“There is irrefutable evidence that the past existed, but everything else about the past is hearsay.”
Belateche, Irving. Einstein’s Secret (p. 5). Laurel Canyon Press.
TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
The golden foothills remain somnolently golden under the mostly blue skies.
The Golden Foothills awaiting a crop of new subdivisions.
A few days ago, while walking the dogs, I was surprised by a neighbor who actually spoke to me. He was an elderly chap (probably younger than I) standing in front of his house. He startled me because this was the first time someone on this street had spoken more than a somewhat stifled hello to me in the five years I have lived here. He said, “Those people burned garbage in their fireplace yesterday and the smoke came directly into my house.” He pointed to a house about six or seven houses down the block from where we were standing. “Those people,” were a Filipino family that host a pre-school in their home every weekday morning.
(Note: I have never seen anyone living at many of those intervening houses. HRM says they are inhabited by VOPs [very old people] who never go out and have everything they need delivered to them. HRN also says I am not a VOP. We often argue about that.)
The Pulmonary Nodule committee (The Death Panel), has approved all the tests that have been prescribed and added one that will show wherever the big C, if it exists at all, has spread. Another problem they are looking into is COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder). That is one of the reasons for the lung capacity tests I am scheduled to take this month. The more I look into this stuff, the more it toggles my hypochondria switch. I need to do less internet searches and spend more time contemplating the blue skies, golden hills and secretive neighbors of EDH.
On the 24th of this month I plan to leave for Washington DC. The trip is a gift from my daughter. I hope to be able to visit some of the Civil War battle sites in the area that I have not yet seen. I also would like to get up to Baltimore to see the effects of redevelopment of the waterfront that I commented on years ago. As part of the downtown rehabilitation in the 70s and 80s, the city offered to sell, for $1 each, to those who agreed to restore them, the wonderful brick homes in the area that it acquired. The program was well on its way the last time I visited Baltimore.
I received a pleasant surprise this week. Reed Holderman called. He was going to be driving by EDH so we agreed to meet today at Zia’s coffee shop in Town Center.
It was great to see him again. He has been executive director of the Sempervirens Fund for many years now and is due to retire in April. Reed and I worked together at the Coastal Conservancy a long time ago. There are people in everyone’s life whose generosity of spirit remains a warm spot in one’s memory forever. Reed in one of those people for me. He ordered a cappuccino and I a root beer float. I learned that Zia makes her floats with olive oil ice cream. They were out of it today, so I had them make it with cranberry and yogurt ice cream.
We reminisced together about old times and old friends and discussed plans and benefits of retirement.
On Saturday, we held HRM’s 10th birthday party at Kalithea Park in El Dorado Hills a beautiful park overlooking Folsom Lake.
It was one of the more pleasant birthday celebrations I have experienced in my life. Before the party we painted the rock.
Then we decorated the area and the party began.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
Being smart aint everything:
Television personality and former stripper Rick Rosner is one of the smartest living men in the world with IQ scores ranging from 140 to 250 by different measures.
Born in 1946, Marilyn Vos Savant has earned IQ scores ranging from 157 to 228. Since 1986, she has written an “Ask Marilyn” column in Parade magazine, where she was famous for solving the Monty Hall problem.
With an IQ reported between 174 and 210, Christopher Langan was dubbed the smartest man in America by Esquire Magazine. At 6’1″ and 275 pounds, Langan is an avid weightlifter and recovering agoraphobic who pays the bills doing temp work as a bartender, nightclub bouncer, and personal trainer.
Born in Chicago in 1904, Nathan Leopold was a child prodigy with an IQ of 210 who spoke his first words at 4 months old. He was also a murderer who, along with his friend Richard Loeb, killed a 14-year-old boy while trying to commit “the perfect crime” in 1924. The crime inspired the Alfred Hitchcock film “Rope.” Brilliant yet socially inept, Leopold latched on to Loeb, who was good looking and popular, according to Biography.com. Leopold was convicted of murder and spent 33 years in prison. He died in Puerto Rico in 1971 at the age of 67.
A college graduate at the age of 11, Adragon De Mello has a projected IQ of 400. As of 2003, Adragon was working for the Home Depot after training to be an estimator for a commercial painting company.
Over a year ago, in T&T, I suggested that the minor slowdown in the rate of increase of global air temperatures over the past decade was caused by the oceans absorbing that missing increase. I also thought that, beginning with this years el Nino, that excess heat will start to radiate back into the atmosphere thereby accelerating global warming for the next decade or so. Scientists from the UK Met Office’s Hadley Center led by Dr. Chris Roberts of the Oceans and Cryosphere Group predict in a new paper in Nature that such a warming phase is about to begin.
I also have written that perhaps the predominant cause of the current turmoil in the Near East, exacerbated by the political incompetence of all involved, is the current climate change induced drought similar to the drought that generated the rise of Islam 1400 years ago (but much more rapid and severe today). The following graph seems to confirm it.
A. Quigley on Top:
“…since any organizational structure requires its members to subordinate their own wills and whims, their own pleasures and material needs, to some less immediate goals, so no organizational structure can continue to function in a society where the people involved in it become increasingly selfish, self-indulgent, materialistic, and atomistically individualistic.”
Carroll Quigley. Weapons Systems and Political Stability.
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:
“Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that its citizens deserve a fair distribution of wealth, income and power? If the civil society is not dedicated to that end what else could it possibly be dedicated to? What is freedom, to those without wealth, income or power?”
C. Xander’s Perceptions:
One to Beam Up
“Yesterday marked the passing of one of the most recognized and beloved actors, Leonard Nimoy. He was 83 and had been struggling with and lost his battle to COPD (take a hint, smokers — STOP).
It’s a truism that in science fiction, no one ever dies, but that wasn’t the case of the man known to hundreds of millions as Mr. Spock of the hit TV program from the 60s, “Star Trek.” When Gene Roddenberry was pitching the concept to television networks, he finally hooked up with NBC. And what was it that got the job done? He came up with one of the truly great log lines of all time: ” ‘Wagon Train’ in outer space.” [“Wagon Train” was a TV show from the 50s and 60s that had several defined characters and story lines that allowed for independent episodic shows that were not dependent on a continuing story line]
At that time, “Star Trek” was the most expensive television program. It suffered from a huge monkey on its back, thanks to the show being put in the 10:00 slot on Friday nights. Welllllll, anyone 18 to 45 who were fans of the show were usually out partying. The show’s remaining fans were kids my age — young teens who dug that kind of stuff (and still do).
NBC tried to cancel it after the first season but was inundated with a landslide of protest letters — over a million, if I recall correctly. Season 2 went on the cheap, and Season 3 had the cheeseist backgrounds with virtually all episodes that year were laughable shows filmed on NBC’s set and further depended on cartoonish special effects (with the exception of “The Trouble With Tribbles”). This time, NBC followed through and canceled the show.
“Star Trek” was innovative and was years — or Star Dates — ahead of society. The tightened budget, however, forced writers to be creative without being dependent on special effects. The show had terrific writers like D. C. Fontana, who went with the initials because she was a she; women just did not get hired in those days. “Star Trek” also featured the first inter-racial kiss but headed off any potential bursts of outrage by having their actions controlled by highly evolved aliens who used them as living chess pieces.
One look at the diversity of the cast members was innovative as well: The cast involved a Scot; a Japanese-American; an African-American woman who was a competent and accomplished officer; an alien half-breed who suppressed his human half to be an emotionless Vulcan; and a grumpy southerner who engaged Spock at every opportunity. When the Soviet Union griped that there was no Russian among the 23rd Century officers on the bridge, Roddenberry created Anton Chekov. The show, therefore, advanced such concepts as equal opportunity for women, various minorities, and people from around the world and galaxy; inter-racial relationships wherein Captain Kirk was a rutting equal opportunity horn-dog who’d get it on, regardless of race, creed, or planetary origin; and anti-war, anti-prejudice (the most notable one being a battle between two aliens who were half-black, half-white, but with the colors being mirror opposites.
After cancellation of the show, Leonard Nimoy felt so constrained by the character he brought to life that he wrote a book: “I Am Not Spock.” But as the years went by and as he did branch out to acting on the stage (notable “Equus”) and directing — remember “Three Men and a Baby?” — he mellowed and gradually accepted the fact that his role on “Star Trek” exhibited his sharply refined talent . . . and was compelled to write another book: “I Am Spock.” He was an incredible human being and maintained his friendships with his fellow actors all the way through to his passing.
His death brings to the surface the reality that we are mortal, despite our attempts to deny it. It reflects the fact that I am sliding toward that reality. Back in the 1980s, when friends and I were hitting our thirties, I’d remarked that when famous people from our era — like a Simon and Garfunkel, a Paul McCartney, or an Elizabeth Montgomery, who died far too soon — began passing away — we would truly know that we were aging and were far closer to death than we were to being born.
Leonard Nimoy will remain a remarkable actor and human being who will truly “live long and prosper” in our minds and hearts.”
D. Today’s Paraprosdokian:
“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
E. Tales of Inhumanity:
100 years ago this month, the Ottomans caused the deaths of one-third of the entire population of Lebanon.
“We have destroyed Armenians by the sword, we shall destroy the Lebanese through starvation”. Enver Pasha on intended genocide of innocents.
Lebanon, before its current borders, had a booming silk industry (run mainly by women). Lebanon depended upon this industry to stimulate its economy and keep its population fed and healthy.
Djamal Pasha ran Lebanon at the time for the Ottoman Empire. He put a blockade on the Mediterranean coast, not allowing anything in or out.
The industry died in Lebanon as jobs dried up. People became poor and destitute.Famine spread and, with it, disease spread too.To make things worse, a swarm of locusts came down and devastated what little crops were being tended to by ailing Lebanese.Some resorted to cannibalism to keep from dying. Jesuit priests’ records show that many came to confess having eaten their own children.Extreme hunger and desolation caused madness among people.The roads were lined with the skeletal bodies of Lebanese.By the end of the whole ordeal, 200,000 Lebanese died of starvation and sickness caused by the Ottomans. That’s one-third of the population.It was no coincidence that, at the time, Lebanon’s population was about 87% Christian.”
“It is not the man who denies the gods worshiped by the multitude, who is impious, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them.”
The standard “hockey stick” graph for showing world temperature rise over the last 1000 years.
A lone oak tree in El Dorado Hills.