December 22, 2016

Bated Breath

There is a summit meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in the foreseeable future.

December 18, 2016

Morning Comes West

Seabright Beach State Park, Santa Cruz CA,  December 15, 2016

December 13, 2016

Post-Civics 101

Should Trump expect a fee for facilitating, by his nomination of Exxon's Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State, the Arctic petro deal Russia and Exxon want to make? Just a taste, a little something to wet the beak? Inquiring minds want to know. 5% would be so sweet.

December 12, 2016

The Republican Creed Prayed Out Loud

I have very high hopes that the new administration will lead the nation to greater strength, prosperity and peace.
—Mitt Romney, circa Dec 10, 2016 on Facebook

The tacit conventions on which the understanding of everyday language depends are enormously complicated.

Thanks, Mitt.

December 01, 2016

Wily Blend

Coyote in the pasture, Arana Gulch, November 2016

November 29, 2016

The Quasi-Enfranchised of California

Below is a list of electoral college votes of states the population of which, taken together, is roughly equal to that of California. The figures in the middle column are the electoral college votes granted each state, and their total, compared to the electoral college votes granted California. The rightmost column represents the percentage of the total population of the United States living in each state, and the sum of those percentages, compared to the percentage of the population of the United States living in California.

Each group, the one with fourteen states in it, and the group with one, comprises roughly one eighth of the population of the United States. There are 538 electors in the electoral college, and one-eighth of 538 is not that much more than 67, which, if electors were apportioned democratically, would be the number shared out among each group. Sixty-seven. Not 81 for the one group and 55 for the other.

The groups are further distinguished by the fact that one voted for Donald Trump for president, and the other for Hillary Clinton.

State EC Votes % of U.S. Population
Missouri 101.89
Michigan 16 3.11
Oklahoma 71.22
Arkansas 60.93
Utah 60.93
W. Virginia 5 0.57
Idaho 4 0.51
Montana 3 0.32
N. Dakota3 0.27
S. Dakota3 0.24
Alaska 3 0.23
Wyoming 3 0.18
TOTAL 81 12.24
California 55 12.18

November 28, 2016


I don't feel in any way responsible for Donald Trump's recent promotion, having publicly raised the significant eyebrow against his election from the first, and having cast my vote for his opponent in the event, but now, just by being American, I find myself uncomfortably complicit in the acts of his coming presidency. Sad.

In Donald Trump's mind the actual and considerable plurality of votes for Hillary Clinton for president can be explained away, giving him the true plurality of votes, if the millions of illegitimate votes for his opponent are discounted, as they should be, being illegitimate.

Evidence of these illegitimate votes is utterly nonexistent, except as yet another instance of arbitrarily tendentious untruth created by our nearly president, Trump.

Otherwise, clearly and unarguably, nearly three million more Americans gave Hillary Clinton their vote for president than gave their vote to Trump. A solid majority of the people in this country did not vote for him and don't believe he's going to do this country any good at all as president.

Donald Trump's initial reaction to such slights is to speil a counter-narrative based on some singularly untrue assertion. That is to say, his first impulse is to make shit up. He won the plurality, he claims, not her! A landslide!

Donald Trump's initial rhetoric is always followed by perpetual grudge. He will hold it against most Americans that they so clearly signalled their disdain. And he'll find a way to get back at them, because that's what grudge does.

November 22, 2016

Alas, Dallas

Fifty-three years ago today John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

It's hard to fully express the jolting tangible change of catastrophe engulfing those of us who lived in that moment, death of course the capital catastrophe, with its irremediable denial of what we are allowed to believe about the world. The rest of the future may be arguable, but the future may not include the dead. The dead are gone and not to return. Kennedy took a bullet to the head as he travelled in a motorcade through Dealy Plaza. He died soon after.

The jolt shook everyone who lived in that moment, shook hard. Kennedy's assassination knocked American culture, all of its political, social and religious institutions, completely off-kilter, and the people living through it felt and remarked on the lasting nature of the change. It was an epoch-making event, and for years newspapers noted the anniversary of his assassination right there on the front page.

But history, bearing a succession of catastrophes of equal or greater weight down the intervening decades, marches on. Kennedy's murder has long since ceded its place on the front page to other fresher woes.

Rest in peace, you shiny man.

November 16, 2016

A Close Reading Always Bounces You Outside The Text

Chat of Dr. Strange and psychedelia brings to mind the Tribute to Dr. Strange, a dance concert at Longshoreman's Hall in San Francisco in October of 1965, featuring the pre-Grace Jefferson Airplane, the Charlatans (the archetypal hippie band), and the Great Society, the group Grace was in when she wrote White Rabbit and where she first sang her brother-in-law's song Somebody to Love. Hosted by KYA's all-night DJ, Russ "the Moose" Syracuse, and produced by the pre-Chet Helms Family Dog, it was quite the tribute, from all reports. This was all a few years before the cover of the Pink Floyd album A Saucerful of Secrets, which incorporates the nod to the good Dr. referred to in the Crooked Timber post, demonstrating perhaps that America was chewing through its cultural capital about two and a half years faster than Britain was at the time.

November 14, 2016

Thanks, Comey

President-elect Donald Trump will appoint Steve Bannon his chief strategist, a sort of co-equal to newly named Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, whose current position as head of the Republican National Committee presumably will be filled by Trump soon, too.

November 10, 2016

Famous Last Words

—Leonard Cohen, September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016

November 03, 2016

Wait 'Til Next Year

No one can deny this years World Series was a corker. The Chicago Cubs ended their historically long World Series Championship drought with a seventh-game extra inning one-run victory over the Cleveland Indians, a club which hadn't won the Series itself since 1948, despite leading this year's Series 3-1 before the Cubs rattled off three consecutive victories to take it all.

The seventh game will be talked about endlessly by people who love to talk about baseball. It was so rich in incident, in catastrophic failures and galvanizing heroics, that the ten innings just bulged with them.

Thus closed the 2016 MLB Baseball Season, with an absolutely classic instance of the genre.

For fans of the club, there's still the rankling end to the San Francisco Giants season, which came earlier in the playoffs against these same Cubs in a game the Giants led 5-2 going into the top of the ninth inning. The Cubs, pitted against the gravely inferior San Francisco Giants bullpen [which had to that point blown 30 such save opportunities since the start of the season (leading the National League in that dubious category)], rallied to win the game, 6-5.

The season began to crumble for the Giants after the All-Star break, and they barely outlasted the St. Louis Cardinals in vying for for the final Wild Card slot into the playoffs. In various invocations of the multiverse the Giants survive the ninth against the Cubs and send Johnny Cueto out to the mound for the do-or-die fifth game, which path our universe did not happen to take.

2016 San Francisco Giants Season Evaluation Checklist

☒ A. Beat the Dodgers
☐  1. Every time
☑  2. Most of the time
☐  3. Foil them in their quest for the pennant

☒ B. Win all games at least half the time
☐  1. Half the time
☑  2. More than half the time

☐ C. Win The Pennant

☐ D. Win The World Series

The Whip Hand for the Home Stretch Of It

At Slate, Frank Foer reported on the very peculiar transmissions between a Trump computer and a computer owned by Alfa Bank — a Russian bank run by oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin. The transmissions began early this year, peaked in early August, and then abruptly ceased a few weeks ago when a New York Times reporter began inquiring about them.

According to the New York Times, The FBI opted for "an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts." They go so easy on presidential candidates at the Bureau these days.

October 25, 2016

A Furlong or Two From the Post

"Unlike the period from June 1 to today, we have no organized calendar of events for the next 14 days," Eisenberg said. "Rather, when the opportunity presents itself, we will have ad hoc fundraisers."

It is the the very essence of the proper highwayman, e.g., to engage in ad hoc fundraising whenever the opportunity presents itself, and likewise the core chore of the chancers and grifters improvising their way out of town as the situation warrants, as well.

October 23, 2016

The Odd Bit Of Politics

So often our opponents' policy proposals grow out of character flaws that lend themselves to succinct elucidation in public.

The Art Of The Email In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction

Julian Assange has taken the unusual step of intervening in the US presidential election by releasing through his organization, Wikileaks, a trove of mind-numbingly boring political emails from the hacked files of John Podesta, currently chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential election campaign. Taken as a whole the emails prove conclusively that John Podesta is engaged in POLITICS!!!!! ON Hillary Clinton's!!! BEHALF!!!! A wet punk for what was presumably meant to be bombshell.

[The Roman Catholic Church, which, as an aside, looks down its nose at all Protestants, let alone evangelicals, probably split into progressive and reactionary wings around the first Lateran Council, so the fact that Podesta, a known liberal Catholic, took some swipes at the reactionary wing of his own faith in emails sent to a fellow Catholic is thin soup for scandal. p.r.]

Donald Trump boiled the matter down to "Hillary hates Catholics" somehow, a rudeness that presumably passes for wit among his ilk, in remarks at the Al (pretty famously Catholic) Smith Dinner this past week.

October 19, 2016

Election Update

Donald Trump's refusal tonight to say he will accept the results of the election is an invitation to civil war. And he has white men with guns.

October 10, 2016

This Week In Philandering

The recently disseminated copies of recorded remarks made by Donald Trump to Billy Bush back in 2005 have proved some kind of tipping point in this year's presidential election.

It has escaped no one's notice that following the revelation that he uses Tic Tacs to mitigate the imposition of his kisses on unsuspecting women, Donald Trump describes in this conversation the latitude granted to a star's behavior toward women. "You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything." Given those ground rules, pussy grabbing by a star is just not sexual assault. It just isn't. Not for a star. It's not clear that Trump admitted to the act or merely gestured toward the latitude of what you can get away with when you're a star, while strongly hinting at being one himself.

Speaking to Bush, he, Donald Trump, recently married to a then-pregnant wife, did admit to embarking on a predatory sexual adventure involving a married woman of their mutual acquaintance, which regrettably came to nothing in his account.

October 08, 2016

Mysteries of the Electorate Exposed

Caught in passing:
Throughout the campaign, white evangelicals have overwhelmingly supported Trump—often with higher majorities than Romney got from them.
This would be the traditional, unapologetic not-a-Mormon bonus given by white evangelicals to any candidate who isn't. Say what you will about Trump, he is obviously not a Mormon.

October 05, 2016

Giants 3, Mets 0

Wild Card Week has ended with a Giants victory over the New York Mets in the Wild Card Playoff Game, giving them the opportunity to advance to this year's five-game National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs. The winner of that series will meet the winner of the Washington/Los Angeles Division Series in the seven-game National League Championship Series later this month.

Madison Bumgarner excelled against the Mets, excellence being standard for him in post season play, and Conor Gillaspie undoubtedly experienced the peak moment of his baseball career, a guy-out-of-nowhere at-bat that resulted in an utterly crushing ninth inning three-run homer in a victory ensured by Bumgarner's complete game shutout.

The bullpen cheered from a safe distance.

October 03, 2016

Nine Hundred Million In Fact And Fiction

Trump would point to a bum begging for handouts and quip: “That bum isn’t worth a dime, but at least he’s at zero. That puts him $900 million ahead of me.”

Fortune Magazine, quoting itself from an article on Trump published back in 1996

I'm guessing his 1995 tax returns were prepared in 1996, leaving the $900 million he quips about fresh in his mind.

October 02, 2016

The Sum of An Irregular Season

2010 92-70
2011 86-76
2012 94-68
2013 76-86
2014 88-74
2015 84-78
2016 87-75

For the San Francisco Giants, this year's regular season record is better than three recent Giants seasons and bested by three others. Those three better years resulted in World Series Championships. For now it remains to be seen if a Championship can be achieved by a team with fewer than 88 regular season wins. What seems to have been established by this year's lads is that a team that wins six more than half its games might just make the playoffs, where, as has been seen in even-numbered years so far, anything might happen.

The Game, Afoot

Now if Donald really has all those tax losses... the debt must be parked somewhere. There is a vehicle out there... effectively controlled by Donald Trump which owns over $900 million in debt and is not bothering to collect it [or write it off]. I do not have the time or energy to find that vehicle. But it is there.... There is a Pulitzer prize for whoever finds it...

Bradford deLong

October 01, 2016

The Playoffs Begin

An anonymous source sent the New York Times documents showing that Donald Trump reported a nearly $1 billion loss on his 1995 tax returns -- which could have helped him avoid paying any federal income taxes for 18 years, the paper reported on Saturday.


OK now. 95 and 18 carry the thirteen is 2013*: the earliest year he'd need to pay any tax on his first $50 million each year. The tax code patting him on the head for being such a titanically poor businessman, saying, here, you've destroyed a billion dollars in wealth, the next billion's on us, and hey, let's go and give you back the last three years worth of taxes you might have paid to get you back on your feet.

*But no, the count begins three years before the loss was incurred and lasts for 15 years after [this rule makes no sense to me but is attested by reputable sources]. So 2010 would be the earliest possible end of the freeloading.

All the Political Acumen Of The Guy At The End Of The Bar

“Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly,” Trump responded. —Howard Stern Confirms Trump Said He Was For Iraq War In 2002

When Trump spoke those words, the hardline warhawk criticism of the first President Bush was, and had been for a decade, that he didn't "finish the job" in Iraq during Desert Storm. The warhawks went on about this endlessly. They've long comprised a considerable contingent of the two major American politicial parties, and make up a good portion of "independents" as well. They forever see a good excuse for war somewhere. Desert Storm, swift and decisive as it was, did not sate their wetted appetite for military conflict. They groused formally at the Project for a New American Century, where the blueprint for "finishing the job" was sketched out.

Trump's "I guess so," signals a wistful acquiescence to what, failing to be done before by the first Bush, must be corrected now by his son.

Ah, Sweet October

Saturday was Day 5 of NL Wild Card Week. The New York Mets won (87-74), securing home field in the win-or-go-home Wild Card playoff game scheduled for Wednesday. The St. Louis Cardinals (85-76) won as well, overcoming a three run deficit in the late innings. The San Francisco Giants (86-75) beat the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw, behind rookie pitcher Ty Blach, who shut out Kershaw's Dodgers on three hits over eight innings. With one game left in the regular season, the Giants now have three shots at advancing to the Wild Card game: by winning tomorrow, by St. Louis losing tomorrow, or by beating St. Louis in a tie-breaker game on Monday.

September 30, 2016

Wild Card Week Wends Its Way To Its Scheduled End: Day 4

Friday was Day 4 of Wild Card Week. The Mets (86-74) and Cardinals (84-76) both won convincingly. The Giants (85-75) came from behind, contrary to their most recent practices, and drubbed the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-3 behind Madison Bumgarner, who won his 15th game of the season and 100th of his career. With two games left in Wild Card Week and the season, the Giants crucially continue to play no worse than the Cardinals.

September 29, 2016

Your Intermittently Posted Daily National League Wild Card Week In Review: Days 2 and 3

The Mets won again on Wednesday, Day 2 of National League Wild Card Week, and the Cardinals and the Giants both lost. The Mets thus gained the inside track for home field in the Wild Card game next Wednesday. The Giants are playing no worse than the Cardinals, which suits their needs.

Thursday was Day 3 of Wild Card Week. The Mets (85-74) had Thursday off, their final three games of the season beginning Friday against the Philadelphias. St. Louis (now 83-76) won its game against Cincinnati, though not without a measure of controversy over the final play of the game, and the Giants (84-75) greeted the return of Johnny Cueto from an injury by scoring multiple times in three separate innings, a rarity for the club which has been shut out nine times since the All Star Break. The Giants continue to play no worse than the Cardinals.

September 27, 2016

Wild Card Week. Day One

The Mets scored 12 runs in their win today, the Cardinals scored 12 runs in their win today, and the Giants scored 12 runs in their win today on this, the first day ofWild Card Week.

Annals of Rhetorical Arts

1. Pro Tip:

A "debate" is not a yelling, pal.

2. Two notable Tweets chirped by witnesses to last night's curious affair of the Donald who sniffed in the night:

a)DEBATE HOUR 2: THE SNIFFENING, said the one Tweet, and

b)Donald Trump's nose is running faster than the jobs leaving this country, said the other.

September 26, 2016

Three Stumble Toward The Line

All the San Francisco Giants need do is play as well as the St. Louis Cardinals for the final six games of the season and a playoff spot is assured. Whether they are up to the challenge is to be seen. Signs in the last couple of months have been less than encouraging, as the Giants piled up (used advisedly) a 25-41 record after reaching the All Star break with the best record in baseball. They fell from an eight game lead in their division to hanging-by-fingernails playoff contenders in a three-way jostle with the New York Mets and the St. Louis club for one of two post-season wild card playoff spots.

In 2014 the Giants advanced to and won the World Series from a wild-card playoff berth, so it can be done, and is, as always, a consummation dtbw.

On the one hand, it is an even-numbered year. On the other, 30 blown saves so far. THIRTY!!!!

September 24, 2016

The Bondi Boodle

Most news sources agree that Donald Trump was required to pay a fine of $2,500 and reimburse his foundation from his own personal funds for the $25,000 his foundation spent, illegally, in support of Pam Bondi's re-election campaign.

Does all this mean that Pam Bondi doesn't have to relinquish the money we know she's been given illegally by the Trump Foundation? She gets to keep all that? That seems like a doable deal for Trump, paying a 10% tax on a $25,000 investment in a pliable Bondi.

So that's what I wonder. Does Pam Bondi keep the cash?

September 23, 2016

Holding Our Nose, The Endorsement Goes To . . .

"…going two weeks without saying something misogynistic, racist or xenophobic is hardly a qualification for the most important job in the world."

Conservative Cincinnati Enquirer [failing to endorse a Republican for president for the first time in nearly 100 years] Endorses Dem: ‘It Has To Be' Clinton Talking Points Memo, September 23, 2016

Surely the Enquirer's standard would disqualify a wide swath of the demos, the people Trump speaks for, often explicitly, from ever succeeding to the presidency, and that's, you know, so elitist, and like, discrimination.

September 13, 2016

Inadvertent Geyser

Junction of Seventh Avenue and Soquel Avenue,  Santa Cruz, September 13, 2016

September 11, 2016

The Stretch Run

The last time the San Francisco Giants were set to begin a three-game series against the San Diego Padres was July 15, coming out of the All Star break. The Giants had the best record in baseball at the time, and had won their previous nine games against the Padres.

It seemed a certain measure of optimism was warranted.

Now, instead of optimism, a fan's residuum of hope remains, with three games now against an inferior team while the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers visit New York, where the recently resurgent Yankees are still within scuffling distance of a playoff spot.

The Giants at this juncture are three games behind the Dodgers, but still have six games head-to-head against them, with 20 games left on the regular schedule.

What seemed such a certainty scant months ago remains conceivable with best play.

September 10, 2016


Just now Larry King is doing play-by-play of the sixth inning of the Dodgers/Marlins game on radio station WINZ's Marlins broadcast, a guest spot, his presentation full of the utterly long-winded and heartily pronounced banalities that have always been the bedrock of his appeal, but fortunately enough for him, particularly for an avowed Dodger fan such as King, the inning breaks out for the Dodgers with back-to-back homers and they take a 4-0 lead, knocking the pitcher out of the game and giving his partner on the broadcast a chance during the change to draw him out on the looming retirement of Vin Scully, longtime Dodger announcer, for whom King delivers a eulogy-worthy off-the-cuff encomium.

His program on RT has drawn some attention for broadcasting an interview with Donald Trump.

The inning ends, he's gotta leave, plane to catch, big hearty Jimmy Durante fare-thee-well and he's gone.

Dodger pitcher Rich Hill is throwing a perfect game.

Foundation and Empire

In two cases, he has used money from his charity to buy himself a gift. In one of those cases — not previously reported — Trump spent $20,000 of money earmarked for charitable purposes to buy a six-foot-tall painting of himself.

— David Farenthold,

September 08, 2016

Trump On The Stump

During this morning's walk I wondered if my impression of Trump's performance at last night's event (my first extended direct exposure to his campaign style) — that he emitted a consistently rambling, at times incoherent stream of bluster throughout — was shared by an appreciable number of my fellow citizens. You never know about these things. Later in the day Obama, responding to a question about Trump, asked everyone to “just listen to what he says and follow up and ask questions about what appear to be either contradictory or uninformed or outright wacky ideas."

It's comforting that my impression wasn't completely off track: I'm willing to compromise on the President's diagnosis of "wacky," with "dangerously uninformed" as a friendly amendment to an otherwise unobjectionable formula.

September 05, 2016


Before he's too cold in the ground I just want to acknowledge in passing the similarities in the lives and contributions of the recently deceased Rudy Van Gelder and Wallace Stevens, two guys from New Jersey. Stevens was a medical doctor and Van Gelder an optometrist, though each will be remembered more for what they crafted in the hours outside of their ostensible professions, however capable they may have proved to be in carrying out their credentialed duties.

Van Gelder's recordings for Prestige and Blue Note and Savoy forever realized the epitome of sounds New York City's jazz musicians of the '50's and '60's would present to posterity.

September 04, 2016

Weather, That Is To Say, Climate.

Even during peak hurricane season, hurricanes that pass north of the Delmarva Peninsula [that odd huge sprawl of southtending land with Chesapeake Bay on one side and Delaware Bay and the ass end of New Jersey across the water on the other] typically weaken because of cooler ocean waters that limit the growth of central thunderstorms. But not Hermine. This sort of storm arguably wouldn’t be possible without the near-record high ocean temperatures currently offshore.

We Haven’t Seen Many Storms Like Hermine, Eric Holthaus, Sept 3, 2016

But "near-record high ocean temperatures" are the ground floor of the new normal. If Hermine is the sort of storm sustained by the new normal, then she will have many sibs in coming years.

August 30, 2016

Operating The Grift To Make America Great Again

Trump nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign, according to a Huffington Post review of Federal Election Commission filings.


August 29, 2016

Constructed With Reference To The Buddha

Land Of Medicine Buddha Grounds, Santa Cruz, CA, 2009

August 21, 2016

That's A Whole Lot Of Arctic Hydrocarbon

At stake for ExxonMobil is a massive $500 billion deal with Rosneft, a state-owned Russian oil company, to drill for oil in the Russian Arctic.

—Buzzfeed News, Congress, Worried About Trump, Is Trying To Tie The Next President’s Hands On Russia

August 15, 2016

Opo Research

What will people who now support Trump say when they understand that his famous hair is actually the harvested pelt of this endangered species? Huh, Mr. Libertarian, huh?

The Tragically Attractive Tamarind, Seattle, 2008

Bucket of Flowers

Flowers, Disarranged, 2008

August 08, 2016

For When Being Enough Of A Republican Isn't Enough

There are those among Republicans who would counsel Trump to make no more of a fool of himself than he already has, but beyond sending a presidential candidate to his room they sense no sure way to ensure Trump's public probity. The Culpability Index is counting down the hours left for them to plausibly deny association with him.

August 04, 2016


I was opining, as I am wont to do at times, on the state of the current Presidential election campaign. There is no way the Republicans can lift Donald Trump back up, I averred. The party's only saving move now is a whole-hearted attack on Hillary Clinton, dragging her down farther than Tump has fallen by employing the harshest possible criticisms they can offer, however germaine, and soon.

"She slept with Bill Clinton!" said Jesse.

August 02, 2016

We Interrupt This Reported Trump Enormity #12 and 35

Scott Lemieux of the Lawyers, Guns & Money blog lists the 5 worst ruling of the Roberts Court. Citizens United doesn't make the cut. Canny look at the Court's inclinations under Roberts from a lawyer who's apparently been paying attention.

July 22, 2016

Some Bird

The hummingbird arrested but briefly on a twig.

July 14, 2016

The Break

Major League Baseball comes to rest around the All-Star Game, a four-day pause in the year's relatively incessant schedule of games, marking the ceremonial halfway point in the season, though strictly speaking the halfway mark is long past. The San Francisco Giants have played 90 games going into the break, nine more than half a season's worth.

No ballclub has had an easier schedule than the San Francisco Giants had during the first half of 2016.

That will change for the Giants eventually, as is mentioned elsewhere. But for now, the club continues to enjoy the salad days of its schedule, returning from the four-day All Star Break with the MLB's best record, 57-33 (having surpassed the Chicago Cubs in that regard after a couple of weeks of stumbling from the Chicagos to close out their first half), to face the more or less hapless San Diego Padres.

The Giants have yet to lose a game to the Padres this season. They are 9-0. Those nine wins explain a lot about the position of two clubs as the second half begins. Without them the Giants are less bafflingly successful, the Padres not so deflatingly bad.

Granted, good clubs are supposed to win most of the games they play against poor teams. But, winning 6 of 9 games against a poorer club is considered feasting on that team. Winning 9 games in a row against any club, no matter how poor, is way over on the far edge of the probability curve. Baseball doesn't normally operate that way.

Nevertheless, the Giants get to play the Padres 10 more times this year, starting tomorrow night.

Soon the DL will disgorge Matt Duffy, Joe Panik, Hunter Pence, and Matt Cain. Reliever Sergio Romo is already back. Other teams may hope to bolster their lineups by working some magic before the end-of-the-month trading deadline. The Giants look to become considerably stronger simply by welcoming back four of their own.

July 13, 2016

Questionable Times for the New PM

The British Prime Minister apparently has "You're It!" powers when it comes to naming the heads of the offices of government, who set and carry out the policies of the party in power using those offices under the Prime Minister's direction, including the newly created office of Secretary of State For Exiting The European Union (David Davis). No messy formal advise and consent, just, here, you're it.
It is a mark of the equivocal importance of the Foreign Office in what remains of Britain now that it has voted to go to its room, that the new Foreign Secretary will be Boris Johnson.

July 11, 2016

Lemmy And Jolie

Lemmy Caution and Jolie Blon got together and sang this song
And everybody else wants to sing along
Sing along to this real old song.

Lemmy Caution and Jolie Blon met up together and sang this song:
Everbody else wants to sing along
Sing along to this real old song.

Lemmy Caution and Jolie Blon get 'em together and we all sing along
Sing along to this real old song,
Real old song, we all sing along,
Sing along to this real old song.

July 06, 2016

Department of O.K. Fine If You Say So

Words that cannot be gainsaid, at least around here:

Indeed, it has been shown that the proposition that every vector space has a basis is equivalent to Zorn's Lemma (and hence also to the axiom of choice)

July 05, 2016

Annals of Privilege

The Obama administration has prosecuted more leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined, according to this Greenwald article at The Intercept.

…Comey also detailed that her key public statements defending her conduct – i.e., she never sent classified information over her personal email account and that she had turned over all “work-related” emails to the State Department – were utterly false; insisted “that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position . . . should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation”; and argued that she endangered national security because of the possibility “that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.” Comey also noted that others who have done what Clinton did “are often subject to security or administrative sanctions” – such as demotion, career harm, or loss of security clearance.

…Despite all of these highly incriminating findings, Comey explained, the FBI is recommending to the Justice Department that Clinton not be charged with any crime. “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information,” he said, “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” To justify this claim, Comey cited “the context of a person’s actions” and her “intent.” In other words, there is evidence that she did exactly what the criminal law prohibits, but it was more negligent and careless than malicious and deliberate.

…perhaps Democrats might start demanding the same reasonable leniency and prosecutorial restraint for everyone else who isn’t Hillary Clinton.

That last line pointedly about well-known miscreants Snowdon and Manning.

July 04, 2016

The Winningest Team In Baseball

The 162 game schedule, drawn up before the start of the season, has arbitrarily favored the Giants with a stretch of weeks pitted against teams with losing records. Since taking three of four in Pittsburgh against a presumptive playoff rival, the Giants have so far played 11 games against teams with losing records, winning six.

These pleasant prospects, from games #75 through #101 of the schedule, featuring 24 of 26 games against teams with losing records (PHI, COL, ARI, SD, CIN, NYY), will extend through the All Star break this year, eventually ending in late July.

Alternately, the Giants schedule for early August features seven games against the East-leading Washington Nationals in a ten-game span, followed by 15 games against 5 teams vying with various stages of desperation for playoff slots (MIA, BAL, PIT, NYM, LAD).

The Giants have been rewarded with a soft schedule that will turn brutal in August. If there are a subtle few extra wins that will make the difference this season, these weeks bridging the All Star break look to be the place the Giants need to find them. Because August will be hard.

June 29, 2016

Santa Cruz Harbor Gets A New Dredge

Numerous enormous chunks of the new dredge were borne on oversized tractor-trailers all the way from Louisiana to the temporary yard in the parking lot adjacent to Santa Cruz Harbor's launch ramp this month, there to be reconstituted by the crew that came along with the parts. Moving this caravan of massive things from Louisiana to Santa Cruz took more time than originally planned. The target date of June 13 was missed by ten days. But eventually everything was there, and the crew got to work putting all the pieces of it together, and in a week they were done. Today the dredge was eased on enormous air mattresses down into the waters of the Santa Cruz Harbor, where its career of sucking and spewing will soon commence.

The Now-Rejected Dredge of Santa Cruz Harbor, Seabright, And Its Faithful Companion, Dauntless

June 25, 2016

Along the Relinquished Coast

For no particularly sound reason roadmakers guessed that setting roads meandering on the existing seaside cliffs along the coast between Santa Cruz and San Francisco was an eminently doable task, and set out constructing them with the confidence (emboldened all along the West Coast of America by the example of the Panama Canal) that any conceivable project could be accomplished with the proper application of enough concrete, a belief leading, understandably, to more than a century of collapsed roadways on the coast from Big Sur to the Golden Gate.
These coastal cliffs aren't finalized. Geologically, they are composed of the compressed muck of an earlier seafloor, and, exposed to the unrelenting seasonable rains of a climate literally bordering on a rainforest, they are distinctly impermanent.
East Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz memorializes this untoward confidence. Plates of concrete, stubs of what was once roadway balance on the cliffs above Seacliff State Beach.

Looking Southeast across Monterey Bay, a plate of concrete roadbed balanced on an eroding bluff  in the foreground

Objectifying The Impassible

In the distance, a fence of the same sort as that cutting across the foreground. Beyond that fence Eastcliff Drive resumes

June 17, 2016

Today's 42

What findings can be gleaned from our previously published report are comfortably vague.

The Giants 41st win was achieved in the seasons's 62nd game in 2014, and in the season's 91st game in 2013. 2014 turned into a very good year, culminating in a a World Series victory, and 2013 into a 76-86 failure.

The 2010 season ended with a World Championship, too, but the 41st win of the 2010 campaign came almost a month after that of the 2014 season.

The 2010 team, with its lackadasical 41-39 record after 80 games, on the eve of the Fourth of July, the traditional date on which the actual play of the clubs thus far can be taken seriously as an indication of their viability in that year's pennant race, parlayed a mediocre first half into a Wild Card slot in the playoffs by the end of the season, and from there, luck and talent rode them to the club's first Championship in 56 years, and first ever since arriving in San Francisco 52 years before.

No matter how quickly the club ever reaches 41 wins, they'll do no better than that club, with its 41-39 mark and World Championship, pretty much the minimum a club can do and still eke out a World Series victory, playing barely better than .500 ball as late as the Fourth of July.

This year's club reached 41 wins in it 67th game, the second quickest pace in our record of seven recent seasons. This puts the club in a favorable position to reach this year's playoffs, which, of course is better than the position, genrally agreed to be supine, of the 2013 team by the time of its 41st.

June 16, 2016

Department of Relatively Obvious Tentative Conclusions, Buttressed by Facts

The earlier in June the Giants reach 41 wins the better, and the later in July the worse for them. Mostly.

SeasonWon-LostDate of 41st Win
2010 41-39 July 3
2011 41-34 June 23
2012 41-33 June 25
2013 41-50 July 11
2014 41-21 June 6
2015 41-35 June 27
2016 41-26 June 15

June 13, 2016

Beach House

Houses Along The Bluff at Seabright and East Cliff, Santa Cruz, CA, May 2016

Looking West Past The House On The Corner of Seabright and East Cliff, Santa Cruz, CA, May 2016

June 11, 2016

The Satisfactions of a Well-Won Game

Until the tenth inning of today's game between the Giants and Dodgers, the Giants had three hits, all stroked early in the game against Dodgers starter Scott Kazmir.

The pitchers who replaced him yielded no hits, so the Giants went into the bottom of the tenth inning having produced just those three hits and facing a one-run deficit following Adrian Gonzales's solo home run that led off the top of the tenth inning for the Dodgers.

Then, with one out in their own half, the Giants strung together four straight hits, scored two runs and won the game.

An altogether entertaining game overall, during the course of which the Fox TV announcers noted the presence of Dodger right fielder Trayce Thompson's brother, Klay, the Golden State Warriors player, whose club is now one win away from bringing consecutive NBA championships to the Bay Area. Up there in the stands Klay was wearing a Dodgers cap, and when his image was shown on the scoreboard screen the assembled crowd booed heartily. One analyst wondered if anyone wearing a Dodger cap would go unbooed, proposed the Pope and immediately allowed that the Pope would likely get booed, too. Giants fans. Tough crowd, satisfied tonight.

June 09, 2016


I see that Duf Sundheim captured 8% of the vote in California's Senate Primary this past Tuesday. Sundheim isn't a name familiar to many Californians, though even given an understandable amount of puffery, Sundheim's CV suggests a string of professional accomplishments that would have made him prime Republican material 40 years ago. But this is not your father's Republican party anymore, so even an endorsement from George Schultz himself could do little to collect the fractious shards of the state party together behind him. He led all twelve declared Republican candidates for the office with his 8%, but together they mustered only 27.9% — a fringe party percentage — of the vote.

Only the top two vote-getters in California's June Senate runoff move on to the general election. Both of them are Democrats this year. For the first time ever, no Republican candidate will appear on the ballot for U.S. Senate in California since the passage of the 17th amendment made popular election of senators possible.

June 07, 2016

I Voted And All I Got Was This Lousy Senate Majority Leader

Mitch McConnell gave a very odd interview to Judy Woodruff of the News Hour on PBS tonight, an interview ostensibly about his newly published memoir, the Long Game, but turned instead to his position on the candidacy of Donald Trump, freshly recognized presidential nominee of McConnell's own party. The people who voted for Trump in the Republican Party's primaries really want something different, advised McConnell, allowing as how they seem to have succeeded with their chosen candidate. McConell took the occasion to upbraid Trump for recent remarks that even elected Republicans were inclined to label racist. McConnell is inoculated against charges of racism himself by virtue of being married to an immigrant Asian American, and we can be assured that his refusal to let immigration reform advance in the Senate, for example, is a matter of politics, and nothing personal.

Can he inoculate his party's current Senate majority against the strong tide of revulsion directed at Trump and the party that would nominate him which, for all we know, the general electoral may demonstrate in November? This is what the boys in the back room are wondering.

June 01, 2016


An observation made Monday which profits from its own skepticism, since the W-L records of the clubs no longer balance in precisely the way they did only days ago as shown here, nor are those records likely to resume anything like this sort of balance anytime soon:

A note on Memorial Day in Major League Baseball:

Thus far this season in the National League, the New York Mets have won 14 games at home and 14 on the road, the Washington Nationals have won 15 games at home and 15 on the road, the San Francisco Giants have won 16 games at home and 16 on the road, and the Chicago Cubs have won 17 games at home and 17 on the road.

Some statistics are so transient that there's no profit in collecting them for the purpose of making some point, though it can be a chore to distinguish between stats to be rightfully ignored and those which may be harbingers of some truly useful understanding of the game, when a subject like baseball propagates sets of stats so readily.

May 09, 2016

Looking North

Kingston Ferry at its berth in Edmonds, Washington, April 2016

May 06, 2016

The Sinking of Boaty McBoatface

In an ill-concieved attempt to raise public support for the construction of a £200 million Arctic research vessel, the Natural Environment Research Council of Britain engaged the public in a contest to nominate and vote for the name of the new ship. James Hand, exercising what he later came to regret as an excess of whimsey, offered the name "Boaty McBoatface" for the vessel, and the public, responding to the poll with a resounding unseriousness, voted overwhelmingly in its favor.

Embarassingly, nothing in the remit of the Natural Environment Research Council encouraged whimsey. They had a fallback position, which they hastened to exercise: ignore the poll result completely and go with their own choice in the matter.

Thus Sir Other Attenbourough was called in from the bullpen to lend his anodyne name and its associations to the ship, which even James Hand allowed was probably for the best.

May 05, 2016

Arbitrary Harbor View

Harbor Dredgers, Santa Cruz, February 2016

May 02, 2016

An Even-Numbered Year in Song And Story

A month into this year's baseball season the San Francisco Giants are the only club in MLB's National League West Division with a winning record at home. In April the Arizona Diamondbacks staggered around the unfriendly confines of their own home Chase Field for a stretch of 17 games of which they won only five. The Dodgers gained but five wins at home during that time, too, losing eight of the 13 they've hosted so far. All the teams in the division have lost at least eight games at home, except, of course, for the San Francisco Giants with their winning record, who have lost only six at AT&T Park a month now into the season.

May 01, 2016

Jazz Is Never Out Of Date

by Max Roach and C. Bayen

Mendacity, mendacity, it makes the world go round.
A politician makes a speech and never hears the sound.
The campaign trail winds on and on in towns from coast to coast.
The winner ain't the one who's straight, but he who lies the most.

Now voting rights in this fair land we know are not denied.
But if I tried in certain states, from treetops I'd be tied.
Mendacity, mendacity, it seems is everywhere.
But try and tell the truth, and most folks scream "Not Fair!"

April 30, 2016

Jazz, The Early Years, On International Jazz Day

Knee Drops Louis Armstrong

Ain't Misbehavin' Louis Armstrong

Jumping At The Woodstock Count Basie

Minor Swing Django Reinhardt

Ornithology Charlie Parker

Senor Blues Horace Silver

Take Five Dave Brubeck

Giant Steps John Coltrane

April 11, 2016

Lotta Shaking

Here are 40 remarkable photos of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire in San Francisco, curated by Alan Taylor at the Atlantic. As of April 18, 110 years have passed now since that day.

All of my grandparents were on the far end of the Mission District, a mile south of the furthest reach of the fire that levelled much of San Francisco following the 1906 earthquake. As for the earthquake, one grandmother never spoke of it, and the other always called it "The Fire," preferring, like so many who lived through it, to memorialize the enormity with that all-consuming word instead of the other.

April 06, 2016

Merle Haggard (April 6, 1937 – April 6, 2016)

I'll Fix Your Flat Tire, Merle

Merle's was a music of crushed lives, prison time and poverty, busted romance and drinking steady to smooth out the day's ragged failures. Always the music of that underclass of perpetually dispossessed Americans, generations of originally rural whites broken and uprooted, decade after decade spilling West, like Haggard's people, who found themselves discarded in Bakersfield, California by some rude gesture of history, with all the regret and resentment and determination to get by goddammit you might expect of their kind. He had a straightforward plain genius for making music of all that.

April 04, 2016

An Unsuccessful Bit of Camouflage

Dog View 2016

Noted in Passing

That night Matt Duffy of the San Francisco Giants dove for a ball headed down the third base line, snagged it while prone, and in righting himself rotated completely around to throw across on one bounce to Brandon Belt at first base beating the Oakland A's runner for the third out of the inning: just getting in some practice before the start of the season.

Today, in Milwaukee, opening day of the 2016 season for the San Francisco Giants, Duffy went 2 for 5 with 4 RBI. Kid just might make the team after all.

March 31, 2016

Noting The Condom-Shaped Safety Zone of Santa Cruz Harbor

Advisory Notice Posted At the Santa Cruz Harbor, March 2016

March 29, 2016

Remembering Those Who Did Not Make The Cut

The Fence at Holy Cross Cemetery

The Fence at Holy Cross Cemetery 2

March 22, 2016

Florescence Alert

Flowering Stuff, September 2013

March 15, 2016

March 10, 2016

You May Drive Out Nature With A Pitchfork

Dredging the Shoaled Harbor Mouth, Santa Cruz CA, February 2016

March 09, 2016

Because Civilization As We Know It Needs A Break

The People Dream The Greater Dream Of Donald Trump

March 04, 2016

Tidying Up The Context for Patrick's Day

Lismore grew in time to be a great religious city, and a school of sacred sciences, to which pilgrims from all over Ireland and scholars from beyond the seas resorted.

—Patrick Power, Waterford & Lismore A Compendious History of the United Dioceses Cork University Press 1937 pg. 5.

As late as the 15th cent. the primacy of Lismore, among the Sanctuaries and Schools of Munster, seems to have been tacitly acknowledged. In recognition of the status in question, special immunities were granted to the city and church of Lismore, as well as to the attached manors, by the Provincial Synod, held at Limerick in 1453. These included freedom from exactions by anyone, even the Lord of Desmond, or the king's representative.

—See Appendix XIII.

Freedom from exactions sounds like a pretty sweet arrangement but the sordid truth is that, at least as passed down through my family's recollection, it was earned as tradeoff for Lismore locally settling with firm finality the whole snakes-out-of-Ireland controversy fomented from the first by fans of Patrick and occasioning there in Lismore as elsewhere throughout the Wooded Isle centuries of objectively unnecessary commentary ornamenting almost every conceivable aspect of the matter.

This local settlement did not countenance expression of certain divergent views, divergent in the sense that they strayed too far from the hard won consensus that for the good of all this snake-related nonsense must cease and Patrickology must move on.

In this way my forebears enlisted in a project of not only denying a place in Lismore to the snakes per Patrick, but actively subduing any idle talk of them as might arise in Lismore's vicinity from time to time as well.

February 27, 2016


The Pines(detail) by Franklin Booth, via John Holbo at Crooked Timber

Booth's style nicely replicates the effects of woodcut using pen and ink. The clouded sky in the detail above is typical of the myriad of precise strokes of varying thicknesses he applied to every centimeter of his work to achieve the desired effect. There is nothing of economy in Booth's style, and still, the tree at right is pure suggestion. Composed of countless scribed lines, it's as much an impression of a tree's appearance as any Van Gogh ever drew.

February 26, 2016

Endorsement Season

Overshadowed by the Chris Christie endorsement of Donald Trump today was an endorsement over on the Democratic Party side of the contest, as Robert Reich endorsed Bernie Sanders for President. Reich has been admirable on most issues he's cared to speak on publicly following his time in Bill Clinton's Cabinet in the '90's.

Still, there was the big bully deferring to the bigger bully on the Republican side, which understandably hogged most of the day's stage.

February 24, 2016

Etymology Enacts the Plausible Yarn To Explain the Well-Known Name

Richmond Talbott was a slide guitarist and blues singer, and an old friend of Jorma Kaukonen. Talbott (then known as Steve Talbot), Jorma, Steve Mann, Tom Hobson, Perry Lederman and a few others were the acoustic blues guitarists on the scene in the early 60s who were the hottest and most sophisticated pickers, although only Kaukonen went on to success. As a private joke, they all made up “fake blues names,” and Talbott chose as his name “Blind Thomas Jefferson Airplane.” A few years later, this play on the name of Blind Lemon Jefferson was later borrowed by Jorma’s new band.

—Ross Hannan and Corry Arnold, Freight And Salvage

One Way of Looking at Washington's Birthday

This Year's Peak Magnolia Came in February

Magnolias reached Peak Magnolia here in Santa Cruz earlier this week. Peak Magnolia happens when all buds that can be blossoms blossom. Usually this happens in late March, around the solstice, but after years of drought the local magnolias have responded to the wetness of the early part of this year's rainy season, over by mid January, with a quickened burst of early ripening.

February 18, 2016

Annals of Government Intrusion

Bruce Schneier on the FBI's demand that Apple hack the security of the iPhone.

February 16, 2016

Some February Camelias

The Not Necessarily Pimping a Butterfly-Style Reference of the Month Club

If Kendrick Lamar was Walt Whitman to our age, aiming his fervid poetries at the heart of what's now America, would we white ones recognize that of him?

February 14, 2016

Annals of a Dead Supreme


If this is indeed the case, the Senate is presently in the midst of a 10-day recess (not a pro forma session), and under Noel Canning, President Obama possesses the power to make a recess appointment to the Supreme Court until noon on February 22, when the Senate comes back in session.

Glenn Reynolds

February 11, 2016

The Supremes Step In

The Government's Carbon Emissions Plan has been put on hold by the Supreme Court, catching everyone off guard.

This planet is so fucked.

Ash Wednesday and Ever After

Lenten  Leftover, Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, AZ

The Rude Talk of the Presidential Campaign, Part the Millionth

Back in the day, from Eliabeth Warren's perspective, Hillary Clinton's work on the bankruptcy bill amounted to little more than putting lipstick on a pig, if by pig we mean the voracious capitalist financiers behind the measure, for the bankruptcy bill as a whole gutted the very protections bankruptcy is meant to offer to specific classes of the insolvent, particularly holders of credit card debt and student loans. It was to institutionalize a condition of debt penury on vast numbers of Americans instead of offering them the clean slate bankruptcy had always ostensibly been intended to provide.

“While this amendment may have provided some political cover, it offers virtually no financial help to single mothers, since the overwhelming majority of ex-husbands don’t pay any distributions during bankruptcy,” the endnotes read. “Of far more importance was the fact that the bill would permit credit card companies to compete with women after bankruptcy for their ex-husbands’ limited income, and this provision remained unchanged in the 1998 and 2001 versions of the bill. Senator Clinton claimed that the bill improved circumstances for single mothers, but her view was not shared by any women’s groups or consumer groups,” said Warren.

It would seem Clinton was offering up an attractive yet basically meaningless amendment in exchange for support of a bill no conceivable Democrat before the time of Bill Clinton, the first post-modern Democrat, would have thought of voting for. Ever.

February 01, 2016

January 07, 2016

No Parking On Moby Hedge

471 10th Avenue, Santa Cruz, Aug. 2015

January 06, 2016


1 September. Oliver Sacks dies, my first memory of whom was as an undergraduate in his digs in Keble Road in Oxford when I was with Eric Korn and possibly, over from Cambridge, Michael Frayn. Oliver said that he had fried and eaten a placenta. At that time I don't think I knew what a placenta was, except I knew it didn't come with chips.
— Alan Bennett, What I Did In 2015 (London Review Of Books, vol. 38 Jan. 2016, pg. 6.)
Jokes at the expense of placentas are so beyond the fringe.

January 01, 2016

Catching Up

Happy New Year!