Monthly Archives: October 2003

U.S. Gov’t Defense Budget vs. Fire Fighting

Jim Washburn has an eye opening, if a bit inflammatory, opinion editorial in this week’s OC Weekly:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it is flat-out insane for a nation to spend billions on a missile defense shield while leaving itself defenseless against the damage that any nitwit, domestic or foreign, can do to us with a single match. A great many experts will tell you a missile defense shield simply won’t work and that, moreover, none of the terrorists we regard as a threat have a missile that could pester us. Meanwhile, the threat of arson is so palpable that I could instead be writing this article in big letters in the layer of ash blanketing my neighborhood.

Why even mention the missile defense shield at this charred moment? Because we have only so much money and resources. We have only so many scientific minds. We have only so much civic will. And we are frittering it all away on a bunch of fearmongers’ hardware instead of on programs that might ever conceivably do us some good, particularly in weeks such as this.

Do you know how many nuclear warheads the U.S. has? As of February, we had 10,729 operational nukes, and Bush wants to build a pricey new generation of treaty-busting ones.

Do you know how many firefighting tanker planes we have? Thirty.

For a nation that has spent the last two years venerating Firefighters, why don’t we allocate them the resources and staff to do their jobs?
San Diego, with a high proportion of tax-cut fervored Republicans, got caught with their pants down. Right or Left or Center, we Americans need to rethink our approach to essential services and infrastructure and tax accordingly.
I don’t know about you, but I think I would like a well-staffed and equipped fire department, clean water & air, good roads, and effecient sewage treatement over more warheads.

Just Call Me MC BlaPho – Happy Halloween!

After dinner last night and dropping off CDs to Lucky, I went over to Alex’s Bar to buy pre-sale tickets for Wanda and David for tonight’s Halloween Ball with Throwrag. This would be my 2nd attempt to buy tix for Wanda and David, and I was successful.
I was also successful at getting recruited by Mr. Alex to be the MC for tonight’s Halloween Costume Contest. I will be the MC and final Judge. (*snort*)
Just call me MC BlaPho. (*ha*)
Happy Halloween!

Smitten -> ____________ -> Whupped

Ok, all the nice lovely folks out there in blog-reader-land, I need your semantic help. Last night, Erika and I went to dinner at Alegria in Long Beach and we tried to determine what is the step between Smitten and Whupped.
Erika has decided that I have graduated into this step of my admiration for my Favorite Cute Man. Please help us find a name.


It was in the late 40s last night and I got to put on my thrid blanket! Wahoooo! Happy Sleeping weather here I come!

LA Fire Moon

LA Fire Moon

Both Lisa Johnson and my roommate, Lauren, informed me around around 6pm tonight that we had a beautiful orange sliver moon peeping through the ash cover.
Other parts of the Northern Hemisphere get October harvest moons, we get LA Fire moons.

U.S. Forest Service / NASA Satellite Photo of SoCal

Satellite photo of Souther California wildfires 10/26/03

The above satellite photo was taken on Sun. 10/26/03 by the US Forest Service / NASA Satellite. We have been downwind of the big plume for over 4 days now. Today is back to falling ashes and heat.
The above photo is from the LA Times coverage.
Nasa has a more comprehensive satellite image showing the smoke plumes going hundreds of miles out in to the Pacific and an article explaining the sat photos. The high res NASA photo shows fires also burning down the Baja California coast and more than half of the Salton Sea in algae bloom.

Wildfire Effect Update and the LA Times report this evening on the Southern California Wildfires.
LA Times map
Bascially there is a wall of fire burning up the mountains and hills from San Diego to Ventura. I am somewhat overstating the case, but as you can see from this map of the Old Fire the whole front range of the San Bernardino Mountains in on fire or burned to a crisp. The Old Fire has now merged with the Grand Prix Fire on the east end of the San Gabriel Mountains.
On one hand, we are very glad when we get a decent to good year of rain, like this past winter, but when combined with an extremely hot summer it makes for a horrible fire season. I have been praying that the high pressure system will lift off the Northwest and send our first storm of the season to douse us with moisture. The last good October rain we had was in 2000 over Halloween weekend.
My Grandma Grace and step-Grandpa Bill live in North Escondido on a ridge that over looks a very dry arroyo and in the distance one can see Valley Center and Mt. Palomar. My aunt Anne and cousin Brian drove down tonight to evacuate Grandma and Bill out as the Julian Fire, which is the largest of the fires burning right now, has now reached Escondido. Please pray that they do not lose their house, as they have had a very tough year with Bill’s broken vertabrae and Parkinson’s diagnosis.
Here in Orange, the Santa Ana winds and the accompanying rain of ash ceased around noon today leaving a strange, murky, dusky stillness in its wake. Just after 6pm, a lovely, cool offshore breeze started up and brought temperatures down into the late 60s. What a relief.

1:25 am and 71 degrees Farenheit

Lest I seem whiney, I must note after my other two posts about how bizarre the weather has been in the LA basin in the last 24 hours, I would like to state that it is currently warmer right now than it was at noon.
It feels like it is 80-something outside, but according to all the online weather sources it is 71 degrees farenheit. It is 1:25 am.