September 30, 2007
Monday Morning At Work
Here's something to entertain you, just plug in the headphones first. It's at YouTube, but no need to even have the video on screen, because it's a recording from a radio show. I think it's made the rounds before, but you may not have heard it yet.
Catholic Online Promotes Folsom Street Fair
Finally, some Catholics have gotten with the program and are promoting the Folsom Street Fair here, perhaps as a way of thanking Miller Brewing for supporting the fair. Of course, some of these photos may be NSFW.
The official website for the Folsom Street Fair, where you may notice that their photos are not all so racy as those provided for your delectation by Catholic Online.
Here's the Flickr group for the Fair where there are currently 1,292 photos visible to non-group-members.
New Sort Of Desert Sun Error
September 29, 2007
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
I visited Hollywood Forever Cemetery again today. Found some graves I hadn't before, and checked up on a few of my favorites.
Phil Prentice and Ernie Tate, for example, haven't taken up residence in the cemetery yet.
I found Edward G. Robinson, Jr.
And Peter Lorre.
Also Jack Laird (his filmography).
I went by Eugene Kaplansky's striking memorial again.
And next to it I saw a new memorial going in that looks like it was designed by the same artist.
I was surprised to discover the animal menagerie that lives in the cemetery. There are at least two pens of peacocks, and a pen of colorful rabbits. This isn't the first time I've seen the various geese and swans that roam the place, but this time I saw that they had provided a shelter for a goose to sit on "his" nest. I assume they know the gender correctly. They also have put a couple of shelters out for feral cats. They put out water and food for them too. I saw one cat, and it was looking pretty sorry.
Here's Darren McGavin.
This is Charles Chaplin's son.
I got a couple photos of Valentino's grave that were better than what I had before.
Over along the east fence of the cemetery they inefficiently put a row graves about 4 feet from the fence, most of them dating from the first quarter of the 20th century. In the last few years the current management has taken advantage of this half-size space by putting in a row of child's graves. No where have I seen such a concentration of family shrines to deceased children.
This is Jesse Lasky, one of the founders of Paramount Pictures.
Here's a Civil War veteran. There are several in the cemtery. An interesting detail on this one is that no date of death has been entered for his wife, although she was born in 1876. Did she just disappear, or marry another man, or what?
But it was with this grave that I really hit pay dirt.
A Google search turned up this NY Times article about the life and death of John Sutherland Sinclair, 17th Earl of Caithness. You can go download that if you want, or just read it here:
MONUMENT REVEALS AN EARL'S IDENTITY
Head of Scotch House of Caithness Known Only in California as "J.S-Sinclair."
CAREFULLY HID HIS TITLE
Came to America Many Years Ago and Made Money on a North Dakota Ranch.
Special to The New York Times.
LOS ANGELES, July 19.—The erection yesterday over a new grave In Hollywood Cemetery of a monument Inscribed "John Sutherland Sinclair, Earl of Caithness," was the first authentic notice to Los Angeles people that the wealthy John Sutherland Sinclair, who died here recently, was the seventeenth Earl of Caithness, the successor to the title of one of the oldest lines of Scotch nobility. Gossip and speculation here had identified Mr. Sinclair as the Earl, but, it is said, that to only two men in the city, of whom Corrldan H. Putnam, the head of a mining engineering company, was one, had the Earl confessed his identity. Mr. Putnam admitted this tonight, and said that he had been pledged to secrecy by the Earl.
Known as Mr. Sinclair, Lord Caithness came here three years ago and made his residence at the Hotel Balboa. He gave freely to philanthropic objects, maintaining for the purpose an office with Mr, Putnam. He lived quietly, and his funeral was so simple that it attracted, almost no attention.
Mr. Putnam said the answer to (he question of why the Earl concealed his title might be found in the motto of the house of Caithness, "Commit thy work to God."
"A modest man, he held all the titles as dross and preferred to live as one of the plain people of earth,' said Mr. Putoam, " His life was devoted to good works."
Mr. Sinclair, as heir-presumptive to the Earldom, came to this country thirty-nine years ago and located in Canada, where he was connected for years with the Bank of Montreal. An uncle, Lord Pentland of Lyth, now Governor of Madras, had come to Canada just before aa secretary to the Governor General of Canada.
About the time he came into the title he was farming an enormous acreage in North Dakota, near Devil's Lake. A town known as Berriedale now stands on this acreage. One of the titles of the Earl of Caithness is Lord Berriedale.
A large man, straight, with a long, strong face, white hair and beard, the Earl was a familiar figure about Westlake Park. At his hotel he passed for an affable man possessing means, but reticent about himself.
The Earl's end was hastened by injuries received in the Pacific Electric wreck at Vineyard Junction, when he was returning to the city from the beach. One leg was injured and he suffered from nervous shock, as he was seated directly behind a woman who was killed. Finally paralysis set in and he had to be taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital, where he died.
The body was placed In a vault pending the arrival of a couain from Scotland, and then the burial took place.
The seventeenth Earl of Caithness, who made this country his home by adoption, traced his family back to the year 875. The Earldom of Caithness at one time embraced the entire northern part of Scotland from sea to sea and included the Orkney Islands, but when the seventeenth Earl came into his title he did not fall heir to a foot of Scottish territory. The successions in the family had become so complicated and testators had so subdivided the once immense estate that nothing was left for the seventeenth Earl.
The Earl came to America many years ago and settled on the Berriedale Ranch in North Daksota, where he was successful in business. In 1910 he inherited the Castle of Auchmacoy and considerable other landed property in Aberdeenshire from his maternal grandaunt. Miss Louise Buchan, and by inheritance came into an income of $25,000 a year.
The full title of the Earl was Earl of Caithness, Lord Berriedale of Scotland, and Baronet of Nova Scotia. His younger brother, the Hon. Norman MacLeod (Sinclair) Buchan of Auchmacoy House, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, is the heir.
I don't know if he's really related, but here's a John Sutherland born in North Dakota in 1910.
There are more photos too, and you can see them all here.
September 28, 2007
Students Out Of Line
Kids today! Federal appeals court judges have ruled that the Safford (Arizona) school district was within its rights when they strip-searched a 13-year old girl who they suspected had smuggled ibuprofen into school. I think we can all agree that our nation's founding fathers did not intend the 4th amendment to protect a bunch of hopped-up ibuprofen addicts in middle school.
But that's Arizona, where school districts are soft on kids. For real tough-love education you've got to go to Palmdale, California.
At Knight high school a 16-year old girl dropped a piece of cake. She picked it up, and twice returned to pick up crumbs. But her cleaning attempts weren't good enough for the security guards, so when she tried to leave they did the only thing they could do: break her arm while calling her a "nappy head." Naturally, she spent the night in jail. along with her mother, who had demanded that the security guard be arrested. Also cooling their
heals heels in jail were the boy who recorded the whole incident on his cellphone and his sister, because, after all, she's his sister. I'm sure it took them another 24 hours to get the rest of the family into the gulag legal system.
A protest was scheduled for this morning (early morning news video) but I haven't found any news on how that went.
September 27, 2007
This All Could Have Been Avoided For A Billion?!
One billion dollars and Saddam Hussein would have gone into exile. "The extraordinary offer was revealed yesterday in a transcript of talks in February 2003 between George Bush and the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at the President's Texas ranch." The White House has refused to comment, so far.
Some warn of what Saddam could have done with a billion, even in exile. Maybe. But nobody said there was any guarantee he wouldn't be assassinated while in exile.
The Spanish Prime Minister remarked to Bush, "The only thing that worries me is your optimism."
On a completely unrelated subject (I don't even know why I would include it here) Canada ("that country with a real dollar") will have yet another budget surplus this year. $13.8 billion (Canadian!). The surplus will be used to pay down the nation's debt. In case you're confused, Bill Clinton is NOT the Prime Minister of Canada.
Line Of Succession To The British Throne
Now, this is some useful information. Without looking, how much of the line of succession can you name? Did you know Norway's King Harald is #61 in line? The Romanians come in at #83. The Russians at spot #109, appropriately followed by the Prussians. Run through the Swedes, the Danes and a shitload of Germans, and eventually you would come to Sofia of Spain, but she's Catholic, so too bad for her. Fun-loving Queen Beatrix is way down at #803. The list finally bottoms out with this:
1287. Franziska Wassmann (b. 1989), daughter of Countess Friederike-Christiane of Castell-Castell
The whole list reads like a cast of characters from War & Peace, but with fewer Russians than you'd expect.
Water at the beaches in California is remarkably free of bacteria thanks to the drought! "92% of the state's 494 beaches earned grades of A or B on Heal the Bay's annual summer report card."
I look forward to announcing many other benefits of global climate change as they come to light!
Mac Users Can Suck At Microsoft's Teat For $400
Or, $150 for the "Home and Student Edition." That'll be the price for the long overdue Mac Office 2008.
I've been using NeoOffice recently. Works nicely, but it did seem to choke on a recent Word document I got. I don't know what version of Word it was created in, but like almost all the Word documents I get, it could have been a simple text document. Before that I was using OpenOffice which totally sucks, probably because it runs on (via?) X11, which allows Unix apps to run in OS X. I also used to use GimpShop, a Photoshop clone that also runs on X11 and it sucked HUGEly.
But, if your employer is enslaved to the latest version of Office and you are enslaved to your employer, happy days will soon be here.
What Does Clinton Have Against Osso Buco?
Bill Clinton's attorney has demanded that the Osso Buco restaurant in Greenwich Village remove a photo of Chelsea Clinton posing with the owner of the place. Chelsea's an adult, and was an adult when the photo was taken. Does Bill Clinton have any rights here?
Archbishop Explains AIDS In Africa
Roman Catholic Archbishop Francisco Chimoio in Mozambique explains "Condoms are not sure because I know that there are two countries in Europe, they are making condoms with the virus on purpose." He did not identify the two countries.
"This has rocked me to my core"
"I was in shock," Elizabeth Schaper said of the incident at the Bruce Avenue library branch. "This has rocked me to my core."
Schaper said her treatment at the hands of the library was particularly painful because her late father, Armin Schaper, was chairman of a committee that raised funds for construction and renovation work at the library during the 1960s.
"I would never have believed that the library would treat anyone like this, much less a family that has supported them for decades," she said.
And what heinous thing had the library done? Did they publicly rebuke her for looking at a banned website in the children's reading room? Did they publish the list of racy books she had checked out? Did they refuse to let her use the restroom? Not quite. "She was charged a 50-cent late fee while turning in a book that had been checked out by her mother, who died before she could return it herself." That may sound like a small amount at first, but let's put it in a perspective that we can all understand: 50¢ is almost one-half of a Canadian dollar!
"My mother was an avid reader - she read an average of two books a week," Elizabeth Schaper said. "She was a frequent patron of the library. I'm pretty sure she was reading this book for book club because they were supposed to meet on Sept. 20."
Say it isn't so! Oh, why do we have soldiers dying in Iraq if not to put an end to such injustice?!
Ironically, the book was entitled The Price of Silence by Camilla Trinchieri.
[Special Note: none of this is from The Onion.]
City Council Enters Therapy
Longtime readers of Ron's Log may recall my visit to Google headquarters back in July 2002, hosted by Frank Jernigan who I had originally met years before in Boston. I haven't heard from Frank in a few years, and I thought that there was a good chance that by now he was a Google millionaire. Tonight on a moonlight hike a mutual friend suggested I should Google his name. It turns out he's retired from Google and now owns, with his partner, the most expensive house in Noe Valley. Google map image (what else?) of the house.
September 26, 2007
Burning Man Photos
Burning Man Arsonist
Burning Man should stop the disingenuous Green Man immediately. It's all a lie. If you want to know how much a of a total lie it is, run a Google satellite photo of Burning Man right now and count the number of RVs there. And they're telling me it's an environmental movement? Bullshit. There are people sucking gas up there faster than they are passing it.
Black Rock Intelligence advocated the first Olympic RV Gas Tank Puncturing competition this year, offering prices to the top three participants. And while the gas was spilling out of all the gas tanks we were going to have people collect it and then open the first Black Rock Intelligence gas station: Set up at the exit of Burning Man and sell gas for $27 per gallon to RVs only.
Architecture For The Sake Of Google
The U.S. Navy has a group of four L-shaped buildings on its base on Coronado Island that when seen from overhead resemble a Nazi swastika. Now, there are no flights allowed over the base, so no one ever sees it from the air, and from the ground they just look like buildings. But when you look at the buildings with Google maps you can see the swastika shape, and that's the sole source of the controversy. (Well, it's on Yahoo maps, too.)
Anybody with at least one eye and five brain cells knows that the swastika design (both clockwise and counter-clockwise) was ubiquitous in architecture before World War II. It's easily seen in many places and nobody has a problem with it. But people have gotten a bit hysterical about the Coronado buildings.
As a result, in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, the Navy has budgeted up to $600,000 for changes in walkways, "camouflage" landscaping and rooftop photovoltaic cells.
The goal is to mask the shape. "We don't want to be associated with something as symbolic and hateful as a swastika," said Scott Sutherland, deputy public affairs officer for Navy Region Southwest, the command that is responsible for maintaining buildings on local bases.
Howdy Doody's Mom Dies
Velma Dawson, the creator of the Howdy Doody marionette that was used from 1948 to 1960 has died at her home in Palm Desert. Here's the story of Howdy's creation from Remember When We Lived in a Howdy Doody World?
"...The first Howdy was very ugly. It was a fast job that this Frank Parris did, and I guess the kids accepted him because it was practically his voice and what he said that made him sort of lovable in an ugly way. But then we got into an ownership dispute. ...[Parris] was ill-advised, I guess, by some attorneys, and he thought he should share in the ownership of the property even after he was paid a good sum for making it. NBC told him, "No, this is Buffalo Bob's character. This is Buffalo Bob's voice, Buffalo Bob's idea, his name and everything." So anyway the thing was settled out of court, the original Howdy was actually incinerated, and we ...found this puppeteer, this lovely gal by the name of Velma Dawson, who was not only a puppeteer, but she also made puppets. Now Frank [Parris] walked out of the studio with his puppet at about 2:00 in the afternoon, and we had to come up with a story on why Howdy wasn't here.... We had to stall on the show, and this was 1948, the year that Howdy was running for President of All the Kids in the United States, and we wrote in the body of the show that Howdy was out campaigning in, I think it was Portland, Oregon. We picked the farthest place we could and he met his adversary, Mr. X, who was very handsome, and he knew that Mr. X would get all the votes from the kids. [Howdy wondered] what could he possibly do to get the votes from the girls, particularly? So he decided to have a face lift, but don't worry kids it's not 'gonna hurt... it's not any worse than having your tooth fall out, it's nothing, he's just 'gonna have a face lift.... So to get on with what we did about Howdy, we got on the telephone, I talked with Velma Dawson, and [they] said, "Now here's Bob and he'll tell you what Howdy sounds like." I gave her the voice, and what do you think he should look like? Within a couple of days she sent along several drawings, and the minute we saw that face we said, "Oh my Heavens, that's it, that's Howdy, that's it. Good. Make him immediately." And she did, but in the meantime we're stalling for the Howdy to come back and then the sponsors said, "We 'gotta have Howdy on the air to do commercials with you, Bob." So we just took any old puppet and we wrapped him in bandages, and for the next week or so we had a puppet wrapped in bandages and it was supposed to be Howdy Doody, and "Don't you worry kids, I'm fine, everything is great. I'll get these bandages off in a week or so." Finally we got the puppet from California. The body, I think, was made in New York, the head was made in California. We put the two of them together, wrapped him in bandages, and did the unveiling on the air. I'll never forget, we took the big scissors, cut off the bandages and there was Howdy as we know him today."
There's a good biography of Velma Dawson here. There's much more to her story than just Howdy Doody. Consider her husband, John Dawson:
An interesting aspect to Velma was her marriage. Velma married John Dawson, a prominent amateur golfer, in the early '40s. Her husband found it remarkable that a resort like Palm Springs had no 18-hole golf course. He got into golf development and is credited with making Palm Springs the golf capital of the world. John Dawson bought an old, failing dude ranch in Rancho Mirage, a place called the Thunderbird that was losing $35,000 a year and up for sale. It became Palm Springs first golf club. (That's when the desert town was four-hour drive from L.A.) The last country club Dawson created before his death was the Marrakesh in the '70s. By then the Dawsons had divorced after 32 years of marriage.
September 25, 2007
The San Andreas Fault In The Coachella Valley Preserve
The House On 101
Photo by toepfer_c. I don't know if this is making news outside of southern California, but a few days ago this, um, loser tried moving his own house along the 101 in Los Angeles. This is where he left it sitting after a series of mishaps. Caltrans may seize the house today.