Washington’s Dream – SNL – Weights and Measures – Excellent Slow News

I do not know who wrote the Saturday Night Live skit above, but it is very funny. It was probably a team of writers. But nobody knows.

I have always wondered why comedians today do not make more use of historical figures, especially the “founding fathers.” Humor can then merge with irony in a way that reaches a wider audience. It is like slow news, perhaps “slow humor,” where the vantage is long, and the costumes essential. You do not cringe. Instead everyone simply laughs as the truths are often of the everyday, non-political, small world. It is humor that is self-evident.

A while back I had the idea of a skit where Benjamin Franklin uses a time-machine that he had invented but did not tell anyone about as the plans were lost in a fire. Ben travels to the United States in our current era and then to a drawing room where seated are Jefferson, Washington, Adams and probably others. Someone’s wife. Perhaps a black enslaved person or mistress.

Hand on his knee, Franklin would calmly explain what he saw – explain what he had observed in the twenty-first century America on his time-travel. The majority of the content would be the others commenting and asking questions. These comments would be based on history and their actual writings, personalities and known beliefs. The possibilities are endless. It would shine a light on how originalism is an absurd concept. The world changes, but things also stay the same as in the ending line, “where all Black men are free,” to which Washington ignores like a Florida history book. Evidently, we still have much work to do with our weights and measurements. Equality on many fronts is still but a dream.

NOW THE FUN STUFF! FOURTH GRADE WEIGHTS AND MEASUREMENTS

Weights

16 ounces in a pound. 2000 pounds is a ton There is no word for 1000 pounds

Liquids

Liters and milliliters are used for soda, wine and alcohol

Gallons, pints and quarts are used for milk and paint.

There are 3.78541 liters in a gallon (but nobody knows).

1 liter = 33.814 Fl oz

Distances

Inches, feet, yards and miles

12 inches to a foot. 3 feet to a yard,

5028 feet to a mile

1760 yards to a mile (but nobody knows).

Sports

Meters are used in unpopular sports like track and swimming. (Also springboard diving, but no one asked.)

In football, where the field is 100 yards long, an extra-point after the touchdown is worth 1 point. A field goal is worth 3. A touchdown is  worth 6. A safety is worth 2.

Temperature

The great nation of the United States of America measures temperature in Fahrenheit. You spell Fahrenheit  F-a-h-r-e-n-h-e-i-t.

Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit and 100 degrees Celsius.

To convert temperatures in degrees Celsius to Fahrenheit, multiply by 1.8 (or 9/5) and add 32

For example

10 C = 50 F
20 C = 68 F
30 C = 86 F
40 C =  104 F

You can also, multiply Celsius by 2 and add 30 to get an approximation.

CODA

Mel Brooks used recent political history and satire in The Producers. He did it very daringly in “Springtime for Hitler” which is over the top. It combines Broadway showtunes and dance numbers in a Busby Berkeley style with the Third Reich. It is absurd and you laugh because of this absurdity. Oddly, it was a premonition for things to come.

Another amazing use of history and satire in humor is Monty Python’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail..

Let us know of other routines that have taken this tack. So far, nobody knows.

Historic Klamath River Dam Removal – Interesting Story Off the Radar

A news story that get very little coverage is the Klamath River dam removal project.  In January 2024 the last dam was “removed” and the river started flowing unimpeded for the first time in over 100 years.  Of course, change of this nature (no pun intended) is difficult for many parties involved.  When dams are removed you end up with  “mud-flats” and the entire ecosystem has to readjust to the new river.

6 Things You Need To Know About The Klamath River Dam Removals

To listen to a very good and informative discussion, listen to this episode on KALW’s Your Call and an interview with Amy Bowers Cordalis.

https://www.kalw.org/show/your-call/2024-02-19/yurok-klamath-karuk-native-tribes-celebrate-historic-dam-removals

This story is definitely “slow news” and will evolve over the next decade and beyond.

 

News from SF – The Quarterly Report – February 2024

The Quarterly Report: A brief synopsis of the news in San Francisco over the last three months. You are now reading “Slow News That Doesn’t Break” – the exotic internet.

Sporting News

After two very close playoff games, the San Francisco 49ers are headed to the Super Bowl to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.  A miraculous catch by Brandon Aiyuk on a very deep pass that actually bounced off the defender’s facemask may be the reason they are in the big game.  Of course, the entire Bay Area is excited and it will be a wild weekend. Go Niners!

Weather

The new word of the year is “atmospheric river.” San Francisco has been pummeled by this weather phenomenon which is basically a river in the sky that dumps large quantities of rain in short periods of time.  Nevertheless the weather has been wet lately mixed with glorious days of sunshine. Often the sunsets have been beautiful. Out at Ocean Beach the parking lot continues to be eaten by the ocean. It is amazing how the contour of the beach changes.

Politics

Nothing to report as all the entrenched powers that be remain in hold of city government.  No one seems to be irate that drug overdoes in the Tenderloin and homelessness are still major problems. Chesa Boudin was recalled a year ago and Brooke Jenkins was installed at D.A.. For the most part, things have remained the same on the street, but for most people San Francisco looks like most west coast large cities. People just living their lives in the tidy neighborhoods. We have a tough on crime D.A. but people often drive their cars like there are no laws. Stop signs evidently are simply a suggestion.

The Depths of his Dishonesty is just astounding… He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life.
– John Kelly on former President Donald Trump as reported in The Atlantic

The Depths of his Dishonesty is just astounding… He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life. – John Kelly on former President Donald Trump as reported in The Atlantic

Road Repairs, Parking Tickets, Do Not Parks Signs and Other Treacherous Endeavors

A street cleaning ticket in San Francisco is now $90. Always best to keep track of your wheels in this town.

Valencia Bike Lanes and the Sunny Side of the Street

The center bike lane has many people up in arms. Merchants say people are not coming into their stores. The center lane is pretty awkward. I have no opinion on the matter but think that the center lane is ugly from an aesthetic perspective. What is more problematic is the fact that the parking is all done with the new digital pay stations and there are no coin meters. This is very confusing as the parking rules are not stated on the street.  After some research I have learned that it is basically the concept that between 9am – 6pm you must pay for parking. To me this is discrimination to those not tied into using their phones for everything. Very confusing.

Here are the Valencia Street Parking Rules for you edification

12am – 9am Free 
9am – 3pm $2.25 per hour 2 hours
3pm – 6pm $2.00 per hour 2 hours
6pm – 12am Free

https://www.sfmta.com/demand-responsive-parking-pricing

Parklets, Microclimates and Where the Sun Does Shine

Not much to report. The parklet situation has stabilized but the red-tape for merchants is often too much and they remove their parklets. This is a topic that a city major Breed could have a lot of impact and instead it ends up highlighting the incompetence of city government.

In February 2024 rarely do bands play outside – more often the music is inside. Remember to tip the band

That is The Quarterly Report – February 2024

Photo Gallery of SF

The Quarterly Report – February 2024

Digital Millennium Copyright Act 25 Year Anniversary

UPDATE: OCTOBER 31, 2023: Not a single media outlet celebrated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 25 Year Anniversary. Amazing!

It is now October 2023, twenty-five years after the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Seven years ago I published the piece below about the 18 year anniversary of the DMCA.  The DMCA has made it so you can listen to just about any recording made in the last 100 years for free on YouTube after looking at some ridiculous advertisement for five seconds.  It has made it so tech companies and publishing empires no longer have  responsibility for what is published on their applications, websites and what they now call “platforms.”  Safe harbor. Everything is just content.  Stuff. No one owns the stars.

I predict that on October 28, 2023  very few media organizations will acknowledge the DMCA 25 year anniversary.  The world changes and while it is changing hardly anyone notices; we all just roll with it as that is the only option. So pop the champagne corks. To the liberation of content!

FROM MY POST on OCTOBER 12, 2016
Digital Millennium Copyright Act 18 Year Anniversary

Passed on October 12, 1998, by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998, the DMCA amended Title 17 of the United States Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of the providers of online services for copyright infringement by their users.
wikipedia.org

It is 1998 – The Senate Now Has E-Mail
Let’s Have a Party!

25 years ago this month the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed. I would wager that very few people even know what the DMCA is, but it has affected modern life substantially. It is in many ways just one more version of an old story of plunder by larger more powerful entities, and the taking advantage of the smaller, but often more vibrant creators. In many ways, it has made it so the copyright laws in such industries as music are pointless.

But let’s back up a bit. Everyone can remember the transition that happened when CDs came out and then everyone was ripping their CDs to MP3s and handing off 100 gig drives full of music files to their buddies. Then there was Napster that simply stitched all these drives together in one big mass orgy of free MP3s. Napster got the injunction primarily because the established music industry  had no cut of the racket. Along come tech giants like Google, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung and to cover their liability the DMCA made perfect sense. If someone has “illegal” music on their devices, they should not be held accountable. Furthermore, if someone uploads a Beatles tune as a video with a picture of Ringo Starr as the graphics to YouTube, why should YouTube be held accountable for such blatant infringement? All good and well. But that was 1998. Today is 2016. I am certain that in 1998 most members of the Senate had no idea the true implications of the DMCA. In 1998, most of the members of the Senate probably did not even know how to manage their own email. They were still licking stamps.

The DMCA’s principal innovation in the field of copyright is the exemption from direct and indirect liability of Internet service providers and other intermediaries.
wikipedia.org

Let’s look back a bit. In 1998 the leading browser of the day was Netscape 2. Internet Explorer was at version 5.5. If anyone remembers IE 6, imagine how terrible IE 5.5 must have been. Windows 98 had probably just been released.  Man, that is scary. My point is that the DMCA has not been updated for 18 years and is an extremely flawed piece of legislation. The large tech companies have in many ways based their entire industry on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It allows for basically everyone to break the law everyday and not have to worry about it. When was the last time that a cop pulled someone over and wanted to check if the person had pirated music on their phone? There probably is thousands of dollars of contraband on everyone’s devices. Ain’t gonna happen.

Times Have Changed – Google Is Our Master of Information

But this is what is disingenuous about the DMCA. Companies like Google know just about everything about you. What you buy. What websites you visit. Your birthday. Your favorite color.

In 2016 they have the ability to determine if a piece of music is copyrighted via matching wave forms, and indeed this is how they “monetize” this work.  But YouTube refuses to acknowledge this UNLESS they are in a position to make money off of that music – they make money anyway but that is another post. The only way the copyright holder can get the videos of their music taken down is with take-down notices. If a song is popular, this can mean hundreds of separate videos with the same song on it.  The artists cannot simply tell the ISP such as YouTube “I do not want my work on your network.” YouTube is sort of like that creepy neighbor running a crack-house who borrowed your weed-whacker last spring and refuses to give it back claiming ignorance. Musicians, songwriters and composers have better things to do with their time than chase down illegal version of their work.

YouTube is sort of like that creepy neighbor running a crack-house who borrowed your weed-whacker last spring and refuses to give it back claiming ignorance. Musicians, songwriters and composers have better things to do with their time than chase down illegal version of their work.

Which brings me back to 1998. Do you really think in 1998 anyone could predict such entities as YouTube or Facebook? And unlike the owners of these companies, I believe these entities are not just platforms, they are simply publishers with free content providers and creators. These publishers have to take responsibility as well for copyright infringement. It is within their technical realm but they are playing dumb as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 suits them just fine. The DMCA is to their advantage.

The real master of deception with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is  YouTube. Facebook, Twitter and the like have simply entered personal lives and monetized birthdays and other important life events until people depart from this world. Personalized marketing on steroids that the users all agree to though without  really reading the privacy policies.

But all such companies are the modern-day plunderers. Instead of grabbing continents, forests, rivers, enslaving the natives and digging for gold, they are plundering your personal events and consumer habits along with the likes of great artists like James Brown, Elton John, Charlie Palmieri, Vince Gill,  Willie Green,  Slayer, Bette Midler, Woody Guthrie (the list is endless) and any person who has recorded or published a piece of music in the last hundred years.

Conclusion

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act needs to be reexamined and rewritten every five years to reflect and take into consideration the changes in technology, creativity and platforms. It is an important part of combating the many inequities in our society.

News from SF – The Quarterly Report – October/November 2023

The Quarterly Report: A brief synopsis of the news in San Francisco over the last three months.

Weather

While the world has experienced floods, droughts, earthquakes and hurricanes, the San Francisco weather pattern has been quite normal lately. We had a typical Indian Summer pattern for a while then a bit of rain. The skies are clear and we are now experiencing beautiful sunsets. In the coming week there should be off-shore winds out of the east. If you you come to San Francisco, bring a light jacket and warm hat. It does get chilly from time to time.

Politics

Senator Diane Feinstein died on September 29, 2023. Her replacement chosen by Governor Newsom is Laphonza Butler. So it goes.

Self-Driving Cars

The self-driving cars got the axe for the the time being. Too many variables. The fire trucks are concerned that they often get in the way. A tragic event happened on Market Street when a jaywalker got hit by a car then got pinned under a self-driving car. No bueno!

Self Driving Car

So the virtue of the young damsel and the driverless car must wait for another day.

“The fashion in those days, among the ladies, was to to travel around without lackeys or coachmen and to drive oneself; husbands preferred wives to be at all times alone, so as to be more certain of their virtue; which goes directly counter to the view of the moralists, who say there is no virtue in solitude.”
-From The One-Eyed Porter – Voltaire

Road Repairs, Parking Tickets, Do Not Parks Signs and Other Treacherous Endeavors

The roads are still terrible in the poor neighborhoods. The pavement on Mission Street looks like a war zone. If you are on a bicycle be careful out there.

Bike Lanes, The Great Highway and the Sunny Side of the Street

The Great Highway opened to vehicular traffic on Mondays at 6 a.m. through Fridays at 12 p.m. and opened to pedestrians and bicycles only from Fridays at 12 p.m. until Mondays at 6 a.m. On holidays, the Great Highway is closed to vehicular traffic.

It is a lot of fun to get out to the Great Highway when it is closed to cars. On the weekends it gets busy with people walking, running a riding their bikes

 

Sporting News

The San Francisco Giants fizzled away. The 49ers are getting a bit beat up and having trouble winning games when they do not have all of their stars on the field. A young quarterback who is getting a reality check was long overdue.

The surfing has been pretty good overall, with some large, long-period swells now showing up every few weeks. 10 feet at 20 seconds was recorded recently and people were surfing Mavericks.

Parklets, Microclimates and Where the Sun Does Shine

Not much to report. The parklet situation has stabilized. Sometimes bands play outside but more often the music is inside. Remember to tip the band

 

That is The Quarterly Report –October 2023.

updated: 10/31/2023 with more Great Highway photos.

Photo Gallery of SF

The Quarterly Report – October 2023

News from SF – The Quarterly Report

The Quarterly Report: A brief synopsis of the news in San Francisco over the last three months.

Weather

Often chilly and foggy with a marine layer along the coast. Air quality generally pretty good. Bring a light jacket. If you are by the ocean bring more layers.

Don Chuys
View of the “marine layer.” Coming to a neighborhood near you soon!

Politics

In a 3-to-1 vote, the commission decided to let self-driving cars expand their programs and allow them to basically operate like taxis. So now these cars can pick up passengers and charge a fare at all hours of the day. Up until now, the companies had pretty limited passenger pickup programs.
– NPR from Driverless cars can now operate like taxis in San Francisco, raising safety concerns

That the driverless cars are now taxis was inevitable as that was one of the main goals all along. New technology that ultimately was and has been driven as a money making scheme. For anyone living is San Francisco the last few years, the new ruling will probably not change things much on the roads as we have been inundated with self-driving cars for years. In the last year, we have observed them wandering up and down neighborhood streets in the middle of the night, like the ghost of some long-lost insomniac uncle, organizing his toolset after hours.

In the last year, we have observed them wandering up and down neighborhood streets in the middle of the night, like the ghost of some long-lost insomniac uncle, organizing his toolset after hours.

Many of the self-driving cars have elaborate cameras and look very sci-fi. Some have the brand of Jaguar however the two companies that run these vehicles are Cruise, which is owned by GM, and Waymo, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet. They are everywhere, mapping every nook and cranny, sometimes clogging up the streets, other times just being spooky.

“JEANINE NICHOLSON: Again, I will reiterate, it is not our job to babysit their vehicles.”
– NPR from Driverless cars can now operate like taxis in San Francisco, raising safety concerns

The Mission Local has good reporting on this topic and one can always just enjoy a famous movie quote.


Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors please, HAL. Open the pod bay doors please, HAL. Hello, HAL. Do you read me? Hello, HAL. Do you read me? Do you read me HAL? Do you read me HAL? Hello, HAL, do you read me? Hello, HAL, do your read me? Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Dave Bowman: What’s the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.

From 2001: A Space Odyssey

Road Repairs, Parking Tickets, Do Not Parks Signs and Other Treacherous Endeavors

“If you park here they will come.” Very creative, playful and surely effective as all-caps usually gets the point across.

Many of the main roads in San Francisco are a disaster and are in need repair. A partial list of roads that need love.

Mission Street road in need of repair.
  • Mission Street by Holly Park. (we may lose small dogs in some of the potholes)
  • Mission Street south of Silver Ave.
  • Bosworth under the San Jose Ave and  the 280 Freeway.
Bosworth under the San Jose Ave and  the 280 Freeway
Bosworth under the San Jose Ave and  the 280 freeway is treacherous for bicyclists. Use are your own risk. Bring an extra chin strap.

Even though San Francisco may score “adequate” in roads passements, these ranking are meaningless when for a decade you navigate roads that are terrible. It does seem that there is often less focus on roads that get a lot of traffic and are critical intersections. Feel free to contact the editorial board of the SF Journal if you need more examples of locations where roads are in need of repair. Remember to wear a helmet on these routes and perhaps bring an extra chin strap.

Bike Lanes on Valencia Street are in Full Effect

The new bike lanes on Valencia Street are now fully functioning. Bikes now ride in the middle. Cars no longer can take lefts turns at a lot of the intersections.

New bike lanes on Valencia Street

Let’s see how this works out and always remember, whether on two or four wheels, be kind. When driving, it is probably best to simply avoid Valencia Street. One day the city may realize, parts should be 100% for pedestrians and bikes.

Sporting News

For anything relating to football and the NFL, it is best to go to the SF Gate or SF Chronicle as that seems to be the only sport on their minds. It is August and we are suppose to get excited about American football?

In San Francisco there has been a lot of excitement about the Women’s FIFA World Cup. Colombia has a team of many talented players and their fans sang the national anthem with such passion, you wanted them to win just because of the fans.  The United States played well but lost to Sweden in a knockout round. France is scoring a lot of goals. Sweden may be the team to beat.

COVID-19 Pandemic Update

Very few people wear masks. Sometimes people riding public transportation will be wearing a mask.

Parklets, Microclimates and Where the Sun Does Shine

Parklets holding firm. The Page on Page Street has live music in the afternoons, often outside.

The sun does shine and clothes can dry on the line in San Francisco, but you must keep your eyes on the weather, direction of the winds and have your fog meter on at all times.

That is The Quarterly Report –August 2023.

Photo Gallery of SF

The Quarterly Report – August 2023

The Quarterly Report – March 2023

The Quarterly Report: A brief synopsis of the news in San Francisco over the last three months.

Weather

There has been a lot of rain this year with “atmospheric rivers” coming in off the Pacific one after another like waves.  We once called these just “storms.” Now they are “atmospheric rivers” – which I kind of like. “Hey mommy what is that thing in the sky?  Don’t worry Junior. That’s just an “atmospheric river.” In between these deluges for a few days we get brilliant blue skies and the entire city of San Francisco seems to jump into their cars to do errands and shop for food until the next “atmospheric river” hits. What is different this year is that there has been a lot of thunder and lightning. For the first twenty years that I lived in San Francisco I heard thunder one time. This winter thunder and lightning has been  a regular thing.

In late February it got so cold the Bay Area received snow at the higher elevations. For over a week Mount Diablo was a snow-capped peak and briefly the Bay Area looked a little like Seattle.

Politics

Nothing to report on the San Francisco politics front. The usual urban problems persist but instead of the libertarian right blaming Chesa Boudin they are going after the Board of Supervisors for all the city’s problems.

He says it’s all those loons on the Board of Supervisors; it certainly has nothing to do with San Francisco’s 30-year string of establishment-friendly, pro-business, moderate mayors.
– Joe Eskenazi, Michael Moritz’s strange and terrible diagnosis of San Francisco (Mission Local)

Joe Eskenazi takes issue with Mr. Moritz

One of local online papers, the Mission Local had a piece by Joe Eskenazi titled   Michael Moritz’s strange and terrible diagnosis of San Francisco by (February 28, 2023). It takes apart a guest op-ed in the New York Times by Michael Moritz,  Even Democrats Like Me Are Fed Up With San Francisco

Joe Eskenazi’s article makes many good points, but it is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel starting with the title. It should really be “Even Billionaire Democrats Like Me Are Fed Up With San Francisco.” Michael Moritz is a billionaire venture capitalist and developer and states a party affiliation as Democrat only to score political points. He is surely a bit like Rick Caruso who switched from being a Republican to a Democrat only before he decided to run for mayor of Los Angeles. Money does speak volumes, even  evidently getting space in the New York Times.

At that time, warehouses and railroad yards occupied the area now known as Mission Bay — today the area houses one of the world’s leading medical centers, mixed-use housing, the home of the Golden State Warriors and Visa’s new world headquarters.
– Michael Moritz, Even Democrats Like Me Are Fed Up With San Francisco (NYT)

If you are a San Francisco native, what they did to Mission Bay is for some a disaster and others perhaps a mixed blessing. The area looks more like Los Angeles or San Jose. An area that had some small businesses and manufacturing is now a car-centric industrial park.  Most of the businesses that occupy the ground-level shops are of the corporate variety. Furthermore, Mission Bay is one of those places where the majority of the workers drive to work and park in behemoth parking garages. The Mariposa 280 exit is a disaster and an accident waiting to happen as the morning car commute is heavy. Mission Bay is  a car centric area. No thank you Moritz. And, no one pointed out the whole thing is on landfill. Not too long ago it was a bay and wetlands and what they built on was under ten feet of water. When things start to shake, things could tumble.

National Politics Quote to Chew On

She was the one who branded Ronald Reagan the “Teflon president,” against whom bad news, like the Iran-contra scandal, did not stick. Of Vice President Dan Quayle, she said, “He thinks that Roe versus Wade are two ways to cross the Potomac.”
Patricia Schroeder – New York Times Obit

I have always been a big fan of Pat Schroeder. She was an amazing woman with a sharp wit who wrote and passed legislation that people probably take for granted. She died on March 14, 2023. There are no feminists alive today  who have humorous and biting zingers like Pat churned out.

She had to fight blatant discrimination from the start, facing questions about how, as the mother of two young children, she could function as both a mother and a lawmaker. “I have a brain and a uterus and I use both,” she responded.
Patricia Schroeder – New York Times Obit

Sporting News

As the Golden State Warriors play five-hundred basketball, the playoffs are probably down the road and then all bets are off. I do not follow basketball until crunch-time. With all the rain and snow the ski season is going to go until the end of April and beyond. There will be snow in the mountains until late June. For much of the season the issue has been too much snow with roads often closed.

COVID-19 Pandemic Update

In public places like busses and libraries masks seem to be common but people are out and about and traffic is definitely back to pre-pandemic times.

Parklets, Haircuts and Where the Sun Does Shine

Some parklets seem to be staying, usually on roads like Valencia Street that are north/south. Music events are everywhere. There are many really good bands in San Francisco. Remember to tip the band!

That is The Quarterly Report –March 2023.

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The Quarterly Report – March 2023