August 28, 2010
The Man Has Gargoyles This Year
This year the Man has twice as much neon as last year and, as you can see, gargoyles! (Photo by John Curley.) Click the pic for more photos and story.
As I write, it is 47° and raining on the playa. Eeek!
Reverend Billy at Burning Man!
I first heard about Reverend Billy when I wrote this posting about his support for the UFCW at an Oakland Wal-Mart. And now I learn he's a Burner! Or, about to become one. Not sure if this is his first year. He will do a daily program on BMIR at 9:30 AM. He's also scheduled in Center Camp: "Spoken Word stage at Centercamp 12:45pm Tuesday, the Jazz Café 8pm on Thursday, and at Centercamp Main Stage at 12:30 PM Friday."
I read about Rev. Billy coming to Black Rock City in this N.Y. Times article about BMIR radio. They've got a good photo of the BMIR studios there.
Over In The City Of Vernon
Vernon City Administrator and Director of light and power Donal O'Callaghan picked up a few extra bucks the same way any working stiff does it: overtime. Yes, even though he received a base salary of $380,000 he worked overtime as a contractor for any hours above 160/month. That is, he was on a strict 40-hour work week. But he was a hardworking son of a gun, turning in 100 to 126 hours of overtime in each month from January to June 2010.
His overtime rate? $300/hour.
In 2009 he was paid $396,378 overtime, which would be 1,321¼ hours. That averages 25 hours per week.
In July, Mr. O'Callaghan resigned as City Administrator and Director of light and power in order to become "head of capital projects for the city-owned power plant." Since then he has been put on 30 days administrative leave (and NO overtime!) pending a review of why the overtime pay was routed through a consulting firm owned by Mr. O'Callaghan's wife. That company was incorporated in November last year and Mrs. O'Callaghan is its only officer.
And here come the usual first steps in political scandal that I wrote about before, denial and then small accommodations: "Vernon officials have defended the salaries paid to Fresch, O'Callaghan and others as necessary to secure top executive talent for the city's energy-related businesses, but said they had done away with the two-tiered pay structure."
Wanna Hang In A Low-Crime Big City Environment?
LAX is the place to be. No homicides or rapes this year or last. One aggravated assault in 2010, none in 2009. No robberies this year. There have been 19 reported burglaries from locked vehicles and 25 reports of vandalism to vehicles this year. Part II crimes are down 9% this year. All crime is down 6%.
Photo by chuckthewriter. Cambridge, Memorial Drive, I think.
August 27, 2010
Photo by Ms. Art Teacher Lady.
Stuck In Time In Mississippi
In the Nettleton Middle School in Nettleton, Mississippi, student government offices are restricted according to race. They've done it this way for thirty years. About 72% of the students are white. There are 4 positions (President, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer and Reporter) for each grade (6, 7 and 8). Four of the 12 positions are reserved for black students. The rest are reserved for white students. All of the president positions are reserved for white students. Students who are neither white nor black are just outta luck.
Since this hit the news earlier this week, the school policy has changed.
[B]eginning immediately, student elections at Nettleton School District will no longer have a classification of ethnicity. It is our intent that each student has equal opportunity to seek election for any student office. Future student elections will be monitored to help ensure that this change in process and procedure does not adversely affect minority representation in student elections.
This is like those Japanese soldiers isolated on tiny Pacific islands who hadn't heard that the war ended and had continued their one man battle for the Emperor for decades after Japan had surrendered. You keep thinking that the last trace of government mandated segregation has been wiped out until a story like this one comes out of the jungle.
Peter & Paul Support Marriage Equality
The National Organization for [sic] Marriage organized a "Summer for Marriage" tour, which turned into a dismally unpopular affair. They'd get a half a dozen anti-gay marriage people to show up, while a larger group of pro-gay marriage people gathered nearby. Our friends at Prop 8 Trial Tracker followed the tour and noticed that NOM was using a recording of Peter, Paul & Mary's cover of Woody Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land to drown out the pro-gay protestors.
Kathleen Perrin from Prop 8 Trial Tracker notified Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey (Mary Travers died last year). The result was that Peter & Paul sent a nice cease and desist letter to NOM.
We would like to respectfully request that you refrain from playing the Peter, Paul & Mary recorded version of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" at your public rallies. We respect your right to hold and advocate for any position you wish, but the philosophy of the "National Organization for Marriage" is directly contrary to the advocacy position Peter, Paul & Mary have held for decades, and so we do not want our recording of this song played at your rallies.
NOM used the song at least once again after receiving the letter from Peter and Paul.
The Japanese version.
Vistors Center Renovation
What Is Burning Man?
For the answer one could go to the FAQ:
Burning Man is an annual experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance. Before you contemplate attending, you probably want to read our Survival Guide—it's not as easy as it looks! If you wish to truly understand and comprehend Burning Man, you need to attend the event — it's unlike anything you've ever experienced!
Or, you could check out What Is Burning Man?
Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind. In this section you will find the peripheral definitions of what the event is as a whole, but to truly understand this event, one must participate. This site serves to try to paint a picture of the Burning Man experience to those who are new to the project, as well as to give those participants looking to keep the fire burning in their daily lives an environment in which to connect to their fellow community members. Please see archived sections for each year to read more about the art themes, art installations and theme camps for each year.
There are no rules about how one must behave or express oneself at this event (save the rules that serve to protect the health, safety, and experience of the community at large); rather, it is up to each participant to decide how they will contribute and what they will give to this community. The event takes place on an ancient lakebed, known as the playa. By the time the event is completed and the volunteers leave, sometimes nearly a month after the event has ended, there will be no trace of the city that was, for a short time, the most populous town in the entire county. Art is an unavoidable part of this experience, and in fact, is such a part of the experience that Larry Harvey, founder of the Burning Man project, gives a theme to each year, to encourage a common bond to help tie each individual's contribution together in a meaningful way. Participants are encouraged to find a way to help make the theme come alive, whether it is through a large-scale art installation, a theme camp, gifts brought to be given to other individuals, costumes, or any other medium that one comes up with.
Or, you could read Molly Steenson's version:
You belong here and you participate. You're not the weirdest kid in the classroom — there's always somebody there who's thought up something you never even considered. You're there to breathe art. Imagine an ice sculpture emitting glacial music — in the desert. Imagine the man, greeting you, neon and benevolence, watching over the community. You're here to build a community that needs you and relies on you.
You're here to create. Since nobody at Burning Man is a spectator, you're here to build your own new world. You've built an egg for shelter, a suit made of light sticks, a car that looks like a shark's fin. You've covered yourself in silver, you're wearing a straw hat and a string of pearls, or maybe a skirt for the first time. You're broadcasting Radio Free Burning Man — or another radio station.
The Man burns in 8 days.
Photo by ElectroSpark. At Tsuiki Air Base in Japan.
City Manager Update
- Annexation happens September 12, a Sunday.
- The drafts of the "Land Use and Community Design Element" and "Economic Development Element" in the General Plan Update are complete.
- The MSHCP consultant has been invited to the September 7 City Council meeting to provide an update.
- Expect to see windows and doors on the downtown facades this week.
- Renovation of the future Visitors Center is underway.
- New Police Officer Daniel Brazeal (who has already made his first arrest) will fill in for Officer Nic Botich who has been recalled for military training.
Also, the following subjects have advanced by steps without any great drama to report (read the original if you need details): Enterprise Zone, Cabot's Master Plan, individual facade projects, NSP & NRP, Camino Campañero traffic signal, Western Avenue and Scenic Drive improvements, Health & Wellness Center, Wellness & World Music Festival plans, and code enforcement.
President Carter Extracts American From North Korea
When I lived in Boston we used to joke about the parochialism of Bostonians, especially the Boston Globe. The nickname for Boston from the 19th century is "Hub Of The Universe," usually shortened to just "Hub" for headlines. The joke was that if a nuclear weapon exploded in New York City, the headline in the Boston Globe would be something like this: Hub Man Dies In Blast.
Mattapan Man, freed from North Korean prison, due in Boston today.
Maybe I need to clarify that Mattapan is a neighborhood in Boston.
Here is a short video news report from SmarTrend. Usually their reports are nearly worthless because their "reporters" speak way too fast, almost to the point of unintelligibility. But in this video, the reporter slows down for the word "Boston," giving it the correct Boston accent. Maybe she went to college in Boston.
August 26, 2010
As We Are Seen
Gets you totally up to speed on the Manhattan mosque story in only 1½ minutes. This from those CGI geniuses in Taiwan (yes, I am now told they are in Taiwan, not Hong Kong, my bad):
Coca-Cola Marketing In Egypt
Gotta explain the screw-off top, I guess? Not sure. They probably still put real sugar in their Coke.