Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

Category Archive: 'news-chum'

Weekend News Chum to Fill your Loving Cup

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Feb 14, 2016 @ 8:42 am PDT

Observation Stew’tis the weekend, and that means it is time to clear out the accumulated links that didn’t them… well, at least those I remembered to send back home from work. In the spirit of the day, feel free to share these stories with your sweetie.

 

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Things That We’ll Be Seeing Soon

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Feb 13, 2016 @ 6:19 pm PDT

userpic=theatre2This collection of news chum all has to do with things that we may (or may not) be seeing soon:

  • A Googie Sharkey’s. Twain’s Coffee Shop in Studio City has been shuttered for a year, with reports being that Sharkey’s, a wonderful Fresh-Mex chain, was moving in. The Twain’s building was clearly a Denny’s in some former life. Anyway, pictures have surfaced of the Sharkey’s remodel, and they are preserving the old style. This is nice to see.
  • A Full November Ballot. California is known for its ballot propositions, and recent efforts have moved all of them to the General Election ballot (instead of the June primaries). Here’s a preview of what we’re likely to see. There will be things like a plastic bag referendum, a proposition on prescription drug prices, a referendum of revenue bonds over $2 million, a modification of the “english-only” initiative, bonds for school construction, a proposal on hospital fees, with 66 more gathering signatures.
  • No More Metro Free Parking. A report is surfacing of a trial attempt at imposing paid parking at Metro stations.  Although on the surface I don’t like paying for parking, this one is making sense. It provides really low rates for those actually using Metro, with significantly higher rates for those taking advantage of the free parking to just do things in the neighborhood.
  • Tits and Ass at the Hollywood Bowl. The Hollywood Bowl has announced their 2016 season.  Their musical this year will be A Chorus Line; I’m not that interested in seeing it. There’s also a Star Trek concert and A Prairie Home Companion.  For me, the show that I’d like to see is Weird Al on July 22-23.  My wife would like the Copeland and Marsalis concert the following week (July 28).
  • Mooning in Coachella. At one time, a moon-themed resort was planned for Las Vegas. Anything goes, right? Well, the moon isn’t landing in Vegas, but in the Coachella Valley. The $4 billion, 4,000 all-suite, five-star lunar-themed Moon World Resorts has a opening date targeted for 2022 after two years of permit and entitlement processes and a 48-month build-out. Three thousand workers will be required during the single-phase construction, and, when completed, 8,000 Coachella Valley careers will be created. The 10 million-square-foot project will include cutting-edge space technology over a 10-acre lunar surface with a realistic lunar colony set in the world’s largest and tallest sphere reaching 750 feet. There also will be a 10,000-seat flexible event center and a 2 million-square-foot convention center, several star-chef celebrity restaurants and wellness spa with holistic health treatments.
  • Real Time Earthquake Alerts. Have you installed MyShake on your Android phone?  This is a new application from the UC Berkeley Seismology Lab that uses the phone accelerometer to detect earthquakes in a crowd-sourced fashion. The app’s algorithm is designed to ignore ordinary shaking, like a phone jiggling in a purse, and detect unique vibrations felt during earthquakes. If the phone detects what it thinks is an earthquake — usually something at a magnitude 5 or greater — it sends a message to a central server. If there are at least 300 phones sending warnings in the same 60-mile-by-60-mile zone, simulation tests show that’s good enough to tell the system that the shaking was an earthquake. Notices can then go out to advise those further away that an earthquake is coming.
  • A Supreme Court Nominee. As you all know by now, Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away. This opens up a space for President Obama to nominate a replacement. He says he will do it promptly; Republican leaders are vowing to not allow it until after the election (meaning at least two court terms — talk about delaying justice). The rumor mill is indicating that Obama will nominate Sri Srinivasan as the replacement. This is an interesting choice. Srinivasan was just confirmed to his current position by the senate in 2013 (just 3 years ago) with a vote of 97-0. Yes, some of the confirming senators are gone, but that makes it likely that he has strong support, and has already been through the vetting process (plus getting any confirmation through the 2012 senate wasn’t easy). It makes a wonderful statement on immigrant rights and diversity. Could be very interesting.

 

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Weekend Chum Stew: Food, Fiddler, Fonts, &c

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Jan 31, 2016 @ 2:39 pm PDT

Observation StewYesterday was a crazy day, and I didn’t get the news chum stew on the stove. Today is chilly and rainy, so I’ve made an extra big pot:

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Saturday News Chum: Real Estate, Real History, and the Rest

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jan 23, 2016 @ 7:04 pm PDT

Observation StewIt’s Saturday evening, and I’m getting ready to go out to the first show of the weekend, so what better than some news chum stew before the show. Hopefully you’ll find something tasty. We have a few themed areas as appetizers.

Real Estate Chum

  • Increasing Property Value. Every day, as we head home from work, we pass an office building on the NE corner of El Segundo and Continental, across from the large Raytheon facility that used to be the Hughes Space campus. This office building used to be occupied by Raytheon, in fact. But defense shrunk, they downsized out of it about 4 years ago, and the building was sold and remodeled. Now it is a “creative campus” and worth twice as much. Bixby Land partnered with real estate investment manager Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers in purchasing the building in 2013. They spent $25 million to acquire and transform the traditional office space into flashier, more modern offices. Perks at the 113,606-square-foot building include a dog park and beach cruisers for workers. There are polished concrete floors, exposed ceilings and a shared outdoor patio with a rectangular fire pit and couch. They just sold it for $49 million.
  • Decreasing Property Value. Then there’s Porter Ranch, near where I live. Sigh. Here’s an interesting article with a different perspective on Porter Ranch: When the subdivision was laid out and sold, worry about gas wells wasn’t even in the discussion. In fact, the environmental impact reports for the development did not have to disclose anything. Why? Here’s what is really interesting: Neither the old oil wells nor that natural gas facility had to be mentioned in those environmental impact reports. The wells would be included if the housing project was to have an impact on them, but not the other way around. Under the California Environmental Quality Act, an analysis of the impacts of existing environmental conditions on a project’s future residents is not required. Think about that for a minute: An environment impact report details the impact of the new development on the existing environment, not the risks from the existing environment to the new development.
  • A School Goes Away. For the last of this trilogy, there is the announcement of the closing of Pinecrest Schools. It is unclear if this is due to property values, or just the owners not able to afford the loss. Will the land be able to stay a private school? Your guess is as good as mine. It may benefit a number of local private schools in the area.

Not So Pleasant History

  • Racism and Route 66. Many people wax nostalgic about Route 66, and the travels from Chicago to Los Angeles. But there’s one characteristic of those people: they’re white. If you weren’t white, travels on Route 66 were less than pleasant. Black people weren’t traveling on the Mother Road. This is easy to see via a new interactive map created by the New York Public Library, which digitized 21 volumes of the Negro Motorist Green Book and imported data from 1947 and 1956 volumes into it. It shows that through much of the southern portion of the route, especially through Texas and Missouri, it was impossible for black people to get evening lodgings, or even be in a city after sundown.
  • Racism and Donald Trump. Woody Guthrie sang of the dustbowl refugees that traveled Route 66. Guthrie also happened to rent a room from Donald Trump’s father, and was not happy about it.  He was especially bothered by the racism of daddy Trump, and even wrote a song about it: I suppose / Old Man Trump knows /  Just how much / Racial Hate / he stirred up / In the bloodpot of human hearts / When he drawed / That color line / Here at his / Eighteen hundred family project ….” and  “Beach Haven ain’t my home! / I just cain’t pay this rent! / My money’s down the drain! / And my soul is badly bent! / Beach Haven looks like heaven / Where no black ones come to roam! / No, no, no! Old Man Trump! / Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!”
  • Leaving the Fold. This one may be premium content if you go to it directly, but often you can get to these things from Google. This is a fascinating story about a Haredi family who decided that the Haredi life was not for them, and escaped the community. A really interesting read, with some interesting illumination about the history and control within that community.

And The Rest

  • ! Yes We Have No Bananas. Bananas are returning to La Conchita, after 18 years. I remember when there were locally grown bananas in Southern California. Then they went out of business, landslides occurred, and they were gone. Now they are back. I’ll have to look for them.
  • When Can You Reuse Oil. This is a real interesting article about fried foods, and when you can reuse fry oil. What I found especially fascinating was the explanation of how foods become greasy when frying: “Incidentally, the folk wisdom that oil that’s too cool will cause foods to absorb more oil is bunk. In fact, because oil tends to move into spaces that were formerly occupied by water, the amount of oil a piece of fried food absorbs is directly related to the amount of moisture that is driven off, which in turn is directly related to the temperature you cook at, and the temperature to which you cook your food to. The hotter you fry, the more oil food will absorb.”
  • Loss of Focus. Here’s an interesting explanation for that loss of focus: Adult onset ADHD. More and more adults over the age of 50 are newly diagnosed with ADHD. The disorder occurs as the brain is developing, and symptoms generally appear around age 7. But symptoms can last a lifetime. For adults, the problem is not disruptive behavior or keeping up in school. It’s an inability to focus, which can mean inconsistency, being late to meetings or just having problems managing day-to-day tasks. Adults with ADHD are more likely than others to lose a job or file for bankruptcy. They may overpay bills, or underpay them. They may pay bills late, or not at all.
  • The Why of Clutter. Here’s an interesting article on why you accumulate clutter. One reason is that most people don’t know how to get rid of it, how to start, or how to address the overwhelming amount of it.
  • Sometimes, Local Music is Better. People are rediscovering the value of having your music collection locally, as opposed to the cloud. They are wising up to the cloud computing ‘trap’ by using ‘old’ MP3 players like the iPod Classic instead of music streaming services that require costly monthly subscriptions and internet access.  Both of the articles I’ve seen on the subject, however, talk about what is being done, but not how. The “how” is easy: Get yourself an iPod Classic 5th Generation or later. Then visit Tarkan’s iFlash site. There you can get a board that can replace your hard disk with solid state memory. Depending on the version of the iPod Classic, you can either max out at 128GB or 1TB. I know. My iPod Classic 7.5G is now at 512GB. I’ve just ordered my second board to convert my alternative iPod. The only worry is wear leveling.

 

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Week End News Chum: Threading a Connection

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jan 16, 2016 @ 8:56 am PDT

Observation StewFor some, this is the start of a 3 day weekend; for others, just the normal weekend craziness. Whichever it is, it’s been a busy week. I’ve been accumulating a lot of articles of interest, but none of them have themed into groups of three, or proved to be the start of a single-subject rant. So let’s toss them into the crock-pot of discussion, and see if we can at least come up with a thread to connect each to the next:

Lastly, I’m sure you think I’m crazy in the head for trying to thread all these disparate articles together. Speaking of crazy in the head: how’s this for a headline: “Doctors dismissed his pain as migraines. Then they said he had 24 hours to live.” Did that get your attention? It got mine. The connected article was about something I mentioned last week: undetected subdural hematomas. Scary.

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Musings on ⇒ 🎥 The Diversity of OSCAR (#OscarsSoWhite)

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Jan 15, 2016 @ 7:44 am PDT

userpic=moviesA morning quickie on yesterday’s announcement of the Oscar nominees, and the surprising (or should I say unsurprising) lack of diversity of the nominees:

Last year, Gene Spafford had a wonderful post on the issue of encouraging women in computer security. Among many great ideas in the post was this nugget:

If you are invited to speak or appear on a panel at an event, ask who else has been invited. If they don’t seem to have invited (m)any women, suggest some and don’t agree to speak until they filled out the roster a little more. I have heard one good rule of thumb (which I try to follow) is not appear on a panel unless at least one woman is also on the panel. Help give other voices a chance to be heard.

Can’t think of any? Then either you aren’t paying attention or you are willfully ignoring the situation. Here’s a partial list of some of the better known women in the field of cybersecurity/privacy, all of whom I hold in great regard (and my apologies as there are many more I could list — these are off the top of my imperfect memory): Anita Jones, Dorothy Denning, Mary Ann Davidson, Window Snyder, Jean Camp, Elisa Bertino, Rhonda MacLean, Deborah Frincke, Melissa Hathaway, Chenxi Wang, Terry Benzel, Cristina Nita-Rotaru, Jeannette Wing, Cynthia Irvine, Lorrie Cranor, Dawn Song, Helen Wang, Cathy Meadows, Harriet Pearson, Diana Burley, Rebecca Herold, Shari Pfleeger, Shafi Goldwasser, Barbara Simons, Erin Jacobs, Becky Bace, Radia Perlman, Nuala O’Connor Kelly, Wendy Nather, Linda Northrup, Angela Sasse, Melissa, Dark, Susan Landau, Mischel Kwon, Phyllis Schneck, Carrie Gates, Katie Moussouris, Ronda Henning…. There are literally thousands more who are less senior but are likely to have interesting things to say. Simply look around. And if you’re organizing the event, consider this.

I’m going to opine the following: We will never have diversity be considered important in the Oscar race until the Oscar nominees have the gumption to, as a group, refuse to accept their nominations unless they are part of a diverse group of nominees. Until that happens, they are just passing the buck, considering diversity to be someone else’s problem.

In *every* category, there is sufficient talent out there to nominate a diverse field of candidates. Not having diversity is a statement about those in charge, who their friends are, and the diversity of the circles they operate in. Working diverse breeds diversity. Writing diverse breeds diversity. The Oscar field not being diverse is a statement, reflection, and indictment of the industry as a whole. The cinema (just like the theater) must reflect and tell the stories of society as a whole. Making that happen takes strength of character and strong resolve, having principles and insisting on them, both in the on-camera talent, the behind the camera crew, and in the stories.

So, I’ll say it again: We will never have diversity be considered important in the Oscar race until the Oscar nominees have the gumption to, as a group, refuse to accept their nominations unless they are part of a diverse group of nominees. Until that happens, they are just passing the buck, considering diversity to be someone else’s problem.

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Musings on ⇒ Recent LA News of 🏫 Kings and 🏈 Rams

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Jan 13, 2016 @ 11:59 am PDT

userpic=los-angelesOver lunch, I’d like to share with you some thoughts on some recent LA-centric items in the news:

Former Teacher Michelle King Named First Black Woman to Head LAUSD

Before I explain why I’m so pleased with this selection, a bit of bio from the article:

According to the district, King attended Century Park and Windsor Hills elementary schools and Palms Junior High School. She graduated from Palisades High School and attended UCLA.

She began her teaching career at Porter Middle School in Granada Hills, teaching math and science, before becoming the math, science and aerospace coordinator at Wright Middle School in Westchester. She later served as assistant principal and principal at Hamilton High School in Cheviot Hills.

She served as Cortines’ chief of staff during his previous administration, then as a deputy under Superintendent John Deasy and again under Cortines following Deasy’s departure.

First, I’ll note that King and I went to the same high school, and we even went at the same time (I was class of ’77; she was Michelle Brewster in the class of ’79). I don’t believe I knew her, alas, but I’ve got the feeling that a number of my friends did (including the sister of one of my best friends). She also taught at the Junior High I attended (for 7th grade): Wright in Westchester. She’s also a UCLA grad!

Further, note what she taught: math and science, and then coordinated math, science, and aerospace. This means she is a technical woman, and knows the value of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). She also taught at Hamilton High, which has a performing arts magnet — meaning she likely understands the value of the arts as well. STEAM, in one package.

Next, note that she taught in both the valley and in the city, meaning the needs of the valley will be understood. She doesn’t appear to have experience in the inner city (the set of schools at which she attended or taught are mostly middle-class), but you can’t have it all.

She’s a product of the glory days of LAUSD (at least defined by when I went there), and knows what LAUSD is capable of.

Most importantly, she’s a great face for diversity and success. She’s a black woman leader, and I know from working at a company with a similar leader the value that such leadership can have in inspiring young woman today, and making the statement that with hard work, anything is possible.

Ms. King — best of luck in making LAUSD the best district in the nation.

NFL will return to Los Angeles for 2016 season

Now, I’m not a person who follows professional sports, or who even watches football, baseball, basketball, or hockey games with any frequency, or even at all. But the return of the Rams to Los Angeles just feels right. After starting in Cleveland in 1936, the Rams moved to Los Angeles in 1946, becoming the first NFL team to play in Los Angeles. They also became the first integrated professional football team during their first year in Los Angeles, when they signed Kenny Washington on March 21, 1946. (As a side note: Kenny Washington was one of four black players on the 1939 UCLA Football Team … another being Jackie Robinson, the man responsible for integrating professional baseball with a team that would later move to Los Angeles).

The Rams played in Los Angeles until 1980 (34 years), and I remember well driving past their headquarters on Pico Blvd in West LA. They then moved to Anaheim in 1980, and then departed for St. Louis in 1994. That’s a total of 48 years in Southern California. They were in St. Louis for only 20 years. Much as I love St. Louis, the Rams are really LA’s team.

Further, they are getting a new stadium without any public financing, and a stadium that will also be able to house NFL West Coast operations. I may not care about football, but I do care about Southern California — and that will be a significant economic driver for Inglewood and the surrounding communities both in year-round employment, support operations, and tourist dollars.

As for the other teams in the deal: I’m glad the Raiders are on the bottom. I remember them during their years here. They really didn’t have civic loyalty, and they projected an image that I wasn’t crazy about. More importantly, just like the Rams were never really STL, the Raiders were never really LA. The Raiders were born in Oakland (1960), came to LA in 1982 and left back for Oakland in 1996. That’s 14 years in LA, vs. almost 42 years in Oakland. They are an Oakland team, and their home should be Oakland.  Hopefully, their owner can figure out a way to reconcile with the city and get a new stadium there; if not, I hear St. Louis wants to build a stadium. Musical teams, anyone?

With respect to the Chargers: although they started in LA in 1960, they’ve been in San Diego since 1961. Ideally, the approval to be the second team plus the 100 million from the NFL might help San Diego get off its collective tush and build them a suitable stadium. They are a great draw for Orange County and San Diego. If not, well the new Inglewood stadium has room for two.

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It’s What’s For Dinner: Mixed-Up News Chum Stew

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Jan 10, 2016 @ 5:30 pm PDT

Observation StewFinally, it is time for the main dish: A hearty news chum stew made up of items that I just couldn’t form up into a coherent (or even incoherent) post. I’ll note the first three are roughly science related:

  • Things That Go Bump in the … Ouch. The title is worrisome enough on its own: “How A Simple Bump Can Cause An Insidious Brain Injury“. The concern here is a kind of brain injury that’s very insidious — a subdural hematoma. These don’t occur with falling off a ladder, slipping and bash your head on the ice, or playing football. Basically — and this can be a problem as you get older — you bump your head. You get a small brain bleed, but below the dura that lines the brain. The bleed creates a very low-pressure ribbon of blood that’s layering on top of the surface of the brain. As that blood starts to pool over days or weeks, it irritates the brain cells. And if the pool’s big enough, it presses on the brain and damages it, much like a tumor. Ouch.
  • It’s better than Progenitorivox. Asprin is indeed a miracle drug, when taken daily. Not only can it help your heart, but it can lower your risk of prostate disease. Men with prostate cancer had almost a 40% lower risk of dying of the disease if they were taking aspirin for cardiovascular protection, a large cohort study showed.
  • At Last My Row Is Complete Again. Those of you with real periodic tables of wood, time to get out your engraving router. The last row of the periodic table has been filled: the final four elements are confirmed. Needless to say, you won’t be able to keep the samples for long. That’s how it goes.
  • Clearing Out the Stash. Lots of useful info here for knitters and crocheters. Here is a list of 10 charities looking for yarn projects, and in that list are links to about 15 more. There’s also Operation Gratitude, which is looking for knitted scarfs for soldiers. Now, go forth and clean out that sewing room. Your non-crafting partners will thank you.
  • High Fashion Religious Scarfs. A couple of related items here. First, Dolce & Gabbana have launched a line of high-fashion hijabs and abaysas (Islamic head scarves). This is actually a big deal, as the purchasing power of this market is high, and this is an untapped area of fashion. In a different religious area, H&M has marketed a scarf that looks very much like a tallit.  This is a bit more in bad taste (although I must admit we once did find a fancy tallit in a thrift store — National Council of Jewish Women, in fact — that was labeled as a scarf). It is so problematic that they have pulled it from sale in Israel.  Just imagine the next conversation: Hey, boss: I’ve got this great idea for a new hat for women.
  • Tongue Tied. Moving from the Hebrew to the Yiddish: Here is a set of Yiddish Tongue Twisters. My favorite? “Schmoozing in the shtetl with a schmutzy sheitel is a shande.”
  • Ikea Games. Mental Floss had a neat article on secrets of Ikea. One is that there are multiple quick routes through the store, both for safety reasons and stocking reasons, and they’re open to the public. But they’re not advertised, so you’ll need a keen eye for secret passageways. Often they take the form of unmarked service doors. But they change them fairly frequently because customers get familiar with the shortcuts and know how to zip through. They change the shortcuts to force people to go around the long way again.
  • Getting a Lyft. I’ve been hearing more and more about Lyft and Uber. I’ve never used them. In LA, Lyft has just been authorized to pick up at LAX. Here’s a report on what it is like to use Lyft at LAX.
  • Ride the Red Cars. It is appropriate that I’m wearing an Orange Empire shirt as I type this. Here’s a retrospective on the decline of the Pacific Electric in Los Angeles. Alas, as usual, the comments go off the rail into conspiracy theories and partisan politics (yes, the removal of PE is Obama’s fault. Right.). Further, no one mentions they are still running at OERM.
  • There are Beans, and there are Beans. The inventor of Jelly Bellies is jonesing for a comeback. His next idea: caffeinated coffee jelly beans. Now that his non-compete has passed, the founder and his business partners have launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking $10,000 to launch their Original Coffee House Beans, which will come in flavors such as hot cocoa and peppermint, chai tea, coffee and doughnuts and caffe macchiato. Sounds interesting. Sugar and caffeine in one little pill. Who needs an energy drink.

 

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