July 31, 2005
July 29, 2005
Walgreens In Berkeley
Of a sort. 2005 results of the Bulwer-Lytton contest.
July 28, 2005
Another Reason To Be Nude
HD vs. Lowe's
It had been rumored and now confirmed that Home Depot will be opening a location adjacent to Lowe's in Palm Springs. It's like Walgreen's vs. CVS in the east. Every time one opens a store, the other chain opens a spot next door.
I have been lucky enough to find a stash of candid photographs taken during a recent weekend research session into the John Roberts nomination to the Supreme Court being conducted by staffers for Republican Senators. I made this montage from a few of them:
God Keeps On Smitin'
No flip-flops from this God, who brought in bad weather four years ago in order to prevent Bush from speaking to Boy Scouts at the National Jamboree. At the current Jamboree (they happen only every 4 years) in Virginia God brought in warm temps (95°) plus high humidity. The Leaders (heterosexual adults who have shown some misjudgement) then had the boys stand in the sun for 3 hours waiting for an expected visit from GWB. About 300 of the Scouts were felled by the heat, and about half of them had to be taken to hospital. Who the fuck tells kids to stand in the heat for 3 hours?! The Bush visit was cancelled.
Here we have Boy Scout Cameron Ogilvie who is wisely wearing a water backpack and seems to be tolerating the heat well.
The really bad news at the Jamboree is that 4 adult leaders died as they were setting up a tent underneath powerlines. A metal pole from the tent touched the power lines and the tent caught fire. Ya just gotta wonder about the quality of this all-heterosexual leadership of the Boy Scouts. You don't even have to be a Boy Scout to have the common sense to know that (1) you don't put ANYthing under power lines, and (2) you don't make your kids stand in the heat for 3 hours.
We take a brief respite from our atheism to thank God for protecting the BOYS from the foolishness of their leaders; that is, both Boy Scout leaders and the President.
DHS (Mostly Jerry Hanson)
For you readers who don't live here where the weather is so fine, we'll do a Jerry Hanson update. Jerry Hanson is the City Manager of Desert Hot Springs, and a very well paid City Manager he is. Nothing illegal so far, but the Desert Sun is digging, as best they can. Here we get the general overview of things: 30 weeks paid vacation in 2004; his unused vacation time could be worth $39,000 and he will be paid for it; even councilman Gary Bosworth (the only member of the council with all 52 cards in his deck) was surprised to learn of this. The City Council approved Hanson's contract, but Bosworth says:
"I can honestly say that I was not fully aware that those contracts would give him those extra hours of vacation time," he said.Well, yeah, right, but why didn't the council insist on that and why did they approve the contract? Other members of the council either aren't talking or are blaming the messenger.
"That is why I think the contracts need to be written in simple-to-understand language and not refer back and forth" between contracts.
Finances aside, the council's actions most damaged the city's reputation. While Hanson might have guided Desert Hot Springs out of bankruptcy, the council has shattered the notion of transparency among the city's own residents as well as others living in the Coachella Valley. After all, the council easily can say it's paying Hansen one number even though the truth is that vacation and sick day benefits boost his income by nearly 62 percent. The city payroll's complicated structure and an unwillingness of city officials to even give Hanson's 2005 hourly pay rate prevent almost everybody from recognizing how much Desert Hot Springs truly is paying him.
BTW, I want to say that as the reconstruction of West Street (a Jerry Hanson project) nears completion, it is looking absolutely lovely! A stop sign has been added at 4th Street near the Wenzlaff Elementary School, where there was none before. Can you believe a grade school had no stop signs to help kids cross the street? It's a madhouse there when school lets out.
- The annual October Water Fest in DHS is looking for talent. Chamber of Commerce President Lane Sarasohn said "anyone can participate, as long as performers refrain from profanity." There is no truth to the rumor that several years ago the Water Fest included a high speed demo by one resident who took on the challenge to build a functioning meth lab and begin producing the drug in less than 60 minutes right there in front of the cheering crowd. No truth.
- DHS High gets a new football coach, and by "football" they mean American football. Their soccer team is doing quite all right, I imagine. The football team, however, has won only 7 games in the last 5 years, 5 of those victories came just last year.
- DHS is organizing a "Hot August Nights Car Show" on August 19. This should be really good. There are some wild cars in this town. And there is no truth to the other rumor that one of the award categories is Most Recently Stolen. Not at all.
- USAToday refers to an article in Spa magazine about cheap places to get spa treatments. And you know the top place In The World for cheap spa treatments has got to be Desert Hot Springs which, unfortunately, USAToday locates in some imaginary "Palm Springs valley." There was some talk once of renaming Coachella Valley, but if USAToday were trying to do that, they should capitalize "valley."
"For we walk by faith, not by sight"
Is that a Jesus sighting?! No, it's just Stephen Gough who has been arrested for the first time on this year's naked ramble. He was nabbed a total of 14 times on his previous naked walk from Land's End to John O'Groats (874 miles). This time he is walking with his girlfriend Melanie Roberts and Jeffrey Woodhouse. The two men refused to get dressed for their arraignment, so the hearing was held in their cell. They had been shopping in town before their arrest. Woodhouse is a librarian, according to this article. The girlfriend is a hairdresser, while Gough himself is a former Marine. Hey, wouldn't it be something if Stephen Gough joined up with Steve Vaught who is walking from San Diego to NYC (or Lubec, Maine) to lose weight. Vaught is also a former Marine (U.S.). Could Vaught tolerate Gough's nudity? Could Gough tolerate America's heat? It could be the subject of a very slow reality TV show. But back to Gough's arrest:
Gough said later: "The walk will go on. I’m putting my socks on as we speak."
He insisted the arrest had only strengthened his desire to complete the challenge and spread the message that the human body was something to celebrate.
- In other nude news, the Korean Supreme Court has ruled that the display of a teacher's nude photograph on his website is NOT art, and IS pornography. The court cited a 1995 precedent where they had ruled "To judge the healthiness of the material, we should consider how much space the sexual contents take up in the book, and how lascivious it is."
- In Waterloo, Iowa an industrial zone on the outskirts of the city will be protected from reduced property values, security risks and general negativity and reverse striding as the Board of Adjustment has refused to issue a permit for a nude dancing establishment with juice bar and video store. Among the objecting neighbors who felt the porno business (or "titty bar" if you prefer) would sully the fine neighborhood they have built up are "Airline Amusements golf and go-cart business" and Hilpipre Auction Co. which "brings in many visitors from other states," and by gawd we are not going to have a bunch of Minnesotans dropping their money in an Iowa skin joint. BTW, Earl Baugh, the would-be owner of the proposed establishment complied with all the rules and regulations to open an adult business. It is his experience that very few Minnesotans come to Waterloo to do their dry cleaning, the business in which he is currently engaged.
July 27, 2005
Prince Albert Keychain?
San Diego's Mayor
I haven't been following all the steps of the process, but apparently God has been smiting people in San Diego left and right in order to give the city it's first lesbian mayor.
The rights you have when asked to submit to a search when entering the subway. One important point they make is that if you refuse to consent to a search, do NOT then jump the turnstiles and try to run into a subway car. Not good.
The Fast Runner
Now here's a movie that could really benefit from a director's commentary or at least a "making-of" documentary. But no. During the credits you will get some shots that look like they were taking for a making-of documentary, but that's all you get.
If you believed the trailers and see this movie for the naked guy running across the ice (like I did), you'll wait an hour and a half before you get to that 10-minute episode. For much of the movie before that you'll feel fairly confused unless, of course, you are Inuit. To my southern California eyes all the actors look a lot alike. Then when you swaddle them in huge sealcoats, leaving only their nose visible it doesn't get any better. The women, fortunately, tattoo their faces, but you only get to see them during the summer.
Nonetheless, whining aside, this is a film about Inuits made by Inuits so you'll find yourself watching closely just to catch the cultural nuances. They can build an igloo in less than day, but they don't give out their structural secrets. 4 Stars.
I'm much surprised to realize that there was no Kodachrome group on Flickr, so I created one. If you've got Kodachrome slides, get 'em scanned and come share 'em.
Deep Creek, Again
Yesterday I went up to Deep Creek by myself. I got there in the early afternoon, avoiding the bad planning on previous group trips that have us hiking up and out of Deep Creek at the hottest part of the day. Arriving when I did allowed me to hike down and in during the hottest part of the day, which is much easier...but still warms you up enough so that when you get to the creek you can hardly stand the time it takes to get your shoes off so you can run into the cold water.
I stayed until the sun began to go behind the mountains after 7:00, making the hike out much more comfortable.
Someone has spraypainted some rather unnecessary (and ugly) green arrows on rocks along the trail. I don't mind the few at the couple of spots where it's not clear if the trail goes left or right, but they also throw in several unnecessary arrows along the trail where the only choice is to stay on the obvious trail or throw yourself off a rocky cliff. I hardly need a painted arrow to tell me what to do there.
There were a couple of families with kids at the hot springs themselves. Three or four adults, and kids ranging from about 8 to mid-teens, boys and girls. They had camped there the night before. I'm impressed with any family that can get their kids (including teenagers!) to make an effort to hike into a spot like this, yet after more than a day there they all seemed happy to do nothing more than swim, sleep or throw rocks into the creek. They must have done this before, because as they trickled out, every one of them carried something out without whining. Unfortunately, they were a bit too confident about their group skills and they left their dog behind. He appeared from nowhere as I was putting on my boots in preparation for my own hike out. I was pretty surprised to see him. I had been sure this was their dog, but who could forget the family dog? I thought it was possible he was just a dog from a nearby ranch who liked to beg from hikers.
As I began to near the upper end of the trail there was one of the dads coming back. He asked about his dog, and I told him where I last saw him. As lovely as the area is, after finishing the hike out I wouldn't want to discover I had to repeat the whole circuit again. It was probably be dark before dad got back to the cars with the dog...and I didn't see a flashlight on him as he passed me.
"I was totally stunned and flushed at the first sight of these naked men"
A little buzz over some skinnydipping in China. I guess it's a hot summer everywhere [north of the equator].
There's been a lot of discussion among photographers recently about new (or rumored) restrictions on photography in subways, on bridges, or just about anywhere. One of the things that worries me is that the person who's deciding if my photography may be permitted or not will be just a regular cop whose idea of "photography" might not extend beyond lining up the family for photos on holidays. But this article makes it sound like routinely questioning photographers may actually have a benefit. They say the MTA is keeping a database of identifying information of everyone they stop for photography. Someone repeatedly photographing structural elements of bridges, for example, might deserve a closer look.
But then the article rambles on and says some things that make me think the whole thing is just being made up. It refers solely to "film" and "filming," with no allowance for the idea that a lot of photographers will be using videotape or a digital camera. It says "in all cases the images are reviewed." How do they do that with film? They would have to seize the film and develop it, which introduces a lot of headaches and irritations for all involved.
"Another source said those who were stopped let investigators review their film voluntarily. The source was not aware of anyone refusing." EVERYONE let the cops take their film?! I don't think they stopped very many people and certainly no professional photographers. "'Most of the time they show us the images right there because they are tourists,' the source said." Hmm, and how would they do that with film?
July 26, 2005
Shitty Tippers Database
I wouldn't think this would last long, but it's got a lot of stuff: The Shitty Tippers Database. Waitpersons, upon receiving a shitty tip from a customer paying with a credit card are encouraged to upload identifying information (but not the cc number) to this database. BTW, a "shitty" tip is defined as anything less than 17%!