February 2, 2016

Southern California Geology

Brand new: "Roadside Geology of Southern California." And only $22.

Since Mountain Press started the Roadside Geology series forty years ago, southern Californians have been waiting for an RG of their own. During those four decades which were punctuated by jarring earthquakes and landslides geologists continued to unravel the complexity of the Golden State, where some of the most dramatic and diverse geology in the world erupts, crashes, and collides. With dazzling color maps, diagrams, and photographs, Roadside Geology of Southern California takes advantage of this newfound knowledge, combining the latest science with accessible stories about the rocks and landscapes visible from winding two-lane byways as well as from the region s vast network of highways.

Join Arthur Sylvester, an award-winning UC Santa Barbara geologist, and Elizabeth O Black Gans, a geologist-illustrator, as they motor through mountains and deserts to explore the iconic features of the SoCal landscape, from boulder piles in Joshua Tree National Park and brilliant white dunes in the Channel Islands to tar seeps along the rugged coast and youthful cinder cones in the Mojave Desert. Whether you want to find precious gemstones, ponder the mysteries of the Salton Sea, or straddle the boundary between the North American and Pacific Plates, be sure to bring this book along as your tour guide.

permalink | February 2, 2016 at 12:48 PM | Comments (2)

November 24, 2015

Good Deal On Kindles This Week

$50 for a Kindle this week. That's the version with "special offers" which is nothing more than a static ad that appears as your screen saver after you've stopped reading. If that's too much for you, $20 more gets you a Kindle without that.

Even the somewhat nicer Paperwhite Kindle is available for $100 ($20 off).

permalink | November 24, 2015 at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)

August 2, 2015

Community Policing

This is how you build rapport with the citizenry in Harper, Kansas.

"'I unfortunately used language that I should never have used,' said Deputy Williams. 'I apologize to our community, to our county, commissioners, and to our sheriff. He would never condone that behavior.'" He'd been with the force for only 6 months, having previously been employed as a teacher and administrator, where apparently one does not learn to be as courteous as a police officer.

Here's the full length 11:41 video of the incident. I was a bit pleasantly surprised to learn that one of the allegedly stolen items that got one of the Jethros especially heated was his Kindle! America Reads!

permalink | August 2, 2015 at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

April 9, 2015

Hugo and Nebula Nominees for 2014

The Hugo nominees have been recently announced and the Nebula nominees were announced in February. In the Best Novel category the two lists agree on two books:

The other Hugo nominees for Best Novel are:

The other Nebula nominees for Best Novel are:

permalink | April 9, 2015 at 09:11 AM | Comments (2)

November 4, 2014

Seen In Brea

The man is reading an actual hardback copy of The Godfather that still has its dustjacket
! Photo by Ric.

permalink | November 4, 2014 at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)

August 4, 2014

It Was 100 Years Ago Today

That Germany invaded neutral Belgium. Germany had already occupied Lichtenstein (which was also neutral), but that didn't create as much brouhaha.

Completely by coincidence, I'm reading The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman which I picked up because, like most average Americans of my generation who are not history majors, I wasn't taught much about World War I because history books just needed to touch on it in order to establish the basis for all the calamities that beset us through the rest of the 20th century right up to Iraq and Syria today. We heard about Sarajevo, skipped to the Americans declaring war, then skipped right to Versailles.

The Guns of August focuses on only the period from late July to September in 1914, the time during which multiple nations combined to produce one of the greatest clusterfucks of all history. Immense ignorance, bigotry, and prejudice combined with rigid 19th century views on warfare and new technology in a grand exercise of utter pointlessness.

I haven't finished the book, but I'm to the point where the Germans are just 40km outside of Paris. The only clear heads in the entire book are: Winston Churchill, King Albert I and the Belgians. Everybody else (and I mean everybody) went into the war with their heads up their asses, kept them there, and wondered why their shots always missed. The Russians - the effing Russians - had the biggest army in the world, but they had no plans for supplying the army and no plans for troop transport once they got outside the mother country's borders. So they went as far as they could walk and then got wiped out by the Germans. France appreciated the effort.

permalink | August 4, 2014 at 09:57 AM | Comments (1)

July 21, 2014

Chicago Family May Pick Up The Joseph Wambaugh House

Maybe. Maybe not. It's in Thunderbird Estates in Rancho Mirage. The Desert Sun says it was Joseph Wambaugh's house. They also say that the original asking price was $12 million, but it sold for only $4.2 million. Joseph Wambaugh is a popular and entertaining writer who's written several famous books, but the one you want to know about is one of his less popular novels: The Secrets of Harry Bright, which is set in the desert in a little town called Mineral Springs with a small police department. Just south of Mineral Springs, across the freeway is Palm Springs. When the story's action is anywhere south of the 10, the geography is entirely accurate. But the town of Mineral Springs exists in some fictional geography with hills, canyons, roads and buildings that do not match Desert Hot Springs. Nevertheless, it's Desert Hot Springs. Sorta.

70555 Thunderbird Mesa Dr Rancho Mirage CA 92270
This is the former Wambaugh house
. The listing says an offer has been accepted on the property.

You can't get correct punctuation even with $4.2 million:

Motivated Seller! If spectacular views & privacy are important to you, look no further. Here you will find world-class living at this private, hilltop desert estate w/ ideal year round weather & over 100 nearby golf courses. Located in the exclusive gated community of Thunderbird Heights, this custom built compound with a 6100 sq ft, 4 bdrm, 4.5 bath main home & a stunning 2000 sq ft, 3 bdrm, 3 bath casita will surely please the most discriminating buyer. No expense was spared in creating this must see property. Elevators, motor court, pool, 2 spas, manicured grounds, 20' waterfall, rock formed lagoon, misting system, extensive water features & a putting green w/ sand trap are just few of the many amenities in this one-of-a-kind estate. The main home features a master retreat w/ gym, tanning & spa rooms. Perched up on its own hilltop, and nested against the bighorn sheep preserve, ensures complete privacy and security within it's gated 3.29 acres. The panoramic views are breathtaking!

permalink | July 21, 2014 at 07:49 PM | Comments (3)

May 24, 2014

Scribd for eBooks

Until this morning I knew Scribd only as that service that allows one to embed a readable PDF document within a web page. But they sent me some commercial email this morning to let me know they have added the entire For Dummies series to their collection (how's that for some pinpoint marketing!). And I'm all like "your collection, what?" I thought maybe somebody had gone bankrupt and now the Dummy books were magically public domain.

But no! It turns out Scribd has a subscription eBook service. They started it in October 2013 (had to find that on Wikipedia - Scribd ain't gonna tell ya), so maybe I can excuse myself for not hearing about it until now.

For $9/month you get to read as many of their eBooks as you want. This is not Project Gutenberg. Scribd is offering current books with living authors who get real royalties (if they negotiated the right deal). Browse here. They claim 100,160 titles in Fiction & Literature, their biggest category.

They've got apps for iOS and Android, but you can also read books in any browser. Offline or on.

If you have used the eBook service offered by Riverside County Public Library you may have found the selection disappointing and the unavailability of most books (because there's a limit on the number of copies of any one title that can be checked out simultaneously) frustrating. If you have a library card with the Rancho Mirage Public Library feel free to leave a comment telling us about how rich their eBook collection is.

For $9/month you get past the public library limitations and you spend a lot less than if you bought all your eBooks.

permalink | May 24, 2014 at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2014

The Significance of LGBT Pulp Fiction at PS Library

The Significance of LGBT Pulp Fiction

On April 29, 2014, the Palm Springs Public Library, in partnership with the ONE Archives Foundation, will present author Katherine V. Forrest in conversation with ONE board member Dr. Christopher Freeman. They will be discussing the significance of LGBT Pulp Fiction and its impact on writers today.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
Palm Springs Public Library
Learning Center
300 S. Sunrise Way,
Palm Springs, CA

The lecture is FREE and open to the public, but seating is limited.

permalink | April 21, 2014 at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2014

Exporting DHS History To The World!

The Desert Hot Springs Historical Society now has a retail page on their website where you can buy books on the history of Desert Hot Springs. Right now there are three:

  • Postcards from the Desert: A Brief History of Desert Hot Springs by the DHS Historical Society itself
  • Celebrities in Hiding by Audrey Moe
  • The Waters of Comfort: The Story of Desert Hot Springs by John Hunt

permalink | February 16, 2014 at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)