Saturday, April 30, 2005

Kerry/Villaraigosa Rally

Good political event with the feel of a presidential campaign. Kerry spent a lot of time meeting the crowd and signing countless pieces of paper T-shirts and signs. After a handshake but no signing due to the plethora of requests lunging in from all sides, it took three trys until I wore down the crowd and got him one on one.

"This is like fishing," I said, "you have to keep moving downstream to get into position."

"Aww that's alright," Kerry said as he signed the paper. I should have asked about ANWR but he didn't look like he needed policy talk after the pummeling by that adoring crowd. It's tough work as Bush would say.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Touchy Celebrity Pundits

This is my last response to screenwriter Roger L. Simon who has banned me twice now for sparring with his whacko minions on his blog. He started by complaining about the war commentary at the media panel on Saturday and walked out. I ribbed him about being thin-skinned which he admitted to. Oh Lord Vader it could have been so different. But authoritarian streaks can ruin the best of us.

"I banned you," Simon wrote.

Aw really? I don't know why one can't ask a question [about blog advertising] without getting insulted by shills. What we have here is a crude pack of hyenas chasing a quasi-celebrity. It's a fandom and I'd watch out for Moses Wine fanfic. That's the next step in hero worship I'm told.

I've done nothing to get banned here or anywhere else. The problem is diversity of thought. There's rarely any allowed in blogworld. On both sides they're trench warfare akin to my old man in the foxhole during the Battle of the Bulge.

I've blogged for three years. Compared to celebrities average folks with qualifications degrees in Journalism, science, history are fairly buried in the culture of fame. That is changing. As far as I'm concerned Roger you've gone over to the dark side. Other than that I suspect you're a nice man, and a talented writer but very Hollywood establishment. It's a drawing card by definition.

The comments of his crowd speak for themselves. It's a stroll through the dark cave of ignorance.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Fallacy Watch

Bush just repeated the 2000 acre fallacy comparing it to the 91 million acres. Such a sham.

Code Red

According to NRDC Friday's budget resolution will refer to Arctic Drilling in this coded fashion. "The budget resolution may not even mention the words "Arctic Refuge." It is more likely to contain "reconciliation instructions" to the House Resources Committee and the Senate Energy Committee requiring them to find budget savings of $1.4 billion or more. The pro-drilling chairmen of these committees would then be free to say they will generate new revenue by allowing drilling in the Arctic Refuge."

Any which way they can, to decieve and mislead. May they fail heartily.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

LA Times Festival of Books

Had good day and a tight panel schedule all day. The two panels on political reporting, one with Maureen Dowd and John Dean who was still hard at booksigning late in the day as I left UCLA, that I didn't have tickets for I also couldn't get in stand-by. Tighter this year. The media panel with Ken Auletta, Ariana and moderated by David Shaw was the center piece. Hugh Hewitt was booed for some of the embellished remarks and a screed about the liberal LA Times. Classy, attack the host at their event on fallacious charges that were refuted flat-out by Auletta. Started the day with Tony Hillerman and ended with Ron Kovic All in all not a bad take. Two were filmed on C-Span.

Friday, April 22, 2005

More Self-Publishing

Almost anybody will be able to say, ''I published my book last week.''
Yeah, and it will be worth exactly what anything is when everyone can do it: Next to zip. This NY Times piece is a long survey where all of the vanity presses get lumped in together under self-publishing which is incorrect in my view. Self-publishing is all handled by the author and all of the profits come back. No one else other than ala carte contracts for services are involved. These vanity companies are different. Publishamerica and the snake slimeball Larry Clopper get away with their usual literary murder in these softball accounts. I wonder what it will take to change that?

Earth Day

Well it's Earth Day and here we are fighting over oil. I'm not in favor of sacrificing the 1002 for six billion hard to get barrels of oil in questionable geological conditions not found elswhere on the north slope. I'm tired of arguing over Caribou when the science is clearly on my side, but this is the nature of misinformation and PR deceptive industry claims. Supporters are simply being duped into thinking we have equal supplies of crude oil on this continent. We just don't so when you know the rope is too short, don't take the leap in the dark as Tim Cahill noted in an essay about mountain exploration. In this case we aren't in the dark. Some of us can see clearly the path before us.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Paradise Columnist

Here's the transcript of Hiaasen's 60 Minutes segment.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Central Arctic Herd

The debate, or more like propaganda debunking going on ANWR News comments has hit a new low. This article by Ken Whitten a retired Alaska caribou biologist mentioned in my book is a case in point. The fallacy by the oil drillling supporters, the central arctic herd increased since development hence oil production is good for caribou. This is a false claim. Whitten says they specifically avoid the area as one would expect. The increase resulted from other factors such as good forage years, but they only traveled through the development later after calving elsewhere.

"Calving within the Prudhoe Field had already largely ceased by the time oil first began flowing south (Whitten and Cameron 1985). The dense network of pipelines, roads, oil wells, and production facilities at Prudhoe Bay also blocked mid- summer movements along the arctic coast (Whitten and Cameron 1983). Cow and calf caribou avoided the Trans Alaska Pipeline Corridor (Cameron et al. 1979) but continued to cross it successfully from late summer through spring, when calves were older and the herd was south of the intensely developed oilfields (Whitten and Cameron 1983)."

And concerning ANWR and the Porcupine Herd: "In determining whether to allow oil leasing within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Congress should consider that Porcupine Herd caribou are much more concentrated on their calving grounds than the smaller Central Arctic Herd. Although calving has occurred historically over a fairly large area of the North Slope in Alaska and the Yukon Territory, most calves are usually born in a smaller region that includes much of the area being considered for oil development (Fancy and Whitten 1991). During late June and early July, essentially all cows and calves and many bulls of the Porcupine Herd use the potential development area every year."

I bunked in the Whitten and Steve fancy in 1989 when they were conducting the study so I had the opportunity to discuss this with them directly.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Open up the forest

Interesting and frightening. My work has shown the forests have opened up too much already. More? Unbelievable. Maybe I'll explore this further in My All the King's Horses WIP on logging.

Item two is a great profile of Carl Hiaasen on 60 Minutes tonight. The guy's great hands down, and we definitely think alike. He has a pretty good head start on me, but it's something to shoot for. After all, there's a lot of them to muckrake against and oh so few fearless muckrakers. Development is the business of America but it comes at one helluva cost. ANWR for example. South Florida, hell all of Florida is under the gun the same way as California was, and still is to a lesser degree. The inhabitable land is long filled. But here we have a large inhospitable land mass known as the Mojave desert. That will remain for the mostpart uninhabited outside of the Coachella Valley. Florida will fill up to overflowing and is.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Crude Reality

What David Masiel is describing in his Outside piece is the placement in 1985 of the KIC oil well at the mouth of the Jago. He delivered it. It's the only test well ever drilled in ANWR. Four years later I electofished the Jago River upstream looking for nine-spine sticklebacks. Masiel still thinks like an oil worker and I like a biologist. Gentlemen draw your swords.

Thompson RIP

What a killer essay profile; chilling and brilliant.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Albom Flack

I don't know, you'd think WMD, or the lack of it, was a big deal, but it pales in comparison to columnist Mitch Albom getting ahead of himself reporting the attendence of two basketball players at the championship game on Monday. They didn't show and the column ran on Sunday. And an obscure copyeditor in Duluth is now famous. What a country!

This really is an editorial thing. Albom thought they'd be there from original reporting by the two players themselves. There's no fictional reporting here. Give me a break.

Susitna Summer

Well here's part of the answer to my questions below. Steve Durr plays to river rafters and self-publishes his music. One can only wonder how much this can bring in, or cost but then being locally famous in a small pond is easier than the traditional market. "Pursuing his artistic endeavors," is how Durr describes his life at Back-Lake today noting that all of the other cabins from the old days stand empty and the settlers I met in 1976 either died or moved on unable to make a living in Chase. But not him and his dad and brother. Gee ya think? How is it that only the Durrs can do so? Where does their grubstake come from? We don't learn that in the book that's for sure, since thirty years of living are left out.

I listened to all of the clips on his CD and while there is something resembling craft there such as with the track "Fishing Hole" where he laments too many people, I don't find Durr's voice to be distinctive or well-suited to the work. He just kind of drones in the background. I can't imagine how it plays standing in the river. I only recall hearing him and his brother Jon at the Fairview Inn in Talkeetna once and bar bands rarely register with me anyway unless they're known. As for the lyrics, he's been in the woods too long wondering what it is the crow is telling him outside his remote window. Take this from a biologist: nothing concerning you; the incessent rain and gloom of the woods and the like. I did wonder about the girl drowning in the lake though. Did she? The amazing thing to me is he recorded this work in his cabin sans electricity. He must have a generator which would be too noisy or some other source of battery powered juice, but nevertheless the tracks sound home made.

Look, Durr chose a tough line of work in a tough place, but he'll get to live out the fantasy and that has value. Like all vanity work, it's not the same as a real music career. I think opening for Peter Yarrow and his brother Jon is misleading advertising. That's quite a range of credentials.

The impression I got at Chase was that of New Yorkers wanting to shut the gate behind them. Looks like they did. It's still Morrisville (NY) north as it was when I went there. Nothing has changed, still marginal musicians hanging on.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Fire at Back-Lake

Bob Durr finally gets around to writing about the fire in 1973 that burned down his cabin complete with irreplaceable personal items like original literary texts, guns, and "the book with the money in it." They managed to save only $1000 for a trip back to New York and loaned the attached sauna to a neighbor. Other than washing in a big tub-like bucket, this is as close to a shower as one gets in bush Alaska. As he says though, it isn't wise to attach them to the house because the heat required eventually catches them on fire. Tough lesson. I also wondered about the outhouse sitting directly beside the main cabin but that's another matter.

Money saved from what? Where is the story of earning that money? Or any money after the early fishing boat operations he writes about in his first book? They raised money from musical sessions at the Fairview Inn bar but this is in essence panhandling. Where'd the dough come from in the first place is what I want to know?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Coldman Cometh

Is the memoir of Dr. Robert "Jungle Bob" Durr who I ran into in 1976 at Chase Alaska on a homesteading mission for a neighboring landowner, or lease holder from the 1968 open to entry land program. I was too late for that myself, but Durr, already roaming the country since 1963 was well-positioned to acquire this land at Back Lake. I never saw his lake as the Durrs were snobbish to anyone who dared venture into their territory and we, just like #1 son Steve had it turns out, inhabited the cabin near the tracks at the invitation of Rick La Francis when we weren't living at the greenhouse on Nita Kaufman's property. Sure, I have a personal beef with the Durr's after the chilly reception we got from the first family of Chase, and so I can relate to the newcomers who he leaves out of his story. For Bob Durr they aren't really there, which was my impression at the time.

In that vein, it's a strange place; very cliquish. My book has more of this and the lead chapter is online, but Durr rambles here; prone to literary cliches and superficial skimming of the difficulties faced in building his place and even more important, acquiring the money to stay there and buy the new Arctic Cats I saw him driving during my brief winter stay in Chase.

"I don't know where the money came from," he writes concerning his first chainsaw. Really? I sure would, and do vividly. Of course in those days most including myself were stoners, but still, what this book lacks is the day to day struggle to get supplies and pay for them. Does he intend to just hang out on a biologically dead lake(the one detail I enjoyed hearing: no feeder streams due to an earthquake) until the end? Did he ever use his Ph.D to get work locally teaching or whatnot? What about the last thirty years? The New York literary world was just waiting with open arms because of his former literary professorship at Syracuse? And how do sons Stevie and Jon, two scruffy marginal local musicians at the time make it there? The other people I met grew dope and sold it. I may not agree with that per se, but at least I get the idea of how they buy snowmachines and Banjos. Frankly I don't know what the hell the Durrs do and neither will anyone else who reads this book from the looks of what I can see in the text.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Who is a Journalist?

"Anyone who earns his living writing for a journal, be it on air or in print." Ben Bradlee today at the National Press Club. "You can't take the computer with you to the john," Bradlee added. "So for that reason alone...."

That works for me. I'd go as far as including the successful freelancer who sells a story of original reporting. Nice work if you can get it since most original reporting is done by the aforesaid staff.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


I'm thinking the summons will arrive when Publishamerica goes down. But what the hell is a spirt? Ah poetry.

Memogate II

Well they found the source of this memo so Powerline and the rest of the right-wing blogs take note. You lost this one clean, not because of a void of facts.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Lysenkoist Solution

I had to look this up after reading Paul Krugman's column of why academics are increasing not conservatives or even Republicans. Why? Because by nature they're politbureaucrats like these.

"This development was the Soviet acceptance of a Lysenkoist idea of genetics. Lysenko, a botanist, challenged the traditional Mendelian account of genetics based on heredity by arguing that environment determined plant characteristics. Claiming that Mendel’s work was “undialectical”, Lysenko’s August 1948 address at the Soviet Academy of Natural Sciences resulted in the decreed acceptance of Lysenkoist principals by all Soviet researchers and the dismissal of those who refused to drop Mendelian genetics."

Sunday, April 03, 2005

New ANWR Blog

I'm mentioned on this new blog about ANWR which is nice. It's a ggod clearing house of factual information about the refuge and the oil drilling issue. I don't know who the journalist is and he doesn't say. Probably his paper would consider this showing a bias so it's not allowed? Goes to show just how unbiased mainstream publications actually are compared to public myth. All I know is I can't get one too hire me with a degree in the craft.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Dan Brown Inc.

We've had quite an investigation on the resume of author Dan Brown over at Lee Goldberg's blog. Lewis Perdue asked questions of the claims on Brown's website and in newspaper articles. Supposedly he wrote a song Peace in Our Time which was played at the 1996 Olympics. Yet there is no such song copywritten in his name.

Claims of his music career are a bit inflated, but then it was a failed music career so it's not that far out of line. The world tour was with the Amherst College squash and glee club disguised by an accronym. Four (two here) CD's no longer available are self-published with a vanity music company. Now that the big bucks are in his wallet a bit of cultural hagiography is going on in the press as is usually the case in entertainment. I don't know, it seems unlikely that Brown never heard of Lew's books on the same subjects, but that's the same claim as in my case. With my documents all over the office in computer files, Desjardin never knew of or looked at them because they weren't printed out as testified by the former office holder at his agency. He showed up with an already written proposal for my book to take over the office that manages my historic site that the book is based around. Such coincidence.

Brown's new novel: "This new novel explores the hidden history of our nation's capital." Sounds like the movie National Tresure a illumiati Masonic treaure hunt.
The Environmental Webring
The Environmental Webring
[ Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >> ]