Towse: views from the hill

February 11, 2011

Carnival Splendor now docked at P35

Filed under: news,photographs,ships — Tags: , , — Towse @ 4:11 pm

The Carnival Splendor, she of the ill-fated Mexican cruise last fall, has been in dry-dock at P70 since 31Jan for needed engine repairs.

Three weeks and $8-$9m later, the repairs appear to be complete as the ship moved from P70 to P35 today for final work before it heads off on its next cruise.

Congrats to the folks at BAE Systems for finishing the huge project.

Carnival Splendor out of drydock at P70

October 29, 2009

Bay Bridge still closed …

Filed under: life,news,photographs — Tags: , — Towse @ 4:08 pm

The ferries head in and head out. The bridge is empty of traffic (except for the 108 on the upper deck) while repairs continue on the eastern span.


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After sunrise. A single truck on the bridge. Traffic is only allowed between San Francisco and Treasure Island/Yerba Buena: the 108, a few cars, repair vehicles, an occasional truck. That’s it until the repairs on the broken crossbeam and tie rods are finished, examined, inspected, okay’d, and the bridge re-opens.

Traffic elsewhere is a scramble. BART and the ferries are packed.


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August 19, 2009

Barney Frank Confronts Woman At Town Hall

Filed under: life,news,politics,video — Towse @ 5:04 am

“Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table.”

Barney Frank Confronts Woman At Town Hall Comparing Obama To Hitler

July 21, 2009

Rachel Maddow: "we regret the errors"

Filed under: history,news,people — Towse @ 4:34 pm

If you don’t watch Rachel Maddow, at least occasionally, you should. I watch her whenever I’m in a hotel that carries MSNBC and I watch her over the Web. (Our dirt-cheap cable subscription does not include MSNBC.)

Last week Maddow and Pat Buchanan got into a brouhaha over Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court and affirmative action, which Maddow supports but Buchanan does not.

Here is a snippet where Maddow corrects some of the “facts” presented by Buchanan during the debate.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

The original debate is here:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

July 2, 2009

Fishers give up on plan for Presidio art museum

Filed under: art,museums,news,San Francisco — Towse @ 11:07 pm

Fishers give up on plan for Presidio art museum

… so I wrote another letter to the editor at the Chronicle (previous letter was 09/2007):

The Presidio was never the right place for the Fishers’ Contemporary Art Museum for reasons both practical and historical, reasons soundly argued by neighbors, historians, park enthusiasts, and environmentalists.

There are wonderful alternatives to the Presidio site in our city. Consider for a moment the effect of having the Contemporary Art Museum located near Pier 70/Potrero Point, an area poised for redevelopment! Donald Fisher could do immense good by building his museum there, at the edge of the Bay. Plenty of public transit. Space for parking without cutting down a single tree! Near the ballpark and the new UCSF Medical Center development at Mission Bay. Near all the new condos south of Market. Within shouting distance of Bernal Heights and Potrero Hill. A short transit ride from the southern neighborhoods.

The Contemporary Art Museum could knit the city together, bringing folks from the northern neighborhoods and the western neighborhoods over to our “other” shore.

Look what the ballpark and UCSF@Mission Bay have done for the surrounding areas!. The Fishers have the opportunity to do wonders for the central waterfront and the city if they build their museum there. Say you will, Mr. Fisher!

Update: Letter in today’s Chron.

McCain And Palin Personally Approved Internal Email Hunt For Leakers, Campaign Manager Says

Filed under: news — Tags: , , — Towse @ 6:13 pm

McCain And Palin Personally Approved Internal Email Hunt For Leakers, Campaign Manager Says

I really don’t get it. All this uproar over whether Schmidt (with or without Palin and McCain’s approval) searched through staff e-mails to find out who was leaking information to the press about Palin’s diva behavior during the lead-up to last November’s election..

If you use a company server to send your e-mails, your e-mails are not private. The company owns the servers and can noddle through your e-mails to their heart’s content. And that’s not counting what anyone in the IT department with admin passwords can do.

A recent survey spilled the beans about what folks in the IT Department do out of boredom, curiosity, or maybe something less benign.

It should not surprise you that IT admins read your e-mails. Yes, they check logs to see what sort of Web surfing employees do. Turns out, yes, they check HR’s folders to see what everyone’s making and sometimes they leave taking data with them as they head out the door. There is no privacy on company computers.

Get over it, as Scott McNealy famously said ten years ago.

June 8, 2009

When the Thrill of Blogging Is Gone …

Filed under: blog,news,web2.0 — Towse @ 9:49 pm

When the Thrill of Blogging Is Gone … – by Douglas Quenqua

Interesting article. You must register w/ to read.


Like Mrs. Nichols, many people start blogs with lofty aspirations — to build an audience and leave their day job, to land a book deal, or simply to share their genius with the world. Getting started is easy, since all it takes to maintain a blog is a little time and inspiration. So why do blogs have a higher failure rate than restaurants?

According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.

Judging from conversations with retired bloggers, many of the orphans were cast aside by people who had assumed that once they started blogging, the world would beat a path to their digital door.

May 28, 2009

The government plans to demolish and rebuild 85 percent of Kashgar’s Old City..

Filed under: news,politics,travel — Tags: , — Towse @ 7:58 pm

SJ Rozan posted a link to a NYTimes news story on Facebook.

To Protect an Ancient City, China Moves to Raze It –

Saying it fears earthquake damage, the government plans to demolish and rebuild 85 percent of Kashgar’s Old City.

Discussion continues on SJ Rozan’s Facebook as to whether this urban renewal in Kashgar has anything to do with earthquakes or perhaps something to do with the Chinese central government’s take on the local Uighur Muslim population.

No, it couldn’t be anything like that. Why look at this signage at Kashgar’s Idkha Mosque, the largest mosque in China:


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All of it shows fully that Chinese government always pays special attentions to the another and historical cultures of the ethnic groups, and that all ethnic groups warmly welcome Part’s (sic) religious policy. It also shows that different ethnic groups have set up a close relationship of equality, unity and helps to each other, and freedom of beliefs is protected. All ethnic groups live friendly together here. They cooperate to build a beautiful homeland, support heartily the unity of different ethnic groups and the unity of our country, and oppose the ethnic separatism and illegal religious activities.

Cheyney (Laughing Planet) weighs in … Well worth the read.

A few of my photos of Kashgar Old City (October 2006 trip through Xinjiang province and over the Karakoram highway into the Hunza Valley in Pakistan)


This is the stairway up to the second floor living quarters in this building.


A wood carver’s stash.


Rug shop.


Hardware store.



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Did the Chinese government ask if these folks wanted their homes razed? “For their own good” Why does that remind me of Tibet?

May 21, 2009

Autograph fraudster poses as Capote, Vonnegut, Crichton

Filed under: news — Towse @ 7:11 pm

Autograph fraudster poses as Capote, Vonnegut, Crichton | Philadelphia Daily News | 05/19/2009

Man who forged autographs in books (for resale) pleads guilty.

May 4, 2009

Anna Quindlen Steps Aside

Filed under: news,writers,writing — Towse @ 12:32 am

AnnaQ is a month and four days older than I am, another water dragon. The 18 May 2009 issue of Newsweek Magazine contains her resignation from her gig writing LAST WORD, which she’s had for the last nine years.

THE LAST WORD – Anna Quindlen (18 May 2009 issue of Newsweek)

This page, this place, is an invaluable opportunity to shed some light. But if I had any lingering doubts about giving it up after almost nine years, they were quelled by those binders on my desk, full of exemplary work by reporters young enough to be my children. Flipping through their pages, reading such essential and beautifully rendered accounts of life in America and around the world, I felt certain of the future of the news business in some form or another. But between the lines I read another message, delivered without rancor or contempt, the same one I once heard from my own son: It’s our turn. Step aside. And now I will.

Boy, am I feeling like a dinosaur.

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