July 22, 2014

Trampoline Safety

This was probably not covered in the gun safety course or the manual that came with the trampoline: "[T]he defendant's mother, said the two were in a relationship, and had been playing with the gun that killed Edwards while on a trampoline with their infant child."

| July 22, 2014 at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2014

Chicago Family May Pick Up The Joseph Wambaugh House

Maybe. Maybe not. It's in Thunderbird Estates in Rancho Mirage. The Desert Sun says it was Joseph Wambaugh's house. They also say that the original asking price was $12 million, but it sold for only $4.2 million. Joseph Wambaugh is a popular and entertaining writer who's written several famous books, but the one you want to know about is one of his less popular novels: The Secrets of Harry Bright, which is set in the desert in a little town called Mineral Springs with a small police department. Just south of Mineral Springs, across the freeway is Palm Springs. When the story's action is anywhere south of the 10, the geography is entirely accurate. But the town of Mineral Springs exists in some fictional geography with hills, canyons, roads and buildings that do not match Desert Hot Springs. Nevertheless, it's Desert Hot Springs. Sorta.

70555 Thunderbird Mesa Dr Rancho Mirage CA 92270
This is the former Wambaugh house
. The listing says an offer has been accepted on the property.

You can't get correct punctuation even with $4.2 million:

Motivated Seller! If spectacular views & privacy are important to you, look no further. Here you will find world-class living at this private, hilltop desert estate w/ ideal year round weather & over 100 nearby golf courses. Located in the exclusive gated community of Thunderbird Heights, this custom built compound with a 6100 sq ft, 4 bdrm, 4.5 bath main home & a stunning 2000 sq ft, 3 bdrm, 3 bath casita will surely please the most discriminating buyer. No expense was spared in creating this must see property. Elevators, motor court, pool, 2 spas, manicured grounds, 20' waterfall, rock formed lagoon, misting system, extensive water features & a putting green w/ sand trap are just few of the many amenities in this one-of-a-kind estate. The main home features a master retreat w/ gym, tanning & spa rooms. Perched up on its own hilltop, and nested against the bighorn sheep preserve, ensures complete privacy and security within it's gated 3.29 acres. The panoramic views are breathtaking!

Filed under Books,Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs | July 21, 2014 at 07:49 PM | Comments (2)

"Truth Is Beauty"

Timelapse video of the assembly of Truth Is Beauty on the playa in 2013 before the gates opened at Burning Man.

Filed under Art,Burning Man,Photography | July 21, 2014 at 07:20 PM | Comments (0)

Airbnb Nightmare For Palm Springs Property Owner

An Airbnb traveler has stayed in a condo in Palm Springs for more than 30 days and is now exercising his right to squat.

On the last day of his reservation, still unpaid, [property owner] Tschogl says she sent him a text message telling him if he didn't vacate the property, she would have the utilities shut off.

He apparently responded with a threat of his own. "It almost sounded like blackmail. He threatened to sue me, saying his brother was there and got an ulcer to due to the tap water. He said he was legally occupying my domicile and he has rights," Tschogl says.

Filed under Coachella Valley | July 21, 2014 at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)


July 21:

  • 1588 - The English fleet first engaged the Spanish Armada.
  • 1846 - Mormons founded the first English-language settlement in California in San Joaquin Valley.
  • 1898 - Spain ceded Guam to USA.
  • 1899 - Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park Illinois.
  • 1925 - John Scopes found guilty of teaching Darwinism.
  • 1930 - US Veterans Administration formed.
  • 1948 - Cat Stevens and Garry Trudeau were born.
  • 1951 - Robin Williams was born in Chicago.
  • 1949 - Senate ratified North Atlantic Treaty by a vote of 82-13.
  • 1952 - 7.8 earthquake in Kern County California, 14 killed.
  • 1959 - Boston Red Sox become the last major league team to acquire a black player.
  • 1976 - First outbreak of "Legionnaire's Disease" killed 29 in Philadelphia.
  • 1989 - Greg LeMond won the Tour de France.

Filed under History | July 21, 2014 at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)

Simpson's Marathon

552 episodes (25 seasons) beginning 10 AM August 21; ending at midnight on September 1. On FXX.

Filed under Television | July 21, 2014 at 01:06 PM | Comments (1)

GoPro Returns To The Edge Of Space

This time with Walter White!

Filed under GoPro,Photography,Television | July 21, 2014 at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

Temple Guardians

A short (7½ minutes) video about the Burning Man Temple and its Guardians.

Filed under Burning Man,Religion | July 21, 2014 at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2014

July 20


  • 1881 - Sitting Bull, surrendered to US federal troops.
  • 1944 - President Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented fourth term at Democratic convention.
  • 1944 - US invaded Guam.
  • 1944 - Assassination attempt against Hitler at Wolf's Lair.
  • 1968 - Iron Butterfly's "In-a-gadda-da-vida" hit the charts at #117.
  • 1969 - Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. from Apollo 11 walked on the moon.
  • 1976 - First Martian landing: US Viking 1 at Chryse Planitia.

Filed under History | July 20, 2014 at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2014

GoPro for today

Avalanche Deaths
Snowboarders with a GoPro ride an avalanche to their deaths. The video itself will be used in the official investigation (British Columbia). The linked article which is otherwise well-written includes this strange and unclarified sentence: "Within hours rescuers tracked Mr Kerr's body through a mysterious signal, buried 4m deep at the bottom of a gully." By "mysterious signal" do they mean something like what happened in First Contact or something more like what happens in a Japanese horror flick or maybe something like a message from God ("I saw the Virgin Mary in the pattern of the snow and ice at that spot"). Or was it something mundane like a Bluetooth signal from the GoPro. Experts who know that Bluetooth cannot penetrate 4 meters of hydrogen-dioxide are welcome to rule that out for me.

Siri Not Available

At one point you will hear an iOS device respond to one of the Nebraska stormchasers with "Siri not available." Well, if Siri not available while you are driving around dodging two tornado funnels at once, then what good is she? Video shot with GoPro. Full screen viewing advised. You will think one of those funnels is about to destroy the town's water tower, and I point this out as an example of what a water tower really looks like. I'm looking at you, cellphone tower builders. These hokey water tower costumes you put on your towers are straight out of Petticoat Junction. A bit more reality would be appreciated.

Marlboro $5.84
Miami police do not have dashboard cameras, they say, and the palm tree in this video assures me that this is Miami, Florida, not Miami, Oklahoma. Nevertheless, Officer Marcel Jackson had his personal GoPro mounted as a dashboard camera in his patrol car. One suspects there may have been some past issues, but that's not explained here. At least not explicitly. He pulled over a car for speeding. The driver of that car got out and refused to do the bidding of Officer Jackson. Officer Jackson then did what comes next, which is wrestling the driver to the ground in an attempt to regain control. Then an amazing thing happens. Three more police cars arrive simultaneously even though Officer Jackson had no chance to call for backup. I wonder if Miami Police always send four cars to every traffic stop. Well, it turned out that the driver of the car pulled over was Lieutenant David Ramrest of the Miami PD. One wonders why the Lieutenant would come charging out of his car like that when, if all he wanted was to avoid a ticket, was to tell Officer Jackson that he was police. Maybe Lieutenant Ramrest had radioed a message that had brought those other three cars. Maybe we are getting closer to understanding why Officer Jackson was using his GoPro. Lt. Ramrest worked in Internal Affairs, which might be a relevant fact as well.

Also, the placement of cigarette ads on palm trees in the public right of way seems to be tolerated in Miami.

Polaroid is putting its name on one of those generic Chinese action cams. Built-in battery. Jell-o effect shutter. Need we say more? $180. I repeat, $180. For only $20 more you can get the GoPro Hero3 - White Edition! You'll thank me later.

Not memory, not a Dodge, and certainly not a football team. But GoPro involved.

Filed under GoPro,Photography,Public Safety | July 19, 2014 at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

After Serving Time In Kansas, Californian Coming Home

David Smith, who grew up in San Diego County and got his BS in forestry/developmental studies at UC Berkeley, will become the new Superintendent for Joshua Tree National Park in September, after serving his time as Superintendent of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas.

Here's a TEDx talk given by Superintendent Smith. Not only is he a really good speaker, but he seems especially aware of the fact that National Parks do not attract Hispanic people or black people...at least not at the rate they attract middle-class white people, he says. His talk includes real life experiences in Mecca (California) and Joshua Tree N.P. He had worked at Joshua Tree N.P. for four years before he saw a black person visiting there. Kids in Mecca had never even heard of a "national park."

Filed under California,History | July 19, 2014 at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2014

Rieman Scupture Dedication

Yesterday morning was the official dedication of the new Steven Rieman sculpture at the Health & Wellness Center/

Dedication of Steven Rieman Sculpture at DHS Health & Wellness Center (0206)

Steven Rieman (0202)
Steven Rieman

Dedication of Steven Rieman Sculpture at DHS Health & Wellness Center (0204)

John Furbee & Arden Wallum (0205)
John Furbee and Arden Wallum

More photos are here.

Filed under Art,Desert Hot Springs,Photography | July 18, 2014 at 02:50 PM | Comments (1)

July 17, 2014

July 17

  • 1717 - Handel's "Water Music" premieres on the river Thames in London.
  • 1821 - Spain cedes Florida to US.
  • 1850 - Harvard Observatory takes 1st photograph of a star (Vega, not Suzanne).
  • 1861 - US Congress authorizes paper money.
  • 1862 - US Army authorized to accept blacks as laborers.
  • 1867 - First US dental school, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, established.
  • 1917 - British Royal family changes its name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.
  • 1944 - Two ammunition ships explode at Port Chicago, California kills 322.
  • 1945 - Potsdam Conference (Truman, Stalin, Churchill) holds first meeting.
  • 1948 - Proclamation of constitution of Republic of Korea.
  • 1954 - Construction begins on Disneyland.
  • 1955 - Disneyland televises its grand opening in Anaheim, California (one year to build?!).
  • 1959 - Tibet abolishes serfdom.
  • 1967 - Monkees perform at Forest Hills, New York, Jimi Hendrix is opening act.
  • 1981 - Lobby walkways at Kansas City's Hyatt Regency collapse 114 die, 200 injured.
  • 1998 - Russia buries Tsar Nicholas II & family, 80 years after they died.

Filed under History | July 17, 2014 at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

What is this "District Of Columbia" you speak of?

TSA agent at Orlando demanded a passport from a traveler because he did not recognize his District of Columbia driver's license as American. A TSA spokesman said that all TSA agents in Orlando have now been shown copies of a DC driver's license.

| July 17, 2014 at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2014

Anybody Got A Match?

WhyTheNose? (yeah, "WhyTheNose?" with the question mark is the name) proposes to film 25 hours (take that Pharrell!) of Happy on the Black Rock Desert at Burning Man. Fundraising page here. Here's the video:

I think he really intends to do this! He seems to be a responsible, experienced Burner so surely he knows how this could go wildly out of control. You can't have one cute girl dancing down the street in front of a camera, without a couple a' thousand other Burners joining in, expressing their art in ways that may not comport with the goals of this Happy video.

Filed under Burning Man | July 16, 2014 at 09:12 PM | Comments (0)

States of California

Tim Draper speaks to the Commonwealth Club about his proposal to divide California into six states. It seems to me that he's completely dissatisfied with the obvious deficiencies of California state government, but rather than propose to completely rewrite the California constitution, because that would be really hard, his proposal is to blow it apart and write six different constitutions and have those six states negotiate compacts with each other to resolve things like water rights. That somehow seems simpler to him.

He brushes off the federal issue, saying that at some future point one of the two major political parties would both dominate the federal government and enjoy majority support in all six of the new states and when that point is reached the federal government would then approve the new states in order to add 10 new Senators who are, mostly, members of that dominant party. Ballotpedia says that the California Legislature has been dominated by the Democratic party since 1959, with only a couple of two-year exceptions. So approval of the new states would be waiting for the Democrats to control Congress and the Presidency. How many decades would that wait be? Consider that the only times that Congress has approved splitting states has been when issues of slavery or the Civil War were involved.

I think the only way to make the proposal palatable to Congress would be to simultaneously consider breaking Texas into five states, so the federal government would end up with 18 more Senators.

I think that some of those new six states would, in fact, vote Republican. California is not all Democrat, border to border. Congress can see that too, so approving six new states becomes a bit of a gamble for both parties. When was the last time Congress approved a structural change that might have shifted the partisan balance? Maybe 1913 when the U.S. Constitution was amended for the direct election of Senators.

Draper says he has some analysis that shows small states excel at some things. He interprets correlation as cause; IOW, smallness creates greater prosperity, for example, or better education. Maryland. Is Maryland a state that we want to use as a model for the new Californias?

He doesn't consider that all the small states are in the east and so they are all older than California, and all much more densely populated than California. I would think population density has a stronger effect on prosperity and good government than mere geographical size. The population density of Connecticut is 722.65 people/square mile. In California it's only 235.68/sq.mi. (WorldAtlas.com) California's population would need to rise to 118,294,914 in order to match the density of Connecticut. That would certainly be a different California than we have now. The current population is about 38 million.

San Francisco Bay was not discovered by Europeans until 1769. 149 years before that the Pilgrims landed at Provincetown, Massachusetts. Los Angeles was founded in 1777, 147 years after the founding of Boston. The first English language school in California was opened at Mission Santa Clara in 1847, the year that Harvard celebrated its 211th birthday. Those additional 150 to 200 years of history contribute a lot to what makes those little eastern states different from California.

There is one questioner in the video who seemed to be about to ask him if the differences between states might be due to something other than geographical size, but he interrupted her. In fact, he interrupts most questioners in this video.

Draper says the small states are competing with each other for businesses and population and he thinks it's a great thing that if a business doesn't get the tax treatment it wants in New York, it can move to New Jersey, perhaps. Yet, California competing with Nevada, Arizona and Texas for businesses somehow turns out bad in his opinion.

He doesn't consider that because California has this exceedingly easy initiative system combined with the fact that measures approved by popular vote can be amended only with great difficulty, means our laws, tax structure and constitution are ridden with special interest provisions. He does say that breaking up into six states would get rid of Prop 13. Somebody should say something about babies and bathwater at this point.

Getting rid of Prop 13 would obviously be a very difficult task. But a fantasy that Congress would approve dividing California into six states? Easy-peezy!

Draper says there is no one single place to lay blame for the current state of California: not the bureaucracy, not the partisanship. "It just happens." Right. California just happens because, as we know, no people are involved. But if we break up into six states then those very same people who have created problematic California will magically create six new efficient governments.

He's a bomb-tosser with unbridled optimism that the same people who created the mess will create six beautiful solutions.

Filed under California | July 16, 2014 at 07:40 PM | Comments (1)

July 16

Today in history:

  • 1769 - Father Junipero Serra founds Mission San Diego, first mission in California.
  • 1861 - Battle of Bull Run is fought.
  • 1918 - A Bolshevik firing squad at Ekaterinburg, Siberia, executes Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family.
  • 1935 - First automatic parking meter in US installed (Oklahoma City)
  • 1945 - First test detonation of an atomic bomb, Trinity Site, Alamogordo, New Mexico andCruiser Indianapolis leaves San Francisco with atom bomb.
  • 1951 - "Catcher in Rye" by J. D. Salinger published.
  • 1969 - Apollo 11 launched.
  • 1999 - John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette are killed in a plane crash off the coast of Martha's Vineyard.<./li>

Filed under History | July 16, 2014 at 07:20 PM | Comments (0)

Used Leica $390,000 OBO

Khaldei Leica

That's the Leica used to make the iconic photograph of the planting of the Soviet flag on the Reichstag. It will be auctioned in November in Hong Kong and is expected to bring $390,000 to $580,000.

Filed under History,Photography | July 16, 2014 at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2014

Attempted Murder



INCIDENT: Attempt murder suspect in custody
DATE/TIME OF INCIDENT: July 15,2014, 4:52 PM
SUSPECT: Eric Wayne Quinones 03/19/96, Male, Hispanic, 5-6, 120, Black Hair, Brown Eyes, Desert Hot Springs Resident
CHARGES: PC 664/187-Attempted murder; PC 12022.53(D)-Discharge firearm in the commission of felony causing great bodily injury

STATUS: In Custody-RCJ: Banning

On Wednesday July 9, 2014 at about 12:19 PM Officers were dispatched to 12350 Palm Drive for calls of a shot being fired. Officers arrived and found an adult male with a non life threatening gunshot wound. The victim was transported to DRMC for further treatment. During the investigation Quinones was identified as the suspect.

On Tuesday July 15, 2014 Officers received information that Quinones was at home. Officers located Quinones at his home and he was arrested without incident. Quinones was booked for the above charges.

Eric Wayne Quinones
Eric Wayne Quinones

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,Public Safety | July 15, 2014 at 09:17 PM | Comments (1)

Anchovies On GoPro

At Scripps Pier in La Jolla on July 8. Scientists at Scripps say they haven't seen anything like this in 30 years.

More video here in which you will see, among other things, that the anchovies get away from a hunting sea lion more quickly than they do from humans.

Filed under California,GoPro,Photography | July 15, 2014 at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

Ammiano Is Optimistic

A Capitol Public Radio news collection of soundbites expressing optimism for legislation that would finally create a regulatory system for medical marijuana in California. There's Assemblyman Ammiano and Tim Cromartie from the California League of Cities. Mr. Cromartie describes the situation in Colorado as "chaos." I'm not sure what he's referring to, but when a state has medical marijuana and then adds legal recreational marijuana, the decision has to be made whether they want to continue with a separate set of rules for medical marijuana - lower taxes being the primary consideration, I think. But in any case, the legislation they are talking about in California deals only with medical marijuana.

I'm not sure which bill the soundbites are talking about. They say that the "bill would make the state Department of Consumer Affairs responsible for regulation of medical marijuana," which was what AB 2312 would have done. But there's been no action on that bill since November 2012. AB 1894 introduced in February 2014 would put medical marijuana regulation under the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Filed under California,Marijuana | July 15, 2014 at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

Western Desert Hot Springs

Michael Rymer has come up with another great aerial photo of the region:
Aerial view along Highway 62, Coachella Valley, California

This photo was taken on June 10, 2014, and there was water in the recharge ponds along Worsley Road in the lower part of the photo. I hadn't thought they'd dumped water in there recently. The patterns of soil colors is pretty interesting. And I think it's interesting that the line of the Banning fault is not very visible. You can see its features if you know where to look. The Colorado River Aqueduct, however, is very visible, running from the recharge ponds past the scraped but undeveloped Highland Falls as it goes toward Whitewater.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Photography | July 15, 2014 at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

A Walk Around The Salton Sea

Randy Brown of Rancho Cucamonga plans to walk around the Salton Sea in June 2015. He's got a blog, a Facebook page, an Instagram page, a fundraising page, and some Youtube:

But he's also been doing some actual training in hot weather on location. So there's a chance he will survive. He plans to do it in 6 days.

Filed under California,Coachella Valley | July 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)