and we need purpose in order to derive meaning and connectivity to the universe and the God who created it and all it contains.

Each line is spoken by a different Agent Smith clone/copy to the character Neo. The first line is spoken by the original Agent Smith followed in order by various other versions of himself.

"There is no escaping reason; no denying purpose. Because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist."
"It is purpose that created us."
"Purpose that connects us."
"Purpose that pulls us."
"That guides us."
"That drives us."
"It is purpose that defines us."
"Purpose that binds us."

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Emperor's New Clothes

By Hans Christian Andersen

Many years ago, there was an Emperor, who was so excessively fond of new clothes, that he spent all his money in dress. He did not trouble himself in the least about his soldiers; nor did he care to go either to the theatre or the chase, except for the opportunities then afforded him for displaying his new clothes. He had a different suit for each hour of the day; and as of any other king or emperor, one is accustomed to say, "he is sitting in council," it was always said of him, "The Emperor is sitting in his wardrobe."

Time passed merrily in the large town which was his capital; strangers arrived every day at the court. One day, two rogues, calling themselves weavers, made their appearance. They gave out that they knew how to weave stuffs of the most beautiful colors and elaborate patterns, the clothes manufactured from which should have the wonderful property of remaining invisible to everyone who was unfit for the office he held, or who was extraordinarily simple in character.

"These must, indeed, be splendid clothes!" thought the Emperor. "Had I such a suit, I might at once find out what men in my realms are unfit for their office, and also be able to distinguish the wise from the foolish! This stuff must be woven for me immediately." And he caused large sums of money to be given to both the weavers in order that they might begin their work directly.

So the two pretended weavers set up two looms, and affected to work very busily, though in reality they did nothing at all. They asked for the most delicate silk and the purest gold thread; put both into their own knapsacks; and then continued their pretended work at the empty looms until late at night.

"I should like to know how the weavers are getting on with my cloth," said the Emperor to himself, after some little time had elapsed; he was, however, rather embarrassed, when he remembered that a simpleton, or one unfit for his office, would be unable to see the manufacture. To be sure, he thought he had nothing to risk in his own person; but yet, he would prefer sending somebody else, to bring him intelligence about the weavers, and their work, before he troubled himself in the affair. All the people throughout the city had heard of the wonderful property the cloth was to possess; and all were anxious to learn how wise, or how ignorant, their neighbors might prove to be.

"I will send my faithful old minister to the weavers," said the Emperor at last, after some deliberation, "he will be best able to see how the cloth looks; for he is a man of sense, and no one can be more suitable for his office than be is."

So the faithful old minister went into the hall, where the knaves were working with all their might, at their empty looms. "What can be the meaning of this?" thought the old man, opening his eyes very wide. "I cannot discover the least bit of thread on the looms." However, he did not express his thoughts aloud.

The impostors requested him very courteously to be so good as to come nearer their looms; and then asked him whether the design pleased him, and whether the colors were not very beautiful; at the same time pointing to the empty frames. The poor old minister looked and looked, he could not discover anything on the looms, for a very good reason, viz: there was nothing there. "What!" thought he again. "Is it possible that I am a simpleton? I have never thought so myself; and no one must know it now if I am so. Can it be, that I am unfit for my office? No, that must not be said either. I will never confess that I could not see the stuff."

"Well, Sir Minister!" said one of the knaves, still pretending to work. "You do not say whether the stuff pleases you."

"Oh, it is excellent!" replied the old minister, looking at the loom through his spectacles. "This pattern, and the colors, yes, I will tell the Emperor without delay, how very beautiful I think them."

"We shall be much obliged to you," said the impostors, and then they named the different colors and described the pattern of the pretended stuff. The old minister listened attentively to their words, in order that he might repeat them to the Emperor; and then the knaves asked for more silk and gold, saying that it was necessary to complete what they had begun. However, they put all that was given them into their knapsacks; and continued to work with as much apparent diligence as before at their empty looms.

The Emperor now sent another officer of his court to see how the men were getting on, and to ascertain whether the cloth would soon be ready. It was just the same with this gentleman as with the minister; he surveyed the looms on all sides, but could see nothing at all but the empty frames.

"Does not the stuff appear as beautiful to you, as it did to my lord the minister?" asked the impostors of the Emperor's second ambassador; at the same time making the same gestures as before, and talking of the design and colors which were not there.

"I certainly am not stupid!" thought the messenger. "It must be, that I am not fit for my good, profitable office! That is very odd; however, no one shall know anything about it." And accordingly he praised the stuff he could not see, and declared that he was delighted with both colors and patterns. "Indeed, please your Imperial Majesty," said he to his sovereign when he returned, "the cloth which the weavers are preparing is extraordinarily magnificent."

The whole city was talking of the splendid cloth which the Emperor had ordered to be woven at his own expense.

And now the Emperor himself wished to see the costly manufacture, while it was still in the loom. Accompanied by a select number of officers of the court, among whom were the two honest men who had already admired the cloth, he went to the crafty impostors, who, as soon as they were aware of the Emperor's approach, went on working more diligently than ever; although they still did not pass a single thread through the looms.

"Is not the work absolutely magnificent?" said the two officers of the crown, already mentioned. "If your Majesty will only be pleased to look at it! What a splendid design! What glorious colors!" and at the same time they pointed to the empty frames; for they imagined that everyone else could see this exquisite piece of workmanship.

"How is this?" said the Emperor to himself. "I can see nothing! This is indeed a terrible affair! Am I a simpleton, or am I unfit to be an Emperor? That would be the worst thing that could happen--Oh! the cloth is charming," said he, aloud. "It has my complete approbation." And he smiled most graciously, and looked closely at the empty looms; for on no account would he say that he could not see what two of the officers of his court had praised so much. All his retinue now strained their eyes, hoping to discover something on the looms, but they could see no more than the others; nevertheless, they all exclaimed, "Oh, how beautiful!" and advised his majesty to have some new clothes made from this splendid material, for the approaching procession. "Magnificent! Charming! Excellent!" resounded on all sides; and everyone was uncommonly gay. The Emperor shared in the general satisfaction; and presented the impostors with the riband of an order of knighthood, to be worn in their button-holes, and the title of "Gentlemen Weavers."

The rogues sat up the whole of the night before the day on which the procession was to take place, and had sixteen lights burning, so that everyone might see how anxious they were to finish the Emperor's new suit. They pretended to roll the cloth off the looms; cut the air with their scissors; and sewed with needles without any thread in them. "See!" cried they, at last. "The Emperor's new clothes are ready!"

And now the Emperor, with all the grandees of his court, came to the weavers; and the rogues raised their arms, as if in the act of holding something up, saying, "Here are your Majesty's trousers! Here is the scarf! Here is the mantle! The whole suit is as light as a cobweb; one might fancy one has nothing at all on, when dressed in it; that, however, is the great virtue of this delicate cloth."

"Yes indeed!" said all the courtiers, although not one of them could see anything of this exquisite manufacture.

"If your Imperial Majesty will be graciously pleased to take off your clothes, we will fit on the new suit, in front of the looking glass."

The Emperor was accordingly undressed, and the rogues pretended to array him in his new suit; the Emperor turning round, from side to side, before the looking glass.

"How splendid his Majesty looks in his new clothes, and how well they fit!" everyone cried out. "What a design! What colors! These are indeed royal robes!"

"The canopy which is to be borne over your Majesty, in the procession, is waiting," announced the chief master of the ceremonies.

"I am quite ready," answered the Emperor. "Do my new clothes fit well?" asked he, turning himself round again before the looking glass, in order that he might appear to be examining his handsome suit.

The lords of the bedchamber, who were to carry his Majesty's train felt about on the ground, as if they were lifting up the ends of the mantle; and pretended to be carrying something; for they would by no means betray anything like simplicity, or unfitness for their office.

So now the Emperor walked under his high canopy in the midst of the procession, through the streets of his capital; and all the people standing by, and those at the windows, cried out, "Oh! How beautiful are our Emperor's new clothes! What a magnificent train there is to the mantle; and how gracefully the scarf hangs!" in short, no one would allow that he could not see these much-admired clothes; because, in doing so, he would have declared himself either a simpleton or unfit for his office. Certainly, none of the Emperor's various suits, had ever made so great an impression, as these invisible ones.

"But the Emperor has nothing at all on!" said a little child.

"Listen to the voice of innocence!" exclaimed his father; and what the child had said was whispered from one to another.

"But he has nothing at all on!" at last cried out all the people. The Emperor was vexed, for he knew that the people were right; but he thought the procession must go on now! And the lords of the bedchamber took greater pains than ever, to appear holding up a train, although, in reality, there was no train to hold.

Source: The Literature Network

Graphic of the Day - CA Drought November 2015

This is the latest graphic representation of the ongoing historic drought in California as presented by NOAA (all rights reserved). Note: the drought has not be much alleviated by recent rains and thus we are still in severe drought at this point into the ongoing powerful El Niño.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Last night I had great difficulty unwinding after getting off working a wedding at Santa Margarita Ranch at 10:30 p.m. I did not end up starting sleep until in the 3 a.m. hour which brought to my mind the iconic progressive trip-hop/house/trance track "Insomnia" by the British electronica band Faithless featured below (radio version) which was released 20 years ago this month.

A longer version of this track (the album version) with additional extended lyrics is below.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Scripture of the Day - Isaiah

This passage of scripture just came to my mind, loud and clear, for I know not why:
"Someone calls to me out of Mount Seir, 'Watchman, how much of the night remains? Watchman, how much longer till morning?'"
~ Isaiah 21:11 (Kimicus ad Absurdum translation)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Graphic of the Day - Denair Tornado

NWS Sacramento conducted a field investigation of the tornado in Denair, CA, four days ago which caused a notable amount of damage, especially for a California tornado. Here they took a GoogleEarth image of the location affected by the storm and overlay it with tornado track and intensity data. Image courtesy of NWS/NOAA (all rights reserved).

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tale of Two Syrian Refugee Memes

Liberals and Conservatives think and act the same way and must be grouped together taxonomically given their similarities. Their collective group comprises seemingly of some of the dumbest members of the human race now walking the earth. They are also some of the most horrible human beings prone to ugly outbursts of hatefulness. Below are two memes I ripped tonight from the Facebook Walls of two of my Facebook "friends." They are tangible evidence of Conservatives' and Liberals' vile and pseudo-intellectual tendencies.

Conservative anti-Syrian refugee meme employing logical fallacy.
Actually, ALL of those snakes would bite you and most probably none of those refugees would attack you.
Conservatives are snakes!
Liberal pro-Syrian refugee meme employing logical fallacy.
In 1939 there were not incidents of Jewish refugees blowing shit up and shooting up concert halls in Europe.
Liberals are worse than Nazis!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Graphic of the Day - Enhanced Fujita Scale

In light of the damaging tornado in Denair, CA, two days ago it seems appropriate to review a primer on the updated version of the Fujita Scale of tornado intensity known as the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Only In California: Dude, It's a Huge Tornado!

Below are two typical California responses to the less-unusual-than-one-might-think phenomenon known as the California tornado. The below tornado struck the Central Valley town of Denair, CA, yesterday afternoon resulting in damage to the Stanislaus County community, but no injuries. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Picture of the Day - Psychedelic Pluto

This is Pluto and it is actually a false-color scientific image taken last July 14th and enhanced by NASA using something called principal component analysis to "amplify the subtle shade differences between Pluto's regions". For more read HERE.
Image courtesy of NASA (all rights reserved).

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Bobby Thinks

If I graded this work I'd give the kid full credit because he did answer the question.
Courtesy of peterfromtexas as seen on (all rights reserved)

Quote of the Day - Thomas Paine

Last night on Facebook I saw an entire discussion about how Jews and Israelis and the Mossad were behind the Paris attacks last night. It was utterly bizarre and surreal to see and even more so to debate against as I did. I did manage to score enough ridicule points that I was variously blocked/unfriended by the other participants for which I am mildly proud. I saw this quote this morning and immediately thought of last night's pseudo-intellectual circus on Facebook.
"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture." ~ Thomas Paine

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Eternal City Made Mortal

Tonight's attack in Paris by apparently eight or so ISIS commandos in simultaneous attacks on six different locations within the French capitol killing up to 129 (89 at a music concert hall) with 352 wounded (99 in critical condition) leaves me feeling both sad and mad and of those on multiple levels. I feel so sad for the dead and wounded and their loved ones. I feel mad that vile filth walk the earth feeling entitled to take other people's lives and health and happiness without any valid justification and even exult in doing it. This event falls on the heels of the attempted train attack last summer which was thwarted by some off-duty American servicemen. Earlier in the year last winter, there was the Charlie Hebdo attack and now tonight's events have descended upon Paris.

I am sad and mad that my nation, sharing much collective guilt with a lot of other powerful and wealthy nations, did not prevent this from happening by way of stopping ISIS a couple of years ago when it would have been most feasible and before ISIS had killed so many tens of thousands of people in Syria and Iraq, many of them in such horrible ways as they have. The feckless non-leadership of the current President, who resides within his own mind in a lofty redoubt of moral and intellectual loftiness, has monumentally failed as a leader and as a man to fulfill his duties. This has resulted in harm to both the United States and to innocent peoples in the Levant. He once declared a phantasmal "line in the sand" in Syria which he failed to enforce all the while allowing both Republicans at home and V. Putin abroad to make a fool out of him by way of outmaneuvering his clumsy political and diplomatic machinations. Per usual, these machinations were ill-conceived and unfocused from the beginning until now. This resulted in no substantive measures being taken against ISIS. Subsequently, the President ordered the conduct of a tepid low-intensity war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq which was and continues to be strategically ineffectual. It was also easily one-upped by V. Putin when once he recently commenced air sorties by Russia's air force from within Syria. The current President also instituted an anemic program to train "good militants" to fight both the Syrian government and ISIS. The entire history of U.S. assistance to such fighters has been fraught with failure and mismanagement.

Of course, this is not to suggest the President of the United States is alone in being guilty of gross incompetence and inaction as it pertains to ISIS. Europe has dithered over what to do about this problem in typical contemporary European fashion. It might appear that the more decisively-minded genetic lines were killed off in the first two world wars. The Sunni Muslim community has failed to effectively fill the power gap left by the U.S. in this matter and instead provided material support to some of the worst elements in the conflict in hopes of defeating the Syrian government at any moral cost. The Shiite Muslim community has been guilty of supporting the Syrian regime while manipulating the internal politics of Iraq to favor Shiites disproportionately at the cost of undermining the legitimacy of the Iraqi government, especially as it pertains to Sunnis from whom Al Qaeda and ISIS derive and thrive thus adding fuel to the sectarian fires.

Surely this event will change France and the French and their way of looking at the world. It will also invariably contribute to the French reassesing how they see their own nation and the role of Muslims within it and that truly needs to happen. However, one wonders if it will also unleash an extremist Right-wing reaction and overcompensation to decades of French pussyfooting around with foolishly liberal immigration and welfare policies. These policies have caused France to become colonized by a people who to a great extent are not interested in becoming French so much as colonizing France in the image of the Old Country and its Old World culture. This won't work for modern French people who are proudly secular and liberal which is at odds with these extremist Muslim elements. These selfsame elements seem to find support enough within the Muslim immigrant society within France to operate with impunity within France. However, the blow-back may have already begun as I have read reports tonight of an immigrant encampment in Calais having caught fire and burned since the Paris attacks.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Graphic of the Day - What A Difference A Decade Makes

A decade ago a weak El Niño was underway which contrary to typical weak El Niños brought a tremendous amount of rain to California yet without disastrous flooding or mudslides. That was 2005, while this is now 2015 which finds California in the midst of the most powerful El Niño ever recorded (according to some metrics) and yet is still in its worst drought on record which is in its third year (not the longest on record but definitely the most severe). It would seem that if past patterns hold true this winter then this drought will either come to an end or at least be significantly reduced. Above is a comparison of nearby Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio. The water level difference is obvious between wet El Niño year and the third year of a crippling drought.
Image courtesy of NASA (all rights reserved).

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Red Cups

I find it a curious thing that many of my Christian brothers and sisters are getting their panties in a wad about this Starbucks red cup tempest in a teapot. Secular Starbucks is trying to go the way of contemporary society's secular trend and tone down the Chistian-esque aspects of Christmas. Many Christians in response to this secularization are getting discomfited. This reaction is utter foolishness. Two thousand years ago God foretold that this would happen and it is happening right on time and it is His will. Christians who get hot and bothered by it are getting sucked into the infantile and myopic Culture War and ignoring the Big Picture. What is happening is supposed to happen so chill out, Christian people!

This discomfiture is also utterly ludicrous when juxtaposed with what other Christians in many other parts of the world are enduring at the hands of Islamists who are martyring them, sometimes en mass. With all that is going on out there to other Christians in the Developing World, for you alleged Christians in America living in relative affluence and safety to get up in arms over a damned red coffee cup indicates you are a faithless fool!

Many of these same idiot Christians also claim to believe in freedom and liberty and yet would deprive Starbucks' right to put anything they want on their coffee cups! This is tyranny by Christians upon the wicked to whom these Christians ought to be reaching out and ministering to them. If you don't like the secular trend of society then do something about it that is actually effective and being an asshole is not one of them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Picture of the Day - Double La-La Land Lightening

This is perhaps the most sublime image of lightening over Los Angeles that my eyes have ever beheld. I am guessing this is from the recent storm that passed through that area in recent days. Photo by Emeric Le Bars (all rights reserved).

Thursday, November 5, 2015

In Your Arms

Tonight I found "In Your Arms" by Canadian trance artist Somna featuring vocals by Englishwoman Emma Elizabeth. I found this trance track in a mix HERE and it immediately hooked me starting at about the 1:25 mark. Crank up your sound system and enjoy!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Valley Fire Dash Cam View

This is a new video to me having just found it last night. It is quite compelling and reveals the experience of Lake County Sheriff's deputies contending with last month's Valley Fire in Lake County, CA, between Hidden Valley Lake and Middletown. The firestorm killed four people and burned over 1,200 homes and over 700 other structures besides scorching 76,000 acres.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Picture of the Day - When Overkill Is Good

This is how the 21-acre Gibraltar Fire near Gibraltar Peak looming over Santa Barbara, CA, and environs atop the Santa Ynez Mountains looked today after being heavily pummeled by fire retardant from various air tankers including Tanker 912. The reason for such a heavy-handed response was due to the Santa Ana Winds that started today and will last into tomorrow. Photo courtesy of Los Padres NF/USFS (all rights reserved).

Graphic of the Day - El Niño Rainfall Probabilities

The Right Elements

Tonight I discovered this gem of progressive house and am happy to have something new with which to get my groove on. "Elements" by German progressive house artist Dinka was released on February 19, 2010, so I'm only 5-1/2 years late finding this simple but exquisite track.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Graphic of the Day - California Fire Season 2015

Local NBC-TV affiliate KSBY-TV's weatherman Dave Hovdie Tweeted this tonight which I found rather interesting.
Image courtesy of KSBY-TV San Luis Obispo (all rights reserved).