He who controls the past controls the future [and] he who controls the present controls the past. -- George Orwell, 1984
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. – Edmund Burke
Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. - U.S. Constitution
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. - Martin Luther King Jr
Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again. – Ronald Reagan
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Mystery Classmate from the Third Grade
People come from far and wide to visit this website.
Recently, a fellow from Selma, CA, up near Fresno, saw somebody on our website and wanted to contact that person.
He sent me a few very cool photos taken over 60 years ago.
So I thought that I'd make a game out of this.
Look closely at the class photo below and see if you can name the mystery classmate. I won 't tell you if it is a boy or girl. Recall that we only had two genders in those ancient and uncomplicated days.
Here are two more photos of our mystery classmate. Can you name him? He was obviously one of those kids that grew up fast and then stopped growing early in high school.
High school teacher, principal, superintendent Don Murfin didn't stop getting things done
BY STEVEN MAYER email@example.com
He was the "original consensus-builder," a teacher-turned-principal-turned-district superintendent who combined a quiet, calm, almost shy demeanor with a steely-eyed determination to get things done — on local school campuses and in every corner of his community.
Don Murfin, whose respectful brand of local leadership brought great change to the Kern High School District, prompted the retirement of the Confederate flag at South High and helped develop the county's flagship library, died March 25 from complications of heart disease. He was 92.
"Maybe his defining characteristic was his ability to get community consensus on sometimes very contentious issues," said Joel Heinrichs, a former student at South High School who would become a lifelong Murfin family friend.
"He was often able to get a diverse group of people to agree on a plan that would work," Heinrichs said. "As a leader, he was really quite remarkable."
Murfin was born July 16, 1929, in Adam City, Colo., where he met the the love of his life and his future wife, Lois Duggan.
After graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and science, and the University of Denver with a master’s in secondary education, Murfin served three years in the U.S. Navy.
His career as an educator began when he and Lois moved to Shafter, where the budding teacher took a position at the local high school, teaching a variety of courses and coaching a number of sports.
But that apparently wasn't enough for this overachiever. He also worked as a counselor, as director of student activities, adviser to student government and more. In 1959, with one daughter at home and another on the way, the family moved to Bakersfield where, ultimately, Murfin was moved up the chain of command to assistant principal in charge of curriculum at South High School.
Later, after a stint at the district office, Murfin returned to South in 1968 as school principal. It was a time of great strife across the nation, and at South High, too. It was during this crucial period in history that Murfin's character and leadership skills were tested.
"Don brought a whole different level of humanity to that job," said longtime Californian columnist Herb Benham, who grew up across the street from the Murfins and attended South High during Don Murfin's principalship.
The great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated that year, as was presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, and racial tensions were high.
The Confederate battle flag, a symbol used by Alabama Gov. George Wallace, the KKK and other white supremacist groups, was still being used by the South High drill team and for other school functions.
And many believed it was time for the flag to go.
As a result of the controversy, Murfin family members received late-night phone calls and even death threats, said Jeff Elder, Murfin's son-in-law.
Through it all, Murfin maintained his "quiet, strong and humble" demeanor, Elder said.
"Don was not a big guy, but you felt you were dealing with someone who had some gravitas," Benham remembered. "It was the kind of gravitas that comes from a set of principles, that is centered in virtue."
Murfin enlisted help from student government in making the decision. And the flag was retired.
"He was the original consensus-builder," Benham said. "And he was persuasive."
In 1981, Murfin rose to the position of KHSD superintendent of the Kern High School District. He oversaw the funding and construction of four new high schools, and the realignment of district school boundaries.
In 1989, he was co-founder with Jim Burke of Project 2000, a unique and nationally recognized public-private effort to assist "average" students in transition during and after high school. Top scholastic achievers were accorded special attention, as were the lowest achievers.
Burke and Murfin wanted to do something for that middle group.
He was also president of the Kern County Library Foundation, and following his retirement at age 60, Murfin was instrumental in the funding and development of the Beale Memorial Library.
Although small in physical stature, Murfin seemed larger than life in his leadership roles as an educator and as a retired professional.
"His time as superintendent was brutal," remembered his daughter, Morene "Mori" Murfin Elder. "But he loved it."
And he never stopped.
JUDY ANN FISHER ELKINS LEON
June 1, 1941 - January 26, 2022
Reba and Hence Fisher brought Judy Ann into the world on June 1, 1941, in Bakersfield, CA joining the family, including brothers Robert and Aubrey.
Judy attended local schools - North High School and Bakersfield College. Then she was off to the University of California at Santa Barbara, and later, Fresno State College for post graduate work.
Orville Elkins married Judy in 1964, and they lovingly raised two children Amy and Andy.
Fortunately, after teaching six years at Carpentaria High School, she was hired by South High School and worked another 31 years. She experienced a fulfilling and rewarding career and was always grateful for the many opportunities to grow and to learn.
In 1989, she married Manuel Leon, her sweetheart and her rock. It was then that David and Kristeen Leon became a part of her family - blessings, each one.
Judy is survived by Manuel, Amy and granddaughter Liv, Andy and granddaughter Emma, David and Suzanne Leon and grandchildren Miles and Sofia, and Kristeen and Jet Churchman and grandchildren Ava, Landon, and Stone. Judy is also survived by sister-in-law Carroll Fisher and bridge buddies, Betty Hilton, Kathie Adams, and MC Knowles. And her dog Cal Berkeley the Min Pin.
The family gives special thanks to American Compassionate Hospice.
Published by Bakersfield Californian on Jan. 28, 2022
Romaine Conrad Cote
1933 - 2022
Affectionately known as Ro or Pa by family and friends, Romaine was born on March 3, 1933 in Visalia, California to Paul and Leda Cote, and was the youngest of thirteen children.
Romaine graduated from Visalia High School in 1951 and attended College of the Sequoias on a Building Trade Scholarship. Upon graduation he was drafted into the United States Army and served for two years near the end of the Korean War.
He left the service as a Corporal and continued his education at Fresno State College where he met his wife of 64 years, Rosalyn. They married in 1957 and moved to Bakersfield in 1958 when he accepted a job offer, teaching Industrial Arts at South High School, and remained for 35 years.
Ro was an extremely gifted wood craftsman and after retiring from South High School in 1993, he continued his favorite pastime out of his home workshop. He loved creating cabinets, furniture, and restoring antiques for others…his children, grandchildren, and many friends are blessed to have his beautiful pieces of love in their homes.
Romaine is survived by his loving wife Rosalyn, sons Scott (Janell) Cote and Todd (Karine) Cote, daughters Lisa (John) Skiles and Gina Zarella, ten grandchildren, Jenna (Brian) Dickey, Allison (Konrad) Dahl, Emily (Angelo) Ornelas, Patrick Cote, Alexander Cote, LJ Skiles, Jack Skiles, Sydney Skiles, Julia Zarella, Dominic Zarella, and three great-grandchildren, Peyton, Connor, and Adeline, brother-in-law, Dave (Lynette) Kennedy, and many nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank Ro’s caregiver, Lancia Griffin, for the wonderful care she provided over the last 18 months, Dr. Sam Ratnayake for his many years of compassionate care, as well as Hoffman Hospice, Arcadia Gardens, and Bristol Hospice.
A Rosary service will be celebrated on Thursday, February 17 at 10:30 AM with Mass at 11:00 AM at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. A burial service will follow at Bakersfield National Cemetery at 1:15 PM.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Building Fund or a charity of your choice.
DOUGHTY-CALHOUN-O’MEARA FUNERAL DIRECTORS
HAL EUGENE WILLIAMS
January 24, 1923 January 16, 2022
Hal Eugene Williams, child of God, husband of Joyce, father of Christine, Tom, Mike and Joe, grandfather of ten, great-grandfather of twenty-two, friend of Herman Lippert, teacher of high school students and elder and choir director of several Christian churches passed peacefully from this life on January 16, 2022. He would have celebrated his 99th birthday the following week as he was born on January 24, 1923 to Leo A and Irma DeVares Williams in Long Beach, CA. His entire life was a reflection of his devotion to Jesus as Lord.
Growing up in Long Beach, Hal loved body surfing in the ocean and sampling the delicious treats at Sees Candy Store on his way home from school. He graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School just as WWII was gearing up. Hal enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp at the age of 19 and served as air crew machine gunner, gunnery instructor and made sergeant in the European Theater based in Harrington, England.
Hal met the love of his life, Joyce Wheeler, while she was working in the Long Beach City College bookstore. They soon married by eloping to Las Vegas and then made their home in Santa Barbara as Hal got his BA at UCSB. He became a high school math teacher in Shafter and then Bakersfield (1950 - 1980s) while earning his Masters degree from USC. During his teaching career he served as President of the California Teachers Association Kern Division. Hal loved working with young people as evidenced by his service as Scoutmaster, Baseball Supervisor for Shafter Recreation, Lifeguard, Water Safety Instructor, Gymnastics Club Sponsor and Sunday School teacher.
And he sang! Hal sang in the choir at church and school, he sang in the house, he sang in the car, he sang in waiting rooms and in restaurants and just about anywhere. He sang with his children and grandchildren. He sang to his wife. Hal used his beautiful singing voice as he directed church choirs and performed solos. He passed his love of singing on to all of his children and grandchildren.
Hal and Joyce retired to Grover Beach for 25 years. While there they helped found Oak Park Christian Church which started by meeting in their home. In 2011 they returned to live in Bakersfield at the home of their son and daughter-in-law, Mike and Sheri Williams. Joyce preceded his passing in 2018.
Surviving Hal are his children: Christine (Jack) Sale, Tom (Dee) Williams, Mike (Sheri) Williams and Joe (Susan) Williams along with 10 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, January 27, 2022 at 11:00am at Christ Church of the Valley, 13701 Stockdale Hwy, Bakersfield, CA 93314. Private burial service will take place at Bakersfield National Cemetery.
Published by Bakersfield Californian on Jan. 22, 2022.
HAROLD ALMYRON EGGLESTON
August 30, 1932 October 19, 2021
Mr Eggleston recently passed away at the age of 89 in Bakersfield.
He was a well-liked teacher, administratror, coach and all-around respected citizen of our valley town.
I have a special affinity for Mr Eggleston because he was my homeroom teacher for four years, We developed a good understanding of one another over those high school years. Students respected him and he had an easy, caring way about him. He was never a harsh teacher and went out of his way to be kind and friendly to everybody.
One thing that struck me was how much Hal was universally liked by those who knew him, AFTER his teaching years were over. Everyone on the reunion committee expressed their fond approval of Mr Eggleston, former teacher at South High. He knew many of you through the church he attended.
Here is a photo taken at our 50th Reunion in October, 2018. The lineup includes:
Ron Steinman, Bill Ver Heul, Robert Gabbitas, Harold Eggleston, Larry Fanucchi and Don Ward.
Hopefully, you had a chance to speak with these fine gentlmen. It is a nice looking group!
At the 50th I made it a point to talk with Hal about why he was my favorite coach of all time. I had a lot of coaches at SHS and many more prior to high school. I don't even know if we had an official JV football team during our junior year due to budget cuts, but whatever it was, I was on it on game days and played essentially every down at quarterback. Myself, Jerry Mason, Mike Newby, and a few others would join the JV team when they were able to schedule a game. Eggleston was the one and only coach. We played 4 or 5 games that year and we had a great time, only losing one game to a suspiciously beefed up North team. Eggleston just told me to run the offense the way I wanted to. So I called every play and threw the ball all over the field -- and we won. Eggleston gave me something that was unique in my high school sports experience: the freedom to create, an opportunity to lead, and responsibility for the results. That's why I'll never forget him. I am so happy that I was able to tell him, in person, how much I appreciated his influence on my life. He was surprised and apparently, very happy to hear this.
The entire 50th Reunion experience was worth it to me just for this short conversation with Harold Eggleston. I had been thinking about what I would say to him for decades.
To see the obit please go HERE.
Russel Kominitsky 1934-2021
Mr Kominitsky taught at South in the Industrial Arts Department for many years.
Many of you who were able to take shop classes had good experiences with him.
He was born in a small coal town where his relatives had mostly been coal mine workers. He joined the Air Force in the early 1950s and eventually made his way to California. He went to Fresno State and caught on at SHS in the early 1960s, where he stayed until retirement.
I, like many others (including girls), did not have time in my schedule for shop classes. When you are taking a full load of math, science and foreign language classes, and also in band or choir, your day just did not have enough room in it for valuable industrial arts classes. So I never knew Mr Kominitsky, personally. I've always regretted that part of my high school career. Like a few others, I had to take "early morning P.E." (7:00AM) to make it all work out.
I recall that Mr Kominitsky was a kindly person who was a fan of slot cars. He would build and then race them down at the local slot car track located by Thrifty Drug Store, Newberrys, and Mayfair grocery store on H and Wilson. It was a "thing" for awhile in the late 1960s.
He lived a long and apparently fruitful life.
Please leave your comments in the What's New area.
Check out his obit HERE.
Debbie Del Papa (December 25, 1950 - May 13, 2021)
We have added an In Memory page for Debbie.
Many of you recall her from our freshman year at South High. I certainly do. She was the type of person who easily stood out in a crowd.
She went on to West High her sophomore year, as so many others did when that school opened up. To my knowledge, she was the only other person born on Christmas in our class. I was exactly one year older than Debbie. She had quite a career at West High, graduated from Cal Poly SLO, and taught elementary school in the area for over 30 years.
Please read about her life and leave your comments HERE.
Political Cartoons 5-19-2021
Often a cartoon will communicate an idea better than a full blown essay or news story.
Here are a few for registered classmates only.
We live in strange times.
Go HERE to view the cartoons.
If you can find some funny and clever cartoons from the other side of the spectrum, please send them my way.
Ms. Thompson was an educator through and through.
She served in many important roles at both South and Stockdale schools.
She was a proud REBEL who never shied away from showing others her spirit and support of our school.
Please read about her life HERE and leave your valued comments.
How Did You File Your Taxes This Year?
Yesterday was Tax Day. How did you get the job done this year?
Dealing with state and federal taxes is unavoidable for just about everybody.
I've been using TurboTax for the past several years.
In the past I used H&R Block software. When I had my own business I'd have a CPA do it.
Prior to that, I just used the paper forms that the IRS sends to you.
Tell us how you get this unpleasant task done.
You Can Take Your Mask Off Now
That's what the government is telling us, as of yesterday (May 13, 2021)
Does it seem to you that they waited a bit too long to make such an obvious announcement? Maybe WAY too long. Without giving any real proof, they tried to force us to wear masks, indoors and outdoors for the past year. Why did they do this?
I have not been a big advocate of masks from the beginning because nobody has ever shown clear and unequivical evidence that they do any good. It is more of a monkey-see-monkey-do kind of thing. For scientists like myself (yes, I am a data scientist and a computer scientist with an advanced degree) that hasn't been good enough. So I have been a mask skeptic from the start.
Why Biden has been wearing a mask outside forever, after being vaccinated, has been a mystery to me. Kamala and her husband kissing each other through multiple masks was a weird and unsettling image. You can't unsee that one. Is that the role model America was supposed to follow?
So let me preserve this moment with a few observations:
I have not worn a mask in six weeks, indoors or outdoors. I have never been challenged. I believe in setting a good example. This is the opposite of being a blind follower.
I judge the general attitude of the public by actual observation as opposed to reading about it in the mostly unreliable news. Direct observation is the foundation of the scientific process. A good place to watch behavior is your local Home Depot. The last time I was at that big box store the rate of mask compliance was down to about 25%, despite big signs at the entrance warning customers that masks were required. Construction people tend to be more independent thinkers than others. They also may trust the government less than others. Inside HD, nobody was being told to put a mask on. Even a few of the emplyees were lax with the mask. That was a couple weeks ago.
When I walk up and down historic Mill Street in Grass Valley the percentage of mask-wearers has steadily declined. I, of course, never wore one outside. I recall seeing a furious and threatening mask-wearer about 6 months ago loudly berate a non-mask-wearer for exposing others to "certain death". You have seen these types of crazy people, yes? Were you one of them? But yesterday, after the CDC announcement I took another stroll on Mill Street. When I came across a small group of women (all wearing masks) I told them -- in a friendly way -- that the CDC just announced that they could ditch the face coverings. They looked at me in stunned, woke group silence. It was as if I was taking something away from them. I continued on my way and about 40 feet later one of them yelled something not very kind to me. It was mostly unintelligible because she was still wearing her multiple mask muffler Maybe they were staunch supporters of our soon-to-be-gone governor who insists that California can't be released from his mostly ignored mask mandate until June 15. The "logic" that some people run their lives on somehow escapes my comprehension.
The idea that we can now have family gatherings without masks is completely laughable. My family and friends have not stopped our maskless get togethers since the very beginning. I bet many of you would say the same thing. The emperor wears no clothes. Nobody has caught the bug at any of our family affairs.
Many states have been completely open for weeks. Some never shut down. Some schools never shut down with no dire consequences. Super Bowl parties were not super spreading events, despite the ghastly warnings from the popular (getting less popular and believable) press the whole time.
So I knew that through the contantly accumulating evidence and wide spread civil disobedience that this maskerade had to end. Plus, Fox News and other outlets have been hammering the administration for their often silly and contradictory mask behavior and pronouncements. Fauci was the worst example, of course. But face it, he was put in a tough position. He was expected to defend leftist positions while dealing with new facts and real experiences that did not agree with the party line. So we need to give him a break. But I don't trust hm as a scientist. He is a political animal. However, he is also taking credit for Operation Warp Speed!
The final straw was that just a few days ago it was discovered that the CDC had completely deceived (or mislead) us about the chances of catching covid while being outside in the open. They told us that there was less than a 10% chance of this happening. But then we discovered that, while this was certainly true, the actual estimate of your chances of contracting covid outside were less that 0.1%. That's a difference of 100x. That makes the CDC look anything but reliable. In fact, I am certain that the CDC's credibility is at its lowest level in history -- right when we need their non-political opinion the most. They failed miserably, as have most government agencies and politicians during this man-made crisis.
So something had to give. Yesterday's announcement was the inevitable capitulation. Notice that they cleverly combined rescinding the mask mandate with the implied necessity of mass innoculation, even for those who are clearly not at risk (young people). Why are we to believe the CDC this time?
Finally, in my masked America recap, I need to tell one more real life story. I was visiting an old college friend last month in the Bay Area, the most well-known bastion of liberal groupthink. He lives in Alameda, very close to the waterfront. It was a beautiful weekend day and the sun was out, as were hundreds of people moving along the nicely laid out walkways and bikeways. There was a light breeze and it was just barely into possible T-shirt weather. We decided to take a walk. I, of course, did not wear a mask. We walked and talked and he finally noticed that he was not, to his surprise and embarassment, wearing a mask, either. EVERY SINGLE PERSON (100%) we saw during our stroll was masked up - walkers, bike riders, and maybe even a couple dogs He couldn't stand it. He had to immediately run back to his apartment and get his mask. I am immune to such silly peer pressure because I follow the science. But the lesson here is that masks were never about safety. It has always been about standing up for your team and letting the world know that you are fundamentally virtuous and totally compliant to your government's edicts, whether based on scientific fact or not. And you will make others pay for not bowing to this type of over arching social pressure.
So expect to see masks endure as an emblem of team membership and allegiance. What do you think?
Apparently, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, the CDC, Tony Fauci, and the rest now agree with my original premise. It is ok to not wear a mask outside. The chances of being infected outside, mask or no mask, are close to ZERO. In fact, in most situations there is no reason to wear a mask indoors.
There has been no documented transmission of the virus outdoors -- in the entire world!
So what about all the sporting events that were shut down for months? No kids' sports? No outdoor weddings? No indoor or outdoor funerals? Why?
Why didn't they tell us that many months ago? The same information was clearly in evidence then as it is now, shots or no shots.
This is why our faith in our government and the MSM is at an all-time low. It isn't anything we did. They caused this crisis of confidence by contantly lying to us for over a year.
By the way, have you ever heard of something called Operation Warp Speed? It was never mentioned by Biden in his speech yesterday. Interesting, since that unprecedented and successful governmental initiative is the reason we have millions of people now vaccinated. It takes a very small person to not give credit where credit is due. Americans who can think and observe see right through all of this. A simple acknowledgement would have helped bring us all back together on such a positive momentous occasion. He blew it.
Is it possible that the best course of action would have been to treat this bug like every other virus we have ever encountered? That is, protect the vulnerable and the weak, take reasonable precautions, isolate where absolutely necessary, and continue to live our lives. The economy would have done just fine. Could it be that the cure was worse than the disease?
However, if we had not overreacted as a nation, the election laws would not have been changed in the battleground states. Hmmm. Is that what this was all about? I am just asking. You decide.
In the words of The Who: Won't Get Fooled Again.
Here is what the CDC said, according to the UK's Sun. It is hard to get unbiased news in our country.
LET'S PARTY CDC mask announcement: What did the agency say?
13 May 2021, 20:58
THE Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has eased indoor mask-wearing guidelines for fully vaccinated people.
The May 13 announcement comes as the CDC and the Biden administration faced pressure to ease restrictions for those who have received protection from Covid-19.
What did the CDC say about masks?
The CDC announced that vaccinated Americans don't need to wear masks indoors or outdoors unless they are using public transportation or are at the doctor's office.
"If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic," the CDC said in a statement.
"The science is clear: if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic."
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky added: “We have all longed for this moment - when we can get back to some sense of normalcy."
The easing of restrictions comes with US coronavirus cases at their lowest rate since September, deaths are at their lowest point since last April and the test positivity rate is at the lowest point since the pandemic began.
Walensky announced the new guidance at a White House briefing. She said those who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors.
She emphasized that the more people continue to get vaccinated, the faster infections will drop - and the harder it will be for the virus to mutate enough to escape vaccines.
The CDC leader also urged everyone 12 and older who’s not yet vaccinated to sign up.
However, she said people who have weak immune systems should speak with their doctors before removing their masks.
The CDC had been criticized for its slow pace in rolling back the mask regulations, even as states began easing restrictions as vaccine distribution ramped up.
The agency cited three studies - one from Israel and two from the US - that show the Covid-19 vaccine protects against the spread.
What are the travel requirements?
No test or quaratine will be required for vaccinated people traveling within the US.
If traveling internationally, a test will only be needed if the destination country requires it.
A negative test will need to be shown before boarding to return to the US.
Bill Maher on US Versus China
I don’t usually agree with Bill Maher and his liberal ideas, but he is right-on about the danger we face with China and the silly things our current federal government is concerned about as we get mired in idiotic social issues and silly people.
Begin forwarded message:
"Real Time" Liberal host Bill Maher closed his show Friday night by sounding the alarm on China's growing dominance over the United States.”You're not going to win the battle for the 21st century if you are a silly people. And Americans are a silly people," Maher began the monologue, alluding to a "Lawrence of Arabia" quote."Do you know who doesn't care that there's a stereotype of a Chinese man in a Dr Seuss book? China," he said. "All 1.4 billion of them couldn't give a crouching tiger flying f--- because they're not a silly people. If anything, they are as serious as a prison fight."
Maher acknowledged that China does "bad stuff" from the concentration camps of Uyghur Muslims to its treatment of Hong Kong. But he stressed, "There's got to be something between an authoritarian government that tells everyone What to do and a representative government that can't do anything at all. In two generations, China has built 500 entire cities from scratch, moved the majority of their huge population from poverty to the middle class, and mostly cornered the market in 5G and pharmaceuticals. Oh, and they bought Africa," Maher said, pointing to China's global Silk Road infrastructure initiative.
He continued: "In China alone, they have 40,000 kilometres of high-speed rail. America has none. ... We've been having Infrastructure Week very week since 2009, but we never do anything. Half the country is having a never-ending woke competition deciding whether Mr. Potato head has a d--- and the other half believes we have to stop the lizard people because they're eating babies. We are definitely a silly people.”
"Nothing ever moves in this impacted colon of a country. We see a problem and we ignore it, lie about it, fight about it, endlessly litigate it, sunset clause it, kick it down the road, and then write a bill where a half-assed solution doesn't kick in for 10 years," Maher explained.
He went on: "China sees a problem and they fix it. They build a dam. We, in contrast, debate what to rename it."
The HBO star cited how it took "ten years" for a bus line in San Francisco to pass its environmental review and how it took "16 years" to build. The Big Dig tunnel in Boston, comparing that to a 57-story skyscraper that China built in "19 days" and Beijing's Sanyuan Bridge, which was demolished and rebuilt in "43 hours."
"We binge-watch, they binge-build. When COVID hit Wuhan, the city built a quarantine centre with 4,000 rooms in 10 days and they barely had to use it because they quickly arrested the rest of the disease," Maher said. "They were back to throwing raves in swimming pools while we were stuck at home surfing the dark web for black market Charmin. We're not losing to China, we’ve already lost. The returns just haven't all come in yet. They've made robots that check a kid's temperature and got their asses back in school. Most of our kids are still pretending to take Zoom classes while they watch TikTok and their brain cells fully commit ritual suicide."
Maher then blasted Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, accusing him of degrading school standards by eliminating merit and substituting a lottery system for admittance to schools for advanced learners."Do you think China's doing that, letting political correctness get in in the way of nurturing their best and brightest?" Maher continued. "Do you think Chinese colleges are offering courses in 'The Philosophy of Star Trek, 'The Sociology of Seinfeld,' and 'Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse?” Those are real and so is China. And they are eating our lunch. And believe me, in an hour, they'll be hungry again."
From JWR: I just added another question to the survey below. Tell us what you think about what Bill Maher has to say.
Readers React to Mascot Change at South High
(Letters from the Bakersfield Californian)
So South High School has gotten rid of their school mascot name, Rebels, which has been the name since the school was established in 1957. But since we live in these “woke” times, the name Rebels is offensive to some.
South High School just announced that their new mascot name will be the Spartans. Interesting. The Spartans, from ancient Greece, was a warrior society. While the Spartan warriors trained to be professional soldiers, they regulated the slave class, The Helots, (which translates to “captives”), to do all the unskilled labor and tasks that were needed. The Helots were oppressed and treated brutally. The Spartans were allowed to kill the Helots, who seemed to be too smart or too physically fit. And the Helot women were frequently raped by the Spartan warriors.
But since the Helots were of the same culture as the Spartans, and of the same race/color, I guess it’s OK for South High School to become the Spartans.
— Brad Roark, Bakersfield
CONSIDER THE SPARTANS’ SOCIAL ORDER
South High School changed its mascot from Rebel to Spartans.
Apparently it was thought that “Rebels” needed to be changed because of its association with the Confederacy and slavery. Fair enough.
I was surprised to see that the replacement would be Spartans. I guess the deciders were familiar with the Spartans’ reputation for bravery and fighting ability, but not familiar with the Spartans’ social order. Perhaps one of them should Google “helots.”
— Jay C. Smith, Bakersfield
CONGRATULATIONS ON NEW SOUTH HIGH MASCOT
Congratulations to South High School for the announcement of their new mascot the SPARTANS!!! It took courage and dedication on the part of the committee to come up with an uplifting emblem by which their school community will now be identify.
I, for one, will certainly get my own Spartan shirt to show my support, and will proudly wear it at my campus. Well done, Fuchsia Ward and Principal Connie Grumling!!
— Martha Elias, Bakersfield
NEITHER MASCOT CHOICE PASSES MUSTER
The Bakersfield Californian article, “South High, in move away from controversial mascot, will become the Spartans,” (May 8) was an exercise in delicious irony. In the summer of 2020, millions of Americans watched in consternation as the Orwellian cultural purging of words, names, statues and artwork unfolded throughout the USA.
The students, parents and faculty of South High, in the most recent example of historical and linguistic cleansing, have chosen to change the school mascot name from “Rebel” to “Spartans.” One student stated that the old mascot name represented “injustice and discrimination.” However, the newly adopted mascot name, “Spartans,” also invokes the same negative connotations.
The militant Spartans were slave owners, who participated in the slave trade, in parts of the Mediterranean and northern Africa. The Spartans did not hesitate to murder their helot slaves, en masse, to ensure sociopolitical supremacy. Historically, the Spartans were neither paragons of virtue nor worthy of emulation. Which is worse, “Rebel” or “Spartan”? Which is better? When viewed through the exacting lens of modern-day norms of acceptability, neither choice passes muster.
As the article hints, other words and names will come under ideological attack, and the question arises, where does it stop? Author George Orwell was right: “When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.”
— Daisy B. Peñaloza, Bakersfield
Rebels no more: South High adopts a new mascot — the Spartans
(Giving full credit to KGET - go to their website and watch the video)
by: Robert Price
Posted: May 7, 2021 / 07:34 PM PDT / Updated: May 7, 2021 / 07:52 PM PDT
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — School mascots are intended to evoke pride and nostalgia, and that has certainly been the case at South High School.
South’s sports teams, since midway through the Eisenhower administration, have been the Rebels, and for several decades that mascot name came unabashedly with the full regalia of Confederate symbolism — from the Stars and Bars to a cute. mustachioed cartoon CSA soldier.
There’s nothing cute about what the Confederacy evokes today, however — 300 years of enslavement, Jim Crow and lingering racism.
South High finally, formally stepped away from that Friday afternoon, when a mascot-naming committee announced the fruits of its months-long labor.
Good-bye, Rebels. Hello, Spartans.
That was the winner after nearly a year of informal polling, research and discussion, which eventually whittled down the choices first to three names — Huskies, Storm and Spartans — then the latter two, which the committee kept secret.
The Associated Students made the final call. Committee chairman Fuchsia Ward, a 1963 South High graduate, didn’t have her original suggestion — Diamonds — make it to the finals, but she was emotional about finally banning the Rebels.
Ward said she thinks the Confederate imagery was intentionally political, noting that the school opened just three years after the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education, which ruled school segregation unconstitutional.
South High Principal Connie Grumling made the decision last year that the Rebels mascot had to go and a new tradition started with something less polarizing.
South High joins at least a half-dozen schools around the country — from North Carolina to Texas to Michigan — that have dropped their Rebel mascots in recognition of this era of civil rights awakening.
But it’ll be impossible to rid South of every element of Confederate imagery. Street names around the school still have Civil War-reminiscent names like Monitor and Merrimac, rivals in a famous 1862 naval battle, and the elementary school that feeds into South is called Plantation.
But South High embarks on a new era today, the era of the Spartans, even if it is, at least on the surface, purely symbolic. The lesson on campus here today is that symbols matter.
[end of story]
South High's New Mascot
No comment at the moment. Looks like they are keeping the school colors.
What do you think?
I found this reference to Spartan slavery. The Spartans were known for their reliance on a huge slave population of conquered peoples.
In Spartan society, all slaves were owned by the state. The helots (as the Spartan slaves were known) outnumbered the citizen population by about twenty to one. Helots formed the basis of the Spartan economy and were essential to food production, however, they were treated like animals.
Did anybody take the time to look up the word Sparta in Wikipedia?
I personally have no intention of identifying with Spartans in any way. Almost as bad as Vikings.
Mr Harper recently passed away. Please visit Clete Harper's page HERE to view photos and more.
Please add your comments below.
Groundhog Day is a 1993 American fantasy comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Ramis and Danny Rubin. It stars Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott. Murray portrays Phil Connors, a cynical television weatherman covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, who becomes trapped in a time loop forcing him to relive February 2 repeatedly. The film also stars Stephen Tobolowsky, Brian Doyle-Murray, Marita Geraghty, Angela Paton, Rick Ducommun, Rick Overton, and Robin Duke.
Rubin conceived the outline of Groundhog Day in the early 1990s. He wrote it as a spec script to gain meetings with producers for other work. It eventually came to the attention of Ramis who worked with Rubin to make his original idea less dark in tone and more palatable to a general audience by enhancing the comedy. After being cast, Murray clashed with Ramis over the script; Murray wanted to focus on the philosophical elements, whereas Ramis had concentrated on the comic aspects. Principal photography took place from March to June 1992 almost entirely in Woodstock, Illinois. Filming was difficult, in part because of bitterly cold weather, but also because of the ongoing conflict between Ramis and Murray.
Groundhog Day was considered a box office success on its release, earning over $105 million to become one of the highest-grossing films of 1993. It also received generally positive reviews. Reviewers were consistent in praise for the film's successful melding of highly sentimental and deeply cynical moments, and for the philosophical message beneath the comedy. It received multiple award nominations and won a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay. For all its success, the film marked the end of Ramis and Murray's long collaborative partnership that had produced films like Caddyshack (1980) and Ghostbusters(1984). The pair did not speak after filming until shortly before Ramis's death in 2014. The film was a showcase for Murray; previously seen only as a comic actor, his performance led to more serious lead roles in critically acclaimed films.
In the years since its release, the film has grown in esteem and is often considered to be among the greatest films of the 1990s and one of the greatest comedy movies ever. It also had a significant impact on popular culture; the term Groundhog Day became part of the English lexicon as a means to describe a monotonous, unpleasant, and repetitive situation. The film has been analyzed as a religious allegory by Buddhists, Christians, and Jews, all of whom see a deeper philosophical meaning in the film's story. Groundhog Day is also credited with the mainstream acceptance of comedy films featuring fantasy genre elements. In 2006, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry. Groundhog Day has been adapted into a 2016 musical and a 2019 video game sequel, Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son.
Is Unity the Answer?
Here is an opinion piece that ran today in the Bakersfield Californian.
Please check it out and tell us if you agree with him or not. The author is local to Bakersfield.
All answers are anonymous.
Go HERE to read it.
Snowy Scenes From the Sierra Nevada
We have been in blizzard-like conditions for the past three days. It's been off and on.
We typically don't plow the driveway because it is not paved. My partial solution is to run the 4x4s up and down the driveway every day to keep it at least driveable (sometimes with the help of a winch).
Big improvement over the past few years has been paving our access road up to the gate. We had to pay for it, not the county. That's ok. You recall the gate from our RAZ photos, right (autonomous zone)? RAZ lives on. CHAZ is now a faint memory reminding us of complete political stupidity.
Let's start off with a nice fire shot.
Feeding that fireplace for 5 months out of the year is why we do 90% of the physical work around here. Most of the wood is oak, which is the best for firewood. How many times do we handle the wood?
1. Drive the ATVs up the hill or out into the forest to find "downed" wood, usually huge oak branches and trees. Limb the wood and buck it into 18 inch pieces with one of four chain saws.
2. Load the "rounds" into an ATV trailer. Take the trailer loads down to our "flat area".
3. Unload the trailer and throw the wood onto a big pile.
4. Using our 28-ton splitter, split all the oak.
5. Load the split oak into the ATV trailer again.
6. Stack the wood into 30 foot long stacks. Cover the stacks with tarps during rain and snow.
7. Eventually, move the wood to the shed right outside our front door.
8. Load up the ATV trailer one more time to get the wood on the front porch.
9. Use big trash cans (Brutes) fastened to a hand cart to move the wood into the house.
10. Take wood out of Brutes and stack in the house. You can just see a portion of the wood stack in the photo above.
11. Finally, throw the wood onto the fire in the fireplace. Of course, you will also need lots of kindling, which we also produce using a special hand splitter.
In the scenario described above, I do steps 1-4. Vicki does the rest, once the wood has been cut down to size.
When we can't do this work anymore we'll consider moving to a less demanding environment. Or just perish. I may prefer the latter.
This is the covered part of the deck. When it snows we put bird seed out there. When I opened the blinds this morning I startled about 20 large pigeons. Word gets around. Birds of a feather ....
The little juncos, which are sparrow-like birds, always fly in first, followed by the Stellars Jays this time of year. Hummers show up to drink the nectar, as well.
Here is another view of the back deck. I've already shoveled it a couple times, otherwise it would be at least three feet deep. If you wait too long to shovel it gets very heavy and makes the deck uneven. Found out the hard way.
Here's a view from the front porch, looking west. The 4Runner and the Jeep behind it have been cleaned off twice already. We have a special hand tool that helps us with that. Got it up in Truckee, where they really know what snow is all about. Recall the Donner Party. I'll run the 4x4s around the driveway a few times to flatten the snow. We typically do not plow up here.
Here's the view looking east from the front porch. If you look closely you will see three Polaris ATVs under much snow. I'll take one out today and run around in the snow. Some of the best fun possible. Believe it or not, I've also cleaned off these vehicles a couple times already. It does not appear to be the case, however. The odd bird-looking creature in the foreground was a gift from John Kolstad. He made it for us from old broken hand tool parts. He was a welder. We loved John Kolstad. He was the father of Chuck, who was once married to Vicki's sister.
I hope you have enjoyed our snowy adventure up here in the high Sierras.
A Rebel Yell from February, 1966
We were sophomores in 1966.
You will see a few of the luminaries from our school in this paper: Bruce Willison, Aaron Spain, Chris Van Pelt, Mr Robert Gabitas, Annette DeWitt (Rebelettes), Dick Edwards (photog), and an up and coming young wrestler named Eugene.
I was trying to figure out why this paper was saved... then I turned to the last page and discovered why.
I'll let you figure it out.
Stories on The Spoon River Anthology (a play), knitting, student government, and sports.
Also, the honor roll is announced. There were 52 sophs on the list. I counted 18 that attended the 50th reunion. Check it out.
While you are here, throw in your 2 cents about what you thought of the VP debates (below). You will find some interesting comments.
Go HERE to see the old, yellowed paper.
I Am Losing My Memory
Check it out HERE before it is completely gone!
The Reynolds Autonomous Zone (RAZ)
Vicki and I decided to create our own autonomous zone within America and the world.
We are part of America, but also not part of America. Apparently, all you have to do is declare an autonomous zone and you have created a special place just for you. Taking my cues from Seattle, it is as easy as that!
We have not worked out all the details yet, but the brainiacs in Seattle will surely post their sage guidance shortly. We'll be watching for their "best practices" videos. From what I've seen on TV, I am expecting nothing less than sensational advice from these gifted orators, scholars and leaders of men, women and all those other people.
However, there are a few key aspects about our autonomous zone that differ from the one established on Capitol Hill in Seattle.
Number one: we actually own the land that we are declaring to be an autonomous zone. There is no mortgage. It's completely paid off. So we are saying that land that we actually own is an autonomous zone.
That's a far cry from rioters taking over other peoples' property and calling it an autonomous zone. That sounds more like theft than liberation.
The good people of the independent state of CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) in Seattle don't own anything. They just took it. I'm sure they had the best intentions (for the PEOPLE) but when it comes down to it, they just took it from other US citizens. So much for private property rights in America. What a tired tradition THAT is.
The Reynolds Autonomous Zone (RAZ) has a police force of two people. That's the entire staff. We've watched many episodes of Blue Bloods so have figured out how we can cover multiple roles with our admittedly skinny staff. That would be me and Vicki. We, like all of our neighbors around us, are gun owners and know how to use them in a safe and convincing manner. So that takes care of our policing activities. As we say up here, we don't call 911. So, RAZ or not, not much has changed in that regard.
If we need backup then we have a nonverbal, long standing arrangement with the county sheriff. I have never seen a sheriff's car up here in ten years. Probably due to lack of crimes.
RAZ is an independent organization, as opposed to the CHAZ state in Seattle. We don't rely on sewer services. We don't rely on water services. Though we allow PG&E to power our independent state, we also are quite accustomed to PGE shutdowns for no apparent reason. In that case we just run our autonomous state on generator power. We have two generators and sufficient gas for the long term.
We allow UPS and Fedex to deposit their packages at the border of our independent state: the front gate.
We take care of our own garbage and other waste.
So, as you can see, though we at RAZ are totally independent, CHAZ up in Seattle is just a stupid sham run by nitwits.
Police force? We are established and prepared -- and have a backup plan. CHAZ has nothing but thugs. We also have neighboring friendly forces.
Governing Council? We have that covered. I'm second in command and know my role. CHAZ does not have a clue.
Waste management? We have it covered. CHAZ depends on the city of Seattle, apparently. So they are fake. We are not. By the way, the Seattle mayor is even weaker than the Minneapolis mayor. Is that even possible?
Electrical power? RAZ has that covered. If Seattle turns out the lights then CHAZ is deader than a door nail. Given the absurd weakness of the mayor, that probably won't happen. "Good citizens" will fund the jerks in CHAZ.
Food and provisions? We just drive into town and buy stuff. What is CHAZ' plan? Do they have a plan? Who is the budget director?
Medical expertise? Out neighboring autonomous zones are more than willing to pitch in with relevant and qualified personnel. What is CHAZ' medical plan?
Education? We in RAZ are experienced internet learners and have multiple college degrees. What is the CHAZ educational plan for their woke populace?
Welfare? We don't need any welfare payments of any sort. Can CHAZ say that? Does anybody in CHAZ have a real job? Have they ever worked?
Jails? Nope. No criminals out here.
RAZ is a wonderful place. If you like living in the Sierras, exploring the gold country, visiting beautiful and authentic historic towns, taking a breath of fresh mountain air, and seeing the millions of stars above you -- then you will want to visit RAZ. You will fall in love with the people, history and magic of this unique and captivating area.
The comparison of CHAZ and RAZ is stark. CHAZ will be gone in a month: RAZ will continue on, at least in our minds, forever.
Your Political Thoughts in 1968
I ran across this survey taken in the spring of 1968. The participants were from our senior "government" classes.
In the survey, you answered the following questions:
What is your political party preference?
Who is your pick for president of the United States?
What military action should the US pursue in Vietnam?
What do you think about bombing North Vietnam?
What should receive the highest priority in government spending?
You will need to log in to see the answers to these questions, since this is specific information for our class, 52 years ago.
It is almost certain that you will be surprised by your collective results from this long ago survey.
Go HERE to read all about it.
This Week in the 1968 Bakersfield Californian
We are including the papers from Feb 21 - Feb 29 (1968 a leap year).
So take your time and check out what happened.
The Vietnam war situation is not encouraging. Things are getting worse by the day.
Also, lots of local sports news, some good, some bad.
What was going on:
Read the papers and find out for yourself!
There is more going on in the front page besides Vietnam, but the war continues to dominate our attention -- for good reason.
Wrestling, high school basketball playoffs, pro sports, early baseball, and Renegade basketball.
And Mark Trail.
Go HERE to read the newspapers from February, 1968. The scans are pretty clear.
How To Build a Software App That Won’t Crash
The UI is the User Interface. The Back End is the database server, which is the central repository of all the data generated by the UI. The Communication lines are telephone lines, cell phone towers, cable networks, satellites or whatever.
The UI consists of buttons, text boxes, and whatever it takes to gather information from the user. If you are on a PC you will probably navigate around the app with a mouse. On an iPad or cell phone, you move around with the touch of your finger.
To build an effective UI you must work with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). SMEs are people who completely understand what the app is supposed to accomplish in the real world. It is the responsibility of the app developer to create an app that fits the needs of the SMEs. As the app is being developed, the developers engage with the SMEs to make sure they are meeting those basic requirements.
But before any code is written, and to ensure that the design of the software meets the user requirements, a document called a Functional Specification is written by the development team. This is a paper version of what the developers think the SMEs want. This spec includes written requirements as well as “pictures” of what the app will likely look like to the user. The basic idea is that it is cheaper and more productive to make changes on paper rather than in software code. When both sides have “signed off” on the functional spec, a detailed software design can be created so that the development team has an overall plan to follow. The detailed plan will also include a timeline for the project which will have important “milestones” along the way.
Though I have written many hundreds of thousands of lines of code, it was as a Program Manager (PM) that I did most of my significant work for big software companies. The PM “owns” the functional spec. He is responsible for communicating with both users and developers and making sure that all are in agreement. He needs to understand software development and also be able to communicate with average users in order to comprehend what they want and need to get their jobs done.
But there is much more. Good software doesn’t just randomly happen all by itself.
What about testing? If you are developing a small app (say, less than 10,000 lines of code), you may be able to get by with being very careful and testing your software by yourself — if you are a smart developer and the stakes are not too high for failure. But if the program (app) is more complex and involves a team of developers, then you must have a separate testing team.
The purpose of the testers is to try to “break the app”. Their mission is to find everything that can possibly go wrong with your app. They test every combination of buttons and other controls on your User Interface (UI). They break communication lines to see how the app behaves under stress. They slam the backend server with as much traffic as they can to find the limits of the system. They make sure that the database system is storing the data correctly and that accurate reports can be generated.
It is obvious that the Iowa caucus development team did not do this. Or is it?
This is all “known” science. We in the software industry know and understand how to build well-behaved, bullet proof, and useful software systems.
So how did the democrat dev team manage to screw up the Iowa caucuses? Especially when the whole world is watching? For that matter (we may as well ask), how did the democrats screw up the Obamacare website rollout a few years ago? How is that even possible, given all that we know about software development?
Here are a few possibilities:
What actually happened? Who knows? They will never tell us. It could be any combination of flaws listed above. Or it could have been 2 or 3 lines of code that screwed everything up. We will never know.
Then there is the leading conspiracy theory. What if the results were not going in the direction the developers (or “insiders”) wanted, so they made it impossible to provide actual results in a timely manner? This would rob the winner(s) of an opportunity to announce their “big victory” in Iowa and thus deny them the “big bounce” going into New Hampshire!
Does this sound far-fetched? Have you been watching the impeachment proceedings for the last several weeks?
Who Will Be the Democratic Nominee?
Whether you are a republican, democrat, or independent, we want to know who you think the democratic nominee will be after all the voting is done.
That's right. You get to tell us who you think will win the nomination at the convention this year.
Note that we are not asking who you will vote for. This is just your opinion on who you think the final winner will be.
Our group of 70 year olds here at www.SouthHigh68.com is just as valid as any other in the US. Place your bets! Let's see how accurate we are!
Results are anonymous, of course.
Birds of a Feather....
.... flock together.
Learn a bit more about this powerful cross-species characteristic.
Also, some great photos.
And a couple surprises at the end. We have proof!
Go HERE to see a different kind of tweet.
Hello South High Class of 1968!