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September 30, 2010

Mr. Jobs Builds His Dream House

Overview of the story on The Real Estalker. Steve Jobs bought the Jackling House in 1984. Lived there for ten years, then leased it out until 2000, whereupon he decided to let it go to wrack and ruin. He has been trying to tear it down to build a smaller home. Preservationists with ugly websites objected. The Woodside, California, town council gave him his demolition permit on Tuesday. One of the arguments in Jobs's favor was that it would cost $13.3 million to restore the mansion compared to $5 million to tear it down and build new.

The town documents give the address as 460 Mountain Home Road, Woodside, California, but that's not accurate. Either the letter carrier won't drive up Mr. Jobs's road, or the town has a policy allowing obscuring of celebrity addresses. From 460 Mountain Home Road you need to proceed on Roberta Drive and then bear right on Robles Drive and follow it to the end. That's where you'll find the Jackling House.

Very interesting, I think, is that at least two professional photographers have trespassed on the site and published the photos under their names. I don't know if these guys have got the best attorneys in the world or maybe have the mob on their side, but there's no way I'd want to piss off a really irritable billionaire in the midst of a town permit battle. Lucky for us there are crazy people to do the dirty work for us. (Of course, trespassing is just a misdemeanor.) AppleInsider is publishing the photos (interior and exterior) by Jonathan Haeber who "stumbled upon" the house at night and was shocked (shocked, I tell you) to find the gates, doors and windows wide open.

And here are photos by Scott Haefner. I think you'll especially like this one. Both photographers visited the place at night.

Filed under Architecture | permalink | September 30, 2010 at 05:55 PM | Comments (1)

DHS Planning Commission Special Meeting - September 28

The audio recording of this special meeting of the DHS Planning Commission is available here. This is with the new recorder, but I do want to point out (complain, that is) that the Planning Commission has an unusually high number of quiet voiced members, and all of those with quiet voices seem averse to using a microphone. Often, even though I was sitting just a few feet away, I couldn't make out a word of what was being said.

Commissioner Versace was absent from this meeting.

General Plan Land Use

While this is the same subject as in the earlier City Council meeting, it was a different audience with a different focus and different questions, so read on.

Martín Magaña displayed three large maps:

The current General Plan Land Use Designation map [with access to all sizes] or download the full-size scan (12.3 MB).

The proposed General Plan Land Use Designation map, two-year interim version [with access to all sizes] or download the full-size scan (9.9 MB). This plan maintains the county designations for land use in the I-10 annexation area for the required two years.

But here's the one that matters:
DHS General Plan Land Use - Preferred
The ultimate, proposed, preferred General Plan Land Use Designation map [with access to all sizes]
or download the full-size scan (9.8 MB).

The agenda for the Planning Commission also included a Gant chart showing the timeline for Updating the General Plan. I'm not going to go into any detail, but it is nice to see that the chart only runs as far as December 2010 and that we are now getting well down into the lower, right hand corner of it.

Martín Magaña drew the Commissioners' attentions to the commercial nodes with mixed use overlays at some of the major intersections, such as Pierson and 62. These could become walkable villages, reducing the use of motor vehicles. Staff foresees that there will be policies requiring a majority of development in those areas to be commercial.

He said that roadways that cross the MSHCP areas will be included in a list of covered projects so that no "take" will be required when the roads are built.

Commissioner Romero asked about those areas designated as MSHCP. "This doesn't mean that they won't be developed, this just means they are going to be developed under a more streamlined EIR process." Mr. Magaña said that is correct. Ms. Romero asked for confirmation that there are areas that we will keep as open space. The answer was Yes. As a general rule, 10% of the land is kept as open space. Not as a checkerboard 10%, Ms. Romero asked, but done in a way to maintain wildlife corridors.

Ms. Romero asked why there was no mixed use overlay on the downtown vortex specific plan. The answer is the one given to the city council earlier, that these maps do not show detail in the specific plans, but merely reference them.

She also asked if there is some recommended ratio of residential to commercial that makes the commercial nodes, like the one at Pierson and 62, work most efficiently. The answer is No. That ratio is left up to the developer, who then proposes it to the Planning Commission who can require changes. Ms. Romero said we also need to make sure we don't drive all of our commercial traffic to these outer nodes, causing our downtown to croak.

Her next question was why is there no mixed use overlay in the industrial areas. She said that in light industrial zones there can be things like artist studios. Mr. Magaña said those details would be addressed in zoning, not in this General Plan Land Use Map. A lot of the industrial areas are already occupied by wind turbines with long leases.

Mr. Magaña said one of the reasons for allowing higher density housing is that people want less yard to maintain. This could be good for reducing waste of water and other resources, but I immediately recall new suburbs around Kansas City with mile after mile of big, 3-story homes jammed shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors on lots that couldn't be any bigger than 100' by 100'. But that's Kansas City, and we're better than that, right?

Mr. Magaña said that when a high-density residential development is proposed, the city can require amenities in return for allowing the high density: parks, community centers, etc.

Commissioner Gustafson asked about the Hot Water Overlay. Mr. Magaña said that would be addressed in zoning. When there is a conflict between the General Plan and zoning, the General Plan prevails. He pointed out the problem of a house-sized lot surrounded on three sides by homes, so it's impossible that anyone will ever build a hotel on the spot.

Mr. Magaña pointed out the blue flood control areas on the map. He said "blue line streams" feed into them, which are recorded on USGS maps. The wide blue areas indicate easement rights for Riverside County Flood Control.

There are no plans to annex Mission Lakes Country Club.

The 2013 annexation plans include Dos Palmas, B-Bar-H, Desert Dunes; IOW, all of our sphere except for the northern areas (between us and Joshua Tree) and Palmwood.

Mr. Magaña said the community services element is in draft form, the land use element and introduction are also in draft form. Actual adoption of the General Plan may happen in May 2011.

There was a discussion of roundabouts as a means of traffic mitigation. That led into a discussion of jughandles for left turns. And that led to a discussion of the disastrous rotary where you exit I-10 in Cabazon.

Chairman Gerardi asked why so little green (for parks) is visible on the map. Mr. Magaña said that the light blue "public/quasi-public" areas are where parks would be. That designation also includes schools and the water district's aquifer recharging facility.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | September 30, 2010 at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

Adult Man Bullies 14-Year Old Girl

In La Crosse, Wisconsin, the 7 Rivers LGBT Resource Center was participating in the annual Riverfest parade for the first time. One of the participants was 14-year old Emily St. Sauver carrying what the La Cross Tribune calls "a hybrid of the American flag and the gay pride flag." IMO, if it's not red, white and blue, it would be quite a stretch to call it an American flag, but nobody asked my opinion. The flag looks like this:
Rainbow flag with field of stars

Reigning Riverfest Commodore Mark Schneider, saying the flag was offensive to veterans, came over, grabbed the flagpole and, according to Roseanne St. Sauver Executive Director of the 7 Rivers LGBT Resource Center (and mother to the girl) who was trying to stop him, bodily shoved the girl and said "Go to a country where they will hang people like you."

Schneider denies the shoving and the statement, but he admits he grabbed the flagpole and has been charged with disorderly conduct for that. Schneider said "This is not an issue of gays. This is an issue with the American flag." I don't know of any country in the world that would hang you for disrespecting an American flag, so I don't think his denial is very believable.

Good news, though. Riverfest and the LGBT center have come to an understanding, both signing a statement that says:

Mark Schneider, Riverfest Commodore for 2010 offered his personal apology to Emily St. Sauver and others that might have been affected for events that happened that day. This apology was accepted with the understanding that both organizations will collaborate to promote La Crosse and the surrounding community as a safe place for all people, where all members of the community can be celebrated.

Interesting blast from the past: on Riverfest's About page they list past "Riverfest Commodores & First Mates." For each year they list a man's full name, such as "Mark Schneider," followed by an ampersand and a woman's first name only; "& Peggy" this year. "Dawson Strutt & Jackie" last year, "J. Michael Hartigan & Vicki" the year before that. One might guess that these single feminine names belong to wives, but they could be daughters.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | September 30, 2010 at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2010

Miracle Manor, 2001

Miracle Manor
Photo by TooMuchFire

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,Photography | permalink | September 29, 2010 at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

Forced Gay Marriages Coming To Connecticut

Every same-sex couple in a civil union in Connecticut will magically become married on Friday (unless they are in the process of a dissolving that civil union).

The really interesting thing about the linked article is it's about several law changes that go into effect on Friday but the gay marriage thing isn't mentioned until the end. They use a lot more space to talk about the new law banning texting while driving. Then there are a couple of paragraphs on changes to the anti-sexting laws. Then some paragraphs on domestic violence. And finally this:

Same-sex couples will benefit from a law that goes into effect Friday that will convert all same-sex civil unions into marriages, except in the case of couples in the process of dissolving their civil union. The law was passed in 2009 as a result of a state Supreme Court decision that said it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

The change will not affect a couple's legal rights, but will change the couple's legal status, said Sen. Andrew McDonald, D- Stamford, co-chairman of the legislature's judiciary committee. McDonald explained that a couple in a civil union and a married couple have the same rights. Under the new law, both heterosexual and same-sex couples will be able to say they are married. McDonald described the law as an orderly way to move toward marriage equality and end the civil union chapter in state statutes.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | September 29, 2010 at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

I wish more ads were like this one

You need to watch the whole thing closely.

Google Mobile page.

Filed under Food and Drink,Shopping,Web/Tech | permalink | September 29, 2010 at 08:44 PM | Comments (1)

DHS City Council Special Meeting - September 28

The audio recording of this special meeting of the DHS City Council is available here.

Public Comments

Cynthia Miles complained about SunLine bus service on route 15. She said that on weekdays the bus runs only until 7. There's no shade, no provision for wheelchairs. At 8 or 8:30 there's no bus, so you have to walk home. She knows a lady who has to walk all the way from Stater Bros. to Don English Way at 10 at night. She said she thinks that the 14 should take over (when the 15 stops running). She complained to the Sun Bus and they told her to take it to the city.

Mayor Parks was just the person to take umbrage at that last bit of news, since she is on the SunLine Board. She told Ms. Miles that this situation can only be handled by SunLine. She gave her the time and directions for the SunLine board meeting and encouraged her to go that meeting and "give 'em hell."

The schedules on the SunLine website say that on weekdays, the last route 15 bus leaves Two Bunch & Palm at 8:10 PM. The last route 14 bus from Palm Springs arrives at West & Pierson at 11:06, so route 15 service terminates about 3 hours before route 14.

General Plan Land Use Designation Update

Martín Magaña displayed three large maps:

The current General Plan Land Use Designation map [with access to all sizes] or download the full-size scan (12.3 MB).

The proposed General Plan Land Use Designation map, two-year interim version [with access to all sizes] or download the full-size scan (9.9 MB). This plan maintains the county designations for land use in the I-10 annexation area for the required two years.

But here's the one that matters:
DHS General Plan Land Use - Preferred
The ultimate, proposed, preferred General Plan Land Use Designation map [with access to all sizes]
or download the full-size scan (9.8 MB).

Representatives from consultant Hogle-Ireland came to the podium. The 800-pound gorilla change in land use designation was to make adjustments for the MSHCP.

In residential areas, the highest possible density was increased to 24 dwelling units per acre. This is to help allow for the required low-income housing.

Industrial and commercial acreage was increased throughout the plan. Mixed-use commercial areas were designated at certain key intersections, such as Pierson and 62, Pierson and Indian, Dillon and Palm, and I-10 and Palm. The spa/resort overlay is in the plan as well.

The EIR will take a few months to complete. The traffic analysis has begun. After that comes air quality and noise studies.

Land use designations are consolidated so that there are fewer different designations than in the current General Plan. This makes it more readable and gives greater flexibility in development.

Councilmember Betts asked about the mixed use overlay at Pierson and 62. Why wouldn't the city restrict this to the most intensive commercial use? Why the overlay? The consultant explained that the mixed use allowed for residential "either vertically or horizontally" with the commercial. Residential would be permitted so long as it also included commercial.

Mr. Betts asked about the "conservation" designation which he described as orange, but which printed out as pale yellow-green on my copy. On the map you will see that almost all the conservation areas are overlaid with the MSHCP crosshatch. The one exception I can find is a triangle of land north and a little east of Long Canyon Road adjacent to the blue of the Long Canyon floodway. The explanation was that those green areas are owned by conservation organizations, mostly CVCC.

Mr. Betts asked about residential designations. Were those high density areas intended for low income housing? The answer is not necessarily. It could be low income or market rate.

Councilmember Baker discussed the floodway designation. Later it was explained that the dark blue areas indicate easements that county flood control has.

Attention was drawn to an area west of 62 and Indian designated low density residential and commercial that still is NOT in the MSHCP zone.

Councilmember Baker asked if city staff had made plans for which area to annex next. That was all laid out in the goals update that city staff presented to the city council on September 13. The answer is that the next annexation, expected in 2012, will include everything in the sphere of influence west of the I-10 annexation, south of Pierson, plus Cholla Gardens.

Mayor Pro Tem Matas asked why designations for schools and parks were not shown in the Skyborne area. The answer is that when a specific plan covers an area (such as Skyborne) the General Plan references the Specific Plan, so there is no need to include the details of each Specific Plan in the General Plan.

Councilmember Betts said that there are problems with the spa/resort/geothermal overlay (the "Hot Water Zone") that have not been addressed. He asked if some of those problems could be solved in this process. Martín Magaña said staff is working with the Hoteliers to come up with fixes for the zoning code that applies there.

Mayor Pro Tem Matas pointed out that on Mountain View he didn't see any areas marked for commercial or spa/resort. He said there are a couple of resorts there, mentioning Living Waters by name, and there's the convenience store on the corner of Mountain View & Hacienda. There is the hot water overlay, but no underlying area for spa/resort.

I want to point out that, as requested at an earlier meeting, the commercial areas along route 62 have been greatly increased, but none of the council members seemed to take note of that during this meeting.


We are a permittee of the MSHCP in the I-10 annexation area only. The MOU with MSWD is completed. The city and MSWD have provided a detailed list of covered projects that we want, such as extensions of major roadways like Varner and 20th Avenue.

John Berg from Dudek came to the podium. They have been working on the EIR and plan to submit an administrative draft of the initial study to city staff this week. They will look at impacts to biological resources, land use & planning, as well as "socio-economics." The socio-economics part addresses the potential revenue loss resulting from setting aside large areas for conservation. Submittal of the draft EIR is targeted for the end of November, followed by a re-draft for the first of the new year. The public review draft should be ready in January. That will circulate for 45 days. The resulting comments are used to create the final EIR by the end of April. That means local hearings in May or June.

Mayor Parks asked about completing a road between Indian and Palm, such as Varner or 20th. Martín Magaña said it's in the General Plan map and is in the list of projects to be presented to CVAG. These projects, if successfully included as "covered projects" in the MSHCP area, could then be constructed without having to do a "take."

Councilmember Baker asked about the land southwest of the intersection of Mission Lakes and Little Morongo. There's a small red square for the Village at Mission Lakes, and surrounding it is beige for "rural desert/residential." But the whole area is crosshatched with the MSHCP designation. He asked if the owners of that land could swap. The answer is that you can swap lands only if you swap with "like land," i.e., the same endangered species on both pieces of land. Councilmember Betts said the owner of that land rushed in and grubbed up the land in an attempt to beat the MSHCP. Does it then qualify as a project that has started in order to avoid some of the mitigation? Martín Magaña said that site has only tentative map approval and until they get a final map recorded, it remains in the MSHCP zone. There is some mitigation that they have to meet to finalize the map. Mr. Betts referenced the photos of the site here and here.

Recreation Trails Program

This is approval of a grant application to the State of California for money to build the trail from Cabot's to Joshua Tree. Councilmember Baker said whatever trails we plan should be coordinated with the CVAG Trails Committee. This grant would come out of Prop 84 funds, which are currently "all tied up."

Approved 5-0.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | September 29, 2010 at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)

"True Grit"

The Coen Brothers will be releasing a remake of True Grit for Christmas. It will star Jeff Bridges in the role of Rooster Cogburn. Story here. Official website with trailer here.

Filed under Film/Movies | permalink | September 29, 2010 at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)

"I'm Gonna Make A Lifestyle Out Of It"

Here's an 11-year old boy whose arm was broken by bullies who were offended that he joined the cheerleading squad. Tyler Wilson refuses to back down, saying he will continue to be a cheerleader and that he will "make a lifestyle out of it." In this story, the school administrators were aware of the bullying that had been going on, but never informed the boy's mother. Two boys were charged, one with a felony. Even so, Tyler says that other students have threatened to break his other arm.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | September 29, 2010 at 05:50 PM | Comments (0)

World War One Will Finally Be Wrapped Up On Sunday

Germany's final payment of war reparations required by the Treaty of Versailles will be made on Sunday, October 3 in the amount of €59 million. Part of that debt, interest on foreign loans taken out by the Weimar Republic, had been suspended from 1953 until Germany re-united. It all would have been paid off long ago if Mr. Hitler hadn't been such a deadbeat.

| permalink | September 29, 2010 at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

Two More

In Tehachapi, 13-year old Seth Walsh died yesterday after hanging himself. He had been bullied at school for being gay. More of the usual: "School administrators said they have an anti-bullying program in place, but schoolmates said staff at Jacobsen Middle School in Tehachapi offered Seth no protection or guidance."

At Rutgers, 18-year old freshman Tyler Clementi killed himself by jumping from the George Washington Bridge. His roommate had spied via webcam on Clementi having sex with another man and then Twittered about it. The roommate and a friend who participated in the spying were arrested and charged with invasion of privacy.

Yes, school is certainly back in session.

UPDATE: Gawker has found postings on the justusboys website that seem to be from Tyler Clementi after the spying incident. The tone of them seems to be rational and stable, certainly not suicidal. He reported the spying to his RA.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | September 29, 2010 at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

Radio Bookmark

Here's a kind of interesting, specialized device called Radio Bookmark, $40 from that website or Amazon or "free" from one of these NPR radio stations who offer it as a membership premium. It's a USB flash drive with two buttons. You program it so that button 1 is assigned to one participating NPR public radio station (long list of participating stations on this page) and button 2 is assigned to some other participating NPR public radio station. KCRW, KUSC and KPCC are participating stations. I think if you get it as a membership premium, then the station that gave it to you will pre-set button 1 to themselves.

Whenever it strikes your fancy — well, actually the intent is to use it when you hear part of an NPR radio program that you want to return to at a later time, but you can do it whenever it strikes your fancy, too — you push button one or two. A little bit of data is added to some little file that identifies the station and time of day. Later you plug this USB drive into your computer and a web page will appear with links to whatever program was playing on that station at the time you pushed the button. If it was a music program, all they promise you is that they will give you the title and artist of whatever was playing at the time. They aren't going to save up all of the music they played just so you can listen to it later.

If you are both (1) busy and (2) an NPR addict, you might find this useful.

The device can hold only 250 bookmarks, so it must have a minuscule amount of memory.

Obviously, for this to work the participating stations have got to maintain some sort of index and ability to replay all of their non-music content, and most of them already do that, I suppose. But if your favorite NPR station is very low budget or a bit flaky, you may get some irregular results.

There is a similar related app that works on iPad, iPhone and plain ol' web.

Filed under Technology | permalink | September 29, 2010 at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

DHS Crime Free Housing Class October 21



EVENT: Crime Free Housing Phase I Class

LOCATION: Tedesco Park, Henry V. Lozano Community Center


On Thursday, October 21, 2010 from 8 a.m - 5 p.m., the Desert Hot Springs Police Department will host the last Crime Free Phase I class of the year. Phase I is the first of a three phase certification program developed in an effort to reduce crime, clean up rental properties and increase property values throughout the City.

Owners and property managers are invited to attend this free education training class on various aspects of effective property management.

Full Crime Free Certification also satisfies the requirements of the Cities Safe Housing Ordinance.

Registration is required by October 13, 2010. Applications can be obtained on the City website: http://www.cityofdhs.org/Crime_Free_Housing_Program, or by calling Community Resource Specialist Jim Knabb at 760-329-2904 Ext. 340

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | September 29, 2010 at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

50% Of L.A. Red Light Cameras Effective

The headline says Red-light cameras haven't improved safety, but the article says that "half of the intersections equipped with cameras showed a reduction in accidents." This is after a politically-weighted process to decide where to put the cameras. They didn't put them on the most accident-prone intersections, but made sure there was at least one intersection with red light cameras in each city council district. So, even after that poor placement process, they saw some improvement. It would have been nice to be able to see what sort of improvement there would have been if politics didn't get in the way.

| permalink | September 29, 2010 at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

A Michigan Assistant Attorney General

Anderson Cooper covers it pretty well:

The blog in question is here. An example of the sort of writing on that blog is this posting on July 14. At least 17 paragraphs long (depending on how you count your paragraphs), it focuses on the fact that when speaking to the University of Michigan Regents Chris Armstrong said he had sought all the attention that came to him by being the university's "first openly gay student body president," but that he also sent out a press release that stated he was "the first openly gay student body president in the University's history." So that's the conflict: wanted the attention/didn't want the attention. Pretty standard public relations talk, like what you get from any politician who spends time and resources to be elected to office and then says he is humbled by the people's choice, when you know that at the victory party he was anything but humble.

Assistant Attorney General Tom Shirvell, however, can't dismiss this so lightly. He concludes that "Armstrong is nothing less than an arrogant, self-absorbed psychopathic liar." He goes on to say worse.

Gay people will readily recognize this sort of behavior, and most non-gay people should too. It happens often enough. The only question is whether there is enough interest in the subject to form a betting pool as to how long it will be before Tom Shirvell is caught in some embarrassing, revealing sexual situation.

(via The Mad Professah Lectures)

UPDATE: Chris Armstrong is seeking a restraining order against Tom Shirvell and the University of Michigan has issued a trespass warning banning Shirvell from the campus. The Governor would like to see Shirvell fired, but it's not her decision.

Filed under Gay Issues,Religion | permalink | September 29, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

If It's 113° Then Desert Hiking Rules Apply

Sally Menke died yesterday hiking alone (with her dog) in the 113° Los Angeles heat. She had retreated to Bronson Cave (landmark movie site, used as the Batman cave, etc.). She had been editor for Quentin Tarantino's films including Pulp Fiction for which she won an Oscar.

If the thermometer says it's 113°, don't go hiking the hills of Griffith Park. There must have been warnings issued - radio, TV?

UPDATE: Not Bronson Cave, her body was found in a ravine in Bronson Canyon.

Filed under California | permalink | September 29, 2010 at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2010

Audio Improvements

Recently I learned via another active citizen that Sony audio recorders were now "Mac compatible." The one I've been using, while effective and reliable, recorded in some proprietary format. The software used to download it from the recorder to the computer could convert it to MP3 as it did so, but that software ran only on Windows. A small annoyance. But the latest Sony recorders (specifically the Sony ICD-PX820) record in MP3 format, and my Mac mounts it as a drive when I plug it in, allowing me to simply move the recording to my hard drive.

That's the only reason I bought it.

But upon first use I discovered that it was recording at 192 Kbps (I think that's the correct unit - it's 192,000 somethings) while the old recorder's MP3s were only 16 Kbps. Compared to the old one, the sound is fabulous. Plus it's in stereo. It now becomes almost a hedonistic delight to listen to city council meetings. Naturally, at 192 Kbps, a 2-hour city council meeting is way, way too large to distribute as a podcast, so I'm resampling them down to 32 Kbps (or whatever it takes), but even that resampled MP3 sounds lightyears better than MP3s from the old recorder. Here I will show you the difference. These two recordings are both in the Carl May, both with about the same number of people reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Listen to the difference.

The old recorder:

The new recorder, at 192 Kbps (not resampled yet):

| permalink | September 28, 2010 at 10:50 PM | Comments (2)

"Act Naturally"

Reader Eric has forwarded info about a film called Act Naturally about two sisters who inherit a nudist resort from their father. It looks like some scenes were shot at Deep Creek hot springs. There is some PG-rated suggestions of nudity in this trailer:

The official website. Their Facebook page where you can find still photos.

Filed under California,Film/Movies,Naturism-Nudism | permalink | September 28, 2010 at 09:36 PM | Comments (0)

Missing In Joshua Tree

Ed Rosenthal, the real estate broker who handled last week's sale of historic Clifton's Cafeteria in Los Angeles, has gone missing in Joshua Tree National Park. The details in that story differ slightly from the details in this one. One article refers to "Big Rock" campground. There is no Big Rock campground that I'm aware of, but the other article refers to Black Rock campground, which is a real place. Rangers were informed on Sunday that he had not returned. Searching took place on Monday, but the articles don't say if there was any searching on Sunday.

UPDATE: Good news! He's been found alive!

Filed under California | permalink | September 28, 2010 at 05:28 AM | Comments (0)

As I Was Saying

Asher Brown, age 13, was bullied at Hamilton Middle School in Houston because of "his small size, his religion and because he did not wear designer clothes and shoes" and also because he was gay. He came out to his parents over the summer (or just last week, depending on which story you read). The parents had complained to school counselors and vice principals about the bullying, but nothing changed.

Last Wednesday was the latest incident of harassment:

...another student tripped Brown as he walked down a flight of stairs at the school, his parents said.

When Brown hit the stairway landing and went to retrieve his book bag, the other student kicked his books everywhere and kicked Brown down the remaining flight of stairs, the Truongs [his parents] said.

Durham said that incident was investigated, but turned up no witnesses or video footage to corroborate the couple's claims.

Thursday Asher Brown came home early from school, got his stepfather's 9 mm Beretta and killed himself, leaving no note.

[School district] officials said Monday that they never received any complaints from Brown's parents before the suicide about the way the boy was being treated at school.

School district spokeswoman Kelli Durham said no students, school employees or the boy's parents ever reported that he was being bullied.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | September 28, 2010 at 04:54 AM | Comments (2)