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May 31, 2013

Home Invasion South of Desert Hot Springs

Press Release: Home Invasion Robbery
Agency: Palm Desert Station
Station Area: Palm Desert
Incident Date: May 30, 2013 Time: 3:20 AM
Incident Location: 17000 Block of Mountain View, South Desert Hot Springs
Reporting Officer: Sergeant Tom Brewster


On May 30, 2013 at 3:20 AM deputies from the Palm Desert Sheriff's Station responded to a home invasion robbery within the 17000 Block of Mountain View, South Desert Hot Springs. The initial investigation showed the victims were in front of their residence when they were approached by two suspects. The suspects brandished firearms and ordered the victims into the residence. The suspects stole personal property and a Hyundai Elantra. The suspects left the residence in the stolen vehicle and were last seen northbound on Mountain View. The Hyundai was located abandoned a short time later in the area of Long Canyon and 18th Avenue. None of the victims were injured during the robbery.

Suspect #1 was described as a white male between 35-45 years old, 6'2" tall, 220 lbs, short brown hair, a mustache, wearing white dress shirt, black pants, dark tie, and armed with a semiautomatic handgun.

Suspect #2 was described as a white male between 35-45 years old, 5'11" tall, 220 lbs, short brown hair, wearing a white dress shirt, black pants, dark tie, and armed with an unknown-type handgun.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is committed to the safety of the citizens of this community and will be vigilant in investigating all crimes of this nature. The investigation is ongoing and we are reaching out to the public and asking anyone with information about this incident to contact Investigator Tom Michna by calling the Palm Desert Station at 760-836-1600 or by calling Crime Stoppers at 760-341-STOP. Tips can remain anonymous and may lead to a cash reward.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | May 31, 2013 at 07:24 AM | Comments (1)

May 29, 2013

Who Will Be John Galt?

Chances are, you are not one of the seven people who watched both Atlas Shrugged: Part II, but if you were you noticed that there was a complete change of cast. Dagny Taggart went from lightweight Taylor Schilling to Samantha Mathis who at least looks like she's done some work in her life. John Galt, who won't take front stage until "Part III," was played by Paul Johansson in "Part I" and by D.B. Sweeney in "Part II."

And now the people making "Part III" are asking the public for their input on who should play John Galt this time. You will recall that this is the part of the novel where John Galt gets his sex scenes AND delivers the undramatically gargantuan "Galt's Speech." They pose the question this way:

A. As long as the actor looks and acts like John Galt, I don't care what his personal beliefs are.
B. The actor needs to possess a deep understanding of, and passion for, Ayn Rand's ideas first and foremost.

Obviously, choice B will lead to a laughable failure of a movie, but commenters on the page are ignoring the question and simply suggesting actors. Lets see who they want:

  • Ben Affleck
  • Richard Armitage
  • Kevin Bacon
  • Scott Baio
  • Simon Baker
  • Adam Baldwin
  • Stephen Baldwin
  • Christian Bale
  • Eric Bana
  • Antonio Banderas
  • Glenn Beck (two votes)
  • Graham Beckel (age 63 - played Ellis Wyatt in "Part I")
  • Tom Berenger (age 63)
  • Paul Bettany
  • Justin Beiber (age 19)
  • Neil Boortz (age 68)
  • Bruce Boxleitner (age 63)
  • Pierce Brosnan (age 60)
  • Billy Burke
  • Steve Buscemi
  • George W. Bush (age 66)
  • Gerard Butler
  • James Caan (age 73)
  • Nicolas Cage
  • Dean Cain
  • James Callis
  • Kirk Cameron
  • Dr. Ben Carson (age 61)
  • Jim Caviezel
  • George Clooney
  • Sean Connery (age 82)
  • John Corbett
  • Kevin Costner
  • Simon Cowell
  • Daniel Craig
  • Russell Crowe
  • Tom Cruise
  • Brett Cullen
  • Benedict Cumberbatch
  • John Cusack
  • Matt Damon
  • Eric Dane
  • Charlie Daniels (age 76)
  • Leo DeCaprio
  • Johnny Depp
  • William De Vane (age 75)
  • Jeffrey Donovan
  • Robert Downey Jr.
  • Sean Doyle
  • Jerry Doyle
  • Robert Duvall (age 82)
  • Clint Eastwood (age 82)
  • Aaron Eckhart
  • Sam Elliott (age 68)
  • Giancarlo Esposito
  • Chris Evans
  • Ralph Fiennes
  • Nathan Fillion
  • Joe Flanigan
  • Harrison Ford (age 70)
  • Tim Getman
  • Mel Gibson ("although he sometimes leans left" the commenter warns)
  • Scott Glenn (age 72)
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Kelsey Grammer
  • Joel Gretsch
  • Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Michael C. Hall
  • Jon Hamm
  • Mark Harmon (age 61)
  • Ed Harris (age 62)
  • Neil Patrick Harris
  • Terence Hill (age 74)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • Josh Holloway
  • Salman Khan
  • Matt Kibbe
  • Michael Kitchen (age 64)
  • Hugh Jackman
  • Jonathan Jackson
  • Paul Johansson
  • Dwayne Johnson
  • Tommy Lee Jones (age 66)
  • Phil LaMarr
  • Rob Lowe
  • Joseph-Gordon Levitt
  • William Levy
  • Damian Lewis
  • Daniel Day Lewis
  • Rush Limbaugh (age 62)
  • David Lyons
  • Seth MacFarlane
  • Tobey Maguire
  • Carl Marino
  • James McAvoy
  • Matthew McConaughey
  • Bruce McGill (age 62)
  • Dennis Miller
  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan
  • Viggo Mortensen
  • Cillian Murphy
  • Chuck Norris (age 73)
  • Edward Norton
  • Ted Nugent (age 64)
  • Timothy Olyphant
  • Jason O'Mara
  • Bill O'Reilly (age 63)
  • John O'Hurley
  • Clive Owen
  • Patrick Page
  • Alan Partridge (do they mean Steve Coogan?)
  • Rand Paul (no, really, three people wrote that)
  • Neal Peart (age 60)
  • Chris Pine
  • Brad Pitt
  • Zachary Quinto
  • Robert Redford (age 76)
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Jeremy Renner
  • Mickey Rourke
  • Mark Ruffalo
  • Liev Schreiber
  • Ricky Schroder
  • Dougray Scott
  • Tom Selleck (age 68)
  • Michael Shanks
  • Charlie Sheen
  • Gary Sinise
  • Kevin Sorbo
  • Kevin Spacey
  • Eric Stoltz
  • D. B. Sweeney
  • Channing Tatum
  • Fred Thompson (age 70)
  • Alan Tudyk
  • Donald Trump (age 66)
  • Karl Urban
  • Vince Vaughn
  • Jon Voigt (age 74)
  • Christoph Waltz
  • Denzel Washington
  • Bruce Willis
  • James Woods (age 66)
  • Anyone who has not publicly supported Obama

Plus this comment: "It's a movie. These are actors. 99% of actors are socialists. You could cast an Objectivist, but he probably would have zero acting ability."

Obviously some of those are jokes (Donald Trump?!), but most seemed to be sincere. John Galt is supposed to be in his 30s, so I've indicated the ages of those who are 60 or older, plus the one teenager. I don't know if these commenters have a blind faith in the ability of an unlimited makeup budget, or if they've never noticed that actors age at the same rate all of us do. Also, the film is supposed to be fairly low budget. Some of these top rank actors would wipe out the whole budget.

Filed under Film/Movies,Libertarianism | permalink | May 29, 2013 at 06:18 PM | Comments (0)

California Senate Approves Rational Bill To Regulate Privacy From Unmanned Drones

Nothing radical, crazy or wildly mistaken in SB 15 that I can see. It was passed by the Senate yesterday, 38 to 1. (The No vote came from Senator Anderson.) Basically, all they've done is amend the existing privacy laws to also make it clear that they extend to unmanned drones. It is, for instance, against the law to peep in your neighbor's bathroom window. It will also be against the law to fly an unmanned drone with a camera up to your neighbor's bathroom window. As for law enforcement, if they would have had to get a search warrant to look where they want to look, they still have to get a search warrant if they want to look there with an unmanned drone.

14352. (a) A law enforcement agency shall obtain a search warrant when using an unmanned aircraft system under circumstances where a search warrant is required.

(b) A search warrant is not required for the use of an unmanned aircraft system under circumstances where there is an exception to the search warrant requirement, or under exigent circumstances.

The search warrant will have to specify if an unmanned drone is to be used.

The only completely new thing in the bill is that it forbids installing weapons on unmanned drones. No exceptions. The fine for that is $1,000 (or three months in jail).

Here's the core rule about privacy:

1708.8. (a) A person is liable for physical invasion of privacy when the defendant knowingly enters onto the land of another person without permission or otherwise committed a trespass in order to physically invade the privacy of the plaintiff with the intent to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff engaging in a personal or familial activity and the physical invasion occurs in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person.

But there is an exception in (g):

1708.8. (g) This section shall not be construed to impair or limit any otherwise lawful activities of law enforcement personnel or employees of governmental agencies or other entities, either public or private who, in the course and scope of their employment, and supported by an articulable suspicion, attempt to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of a person during an investigation, surveillance, or monitoring of any conduct to obtain evidence of suspected illegal activity or other misconduct, the suspected violation of any administrative rule or regulation, a suspected fraudulent conduct, or any activity involving a violation of law or business practices or conduct of public officials adversely affecting the public welfare, health, or safety.

I don't think this is new. But it means that if you think you can use an unmanned drone to capture a video of some government official lounging around his backyard pool on a weekday when he's supposed to be working at his desk, then go right ahead. No law against that! I only ask you to consider if you really want that guy working at his desk, or is he doing less harm at the pool.

Filed under California,Libertarianism | permalink | May 29, 2013 at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

Kickstarter for Roy's Sign in Amboy

The Amboy Foundation of Los Angeles is seeking to raise $16,000 to restore the iconic Roy's Motel Cafe sign to its original condition.

Route 66 has been marked by Roy's Cafe neon sign in Amboy, Ca since 1959. The immediate need served by this project is to stabilize and repair this long-standing monument sign. A need continues beyond an act of arts, documentation and conservation, and the mechanical arts of repair and bent glass tubes. We will restore the sign to original operating condition. This will include restoration of structural, electrical and neon art elements.

Roy's in Amboy.

More photos of Roy's.

Filed under Architecture,Travel | permalink | May 29, 2013 at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

Riot Police At First French Wedding

The first same-sex marriage in France took place in Montpellier earlier today. The ceremony was guarded by "dozens of riot police." Although Stravinsky might have been appropriate, the couple opted for Frank Sinatra's "Love and Marriage."

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | May 29, 2013 at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

Bruce Sterling's Report On Burning Man, 1996

Some say that this brief article in Wired was what began the decline for Burning Man from its golden age of anarchy to its dull, rigid fascism that we enjoy so much today. 1996 was the last year of almost no rules. Bruce Sterling reports that the death of the motorcyclist was due to rear-ending a truck while riding with no lights. Later reports have said the unlighted motorcyclist was beheaded by the rear view mirror of an unlighted truck. So no more motorcycle riding. And no more guns.

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | May 29, 2013 at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

The Centennial Of Le Sacre du printemps

It was 100 years ago today that Parisians rioted at the premier of Stravinsky's The Rite Of Spring performed by Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company.

The NY Times reported on it on June 8 by quoting much of a review by Alfred Capus in Le Figaro.

"The public could not swallow this. They promptly hissed the piece. A few days ago they might have applauded it. The Russians, who are not entirely acquainted with the manners and customs of the countries they visit, did not know that the French people protested readily enough when the last degree of stupidity was reached."

Igor Stravinsky, who wrote the music of "The Consecration of Spring," says that the demonstrations are a bitter blow to the amour propre of the Russian ballet dancers, who are sensitive to such displays of feeling and fear they may be unable to continue the performances of the piece.

"And that is all we get," added M. Stravinsky, "after a hundred rehearsals and one year's hard work."

The composer, however, is not altogether pessimistic, for, he adds: "No doubt it will be understood one day that I sprang a surprise on Paris, and Paris was disconcerted. But it will soon forget its bad temper."

A 2002 performance in Paris by Pierre Boulez and the Orchestre de Paris.

The original choreography did not include horses.

More info here about the ballet.

Filed under History,Music | permalink | May 29, 2013 at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)

MSWD 60th Anniversary Breakfast - June 9

Mission Springs Water District 60th anniversary
Sunday, June 29, 2013, 7:30 AM to 11 AM at the new Community Health & Wellness Center, 11750 Cholla Drive.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | May 29, 2013 at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2013

Burning Man Perimeter Gate

A short video documentary of the first gate encountered on the entrance road to Black Rock City. This is the serious gate where they search your vehicle and check to make sure you have your ticket. Most of the gate photos that you see come from the next gate (half a mile along) where they hug you and give you information and make you ring the virgin bell (if you qualify). That's not this gate:

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | May 28, 2013 at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

From The Oort Cloud It Came

A shockingly dumbed down article at Universe Today about a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) that is coming to the inner solar system. And by "inner solar system" they mean the part where the planets are. This object is believed never to have been closer to the sun than the orbit of Uranus. They also believe it is a binary object with a rotational period of maybe 11 days. Scientific paper here.

What's exciting about this TNO (when I was a kid we probably called them trans-Plutonic objects, but the paper was written by real scientists who don't care about our little Pluto) is they think it's coming from the Oort Cloud, judging by the fact that it's at an inclination of about 70° to the plane of the ecliptic. Since it has never come close to the sun, its surface has never been burned away by the sun's radiation. Since it's small (100 Km), it's not covered in methane ice. IOW, possibly bare virgin rock from the far flung outer reaches of the solar system.

Comets also come from the Oort Cloud, but they're icy and the ones we know come close enough to the sun to get their outer layers blown off.

The paper is not proposing a mission to "2010 WG9." Just to keep an eye on it with our best telescopes.

An interactive graphic allowing you to see the path of 2010 WG9. The outer white ring represents the orbit of Neptune.

Filed under Science | permalink | May 28, 2013 at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)

Photos From Yesterday's Memorial Day Event In Desert Hot Springs

C-47 Flyover (1892)
The C-47 that flew over three times carrying a handful of lucky passengers.

Darr Sandberg (1869)
Darr Sandberg, the artist who painted "Project Fallen Hero."

Memorial Day Ceremony In Desert Hot Springs (1875)
David Woodall and James Steffenson, the builders of "Project Fallen Hero."

Memorial Day Ceremony In Desert Hot Springs (1876)
Mayor Parks and other dignitaries.

Memorial Day Ceremony In Desert Hot Springs (1939)
Kelly McDaniel

Memorial Day Ceremony In Desert Hot Springs (1937)

Memorial Day Ceremony In Desert Hot Springs (1954)

Memorial Day Ceremony In Desert Hot Springs (1973)
In front, left to right: Lorraine Becker, City Manager Rick Daniels, Mayor Pro Tem Scott Matas;
in back, left to right: Bill Cook, Police Chief Kate Singer, Fire Chief Pat Tomlinson.

Dr. Brian McDaniel (1867)
Dr. Brian McDaniel
, DHS High School music director and CCAC Commissioner.

The complete set of photos is here.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | May 28, 2013 at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

Bay Bridge with GoPro

This was as much a test of this little device (the "Suction Cup Windshield & Dash Car Mount for GoPro HERO Camera") (made by MountGuys) as it was an attempt to video the old bridge before it passes into history.

The mount works great. The adjustable points hold tight and the suction cup outdoes any I've ever encountered before. I couldn't get that thing off the glass until the next day. The GoPro Hero's extreme depth of field, however, means all the pitting in my windshield is still visible, even though the camera lens was right up against the glass.

This was the first time I tried mounting the camera inside my truck and I was a little surprised that the camera shut down due to overheating before I even got to the tollbooth. When I got into the inevitably huge traffic back up for the bridge, I turned off the A/C and rolled down the windows. The camera was turned on, but not shooting. The ambient temperatures were mild, but the camera was in full sun coming through the windshield. Fifteen or 20 minutes of that was enough to make it shut itself down. Putting the A/C into defrost mode and turning the fan on high seemed to take care of that...enough to get this video.

GoPro also sells this larger "GoPro Suction Cup Mount for HERO Cameras" which I've used before, mounted externally. It's large enough to be a bit too cumbersome for internal use in my Ranger.

Filed under Architecture,GoPro,Photography | permalink | May 28, 2013 at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2013

Quadrennial Van Cliburn Piano Competiton Is Underway

This is not American Idol.

Filed under Music | permalink | May 27, 2013 at 12:51 PM | Comments (1)

"Holding a grudge is the very definition of insanity"


Stanwood Elkus, who is accused of killing a urologist in Newport Beach this past January, claims "he was aggrieved over prostate surgery" that the doctor performed on him 21 years ago. Hospital records show that the murdered doctor did practice there at that time, but the surgery was performed by another doctor with a similar name. An attorney who represents the family of the deceased said "This concept of Elkus holding a grudge is the very definition of insanity." That sentence is a bit ambiguous. Does he mean the grudge is "the very definition of insanity" or someone's concept that Elkus held a grudge is "the very definition of insanity?" I wouldn't consider either to be insane. Picking up a gun and shooting someone based on a 21-year old grudge and slippery memory or poor record keeping is pretty, damn stupid. But not insane.

| permalink | May 27, 2013 at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

Proposed Medical Marijuana Fees In Massachusetts

The proposed fees, which are supposed to pay for all the expenses of administering the program, are $50 annually per patient and $50,000 annually per dispensary. In addition, a dispensary would pay $500 annually for each "agent" (which I think means "employee"). The $50 individual fee could be waived if there is financial hardship.

Filed under Health,Marijuana | permalink | May 27, 2013 at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2013

L.A. Pride Parade Was "First" By A Technicality

Here's an article that claims that "Los Angeles Pride" was the first Pride parade. But the way the article is written it's not clear what day it happened. This site says the L.A. parade was on June 28, 1970. In New York City, "Christopher Street Liberation Day" was also June 28, 1970. Could it be possible that despite the time difference, the L.A. parade stepped off earlier that day than the New York one?

No, it's down in the comments a reader asked the same question and answered it himself. The Los Angeles parade was the first one to use the word "pride." Parades in other cities used the word "liberation."

More significantly...

In other cities, the anniversary was marked with marches, rallies, and demonstrations, but in Los Angeles, the parade was the display of Pride, complete with a float from The Advocate magazine, loaded with men in swimsuits, and a conservative gay group clad in business suits. Soon, there was talk of making it an annual event. It would become the model for Pride celebrations across the nation.

Oh, so now we know where to place the blame.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | May 26, 2013 at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2013

You Could Live At Napoleon's!

Boston's former Napoleon's Club, one of the city's oldest gay bars until its sudden closing in 1998, is for sale as a residence at only $1.85 million.

| permalink | May 25, 2013 at 07:38 AM | Comments (1)

May 24, 2013

Moon Over Desert Hot Springs

Moon Over Desert Hot Springs (4714)

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,Photography | permalink | May 24, 2013 at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

The Most Worthy Kickstarter For Burning Man

Es ist das Bierbike. Students from the University of Nevada at Reno are building this. No hoity-toity claims about spirituality, art, or creating new kinds of community. It's going to be a bar that serves beer and music. Pretty routine so far, eh? But it will be on wheels and powered by six beer-drinking bicyclists. I think it would be interesting to put a GPS on it and record its speed and direction. I imagine a ride would start out a bit slowly as the beer got handed out and the cyclists got the hang of pedaling, drinking and not falling off. Then the speed would skyrocket as everybody got all synched in. But then you'd begin to see a slow down with an increase in pointless meandering, finally ending in a dead stop somewhere out on the playa with the former riders passed out in the dust.

Filed under Burning Man,Cycling | permalink | May 24, 2013 at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

Eagle Mountain Landfill Still Dying The Slow Death

On Wednesday this week the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County voted to cease escrow negotiations with Mine Reclamation LLC.

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | May 24, 2013 at 07:40 AM | Comments (2)