Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Catch A Wave...

and you're sitting on top of the world... Catch A Wave- The Beach Boys

I love this idea of generating electricity using the power of ocean waves or tides. I guess I wasn't paying enough attention. I thought they'd be at least starting that project just off Table Bluff by now. Isn't that the DG Energy Solution one the Times- Standard article mentions?

Good to see PG& E getting behind the idea, but with only a few megawatts worth of projects being started or in the works worldwide, it doesn't look like too many of the powers- that- be in industry are all that excited about it.

Another one of those things that probably won't really take off, at least in my lifetime.

Berg Pushes Willits Bypass

As many of you already know, our very own assemblybabe, Patty Berg, is asking residents of the north coast to contact the California Transportation Commission and urge them to fund the completion of the proposed Willits bypass.

I'm all in support of this despite having no problem driving through Willits most of the time. It's the summer when the bottleneck inside the town raises its ugly head and can make it take up to an hour, or so it seems, just to get through town. That can, indeed, be a problem.

Sure, I might agree with others who have said the Bay Area has worse congestion problems. I suspect they always will and, frankly, I can't help but wonder what they can do about the congestion they already have? You can only have so many people driving on a certain amount of land at any one time. Seems to me they're already just about out of room as it is.

Besides, seems to me it doesn't make sense to have the main course of transportation on the California coast, north to south, being held up by bottlenecks. With that in mind, I would think the Confusion Hill bypass should be the priority, not Willits. But since the funds come from slightly different sources (I think?) why not do both?

Regardless, I don't think I'll see either completed in my lifetime.

Would You Shut Him Up?

Yet another voice out there trying to shut down other opinions. Wonder if he hangs out on the Humboldt blogs?

Same old, same old: Our side tells the truth, your's doesn't. It comes from all sides, but I'll have to admit to hearing most calls for complete exclusion of an opposing voice coming from those on the Left.

Actually saw an e- mail some years ago from a guy on the Redwood Peace and Justice Center e- mail list. It was in response to an e- mail comment I made suggesting some people being a little more open to hearing both sides of the issue, or some such. The guy said something along the line of, "Liberals tell the truth about things. Conservatives are always lying...".

How any sort of agreement can be come to when so many people feel the same way about the "other side" is beyond me.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Let's Go To The North Jetty!!!

There always has to be one or two people that don't know better and have to go watch the storm at the North Jetty, doesn't there? Never mind any warnings advising people not to go out there.

Anyone know who this guy is and how long he's lived up here?

Owens Tackles Global Warming

Gene Owens (isn't he the guy from the John Birch Society?) takes a shot at global warming alarmists in today's Eureka Reporter. I guess he's writing in response to some things David Cobb wrote in a commentary earlier on. Seems to me I remember Cobb writing something about global warming but I forget the specifics.

It's always good to see someone not afraid to go against the grain of current politically correct thought. Still, he tends to digress to other issues as he goes on about global warming. He probably should have left some of the last paragraphs out if only to stay on topic.

Just my opinion.
The Orange County Register also ran an editorial this morning denouncing global warming and its alarmists. Hard to beat the O.C. Register for a hard- hitting libertarian oriented commentary now and again.


Did you all feel it- The earthquake this morning? It was bigger than I'd first thought.

I've found in the early morning earthquakes sometimes seem larger than they are, it being calm and quite amplifying the effects. I've also found I can feel or hear earthquakes early in the morning that I might not even notice later in the day.

So, I'm laying in bed and feel a couple short shakes then a fairly strong jolt. I'm thinking to myself; "Not now. I don't want my house torn apart in this kind of weather...". When an earthquake hits, you never know how long it's going to last or how powerful it will be. Will this be the Big One?

I told the wife, not even knowing if she was awake, "That was a pretty good one...". She said something along the line that it wasn't probably as big as it felt. When I got up and checked online I found they rated it 5.4. Not bad. Good thing it was a short one.

Then you start wondering if it was just a pre- shock to the Big One, but everything settles down and seems ok. Doesn't mean much, though. The Big One could still happen anytime.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Major Papers Plug Incandescent Ban

Gee, who'd a thunk that two major papers would come out endorsing the proposed state ban on incandescent light bulbs? Well, the Sacramento Bee did an editorial endorsing the incandescent ban, anyway.

The Los Angeles Times was more of a news story telling for the most part how great compact fluorescents are.

The Times did mention one thing I found interesting: Apparently General Electric is developing some new incandescent bulbs that use half the energy the current ones do and an even more efficient one might be available by 2012.

Interesting thing about both the Bee's editorial and the L.A. Times story is neither mentions the fact that compact fluorescent bulbs are considered hazardous waste and can't just be thrown away.

I think I'll write a letter to the L.A. Times to remind them of that. Think they'll publish it?

Debug Your Computer

Bob, over at the Talking Tech blog, gives us a heads up that a local tech group is offering a relatively low cost service finding and removing adware, malware, viruses and such from your computer.

He references some computer guy that estimates one quarter of the world's PCs contain such software. We've discussed the issue here before. Still, I find those figures almost hard to believe.

I still wonder about this computer. I haven't gotten around to doing an ad and spyware scan. Maybe I'll do that today.

But I do have a firewall and I would think that would stop unwanted things from being sent out. I always wondered if you wouldn't see thousands of e-mails in your outbox if your computer was sending out all kinds of stuff. Upon further thinking I realized that the hackers that do this stuff probably send all of it out through a separate program you wouldn't be aware of anyway.

So, I wonder if my firewall would alert me if adware was being sent out? I believe that's what it's supposed to do. I opened up Zonelabs earlier and watched it for a while. While I could see a lot of traffic coming in, not much was going out. I guess I'm ok.

Are you?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Cops Needed

It was good to see this item in the Eureka Reporter.

We keep hearing, at least in some circles, that we need to raise the salary levels of police officers in Eureka to keep them from moving elsewhere and taking jobs with other departments that pay better.

I'm sure that will always be the case, to some extent, but we have to realize that Eureka P.D. isn't the only department short of personnel as the Eureka Reporter article suggests.

There is a nationwide shortage of police officers, at least by the standards of those who determine staffing levels. For those that want a "cop on every corner", there'll probably never be enough.

Some cops will always be in search of the next, and better, carreer opportunity. Others might just want to find the department, and job environment, they're comfortable with.

This idea of continually raising the salaries and benefits of cops might have some merit, but I think it's an idea doomed to an endless circle as more and more communities keep raising pay and benefits: One city ups the other. The next city does the same to be competitive and it goes on and on.

Whether Eureka P.D.'s change of policy in paying for recruits to attend the academy will pay off is anyone's guess. Some, like myself over 20 years ago, put themselves through the academy to be able to present themselves as an inexpensive asset to a potential employer.

Some cities have always paid for the recruits training.

Seems to me, since there are shortages of cops across the country, it probably makes little difference whether a department pays for all recruits training or only accepts those already having been through the academy.

Only time will tell if the change in Eureka's policy will pay off. I suspect it will make little if any difference since the reasons cops stay or leave a particular department involve more than just the money they get.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

North Coast Travelogue: 2/21-2/23

What a lousy couple of days.

Left for San Francisco again on Wednesday. Like I said earlier on, it might prove to be interesting with the heavy rain. Wasn't all that bad really except some of the places where water pooled on the road.

I'd checked the road conditions before leaving and it seemed all the roads were open, the one exception being controlled traffic on a stretch on 101 south of Leggett due to an accident. That was about 8:30 before we left. I was surprised to hear, while listening to KMUD radio down around Confusion Hill, the radio gal advising of the same accident and controlled traffic.

Yep, it was still controlled when we got there about 11:30. Held us up for about ten minutes. Looked like they'd finally cleared the road, though. Found out later that's where both drivers were killed.

Oh, by the way, for you rest stop lovers out there; The Leggett rest stop is finally open again.

One pleasant surprise is I saw few speed freaks on the way down there this time. Seems like there's always a few drivers going as fast as they can regardless of the weather conditions. This time it seemed like most people were using due caution, even when we got further into Mendocino County and the rain lightened up a bit finally becoming scattered showers.

One thing I'd always wanted, and finally have, is adjustable windshield wipers- the kind where you can adjust the frequency of wiping. I love 'em but got a little frustrated with them on Wednesday. I couldn't seem to get them set right and they'd either be wiping too slow or too fast. I was thinking to myself that, as much as I had to keep adjusting the speed, I might as well have regular wipers that I'd have to turn off and on manually. Oh well.

We made it to The City maybe twenty minutes later than we normally would of, time- wise. That was actually a bit quicker than expected as I slow down quite a bit in the rain.

Got our room and had dinner on the cheap having brought along some crackers and cheese to snack on. Not having to pay for wireless this time since I'd subscribed to ATT Wifi, I saved at least $20 on dinner and wireless service alone. I was thinking this might be the cheapest trip down there yet.

That was not to be.

I should have anticipated spending more time at UCSF than usual since we had some medical complications to deal with but, for some reason, planned for just one night, figuring we should be out of there by noon.

Nope. They were busy. Our appointment time was pushed back maybe fifteen minutes. Then the Nurse Practitioner told us the wife should get an infusion and it might take a couple hours to free up space for her. The infusion itself should take an hour as well.

Well, so much for getting back to Eureka that day. Usually, if we don't get out of there by noon, we plan on spending the night. We're just too tired by then to drive all the way back.

Connie suggested calling the Cathedral Hill and seeing if we could beg a room for the night. I didn't want to cause any more hassle for them than we already do. I also wanted to get out of The City if only because I'd only planned on one night there. I told Connie we'd head north when she was done and try to at least make Ukiah.

So she gets her IV. I go to get something to eat, checking my e-mail on the public Mac computer UCSF has down below the food court. Checked the blogs as well but forgot to check doppler radar to get an idea of what the weather was doing.

Go into the Subway there to order a sandwich. Figured I'd get the Turkey Breast...whatever it was called. Ended up with something different as the "sandwich artist" was one of those oriental types with such poor english I couldn't understand her.

She'd say something. I'd ask her to repeat and still couldn't understand. Finally I'd say "No". She'd keep saying the same thing until I'd say yes and then plop a bunch of different meats on the sandwich. Finally got it done and was surprised at how good it turned out.

So Connie gets done and we head out, leaving UCSF at just about 3pm sharp. One thing that's nice is leaving SF via 19th rather than Lomard Street. The stretch of road leading to the Golden Gate Bridge from Lombard scares me to death. 19th isn't all that much better, but it is better.

Got a few minor traffic slow ups on the way to Santa Rosa but we made pretty good time. Finally, after thinking about it for a while, I decide I'm going to try to make Eureka.

I HATE driving at night, especially in the rain, but I'm on a mission. I'm tired and bit pissed, but pissed enough to give me the determination to make it home. I tell Connie that and she's probably not all that happy about it but, hey, I'm the one driving. The only thing that will stop me is if we get word of snow north of Ukiah.

Weather wasn't that bad until we started approaching Ukiah. By the time we get to the north end of Ukiah it's really socked it and visibility sucked. Then we saw the sign telling us of winter driving conditions next 75 miles. Carrying chains recommended. Damn. Mission aborted.

It was all I could do to turn around as I couldn't see the lines in the road but managed to take an off ramp and get headed back to Ukiah proper. Finally made it to North State Street and was glad to finally see the Discovery Inn again.

$79, we didn't have, to spend the night but we both agree the Discovery has the nicest rooms we've ever stayed in. That, and I like the fact anything you might need is close by with a supermarket across the street and a number of restaurants as well.

Another thing we took notice of last night is their heater/ air conditioners work real well. The heater warmed up the room real quick. We were there in the summer during the heat wave and the air conditioner worked real well, unlike other places we've stayed.

Oh, as an aside, watched a kind of fun show on the Discovery Channel that night. Best Evidence was about that contrail conspiracy controversy. Some people call them chemtrails and say the government is adding chemicals to jet fuels for various purposes, one of them to combat global warming.

Fun stuff. Keep an eye out for it. Both global warming believers and deniers might enjoy the show.

So we get up in the morning and there's frost on the truck- got down to 32 degrees.

As it gets light you could see snow on the hills. I'm hoping the roads are clear. After some toast and eggs in the Discovery's Breakfast Room we head out. I'm hoping there isn't ice on the roads as I've seen before.

Nope. No ice and I don't think more than an inch of snow was on the ground, but snow was on the ground from Ridgewood Summit, north of Ukiah, to around Leggett. Made it home in about three hours to the minute.

Only problem is, we have to go back again next week and that sucks.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Make That Thirty Minutes...

of fame for your very own Fredster.

I got a mention in the Times- Standard yesterday and the Eureka Reporter today. So, fifteen minutes of fame, times two, equals thirty minutes of fame.

I don't see a link to it on their web site, but the Eureka Reporter has a feature- I think it's weekly- where they take a part of a picture of a local landmark, not enough to easily recognize, and you guess what the landmark is.

My name was first listed among quite a few others for guessing the last one was a picture of part of the totem pole in Mckinleyville.

Ok...that was a pretty easy one. The only other one I guessed so far was one of part of the Fresh Freeze Drive In sign in Eureka. That was actually a bit more difficult than this last one despite living fairly close by Fresh Freeze.

I have no idea what the latest picture is. Grab a hard copy of the Reporter and see if you can figure it out.
Our very own Steve Lewis gets another fifteen minutes of fame, as well, with the Eureka Reporter running his commentary on how old growth forests don't respirate as much as new forests, thus newer forests absorb more carbone dioxide.

That should be of concern for those of you worried about Global Warming. Oh, that's right; It's Climate Change now. That way we can also add colder than normal temperatures to the list of ills cause by the combustion engine.

It's Really Raining Hard

As I write this, my rain gauge shows almost an inch and three quarters of rain since yesterday morining. Wow! Doppler radar shows more of the same continuing although it seems to be limited to Humboldt County, so far, at least on the coast. Batten down the hatches, folks.

I have to do some driving today. That should be interesting.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Another Fifteen Minutes

Yet another fifteen minutes of fame for me, and Eric- both of us getting mention in Rich Sommerville's hard copy version of a blog.

What fun. I'll admit being a bit perplexed when I first read the column. I was just scanning through it and thought he attributed "Mr. Somerville is obviously threatened by the blogosphere" to me. I then realized my comment was quoted after my name was.

Had me going for a second there, though. I was thinking "When did I ever write that?".

Anyway, since Eric got first mention, I guess that makes him King of the Humboldt Bloggers for 2007.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Compact Fluorescents Cheaper?

Mckinleyville's Susan Morton takes issue this morning with the claim that Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs cost a lot of money. A subject of interest to me since we recently addressed on this blog a proposal in the state legislature to ban incandescent light bulbs.

Not only that but, coincidence of coincidences, I actually had to replace the CFL I had in the ceiling of my garage the other day. Not sure how long that bulb had been up there but it could well have been four or five years.

I bought a two pack of CFLs at the Henderson Center Rite- Aid a few days ago for around $10.00, after all was said and done. I guess I got a raw deal as that's quite a bit more expensive than the prices Susan cites.

Then, what do I do with the burned out CFL I replaced? As I mentioned earlier here, I used to just toss them in the trash, not knowing until recently they contained mercury and were considered hazardous waste.

I hadn't thought further on the actual mechanics of getting rid of the old CFLs until I had this burned out one to deal with. I didn't think too much about it and figured maybe the recycling center at Eureka City Garbage might accept them. Then again, I didn't remember ever seeing any receptacles there labeled for fluorescent lights.

As I drove into City Garbage, it struck me when I noticed the Hazardous Waste sign at the entrance. They have a small sheet metal building where they accept hazardous waste. I figured that was where it would probably need to go.

Nonetheless, I went ahead and asked the recycling guy if they accepted CFLs. He said, of course, "hazardous waste", pointing to the hazardous waste building.

The hazardous waste building was closed, as I'd already noticed. I made a point of pulling up close to it as I was leaving to read the sign on the front of it. Among other things it said hazardous waste was only accepted on Fridays and Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. No mention of any costs involved.

I tucked my tail between my legs and took my little light bulb home with me. I guess I'll have to remember to take it down there some time when I'm dumping green waste.

Boy, all that for a silly little light bulb?

Fellow Travelers?

Anyone other than me find Suzie Owsley's column on fitness at sea pretty similar to Ed Denson's latest travelogue? Well ok, they're different, but they both talk about food, fitness and people aboard their cruise ship.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I Just Saved A Bunch Of Money...

on my wireless service when out of town. Well, maybe not a whole bunch, but every little bit helps.

A lot of places we've stayed when out of town offer free wireless or hard line DSL. The place we usually stay, the Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco, doesn't offer free wireless but has ATT Wifi that cost $10.00 a day minimum. I noticed something on the ATT sign in page last time we were down there that got me wondering.

Hey, I'm already with ATT (sbcglobal). Shouldn't I be able to get connected here for less than $10.00? Something on their web page said something about existing customers, prices and such. I told myself to remember to check that out later and forgot about it for the most part.

Checked it out this morning and found for just $1.99 month added to my bill I could get unlimited access to their hot spots around the state. They have a number of them all over, Cathedral Hill Hotel being one. So now, instead of paying between $10 to $25 for a one to three day stay in SF, I pay about two bucks and that covers me for the whole month.

They have an even more expensive deal for $21.00 a month where you can even connect at their partner's sites. Don't think I need to bother with that as most places I go it's free anyway. One place I wish I could connect is at the UCSF Medical Center. I wonder if I could talk ATT into setting up a connection there?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Humboldt Coffee Wars?

I would of thought that the coffee business, here and everywhere else, is pretty competitive. Nonetheless, you don't often see coffee houses in the county going out of business, despite having even two Starbucks in Eureka now.

I guess there is some nastiness going on in the background, though, as the Times- Standard reports this morning. Kind of reminds me of some of the cyberstalking that goes on in the Humboldt blogosphere, with some people following others around and constantly attacking them.

In this case the "stalkers" got found out and sued. I suppose it's good to be able to get some sort of justice, but I have to wonder just how many people visited the web site in question?

I guess it doesn't really matter. If someone jerks you around without any real provocation, it makes sense to jerk them around as well.

Guns In England

CLS, over at the Classically Liberal blog, takes a look this morning at gun control efforts in England. I've read bits and pieces of what he (she?) writes about elsewhere, but he does a good job of summarizing it.

This CLS guy (guy or gal? I have no idea. I finally had to ask) seems pretty impressive to me. "He" does a good job of making his case for whatever point he tries to make, despite some typos and redundancies.

I'm also impressed with how he seems so familiar with the goings on in countries other than his own. I'm under the impression he's from New Zealand.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Eureka Reporter Opposes Iraq Surge?

Why does this surprise me?

I'm not one of those that believes the editorial opinions of newspapers are always a trickle down from their corporate headquarters. So, I don't think opinions I see in the Eureka Reporter are always in lock step with the opinions of Rob Arkley.

I suppose, more than anything else, I'm surprised because I didn't expect the Eureka Reporter to address the issue of the troop surge in Iraq.

Still, having said all that, it begs the question of how the Arkleys feel about Iraq? They seem to be pretty solid, if not rabid, Bush supporters. I would expect they might be fully behind Bush on this. I'll have to ask the Arkleys next time I get the chance.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Nothing To Say...

but it's ok. Good morning.

Is it just me? I can't find anything in the news to write about this morning.

At first I thought I'd comment about that art shop in Willow Creek that's going to close down because their building wasn't properly permitted, but what can you say about that? Sounds like a problem with government to me.

Then I thought of throwing out a few thoughts on the strike looming at Humboldt Creamery but I really don't know much about that. I was always under the impression that Humboldt Creamery was a nice place to work. Maybe I should apply for a job there? They're taking applications.

Nah. We don't want to blog about Humboldt Creamery today.

In desperation I considered the Eureka Reporter article on yesterday's Taxpayer's League meeting. They had Jill Geist giving a talk on the county's financial status. The usual chatter about how we're going to lose funding for this or that program gets old so nothing to comment on there.

It must be me, or maybe it's a slow news day?

Maybe that's it. I see the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat picked up on yesterday's item about the chihuahua that was found in an Arcata dumpster. Hard to believe they'd run a story like that down in Sonoma County unless they had space that needed filling in.

That must be it: Slow news day. Maybe I'll find something to write about tommorow?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

California Insider Moves On

Last week some of the local bloggers seemed to take offense at Times- Standard editor, Rich Somerville's, opinion piece where he suggested at least some blogs don't provide inaccurate information. Some bloggers, in return, were predicting the demise of the print media as a result of what they see as biased news reporting.

I think there may be some truth to that but, bottom line as I see it, is that bloggers generally get fodder for their commentary from the mainstream news media, whether it be hard copy, television or internet. In most cases that will involve paid journalists. To suggest that paid journalism and newspapers in general are headed to oblivion, I'd be careful in doing.

Some certainly like to think that internet based news will eventually lead to the end of the hard copy version, but how will they make enough money to pay the reporters that provide the news?

Most newspapers seem to be providing some sort of web site to view their material on nowadays, but could web based news ever replace the hard copy's revenue of paid advertisements- which I understand is the main source of revenue for newspapers? I don't know.

Nonetheless, some news groups and commentators are exploring the use of paid subscription based web sites, The Wall Street Journal being one that at least requires a subscription to access some of their sections and there's more joining the paid web site club everyday.

I just noticed the Sacramento Bee's, Dan Weintraub, is moving his California Insider blog to a paid subscription site- the Sacramento Bee's Capitol Alert. Bummer. I always look forward to seeing what he comes up with each day.

So should I go along and pay for a subscription to that site? After all, if these guy's don't make money, who's going to provide our news?

I guess not. The $499 a year subscription rate is a bit much for this bloggers pocketbook. I can only hope the Sacramento Bee and other newspapers continue to make enough money to provide the news the way I'm getting it now.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Nanny State: Yes or No?

The San Bernadino Sun takes a look this morning at the Nanny State and those in Sacramento who support or oppose it.

I guess it's no surprise that there are many believers in the Nanny State. We've seen plenty of them here. Whether it's frightening or refreshing that supporters of the Nanny State are so open about their beliefs is the question.

New "Best Of" Poll Up

Those of you that like to participate in the Times- Standard's Best of the North Coast polls might find this week's poll(s) a bit confusing, assuming you've seen both the online and hard copy versions of the poll.

The hard copy poll asks for your vote for "Best Food and Fun". The online version is apparently the wrong poll as it asks for "Best Shopping", which the hard copy says is supposed to be next week's poll. That may have changed by the time you read this as I e- mailed who I think is the guy in charge of the T-S web services and mentioned the discrepancy.

I had a number of votes I could have cast for Food and Fun, but few for Best Shopping. I don't shop much but don't mind helping stuff the restaurant polls.

How Dare He???

Looks like yours truly might have actually gotten the boot from a blog- a libertarian blog nonetheless. How funny.

Joe, over at the Joe Libertarian blog, hadn't posted anything new in over two months, so, I finally posted one of my " time to roll up this blog and shut 'er down..." comments on his blog.

I go back there again this morning and see he's changed his blog so that only those that are invited can view it. All I get when I go there is a page saying I need permission to view the blog and I don't see any link to ask permission to view it.

Hmmm...I didn't know you could do that. I knew you could restrict comments to members only but I didn't know you could restrict actual viewing to only those invited.

What cracks me up is I recall something he posted a while back about going to an Orange County LP meeting and making a presentation on how to run a successful libertarian outreach blog, or some such thing.

I hardly think having a video of the history of the Libertarian Party as the latest post on your blog for two months qualifies as successful outreach, never mind having a blog only viewable to those specifically invited.

Oh well, I was going to drop that blog from my list anyway since it was so infrequently updated. Still, how could anyone have the nerve to boot ME?

Update: I just noticed I still have a link to his blog on this blog. I thought I'd removed it some time ago. I should definitely remove it now. No use cluttering up my blog list with a dead blog.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Meet Virginia

Virginia Bass, that is.

I'm not sure that I've noticed the Eureka Reporter do this before: A profile of a local celebrity, following her around for a day.

I found it a pretty fun read. I think it might be a good news angle to pursue, although I'm not sure I'd be all that interested in a behind the scenes look at many of whom we consider local celebrities.

Maybe I should compile a list of people I'd be interested in knowing more about a submit it to the E/R?

I know, I know: You're all saying, "How about a profile of you, Fred? That would be a great read...". Nope. Boring. Virginia, and most of the other celebrities have lives. I don't.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Put Down That Knife!

Is it just me? It sure seems there's been a lot of stabbings around here lately. This one occuring a couple days ago and this one occuring a few days before that. I seem to remember some others not too long ago, including the stabbing at The Shanty and the murder of that Davenport guy before that.

Wonder if we'll hear any cries for knife control from any of the local gadflies or political groups?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Is Nancy One Of The Five?

Still no word on just who is in the running for city mangager of Rio Dell. All we know, from today's Times- Standard, is there are five applicants. I'll have to admit I normally wouldn't be much interested in who gets the job but when the rumor arose that our very own Nancy Flemming was among the applicants, that certainly piqued my interest.

James Faulk threw out Flemming's name a couple days ago in his Bully Pulpit column. I don't know if he just picked up the rumor from Cap'n Buhne's blog, or he has other inside information. I mentioned elsewhere that Buhne never said who he was referring to when he posted the question as to which past Board of Supervisor candidate was applying for city manager of Rio Dell.

It seems someone threw out Flemming's name, others assumed that must be it and picked up and ran with it. Seems to me Flemming's not the only past BOS candidate around here. Of course, I could be wrong, but I can't see Nancy working in Rio Dell. Too much of a disruption of lifestyle.

C'mon Nancy, fess up. Are you applying for the job?
I always wonder why government officials are so tight lipped about who's applying for certain jobs. I suppose I could see it if there are a whole bunch of applicants, but five, as in the case of Rio Dell city manager?

Then again, we've seen here on the blogs how some people will attack others for no apparent reason. I guess we'd be hearing a lot more of that in the blogosphere if the names of applicants for Rio Dell manager and Eureka Police Chief were known.

Still, it would almost seem appropriate in the interests of open government for citizens to have an look at who wants to work for them. Or would it?

I guess I should just take my own advice that I gave others after the polls closed last November and they still had a lot of vote counts and recounts to do and some were biting at the bit to know what the results were: Just relax, move on, and wait for the results to be tabulated.

Ok. I'm relaxed.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


...we're almost there. My rain gauge shows almost a half inch of rain. Should easily get at least a half inch today from the looks of doppler radar.

I was a bit worried earlier on about the rain forecast being a false alarm. I remember back during the last drought how they'd forecast rain but it just never happened. When I got up this morning and our rain gauge showed hardly any rain had fallen, I wondered if that was going to start happening again.

I suppose it's too early to say just what's going to happen with the rain one way or the other. So why am I even bringing it up?

No Kids, No Marriage?

Sound good to you? I think it would be fun to see how an initiative like this would do in California.

Seems the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance, not a right winger organization as one would assume, is trying to get an initiative on the ballot up there that would do the following:

  • add the phrase, “who are capable of having children with one another” to the legal definition of marriage;
  • require that couples married in Washington file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage automatically annulled;
  • require that couples married out of state file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage classed as “unrecognized;”
  • establish a process for filing proof of procreation; and
  • make it a criminal act for people in an unrecognized marriage to receive marriage benefits.
This, in an attempt to challenge their state supreme court's decision that government has a legitimate state interest in restricting marriage to couples who can procreate.

I love their strategy- absurdity to illustrate absurdity- and I'm all for it. Enough said. Kudos to Radley Balko, who led me to this guy, for the heads up on the story.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Your Choice For Best Services

I see Cap'n Buhne is following the lead of Richard Marks and listing his favorite watering holes (past and present), Marks having run a couple threads earlier on the best eaterys around the county.

Well, it's that time again with the Times- Standard. Their Best of the North Coast polls are up and running again. This week they ask for your vote for the best local services. You can participate online or by mailing in the poll provided in their daily hard copy.

Not being one to get out much, I'm hard pressed to make more than a handful of choices.

I never saw the results of last year's Best of the North Coast poll. Somehow I missed the results that came out in hard copy. When I asked then editor of the T- S, Charles Winkler about it, he said they'd be online soon but I never saw them show up. Maybe I'll catch them this time?

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Look At Juvenile Hall

The Times- Standard's, Chris Durant, takes us on a short tour of Humboldt County Juvenile Hall and the Regional Facility this morning. Boy, Chris and the Hall staff make it sound like Juvenile Hall is a bit more upbeat place than when I worked there.

I recognize a couple of names in the story, Mark Cory being one. I believe he was a full time counselor like me when I was there. He apparently stayed on and moved up the line.

Durant made a slight misspell with the other one. Tim ToSTe, not Totse, was a full timer back then, too. Him and another guy, Moe, ran the Juvenile Assigned Work Service (JAWS) among other things. JAWS was the juvenile equivalent of the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program (SWAP).

Tim's now Superintendant of Juvenile Hall, although the story lists him as Division Director. Probably the same thing unless he's changed positions fairly recently.

Owsley Does Weight Loss

Well, looky here. Eureka Police Department infobabe, Suzie Owsley, is on vacation and writing a column for the Eureka Reporter about weight loss. We all know this isn't her first venture into the world of writing as she's written numerous My Word columns for the Times- Standard dealing with public safety issues.

I'm wondering if she'll be starting her own blog soon? Might be an interesting one if she did.
As an aside, this Owsley gal sure seems to get around. Last time we stayed at the Native Daughters of the Golden West home in San Francisco, whose name did we see on the guest register, apparently having stayed there shortly before us? Susie Owsley.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Gasoline vs. Other Commodities

I'm not complaining about gas prices, per se, but Scott Baker's letter in the Eureka Reporter this morning brings up something I've always wondered about: Why do gas prices change so quickly?

Actually, I think at least some gas distributors change their prices even quicker than Scott might think. I know a friend told me about filling up at a Renner Petroleum card lock station in Eureka one time.

His truck had two tanks. He filled one, then filled the other. He noticed when he got his bill the next month that the same gas that went into the two tanks were different prices.

He called Renner Petroleum and asked about it. He was told something along the line that the current price was based on the market price at the time and that price changes throughout the day. In his case the price changed between the time he filled his two tanks.

I gathered from that that if the average price for gasoline ( or crude oil?) at the commodities exchanges goes up or down, Renner adjusts their prices accordingly, although I'm not sure how frequently.

Scott Baker makes a point in wondering why we pay more for something a company might have paid less for. But I'll take the question a bit further: They say the prices go up and down a lot because gas is a commodity like corn or sugar.

I don't see five pounds of sugar selling for five cents more or less throughout the day, at least in any stores I've been to. Same with whole wheat flour or corn. They buy at a certain price and sell at a certain price. Why is gasoline different?

In a sense I guess this is all a moot point when you think about it. If distributors did as Scott suggests, and sold the lower priced gas for the same price until they put the higher priced gas in their tanks, the price would still change. The price changes would just take effect later rather than right away and, on average, you'd see little difference at the pump than what you see now.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Great Idea For Selling Trinkets

The Sell- Trinkets- To- Tourists crowd is back in the news again, this time with a great idea: Let's turn Humboldt County into a National Heritage Area!

Gee, now why didn't I think of that? After all, the creation of Redwood National Park has been such an economic boon to its surrounding areas. Just ask the residents of Orick.

Friday, February 02, 2007

My Kudos To The DMV

The Sacramento Bee reports the Department of Motor Vehicles is putting more effort into marketing their web site, hoping more and more people will start doing their business with the DMV online.

I realize most of us enjoy denigrating the DMV, especially libertarians who often use the DMV as an example of how we want things not to be run. Libertarian though I may be, seems to me the DMV has improved quite a bit through the years.

Sure, I suppose the state legislature might have been behind many of the improvements, but I'll still give credit where credit is due. Hey, if we can denigrate the DMV for things the legislature might be responsible for, the opposite should certainly be done as well.

I forget when they changed the system. Seems to me it was some time ago, but you used to have to go into the DMV every time you renewed your driver's license. That was a real pain in the neck, especially since everyone else was going there to renew their licenses too.

Umpteen years ago, as best I remember, they started automatically renewing the licenses, assuming you didn't have any traffic violations, althought they do call you in every few years to have your photograph retaken. The automatic renewals were certainly a change for the better.

It really got annoying when you had to provide proof of insurance when renewing your vehicle registration- myself winding up in traffic court because of that as I've related here before.

Now the insurance companies submit their policy info to the DMV so the DMV can check for themselves if you have insurance. This would have saved me the problem I had with this issue before had it been in place back then. Yet another improvement.

Trailer's are always an added hassle that can send you to the DMV. Used to be you had to renew the registration on those every year, just like your car. Some years ago they started some program where you register it once for something like five(?) years. Then they send you a license plate for your trailer that says something like California Permanent Registration on it.

Not sure if it's five years or not but I know I haven't dealt with the DMV regarding my trailer ever since they started that program and I think it's been five years or more. I'm loving that!

Oh, I actually did have to go into the DMV for the trailer a few years ago, but that was to get a replacement for the license plate I lost. That wasn't so bad, though. With more and more people doing business by mail and internet, there's not so many people in line there anymore.

I will have to go to the DMV again soon, though. I need to get some paperwork squared away on my old wrecked trailer, register my new one and re-apply for one of those temporary disabled placards for the wifey. I think when I do that I'll try one other renovation within the DMV, although it's been around for a while: Making an appointment. They say that's a lot faster way of getting in and out of there.

But just you watch. Bureaucrats that they are, you just know they'll tell me I need a different appointment to resolve each issue. Grrrrrrr.....I really hate government!

I'll let you know how it goes.


Ruling For The Defendant

Here's one where, at least from what little I know, I'd be ruling for the defendant. One of a few cases I've seen over time where I'd side with the accused rather than the prosecution. Sad part is, I don't see why this even ended up in court.

Without going into all the details, and keeping in mind that all I know is what I've read in the paper, looks to me like the situation here got way out of hand.

Former sheriff's deputy, now Chief of Ferndale P.D., Lonnie Lawson, arrests a guy for child endangerment under some rather shaky circumstances. He also charges him for Interfering With An Officer- sometimes referred to as Contempt of Cop by those in the business.

From what I can see, defendant Sean Marsh, made an uncomfortable situation worse by ignoring Lawson. Lawson seized the moment and escalated it further by apparently getting his feathers ruffled and jacking the situation up even more.

This whole thing should have probably been dropped after the initial confrontation was over when cooler heads could have dealt with it.

A couple questions I have, though: Does the Marsh family live in Ferndale? Have they had dealings with Lawson before? Does Sean Marsh have a record of criminal activity or hostility towards law enforcement? Has Lawson has similar problems with others in Ferndale?

Somehow this smells like the result of a long- standing personal feud, or something along that line. But I don't know enough about it. I don't live in Ferndale.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Keep It Local?

With all the talk we've heard the last few years about keeping things local, I thought this was the best line from the front page story in the Times- Standard this morning, Success to breed success:

Many believe that local tax dollars stay local, but that is hardly the case. Most of the money goes to the state. And if it comes back local at all, it's through a competitive process.

Indeed, as the late Harry Browne observed, "Like a child on an allowance...".