Clouds Make The Sky

Cirrus Timelapse   YouTube

If you’re interested in fun outdoors nothing beats a beautiful blue sky. For photography not so much! Clouds add texture and contrast. Blue skies are boring.

I have a huge photo of Monument Valley hanging upstairs which was taken on a sunny day. I added clouds for a better shot!

Sorry Mother Nature. Please don’t get upset I’m screwing with your work product.

I looked up around an hour ago and saw cirrus clouds. That meant this would be a great afternoon for time lapse photography.

Take a look and let me know what you think. Without these clouds this might as well have been a still.

They’re Named What? Silverado, California’s Weird Streets!

Helaine and I will probably move around 40 miles south of Los Angeles in Irvine. Being a curious guy, I’ve spent some time getting to know the region using the Internet.

Last night I looked at maps of the area, trying to decide if the small mountains northeast of the city would be good for photography? That’s when I came across Silverado, California.

Wikipedia says it’s an unincorporated community. No population given. Isolated.

Someone in Silverado has a sense of humor. Check the names of their roads from Google Maps.

silverado  ca   Google Maps

When Poker And Pot Are Legal

With the economy stalled and governments unable to keep out of the red, this may be the year we see the widespread legalization of some former unlawful vices: online poker and pot!

Pot for medicinal purposes is already legal in a few states, including Connecticut. I have one friend with a card that allows her to purchase 2&#189 ounces per month for a person with MS under her care. That’s a lot of pot for one person.

There’s no established structure for distribution, so legal pot in Connecticut exists more in theory than fact.

In states like California medicinal marijuana is more a ruse. If you have a real or imagined physical complaint you can score pot! I have been in the car as friends and relatives drove to strip mall pot dispensaries to score. None seemed very sick.

Recently Colorado passed a recreational pot law. Around the nation opposition is fading fast.

For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana. A national survey finds that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not.

Support for legalizing marijuana has risen 11 points since 2010. The change is even more dramatic since the late 1960s. A 1969 Gallup survey found that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use, while 84% were opposed. – Pew Research Center for People and Press

Pew Research survery on legalizing pot

Even if it is the evil “Weed With Roots in Hell,” it is ridiculous unconscionable we still arrest and jail people for possessing it. Do we really need to ruin their adult lives by arresting pot smoking teens?

As has been recently pointed out, the last three presidents were once law breakers as was this blogger and nearly every other adult I know!

Obviously there are concerns with kids smoking and stoned drivers, but we’re facing those concerns today with little realistic recourse. It’s unlikely anyone will start toking just because it’s legal, as few were stopped because it was not!

Screenshot_2013-04-06-16-00-48

Online poker might actually beat legalized pot in some states. New Jersey and Nevada both have laws. Other states are sure to follow.

Poker is an interesting case, because I can play with friends at home or go to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun for action, I just can’t play online.

At one time online poker seemed to be in some sort of quasi legal no-man’s land. Then the Justice Department shut things down on what’s come to be known as “Black Friday.”

From Wikipedia: United States v. Scheinberg, 10 Cr. 336 (2011), is a United States federal criminal case against the founders of the three largest online poker companies, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Cereus (Absolute Poker/Ultimatebet), and a handful of their associates,[1] which alleges that the defendants violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and engaged in bank fraud and money laundering in order to process transfers to and from their customers

PokerStars, where I played, is still around. I’ve got a play money tournament on my tablet right now. Playing for real money, even the tiny tournaments I played at PokerStars, is different. Players aren’t as cautious without some skin at risk.

When pot and poker are legalized (and there currently seems no doubt they will be) will we look back and wonder why they were illegal in the first place? I will.

Why We Fly Southwest

southwest-737-office

It’s 2:00 PM EDT. Right now Helaine and I should be taxiing to the gate at LAX on-board Southwest Flight 215, a one stop from Bradley to the coast.

Have they noticed we’re not on the plane?

A missing piece of paper would have kept us from completing all the tasks on our trip, so we canceled. We did it just before midnight for a 6:30 AM flight. The penalty for cancellation, zero!

This afternoon Helaine rebooked the trip, combining it with a trip to Arizona (Happy 100th Aunt Sue) already planned with tickets purchased. That meant changing more flights. The penalty for rebooking, zero!

Southwest didn’t refund our money. There is a limit to their largess. Instead it’s on account and available to use–100% of it.

While other airlines seem too upset to even deal with you as a passenger, Southwest seems genuinely glad to have our business.

I’m not quite sure I understand why Southwest’s fares aren’t part of the booking consortiums like Expedia and Travelocity? Because of that, most people don’t see Southwest’s fares (often higher until you factor in the baggage charges you aren’t paying) or even know where they fly.

Southwest has been a consumer friendly experience for as long as we’ve been flying them. Being loyal, flying Southwest almost exclusively and even using a Southwest credit card is our way of saying thanks.

Today Southwest said you’re welcome.

Two Thumbs Up For A Life Fully Lived

roger ebertSad News today. Roger Ebert died. He and Gene Siskel elevated movie reviews and cinema in general with “Sneak Previews,” then later “At the Movies.”

It all started locally in Chicago, then moved nationwide on PBS.

Back in their heyday Siskel and Ebert were invited to a convention of broadcast promotion directors. Among others, they reviewed a promo from Channel 8 featuring me. Two thumbs up.

Years later I separately thanked both of them. They both claimed to remember the spot.

You’re going to read a lot about Roger Ebert’s history over the next few days. I’d like to talk a little about his recent past.

Roger was first diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and underwent treatment. There were various stories, but in retrospect it’s obvious the cancer never went away. It slowly ate at the physical Roger Ebert.

In 2006, surgery on his jaw left him disfigured, without a voice or the ability to eat or drink.

I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris. – Roger Ebert in Esquire Magazine 2010.

There was a chance more surgery might have lengthened his life, but based on earlier surgery that backfired, he decided to do without.

Suffering a condition that would have stopped most of us, Roger Ebert continued his life and said fuck you&#185 to his cancer.

He remained a prolific film reviewer, mentioning a few days ago how he’d reviewed more films in 2012 than ever before.

He was even more prolific as a social commentator. Following his feed on Twitter was a gift. The same goes for his longer online musings. He always wrote, because he always had something to say.

The online world was perfect for Ebert. He embraced the freedom and reach it afforded him.

There is a Frank Sinatra song I remember from childhood. It came to mind as I began to write this.

I’m gonna live till I die! I’m gonna laugh ‘stead of cry,
I’m gonna take the town and turn it upside down,
I’m gonna live, live, live until I die.
They’re gonna say “What a guy!” I’m gonna play for the sky.
Ain’t gonna miss a thing, I’m gonna have my fling,
I’m gonna live, live, live until I die.

– I’m Gonna Live Till I Die by Hoffman, Kent and Curtis

Roger Ebert was 70.

The balcony is closed.

&#185 – That is a phrase I have never used on this blog, but I feel it is appropriate here to best describe Ebert’s attitude. I apologize to those offended. That is not my intention.

So Frustrating

My secretive from from the San Fernando Valley just emailed me a photo. It’s him with a TV/movie star. All I’d need was the first name and you’d immediately know. That big a star! Absolutely physically recognizable too. Alas, he lives his life as if he was on the Witness Protection Program! I guess I […]

-read more-

The Geekiest Facts I Know

As a meteorologist and science/tech reporter I often had ‘extra facts’ that wouldn’t fit into my reports. Mostly they were too complex to be included in the time allotted. That’s not a complaint, just an explanation of how things work. Here on the Internet space is no problem! So, today, two scientific tidbits you might […]

-read more-

Exit The Dumpster

With the house for sale and a move to the West Coast imminent, Helaine and I have spent the past few weeks culling. Is there a more difficult chore? At some point you just close your eyes and toss! Helaine saved EVERY paper Stef produced in school, grades K through 12. She saved every card […]

-read more-

The Season Begins For The Phils

“This game is really long.” That was Helaine a few minutes ago. Baseball games usually run about three hours. The Phillies’ season is only an hour and a half old. Just four innings into 2013 and there’s already trouble. Cole Hamels, the Phillies ace, has given up four runs to the Atlanta Braves. Philly bats […]

-read more-

By All Means, Say Hello

A few weeks ago as Helaine and I flew home from Milwaukee via Baltimore I noticed this on Twitter: Hanz in the air @hannahfinchh Chillin next to Geoff Fox At the time I had no idea who posted that. Now I do and Hannah knows I saw it. We’re cool. Truth is, after 28 years […]

-read more-