The Friends of California Libre...

05 May 2009

Extinction Is Our Business

Greetings, friends,
I felt like sending out a leaner, meaner screed to those who believe in CALIFORNIA LIBRE...if only because the sun is out again, the nights are sultry and the jacarandas are in full bloom.  I also have an important scientific theory to correct.  First, though, some brief announcements.

First of all, to her embarrassment (though crowing "take that, bitches" up on Facebook makes me think otherwise), I can brag that my goddaughter Malin got into UC Berkeley.  It's like a legacy for me and her father, and all of you out there from Barrington Hall who remember when she was still on a leash.  Maybe she will come to our reunion this August to see what she missed...but I doubt she has any illusions about Berkeley.  Here's the good news, m'ija:  it's still one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and you might even get an apartment without a credit check (as I did) just for graduating; plus most grad schools will be glad to have you with that BS (ahem, or BA) in hand.  Here's the bad news:  the good drugs are gone, and instead of $1500 a year, now it's $9000.  Good luck.

I'd like to announce that California Wiki is up and running.  This project has been long in the planning, for all those who suggested that I put pen to paper and compile my encyclopedic knowledge of useless historical facts into a tour guide.  Instead I've conceived of a massive wiki, with thousands of strange, interconnected articles on different places, events, people and even stories related to California.  And I WANT YOU!  If you have a story even remotely related to California, or video or photographs or drawings or audio or music or...whatever you can imagine, here is a forum open to you.  This is a closed wiki, so no one can come in and change anything without being a member.  Try it out; to see the pages I've put up so far, click here.  If you would like to contribute, please sign up here.  This could become a very exciting project, but right now it's still a work in progress...let's build it together!  Thank you!

PS if anyone would like to design a logo for California Wiki, I would appreciate it.  I need a square image of something related to California that is 135 x 135 pixels (or larger).

Next, would anyone in LA like to eat at the Garden of Taxco?  It's a fine Mexico City-style restaurant in West Hollywood, and I have about a dozen two-for-one coupons from them gathering dust.  I'd like to use a few more up.  They welcome vegetarians!  Okay.

Finally, I need a good bumper sticker for my car, le Tourbillon de Sable.  Some of you will remember my classics, like "EAT 'EM UP, USA" or "BUSH/SATAN 2004".  Right now all I have is an Obama/Biden sticker and one from Team Team USA, upside down because everyone thought it was too gay.  Got any ideas?

Hmm...I feel a screed coming on.  A few months back I enjoyed a documentary about dinosaurs that were found living above the Arctic Circle in Alaska way back when.  Such creatures also lived in Australia, then closer to the South Pole, and in both places these polar dinosaurs lived in places much colder and darker than it was once thought they could.  Then over the weekend I read this article in the LA Times about dinosaur bones found in the Southwest that were almost a half-million years younger than the Chicxulub impact.  Wait a minute...didn't that asteroid kill off all the dinosaurs?  And how could it kill dinosaurs that could live in the cold and dark of the Arctic?

Anyway, I wanted to spread the truth (or I should say, the more elegant theory)...tell your kids.  The impact of an asteroid six miles across was certainly the coup de grĂ¢ce (and it may have been several asteroids) but the dinosaurs were in decline for millions of years before the impact, and hung on for some hundreds of thousands after.  I don't like catastrophism, like most scientists; it's too clean, and smacks of religion.  The newest theory is that the Deccan Traps eruptions (the collision of India with Asia) were so severe over such a long period of time that all the larger animals on the land and in the sea were wiped out.  I like this theory, because the other great extinctions, the Great Dying and Snowball Earth, were also caused by the slow disaster of colliding continents.  It might take something that serious -- a continental collision and then a multiple asteroid impact -- to kill off the dinosaurs, who ruled the Earth for 160 million years.  Hey, we've managed to bring ourselves to the edge of extinction (in multiple ways) in a few thousand years...just 1/20000 of the time!  Now that's progress!

On that cheery's always good to see our planet evolving.  You realize, of course, that before we go, we take down all the beautiful things we've made:

America's Eleven Most Endangered Archive

"Since 1988, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has used its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places as a powerful alarm to raise awareness of the serious threats facing the nation's greatest treasures." Site features a FAQ and an archive listing places by threat, year listed, state, and other factors. Entries provide descriptions and update on endangered status for places such as California's state parks and the Michigan Avenue Streetwall in Chicago.

I don't want you to think that nuclear war or global warming are the only ways to we progress, the opportunities are unlimited.
New Atom-Smasher Could Fill Gaps in Scientific Knowledge - or Open a Black Hole
By John Johnson Jr.
The Los Angeles Times

Like Frank Zappa said, the end could be very mundane..."It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice.  There are two other possibilities:  one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."

Mobile Phones "More Dangerous Than Smoking"
By Geoffrey Lean
The Independent UK

At least you are loved.

Dolores Aguilar Obituary

Family member runs caustic obituary about deceased parent.

Vive le screed!

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