Johnny Otis at the Powerhouse

The Powerhouse Brewery in Sebastopol California – so named because the building was originally a power-generation plant — had a succinct code of conduct posted on its wall: “Be nice or leave.” The Powerhouse had a ten-year run beginning in 1994. Along with good beer and food, it was also a fine live-music venue. (It was sold in 2004 and became the HopMonk Tavern. HopMonk has since expanded to four locations.)

Johnny Otis for a while broadcast a Sunday-brunch radio show from the Powerhouse. A live audience ate and imbibed while he acted as disc jockey, telling stories about the music he was playing. He retired from this final gig with the closing of the Powerhouse and perhaps his failing health.

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Fifty Years of Snoopy’s Home Ice

Santa Rosa, the largest city between San Francisco and Portland, has been home to celebrities Dan Hicks, Robert Ripley, Luther Burbank, Guy Fieri. (And me for 20+ years.) Sightings of Tom Waits are occasionally reported. Probably the most celebrated is Charles M. Schulz.

The Peanuts creator moved to Sebastopol in Sonoma County in 1958. A decade later he moved eight miles east to Santa Rosa where he worked and lived until his death in 2000.

Travelers today fly into the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport and visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum. (Highly recommended by me.) Across the street from the museum is the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, built and owned by Schulz. He regularly ate lunch at the Warm Puppy Cafe while watching the skaters. He met Jean, his second wife, when she brought her daughter there. (Jean Schulz’s home was one of more than 5,000 burned in the 2017 fires. Lost was Schulz and Peanuts memorabilia.)

The arena, popularly known as “Snoopy’s Home Ice”, is celebrating its fifty-year anniversary. The festivities include a day of skating at 1969 prices: 75¢ for children and $1.25 for adults. The Warm Puppy Cafe will serve its 1969 Snoopy Special (hot dog, chips and jello) for 75¢.

Making America Great

I keep reminding myself to not write about politics. With 24-hour cable news and social media inundating us with politics, there’s no point in adding more to the pile. But, jeeez…

News flash: the federal deficit increased by 77% in the past year. A favorite conservative trope has been that Barack Obama increased the federal debt more than all previous presidents combined. Well, okay, but in fact the deficit went down each year Obama was in office. (You do know the difference between debt and deficit, don’t you?)

You ain’t seen nothing yet.

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CNN’s Fake News Chart

If your memory is good, you may remember CNN as Jon Stewart’s favorite punching bag. Cable News Network, has had its ups and downs since Ted Turner founded it in 1980. Turner said the first all-news network and the first 24-hour news network was “my greatest career achievement.” (Marrying Jane Fonda was a personal achievement.)

Turner sold his greatest achievement, as part of Turner Broadcasting, to Time Warner in 1996 for $7.3 billion in stock. After Time Warner purchased AOL in 2001 Turner’s net worth sank along with T-W’s stock price.

CNN made its reputation with its coverage of the first Gulf War in 1991 and burnished it with reporting on 9/11. The network lost much of its reputation with incessant dubious reporting on plane crashes and disappeared young blonde women.

The renamed WarnerMedia is now owned by AT&T; CNN is now the favorite punching bag of the current occupant of the White House.

The Leader of the Free World

Although not in the same class as the above video, CNN recently performed a public service by publishing an interactive graphic charting the White House’s ever-changing answers to various issues:

  • Russian Collusion
  • Comey Firing
  • Mueller Legal Process
  • Russian Business Ties
  • Trump Associates

Click here to have more fun than spinning your fidget.

Today’s Climate Word: “Hormesis”

In its relentless effort to make the common good even gooder, the White House has proposed a Presidential Committee on Climate Security to determine what, if any, threat to national security is posed by climate change. The panel, to be established by executive order, will be headed by William Happer, a senior director of the National Security Council. He is an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University. Happer is on record that carbon emissions linked to climate change should be viewed as an asset rather than a pollutant.

Not to worry, though. Even if you think CO2 is a pollutant, the Environmental Protection Agency is adopting Hormesis, the belief that certain levels of pollution are actually good for us. Hormesis will replace LNT, the “linear no-threshold” mode that posits any level of pollution is bad.

Ed Calabrese is the person responsible for junkscience.com, the favorite web site of the willfully ignorant. He made his name in the 1980s, doing purported research financed by tobacco companies. Calabrese’s crackpot ideas were considered crackpot until the current occupant of the White House decided the EPA should be filled with energy-company lobbyists and climate-change deniers.

Read about it here so you can tell your grandchildren what happened.

The Legend of Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson

Baseball has always prided itself as the game without a clock. Unlike football or soccer or basketball, a team with a lead cannot “run out the clock” in the waning minutes of a game; baseball gives each team the same number of outs. An average Major League Baseball game takes over three hours. In the 1970s, it was two-and-a-half hours. In the forties, a game took two hours.

Seeking ways to speed up the game, Major League Baseball is inaugurating a twenty-second pitch clock for spring training this year. There is no word yet if the clock will carry into the regular season. Regular-season all-star pitcher Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has already announced he will ignore the clock and what’re ya gonna do about it. (Kershaw’s salary is about $185,000 per inning pitched.) MLB recently instituted a rule limiting the number of visits a coach or manager or catcher may make to the pitcher’s mound and how long the visit can last.

I have a suggestion: ban batting gloves.

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