Will Someone Call The Scientologists Off?

It started a few months ago. I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize and answered. It was someone from the Church Mailing Department at the Church of Scientology. The person said they were looking to correct an address they had.

Something smelled fishy. I have no contact or affiliation with Scientology. I said I didn’t want to participate.

Since then the calls and texts have continued to come. The originating number has varied. Sometimes it’s not from the LA area, but most times it is.

I have told them I am on the Do Not Call list. I have told them I feel they are harassing me.

Yesterday, another text.

Hi Jeff Fox?

I’m trying my best to disregard them, but it seems there’s nothing I can do. It’s very frustrating and equally creepy.

Just A Story

F-27

I got an email tonight from an Air Force reservist assigned to Vandenberg AFB. It’s about 3.5 hours north of here on the coast.

Vandenberg reminded me of my weirdest airplane flight ever. I was flying to my cousin’s bar mitzvah in Santa Maria, California from San Francisco. I’d spent a few weeks traveling with my pen pal, David. I was 18. This was my first time away from home alone. My first time out west.

I was booked on Hughes Air West, owned by Howard Hughes. He’d recently bought four airlines and merged them. The flight attendant wore one insignia, the pilot another, the coffee cups showed a third.

Look at the photo above. The plane says “Air West,” but the tail still has the Bonanza Airlines logo on it.

This was a milk run: San Francisco-San Jose-Pasa Robles-San Luis Obispo-Santa Maria. I believe the first leg took under ten minutes.

The aircraft was a Fairchild F-27. It’s a prop plane with the wing over the fuselage. I could watch the landing gear extend and retract out my window.

This was exciting. My first commercial jet flight was a few weeks earlier. Now an afternoon of flying!

The route connected small towns. San Luis Obispo actually had “San Luis Obispo” painted on the tarmac. Too small for a sign.

As we approached Santa Maria the pilot informed us there was fog and we’d be putting down at Vandenberg AFB to wait it out.

We landed then stopped on a taxiway. An air force officer came on-board and told us there would be no picture taking.

Vandenberg is the military’s space center. This was the height of the Cold War. I had long hair. Who knows?

We took off again and headed toward Santa Maria. The plane began to descend, making a sweeping downward oval in the sky. We kept losing altitude for what seemed an eternity. With the wing above, I looked down hoping to soon spot Earth.

We couldn’t have been more than a few hundred feet up when we broke out of the clouds. The pilot gunned the engine simultaneously pulling the gear and nose up.

Truck on the runway.

This day is indelibly etched in my mind.

Is The Comcast Deal Getting Its Cable Cut?

New Haven Comcast office

As you probably know Comcast is trying desperately to buy Time Warner Cable. In Comcast’s world this is a deal from heaven. To customers, not so much.

Both companies are prime examples of what happens when you let a company dominate a market with nearly no competition. As TheVerge.com so succinctly said in its December 30, 2014 headline,

Time Warner Cable and Comcast rank as worst companies for customer satisfaction

All of this exists because cable companies were originally granted one-to-a-market licenses. Over time the bigger companies swallowed the smaller ones. Dozens of little local operators became tiny pieces of the cable behemoths. Each city and town received less and less personal attention.

With no, or little, competition these companies look upon customer satisfaction as a cost with little upside. After all, where were there customers going to go?

Now it looks like the FCC is going to put its foot down. Re/Code.com, among others, is reporting:

Report Suggests FCC About to Kill Comcast’s Time Warner Cable Deal

Imagine how bad you have to be to not get what Comcast expected would be a rubber stamp!

I saw the first signs of this being a bad deal when, early on, Comcast Executive VP David Cohen said they’re,

“not promising that customer bills are going to go down or even increase less rapidly.”

That’s among the most ballsy pre-merger statements I’ve ever heard. They really expected this to be a cakewalk.

I will not cry when this deal officially tanks. There are other industries needing some of this new found tough love from the federal government. It’s long overdue.

Crazy Weather — Last Minute Changes

IMG_7309[1]-w1200-h1200

The Palm Springs area is known for it’s beautiful weather, especially now during ‘the season.’ For most, today was no exception. For some it was nuts!

I planned on showing a telescopic image of last night’s asteroid fly-by. It’s cool show-and-tell. I got to do that at five, but it was quickly pushed off my agenda.

My forecast yesterday called for moderate to strong winds this afternoon. By 4:30 police had closed Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs because of reduced visibility in blowing sand! I quickly worked up a graphic showing the gusts tonight.

As we went to air (and the road reopened) I got a photo of what looked like a funnel cloud. I hurriedly pushed that into my TriCaster and aired it a few minutes later.

It was probably a landspout. Conventional tornadoes come from mature storm cells. Landspouts are weak tornadoes that form early as storms are building.

This evening I got the video you see at the bottom of this entry. It’s the landspout near Desert Center (population around 150), a rural community surrounded by sandy wilderness. I showed it briefly at 9:00 and will feature it again at 11:00.

The landspout was unexpected, unforecast and unseen by Doppler radar! Luckily, It did no harm. It made for great TV.

How Random Is Life?

minorplanetcenter.net neo view date 2457133.84 label 2015 HD1 packed_desig K15H01D

A little asteroid just whizzed by Earth. Not terribly large. Estimates say 20-60 feet long. 2015 HD-1 is one of billions of rocks randomly orbiting the Sun. Tonight it came really close to us.

With asteroids, astronomers calculate the object’s closest distance from Earth and compare that with our distance from the Moon. 2015 HD-1 was only .17 LD (Lunar distances) from our planet. Roughly 40,000 miles.

Astronomers have only known about this interplanetary speck a few days. An automated sky search run by the University of Arizona found it first. It was magnitude 20.1. Very dim.

Sixty feet long isn’t enough to do the Earth in. A sixty footer would probably break up in the atmosphere. Much of it would burn, but plenty of large rocky fragments would fall to earth. And there’d be a destructive sonic boom.

When an asteroid exploded over Siberia a few years it was flying glass from the sonic boom that injured nearly 1,500.

We didn’t know it existed until Saturday. How random is life?

A Definite Maybe

Since last Wednesday I’ve been talking about the chance of the Palm Springs area getting a few sprinkles this Thursday. In most places caring about an iffy forecast for a tiny event so far in advance would be a non-starter. Not so in the desert where long time residents look forward to our few cloudy […]

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Experimenting in the Studio

Having a television studio in my home allows me to experiment when I get the urge. That’s what happened last night. My control room, a Tricaster Mini, has a virtual set feature built in. With a camera and green wall you can insert the ‘talent’ in the middle. Hit a button and my non-zooming camera […]

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Rain’s A Big Deal Here

We do a seven day forecast at KMIR. Yesterday I mentioned Day Eight. It got a shout out (as Day Seven) again tonight. That’s because there’s rain forecast next Thursday. The actual value to rain in the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area) is debatable. We average less than six inches per year. The majority of […]

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What I Got Wrong About Weather From My Home Studio

Helaine came down to my studio last night at 2:30 AM. She was wondering why I hadn’t come upstairs to change out of my suit. I was working on maps and a few tech modifications. Nothing major. I was motivated, so I stayed and did it. If I was working at ‘work’ I’d have thought […]

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The Brits Have It Right

Does anyone really know where any candidate stands yet? Do the candidates even know? It’s a complex job. No one can ad lib their way in.

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