Sunday, January 29, 2012

What To Do When Your Lawmakers Break the Law?

Our present, bucolic, civic center property, with our library in the distance.

Those of you who don't live in my little town of Los Altos, California, may feel that I've been spending too much time on my local issues here on this blog, and that these local issues don't relate to you. The truth is, what is happening in my town is applicable to the serious problems we are all seeing at the federal, state and local level in recent years. Government is acting in its own interest or at the behest of special interests. Taxpayers are finding their interests least represented.

There is a law that prevents my local government from campaigning for a bond issue. I believe my local government is breaking this law. You tell me what you think.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dancing With the Candidates

This ... is... Jeopardy! The CNN "debate set."

I'm going to have to watch the Republican "debate" tonight (Thursday, January 26) on CNN.  These live spectacles have been riveting this year--kind of like a train wreck.

I'm posting this with a news release photo of the CNN "debate set." Is it just me, or does it look like it ought to go with the theme from "Jeopardy?"

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Paving Paradise (Continued) ...

Our new "streetscape" on First Street in Los Altos.

One week after our local paper criticized our Mayor and her City Council for not meeting any of their deadlines on a downtown "streetscape" which has closed our key intersection since July 2011: Voila! The street is now open.

That's a relief anyway--though our formerly tree-lined street now has what looks like a prison wall along its edge. It does go to show how fast you can get our mayor to move if you have the nerve to criticize her.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Everybody Talks About the Weather ...

Bainbridge Island, Washington State. Wednesday, January 17, 2012.

When I was in journalism school at UCLA, I learned of a survey that revealed the Los Angeles Times, with its headquarters in the middle of one of the most temperate regions in the United States, had more front page weather stories than any other paper in the country.

It seemed like a quirky thing. And yet I've long remembered it. Wild weather is always really fascinating--especially when it isn't happening to you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Joys of Dorothy L. Sayers

Murder Must Advertise was written in 1933.

Every now and then, we all come across a book we can read and read again, and which continues to delight us each time.

Murder Must Advertise, by Dorothy L. Sayers, is one of those books for me and I keep a copy around for just that reason.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weather News and Other Oddities

Anchorage, Alaska, January Sunday 2012. Click the pic to make it bigger and note the frozen peak in the distance. Brrr.

I have two sets of cousins who live in Alaska. One set are teachers who live in Kenai. Another are lawyers and live in Anchorage. Since I read in the paper that Alaska is really getting slammed this winter, I wrote my cousin in Anchorage and asked for a picture.

I guess I didn't think about this request very hard. It meant somebody had to go outside to get a photo ...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How Many Gov't Agencies Does it Take ...

Historic Hangar One, Moffett Field, 1/10/2012.

A friend was over at Moffett Field this week and sent me some photos that show the work on historic Hangar One. The "de-skinning" is going along much faster than any of us expected.

There is an offer on the table from the Google founders to "re-skin" it, if they can just store their fleet of planes there--who knew they had a fleet of planes? But their offer is a good one, and would save the hangar. And there the offer sits.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It Takes a Village: If You Can Keep One

State Street and Second, Los Altos, California.

The little town where I grew up turns 60 years old this year.  From its beginnings, the city government went to a lot of trouble to keep it from developing into just another suburb. The city worked hard at keeping its sense of place.

Nestled up against the Coast Range, built along the now-long-gone Southern Pacific "Daylight" rail line to San Francisco, it kept strict height limitations on its downtown, and limited residential lot size to no less than a quarter acre.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Surf's Up Along the California Coast

Surfers paddling out into the surf at Half Moon Bay, California.

As I was driving around running errands on Friday I heard on the radio there was a big wave warning for the California Coast this weekend.  They were telling visitors to the beach to be careful and not to linger too long on the edges of coastal cliffs.

Hooeee. I thought I might drive over and see some big curls!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Demonstrations of Temporal Cloakling"

Robin and niece Lena. This was during a temporal non-void when we were wearing coats, not cloaks.

I just read this article about how scientists have figured out a way to create hidden pockets in time by altering the speed of light beams.

These physicists can cause what they are calling "tiny temporal voids." Tiny means really tiny. Maybe a picosecond--which is a trillionth of a second. But they're working to stretch it out to something like a nanosecond--or a billionth of a second.

I really love this idea.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"One of the Few Remaining Apricot Orchards of Santa Clara Valley"

Los Altos City Hall, looking across the apricot orchard to the Youth Center and the Police Station.

At late as the 1970s, the Santa Clara Valley was still economically dependent upon agriculture. According to the Santa Clara Valley Historical Society most of the County's orchards of apricot, prune, cherry and almond were small and family owned. Cooperatives helped the region's families sell and distribute their products.

California still produces 95% of America's apricots. Most, however, come from the San Joaquin Valley, inland from Los Altos, Mountain View, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale--little towns where the lovely climate and proximity to San Francisco and Stanford University transformed orchards into suburbs.