Duncanville council member facing charges after heated meeting

I had thought I had seen or heard of almost everything to happen in small time politics, but this is a new one by me.

Duncanville council member hospitalized, facing charges after heated meeting |

Duncanville City Councilman Paul Ford hospitalized during council meeting | pegasusnews.com | Dallas / Fort Worth

Having an outspoken and out of turn councilman arrested for disrupting a meeting? Wow. I’ve heard of cutting off microphones, and gaveling down a speaker, but having him arrested? Very impressive. I’m sure Councilman Paul Ford has a history of this, but I am still impressed. Hopefully this does not become a common occurrence, once every 100 years or so.

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Banks Starting to Walk Away on Foreclosures – NYTimes.com

In Homeowners’ Latest Woe, Banks Are Skipping Foreclosures – NYTimes.com

Wow. So what happens when the bank decides to cancel the foreclosure auction? The property goes into limbo. The title is still in the “owner’s” name. The city can go after the title holder for maintenance and vandalism problems, which can strike them completely unaware if they vacated the property before the cancelled foreclosure auction.

Maybe we should just bulldoze unwanted houses, if the vacancy rate in certain cities is too high? It’s not going to happen here in Los Angeles I suspect, but it would be one way of propping housing values up. Just eliminating 25% of available homes on the market would have some affect.

The so-called bank walkaways rarely mean relief for the property owners, caught unaware months after the fact, and often mean additional financial burdens and bureaucratic headaches. Technically, they still owe on the mortgage, but as a practicality, rarely would a mortgage holder receive any more payments on the loan. The way mortgages are bundled and resold, it can be enormously time-consuming just trying to determine what company holds the loan on a property thought to be in foreclosure.

In Ms. James’s case, the company that was most recently servicing her loan is now defunct. Its parent company filed for bankruptcy and dissolved. And the original bank that sold her the loan said it could not find a record of it.

So if the bank could not find a record of the loan, and everyone involved in collecting the loan is defunct or missing, does the property just revert back to the title holder who couldn’t pay the mortgage?  I never thought housing could be free, but that is an interesting way to get it.

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Agency says inexperience led to NFL boating deaths – Los Angeles Times

Agency says inexperience led to NFL boating deaths – Los Angeles Times

On February 28th, 2009, a 21 foot fishing boat overturned about 50 miles offshore from Florida. A very sad, tragic event, with only one survivor. Three other people were not found. If not for the fact that two of the four people missing were NFL Football players, it would not of been a national news item for several days.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission report cites carelessness and inexperience as the cause of the accident. Apparently, the boaters tied up the anchor line to the stern of the boat, and then used the engine to try to break the anchor free later in the day. Which swamped and then capsized the boat.

The thing that strikes me in that tragic turn of events, is that as hypothermia set in, the victims removed their life jackets. Hypothermia makes one do strange, stupid things, that make no sense at all. The item that chills me to the core is:

He said that around 5:30 a.m. the next day, Cooper became unresponsive. Schuyler and Bleakley tried to revive him without success.
Cooper’s flotation device was removed and Bleakley put it on. The Oakland Raiders linebacker then became separated from the boat.
About an hour later, Smith started to show “possible extreme symptoms of hypothermia.”  He removed his flotation device and also became separated from the boat.
The two college teammates were the only ones left. They hung on together for about 24 hours, until Bleakley grew weak and removed his life vest as well.
Schuyler said that his friend appeared to die as he was holding onto him. He let his friend go and Bleakley drifted away.

The fact that two men removed their floatation devices while lost in the middle of the ocean only emphasizes how dangerous hypothermia is, and how easy it is to make stupid silly mistakes.

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Desert Drive

Today, I went back up to Amargosa and back.

A few notes: Many Denny’s restaurants are closing. At least one in Victorville, and the one in Baker is now a Pancake House. The good news is that it has all you can eat pancakes for 3.99. They only open at 6am though, which is a bummer when I got there at 5:55am and 45 degrees outside.

From Desert Trip 3-23-09

The Amargosa River is flowing, at least for a few more weeks. Upstream of here it flows nearly year round, as the bedrock forces the river above ground. Here, near Dumont Dunes, the river will eventually be absorbed back into the soil. In the background is the bridge of CA highway 127.

From Desert Trip 3-23-09

All that water does help some small flowers to grow.

From Desert Trip 3-23-09
From Desert Trip 3-23-09

The purple was very nice.

From Desert Trip 3-23-09

And a little bit of yellow for variety.

From Desert Trip 3-23-09
From Desert Trip 3-23-09

Because everyone else has done this.

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Photos of a crashed plane

Last week, my father and my brother went up to Nevada to look at some wells and drilling equipment. On the way back, they saw a downed aircraft next to an airfield. I thought my aviation inclined readers might like to see some pictures, so here’s the link:  MobileMe Gallery – 3/2/09 Trip

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Rain over the San Gabriel Valley

Water falling from the sky.

Studervant Waterfall

Water falling from the ground.

Catalina and Long Beach

Water on the ground

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AT&Ts 3G MicroCell to patch iPhone dead zones

One big issue for people who have iPhones is the lack of coverage in certain areas. Like, oh a bedroom, basement, or the whole state of Vermont at one time. Supposedly, there’s a fix coming soon, where you own an AT&T box, plug it into your highspeed wired internet service, and then it becomes a mini cell tower for your area. Not too big, enough for a home or office space, but it would certainly improve the usability of a iPhone (with not so great reception from what I hear) for many people.

Now, if only it’d work at Catalina.



AppleInsider | AT&Ts 3G MicroCell to patch iPhone dead zones

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Lots of fire trucks!

I’m driving home, about 9:10pm. I come over the Firestone bridge at the 710, and I smell a little smoke. I see a Firetruck racing up behind me as I approach Atlantic, and I pull over. He’s slowing down, but still with lights and sirens. There’s two more in the middle of the street ahead, roughly where the Fu-Lyons building is. They’re not doing anything, just sitting there with lights a flashing. We can drive along side them there, and I see another fire engine down inside the Fu-Lyons alleyway (it’s long, about a 1000 feet or so). Ok, I think they got the fire out.

So what are 3 more fire trucks doing a 1/4 mile ahead? Traffic becomes really congested, and the smell in the air is a little stronger. I can’t make out what it is, but it’s not a car nor a building. The fire trucks are in front of the Sealy Mattress company, and in front of Daly Saw. I shoot down an alley to get around, park my truck in the driveway, and run down to the corner. I’m afraid a building on Mason street is on fire or something. Nope, a 2 car accident at the corner of my street and Firestone. DUI, and it looks like the truck that was rear ended moved 100 or more feet through the intersection till he stopped in Sealy’s front lawn. The guy in the truck is in the hospital, the driver who hit him was arrested.

This is all tragic, but where’s that smokey smell coming from? Turns out, at the same time as these previous two incidents, there was a brush fire up on the railroad tracks a mile away.

Hopefully the rest of the week is less eventful!

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I need to post more

Items on my agenda to post in the future (and may not get around to):

1) Spot: Satellite Personal Tracker (currently on loan out) you can track my location with the widget on this page!
2) iLife09- Apple’s new software, featuring face recognition in iPhoto!

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Bergmonch Folding Backpack Bike

Bergmonch Folding Backpack Bike

What a way to go: backpack up a mountain, then ride the bike you carried up hill back down! The website is in German, but it appears the bike is 9.5 kg, or 21 pounds. Which is only 5 pounds lighter than the rest of my backpack for a 3 day trip (including food and water!)


From:  Backcountry.com: The Goat » Blog Archive » Bergmonch Folding Backpack Bike

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