Showing posts with label Historique. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Historique. Show all posts

Thursday, August 6, 2015

70 Year Old Little Boy

We've been told that dropping the bomb saved lives and that Japan would have never surrendered had we not used the bomb

The truth is, the Japanese military officials knew their defeat was at-hand and hoped to negotiate a conditional surrender to prevent more of their cities from being firebombed.* Meanwhile, Washington imposed deliberately difficult unconditional terms to perpetuate the war long enough to test the newest weapons** in the arsenal.  A new extensive and expensive secret industry had been created to build these bombs and officials wanted to use them in a real war scenario to test their effectiveness. 

A handful of virgin  targets were off-bounds to firebomb raids and designated as primary and secondary atomic bomb targets. On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was the primary. The skies were clear, and it was a perfect day to roll out the previously untested uranium gun weapon nicknamed, Little Boy.

After the new technology*** had been demonstrated, the Japanese conditional terms of surrender were met and credit was given to the bomb for bringing the war to a swift end. 

* The firebombing raids on major Japanese cities resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens and wide-spread destruction, equivalent to atomic weapons damage. But the a-bomb only required one aeroplane to inflict the same amount of damage that it took hundreds of B-29 fire-bombers to accomplish.

** A long skinny uranium gun weapon nicknamed Little Boy and a bulbous beast of a bomb appropriately named Fat Man. The former, was detonated a thousand feet above the city of Hiroshima, and produced a 13.5 kiloton blast that destroyed that city. Fat Man, a plutonium implosion device, produced a 17 kiloton blast over Nagasaki three days later. 

*** There were other options on the table that would have spared cities and civilian lives. It had been proposed that we simply invite Japanese officials to witness a demonstration of the awesome destructive power of the bomb. Unfortunately, the desire for real battlefield blast data outweighed the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Creation of the Atomic Servant - Trinity Turns Seventy

 Let there be light

  Seventy years ago today, at 5:29 in the morning, the first plutonium implosion device, code named* Trinity, was detonated atop a 20 meter tall tower at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The Trinity test resulted in a 20 kiloton explosion that turned the twilight into brilliant, blinding bright light. One unsuspecting observer from ten miles away was blinded by the sight... the last thing he saw was the first atomic detonation. 

Since that pivotal morning seventy years ago, two atomic weapons have been detonated over populated cities, and the international proliferation of nuclear technology has resulted in hundreds of above-ground and subterranean detonations. In that same time, nuclear energy has been harnessed, with the promise that the friendly atom would be mankind's servant

With the servant motif in mind, lets explore the notion that the atomic high priests of the Manhattan project, unwittingly created an atomic Golem on this date in 1945.


The story of the Golem is an ancient Judaic legend about the mystical creation of a man-like creature who ultimately becomes a monster. According to the tradition, a kabbalist** forms the image of a man out of clay, in emulation of God, forming Adam from the dust of the Earth. Then, mystical rites are performed, and the Hebrew word emet*** is carved into the forehead of the clay man, who then becomes animated. The Golem grows larger every day, and functions as a servant at first, but soon becomes an overgrown giant who destroys everything in its path.

The Golem can only be stopped by rubbing out the letter alef on his forehead, leaving two remaining letters, mem and tav, (mot - Hebrew for death). The Golem grows too tall for its creator to reach its forehead, but with the aid of a ladder, the kabbalist is able ascend to a height where he can erase the alef. The Golem immediately returns to a heap of clay, topples over on its creator, and crushes him to death.

The Atomic Golem that was created on July 16, 1945 by technological kabbalists has grown.**** The nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukashima are evidence that the atomic Golem can behave like an out-of-control monster. Atomic marketeers tout the fact that nuclear facilities have been designed to withstand credible events, but there will no doubt be more nuclear disasters in the future because incredible events cannot be predicted or planned for.

*Trinity is an interesting choice for a name because it invokes an archaic Christian terminology for deity; as if those technological high priests intended to signify that their creation is the new god.

**A Jewish mystic - a holy man - a keeper of secret knowledge.

*alefmemtav = emet - Hebrew for truth
According to kabbalists, alef is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and represents Adam, the first man. mem is the exact middle of the alphabet (including the final forms) and is said to represent the messiah who would come in the meridian of time. tav is the last letter of the alphabet, and symbolizes the final judgment.

****"As of 1980 the United States DOD possessed in nuclear arms, the equivalent of six tons of TNT for every living (human) inhabitant on the face of the Earth." Robert Heilbroner - The Making of an Economic Society

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Land Grab - First US Military Reserve in Utah Territory

In the mid nineteenth century, making a detailed survey of the western part of the United States was a major priority for the government. Waterways, routes, and resources needed to be mapped by competent surveyors to best facilitate the great expansion westward. It wasn't an easy job, and many of these early explorers lost their lives as a result of environmental and natural hazards like floods, falls and landslides, while others were killed by natural predators and in some instances by hostile natives.

In 1853, the wild wild west was yet to be tamed when experienced surveyor, Captain John Williams Gunnison was dispatched with an expedition to survey a route for a railroad between the 38th and 39th Parallels inside the mostly unexplored Utah Territory. The natives in the area were restless and viewed the white man as foreign invaders of their lands. In late October, 1853, the survey party was attacked by a band of Ute Indians, leaving Gunnison and seven of his men dead and mutilated. Gunnison's widow, and others, claimed that the massacre had been masterminded by Mormon Prophet, and Utah Territory Governor, Brigham Young. She asserted that a mob of Mormons had dressed up as Indians, painted their faces, and attacked the survey party.

Hyped up rumors of a Mormon rebellion were common, and the government feared the possibility of Mormons uniting with the natives to battle the United States Army. The Mormons, who 
had arrived in the territory less than a decade earlier, had a history of governmental misrepresentation. They had endured numerous bigoted persecutions in the Midwest, and were effectively driven out of the land of the free to face more hardships migrating thousands of people across the vast expanse of North America. They carved out a place in the Rocky Mountains where they had hopes of exercising their religion without fear of mob brutality, and governmental intervention.

The Mormons had been in the Salt Lake Valley for only six years, and were already being viewed with suspicion by outsiders, when news of Gunnison and his party's demise reached Washington. As a result of what has become known as the Gunnison Massacre, and other rumors and tales of woe concerning the activities of Mormons behind the Zion Curtain, in 1854, US President Franklin Pierce deployed battle-tried Colonel Edward Jenner Steptoe, along with 175 hardened troops consisting of two companies of artillery and one infantry division to the Utah Territory to investigate the massacre of Gunnison's party, assess the Mormon rebellion and hostile Indian situation. Col. Steptoe had also been instructed by President Pierce to replace Brigham Young as governor... by force if necessary.

A West Point Graduate, Colonel Steptoe had proven himself to be a dependable officer who knew how to deal with the enemy. On August 31, 1854, Steptoe and his troops arrived in the arid, hot and mostly undeveloped Salt Lake Valley. The colonel was aware that the Indians could not be defeated without cooperation from the Mormons, and when the situation had been assessed, he determined that the Latter-day Saints were reluctantly necessary allies of the US in subduing the Native Americans, and making the country safe for settlers and travelers. Colonel Steptoe therefore refused his gubernatorial appointment, and recommended to the President that Brigham Young remain in office as Utah's governor.

On September 2, 1854, Steptoe relocated his battalion near the east shore of Lake Shambip, (later renamed Rush Lake), a few miles south of Tooele, where they constructed stables and barracks to house the hundreds of men and animals of the deployment force. Steptoe designated the area as a US Military Reserve, and erected survey monuments marking the extensive boundary. The following spring, the deployment force of over two-hundred men left for Benicia, California to resupply the arsenal there.

Eventually, the military had little to nothing to do with the Rush Lake Military Reserve, but the approximately 48,000 acres of land still belonged to the army, therefore, anyone who attempted to homestead within the boundary was denied property rights. It took many years for the squatters to obtain legal deeds to their properties, many of which had been described and located from the original survey markers that had been established by Steptoe in 1854.

Don Rosenberg first became aware of the Military Reserve when he was a practicing registered surveyor, and discovered the old deeds that had been described and based on the Military Reserve boundary monuments. He was later elected Tooele County Surveyor, and made it a priority to preserve the location of the old original monuments, and in 1991, successfully retraced Col. Steptoe's original survey and relocated most of the original monuments of the Military Reserve. At the base of each corner monument, we set a 2" steel pipe with an official Tooele County Surveyor brass cap marked, "USRB CORNER." Rosenberg recorded a tie sheet showing the location of each corner and the boundary line on the maps of the dependent re-survey that is on file at Tooele County.

Other than the survey markers that were relocated in the 1991 re-survey, today little evidence remains from the time of Steptoe's short-lived military occupation on the shore of Rush Lake. A lonely historical marker established by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers on August 20, 1941, stands alongside Highway 36, about 1.7 miles south of Stockton, Utah. The twelve foot tall monolith has a large bronze plaque with the following information inscribed:

"A detachment of the U.S. Army, the first to enter the Rocky Mountain region, consisting of two companies of artillery, 85 dragoons, 130 teamsters, herders, and hostlers from Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, under the command of Col. E. J. Steptoe reached this point 2 Sep., 1854. They erected quarters, stables, and corrals, cut 200 cords of wood and stored 200 tons of hay for their 450 mules and 300 horses. The camp was located on the east shore of Lake Shambip (Rush Lake). The detachment left for Benicia, California in early April 1855."

The abandoned Military Reserve at Rush Lake represents the first time troops would be deployed in Utah, but it certainly wasn't the last time the military would occupy land in the region.

* Published References:
History of Clover 1856-1956 pg. 1,
History of Tooele County (1961) pg.287, 340
History of Tooele County Vol. 2, (1990) pg. 42-44
A History of Tooele County - Compiled by Ouida Nuhn Blanthorn for the Utah Centennial County History Series (1998) pg. 58-59, 289-291

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall 2011 - Time Traveling

Mighty Mo and I have been having a great time enjoying the latest season... FALL.

We spent a couple of days in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, soaking in the lovely 112 Fahrenheit mineral pool in the middle of town.
We also went to another planet called Soda Springs, Idaho, where we enjoyed a wonderful timed carbonated water geyser, and some of the most unfriendly folks we've come across since before the war.
On the way home, we drove a few miles out of our way to the Rocket Display at the old Thiokol headquarters near Promontory Point, Utah.
I didn't count them, but there must have been close to a hundred rockets on display.
Then we traveled a few more miles, (and back in time to the nineteenth century), to the Golden Spike National Monument, the site where the first coast to coast national rail system was completed. The above photo is of the old original rail, and telegraph lines at Promontory Point, Utah. Communications and travel have come a long way, baby!

What do all these things have in common?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

911 One Decade Later - 10 Years of Propaganda

Earlier last month, when I first heard about the American helicopter full of Navy Seals being destroyed in Afghanistan, I turned to my wife and said, "What do you want to bet that those were the guys who supposedly got Bin Laden?" My heart sank one evening a couple of weeks later as my suspicions were validated while watching the local news. It was reported that a Utah man had been killed in the helicopter calamity with the other Seals that are credited with capturing and killing Osama Bin Laden. I really do hate being right all the time.

Since Bin Laden was buried at sea, there was no physical body as evidence, and now, with the convenient destruction of an entire team of seals, there are no witnesses either. Brilliant.

The majority of the pharmaceutically-induced masses accepted the official narrative, (even though the story continued to change), without any question, and praised the president for his heroic decision to raid Bin Laden's compound.

It is terrifying to me to think that these people will stop at nothing, even the death of dozens of elite military forces, to perpetuate an authoritative narrative... even if it is a lie.

I've been intrigued with propaganda for as long as I can remember, and since September 11, 2001, there has been no shortage of powerfully manipulative information designed to fuel the war machine, and keep the masses ignorant and supportive.

My most recent favorite propaganda coup, was when President Obama released his fake birth certificate that even pro-Obama Photoshop experts who set out to vindicate the president said it must be a joke because it was so poorly manufactured, then, to take attention away from the obvious forgery, pretended to capture and kill Chief Boogyman, Osama Bin Laden.

For those of you with a short memory span, Monsieur Bin Laden was reported to have been on dialysis nearly a decade ago. An adult of Bin Laden's maturity could never have survived all these years, even under the best medical supervision, in the best American hospital. Osama Bin Laden was dead many years ago, but the military industrial complex needed a powerful boogyman to fuel the fears, that perpetuate trillions of dollars of funding... one source of America's economic woes.

Wake up America. It's been ten years, and it's time to stop dreaming.

Flash Back to a more innocent time.

"Here come the planes... They're American planes... Made in America." Laurie Anderson
"One day you wake up, and you didn't even know you were asleep" Adrian Belew

I was still dreaming that I was looking for my glasses when suddenly, my alarm clock radio sounded, just as I had programmed it to the night before. As usual, the dial was set to 1080 am KSCO, and I was still shaking the dreams from my head when I heard the familiar voice of radio personality Rosemary Chalmers, in her wonderful British accent saying something like, "We've just received word that an aeroplane has crashed into the World Trade Center..." I didn't wait to hear any more, and exploded from my bed. I quickly climbed the stairs on all fours, using my hands to claw my way to the top. Barely maintaining balance, my feet slid beneath me on the cold, slick, stone tile floor as I cornered a sharp right turn into the living room, and scurried toward the television set. I knew it would be a hot topic on CNN, there would no doubt be live coverage. I never watch TV, and my family appeared surprised to see me moving so quickly to get to the boob tube, and then speed through the channels... clicking as quickly a humanly possible, until finally, there it was... unbelievable! In the distance, thick black smoke was billowing from the injured north tower. Upon a rooftop, a talking head stood at a safe and picturesque distance, reporting on how much they didn't know about the situation... but the images were great so he kept on talking. As I viewed the spectacle in awe, I observed a dot crossing the screen behind the reporter's head... and another aeroplane crashed spectacularly into the south tower. No! I cried as it burst into flames right before my eyes on live TV. As I sobbed in horrified disbelief, my son asked innocently, "Were there people on that plane?" I looked at him and gave an affirmative nod. He had been on an airliner, and could easily imagine how many people were involved. The realization was met with a welling up of tears, which soon overflowed their small reservoirs and streamed down his smooth cheeks, dropping to the floor. "Why would someone do that?" he asked while thick black smoke belched and billowed from both towers. There were hundreds of people trapped above the flames, and it was reported that some of them were jumping from the blazing inferno rather than face a painful fiery demise. The situation was not good for those still in the towers.
1rst casualty in war

Now it was obvious that America was under terrorist attack, and an order was quickly issued for a
ll airliners to land immediately while fighter jets scrambled to intercept any planes that did not heed the grounding order. Before long, another airliner had crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC, while another had mysteriously crashed in a wooded area of Pennsylvania. Knowing that fighters had been dispatched to intercept wayward airliners, I was suspicious about the Pennsylvania crash from the beginning. America was now at war, and it appeared that we had brought down one of our own to protect real estate, and heads of state. A heart warming hero story was cooked up to feed the frenzy, casting the victims of United flight 93 as heroes who prevented the terrorists from reaching their intended target by crashing the plane in the unpopulated Pennsylvanian woods. Its a nice story, but as a student of propaganda, I know that in war, truth is the first casualty. There were reports of other unexplained explosions in the Washington DC area that morning, but they were soon forgotten... swept away in the official mass media mantra.Apocalyptus on live TV

It was a scene from an apocalyptic nightmare. We sat watching the TV in disbelief as the first tower co
llapsed from structural fatigue. It fell as though a demolition crew had expertly placed charges in strategic positions. Tears streamed down my face as I watched in horror as my Familia Human ran from the toxic dust cloud which pursued them through the streets of Manhattan. The devastation was unbelievable, and the second tower soon collapsed in like manner. Many thousands were injured, and no one yet knew how many thousands were dead... or if there would be more attacks... America went on paranoid alert.Reflex retaliation

Many thousands more would die as America went off to war in Afghanistan, then Iraq, and recently Libya. Remember ten years ago, when seemingly overnight, the brightly coloured American flag stickers of
red white & blue, placed alongside yellow ribbons, (ironically made in China), adorned automobiles nationwide in support of war... and revenge?A neo-McCarthyistic policy was soon embraced by the administration... those not with us are against us, and suspect.Faded glory

These colors don't run" But they do fade.
Now, a decade later, the once colourful
flags and ribbons have all faded, and so has support for war. Americans are divided now more than ever... There appears to be no end to the war in sight, meanwhile trillion$ of dollar$ continue to be diverted to the effort, as America's infrastructure collapses, and her economy continues to collapse despite assurances from the administration.
Rhetropinion & prediction

It is Rhetro Zenberg's opinion that America is $pending way too much money fighting a war it does not intend to win. Don't get me wrong... I want those responsible for what happened ten years ago as much as the next red blooded American, but we've already lost, and ki
lled WAY too many innocents in this terror war. The situation in Iraq is similar but worse than Vietnam, because our intervention has effectively eliminated the only threat to neighboring Iran's Islamo-fascist aspirations as a world power.

1, Due to the destabilization of the region, Iran wi
ll ascend as a formidable nuclear power.
2, Iran will suffer from nuclear accidents as they unravel the mysteries atomique.
3, Iran wi
ll face retaliatory attacks, for their use or attempted use of atomic weapons.
4, America wi
ll somehow find a way to be involved. In short... more war.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Ultimately, the choice belongs to the electorate. America can sti
ll wake up and elect people like Ron Paul who won't be so quick to engage in armed conflict, but that will never happen as long as we continue to elect pro-war Republicrats to [mis] represent US.

Have a nice war
or two or three or four or... HOW MANY MORE?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Days of 47 - Pioneer Day 2010

19th century wood cut of a Mormon pioneer wagon train from one of my favorite old books, Wife No. 19 or A Life in Bondage, (published and printed in 1875), by Ann-Eliza Young... Brigham's rebellious wife.

Micro Historique

In the middle of the nineteenth century, Protestant bigotry and oppression forced tens of thousands of persecuted Mormons to leave their homes and find freedom outside the borders of the "land of the free". The
forced exodus sent the indefatigable Latter-day Saints on a mass-migration, (nearly their entire population), halfway across the North American Continent. On July 24, 1847, that huge undertaking came to fruition when Brigham Young, and a company of Mormon pioneers entered the Great Salt Lake Valley. The 24th of July has been a celebrated day in the territory since.

The Parade

Since 1849, a festive parade has been held on 24th of July to commemorate the enduring pioneer spirit of everyone who has put his/her shoulder to the wheel, and worked to establish a kingdom in the tops of the mountains... and beyond.

People begin arriving as much as a day early to stake out a good spot to situate their lawn chairs, where they can have the best view of all the floats. On the day of the Days of 47 Parade, tens of thousands of western-appareled, US-flag-waving spectators line the parade route. Forget about driving in downtown Salt Lake on July 24th. Most of the downtown area is inaccessible, and police roadblocks seem to be everywhere.

Personal Experience

When I was a courier for Pony Express back in the 80's, I was responsible for the downtown Salt Lake route. I recall that on the 24th, there was no way that I could get my van to the majority of the destinations there, especially those located on Main Street, (the parade route), so I parked as closely as I could, and used my skateboard to shuttle parcels to and fro. It was actually rather effective and efficient, and I didn't have any difficulties getting parcels delivered to the few business that remained open on the official state holiday.

Two videos in celebration of Pioneer Day

I discovered this amazing video by Baby Bam Bam Bumkin on You Tube. Most folks will think that it's pretty silly, but Baby does make some pretty insightful comments... and it's pretty dang funny too. My favorite float is the "Tree of Life" bearing fruits in the form of graven images of past and present Latter-day prophets, and Mitt Romney, of all people.

The second video is something I threw together last year, and is somewhat thematic. I was worried about all of the expired and old prescription medications that had accumulated for decades in my aging parents cupboards, so I decided to take on the task of cleaning it all out. It was really quite shocking to see how many medications my parents had been taking over the years. There was even one still in the cupboard from 1978. I was happy that there weren't any narcotics, but all pharmaceuticals are dangerous and come with a list of terrible side effects. "No wonder mom and dad are in such bad shape", I though to myself as I removed one child proof lid after another, deep into the night. Contrary to my dad's view, medications can't be disposed of in the garbage because they are classified as toxic waste, therefore the whole shebang was eventually taken to the hazardous waste receptacle at the Tooele County Sheriff's Office, and disposed of properly, but not before I shot this video. I wish I had taken more pictures, especially of the containers... there must have been fifty of them... probably more.

Happy Pioneer Day!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pseudo Psi-Fi Classique- Gentlemen Broncos

When the movie ended, a twelve or so year old girl sitting couple of rows behind me said to her family,

"That was officially the weirdest movie I have ever seen. Mom would have hated it."

My mom would have hated it too, but my own opinion of the strange movie was less immediate than the twelve year old's. I knew that I had been thoroughly entertained, but was still a bit unsure how much I really liked the awkward comedy about Benjamin Purvis, a home schooled teen with aspirations of someday becoming a published science fiction writer.

The story was simple enough. When Ben attends a writer's camp for home schoolers, he is thrilled to discover that one of the guest presenters there is Dr. Ronald Chevalier, his favorite science fiction author who
announces that he'll be judging a science fiction writing competition resulting in the publication of the winning entry. Ben enters his own, hand-written sci-fi novel, titled Yeast Lords, and is later disappointed when he discovers that his work has been plagiarized by Chevalier.

An imposed friend of Ben's named Lonny Donahoe also has interest in Yeast Lords and creates a short film starring some of Ben's friends. Donahoe's modifications and interpretations of Yeast Lords cause Ben to regret his decision to allow the film to be made.

While browsing in a bookstore, Ben stumbles across Chevalier's newly published interpretation of
Yeast Lords titled Brutus and Balzaak, and is furious. Ben takes matters into his own hands and after a whirlwind of events, procures poetic justice for himself, and a happy ending for the audience. Formulae, but still fun.I remained in my seat until all of the credits had run because I suspected there would be a final scene... I was glad that I waited because I was rewarded with a splendid scene that I won't reveal to any readers who may not want to know how it ends.

I didn't have many expectations for this movie even though I have been anticipating its release for a year or so. I first learned about Gentlemen Broncos while interviewing Alan Bradshaw for a post I wrote last year. Alan told me that a scene from the movie had been filmed in the lobby of the Ritz Theater and that other scenes had been shot at his dome shaped home near the Motor Vu Drive-In Theater in Erda. When I watched Gentlemen Broncos, I paid close attention to the lobby scene, and was a bit disappointed that the early 60's era velvet Mexican clown paintings hanging in the Ritz lobby weren't featured. However, I was happy to see that the door to the cry room was in full view. When I was very young, my mom had to take me into that cry room during my very first big-screen experience, when Mary Poppins became too much for me. I had hoped to see Gentlemen Broncos at the Ritz when I was in Tooele last week, but found that it wasn't playing there. In fact, it was only playing at one theater in the entire Salt Lake area.

The Broadway Theater in Salt Lake City was empty when we arrived for the 9:30 show on Thanksgiving. Mighty Mo, Mason the Punk Girl and myself took our seats while a handful of movie goers arrived as previews of coming attractions played on the big screen. I was surprised how few people attended.

Four days later, I find myself thinking about Gentlemen Broncos quite a bit. Much of the thirteen hours traveling home yesterday was spent discussing the so far relatively unknown pseudo science fiction comedy, and all four members of our family agree that Gentlemen Broncos is an excellent movie, and all of us look forward to watching it again soon.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Historic Beach Street Cafe - Santa Cruz, Ca

New Moon by Maxwell Parrish

Last Thursday I stopped by Beach Street Cafe in Santa Cruz to enjoy the best Eggs Benedict this side of anywhere. I prefer to switch out the ham for turkey and get fruit instead of the stewed potatoes that come with the meal that also includes a glass of Odwalla orange juice, champagne, or mimosa. A pretty good deal for ten bucks.

As I passed through the entrance of the old two-story building, I immediately heard an old familiar Talking Heads song playing on the stereo speakers. The Heads were followed by Adrian Belew then Laurie Anderson, and before long, I had heard a dozen or so of my favorite artists including Mountain Animal Hospital, the Vox Jaguars, King Crimson, Harry Nilsson, California Guitar Trio and Captain Beefheart, to name a few, (I wish I had written them all down). I asked my server if we were listening to a satellite radio station and he informed me that it was the Beach Street mix that gets played on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

They probably wondered if I would ever leave because I remained perched in front of the large glass window of the restaurant that looks out at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for over an hour. Perfect for people watching... one of my favorite pastimes. As I sat watching the world going by the window, a bicyclist lost control and wrecked as she crossed the railroad tracks in front of the Casino. Her bike and body slammed hard against the unforgiving surface of iron rails and cold pavement. My server, as if anticipating the event, grabbed a bag of ice and ran out to see if the unfortunate biker was injured or needed assistance. Apparently, this isn't the first time this has happened. Shocked, stunned, and a little wounded but not broken, the biker peddled away. She'll be more cautious next time she rides this route.

In addition to great food and music, Beach Street Cafe is known for having one of the largest collections of Maxwell Parrish prints in the world. The fantastic and imaginative prints occupy almost every square inch of the powder-blue walls inside the restaurant that has stood less than a hundred yards from the ocean for over a century, making it the oldest building in the area.

Located across the street from the world famous Santa Cruz Boardwalk, Beach Street Cafe is a special place to enjoy the cool breeze and view the Beach while listening to great music and dining on excellent cuisine. I prefer going there in the off-season months when there are fewer tourists, and the service is more personalized.

Beach Street Cafe has a long history, and while I was there, the owner Willie Case, stopped by so I took the opportunity to ask him a couple of questions about his unique restaurant. He told me that it had been built in the late 1800's, and that by 1902, it was called the St. Francis Grill. Originally, the restaurant enjoyed a longer frontage on Beach Street, and had been known for having the longest bar in California. In 1984, the restaurant was purchased by Willie and his wife Dolly Case, whose already extensive collection of original Maxwell Parrish prints found a new home in the Cafe. The rest is history... the finest food, art, music, climate
, and service. I can't imagine Santa Cruz without Beach Street Cafe. Bon appetit!

Friday, October 9, 2009

WTF? or Peace in Our DaZe

Remember that Sesame Street song that made a fun game out of finding the thing that is different from the other three things? It went like this:

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Did you guess which thing was not like the others?
Did you guess which thing just doesn't belong?
If you guessed this one is not like the others,
Then you're absolutely...right!

Today, President Barack Obama was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. A baffling decision considering that he recently deployed twenty-one thousand US troops to FIGHT in the WAR in Afghanistan, and intends to deploy many more thousands of additional soldiers in the near future.

What is wrong with this picture?

Shouldn't the Nobel Peace Prize be given to someone who actually pursues PEACE in our world, rather than someone
who has escalated the WARS in Iraq and Afghanistan, and expanded the WAR on the American people by broadening the powers of the Patriot Act?

Sorry, but a president who deploys troops to kill people with weapons of WAR is not an advocate for PEACE... unless we're living in some kind of Orwellian prison-culture where newspeak redefines terms... like WAR and PEACE.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Eight years later...

Did you see the frightened ones
Did you hear the falling bodies
Did you ever wonder
Why we had to run for shelter
When the promise of a brave new world
Unfurled beneath a clear blue sky

Did you see the frightened ones
Did you hear the falling bodies
The flames are all long gone
But the pain lingers on
Goodbye blue sky
Goodbye blue sky
From Pink Floyd's, The Wall

Friday, May 8, 2009

Got Gumption?

Gumption. That's one thing I don't have an abundance of at the moment... at least when it comes to writing for my blog. Sure, I've already begun writing many of the upcoming posts including, but certainly not limited to:

When in Morm - Do's and don'ts and insightful tips for visitors to Utah

Mighty Mo names the spiders that live in our house

My simple answer to the gang problem, (and it isn't dynamite)

Phrases and terms I have coined

A walk down rememory lane to the old Blue Mouse Theater in Salt Lake City

A recollection of the Bucket of Bernie Brains show at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz

A book review of Paula Phelan's 1919

Examples of literary structures in ancient texts

Hale Bopp

Plus many more Xtra Files

But I'm going to take a nap right now instead of writing. I'll listen to some Lawrence Welk for inspiration later on. Meanwhile, take a gander at this pretty bottle brush that Mighty Mo photographed last week.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bye Bye Blacksheep

On this day in 1968, early in the morning, ranchers discovered that thousands of their sheep had mysteriously died overnight. Toxicologists from the National Animal Disease Center at Ames, Iowa, determined that the sheep had died from exposure to the highly volatile VX agent, a terribly toxic chemical weapon, which just so happened to be in large supply at a couple of neighboring military bases at the time.
Read Allah Bout It.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fashion Week - Welcome to 1984

Actually, it may have been 1985 when Mighty Mo's siblings, John and Megan posed for these photos. Now they're all grown up and have kids with punky hairdos of their own.

I was happy to come across these photos because Megan recently sold her long blonde hair to a Norwegian man who has mysterious undisclosed plans for it.

Today, in 2009 it's difficult to understand just how shocking some of the hair styles and fashions were twenty-five years ago. Where I live, it's common to see mohawks, pink hair, and every other nuance that goes along with the punk image. But back then, in Utah, people didn't know what to think when they encountered such persons. The good old daze!

My Mighty Mo sporting a snazzy mohawk somewhere in NYC 1985

The way I saw it then was that punk rock was a result of the stagnant and slick mainstream music industry that was pumping out really predictable and uninteresting music, (which is ironically what eventually happened to punk rock). To me, punk was also about being intellectually aware of what was going on in the world and within in our government. That didn't last long either, and punk soon became the noisy medium for uninspired messages.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Keeping it Real

Inauguration Day

ast year I purchased one of those George Bush countdown clocks for my father who has been one of President Bush's biggest critics. In fact, Dad's been looking forward to this day since President Bush took office eight years ago. Today was supposed to be the big day when the clock would terminate with some sort of electronic fanfare, but instead of playing an electronic version of a Sousa classic, the countdown clock anticlimactically stopped two months ago.

It was fun while it lasted though.
Dad's George Bush countdown clock stopped prematurely, but the wars President Bush initiated are still going strong, and now that President Obama has been inaugurated as the Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces, these wars, and the deaths that will result from them, are now his responsibility.

Thousands of American soldiers and countless enemy combatants and civilians have been killed in President Bush's wars.

How many more thousands will pay the ultimate price in President Obama's wars?

Can you say body bags? Have a Nice War!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Parowan Gap - Ancient Graffiti?

Back in the twentieth century, when I was still a college boy, my chums and I used to take trips to the mysterious Parowan Gap. A perfect party spot. I don't know why no one else ever went there. We never even saw anyone passing through the gap road which is a main route between Parowan and Cedar Valley.

The gap was probably created as receding waters from the dying Lake Bonneville etched a channel through the rock and mud. Now, it is an arid and desolate place in the middle of nowhere.

The Parowan Gap was once the home of Fremont Indians, as well as later Native Americans, who used the gap as a natural corridor to access shallow lake waters to the west.

The ancient Native Americans who frequented this area left their mark on the rocks. Numerous petroglyphs can be found, carved into the stone cliffs. No one can say for sure whether these symbols are to keep people out, or if they are a map or story of some kind, or simply graffiti from an ancient gang. Looks like the Residents have been here to me.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Op Zop To Wisconsin

Midnight Masses

Holding out my drivers license and boarding pa
ss for the security person to examine, after waiting in a long security line, and having nearly reached the front. "Sir, you need to go to that line over there, and they're going to take a closer look at you," the tired and outnumbered security woman said to me as she turned, and pointed over her right shoulder to a "special" security inspection line. "Ok, what's up?" I asked. "Your drivers license is expired, that's why you have this special stamp on your boarding pass. I looked down to find four letters S at the bottom right hand corner of my 3X8 ticket. I left my kids in line with the masses and proceeded to a line of only three "special" people... like me. "We'll meet you on the other side," Kirsten said. It was only about a thirty foot walk to the new line, and as I strolled along, I thought about what SSSS could possibly stand for. My first thought was, "Security! Security! Security! Security!... Danger Will Robinson," I laughed to myself. The old double SS had me wondering, when suddenly, I realized, "Expired drivers license... I'm not going to be able to rent a car when we get to Chicago." We had an automobile reserved at Hertz, and were planning to drive it to the Hilton where Mighty Mo was staying. I proceeded to remove my shoes, belt, glasses, wallet, keys, coins, lint balls, and etc. into the tubs provided for my convenience. My carry-on consisted of a video camera, a digital camera, and lots of cords, and cables. "That'll look cool on the X-ray," I thought to myself, as I prepared to be padded down, or "frisked," as they say on the streets on TV. After a scrutinizing search, I was allowed to pass, and arrived at our rendezvous point ahead of my family. We boarded our aeroplane, and disembarked Oakland at midnight... right on schedule.
Cosmique Aeroplane*

The red eye flight from Oakland to Chicago was crowded. Either I've become much more of a mass of Humanity than I suspected, or the seats are getting smaller every time I fly. As I looked around, I could see that others seemed more uncomfortable than myself. Some were bulging over and around their arm rests, creating impressions in their plump flesh that will probably last a goodly long time. I was in the middle seat, sitting next to strangers, so sleeping would be difficult at best. I watched the images provided for my distraction and tried to rest as much as possible. I thought about the terrorists who flew into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and wondered if I would have been able to stop them. Would I have tried? "Probably," I thought to myself half asleep. Maybe I'd concoct a scheme where I'd claim to have a bomb, and if the terrorists didn't yield control of the aeroplane, they'd die as failures. "That's stupid" I scolded myself, motionless in my crowded seat. "I wish I could sleep." I thought about the fourth September 11 flight that went down in Pennsylvania... supposedly brought down by passengers who wrested control of the aeroplane from the terrorists and I considered that it was actually shot down to protect real estate, and heads of state, and the hero story was created to make us feel good about bringing one of our own down. "The first casualty in war is the truth", I thought to myself. "If I would shut up, I could get some sleep." I started counting sheep, and began analyzing why that would help a person fall asleep. I considered that even though the eyes are closed, they still respond in motion to the little sheep jumping over a fence. The motion of the eye watching the sheep jump is similar to REM... "Are we there yet?"

Chicago Automobile Adventure

It was already muggy when the doors opened. "Chicago" I thought to myself as I tasted the air. The corridor was cool and refreshing, and provided needed space that I had missed the previous four hours cooped up in a pressurized cylinder. We proceeded to turnstile number one to wait for our luggage. When the conveyor belt started up, our luggage was the first to appear. Perhaps another side effect of the
SSSS stamp. Perhaps it pays to be suspicious. Cabs were lined up waiting for customers. We must have been the first, and our cabby drove as if he was still asleep... or something. After a somewhat terrifying ride from the aeroport, we arrived at the Hilton where we met up with Mighty Mo,** had a joyous reunion, ordered breakfast from room service, then napped for an hour or so. As we slumbered, Mighty Mo rented a car for us to use, and she would be doing all the driving on our trip.

Das Booten

Lunch was next on the agenda, and we only had a few minutes to get there. We had reservations on a large luxury liner called the Odyssey, and arrived just in time - they were already pulling back the walkway. Had we been even seconds later, we would have missed our boat, and lunch which was already paid for. We set sail, had a wonderful lunch whilst we listened to some great live jazz, Chicago style, and cruised around Lake Michigan, enjoying a boat's eye view of the windy city. Very cool! We docked, and set out for our next destination, the Museum of Science and Industry. There was one reason I was going there. Leviathan! The museum was home to U-505, one of the only surviving German U-Boats... and I was going to board her. We found the museum, paid another twelve dollars for parking, paid for admittance, and began exploring. Finally, there it was, large and looming and bigger than I had imagined. "Oh, my goodness," I said, imitating Chief Wompem Stompem. A descending walkway continued around the boat until we arrived at the guided tour portion of our experience. As we entered the boat, I was astonished by the quantity of valves, gauges, switches, knobs, and levers. Our guide was informative and theatrical. Sound effects enhanced her presentation. At one point, the lights were turned off, and a
subtle dim red glow illuminated the interior of the sub. As I stood there in partial darkness, like Jonah in the belly of the whale pondering the fate of Nineva, my mind began putting things into perspective. I was inside a German U-Boat... a ship built with slave labour, designed to sink ships, and kill people. I thought of all the suffering this ship, and others like it had caused. From work conditions in the labour camps to the hundreds of sunken ships, the needless loss of life, and lingering pollution of our oceans. So much energy going into a vehicle of destruction... what a waste... what a shame.***

Lake Geneva Luncheon

After a good night sleep in Schaumburg, IL, we were off again. Our destination, Madison Wisconsin. The Illinois landscape is flat, predictable, and pretty much uninteresting for the most part. No surprises, lots of suburban sprawl, which fades into farmland as we get further from the city. Toward the northern border of Illinois, the landscape begins to change. As we traveled, we began see beautiful rolling green hills with farms scattered across the landscape. An official sign welcomed us to Wisconsin, as we listened to Op Zop Too Wah all the way to Lake Geneva where we stopped for lunch. It had been sixteen years since I had last rolled through these streets. Lake Geneva seemed like someplace I had never been, and to think that at one time, I knew the town fairly well. The water looked refreshing as children jumped off the end of the dock. None of us were accustomed to heat or humidity, and even though it was cool for the locals, it was warm for surf town softies like us. Across the street I spied a guy wearing a red Discipline t-shirt. "Hey, look at that shirt," I said pointing to the fellow walking by the lake. "Maybe he'll sell it to you," Mason said. Maybe he'll trade me for this one," referring to my by now somewhat smelly Bonny Doon Vineyard T. We watched out the large front window of the restaurant as a variety of characters strolled by. Nice entertainment.

Grain Silos and Missile Silos

We decided that rather than taking the interstate highway, we'd wind our way through the quaint farming communities instead. I found great pleasure observing all of the different grain silos, and remembered that I had always wanted to live in one. It reminded me of a program that had been shown on the flight,**** which featured a couple of people who now live in a decommissioned missile silo. "Lucky bastards," I laughed to myself as we rolled down the road. All of the little towns were so different from how I remembered them. Again surprised how much had changed, and how little I recognized. Before we knew it, we were in Madison, and again, everything was different. Immediately, we drove to where we had lived, and took a photo of Mason standing in front of his first home. He had been born in Madison seventeen years ago, and we moved away when he was still very young. None of us had been there for many years, and now we were back for family vacation. Across Lake Monona, we could see the capitol building towering above everything around it. "I've missed you, Madison," I said out loud. I had tuned the radio to my old favorite station, 89.9, listener supported, WORT Madison, who immediately played one of my old favorite songs, "Totally Wired" by the Fall. We all sang, "T-t-t-totally wired" as we passed beneath the new Frank Lloyd Wright designed, Monona Terrace, bouncing to the beat in our seats, making our way through the streets. I felt like I was home.

Fireflies, Flying Discs, and Bicycles

Next day, I was off to meet my friend Rami for a round of Disc Golf. We arranged to meet at the course, and he showed up right on time. It was a bit windy, and I wasn't familiar with the course, but had a fairly good round anyway, and it was good to see Rami who had moved from Santa Cruz to Madison several years prior. Later Mason and I rented bicycles, and set out for a long adventure. We rode all the way around Lake Monona, through once-familiar neighborhoods, and back to State Street for some good Nepali food. Before we knew it, darkness had fallen upon us, and Mason said, "Hey, fireflies." I had forgotten all about these beautiful little creatures of the night, and even though Mason had no memory of ever seeing one, he immediately recognized them. What a pleasant surprise to see them dance and sparkle so magically in the thick, dark air. We arrived back at the hotel tired and exhausted. Everyone was too tired to go anyplace, or do anything, so after a refreshing shower it was TV time. Turn on - tune in - veg out... crash out...

Bus Adventure

The bus was late... at least as far as we could tell. Beginning to question if a bus would come to such a remote location on a Sunday Morning, I spotted an older woman approaching. "Ill bet she's coming to the bus stop," I said to myself. And just as I had predicted, she stopped and confirmed that "Honey, a bus will be arriving soon." A few more minutes passed, and the bus rounded the corner, pulled up next to us, and with a loud release of air, stopped. We loaded our rented bicycles on the front of the bus, boarded, paid the driver three bucks, and took our seats. Riding the bus is always such an interesting experience. Before long, we arrived downtown, signaled the driver to stop at the next opportunity. He pulled over near the state capitol building... we exited, grabbed our bikes and whisked down the hill to the rental shop to return the bikes.


Before I knew it, we were leaving with so many things undone.***** I was finally becoming familiar with the city again, and now it was time to go. "Good bye, Madison," I said sadly as the city disappeared behind a shroud of green canopy. "I'll be back."

* Or Cosmic Aeroplane, also, El Cosmico Aero-plano, as spoken by Brad Collins of KRCL infamy

** Mighty Mo had been in Chicago on business a few days already when we arrived.

*** I had a similar experience at an aircraft museum a couple of years ago.

****I watched it without sound. They showed the same program on our return flight.

***** Pancho Steinberg's Fine Mexican Cuisine in Platteville, the Dickyville Grotto, Indian Mounds, lead mines the mighty Mississippi and etc... I can't wait to return.