The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
What the hell were the Mama’s and the Papa’s up to?Posted: May 30, 2016 Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment
Great Debates Live — NYC — Behind the ScenesPosted: May 28, 2016 Filed under: actors, New York Leave a comment
Thanks to The Slipper Room for helping us out. You can listen to the episode here or catch it on iTunes, Stitcher, wherever you get your podcasts.
Architecture of Downtown Los AngelesPosted: May 27, 2016 Filed under: architecture, the California Condition Leave a comment
Annual tradition: a day of architectural touring with Craig D.
Craigs’s house is beautiful.
First stop: LA’s Cathedral.
The cathedral was designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. Using elements of postmodern architecture, the church and the Cathedral Center feature a series of acute and obtuse angles while avoiding right angles.
Cardinal Roger Mahony’s decision to rebuild the Los Angeles Cathedral in such elaborate and postmodern architecture has drawn great criticism. Many argued that a church of that size and expense was unnecessary, overly-elaborate and money could have been better spent on social programs. Many felt that either St. Vincent Church on West Adams Boulevard or St. Basil Church on South Kingsley Drive could easily perform the functions required of a cathedral with minimal additional cost. Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral was also criticized for its departure from historical California Mission-style architecture and aesthetics.
Had been reading this book:
which talks a lot about why LA feels so odd to the pedestrian, and the ways LA’s public buildings have of shutting off the street:
LA’s cathedral, finished in 2002, seemed a bit ’90s to me:
That’s the Grand Arts School / Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts behind Craig.
Disaster waiting to happen at the mausoleum?
Quick tour through Grand Central Market:
A walk past the retired Angels’ Flight:
On February 1, 2001, Angels Flight had a serious accident that killed a passenger, Leon Praport (age 83), and injured seven others, including Praport’s wife, Lola. The accident occurred when car Sinai, approaching the upper station, reversed direction and accelerated downhill in an uncontrolled fashion to strike car Olivet near the lower terminus.
On to the truly bizarre angles of the Bonaventure Hotel designed by John C. Portman, Jr.
I mean what is going on here?:
In his book Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory (1989), Edward Soja describes the hotel as
a concentrated representation of the restructured spatiality of the late capitalist city: fragmented and fragmenting, homogeneous and homogenizing, divertingly packaged yet curiously incomprehensible, seemingly open in presenting itself to view but constantly pressing to enclose, to compartmentalize, to circumscribe, to incarcerate. Everything imaginable appears to be available in this micro-urb but real places are difficult to find, its spaces confuse an effective cognitive mapping, its pastiche of superficial reflections bewilder co-ordination and encourage submission instead. Entry by land is forbidding to those who carelessly walk but entrance is nevertheless encouraged at many different levels. Once inside, however, it becomes daunting to get out again without bureaucratic assistance. In so many ways, its architecture recapitulates and reflects the sprawling manufactured spaces of Los Angeles
You said it, pal.
Wonder Trail reviewers’ guidePosted: May 26, 2016 Filed under: books, Wonder Trail Leave a comment
The main character of my last book had some rough things to say about book reviewers. That was part of the joke. Me? I’ve always rooted for book reviewers. They have a tough job. Newspapers shrinking, etc. I am on the book reviewers side. This site is largely amateur book reviewing. It’s easy (and cheap) to write a bad review. Hard to write a good one.
Let me make things as easy as possible for anyone reviewing of my book.
If you’ve been assigned the job, or if you want to pitch it and take it on freelance (her0), let me help you with this handy reviewers’ kit to The Wonder Trail:
If you’re brave enough to volunteer? At your local publication? God bless. (Happy to answer your interview questions, write me.)
Print that helpful guide out. Download it. All those phrases are free to use.
Start each paragraph on one and you’ll be done in no time!
* this one from actual human reader Margot B. who I don’t know but who very kindly wrote in after winning a copy in the Great Debates Newsletter contest.
Thanks, and good luck!
No JumperPosted: May 24, 2016 Filed under: broadcasting Leave a comment
Great Debates visited brother podcast No Jumper. Adam: excellent interviewer, such a professional, warm host. Do I love this photo? I might:
Couple points I did want to make:
- if you’re new to our format let me stress that sometimes in our debates we give voice to arguments we don’t believe. I don’t really think the Earth is a flat coin
- completely choked on now-rappers, sorry. Straight-up blanked! Would’ve annihilated if I’d mentioned Nicki Minaj, Kendrick or Kanye. “Debaters’ Remorse” as we say
- also why am I bringing up Drudge Report trash?! needless.
We’re always trying to improve. What a fun time.
Live Great Debates ep coming soon! All the behind-the-scenes action will be in Great Debates News, subscribe for once a week fun.
NestlePosted: May 19, 2016 Filed under: business, the California Condition, water Leave a comment
In the Swabian dialect, “Nestle” is a small bird’s nest.
So says the Wiki for Henri Nestle. I was reading about Nestle because I was trying to learn who owns the spring sources for the major bottled waters in the United States.
Here are our popular waters, by sales in billions of $$:
Dasani and Aquafina are literally just purified municipal tap water with salt added:
Dasani uses tap water from local municipal water supplies, filters it using the process of reverse osmosis, and adds trace amounts of minerals, including magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt), potassium chloride and table salt (sodium chloride).
Nestle Pure Life as I understand it comes from springs in Canada:
Nestlé’s Aberfoyle Springs plant currently bottles two different waters: the on-site Aberfoyle spring water, and spring water tankered in from Cedar Valley Spring in Erin, Ontario. In addition, spring water is botted on-site in Hope, British Columbia. In the United States, Nestlé Pure Life is a purified (filtered) water.
Next is Poland Spring, owned by Nestle. Vitaminwater I don’t care about.
Fiji water is owned by David Brooks’ buddies:
How about local SoCal water sources, like Arrowhead?:
Here’s an interesting one: Crystal Geyser, the source of which is up on the 395, in bleak country near the Owens Lake, source of LA tap water:
The owner there is:
We had to check in with Anonymous Investor on that one:
I never heard of Otsuka before, but just browsed through their 2015 annual report.Lots of interesting stuff here. Most of their business (67%) is pharmaceuticals. And the lion’s share of that came from Abilify. When Abilify went generic in 2015, their earnings dropped off a cliff, although they still managed to stay profitable.
Crystal Geyser is a tiny sliver of their business. It’s part of their “consumer products” segment. An honor it shares with “Bon Curry,” a line of instant curries–
–and a Gatorade knockoff called “Match”.
All together, the consumer products division comprises only 2.8% of the company’s total sales.So if you buy the stock, what you are getting is mostly the drug business.
Anyway. If you wish to own fresh springs, the way to do it seems to be to buy Nestle stock, as Joshua Kennon enthusiastically advises. Nestle also owns Perrier, whose slim cans I’m getting into.
You should never buy a stock though without looking at a picture of the company’s CEO. What do we think of Paul Bulcke?
On August 30, 2012, Bulcke claimed that water is not a human right and should be privatized. He was quoted as saying “”If something isn’t given a value, people tend to waste it. Water is our most useful resource, but those using it often don’t even cover the costs of its infrastructure. Fresh water is being massively overused at nature’s expense, but it seems only a global crisis will make us realise the importance of the issue. What is environmentally unsustainable today will become socially unsustainable in the future,
(hmm, that quote is sourced on wiki to this article:
but I don’t see it).
File this under our ongoing interest in “sources.”
A month away from WONDER TRAIL releasePosted: May 17, 2016 Filed under: Wonder Trail Leave a comment
On June 14, my new book The Wonder Trail: True Stories From Los Angeles To The End Of The World, comes out.
You can pre-order the book here on Amazon or here from your favorite independent bookstore(s?!). Independent bookstores were very supportive of my last book, I owe them bigtime. Also who doesn’t love an independent bookstore?
Possible I’m beating the drum on my own book a little too hard. Book promotion can feel very weird. By the time the book comes out, you’re exhausted of it, it’s the last thing you want to talk about.
But there’s probably something this lesson about marketing told by David Gergen in this 1993 Michael Kelly profile:
Anyway, I hope the book is cool and fun and entertaining, a perfect summer read that proves surprisingly informative.
It’s not too early to mark Monday, June 20 on your calendar, I’ll be at Book Soup in Los Angeles.
Today I sent to Helytimes Superfan subscribers some excerpts of the book, about Nicaragua. If you’d like to receive it too, just send me an email to helphely at gmail.com
These are all pictures of Nicaragua I took on my travels, here is the Ojo de Agua on the island of Ometeppe:
And a local Coke / wheelbarrow store:
Song of the Sunday: Bobbie Gentry covering James TaylorPosted: May 15, 2016 Filed under: music Leave a comment
Off We GoPosted: May 15, 2016 Filed under: America Since 1945, explorers, heroes, history, people, the California Condition Leave a comment
Watching Trumbo –> reading about 30 Seconds Over Tokyo
Before I knew it I was looking at the US Air Force’s photo archive specifically photos tagged “history.”
Aviation history has never been a passion of mine but let’s just browse some of the highlights. Pearl Harbor:
Captain Mary T. Klinker:
Father and son:
An explosion 95 years ago:
How about Betty Gillies?:
Cool. Here is My Girl, 1945.
That must be in New England someplace, believe it is near Auburn, MA:
Look, I’m not saying these Air Force photos are any Record Group 80: Series: General Photographic File of the Navy, 1939-1945, the Air Force wasn’t around yet. But some of them are great. I mean:
Dr. John Paul Stapp, the fastest man on Earth:
The Hop A Long to the Rescue:
Can’t help but think of:
FoundPosted: May 14, 2016 Filed under: the California Condition Leave a comment
on a bookshelf
can’t remember origin story
Can any friends in Humboldt CountyPosted: May 12, 2016 Filed under: family, the California Condition Leave a comment
check this out for me? Thanks!
Something the founders were nonstop ponderingPosted: May 11, 2016 Filed under: America Leave a comment
How did the Roman Republic turn into the Roman Empire?
Their situation was similar in some ways to ours but also different.
THERE! I just wrote a David Brooks column!
I wrote a David Brooks column and it was a success.
Four Bits About TrumpPosted: May 6, 2016 Filed under: America Since 1945, politics, presidents Leave a comment
1) Trump as Tim Ferriss
Does the best analogy come to us from Tim Ferriss, who has written about how he won his weight class 1999 (US) Chinese kickboxing championship by exploiting anomalies in the rules? From Wiki:
Ferriss has stated that, prior to his writing career, he won in the 165 lb. weight class at the 1999 USAWKF national Sanshou (Chinese kickboxing) championship through a process of shoving opponents out of the ring and by dramatically dehydrating himself before weigh in, and then rehydrating before the fight in order to compete several classes below his actual weight – a practice known as “Weight cutting”.
Ferriss has acknowledged using anabolic steroids, specifically “a number of low-dose therapies, including testosterone cypionate,” under medical supervision following shoulder surgery, as well as using “stacks” consisting of testosterone enanthate, Sustanon 250, HGH, Deca-Durabolin, Cytomel, and other unnamed ingredients while training.
Shoving wasn’t part of the Chinese kickboxing game apparently, it was just assumed you wouldn’t shove. If you have no stake in the integrity of Chinese kickboxing turns out nobody can stop you once you start shoving.
Now, knowing no more details than how Ferriss tells the story, what Ferriss did sounds like clever if devilish fun with no real victim except maybe the guy who came in second or people really vested in the USAWKF.
Trump seemed like that too for awhile. Can’t deny taking pleasure in it. But it’s one thing to make a clown show of the 1999 national Sanshou championship, even the Republican Party primaries. But it’s a whole other category to make a clown show out of the United States.
An amazing move right now for Trump would be to bail. That’s what I would legit advise him to do. Would be hilarious. Republicans would pass out with relief and then maybe even beat Hillary. Meanwhile Trump goes out undefeated, can enjoy adoring crowds for the rest of his life without ever having to be President.
Some suggestion Trump does think of all this as no more than a fun competition:
“I have to tell you, I’ve competed all my life,” Trump said, his golden face somber, his gravity-defying pouf of hair seeming to hover above his brow. “All my life I’ve been in different competitions—in sports, or in business, or now, for 10 months, in politics. I have met some of the most incredible competitors that I’ve ever competed against right here in the Republican Party.”
No suggestion yet he thinks it’s best to stop here.
2) Anonymous Intelligence Analyst Weighs InOur friend Anonymous Intelligence Analyst has been dead on in his Trump predictions for some time. He wrote me back in February with some thoughts, as well as a Master Plan that I think is well worth considering:
Caveat: please remember that I am not endorsing Trump. I’m not voting for him but I am fascinated by the whole thing.
- Sanders & Trump tap into the same frustration: middle to lower-class Americans have not seen their lot improve in a long time
- Sanders claims that large banks and corporations have captured the regulators and we should basically blow up our economic system and become socialists. At the core, he’s right about the regulatory capture.
- Trump claims that our trade and immigration policies have been a screwjob on Americans. I am rabidly pro-trade and pro-immigration but I do believe it’s benefited elites while not being a good thing for a lot of people in the bottom half.
- They both pitch that the parties are trying to screw the people, which is totally true. I mean the people are calling for Trump and the GOP is trying everything they can to sink him. The people are calling for Bernie but Hilary already bought all the super-delegates. The fix is in.
- I agree with you that a core attraction of Trump is that he says tons of stuff that no other politician would say and that’s refreshing. He is also authentic. He is definitely a giant douche, he speaks like a douche, and you are convinced he believes in his own bullshit. That’s so attractive! I like Bernie despite his crazy economic policies because I can tell he basically believes in them…I can respect that.
- Instead of debating Trump, here’s my master plan for defeating him. The establishment on both sides hates him so much. Republicans should cede the nomination to him as he has rightly won it. Then jam whoever they love (Rubio?) on him as VP. First day in office, conspire with the Dems to impeach Trump! President Rubio takes over. It’s a layup and would be incredible drama as well — can you imagine the look on Trump‘s face!
That’s great. Would be a hilarious prank on Trump.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:-“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Cinco de MayoPosted: May 5, 2016 Filed under: Mexico Leave a comment
Shoutout to my Dad for reminding me not to miss Cinco De Mayo. Every year I have to look up what it celebrates – unlikely victory over the French invaders at the Battle of Puebla.
Let’s all have a toast to the hero Zaragoza
Dead of typhoid when he was 33. The house where he was born is now in Goliad, Texas, how about that?
Bum Philips had a ranch in Goliad.
Manet painted the end of the French (I guess you could say Austro-Bavarian) emperor Maximilian in this painting now at Boston’s MFA:
Maybe you prefer Manet’s Olympia:
or this portrait of his sister in law Berthe:
Or Gypsy with a Cigarette:
There’s a pretty interesting photograph of the execution of Maximilian, maybe not for everybody but can be seen here.
Many more tales of Mexican history and heroes can be found in my upcoming book THE WONDER TRAIL (Amazon link).
Feels like a fake namePosted: May 3, 2016 Filed under: the California Condition, Uncategorized Leave a comment
It’s not tho.
A play by play man and newscaster who made the cover of Time and died 1942 at St. Luke’s at the age of 53.
Groovy openingPosted: May 3, 2016 Filed under: adventures, film, Italy, movies, music Leave a comment
Andrew Sullivan backPosted: May 2, 2016 Filed under: America Since 1945, politics Leave a comment
And so those Democrats who are gleefully predicting a Clinton landslide in November need to both check their complacency and understand that the Trump question really isn’t a cause for partisan Schadenfreude anymore. It’s much more dangerous than that. Those still backing the demagogue of the left, Bernie Sanders, might want to reflect that their critique of Clinton’s experience and expertise — and their facile conflation of that with corruption — is only playing into Trump’s hands. That it will fall to Clinton to temper her party’s ambitions will be uncomfortable to watch, since her willingness to compromise and equivocate is precisely what many Americans find so distrustful. And yet she may soon be all we have left to counter the threat. She needs to grasp the lethality of her foe, moderate the kind of identity politics that unwittingly empowers him, make an unapologetic case that experience and moderation are not vices, address much more directly the anxieties of the white working class—and Democrats must listen.
More to the point, those Republicans desperately trying to use the long-standing rules of their own nominating process to thwart this monster deserve our passionate support, not our disdain. This is not the moment to remind them that they partly brought this on themselves. This is a moment to offer solidarity, especially as the odds are increasingly stacked against them. Ted Cruz and John Kasich face their decisive battle in Indiana on May 3. But they need to fight on, with any tactic at hand, all the way to the bitter end. The Republican delegates who are trying to protect their party from the whims of an outsider demagogue are, at this moment, doing what they ought to be doing to prevent civil and racial unrest, an international conflict, and a constitutional crisis. These GOP elites have every right to deploy whatever rules or procedural roadblocks they can muster, and they should refuse to be intimidated.
And if they fail in Indiana or Cleveland, as they likely will, they need, quite simply, to disown their party’s candidate. They should resist any temptation to loyally back the nominee or to sit this election out. They must take the fight to Trump at every opportunity, unite with Democrats and Independents against him, and be prepared to sacrifice one election in order to save their party and their country.
For Trump is not just a wacky politician of the far right, or a riveting television spectacle, or a Twitter phenom and bizarre working-class hero. He is not just another candidate to be parsed and analyzed by TV pundits in the same breath as all the others. In terms of our liberal democracy and constitutional order, Trump is an extinction-level event.
This bit made me think of what Larry McMurtry said about glamour and Charlie Starkweather.
One of the more amazing episodes in Sarah Palin’s early political life, in fact, bears this out. She popped up in the Anchorage Daily News as “a commercial fisherman from Wasilla” on April 3, 1996. Palin had told her husband she was going to Costco but had sneaked into J.C. Penney in Anchorage to see … one Ivana Trump, who, in the wake of her divorce, was touting her branded perfume. “We want to see Ivana,” Palin told the paper, “because we are so desperate in Alaska for any semblance of glamour and culture.”