Saturday, November 8, 2008

Recent elections.

I'm sure none of you need me to post about the big election seeing as news of it is everywhere. But Obama's win (even though it an amazing part of history) has overshadowed the local elections. For example, no one that I've talked to recently new that Wiles beat Slotz out for Sheriff by 40 points, nor did they know that Margo lost to Moody, nor did they even know which Moody they were voting for Bill or Joe.

Just so you're not confuzed, Bill or William Moody is the judge for the 34th district court and he has been there since 1988 (don't quote me on that year, someone please comment with the right year).Bill also ran for Texas Supreme Court several years ago but I think he lost. Joe Moody recently won the highly contested race for Texas State Representative to replace the seat occupied by Pat Hagerty. The republican candidiate Donald or Dee Margo recently nudged out Haggerty in the primaries (read earlier post) only to loose the race to Moody. Joe is a vitrual unknown in politics because he is relativly young lawyer for the DA. Still, he was able to oust Margo by about 7 points who is a much more seasoned politician and business man who also about twice Moody's age. He's also been in the news more after running against Eliot Shapleigh in a previous election (read earlier post) and after he's come under fire for some of his associations. I think this might be the end of Margo's Texas career after having lost a senate and now a house race. But you never know.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Random Rant

The weather is changing here in El Paso. Its getting colder and the trees are starting to show their skeletons. What does this mean? It means that its time for three annual events.
The first is Spooktackular held at the Civic Center. It is always a family fun filled fair with volunteers from everywhere, including UTEP. Take the kids and go in a costume.
The second is KLAQ's Haunted House only this time it is an evil Circus theme. I remember going when I was a lot younger (8 to be exact) and being scared of the strobe lights and the people who grab you in the dark. I don't suffer from coulrophobia and I'm no longer afraid of the dark so it really doesn't interest me as much but for little children they'll have a blast.
And finally, the most fun event is not in El Paso. Its actually closer to Gadsden in La Union, New Mexico, the Corn Maze/Maize. They've raised admission since the last time I went but they are only open for a brief window during this season. Probably the best time to go is Halloween weekend where everybody dresses up and the Maze is dark. Its great fun, especially without a map or compass. Just get lost and the maze patrol can guide you out.
Remember to be safe when you go to these venues and just have fun. If I don't post again before next week, Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Microsoft Student Partner

Hello Everyone. I am now the Microsoft Student Partner for The University of Texas at El Paso. One of the things that Microsoft has asked me to do is, blog. Great, I've been doing that for a while. However, they asked that I specifically use Windows Live Spaces to do my blogging. So I've created another blog osveliz.spaces.live.com and they gave me a new email: oscarveliz@student-partners.com. I'm not going to stop blogging on Blogger simply because I'm on Spaces. I plan to keep this blog going and posting on issues effecting El Paso and use my Spaces blog to post about everything Microsoft. The reason I made this post is so that I can point you to my Spaces blog where I'll be discussing upcoming events on campus that I will be hosting as well as products/services that Microsoft has available. I will try to update both of these at least weekly if not twice a week.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

In a pickle.

I'm no business major but I know enough about the economy to know that it is not working. Today the stock market dropped to its lowest point since 1985. The news is calling it a stock market crash.

Earlier, some members of congress wanted to give money to bail out these companies like lenders and banks. Common sense would tell you that this is not the way to fix the economy.

The republican candidate wants to tax the middle and lower class because he wants to please big business however he doesn't realize that taxing the little guy means that people who put the most money into the economy won't have enough to put in and the economy suffers.
The democaratic candidate wants to tax the rich. This makes more since because the rich have money and can pay the taxes. The top 1% of richest Americans control how much of america's wealth? A lot. The downside is that companies are greedy and they will raise their prices or cut workers to offset their taxes.

What should we do? In my unprofessional opinion, take that $700 billion bailout plan, and give that money to the consumer and not the company. Say every working American gets $5000 dollars. Married couples get $10,000 dollars. They can take that money and get out of credit card dept, pay off a morgage, pay for school, purchase a car. This would help not only our banks and morgage companies but also the automobile industry and students. This functions like that $300 booster that bush tired, only, this will actually make an impact. The downside though is inflation. Lots of inflation. Greedy companies will raise their prices because they figure that people will have money to spend.

The economy needs you. Start spending. Don't spend money you don't have of course but put something in. Buy stock (which is really cheap right now) and stay in it for long term. Lets say for example GM. Its price for stock is the lowest its ever been in 50 years. Buy now and when things start to get better (maybe a year, maybe longer) you'll have helped the economy to stop its downward trend and hopefully put it on the road to recovery.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Elections

It's been some time since I posted on the local elections. So far, the biggest race is between Moody and Margo. If you're an avid reader of my blog then you no doubt know of my disdain of the Margo campain and when I began to dislike him. For non-avid readers I began to dislike Dee after he ran agains Eliot Shapleigh for Senate. Now that he realized that he can't win in the Senate, he shot for the other Texas house. In my opinion this a power hungry move by Margo who is running illegally because he doesn't live in the area for which he's running although he found a somewhat legal loophole.

And the other big race that is going on you of course do not need to read my blog to know about. Personally I'm rooting for Obama because I was rooting for Hilary until she dropped out and I feel that Obama will do less damage in office than McCain would. If you disagree, comment; I won't delete any of them.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Don Haskins

As you all (or many of you know) Don Haskins died last Sunday at the age of 78. I just wanted a post to sort of commemerate his legacy and also to talk about the time that I met him.

It was at Barnes&Noble Booksellers on Sundland Park dr. I'd stood in line for more than an hour to see if I could get an autographed copy of Glory Road. When I got to his table I could sense being in the presence of greatness. There was just something about him, in his eyes that seemed as if he saw right through me. It might have been that I just saw him through biased eyes but I also saw the age in his face. I shook his hand and he held me in a firm grip. I told him that I'd be going to UTEP in a couple of years (this all happened before I came here after Glory Road was released). He said he was glad to meet a future Miner. He signed my copy, and the next person in line pushed me out of her way.

That was the only time I ever met him. I wasn't alive during the famous 1966 championchip, and I'd only seen a few of the Miner basketball games that he'd coached before he retired. I'll never forget my very breif meeting with the man who was El Paso's favorite son. But his death doesn't mean he's gone. I still have the autographed copy of Glory Road and I also have the DVD. All I have to do to feel like I've met him all over again is to watch the video. I don't touch the book though because I want to keep it in a sort of new condition.

My heart goes out to the family of the Bear. May you rest in peace coach.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Languages.

Living on the border gives one a unique prospective. Most people who live on the border speak English or Spanish or both. Not only are different languages spoken but there are languages within the languages. For example, the now popular Spanglish (which my family uses so often entire conversations switch languages multiple times midsentence). The other languages are kinds of paralanguages which includes accents.

For many on the border, we've grown accustomed to hearing two very different accents and we know what words are trying to be  spoken, but others won't be able to understand and may even be offended. Por ejemplo, a person  with a strong Mexican accent (and I say Mexican because the Mexican version of Spanish is much different than Argentina's, Puerto Rico's, or Spain's) trying to say a couple of commonly used English words. What I always find amusing is the pronunciation of the word "beach" which for those who've never heard it ends up being said as "bich" and the word "focus" as "fukus" sometimes offending others.

This is a two way street. For those unfamiliar with Spanish and trying to use a common word, such as the word for kitchen "cocina" ends up being said as "kochina" and like the previous examples is a bad word. And even though there are more sounds in English, many Americans can't roll their R's nor pronounce LL as a Y so "tortilla" ends up as "torttillia."

And yes I am not making this up. I've heard these words mispronounced as well as numerous other words but I'm not really upset about this. In fact I'm glad that people are trying to speak two languages. For many Americans, they've never even tried to become bilingual. The rest of the world speaks two, at least three languages, but Americans only bother to speak English.

Living on the border gives you a unique prospective. Canadians speak English and French. Mexicans speak English and Spanish. Americans speak English. I hope this change soon. Learn a new language. You don't have to be perfect but learn enough about it so that you can understand it. Not only am I trying to better my Spanish but I'm also trying to learn Japanese which is a difficult language to teach yourself especially since it comes from a different branch of the language tree, but it is at least a start and I'm picking it up fairly quickly.

Learn Spanish. Learn French. Learn German. Learn Arabic. Learn Farsi. Learn Mandarin. Learn Malay. Learn Cantonese. Learn Japanese. Learn something so that Americans can start to change how the rest of the world views us.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google Chrome

Google's done it again. They've revolutionized the way that people think about internet and its browsers.

Google released a Beta version (a version that had already been tested) as a free download for Windows, because Apple is terrible when it comes to software (even though they are excellent marketers). The young Chrome will soon become a fierce competitor to the already popular Mozilla Firefox, which released Version 3.0.1 recently as well.

Even though Chrome isn't perfect (there are still some bugs here and there such as XMLDOM Load method) its features, security, and speed far exceed that of MS Internet Explorer 7 and it leaves Opera and Safari in the dust.

Chrome's creators envisioned a browser that surfed the internet of today. IE had originally created its browser to surf web pages while Chrome has been designed to surf web applications and also allocate memory to each tab separately so if one site was acting up, the tab could be closed without closing the browser. Its JavaScript rendering is unmatched. Its concept of not having windows and allowing websites to fill the screen is so simple and elegant that somebody should have thought of it sooner. You can also search in the URL bar using a default search engine of your choosing (Mozilla has a similar feature except that the search bar is separate).

Like Blogger, Chrome is also Open Source. Google is letting people play with the source code in the hope that they will be able to better the internet browser.

To download Google Chrome go to www.google.com/chrome and for anyone who is wondering, yes I used Chrome when I posted this post.

>>If anyone has noticed, this post is a very different post from my previous bashing of the service which at&t provided me. I did not mean for these consecutive post contrast so much but I really felt that Google deserves the recognition for their excellent work.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Finally, a new post.

I've seen what life can be without the internet and it is terrifying.

The week after my last post in July was when it happened. I was checking my UTEP email when all of a sudden, my internet started acting up. For a while I'd have a connection but then I'd loose it and then it would come back. I was sure that nothing was wrong with my computer as I take great care of it and always keep it updated. Puzzled, I walked over to my router which recieves my DSL and connects me to the web. The light that shows my DSL looked like a broken metronome. It would be solid green (which means good) and then go to flashing red (which means bad) in no clear or logical pattern.

I asumed that at&t was just fooling around with my connection so I decided to wait for them to finish what they were doing. After an hour, the crazy light began to constantly blink on and off. This time I called their tech support, letting them know that they skrewed up my DSL. They said they'd look into it and give me a call.

Two days passed, then a week passed, and still no internet. I occupied my time doing homework and studying for finals. I called again telling them I hadn't been contacted and my DSL was still out. They told me the same story that they were looking into it and that I'd be contacted.

Another week passed and still nothing. Finals had ended and I spent my time catching up on my reading list and going to work. It was then that I noticed something strange (other than my missing internet). I wasn't getting calls from tellemarketers. Sure my phone would ring but I usually leave my machine to answer it because everyone that I want to talk to has my cell phone. What was strange was that my answering machine didn't have any messages since the time my internet went out.

An idea hit me. I used my home phone to call my cell phone and the number that appeared on my cell was not my home phone number. Eureaka! I shouted, and immediately called tech support.

"Sir, this is a dial tone issue and not one that tech support can assist you with. Is it alright if I transfer you to them?"

"Yes," I replied.

"at&t phone service, this is [.....] how may I help you?"

"I called my cell phone with my home phone and the number that appeared on my caller id was not my home phone number."

"Who is you cell phone provider?"

"T-mobile. But why does that matter?"

"If you want your calls from your home phone forwarded to your cell phone, you'll have to talk to them to set that up."

"That wasn't what I said. I'm trying to inform you that my home phone is a different number than my home phone."

"Do you have wiring insurance?"

"What is that?"

"If you don't have it sir and you tampered with the phone connection, you'll be charged for repairs."

"Are you accusing me of something?"

"It is just the law sir."

"No, I don't have that insurance."

"Alright sir. We'll send a technician over to your residence between 8 and 6."

"Are you crazy? I'm supposed to sit here and wait for ten hours!"

"Very well sir, how about between 2 and 6?"

"So be it. I'll be here."

"Ok sir, and thank you for chosing at&t."

I was about ready to rip his head off but that is kinda hard to do over the phone so just hung up really hard instead.

The technician came over at around 3, saw the problem and told me he'd be back and forth between my house and his network and took off leaving a strange mechanism attached to my phone jack. He came back an hour later, removed the device, and plugged my phone back in. My internet was back. He said the problem was that my line was connected to somebody else's at the network. Some technician had probably messed it up. I thought to myself "well duh" but didn't say it out loud.

That is my internet story and I hope you liked it even though it was a head ache for me.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It has been a while. A LONG while.

A lot has been going in my life right now and I haven't really had the time to post. I started summer 1 taking a history class, an electrical engineering class and the required lab. History was 2 hours and 10 minutes everyday, Monday through Friday with homework everyday. Even though it sucked up all of my time, I enjoyed the class because other than the required material (WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, et.) my professor also taught El Paso History.

This posting is about a book that I think everyone who calls him/herself an El Paso citizen should read. It is called Ringside Seat to a Revolution: An Underground Cultural History of El Paso and Juarez: 1893-1923 written by David Dorado Romo.

This is history that even I did not know, and I've lived here all of my life. For instance, did you know that Teresa Urrea (AKA Santa Teresa) lived in Segundo Barrio and was known as a healer. She saw over 200 people a day at her residence, curing the sick and giving counsel. She even has a school in El Paso named after her. Did you know that El Paso and Juarez played huge roles in starting the Mexican Revolution? Do you know how many times Juarez was captured by Pancho Villa? Did you know that Pancho Villa once worked at ASARCO back when it was a lead smelter? Do you know how important and historical our downtown is, like the Paso del Norte Hotel or El Paso Laundry? Did you know that El Paso once had a Chinatown or that Douglas used to be a segregated school? Did you know that one of El Paso's mayors belonged to the KKK? Did you know that the building where Pancho Villa tried to negotiate for submarines was torn down to make way for a Burger King?

If any of this information was new to you then you have to read this book. Buy it from a bookstore, borrow it from a friend, check it out at a library, however you can get your hands on it. If you have any interest in El Paso's history, you won't be able to put it down.

Friday, June 6, 2008

For Some Reason I Thought I'd Already Posted. Anyways An Election Is Coming Up.

The voting will take place this Saturday so don't forget. These are not very big elections but they matter a lot.

For those living in El Paso, District 3 there's a runoff election between Emma Acosta and Naomi Gonzalez. For those living in Socorro, there's an election for a city council seat. For those living in Ysleta, you can vote for a school board seat.

Anyways, the actual intent of this post is to let you know that Thomason Hospital was on Lock down after one of their patients came in riddled with bullets and gunshot wounds. Authorities have not given out the patient's identity or any information that others can use to track him down. What we do know however is that he is a victim of the recent violence in Juarez transported himself across the border because he felt that he could not be protected in a Juarez hospital. So the Sheriff's department has been called in to provide additional security for the hospital and have set a a perimeter and are examining everyone who is being allowed inside of the hospital.

For those who believed that the violence in Juarez has absolutely no effects across the border, this is a shrewd wakeup call. I'm sure that gangsters in Juarez have contacts in El Paso because if they didn't then transporters would be lost and confused about where to take shipments once inside the city.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Panic over the .net

Last week, an e-mail was sent out to Juarez residents warning them about some major violence that was supposed to take place on the 24th and 25th of this month. Juarez has already been under siege because of the drug war that most residents took this e-mail very seriously.

Almost everyone feared to go outside so entire restaurants had no customers, a bull fight was canceled, concerts were canceled, people didn't show up for work. Juarez's economy took a heavy beating in just two days. To quote from Newspaper Tree "Restaurants, bars, hotels, pharmacies, and other businesses have reported losing between 20-70 percent of normal sales," because everyone was scared. I know of a few people who came to El Paso to hide from the danger.

I don't know all of the details and I never received the cautionary letter, but what I've heard on the news was that 25 people were killed that weekend in gangster fashion. There was at least one kidnapping and several arsons as well. It appears that the danger was real.

But the strange thing is that no one knows the origin of the e-mail. Evidently it was sent anonymously and everybody has a theory about who sent it. I think that the e-mail was authored by a goodhearted whistle blower in the gang community, but others disagree with me. A student from Juarez told me that the e-mail was concocted by some American seeking to benefit from the shutdown of Juarez. I completely disagree with this theory because El Paso and its sister city Juarez are one community separated by a ditch. (Ditch/River, Carmel/Caramel who cares?) Whatever happens to one city effects the other because we're connected economically, politically, and socially.

If you would like more information, click here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Go Taylor!

I'm a big country music fan and I saw the ACM awards last night. The Top New Female Vocalist was 18 year old Taylor Swift, who also wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on her album. Here she is giving the best performance of the night singing "Should've Said No." Enjoy the video.



Edit: I used to have a higher quality video instead of this one, but it was discovered by Dick Clark Productions and was banned by YouTube for copyright infringement. The stats on it were awesome though because it was the #1 viewed in almost every category for that day and got almost 70,000 hits in the 14 hours it was on the net. Oh well.

Edit: Something I hadn't noticed earlier was that at around 2:38 she switches microphones so she can do the water scene. Still the best performance of the night though. I don't think any of the other performers would have even dared to do a stunt like that.

Edit: The performance I had was again removed because Taylor Swift now is posting video on her channel on YouTube. This video is posted on her channel.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Back in El Paso

After my last finals, I took off to Las Vegas! (Nevada, not New Mexico). No I did not go there to party at the casinos and get drunk. I have family living up there. Vegas is like my second home because I go there so often. Here's a list of things you need to do if/when you go to Vegas.

The Casinos. The ones that you have to visit on Las Vegas blvd (aka The Strip) are: Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, MGM Grand, New York New York, Venetian, Bellagio, Caesar's Palace, Treasure Island, and the Wynn. You can hit up Stratosphere, Monte Carlo, Paris, and any other casino you feel like walking into but definitely check out the earlier mentioned.

The Shows. Now it has been a while since I've seen some of these but they should still be good. Blue Man Group (Luxor), Carrot Top (I think he's now at the Luxor), Tournament of Kings (Excalibur). "O" (Bellagio), Cher (Caesar's), the free show outside of Treasure Island, the free show outside of the Bellagio (they never play the same one twice), and any other show that floats your boat.

The buffets. The Village seafood buffet (Rio), The World Carnival buffet (Rio), The Buffet (Bellagio), and I don't know if you'll still be hungry for anything else.

Traveling tips.
1) Don't try to walk the entire strip. It is deceptively large. You'll probably pass out half way through, and then you have to walk back.
2) Try to go where the locals go. Most people who live in Las Vegas rarely go to The Strip and if they feel the need to gamble they go to local casinos. If you know a native, ask him or her to act as a tour guide. Locals also get discounts to most things in Las Vegas which they can share with you.
3) Prepare a plan of attack so that you can make the most of your time in the city because there is no way you can see and do everything.
4) Set a gambling limit. I've heard horror stories about what happens to people who say "Just one more quarter. Just one more hand. Just one more pull. Just another roll. etcetera." After you reach that limit, STOP! NO MORE! The house always wins. Las Vegas isn't nicknamed "Lost Wages" for nothing.
5) Have fun! And come back soon. ;-)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Photostory assignment.

Today in my English class, we each presented videos we'd created on each our research topics. Mine of course was on Sherlock Holmes. I found each of the presentations to be rather interesting and unique. I put the video that I created on this post. Let me know what you think.

How Sherlock connects to rhetoric: He changed the way people viewed logic, inspired other writers to create other mysteries featuring himself, and created a new wave of forensic sciences. 1) He changed the way that people thought about logic by using it to solve crimes. Those who've analyzed his methods believe that he uniquely merged the reasonings of Descartes, De Morgan, Darwin, and other mathematicians and philosophers to come up with a brand new way of looking at the world. 2) Other mysteries featuring himself can be found published by GREAT authors such as Laurie R. King and Anne Perry, while also being featured many times by unknown authors. Click here for some fanfiction writings featuring Sherlock. 3) Forensics because he was one of the first to start looking at the small stuff. He memorized dirt samples from all over London so if dirt was found at a crime scene he'd know where everyone had been by the dirt on the floor and on their shoes. He did the same for tobacco ashes memorizing over 140 different types. He looked at fingerprints, ballistics, blood spatter, and anything else that made an impression on him or seemed out of place. (London police didn't really do any of that before Sherlock.)

If you wish to view a guest blog that I posted on please visit here. I think that blogging has enhanced my experience in this class because the internet makes things smaller. This way, I was able to view everyone else's blogs and learn about their topics. Anyways enjoy the video.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

ASARCO's illegal actions.

Many El Pasoans know of how ASARCO poisoned our city with their toxins and almost everyone who worked there is sueing ASARCO for their ill health, mutations, and diseases caused by the plant for pain and suffering etc. The company has finally hit another road block in their plans to reopen. ^_^

What had happened was that Representative for ASARCO had met with members of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) before they received their permit to reopen. The evidence of these meetings is cited in invoices that surfaced during one of ASARCO's bankruptcy cases. The meetings were a violation of Texas law and is a perfect example of ASARCO's underhandedness. The city of El Paso has filed another petition to have ASARCO's permit revoked.

ASARCO's response was that all the major proceedings in their case had concluded in March of 2006 and the meeting was legal, proper, routine, and just part of the due process. Even so, they did not yet have a permit, as the commissioners still needed to vote on whether or not to grant them a one. Ex parte communication would still apply to ensure fairness. TCEQ is reopening the case but because it is considered pending, they are not discussing anything with the city.

Also noteworthy, the United States Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to TCEQ asking them to answer several serious questions regarding the permit they issued. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A little more anime.


I mentioned earlier that there exists an anime inspired by Sherlock Holmes called Case Closed, Detective Conan, Meintantei Conan or 名探偵 コナン . I kinda forgot to mention that it was a manga before it was an anime. For those unfamiliar with Japaneses pop culture a manga would be considered a comic book here in the U.S. but the actual library term for them is graphic arts. An anime is a serialized cartoon. Even though Walt Disney was the first animation artist Disney's cartoons are geared toward family films with G age group ratings. In Japan it is common for adults to be going to watch animes which would be considered strange, even pedifile in the U.S.

Most of the episodes involve murder where all of the suspects are identified with Conan giving us all of the clues before revealing the identity of the culprit, how they did it and the evidence against them. I prefer the Japanese version that is hopefully subtitled in English better than episodes that have been dubed in either English or Spanish just because I think it looses more in that kind of translation and it also helps me to learn a new language. There are plenty of episodes out there with a lot of them on detectiveconan.us even though some of them are missing. To watch some of the missing videos you can find them on megavideo.com. If you want the episodes in Spanish, go to Google, search "detective conan tutv episode #" replacing the '#' with an actual number.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just a little info on one of the great actors if you're interested.

Back in 1984 a television production of Sherlock Holmes mysteries began making episodes that, in my opinion at least, accurately portrays most of the Canon mysteries created by Doyle. This brilliant series went on to last until 1994 still staring the same actor Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes. Although certain aspects of appearance may not resemble the images created by the original illustrator Paget, Brett embodies everything about Sherlock from his manner, tone, and even the way he carries himself, all are spot on. Most of the mysteries he stared in can be found on youtube although because of health issues, Brett did not complete the entire Canon and the production ended after more than 10 years.

Below are some adventures that were posted on youtube if you all are interested. This user divided them into six parts so if you want to see the entirety you have to go from part 1 to part 6 on each.
A Scandal In Bohemia:

The Dancing Men:

The Final Problem

The Empty House



Thursday, April 10, 2008

OMG a runoff election and I haven't posted yet!

Yep, two days ago the city held a runoff election to try and settle positions in which nobody had a clear majority such as Sheriff, two judgeships, a constable, and two county commissioners.
Unofficially the winners are:
Sheriff: Wiles 61%
Commissioner (Precinct 1): Perez 70%
Commissioner (Precinct 3): Gandara 57%
Constable (Precinct 7): Sommers 58%
Judge (448th District): Arditti 69%
Judge (65th District): Gutierrez 60%

I also forgot to mention in a previous post that the new police chief is Greg Allen. This position is not voted for but is filled by a City Manager, in this case Joyce Wilson picked Allen because of what the community told her. I know a retired cop who used to do patrol with him and he told me that Allen was a great guy who really worked his way up.

Friday, April 4, 2008

New rules for pools.

As crazy as it sounds, the city of El Paso has passed into law measures that they believe will help stop accidental drowning (especially with young children). I praise the city for trying to make El Paso a safer place to live, but the way they are going about it is rather strange.

Basically everyone who builds a new pool, spa, sauna, etc. will have to follow these new rules.

All pools are required to have a five foot primary or secondary barrier surrounding the pool. Where a house serves as part of the barrier, a five-foot high primary or secondary wall or fence will not be required if the pool is equipped an keyed, power-operated cover or screen.

Additionaly: Doors leading from the house or guest room into a yard with a swimming pool must swing away from the pool, be self closing, and self-latching and equipped with a locking device that is at least 4-1/2 feet off the ground. Windows facing a pool must also have a latching device 54 inches above ground. Sliding glass doors facing a pool must have an automatic closing and locking system.

Other changes were approved to keep children from being trapped underwater by suction from drainage and filtration systems like requiring young children to wear armband floaters and the like.

Although this is added security, it does not solve the reasons accidental drownings occur. This is mainly people placing the blame on others. Instead of saying "Oh I wish I had not left my child near the pool when I went into the house for half an hour", people are saying "It is the city's fault for my child's death by not requiring me to have five foot high walls and a secondary barrier that automatically locked."

It is a shame but most people just do not follow pool safety. No running near the pool, no horseplay, no diving in the shallow end, always swim with someone else (even if they're not in the water), and don't be an idiot. Most people have a lot of trouble with that last one.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The pollution factory is back.

Operations at the American Smelting And Refining COmpany (ASARCO) were suspended back in February of 1999 but it just recently received a permit to reopen its smelter by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Not many people (at least my age group anyway) know what ASARCO's smelter actually did. In 1972, ASARCO installed an acid plant and then in 1978 they installed another one. That is not all they produced. In 1948 they installed a zinc plant but shut it down in 1982. In 1911 they installed a copper smelter which has not been put out of commission yet. It still sits there dormant. In fact the ASARCO we know wasn't part of ASARCO until 1899 (yes, it is that old). The plant was founded in 1887 as a LEAD smelter which was not shut down until 1985. That is almost 100 years that they operated a poisonous material smelter. Did I forget to mention that the acid plants produced SULFURIC ACID and in 1993 they had to install equipment to reduce their sulfur emissions.

The big argument that supporters of ASARCO keep stressing is that reopening will bring jobs to El Paso. Well duh, of course any factory opening brings jobs. I wouldn't mind if we were talking about a box factory or a bottling company, or an assembly plant, or anything else I would be fine with it; as long it did not have a history of poisoning El Paso!

We don't need blue collar work that badly. El Paso/Juarez is a huge metropolitan area and the maquilas have already moved. We need jobs where you need more than half a brain. If for whatever reason you're looking for work, check out elpasohelpwanted.com or kfoxtv.com/index/classifieds/index.html or dmDickason.com or any place else to find work. We don't need ASARCO and we're better off without it. Keep up the fight against ASARCO, Mayor Cook. I know I'm not the only one out there who wants to see them stay closed.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hail to the Chief!

The finalists for the a new police chief are in!!! These people are NOT up for your vote but one will be selected by the City. HOWEVER... you have a chance to put in your input on what you want to see from our new chief by attending a community forum on Thursday March 27, 2008 @ 6:30 - 8:30 pm @ the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce Office @ 1359 Lomaland.

Up for selection are:











I'll post some info on these folks soon. If you feel like conducting your own research newspapertree.com is a good place to start.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sherlock in pop culture cont.

As I wrote in an earlier post Laurie R. King is one of the many authors who have written additional mysteries featuring the great detective. King herself studied theology and earned a B.A in comparative religion. She later earned an M.A. in Old Testament Theology. Her Mary Russell series has Russell as Holmes's partner and wife as they solve mysteries together. Old friends in the series include Watson, Mycroft, a relative of Lestrade, and a relative of Moriarty. Russel matches Holmes in observational skills albeit has a lot less experience in crime solving than he, Russell manages to keep her cool and catch criminals.

Novels in the Mary Russell series: The Beekeeper's Apprentice, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, A Letter of Mary, The Moor, O Jerusalem, Justice Hall, The Game, and Locked Rooms.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice is probably my favorite as it has a great plot. We hear a lot through Russell who is a young student studying theology at Oxford.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women involves another twisted mystery, this time occurring in a women's rights organization in London.

A Letter of Mary is close to The Da Vinci Code as the main focus of the plot involves a letter written by Mary Magdalene.

The Moor takes the reader back to Baskervilles, as other strange goings on are appearing. A real tribute to Arthur Conan Doyle.

O Jerusalem actually takes place during Beekeeper's and involves a trip through the holy land (lots of history).

Justice Hall brings back some old friends from Jerusalem and reveals some secrets of the characters.

The Game involves a trip to the Indian subcontinent and introduces Kipling's most famous soul searcher, Kim.

Locked Rooms takes place in San Fransisco after the fire that nearly destroyed the city. Involves hidden memories, buried treasure, and murder.

Check out Laurie R. King's web page at www.laurierking.com for more information about the author and her writings.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sherlock in popular culture.

Not all of the mysteries solved by the great detective were written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There exist hundreds of other novels and short stories featuring Sherlock floating around the world. One of the most notable authors of what is deemed "fan fiction" is a woman named Laurie R. King. Her Mary Russell series (which I've read all of) has a heroine who meets Sherlock, quite aptly, after he's retired as a beekeeper near Sussex. King's first novel in this series The Beekeeper's Apprentice or On the Segregation of the Queen was immediately hailed by the Holmesian world. Rumor has it she published this series without permission from Doyle's relatives but they liked them anyways and let her continue. Russel is an intelligent and observant young woman who matches Sherlock with his powers of observation and even marries him. A great read that I highly recommend. Also check out her Kate Martinelli series.

King is not the only fan fiction writer although I believe her to be the best. My grievances with other fan fiction writers is that they: make the mystery so easy that we solve it before Sherlock, have Sherlock know a lot of literature (which he's not supposed too), make him arrogant, make Watson/Lestrade/Mrs. Hudson the real hero, make Sherlock and Watson lovers, or are just way out there in left field.

Sherlock pop culture is not restrained to books. In fact, the short story element transfers perfectly to the small screen. The famous production company DIC created an animated feature based on one of the theories that Sherlock is still alive called Sherlock Holmes In The 22nd Century which had Holmes cryogenicly thawed, Watson's brain was programed into a robot, and Lestrade had a great great great great granddaughter named Beth Lestrade who worked for New Scotland Yard.

If you want to see some of the episodes I found them through AOL video although you need an SBC username and password to play them. If you know anywhere else I can find them please post a comment.

Of course not all references to Sherlock are so obvious. In the hit television show House M.D. the writers admitted to basing their main character House off of Holmes (get it), played by brilliant British actor Hugh Laurie. House's best friend is Dr. Wilson and House's address is at 221B.
Holmes mysteries were also some of the stories told on the hit television show Wishbone. Anyone remember Wishbone? From what I recall, Wishbone performed three of mysteries from the canon including: A Scandal in Bohemia, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and The Boscome Valley Mystery. If they did more please let me know.
Sherlock is also popular on continents other than North America and Europe. You can find groups devoted to Sherlock all over the world. There are especially large groups in Russia, India, and Japan. Sherlock is so popular in Japan that he inspired a manga and an amime called Detective Conan. In America the show is called Case Closed. You can find all 400 episodes at www.detectiveconan.us only the are in Japaneses with English subs. Here is episode 1 from the English version Case Closed.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Just a little update.

The results are in! unofficially >_>
Hilary won with almost 70% of the vote.

McCain got about 67 % and his closest competitor, Huckabee, won about 22%. Everyone else on that ticket got about 3%.

Silvestre Reyes obtained about 80% ^_^

For district 78 representative the winner was Margo (Craddick's lackey) with about 5,100 votes while Haggerty got about 3,900 votes. This was in the Republican primary for that seat. On the democratic side Louis Irwin lost with about 5,000 votes and Joseph Moody won with about 12,960. A lot of people were upset when they learned that they could only vote in one primary and from what I understand, those people would have voted for the more liberal Republican candidate, Pat Haggerty.

In the DA's office it looks as if Esparza received 60% of the vote.

I know someone who used to work for EPPD and asked him whom I should vote for to represent my self interest. He told me that he knew almost everyone who was running from his days on the force. Some that he knew very well were Serna, Carrillo, Leon, Wilkins, and Almonte. He'd never worked with Wiles but he'd heard he had a good reputation. He informed it would be wise for me to vote for either Leon or Wiles. I voted for Leon who received 20% of the votes. Wiles got about 41%.

A word of caution. Don't pay any attention to numbers that include Super delegates. These delegates are unpledged until the national convention so they can change their vote. The delegates selected through the primaries though are pledged so it is ok to count their votes.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sherlock deduced solutions to crimes, didn't he?

Most people know or think they know the difference between deducing and inducing something but most have probably never heard the term "abducing". Indeed why should they? The term doesn't even exist in most dictionaries. In layman's terms it is a cross between deduction and induction.

Deduction (deductive reasoning) is defined as: a process of reasoning in which a conclusion follows necessarily from the premises presented, so that the conclusion cannot be false if the premises are true.

Induction (inductive reasoning) is defined as: any form of reasoning in which the conclusion, though supported by the premises, does not follow from them necessarily.

Abduction (abductive reasoning) is defined as: a method of reasoning in which one chooses the hypothesis that would, if true, best explain the relevant evidence. Abductive reasoning starts from a set of accepted facts and infers to their most likely, or best, explanations.

Currently there is a belief floating around the Holmesian (aka Sherlockian) world, that Sherlock never used deductive reasoning at all but was rather an abductive solver. I can understand why this may be accepted, however Sherlock was a deducer.

From my understanding of the canon, Sherlock never made any hypothesis without first eliminating all of the impossible. With regards to the abductive definition of course, Sherlock had to make some hypotheses, but he wasn't trying to best explain the evidence, he was explaining the evidence. Sherlock never states multiple solutions. He states only one, which is always the correct solution. If he does not have enough evidence to truly solve the crime, then he goes to collect more until there is not a shred of doubt that his solution is the truth.

Everyone around Sherlock jumps to conclusions and providing possible explanations for evidence, which can be considered as abductive, but is in reality inductive reasoning. Read "How Watson Learned The Trick" (it is really really short) for examples of inductive reasoning.

Holmes sought only the real answer to any problem. As stated in a television series inspired by Sherlock called Case Closed (in Japan it is called Detective Conan): "One truth prevails!"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Terms to know

Just a little vocabulary to try to put aside some of the stereotypes that people have about Sherlock Holmes mysteries so that I may write more about the rhetoric involved. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, complaints, gripes or grievances please leave a comment.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Author of original Sherlock Holmes canon. Spiritualist. Failed optometrist. Was not knighted because of Sherlock but because of his writings on British military history. Killed Sherlock off to spend more time writing nonfiction and as well as more time with his family.

Sydney Paget - Original illustrator of Holmes. Based design of Sherlock off of his brother Charles. Based design Watson off of Doyle's secretary.

Sherlock Holmes - Detective whose works are chronicled by Dr. Watson. Distrusts women. Always seeks a challenge to solve. Retains much knowledge in his mind only for the purpose of solving crimes or playing violin. Knows much Chemistry, anatomy, psychology, forensics, and knowledge of tobacco. Excellent Violin player who does not read sheet music but plays by ear. His violin was a Stradivarius. Smokes shag tobacco. Knows much of the United States and is said to have been there before moving to baker street. Has a map of London in his head and always knows where he is. Used opium and morphine when his brain was not solving a case. Retired as a beekeeper near Sussex.

Dr John Watson - Sought a roommate after returning from the army serving as a field doctor in Afghanistan. Can be said to be Sherlock's only true friend. Is referred to as Sherlock's Boswell. Marries Mary Morstan in The Sign of the Four.

Inspector Lestrade - Investigator for Scotland Yard. Seeks Sherlock's help from time to time. in the beginning of the canon is ridiculed for employing the help of an ameture.

James Moriarty - Only seen in one mystery "The Adventure of the Final Problem". Called the Nepolean of Crime.Falls of of Richenbach falls with Sherlock. Brilliant Mathematician.

Irene Alder - The only person ever to outsmart Sherlock. Watson believes Sherlock to have some affection for her. Sherlock refers to her always as "The Woman".

Toby - A remarkable blood hound Sherlock employees in The Sign of the Four. Is not the hound from The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Baker street irregulars - Street urchins Sherlock employees for research into the goings of on of London.

BSI (Baker Street Irregulars) - Scholarly organization in America devoted to the study of Sherlock Holmes. Founded by Christopher Morley in 1934. Membership can only be earned by those who study and write about Sherlock. Members include Banesh Hoffman, Issac Asimov, Rex Stout, Harry S. Truman, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Mycroft Holmes - Sherlock's brother, seen in numerous adventures. Sherlock says that Mycroft has keener powers of deduction but does not have the energy to devote to solving crimes. Sends Sherlock out to solve mysteries that he himself does not have the energy to clobber. Holds a high security position in the British government. Is said to be the real brains behind British Intelligence.

Mrs. Hudson - caretaker of 221B Baker street. Has a tough job taking care of Holmes.

Pipe, Cap, glass, and cape - Sherlock dressed the part that he needed to play. When he was in the country he wore a hunting cap. Paget drew him once with a deerstalker cap but it is never actually written that he specifically used a deer stalker. Wore suits and tuxes when within London (he is a gentleman after all). Wore disguises and cosmetics when in character. The general image of a calabash curved pipe was first used in the cinema by Basil Rathbone and although the pipe looks cool, it is difficult so speak with and can be easily damaged through travel. Sherlock smoked with a straight pipe using shag tobacco and never cleaned his pipe. Smoked cigarettes and cigars also but less than the pipe. Cape was also first worn in movies. Magnifying glass is mentioned numerous times as well as microscopes and chemistry experiments. Holmes needed forensic evidence after all.

Beeton's Christmas Annual- First publication of Sherlock Holmes with the novel A Study in Scarlet

Lippincott's Monthly Magazine
- Second publication of Sherlock Holmes with the novel The Sign of the Four

The Strad Magazine
- Published 56 short stories and 2 serialized novels The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Valley of Fear. 20,000 people canceled their subscriptions to Strad after Sherlock was killed off and 10,000 wrote letters.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sherlock

As I said in class Sherlock Holmes does qualify as rhetoric in numerous areas. He has over 10 official museums, at least 20 different television series, dozens of movies, hundreds organizations relating to the study of, thousands of novels and mysteries, and infinite references to in popular culture.

I picked up The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in my high school's library and have since been addicted to Sherlock Holmes mysteries as he was to cocaine and morphine.


A little history. The famous detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was based on Dr. Joseph Bell whom Doyle worked for at an infirmary. Dr. Bell was known for using deductive reasoning when diagnosing a patient and also helping police to solve cases on several occasions. There were two other fictional detectives that inspired Doyle (C. Auguste Dupin created by Edgar Allen Poe and Monsieur Lecoq created by Émile Gaboriau). Dr. Watson (Holmes' friend and colleague) in fact compares Holmes to both of these detectives (Doyle's way of paying homage) and Holmes remarks that Dupin is an "inferior fellow" and Lecoq is a "miserable bungler" in A Study In Scarlet. And although both can claim to be the origins of the mystery genre, neither created the mania that Doyle did. In all Doyle wrote 56 short stories and 4 novels with his short stories being more popular than the novels. Dr. John Watson met Sherlock in the first novel A Study In Scarlet where readers learned a lot and little about Sherlock. Doyle and Sherlock went through ups and downs in their writer - character relationship with Doyle even killing Holmes off in the Adventure of the Final Problem so that he could spend more time writing history. The intended final mystery ended with Holmes and his (first time mentioned) archenemy Professor James Moriarty falling off of the Richenbach waterfall. Public outcry after the death of the beloved character made Doyle bring Sherlock back to life in the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles (to have taken place before Sherlock died) and then officially back to life in "The Adventure of the Empty House" where Sherlock declared that he had faked his own death to avoid a fiasco with Moriarty's cronies and did not Watson to know, lest he be put in danger.

As stated earlier Sherlock Holmes has been the inspiration for numerous fan fiction writings, televisions series, plays, and movies. His deductive (or as some rhetoricians believe to be abductive) reasoning methods have since been taught in numerous police academies and is required by MI5 and MI6. Sherlock's most famous quote (he never actually says "Elementary, my dear Watson" according to the canon): "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" is now engraved in most text books that cover reasoning and logic. Holmes' use of his powers of observation (critical observation and not just looking over) have endorsed numerous crime solving methods that are still in use today such as the use of latent prints (prints, shoe, foot, bicycle), the use of tobacco ashes and cigarette butts, typewritten letter comparison, handwriting comparison to determine the physical attributes of a person as well as family lineage, the use of gunpowder residue for recently fired weaponry, bullet comparisons and even an early use of fingerprints in solving crimes.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Texas is on the map!!!

Yes, I realize that Texas is like a quarter the size of the entire U.S. and everybody knows we exist. Yet, as far as presidential primaries are concerned, Texas is invisible.
We don't vote on Super Tuesday as our primaries are held in March so the candidates never swing by when campaigning for a party nomination. Now the tables have turned. After Super Tuesday's results with both Clinton and Obama neck and neck, they're going to have to campaign in this state as well as several others that have primaries after Super Tuesday.

What does this mean for El Paso?
The candidates are forced to come here if they want the Democratic vote. As many of you know, the Rio Grande valley is composed of mainly a Hispanic population and Hispanics are known for voting Democratic (the ones that vote anyway). Hilary Clinton herself is coming to UTEP on Tuesday Feb 12 at the Don Haskins Center @ 6:30 to try and attract the Latino vote. It is unknown whether Obama will be coming to El Paso per se but he is expected to be coming to this region.

In class someone asked me about this. Yes there are democratic candidates running for State Representative. Their names are Joseph Moody and Louis Irwin. There is going to be an Issues Forum held by the Border Interfaith organization where all 11 democratic candidates for sheriff will be speaking as well as the candidates for State Representative for District 78 on Tuesday the 12th. For more information on the event contact the Border Interfaith organization at (915) 373-9504.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The other most import races.

Yes. El Paso sheriff is not the only race occurring this election. Up for your vote is the office of State Representative, District 78 with incumbent Pat Haggerty and challenger Dee Margo. Regarding much hullabaloo in this race is the claim that Margo was forced to run for this position by Texas House speaker Tom Craddick. What is still fresh in my mind was when Margo ran against Senator Shapleigh because my high school (Coronado High School) government class organized a debate between the two candidates. I personally did no like how Margo answered his questions because he didn't seem to make a lot of sense. Shapleigh was much clearer about his responses. I believe that Shapleigh won the debate and I've since found a distaste for Margo in elections. For more information on the Haggerty-Margo race click here.


Also up for vote is the office of District Attorney with incumbent Jaime Esparza and challenger Theresa Caballero. It seems the key issue regarding this election is the booking, charging, and bonding processes that has come under fire. The system that was used up until two years ago has been said was unconstitutional. Also under the microscope is the public corruption scandal and according to the current DA, the district is cooperating with the FBI investigation.
For more information regarding the Caballero Esparza race click here.

Are you registered to vote?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The most important race.

It seems that all you hear about in the news these days is Hilary, Obama, and the economy. Nobody says a word about the local elections especially the most important one: the race for sheriff. As it stands now there are 11 Democrats and 1 Republican vying for this position to replace the late Leo Samaniego who unfortunately died of cancer in December of 2007.

As it stands now there are few El Pasoans who know that there is even an election coming soon and even fewer who know sheriff was one of them (but not you of course). And fewer still who seem to know anything about the candidates running for that position. I intend to rectify that situation. Up for your vote are: past El Paso Police Chief Richard Wiles; El Paso ICE ASAC Maria Guadalupe Dempsey; former Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Al Patino; former El Paso Police Chief Carlos Leon; Sheriff's Department Lt. Marvin Ryals; former El Paso CBP Director Luis Garcia; retired police Sgt. Mary Lou Carrillo; Sunland Park Police Chief Jose Ramirez; retired police Lt. Gabriel Serna; retired police Deputy Chief Robert Almonte; retired Sheriff's Department Commander Larry Wilkins; and George C. Stoltz (I can't find any information on the Republican sacrificial lamb except his name).

Below are images from Newspapertree.com with brief descriptions of their opening comments at The Pearson Group Forum.









I hoped this has sparked your interest in El Paso elections.