Police and Crime in SF

There has been all kinds of news about how the “defund the police” movement and “don’t stop shoplifters” laws is killing downtown San Francisco. Here is a more clear take, illuminated by cold, hard numbers.

San Francisco police apparently started a work slow-down in 2020 and haven’t started again. Here is a chart of traffic citations issued:

(source: SFGov.org)
San Francisco has talked about changing police budgeting (“defund the police”) but is hasn’t happened (1). Similarly, no shoplifting laws have changed in California despite talk about doing so (2).

Why have they done this? There is much speculation, all of it centering around politics and money.

Read more at JWZ.org

Seen at the Library

Saw this at the El Cerrito Library! I observed a few patrons see the sign and call into the slot. Heidi, the supervisor was called over and shown the sign; she laughed and said with dismay that it was her responsibility to remove it.

Why Does Everyone Gets Email Newsletters Wrong

Why Does Everyone Gets Email Newsletters Wrong?

In the vast majority of cases, my only options for signing up for a mailing list are:

  • Every day, sometimes twice a day, sucka’!
  • Unsubscribe

That is stupid. I like you. I want to be reminded of your services! But why the hell would I want twice-a-day reminders for a service I use twice a year? Give me the option of getting weekly or quarterly reminders!



Voting in the Primary Election

Just a quick reminder: Only Republicans can vote in the Republican Presidential Primary. Switching party preference takes 5 minutes in California: https://registertovote.ca.gov/ . Moreso, ALL of the California electoral votes go to one candidate!
Tell a friend.

Murderbot Diaries

The Murderbot Diaries is a really good book series! I just finished the second of six books. I picked it up because I saw it won some awards and, yeah. The NPR review captures the essence well but is a tiny bit spoilerish so I’d say to just dive in, or read the review

Heating Disaster

It’s Christmas Eve in “Gallahop”, our travel trailer. We are parked in my sister in-law’s backyard. We just had a fun Christmas Eve dinner with a great pot roast, fun food, and amazing desserts. The children had gone to bed and we had just set out all the presents for the morning. When we got into Gallahop, I noticed it was a bit chilly. Where we are in northern California, Santa Rosa, the evening temps have been in the low forties but our little house on wheels has kept us cozy warm.

Megan had jumped into bed and asked me to turn up the heat. I did but I thought about how it shouldn’t have gotten quite so cold in the first place. I fiddled with the thermostat for a few minutes but got nowhere. So I went outside and checked on our propane supply. We were out!

I immediately was brought back to a Christmas day some 40 years ago. The heat in our house in Smoke Rise had gone out ON CHRISTMAS DAY. We we about to have some 20 relatives coming over with fancy hors d’oeuvres, Christmas clothes, and presents, but the temperature in the house was slipping into the seeing-your-breath range! We set a kerosene heater up in the middle of the great room and turned it up full blast but the temperature in the house was falling quickly and one little space heater wasn’t going to do much to stave off winter! The house would be below freezing in a matter of hours! I imagined pipes bursting and mayhem descending!

Of course, my dad managed to find a plumber that would visit us on Christmas Day. He went into the basement and fiddled for a while. Eventually, he and my dad went to the 1,000 gallon propane tank buried in the front yard and saw that we were out of propane! My dad relayed to me just recently, “The kid forgot to make a delivery. We called the company and they came out and gave us a fill.” I kept thinking how there was no way we could reasonably wait even a day for service!

Now I got to participate in this apparent Christmas tradition. Just a day ago, I was idly considering bringing another propane cylinder to the RV because we had it and it wasn’t doing anything useful in our shed. I had in fact brought it! If I hadn’t made that tiny decision, I would have been tasked with finding a propane refill at 9pm on Christmas Eve, a daunting, if not impossible task! But as it was, I just needed to swap out the tank in the dark, power on the heating system, and breathe a sigh of relief.

Going to Steve Roach Concert in April

I’m going to the Steve Roach concert at Grace Cathedral in SF on Saturday April 6th. He’s an ambient music “star”. Want to join me?

Voting In The Republican Presidential Primary Election

Hot tip: Only registered Republicans can vote for their party’s presidential candidate in the upcoming primary election. If you want to have a say in the Republican primary, changing your party “preference” takes about 5 minutes. You can do so in California by re-registering to vote here: registertovote.ca.gov.

You can register online until February 20th. After that, you can do it in person at a polling place, any vote center, or your county elections office.

Tell your friends.

Bohemian Rhapsody interpretation

Che Victor on ssl-miller-etal-2022-LRT-flicker-review-tlm-stimulus-response”>Facebook says this is what Bohemian Rhapsody is about. What do you think?


Why is the song called ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’?

Why does it last exactly 5 minutes and 55 seconds?

What is this song really about?

Why did the Queen movie premiere on October 31?

The movie premiered on October 31 because the single was first heard on October 31, 1975. It’s titled that way because a ‘Rhapsody’ is a free-form musical piece composed of different parts and themes that seem unrelated to each other.

The word ‘rhapsody’ comes from Greek and means ‘assembled parts of a song.’

The word ‘bohemian’ refers to a region in the Czech Republic called Bohemia, where Faust, the protagonist of Goethe’s work of the same name, was born. In Goethe’s work, Faust was an elderly and intelligent man who knew everything except the mystery of life. Unable to comprehend it, he decides to poison himself.

At that moment, church bells ring, and he goes outside. When he returns to his room, he finds a dog that transforms into a kind of man. It’s the devil, Mephistopheles. He promises Faust a full life without misery in exchange for his soul. Faust agrees, rejuvenates, and becomes arrogant. He meets Gretchen and has a child. His wife and child die. Faust travels through time and space and feels powerful. When he becomes old again, he feels miserable once more. Since he didn’t break the pact with the devil, angels contend for his soul.

This work is essential to understanding ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’

The song is about Freddie Mercury himself. Being a rhapsody, it has 7 different parts:
1st and 2nd acts – A Capella
3rd act – Ballad
4th act – Guitar solo
5th act – Opera
6th act – Rock
7th act – ‘Coda’ or final act

The song talks about a poor boy questioning if this life is real or if his distorted imagination is living another reality. He says that even if he stops living, the wind will keep blowing without his existence. So, he makes a deal with the devil and sells his soul.

Upon making this decision, he rushes to tell his mother and says…

“Mama, I just killed a man, put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he’s dead. Threw my life away. If I’m not back again this time tomorrow, carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters…”

The man he kills is himself, Freddie Mercury.

If he doesn’t fulfill the pact with the devil, he will die immediately.

He says goodbye to his loved ones, and his mother breaks into tears, tears and desperate crying that comes from Brian May’s guitar notes. Freddie, terrified, cries out, “Mama, I don’t want to die,” and the operatic part begins. Freddie finds himself in an astral plane where he sees himself: “I see a little silhouetto of a man”… “Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?”

Scaramouche is an “escaramuza,” a skirmish between armies with horseback riders (4 horsemen of the Apocalypse of evil fighting against the forces of good for Freddie’s soul), and he continues, saying, “Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me.”

This phrase appears in the Bible, specifically in Job 37 when it says, “the thunder and lightning frighten me: my heart pounds in my chest.” Seeing his son so scared by the decision he has made, Freddie’s mother begs to save him from the pact with Mephistopheles. “He’s just a poor boy…” “Spare him his life from this monstrosity.” “Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?” Her pleas are heard, and angels descend to battle the forces of evil. “Bismillah” (an Arabic word meaning “In the name of God”) is the first word in the holy book of Muslims, the Quran. So, God Himself appears and shouts, “We will not let you go.”

In the face of such a confrontation between good and evil, Freddie fears for his mother’s life and says, “Mama mia, mama mia, let me go.” They shout again from the sky that they won’t abandon him, and Freddie cries, “No, no, no, no, no,” and says, “Beelzebub (the Lord of Darkness) has a devil put aside for me.” Freddie pays homage here to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Sebastian Bach when he sings… “Figaro, Magnifico,” referring to Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” considered the greatest opera of all time, and to Bach’s “Magnificat.”

The operatic part ends, and the rockier part bursts in. The devil, angry and betrayed by Freddie not keeping the pact, says, “So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye? So you think you can love me and leave me to die?”

It’s chilling how the Lord of Evil feels powerless against a human being, against repentance and love.

Having lost the battle, the devil departs, and we reach the final act or ‘coda’ where Freddie is free, and that feeling comforts him. The gong that closes the song sounds. The gong is an instrument used in China and East Asian cultures to heal people under the influence of evil spirits.

It lasts for 5:55 minutes. Freddie liked astrology, and in numerology, 555 is associated with death, not physical but spiritual, the end of something where angels will safeguard you. 555 is related to God and the divine, an ending that will lead to a new beginning.

And the song plays on Halloween eve for the first time. A holiday called ‘Samhain’ by the Celts to celebrate the transition and opening to the other world.

The Celts believed that the world of the living and the dead were closely connected, and on the Day of the Dead, both worlds would unite, allowing spirits to cross over.

Nothing in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is coincidental.

Everything is carefully crafted and has a meaning that goes beyond being just a song.

It has been voted worldwide as the greatest song of all time.

This song marked a radical change in Queen, as if they had truly made a pact with the devil, changing their lives forever and making them immortal…”


A Fun Time with Noni and Julia circa 2008

Watch Noni and Julia sing Abba Dabba at our house in Vermont! This from way back in 2008.

Dancing in Vermont with Julia, Noni, Bampha, Beaner, and Lee!

Full Moon, a film by Julia Taylor Sonko. Filmed in Vermont, 2008