April 30, 2007
Flickr Photos of Freeway Collapse
April 29, 2007
Bill Moyers & Jon Stewart
You haven't caught me linking to Bill Moyers before, but here he's got a good interview of Jon Stewart. Warning: I think PBS.org uses a two-cycle lawn mower engine to power their videos, so select the small version, regardless of how fabulous your internet connection is, and allow yourself a half hour to watch it through. Trying to pause it or to go to another window or task is just going to hang everything.
Shootings At The Ward Parkway Mall
My main interest in this is that the Ward Parkway Mall in Kansas City, Missouri, was the first of the now-ubiquitous enclosed malls built near me. It must have been built in the mid-sixties, before they had the formula totally resolved. It did have two anchor stores, J.C. Penney and Montgomery Wards, and while Wards was at the north end, Penney's was not all the way at the south end, so you had a sort of dead south stub, plus they had this odd little extrusion to the side where they put small shops. You had to go down a set of escalators to get there and they called it the "Lincoln Mall." I'm sure they've done away with that now, but for awhile that was where the local branch of the county library was (along with the Hickory Farms store).
So anyway, the news from this shooting is that it seems that Target now occupies the Montgomery Wards space, Dillards is still at the south end (a third anchor store appended to the south end), and I'm sure J.C. Penney's left years ago. Probably replaced by a Big Lots, or something. The cinemaplex used to be two screens in the north end when I lived there. Now I guess it's more, and somewhere else.
I won't be the first to suggest that soon the conspiracy nuts will be all over the place asking "Why, if it was a gasoline tanker truck can we find no remains of the truck?"
And then there will be the real nut cases who point out that the truck driver's name is a concatenation of "mosque" and "qaeda."
Monday In An Office Cubicle?
Get your headphones. Via Good Evening (THE John Hodgman), via The Sound Of Young America, here is Brass Eye, a British television series from some time before the re-unification of Germany, I guess. Episode one, Animals had me laughing out loud, even though I'm all by my lonesome in my bedroom as I watch it.
Possibly can be bought here on DVD in PAL format.
Solar Powered Palmwood?
In this press release from Landmark Properties, the developer of Palmwood, is the claim that Palmwood "will be the first master-planned community in the world to be completely powered by solar energy." Completely solar powered? So no need to build any access to the power grid and no need for gas lines or propane deliveries?
Possibly due to an editing error the press release failed to mention the streets in Palmwood will be lined with candy trees, the golf courses will have taps dispensing California wine on every green, and trained hummingbirds will hum recognizable tunes while visiting the flowers of the development.
April 28, 2007
Foods Named For People
A long list of food, drinks and fruits named for people. Some are obvious (Napoleon Brandy), others less so, like German chocolate cake. Some surprising: "Salisbury steak - Dr. James H. Salisbury (1823–1905), early U.S. health food advocate, created this dish and advised his patients to eat it three times a day, while limiting their intake of 'poisonous' vegetables and starches."
If nothing else, this list will get your appetite going and inspire you to try some new dish.
When you check out his bio (he was born in Springfield, Mass.) you'll see he left the Senate in 1981 and after that things are pretty vague. Where's he been? He answers that in this video where he says that for ten years he lived "under a rock!"
Half Million Views
Coachella Valley's A Hard Place
4.7 Quake In England
April 27, 2007
Phallic Cactus Growth
Here's What We Like To See
I turned on the swamp cooler (low fan) a couple of hours ago - just to see how it runs, not because I don't want to enjoy the heat. It's cooled it down to near 80° inside.
Slide Scans For Today
It's supposed to reach 101° in Palm Springs today, so maybe 98° here in DHS. I was just outside for awhile doing a little bit of watering and stuff. It's hot and calm out there. We've had no wind for about a day. Came inside to fix some lunch. Then, just five minutes ago, this single accelerating blast of wind came through town like no wind I had ever felt before here in DHS...and we get some powerful wind. I could hear the house straining to keep the roof on. And then it just stopped. Now it's dead calm again. This is very weird, and I mention it here now so that in half an hour when we hear about a nuclear blast somewhere 500 miles from here I'll be able to say "Hey, I told you about that wind."
April 26, 2007
Whoda Thunk It?
Despite opposition from CVAG, the Sierra Club, and supporters of the revised MSHCP as well as a negative recommendation from LAFCO staff and rumors that Riverside County would want to take revenge against Desert Hot Springs for killing the previous MSHCP, the annexation by DHS of the area that will make up the Palmwood Project has been approved! I'm, uh, astonished.
"My companies have been responsible for thousands of homesites," Michael Crosby, Palmwood Developer, stated. "I assembled the Palmwood site, and it is continuous [sic, I think] for the city of Desert Hot Springs. They became interested in this for financial recovery. The city’s general plan includes the annexation. Phil (Mickelson) and I are welcoming the area, looking to attract hoteliers internationally. This will eliminate the 68% of retail leakage and create hundreds of new jobs. Phil and I are interested in forever changing the image of DHS. Rumors of Palmwood’s financial troubles are unfounded."
All those stories with supporting documentation about Palmwood being in default on its loans are "unfounded?" I am so very astonished.
...geologist James Cornett gave a presentation to the LAFCO Board, in defense of Palmwood. "I’ve been conducting studies in the Coachella Valley since 1974," Cornett stated. "We conducted two studies and we met all Federal and State studies. Contrary to what many have heard, we found no endangered or threatened species on the Palmwood site."
Huh? Even the city's environmental impact report listed several threatened species and singled out the endangered big horn sheep that have been sighted on Palmwood property. But that's all wrong? Not a single one is there? I am so extremely astonished that this chunk of desert is magically free of all of those pesky threatened species. One might wonder why a geologist's opinion has any bearing on determining if there are any threatened species in the area
You might think that somebody went and furnished great amounts of green lubrication to the LAFCO commissioners, but honestly I don't think so. No, I think we've just found another political body that thinks like the Desert Hot Springs city council. That's frightening.
And I look at that map and I'm pretty surprised to see that DHS has incorporated land way SOUTH of I-10. Another few seconds of thought brings me to the realization that the map artist at the Desert Sun is smoking some good stuff. He's relocated I-10 about 3 miles further north than its actual location. He's got it running right across the southern edge of town and then heading directly into the mountains. You can't accuse me of being picky here. This isn't like a typo in a street name, or getting east confused with north. It's the only interstate highway in this valley. The people at the Desert Sun ought to know where it is.
MSN Money commissioned a poll by Zogby International to come up with a list of the 10 companies with the worst customer service. Time F. Warner came in only fourth place. The whole story started with complaints about The Home Depot last year, but they came in 14th place in the poll, with Lowe's at 18th.
Recently I had an outrageously bad customer service experience when I called Sirius satellite radio with a hardware question. I can't rank it as my worst experience ever since it wasn't very important. I wasn't dealing with a billing or reception issue. I had been thinking about buying a new receiver and the descriptions of equipment that I could find on the web were unclear or incomplete. So I called to ask for clarification. I got some pot-head who seemed to be in the middle of dinner break as he pretended to take my call. What made it bad was that (A) he knew nothing, and (B) he didn't have a script to read from. I guess we could add (C) he had a very short attention span and couldn't remember my question. I had to repeat it to him several times to get him back on track as he began to ramble and wander all over the satellite radio marketing landscape. When he finally seemed to have stopped talking after a long blindfolded wander in the dark through the thick forest of partial information I asked "Is that your final answer?" He grunted something that may have been an affirmation, so I hung up.
More Power Line Construction
It'll be interesting to see if this has an effect on the proposed Green Path power line route. The federal Department of Energy has proposed two "national interest electric transmission corridors," the first ones under a law passed in 2005. One of the corridors is composed of seven counties in southern California. The article doesn't say, but what you want to bet those counties are Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles...and another nominee to be named at a later date?
The essence of the new regulation comes down to this: "If state authorities do not approve any construction after a year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has the authority to intervene and approve a grid project if the new line is deemed necessary to satisfy national power needs."
So even if California doesn't want it and the local counties don't want it, the feds can impose new power line construction right here.