The Roots of Dune

Dune, 1990 edition, cover art by Frank Herbert

I give you fair warning: I am a Dune Dork.

I read all the books when I was a kid, i.e. in college. I had a poster for the upcoming 1984 Ridley Scott movie on my dorm room wall, facing my roommate’s life-sized photo of Spock. I owned the Avalon Hill game of Dune, which I regretfully gave away years ago because I thought it was too dorky to own and too complicated to play.

Dune is coming–a fourth movie version–yes! there are four. That’s how dorky I am, that I know about the Jodorowsky version. If you aren’t quite so enamored, I do understand. Some people prefer Xena or Ernest Hemingway. But Dune was a landmark in science fiction history, so I am excited. I will tell you more about Dune, the movie history, in a later blog. And I will review the movie after I see it on October 26th at the 2:40 pm show in seat B9, hoping not to be as disappointed as I was on December 17, 1984 when I saw it at the big dome at the Century Theater in Sacramento.

But wait, there’s more! Because we were out a wanderin’ and came upon the Dune Peninsula. (!!!?!?!!)

The Dune Peninsula

Imagine, if you are a Xena dork, coming upon the location where they filmed the Xena’s death scene–the first one. Or, if you like Ernest Hemingway (for some reason I can’t fathom, but to each his own), his favorite tobacconist in Paris. I own a second edition paperback of The Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones). During a tour of an ancestral home in Scotland, where our tour guide happened to be the Earl of Something, he casually mentioned that they had filmed a scene from Season 3 of the show out on his estate, near the folly. Squeee!

Continue reading “The Roots of Dune”

Whither Bacon?

Bacon Shortage? see Grist.com…from 2013

Coffee, then gas, paint, cars, toilet paper, artificial sweetener–my Diet Vanilla Coke!! my Starbuck’s Lite Bottled Frappaccinos, my Diet Mountain Dewwwwwwww— and, now, BACON?!?!?

Have we reached the end of civilization? Will this bacon shortage finally break our collective will?

I have news for all of us. While the pandemic has created and intensified shortages–supply and demand fluctuations–in some of our favorite products, a good chunk of the news around the Current Bacon Terror is manufactured. How do I know? Because we’ve been here before. Price spikes and shortages aren’t always related to the actual resource in demand.

Britain’s Gas Crisis, Explained! shouts The New York Times

However Will I Drive to the Grand Canyon?

Chances are, you’ve seen or heard about gas lines at some point in your lifetime. The first one I recall was way back in 1973, and, ever since then, gas shortages crop up with regularity in some part of the world, such as when hurricanes are forecast. This, despite gasoline consumption per person being down some 20-40% since the 1980s. We use less gas; gas costs more; temporary shortages cost spikes.

Continue reading “Whither Bacon?”

The Five Whys of Renaming a Middle School

We are about to go down a rabbit hole, or three or four, so I will give you the punch-line, the spoiler ending, up front. Juan Crespí Middle School, which sits on the northeastern edge of San Francisco Bay, was formally renamed Betty Reid Soskin Middle School Wednesday, on Soskin’s 100th birthday. And there was much rejoicing.

But Why? I asked. Not Why choose Soskin. That’s easy. She’s a badass social justice warrior, as I’ve said before in my pre-pandemic 2019 blog, Betty Reid Soskin: Social Justice Ninja Warrior.

Why was the school named for Crespí in the first place? Who was the dude? How did he get picked for the naming? Why did they decide to rename it now? I had questions. Of course, each question led to more questions. In my previous work life, we were trained to uncover the root cause of problems by asking Five Whys. When you do that on the Internet, suddenly, the morning disappears. There’s always more than meets the eye. But it’s all good.

So, if you want some answers and to learn a little about the history of the Spanish New World expeditions, missions, epidemiology, and the politics of nomenclature, then settle in for a few minutes. The Internet beckons. La madriguera de coneja–the rabbit hole–beckons.

Continue reading “The Five Whys of Renaming a Middle School”