Elly Glass Film Fundraiser

Some friends and colleagues have invited me and you to support this wonderful documentary that tells of the post-War innovation we all benefit from of Holocaust survivor Henry Glass and his wife Elly Glass. This is your chance to help tell this story while Mrs. Glass is still able to share it. – Barry

ellyglass1The Story: In 1939, Eleanore (Elly) Glass, an Austrian woman, went to the Gestapo in an effort to free her Jewish husband from a concentration camp. What followed is an amazing story of courage that has never been fully told. The couple fled their native Vienna and emigrated to New York and later to Chicago. Here Henry P. Glass became the architect of one of the first solar houses in America and one of the world’s leading industrial designers.

ellyglass2The Film: In Post Production – Projected Completion Date: 2010.

The Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOaNg0tY0hk

The Website: http://www.EllyGlass.com/

Dear Friends:

We invite you to kick off the new year in style at The Elly Glass Project Donor Party.

This is a special event for all you who have been so generous to us in the past
and to those of you who would like to help us now.

Date: Saturday February 6, 2010

Place: 33 Jennings Court San Francisco CA 94124

Phone: 415-468-0772

Time: 7:00-10:00 pm

Sponsored by:
Frazier Winery
Mission Market Fish & Poultry
Evil Auntie’s Quick & Sexy Family Cooking
DBI Beverages
Simple Pleasures Coffee Roasting Co.

… and more sponsors to be announced soon.

ellyglass3Start off the evening surrounded by an Elly & Henry Glass multimedia installation while enjoying delicious appetizers and drinks.  At 8:30 we will be screening preview clips from the film including ones that have never been seen before. Anne Karin Glass, Elly & Henry’s daughter, will be in attendance for q & a.… Read the rest

Doggy Arbitrage

Is this your dog?

California, it turns out, has too many Chihuahuas. New York City does not have enough. So animal welfare officials in San Francisco and Manhattan arranged for what a Virgin America press release dubbed a “Chihuahua airlift” — 15 homeless dogs from the Bay Area were flown to Kennedy by the airline so they could be adopted by New Yorkers. It has been no small feat. The A.S.P.C.A. estimated that it would spend $100 to $2,000 per dog for spaying and neutering, shots, food, housing, veterinary care and other costs. At least one dog will undergo orthopedic surgery.

from: A.S.P.C.A. Airlifts Chihuahuas From Bay Area to New York – NYTimes.com.

This weekend, the Porterville Animal Shelter, now operating out of the old Lindsay Shelter, held an emergency adoption event because the shelter is fillign up too rapidly with dogs.

As one of the first volunteers when the Friends of the Shelter group organized last year, I was surprised to learn during prior adoption events that Porterville, and other Central Valley locations, are net exporters of dogs to urban areas.

There is definitely a flux and flow of different types of dogs across this state, and across the nation. Here, we are indeed drowning in Chihuahuas, Chi-mixes (like my first dog,  Lola, pictured as we found her, a stray Jack Russel – Chihuahua mix), and pit-bulls.

Since the minute I observed it, whenever the shelter comes up in conversation with my gf (who also volunteers), the words “doggy arbitrage” are not far from my lips.… Read the rest

Gyroscopes – What they are and how they work + BONUS War Story

The year was 1963, President Kennedy had started the race to the moon, and tween boys and their Dads needed to learn all about the engineering involved to be good Americans. This book, found last weekend at the Porterville Friends of the Library monthly sale fills the role of a book a son and his Dad could have enjoyed together.

With diagrams and photographs illustrating the principles of gyroscopes and applications such as keeping a ship, plane, or rocket stable, this is a fine illustration of how science and engineering can be a fun-for-the-family experience. I bet a modern edition would still be a great introduction to science experiments anyone can do.

I look forward to reading this book by James C. Sparks to brush up on the physics, to learn some new applications, and to learn about the physics of some of the instruments on satellites I wrote ground control software for in the 1980s. Gyros keep the “birds” stable, and for the Hubble Space Telescope at least, have been factors in some daring astronautic repair work.  I have a couple of old bicycles in the garage, and a few old vacuum cleaners too. Maybe I can rig up some cool gyroscopic something or other with the wheels and motors.

Fun for boys and girls, this book was discarded by the Porterville Library and now I bet there is not a replacement that the whole family can learn from.

Bonus: I just noticed that the inside cover has a faceplate pasted on it:

In Honor of Ensign Gary L. Thornton, United States Naval Reserve

Killed in action February 20, 1967, when his Phantom F4B was hit by Communist ground fire over North Vietnam.

This book is donated in the hope that it will interest and inspire others to dedicate their lives to the service of their country and to the preservation of the American way of life.

Read the rest

Where’s the Rest of Me? The Ronald Reagan Story

2000630109Another curious find at the Porterville Friends of the Library “Dusty Book” sale: This mass paperback autobiography (“as told to Richard G. Hubler”) . Published in 1965, probably at the beginning of his campaign to become Governor of California, this looks to be nothing short of propaganda and marketing.

Probably not meant to be read too closely – the writing actually appears pretty dense (as in packed on the page, come on, be nice!), I think this was supposed to introduce Reagan to the public as a whole and give his image some “heft” after being best known as an actor.

Apparently it worked.  I haven’t read this yet, but I will definitely add it to the pile of fist hand documents related to the fundamental principles of our country.  Now that we know “the rest of the story”, it will be interesting to see how much of it turned out to be foreshadowed in this book.

A few quotes from the back cover:

On Name Calling from the Political Left and Right:

I suggest to you there is no left or right, only an up or down. Up to the maximum of individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.

On Federal Welfare Spending:

If this present welfare spending was prorated equally among these (9.3 million) families, we could give each family more than $4,000 per year. Actually, direct aid to the poor averages less than $600 per family. There must be some administrative overhead somewhere.

On the Fear of Speaking Out:

If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile, hoping he’ll eat you last.

Like the man and the results or not, those 3 lines are each marketing gold.… Read the rest

Earl Weaver – Winning!

I thought I would share a few thoughts on the books I picked up at the once-a-month booksale here in Porterville this month. Oh now that we have been going for about 4 months, we look forward to the first-Saturday ritual. Many of the books are worthy of the dust they are covered with and becoming in the basement, but occasionally there is a real find, and you simply can’t beat the price. Pretty much nothing costs over 1 dollar, and most books are about 25 to 50 cents.

Many books are set up outside in the staging area each month, new arrivals, that are free! At that price, it is worth it to grab a copy of that paperback you remember from your youth, or that history book that was on your parent’s piano untouched as a kid. Whatever happened to the “Making of a President” series? Who knew it was a decades long series? The Friends have most if not all of the, and for 5 dollars the completist in you can have all of them!

This month, I found a book about Baltimore Orioles baseball, written at the peak of “The Oriole Way”  by Hall of Fame Manager Earl Weaver. The Orioles had just… Read the rest

Hi Readers! Long time no see!

Welcome to 2010. I have a bunch of fun curiosities from Porterville to share with you over the next few months, starting tonight as I hang out in Starbucks. Found old photos and news stories, books from the once-a-month cellar sale by the Friends of Porterville Library, and more!

Enjoy and please share your comments or feedback, let me know what else you might like to see!… Read the rest

Tickets scalpers are making profit off Vampire Weekend concert at The Cellar Door in Visalia

Whenever a popular show is in town, music promoters say, someone always takes advantage by selling tickets for more than face value.
That’s what’s happening with Monday’s sold-out performance by indie band Vampire Weekend at The Cellar Door.

The Visalia show is promoted by the local nonprofit Sound N Vision Foundation, whose goal is to bring top-notch musical groups to Visalia. Tickets are $20 — significantly less than they might have cost through a for-profit promoter.

But the tickets now are listed for as much as $150 each on Web sites such as Craigslist.org.

“There’s really no way to battle the scalpers,” said Aaron Gomes, president of Sound N Vision.

Tickets scalpers are making profit off Vampire Weekend concert at The Cellar Door in Visalia

Well, in an economic sense, this is what happens when a promoter “leaves money on the table”. Someone else will sniff the opportunity to pick it up.

I understand the motivation to keep prices low, but at the same time, there is nothing other than habit that keeps prices based uniformly, either over time, or acoss other variables, or even across shows. Locally, nearby Orange Blossom in Exeter understands this pricing dilemma.

I once worked with a similar club in another city that wrestled with similar issues. In time, they realized, and accepted, that for some shows, they could charge more, and no one would object.

I remember it took quite a leap of faith personally for the club owner to invest in expensive acts and then announce the shows would cost double or even triple the going rate. He was takng a real risk that few tickets would be sold and he was very anxious for many weeks, right up until show time. Then he was a changed man when the crowds showed up anyway.… Read the rest

Marine Band Plays Patriotic Pieces in Porterville

Crowd Whipped Into A Frenzy.

On Wednesday night, the President’s Own United States Marine Band produced a colorful and patriotic performance underscored by brass notes punctuating rapidly paced reeds and roaring percussion to pieces arranged by some of the nation’s most well known composers. The audience, housed in the Frank “Buck” Shaffer Theatre was pleased, evidenced by their hearty applause and standing ovations throughout.

via Marine Band plays patriotic pieces | plays, band, president – Local News – Recorderonline.com.

OK, the crowd was not really whipped into a frenzy.They were generally mystified that outsiders had stumbled into Porterville to entertain them, but politely pleased that they did.

The performance was enjoyable, akin to a Pops Concert almost. In Porterville, any outside performance is a big deal, and this one was well done.

We were a little nervous arriving – the tickets made plain that everyone needed to be seated by 7:15 even though the show was not until 7:30. Thoughts of the fate of a certain Georgian theater crowd at the hand of the Russians crept through my mind. And, well, we saw “Inglorious Basterds” too ….

In the end there was no violence or no explanation for why the public had to follow marching orders from the Marines. At least there was no speechifying either, all joking aside, that is what I thought those 15 minutes would be used for. At least 3 City Council members were present, but they simply enjoyed the show as everyone else did.

Overall, I’d say the age of the attendees was skewed towards the Korean War and Vietnam War veteran era.

I was really only joking to myself when I thought, during the opening rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”, that some of the attendees may very well have been fighting in the War of 1812.… Read the rest

Don Curlee: Blind leadership frustrates farmers, red-baiting 1950s style the answer

Visalia Times-Delta columnist joins in the Red Bating fad  as though that will solve anything

Farmers have no monopoly on honesty, because that character trait is rooted in the country’s founding principles. But those roots have grown strong and deep in agriculture. Farmers are wondering why honesty doesn’t have a higher priority among political representatives.

If Marxism is a politician’s ultimate destination, he or she ought to be forthright enough to say so. Don’t count on it; saying and doing what is expedient instead makes them more electable.

Many politicians are taking large numbers of people with them to their secret collectivist destinations. Very few farmers want to go there.

via Don Curlee: Blind leadership frustrates farmers | visaliatimesdelta.com | Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register.

Geez “marxism”, “communism”, “socialism” – is red-baiting in the red states and counties going to be the rule of the day for a while? I am sure that is a great tactic to get your own people elected and listened to.

If farmers are such great capitalists and free marketeers, how about they look at the industry structure that they have wrought over the last 100 or so years since this land was settled? If they are so transparent, how about they share what they have learned?

The problem is that farmers have dug themselves a hole at the bottom of a heap of a distribution channel, and a complex supply chain, and as such they have no (or limited) economic leverage.

Take a look at the recent raisin price it was announced that farmers will get for their crop this year – divide the dollars by ton to get a price per ounce, then go to your favorite retailer to see what the retail price per ounce is. The difference is what the market perceives as the value added in all of the steps of the supply chain beyond the farmer.… Read the rest

Rodger Doxsey, one of space telescope team’s first leaders, dies at 62 — baltimoresun.com

Roger Doxsey, one of the earliest employees of the Hubble Space Telescope, passed away yesterday.

Roger was responsible for the science operations of the Telescope both prior to and during its entire productive lifetime. As a young pup, I was involved in creating the earliest software in support of many aspects of the plan he developed.

Along with Barry Lasker, who was my direct supervisor for most of that period, Roger is now another star to be cataloged and studied and memorialized in NASA history.

The Hubble Space Telescope’s science team in Baltimore has lost one of its original leaders, a physicist whose comprehensive knowledge of the complex observatory helped keep its science operations running smoothly, and astronomers’ discoveries rolling in.

Rodger Doxsey, head of the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Hubble Mission Office, died of cancer Tuesday after entering an area hospice over the weekend. The Towson resident was 62.

“Rodger was the heart and soul of Hubble here at the Institute,” said STScI’s director, Matt Mountain. “He … knew everything about the space telescope, from the smallest anomaly to the breadth of the extraordinary science delivered by the telescope he had worked with for over 28 years.”

via Rodger Doxsey, one of space telescope team’s first leaders, dies at 62 — baltimoresun.com.

Read the rest