Saturday, December 22, 2007

Soon

Soka suckered?

• I hate it when this happens. In today’s OC Register: Ex-Soka finance chief accused of embezzlement:

.....ALISO VIEJO – The former finance director of Soka University of America has been indicted on charges he embezzled $1.7 million from the private university over seven years, according to a federal indictment unsealed today.
.....Kiyoshi Hatanaka, 52, of Aliso Viejo had worked for a Big Seven accounting firm before becoming Soka's finance director in 1990, a university spokeswoman said.
.....He left his job in January 2006, spokeswoman Wendy Harder said, after allegations arose that he had created sham university accounts at a Los Angeles bank, moved money into the accounts, and then cashed $10,000 checks from them.
.....…Hatanaka came with Soka when it moved from Calabasas to open a 103-acre hilltop campus in Aliso Viejo. The university is affiliated with the largest Buddhist sect in Japan, but attracts students from the U.S. and around the world.
.....Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Kole said evidence showed Hatanaka gambled large sums of money during that period at casinos in Temecula and Las Vegas....

• This story is terribly sad. From the OC Reg: A lion caged by fire:

.....IRVINE LAKE - On a sunny day shortly after the Santiago fire, Lt. Daniel Sforza struggled with a life-and-death decision.
.....The 16-year California Fish and Game warden was lying on his belly at the entrance to a bamboo cave – responding to a report of a mountain lion acting strangely and seeking refuge inside.
.....…At the back of the cave, he observed a long, straight tail with a black tip. He was now sure it was a mountain lion. He crept in a little closer – less than 10 feet from the cat. It stirred. It was a light, tawny brown with a white muzzle and long whiskers. Its eyes glowed back at him in radiant amber.

A year before
.....In September 2006, "Female 44" was captured and collared at Camp Pendleton. She was 2, weighed 77 pounds and became part of a UC Davis Wildlife Health Center study....
.....Animals in the study are monitored by GPS collars….

On the move
.....According to data from her collar, Female 44 stayed at Camp Pendleton for 10 months, hunting deer and small rodents amid Marine training maneuvers. In May, she headed north. She followed the Santa Ana Mountains toward Los Angeles. Forty miles into her journey, she passed alongside the 91. ... She turned west, crossing the 241 toll road and skirting the urban fringe of Orange.
.....Hemmed in by cities, she sought out Irvine Ranch…. On Oct. 8, she passed next to Santiago Canyon Road, an area overrun by flames on Oct. 21, when the Santiago fire erupted.

Facing inferno
.....For the first two days of the wind-driven firestorm, she was safe in the woods a quarter mile north of Foothill Ranch. She'd avoided the worst of the flames but had no choice but to traverse hot coals on a painstaking journey to her home in Irvine Lake. Her pads were seared. It took her 17 days to cross the charred terrain toward the lake. There she sought refuge in the bamboo cave.

Standoff at the cave
.....…With a few hours of daylight left and a remote location working in his favor, Sforza had the luxury of time. He hoped to scare her off. He threw rocks at the cave but she didn't stir.
.....As daylight faded, he ran out of options. From the entrance, he fired a 12-gauge shotgun with rubber bullets at her. She jumped a few times but stayed inside.
....."I was hoping she would run off and save herself," he said. "We're not in the business to kill mountain lions."
.....Sforza crawled back into the cave. The lion still hadn't moved. It was getting dark.
....."I wasn't comfortable leaving the animal in there," he said. "I could have left the scene and hoped everything was OK, but that would have been irresponsible."
.....…Sforza loaded the shotgun again, this time firing the killing shot. …"When I saw the condition, I realized I had put her out of her misery," Sforza said. "Her pads were gone. She only had three claws left. There would have been no way she could have taken down prey."....

I hate when this happens, too. From the New York Times: I’m a Believer:

.....…In 2001, rumors started to hit the blogosphere that Antony Flew, a British philosopher born in 1923, had found God after six decades of atheism. At first Flew denied the reports. But in May 2004 he told a conference in New York that he had indeed changed his mind and become a believer. A flurry of online pundits debated the meaning of this shocking conversion.
.....Now, in a book written, according to its title page, “with” Roy Abraham Varghese — of whom more later — Flew tells the story of his “discovery of the divine.” This sounds like a victory for the faithful in the God wars: a welcome riposte to the atheist tomes of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Although Flew is not “the world’s most notorious atheist,” as the subtitle of “There Is a God” claims, and never was, even in his native Britain, he ought to count as quite a catch. Now retired from the University of Reading in Berkshire (he has also taught at Oxford and in Scotland, Canada and the United States), he is the author of several cogent and elegant works of philosophy, including accomplished critiques of religion. In many public debates he has vigorously made the case for unbelief. But I doubt thoughtful believers will welcome this volume. Far from strengthening the case for the existence of God, it rather weakens the case for the existence of Antony Flew.
.....…Oddly, Flew seems to have turned into an American as well as a believer. His intellectual autobiography is written in the language of an Englishman of his generation and class; yet when he starts to lay out his case for God, he uses Americanisms like “beverages,” “vacation” and “candy.” It is possible that Flew decided to make some passages easier on the ears of American readers or that an editor has made trivial emendations for him. But it is striking how much of Flew’s method of argument, too, has changed from that in his earlier works, and how similar it now is to the abysmal intellectual standards displayed in Varghese’s appendix. In fact, Flew told The New York Times Magazine last month that the book “is really Roy’s doing.”….

Friday, December 21, 2007

At Jeanne's Shabe' Yalda (Solstice) party










Golden hour today at Peters Lake

A picture of me taken by the six-year old above. Sweet kid.

Rebel Girl's Poetry Corner: The Floating World

A poem by the late poet, Siv Cedaring.

For the solstice.

For the year.

Some of us made it; some did not.

Still, here we are.


UKIYO-E

What explanation is given for the phosphorus light
That you, as boy, went out to catch
When summer dusk turned to night?
You caught the fireflies, put them in a jar,
Careful to let in some air,
Then you fed them dandelions, unsure
Of what such small and fleeting things
Need, and when
Their light grew dim, you
Let them go.

There is no explanation for the fire
That burns in our bodies
Or the desire that grows, again and again,
So that we must move toward each other
In the dark.
We have no wings.
We are ordinary people, doing ordinary things.
The story can be told on rice paper.
There is a lantern, a mountain, whatever
We can remember.

Hiroshige's landscape is so soft.
What child, woman, would not want to go out
Into that dark, and be caught,
And caught again, by you?
I want these pictures of the floating world
To go on, but when
The light begins to dim, catch me.
Give me whatever a child imagines
To keep me aglow, then
Let me go.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This is how we feel

SOME OF MY STUDENTS tell me that they “feel” that they should get an A. “I attended practically every class,” they say.

Some tell me that they “need” an A. I always stare back blankly. Then I ask one or two questions. I soon discover that these students feel that their “need” of an A is a reason that I should grant them one.

Sometimes, I think: "if this student's hair were on fire, would he/she do anything about it?"

THIS MORNING, the OC Register reported (OC feels more fit than rest of us) that “people [in Orange County] think they’re doing so well that improving their physical and financial fitness is not a top resolution for 2008.”

OK.

In a related story, the cast of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" feel that they are “lots smarter” than the casts of other reality shows that are based on the lives of stupid people.

Back to grading.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

They want him "fired," not "strung up."


• Wow. The OC Reg actually updated it’s “Jesus Glasses” story of this morning: 200 protesters turn up to support Capo teacher sued over religious comments. The update includes the following:

…"We object to Mr. Corbett,” said the Rev. Rod McDougal, who came up from San Diego for the prayer vigil. “We don't want him strung up; we want him fired."….

Earlier today, the Reg quoted Pastor Wiley Drake of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park: "This teacher is teaching his own version of religion, so we're asking the school to take him down."

Gosh, that sounds a bit harsh. So I guess these preachers got together and settled on saying they don't actually wanna kill the guy.

I'm glad they cleared that up.

In the lovely, soggy canyon






This morning's education news: mixed nuts

RAD CYBER-GEEZER. In this morning’s New York Times: At 71, Physics Professor Is a Web Star

.....CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Walter H. G. Lewin, 71, a physics professor, has long had a cult following at M.I.T. And he has now emerged as an international Internet guru, thanks to the global classroom the institute created to spread knowledge through cyberspace.
.....Professor Lewin’s videotaped physics lectures, free online on the OpenCourseWare of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have won him devotees across the country and beyond….
.....…Professor Lewin delivers his lectures with the panache of Julia Child bringing French cooking to amateurs and the zany theatricality of YouTube’s greatest hits. He is part of a new generation of academic stars who hold forth in cyberspace on their college Web sites and even, without charge, on iTunes U, which went up in May on Apple’s iTunes Store.
.....In his lectures at ocw.mit.edu, Professor Lewin beats a student with cat fur to demonstrate electrostatics. Wearing shorts, sandals with socks and a pith helmet — nerd safari garb — he fires a cannon loaded with a golf ball at a stuffed monkey wearing a bulletproof vest to demonstrate the trajectories of objects in free fall.
.....He rides a fire-extinguisher-propelled tricycle across his classroom to show how a rocket lifts off….

From this morning’s Inside Higher Ed:

OH, DID WE FORGET TO MENTION THE MURDER?

As expected, the U.S. Education Department has imposed a major fine — $357,500 — on Eastern Michigan University for its failure to notify students and others last year that a student had been murdered….

OOPS, I FORGOT TO KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT

Jonah Goldberg’s new book is being promoted with a little … college bashing. The book jacket for Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, forthcoming in January from Doubleday, proclaims: “The quintessential Liberal Fascist isn’t an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.” Leaving aside the rather large issue of the charge that Brown and Swarthmore educate for fascism, [blogger] Kieran Healy … points out a factual problem: Swarthmore doesn’t award education degrees….

ROCCO-SOCCO: RESORTING TO GERRYMANDERING?

The only people more ridiculous than Steve Rocco, Orange Unified School District conspiracy-nut trustee, are the people who voted for him—and the people who can’t seem to get rid of him. ¶ In this morning’s OC Register: Orange school trustees recommend boundaries change:

.....ORANGE: Orange Unified School District trustees are recommending a plan to adjust boundaries for which areas they each oversee – a plan that would effectively prevent some current members from seeking re-election to their seats.
.....…Steve Rocco, a controversial trustee who often speaks during board meetings about perceived conspiracies against him, would be the first trustee affected. If the changes are approved they would take effect by the November 2008 election. Rocco's seat is up for re-election then, and he would no longer live within the area he represents – Area 6.
.....…District officials say the proposed changes are based solely on population and are not meant to target current board members.

"WE'RE ASKING THE SCHOOL TO TAKE HIM DOWN." The Reg offers the latest on that religion-bashing San Juan Capistrano high school instructor: 200 rally for Capo teacher accused of anti-Christian remarks :

.....MISSION VIEJO – A rally by more [than] 200 Capistrano Valley High School students and alumni sparked a nearly continuous stream of honking horns for an hour before classes this morning as they showed support for embattled history teacher James Corbett.
.....Corbett was sued last week by student Chad Farnan, who alleges Corbett made anti-religion remarks in his Advanced Placement European history class.
.....Under the morning drizzle, the protesters lined Via Escolar in Mission Viejo with posters that read “Keep Corbett,” “Alums for Corbett,” and “Honk 4 Corbett.”
.....“I support Corbett because he was a teacher who supported free speech and allowed us to discuss in an intelligent way,” said Matt Yee, 17, a junior at Capo Valley who took Corbett’s AP European history class last year.
.....At issue in the lawsuit is whether Corbett violated the separation of church and state as outlined in the First Amendment's establishment clause.
.....Court papers cite statements tape-recorded by Farnan such as “From conservative Christians in this country to Muslim fundamentalists in Afghanistan … it's stunning how vitally interested they are in controlling women” and “When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth.”
.....Down the street from the school, at Via Escolar and Marguerite Parkway, about 10 supporters of Farnan, 16, a sophomore, held up signs in support of Farnan, such as “Freedom from hate” and “Teach Don’t Preach.”
.....“I love what Chad’s doing,” said student Cale Crawford, 16, a junior at the Agape Academy at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. “The teacher is breaking the First Amendment, and Chad is standing up for what he believes in.”
.....The lawsuit has attracted national media attention and created a bitter divide in the Capistrano Valley High community about whether Corbett, a 19-year teacher with the district, should be censored.
.....Many of Corbett's current and former students have rushed to his defense, saying he not only has the right to comment on traditional Christian viewpoints on topics such as birth control, teenage sex and homosexuality, but that his talks force students to think critically about their own views.
....."I never felt like he was biased," said junior Sunny Bhatia, 16, of San Juan Capistrano, who took Corbett's class last year. "He always used to say, 'Just think about that.' He was able to bring current events into the classroom and relate them to what we were studying. I never felt he was trying to impose his own ideas on us."
.....But Corbett's critics say he monopolizes much of his class time promoting liberal viewpoints and leaves little room for students to interject.
.....The Capistrano Unified School District has not yet responded to the lawsuit, which alleges a violation of the First Amendment's establishment clause prohibiting government from promoting hostility toward religion.
.....Farnan says the lawsuit would be dropped if Corbett were removed from his post.
.....Also Wednesday morning, Pastor Wiley Drake of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park visited the school area, giving his view on the controversy.
....."We're glad that Chad is standing up against this discrimination against Christians," Drake said before the event. "This teacher is teaching his own version of religion, so we're asking the school to take him down."

SHE TOOK THE CLASS 8 TIMES. Irvine Valley College is in the news: Community college fitness scores high grades:

.....Irvine artist Michael Harrison has thought about joining a gym, but they don't take attendance there.
.....They do, however, in his weight training class at Irvine Valley College, giving him added motivation to exercise.
.....…Registration is under way at local community colleges, a sometimes overlooked option for quality fitness at a cheap price, according to school administrators. Colleges offer everything from tai chi to tennis and often provide needed equipment. Fees are based on the number of units.
.....…But while a twice-a-week Pilates class at Fullerton College averages about 50 cents per session, there are tradeoffs, such as parking hassles and no classes during semester breaks.
.....In Harrison's class, taught by Tom Pestolesi, who has a master's degree in physical education, a mix of students rotate through weight machines. The atmosphere is casual but focused. There's a cluster of young guys from the volleyball team. There are a few middle-age professionals and regular college students. Pestolesi wanders the room, giving high fives and helping with form.
.....One student, Becky Millman, 53, has taken the class eight times.
.....She started in a golf class and noticed that her swing was weak. She signed up for weight lifting to build some upper body strength. Her golfing improved quickly but she discovered she was more interested in the weights workout.
....."I couldn't lift more than 20 pounds," she said last week while doing squats. "I'm lifting 50. I feel good about my body. I feel strong."
.....Millman, a graphics account coordinator, pays about $35 dollars for the 16-week course and a parking permit. She said she's slimmed down and lost inches since signing up.
....."It just changes my mood," she said. "I can come in filling a little blah and I go back to my office feeling so happy."
.....Pestolesi helped Millman tailor a workout and taught her what machines target particular muscles.

....."We are a no-pressure situation," Pestolesi said. "We're just here to help. We're not trying to sell them this drink or this protein bar or this program. We want you to get in here and get a good workout and develop some knowledge."
.....Millman said she enjoys the social atmosphere of the class. She's made friends and loves helping younger women with their technique.
.....Keith Shackleford, dean of health sciences, said the classes are a non-threatening way to pursue a new hobby or get in shape.
....."It's not just weight training," Shackleford said. "It's tennis classes, badminton, soccer. We have things like theory of coaching for those involved in youth coaching. Your investment is $20."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Swoop

AS YET ANOTHER rain storm passes through the Southland, some of the canyons hit by the fire are on a flash-flood watch, but no mandatory evacuations are expected this time around, not in Orange County.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Forest Service has a squadron of planes hydromulching the bejesus out of the hills in the canyons—to “stabilize” them.

Essentially, they're gluing things down using dive-bombers.

The Reb, who lives in Modjeska Canyon, called me today, inviting me to bring my camera and check it—i.e., the hydromulchery—out. So, taking a break from grading, I did.

The aerial H-mulching is all very cool, if you ask me, but a person (such as Reb) could easily get weirded out by all these noisy crop dusters buzzing so close to the ground and to homes. I mean, as soon as I arrived, without warning, a plane roared from behind a hill and commenced swooping and mulching right at me. I think Reb ran inside.

I could see the pilot as he flew by (see). Couldn't see his eyes. I think he was a Republican.

Check out my pics.

LATER, I WENT Christmas shopping, guided by an article I found today in the online version of OC Weekly: 25 TOYS FOR THOSE 25 AND OLDER.

The article is a slide show with mostly the kind of stuff you’d expect the Weekly to notice (e.g., a Hillary Clinton nut-cracker). But I did like three of the toys:

"#17 Holy Toast Bread Stamp: Who says ALL toast can't be holy?" —This is way cool, doncha think? Too bad I don't eat toast. But my friends do.

"#20 Nun Punching Puppet: Because no one messes with a nun." —I think Tom will like this. I can just see him wearing these things and going at it.

"#25 Periodic Table Tarot Cards: For those of us who can't decide whether to be into science or pseudo-science." —Unfortunately, I can give this one to nearly all of my friends. Most of 'em go to chiropractors or worse. I'll gift 'em. Then, I'll mock 'em.

ALSO APPEARING today in the Weekly is a nifty post by our pal Scott Moxley:

SCHROEDER LAW ENFORCEMENT EMPIRE AT STAKE TODAY:
Mike Schroeder will jump out of bed this morning in Corona del Mar, neatly hang his Darth Vader pajamas in the closet, shower, kneel at his USC football altar and don an expensive, natty suit befitting Orange County’s leading Republican strategist-slash-chiropractic insurance company king.


It’s a big day in Schroederdom. He’ll drive his jumbo-sized, black Hummer to the state court of appeal (COA) in Santa Ana in the hopes of teaching a onetime disciple a lesson: Don’t Mess with Mike. Schroeder—consigliere to both District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Sheriff Michael S. Carona—wants the justices to toss First District Republican Supervisor Janet Nguyen from office.


…Schroeder claims the Registrar of Voters certified the wrong Nguyen as the winner (by just three votes) in last February’s special election. He says the Republican who finished second, Trung Nguyen, should be seated. Surely coincidentally to the merits of the case, Trung is, to put it bluntly, Schroeder’s boy. Janet, on the other hand, has had the audacity to show occasional independence from local GOP bosses like Schroeder.


…If the COA tosses Janet’s election, Schroeder—the reigning mastermind of OC insider games—will be in excellent position when his pal—the federally indicted Carona—leaves office prematurely. How? In his corner, he’d have three likely votes on the board of supes: Trung Nguyen, Pat Bates and Bill Campbell. That board majority gives Schroeder key influence over who will complete the remainder of Carona’s term at the county’s most powerful government agency.

So if you see Schroeder running excitedly into the COA building on Spurgeon this morning, it's not a pit stop. It's not even to distribute Mitt Romney For Prez brochures. Half of his law enforcement empire is at stake.

"The opportunity to do something bad"

.....ORANGE COUNTY is lots of things. Sometimes it's real. Sometimes, it’s odd.
.....Now, here’s an odd story. According to the OC Reg, “Deputies responded to a disturbance call at 8:10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 10 from a residence in Coto de Caza. ¶ A woman said that her 15-year-old son was refusing to go to school. The youth punched a hole in the wall when his mother asked him to go to school. ¶ Deputies arrived at the home an hour later and took the boy to school.”
.....OK.

.....THE LA TIMES offers this peculiar story about “hoodies” at Capo Unified: Danger under the hood?:
.....The sweat shirts zip up through the hood to completely cover the face, becoming a mask and making it virtually impossible to tell who is underneath.
.....…They're fashion statements to some, but to administrators in Orange County's Capistrano Unified School District, there's danger lurking under the hood. All six high schools last week banned hoodies from campus.
.....…School administrators say the problem is that someone could hide behind the mask. "There is no way to identify who kids are," said Tom Ressler, principal at Capistrano Valley High. "Generally, we don't think that is a good thing. It gives kids the opportunity to do something bad."
.....…Sergio Magana, 17, a Capistrano Valley senior, bought two masked hoodies after he saw some of his favorite hip-hop artists, including Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco, sporting them.
....."They bring the style and we roll with it," Magana said.
.....One friend owns the same-style hoodie West wore, with a skeleton on the sweat shirt and a skull on the hood, he said.
.....…Others feel the hoodies are a fashion faux pas.
....."From a girl's point of view, they're ugly," said Lisa Harlow, 16, a sophomore. "Nobody wants to see a skeleton running around."….
.....WHILST LECTURING on Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan) recently, I mentioned that, according to the FBI, Irvine is the 14th safest city in the country. I speculated that Irvine had dropped to 14th owing to our new Performing Arts Center and it’s “assault on the senses.” I also mentioned “all the hookers.”
.....Surely I’m joking! Hookers in Irvine?
.....Why, allegedly, yes! According to the OC Reg (Women plead not guilty to prostitution in Irvine apartment), Irvine is a seething cauldron of illicit & unsafe sex.
.....Well, no, but the city does sport at least two alleged hookers (who, btw, kept lots of alleged condoms in their alleged refrigerator).
.....One of the women “is accused of having a cell phone with the phone number listed on a Craigslist.org ad for ‘hottie Asian girls waiting for you.’ The ad promised a ‘good time’ for one hour between 11 a.m. and 2 a.m. for ‘160 roses.’”

.....THINGS REMAIN DICEY in our fire-ravaged canyons. According to the Reg, “A storm that was expected to bring light rain has intensified, leading the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood watch for the Orange County canyons and foothills that burned during the October wildfires. ¶ The watch will go into effect at 2 p.m. and will likely last until Wednesday morning as the region gets drenched with an inch or more of rain, forecasters say.”
.....The Reg provides a link to the notorious Modjeska Canyon webcam. Check it out.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hydromulch swoopage?

—Late this afternoon, in Modjeska Canyon.

Rains are expected soon. Tomorrow, maybe tonight. Should be light. Let's hope so.

The Reb sent me two super low-res pictures that she took with her digital Brownie, and so I tarted them up a bit. These planes were buzzin' her house. Limber Lou that it was great. The Reb, not so much.

Hydromulch is a kind of adhesive that holds the soil together. They'll be dropping this goop for days. Could be they're shoveling shit against the tide.

1. To me, this first one looks like an Me109 from the perspective of the nose gun of a B-17.

2. I guess there wouldn't be trees and a hill and power lines over the skies of Germany. Clouds, though.

3. This 3rd one just looks like a guy dropping hydromulch. Not that I'm complaining!

See Forest Service bulletin re hydromulch:
...Pilots will apply a layer of hydromulch, which is a wet mixture of, 40% shredded wood, and 60% paper with a guar gum based tackifier, a sticky substance that helps the mulch material cling to hillsides and steep slopes (Guar gum is used in ice cream as a thickener). The green-dyed biodegradable hydromulch stabilizes the soil and provides a nutrient media for new plant growth on fire-damaged lands. After drying it will harden and turn gray. It will intercept some of the rain’s impact energy and minimize erosion. No seed or fertilizers are included in the hydromulch mixture....

Trout Fishing at Christmas


.....A neighborhood holiday party inspired Rebel Girl to dig up the article below to share with ya'll. She was, at the time, busily digging into a paper plate of Christmas tamales when she heard the story of how the homeowner, sitting in his livingroom, spied the recent Harding Canyon mudslide as it slid. His perch, on our side of Modjeska, opposite Harding, gave him a perfect view.
....."It was like the hand of a dark ghost," he said. The man is a sheriff, not usually as given to metaphor as, say, an English major like Rebel Girl. She was impressed.
.....It is believed that the mudslide, the dark ghostly hand, took out what was left of the Harding Canyon rainbow trout.

From the Associated Press:
.....SANTA ANA – A mudslide in fire damaged Orange County wiped out one of the last remaining populations of native rainbow trout in Southern California.
.....“What we feared, happened,” said Adam Backlin, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “The hillsides just slumped into the canyon, and buried the entire creek.”
.....Backlin said he became concerned about the Harding Canyon trout after the Santiago fire, which burned more than 28,000 acres during the October wildfires, creating mudslide conditions. The fish lived in rocky pools along a stretch of creek.
.....The loss is just one example of how many of Southern California's dwindling species teeter on the edge of disappearing completely. The once thriving populations of fish and amphibians have shrunken into small pockets easily threatened by storms and mudslides.
.....Backlin had tried to arrange with the Department of Fish and Game to temporarily remove the fish, fearing that one good rain could fill the trouts' refuges with mud. When it did rain, the trout disappeared under as much as six feet of mud.
.....This isn't the first time a post-wildfire mudslide appeared to wipe out a population of animals. In 2003, the last mountain yellow-legged frogs in the San Bernardino Mountains appeared to be lost forever. Later, a few surviving frogs were found, and now scientists are working to re-establish them.
.....The Harding Canyon trout, however, seem unlikely to make such a lucky comeback. Backlin and another scientist searched below the mudslide, hoping to find a few trout that had washed downstream, but came up empty.
.....Rainbow trout can become protected steelhead if they can get to the open ocean. While moving from freshwater to the ocean, the fish take on a streamlined shape that gives them their name. The process known as anadromy allows the fish to exploit both habitats, and to return to protected upland pools for breeding.
.....But during the rainbow trout phase, the fish are not protected. The Modjeska reservoir and other barriers prevented the Harding Canyon trout from ever reaching the ocean and gaining that protection.
.....Pictured right is Harding Canyon, along the Seven Pools hike, before the fire and the mud.
.....Years ago, when Rebel Girl was growing up in Torrance, California, a flatland So Cal suburb that lacked trout entirely, she fell for post-beat poet Richard Brautigan in a big way. He is an writer she finds almost entirely unintelligible now, absurd, embarrassing—but she keeps him on the shelf like one might keep the letters of old lovers. At one time they meant everything, the world, to our young selves.
.....Here is what Brautigan has to say about trout. It's not that bad.

The opening page of Trout Fishing in America:

.....As a child when did I first hear about trout fishing in America? From whom? I guess it was a stepfather of mine.
.....Summer of 1942.
.....The old drunk told me about trout fishing. When he could talk, he had a way of describing trout as if they were a precious and intelligent metal.
.....Silver is not a good adjective to describe what I felt when he told me about trout fishing.
.....I'd like to get it right.
.....Maybe trout steel. Steel made from trout. The clear snow-filled river acting as foundry and heat.
.....Imagine Pittsburgh.
.....A steel that comes from trout, used to make buildings, trains and tunnels.
.....The Andrew Carnegie of Trout!

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary