Sunday, October 26, 2008

Television Roots

Like many, I grew up with a hefty dose of television shows injected most profusely into the cerebral cortex and no doubt having an impact on my personal development and view of reality. My "historian" tendencies have recently included an adventure of sorts into the review and watching of the shows that shaped my psyche.

While the vast majority of my exposure to the cult classic Dark Shadows, a soap opera airing initially from 1966 through 1971, occurred as entertaining after school fare during its re-run in the early 70s, what happened on January 12, 1968 was anything but harmless. Having just turned 7 years old, I happened to be home when the show’s episode #405 came on. My mother warned me that it was rather scary stuff and advised me to change the channel. I didn’t, and a portrait of Josette Collins, to eerie and disturbing strings and sound effects as Angelique confronted Barnabas, turned into a skeleton. The image so terrified me that I could not have a picture of a human being in my bedroom until I was 25.

Last year, using Netflix I queued up the entire soap opera, from beginning to end, and watched all of it. Naturally, given the pace of a 1960s soap opera, this occurred via multitask while blogging, studying, and surfing (keyboard, not surf board). After Dark Shadows, I perused (always starting at the very beginning) Lost in Space, finding the show that seemed so fascinating in 1969 to be unwatchable. I quit after half of the first season. I found the first season of The Invaders far more entertaining in large part from its depiction of the 1960s environment (Wow, look at that T-Bird!). When the second season is released next year, I will rent all of it.

Of course everyone remembers what became staple mainstream, shows like Star Trek or Mission Impossible, but anyone remember The Time Tunnel? What show came on just before it? Answer – The Green Hornet. He drove the "Black Beauty"” at night, but can anyone name the white car driven by Britt Reid during the day? Remember Major Matt Mason? In my memory it exists as both a doll and a television show. Not true. It was only a toy, but the day existed when getting a Major Matt Mason doll just about put your humble blogger into orbit. Remember Jonny Quest’s dog? How did Marine Boy manage to "breathe" under water?

Britt drove a Pierce Arrow.

I love the Internet. At IMDB via message board I was able to zero a film seen forty years ago only remembering that the monster, if blown apart, would grow new monsters from each dismembered piece. Reptilicus. See it at six years old with a babysitter late on a Saturday night. While William Shatner certainly evoked many boyhood hero fantasies, none struck that chord so well as Christopher George, and not for his work in The Rat Patrol, a rather loose interpretation of WWII jeep squads in Africa, but for his work in The Immortal.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Intriguing Endorsements

Hats off to former Secretary of State Colin Powell for having the courage of conviction to slap the hate infested GOP and its inflame the idiots political antics. For reasons we may never truly know, Powell impaled his career by agreeing to perpetrate the unconscionable lies of war criminals Cheney and Eggplant and their blood and dollar lust to turn Iraq into a war profiteer's paradise. Powell gave Cheney's pals the trillion dollar "Ka-Ching!" and saw his reputation evaporate.

Cheney doesn't care about matters like reputation, karma, or history.

Powell does, and his Sunday endorsement of Barack Obama, but far more significant, his repudiation of the Republican hate fest and the catastrophic course it seeks for the nation, represents an opportunity for what redemption remains possible after dancing with Satan incarnate. I was delighted to learn of Obama's interest in having Colin Powell play a role in his administration. I would love to see this happen. While one cannot fully release Colin Powell, a man of the stature he commands, of the responsibility for his role in opening the bloodgates of the Iraq atrocity, one can recognize that under different circumstances, like a president with a brain or a vice-president with a soul, Colin Powell may have obtained and retained a reputation for real greatness and profound contribution to the betterment of society.

Most unfortunately, that didn't happen, and he dropped the toxic turd telling us ditches and water tanks were weapons of mass destruction. Partially to atone for this sin, I imagine, Powell now warns us the GOP has become a weapon of mass deception. His speaking on "Meet the Press" was eloquent, clear, intelligent, and true. He offered some of the best speaking on the presidential election we have heard.

Shifting to endorsements of a completely different nature, we have the Wall Street Journal alleging that Fed Chairman Bernanke has endorsed Barack Obama. However, we really know the election is over when the 2008 World Series Champions come out for Obama.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Thirty-six years ago, we had a presidential election between incumbent Richard Nixon and George McGovern. McGovern ran one of the most inept campaigns in presidential campaign history. Ironically, Nixon would have easily defeated him without resorting to a silly burglary. Two years later the country would find itself shocked to listen to hours of tapes produced during 1972. In light of the current fiasco, I thought of the following, also produced in 1972:

Recently coming out of the sixties, the nation's creative juices still flowed at this time. Here are just a few of the other songs released in 1972:

Yes - Roundabout
Steely Dan's Can't Buy a Thrill masterpiece album featuring Do it Again.
Chicago - Saturday in the Park
Don McLean - Vincent and American Pie
Derek & the Dominos - Layla
The Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin
Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again (naturally) and Clair
America - Horse with No Name

Then came Watergate, Disco, Reagan, Eggplant, and the decline of Western Civilization.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Citizen Cuts Cloth

Tucson, Arizona. The Saturday Tucson Citizen features an outstanding Teya Vitu article on the Downtown Development Corporation and some of its cloth shenanigans. I won't repeat the content of the article, which I highly recommend to all readers. The date by date chronology featured at the piece looks familiar. I think it's an excellent way to put lines between dots.

The parking lot scam is just the surface and a tiny component of the Tucson Clothiverse of sweet deals and terrific payouts to the well connected players. First, note how the annual parking lot revenues received by Industrial Development Authority (IDA) jump around. Does the usage of a crowded downtown parking lot sound like something that would have a lot of variation? Uh-huh. Remember that the IDA loaned the DDC over $900 thousand to buy the lot. That loan was never repaid, and only now are questions about this getting into the press. The loan occurred over 20 years ago. That Kennedy has been drawing a salary from the DDC for years is now acknowledged, but take a look at the DDC financial statements and you can clearly see where it states that no officers or employees have been paid. Ask how they do that and you will learn about subsidiaries. Now why are they doing that?

Dig enough around these rocks and you will find lots of roaches that don't like the light of day. Look into the TCC "rent" and explain those transactions. The stuff goes back decades and make no mistake, the Cloth are alive and doing very well. Sadly, in Tucson the bad guys tend to win. Cloth meister Glen Lyons, head of the Downtown Tucson Partnership, the clothified version of now assassinated Tucson Downtown Alliance, probably terminated an Executive Director to replace him with best friend's wife Cara Rene. Simple cronyism? Well, yes, but also because Rene is fully clothified, while Durband had the irritating ability to think for himself.

The article is so close to the incestuous board games that you can smell it, including board master Larry Hecker, who never met a board he didn't join. Questions about the DDC board membership produced an interesting little query for Herr Hecker, "Are you on the DDC board or not?"

Of course he is. He's on every Tucson board. Hecker is on boards he's not even on. Tucson has its various tribes and Hecker makes a fortune in the middle as they vie against each other for the "ka-ching!" at the trough.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fossil Future

The ban on the commercial development of oil shale on federal lands expired on the first of October, but we’re far too distracted by "Drill, baby drill!" to notice. Oil shale is filthy. Its extraction requires obscene amounts of water and produces two to five times more greenhouse gases than conventional crude. Still, oil barons never met a dollar they didn’t like, and there are about 1.8 trillion barrels of oil in shale deposits in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. It dwarfs all of Saudi Arabia. Big Oil wants us to talk about drilling for a few drops offshore. Seen There Will Be Blood? I drink your milkshake!

The milkshake is oil shale, literally extracted by cooking the planet. Huge blocks of Earth are isolated and cooked at 650 degrees F. After two years, oil slides out of the shale. I’m not kidding. We cook the planet. The Bush-Cheney administration has fought hard to get this shale for oil companies. The only remaining obstacle is the next President. John McCain has already voiced his support. While distracting us about this offshore drilling nonsense, the oil industry has almost secured rights to federal lands with the oil shale. When the ban on offshore oil drilling expired, so did the ban on oil shale development.

Congress opened the gates to almost two million acres of oil shale deposits and granted permission to initiate a cube-by-cube boiling of the planet. One could not design a more effective way to accelerate global warming as dramatically as possible. The development began early in the Bush-Cheney administration's first term. The Energy Act of 2005 (Section 369) required the Department of the Interior to develop a commercial leasing program for oil shale. The next President will have control over the program. In June, Senator McCain called for oil shale development and campaign contributions from the oil industry skyrocketed.

Senator Obama remains quiet on oil shale, but he has refused oil money. Oil shale is the most underreported energy story of the century. If the nation continues on the path prepared by Bush-Cheney and embraced by McCain-Palin, it leads to a fossil future.

We’re the fossils.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

That One

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sante Fe

Sante Fe was made a capital in 1608, making it the oldest capital city in what is today the United States. The history actually goes farther back to the Spanish colonists and before them the Pueblo Indians (shortly after 1000 A.D.). I've been to the city on several occasions, usually to look at the incredible art featured in numerous galleries and on the sidewalks. This weekend's visit marked my first into the St. Francis Cathedral and in particular, the Loretto Chapel and its mysterious staircase, the kind of thing that tickles the brains of technical types. According to a rather insistent item called physics, the staircase should not be able to hold weight. Apparently someone forgot to tell this to the staircase, for it could hold over a dozen singers in the chapel choir.

While intrigued, I found the staircase a mild head scratch compared to the mind bending and off the map extraordinary sequence of events behind Saint Bernadette and what happened in Lourdes, France. Those interested can either read the book or see the terrific 1943 movie (the first for star Jennifer Jones) that quite accurately portrays the events of two remarkable weeks in February 1858.

I didn't bother to head into Albuquerque to listen to McCain tell us to ignore the tanking economy and the loss of everything we own. More important, according to McCain, are the questions we should ask about someone Obama may have seen while he was eight years old. Regarding McCain's Twidiot Palin, recent events remove all doubt. Told you so.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Greetings from Albuquerque

Albuquerque, New Mexico. Spent yesterday on the road clipping along from Tucson to Albuquerque. About 90 minutes into the trip, I fly past this old looking, fainted paint, low income person type Camaro, its windows down. About ten minutes later, I look up, and said Camaro is right behind me. I flew past that car, so he sped up. Perhaps the timing had to do with my sudden interest possibly noticeable through the rear view mirror, but at this time, he turns his flashers on.


The guy is a cop? I am so busted. My car does not have cruise control, and I'd been having a tough time keeping the speed under 90. I'd drop back to 85, go a few minutes, and then notice I'd crept up to 95. Well, dammit!

I pull over, and out steps this young guy almost looking like a kid, in jeans, T-shirt with short sleeves, semi-long hair. I knew something was unusual by the thigh belt holding what was clearly a firearm larger than a pistol. As he got closer, I could see his arms were loaded with various tattoos, and his ears had multiple piercings, and that the weapon might be fully automatic. At this point, getting a ticket was the least of my concerns.

The kid was an undercover DEA agent. He asks, "Why were you driving 100 mph?"

I could tell he was scanning the car and yours truly, quickly concluding I'm a blogger geek and academic type, and that the payload in the trunk involved a lap top, not drugs. He warned me that the highway patrol was all around, and that they would not be so nice if they see me at 100 mph.

I spent the rest of the day at 85.

Speaking of speeding, I am actually staying in Corrales, which is northwest of Albuquerque, and if you think Oro Valley is uptight about speeding, it's nothing compared to this town. They have a sign:

Drive Slow, see our Village.
Drive Fast, see our Judge.