Sunday, July 18, 2010

Daring ideas afoot at the U.N.

Dateline Honolulu. I didn't plan to do any blogging on our trip to Hawaii to welcome the Tiki J to port, but a chance encounter from much earlier today cries out to be reported.
    At the San Francisco International Airport this morning, we paused to relax before our connecting flight, and I struck up a conversation with Jon Swift, a man in his mid-forties who said he was on his way to New York to work as a consultant for the United Nations.
    I of course asked him what he was going to do for the U.N. I am not able to report his answer verbatim, but this is approximately what he said to the best of my recollection:
Well, as you know, the planet is significantly overpopulated, and the United Nations has formed a task force to identify ways to halt population growth by reducing the growth rate to zero...or even less.
    I'm going to be on staff to evaluate some of the alternatives the group comes up with. They've been told to consider absolutely anything, the problem is so serious. They'll be looking at all sorts of ways to reduce the birthrate, for example.
    They'll also investigate ways to reverse the tendency toward longer and longer average life expectancies. Old people tend to be unproductive, of course, and after a certain point old people are more of a drain on resources than anything else.
    They've been asked to look into ways to soften public opinion on assisted suicide. I mean, if someone wants to kill himself, why not let him? There'd be one less person for an overpopulated planet to support.
    And I can't quite believe it myself, but they've even been charged to think about ways to devise a human meat program to supplement the world's food supply....
I didn't have a chance to ask about the "human meat program." My wife, who couldn't help eavesdropping, was becoming visibly upset at what she was hearing from Jon Swift, and she suddenly remembered that our connecting flight was only twenty minutes from then, not an hour and twenty minutes. We said good-bye and left Jon to ponder what proposals he might find himself evaluating in New York.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jingle Jangle sells!

Author Jim Rix is signing books again this weekend, this time at Costco's Carson City, Nevada store. He must be signing a lot of them. Look! He's having fun.
     Ray Krone, the subject of the book, lives on a farm outside York Pennsylvania and when last heard from was continuing to lobby for an end to the death penalty, under whose shadow he lived for three years before his cousin began to champion his case and worked with attorney Christopher Plourd to win a new trial. The second jury again bought the bogus bite mark evidence, but this time only sentenced the innocent Ray to life in prison.
    It had become abundantly clear that the only way to get Ray Krone out of prison was to discover who really killed Kim Ancona....

When Jim was through signing today (at 3 p.m.), only eleven of thirty-six copies were left. Hey, Costco needs to restock! Move over, John Grisham. (In fact, the store manager has asked Jim to bring six cases for the next signing session.)
    He left the poster below to pitch those last books for him until he returns tomorrow. The dust jacket art was created by Brooklyn graphic artist Matthew Moss. Drawings inside the book were created by Rob Esmay, whose cartoons occasionally appear in The New Yorker Magazine. I edited Jingle Jangle. It is published by Broken Bench Press.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

If you have too much wind in your sails

Then, to quote my wife, "be sure to read our daughter's blog today.  It takes all of the glamor out of sailing."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Division B standings as of about 4 hours ago

Excerpted from the Official 2010 Pacific Cup website:

Division B start 06 Jul 2010 12:15:00 PDT

Sweet Okole in lead (L38=1.27)
Name (Rating)
TypeLatLonMiles To GoDay Run
Estimated FinishElapsed TimeDiv Rank

Sweet Okole (584.0)
Custom Farr 36 32-41 135-13 1375 206
20 Jul 17:44 14d 08:29:57 1

Relentless (590.0)
Sydney32 33-49 135-25 1395 193
21 Jul 04:35 14d 19:20:15 2

Coyote (581.0)
Beneteau First 42 34-50 135-50 1405 194
21 Jul 07:34 14d 22:19:39 3

Bequia (590.0)
Beneteau 411 34-33 135-08 1427 198
21 Jul 21:35 15d 12:20:40 4

Tiki J (590.0)
J/42 35-00 135-09 1439 192
22 Jul 03:12 15d 17:57:02 5

Cirrus (605.0)
Standfast 40 35-34 134-42 1475 186
22 Jul 23:37 16d 14:22:25 6

Scaramouche V (566.0)
PalmerJohnson 34-20 134-24 1454 196
22 Jul 14:33 16d 05:18:41 7

Tiki Blue (581.0)     [Tiki Blue had an electrical problem and returned to its slip.]

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Reno Costco almost sold out barely midway through

Jim Rix's book signing at the Reno Costco is being very successful. With a couple of hours of signing left today and all of tomorrow at the store, its stock of his true crime book, Jingle Jangle: The Perfect Crime Turned Inside Out, is two-thirds gone. Jim (and I) are hoping for Malcolm Gladwell's tipping point1 to be reached soon....
  1. Tipping points are "the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable." Gladwell defines a tipping point as a sociological term: "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point." The book seeks to explain and describe the "mysterious" sociological changes that mark everyday life. As Gladwell states, "Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do." The examples of such changes in his book include the rise in popularity and sales of Hush Puppies shoes in the mid-1990s and the precipitous drop in the New York City crime rate after 1990. [Wikipedia]

Friday, July 9, 2010

May those stacks of Jingle Jangle sell quickly!

The photo was taken early in the week [at the Carson City, Nevada Costco], right after three Costco stores in the Reno area started carrying Jim Rix's true crime book, Jingle Jangle: The Perfect Crime Turned Inside Out. Jim is signing books today and this weekend at the Reno store.
Here's a photo of Jim's table at the Reno store:
    I think he'd be in the photo if he weren't taking it.

Wind rushings

Two days ago the passenger window in my car stopped working. Yesterday, as I drove with both front windows open to the repair shop, a cattle truck passed me on the interstate, and perhaps the aroma of the livestock caused me to fall to musing. I reflected that none of us does a lot of windows-down driving anymore—at least not in the South during the summer or on an interstate highway.
    The livestock were presumably on their way to a slaughterhouse. I wish it weren't so. We humans are related to those animals.
People and chimpanzees are certainly linked via a continuous chain of intermediaries and a shared ancestor, but the intermediaries are extinct: what remains is a discontinuous distribution. The same is true of people and monkeys, and of people and kangaroos [and of people and cattle], except that the extinct intermediaries lived longer ago. Because the intermediaries are nearly always extinct, we can usually get away with assuming that there is a sharp discontinuity between every species and every other. But in this book [The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution] we are concerned with evolutionary history, with the dead as well as the living. When we are talking about all the animals who ever lived, not just those that are living now, evolution tells us there are lines of gradual continuity linking literally every species to every other. When we are talking history, even apparently discontinuous modern species like sheep and dogs are linked, via their common ancestor, in unbroken lines of smooth continuity. [pp. 307-8, Richard Dawkins, 2004]
Talking history, we might reflect that in Nazi Germany, people must have marveled on occasion to see a truck or boxcar full of Jews, or gypsies, or homosexuals, or mental defectives pass and wondered where they were being herded off to. The Nazis apparently actually passed some laws that made what was happening "legal" (or at least administratively approved).
    It occurred to me yesterday that of course we have laws that make the slaughter of cattle and other animals legal (so that we might eat their flesh). The Nazis' laws (or administrative directives) were overturned following Hitler's defeat. I mused that it is morally and theoretically possible here, in America, that we could overturn the laws approving the slaughter of our relatives in the "animal kingdom"....

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Time Reporting: Jul 07 12:00:00 PM EDT

Can you spot the Tiki J? (Click to zoom in.)

Farflung correspondent

Until acting as my daughter's intermediary for a post to HER blog, I was not remembering that I, too, could post via email.  This is an attempt to demonstrate it.

Day One at sea

The Tiki J has been out to sea for about twenty-one and a half hours, and I've just received my daughter's first email text for posting to her website. She can email by way of "sail mail" and could, technically, send it directly to her blog (rather than through an intermediary), but a lot of "footer" information is added, which I strip off for her.
    Her note reported their being in a "trough" (very little wind), and this seems to be borne out by the latest available GPS information (I'm referring to the indicated speed):
# Tiki J
Class: Division B
Miles to Finish: 2003.1nm
Latitude: N 37°51.637'
Longitude: W 123°55.968'
Speed: 1.0 KTS
CoG(t) 291° W
Boat: J/42
LOA: ft
Time Reported: Jul 07 8:00:00 AM EDT
    To check Tiki J's positions yourself, go to and click on Division B, then click the "Trails" box in Tiki J's line.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tiki J ready to sail

The Tiki J is ready to sail, at 12:15 p.m. today, Pacific Coast time. See more photos on my daughter's blog.
    To see where Tiki J (and the other members of its division) are, go to and click on Division B.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Follow the Pacific Cup race, starting tomorrow

Our daughter and son-in-law and their crewmates embark Tiki J on Tuesday for their sail to Kailua from San Francisco. She has been blogging about their preparations (Pineapple Girl on Tiki J), and you can follow the race by satellite tracking at the website revealed on the official 2010 Pacific Cup website. (Hint: the tracking website is:
    The first boats off (those in Division D H 1) leave tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. The fourth division off (Division B, including Tiki J) leave Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. (See division listings at
    We hope to be on-hand to shower them with leis upon their arrival.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

You don't have to do the crime to do the time

Jingle Jangle's first Costco book signing is next weekend:
Signings follow in Carson City on July 16, 17, & 18, and in Sparks on July 24. Costco members in the Reno area should take advantage of these opportunities to try to obtain some inside scoop from the author about the December 1991 murder of Kim Ancona in Phoenix's CBS Lounge, where Jim's cousin, Ray Krone, regularly played darts and drank beer.
    Be forewarned, however, he's not likely to tell you definitely who he thinks really killed Ancona; you're going to have to read the book (or talk to someone who did and is willing to tell you).
    Costco's price for this $24.95 book will be only $15.99. In stock beginning July 5 at the Carson City, Reno, and Sparks stores.
    If you aren't near those Costco stores but want to read Jingle Jangle, visit the publisher's store on the web.

And, while you're in the Broken Bench Press store, order a copy of Steve Glossin's fabulous Saddam Hussein-era novel, Prophecy of the Medallion.
    I've been thinking lately, it's about time I enjoyed this great read again myself.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Criminal justice often stinks

Part Two of Jim Rix's true crime book, Jingle Jangle, presents a number of essays critical of the "criminal justice game" relative to his cousin's case:
Part Two: The Game
Chapter 12. Doing Time
Chapter 13. Hometowned
Chapter 14. What to Do?
Chapter 15. Ethics
Chapter 16. Ouija Science
Chapter 17. Puppet Show
Chapter 18. Whorehouse
Chapter 19. The Color of Justice
Chapter 20. Dingle Dangle
Chapter 21. Baby Blue
Catch-22. The Gila
Yesterday, for Costco purchasers particularly interested in aspects of Part Two, I penned a couple of limerix suitable for Jim to inscribe in their book:
The obscene self-reliance
Of the men of junk science
    Assuages all doubt
    So juries go out
And assent their guilty compliance
Criminal justice often stinks
Convicting the innocent more than it thinks
    Reasonable doubt
    Thrown out
And the jury all go for drinks

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Inscriptions of Rix's limerix

At the Costco book signings, the author of Jingle Jangle plans to inscribe a limerix appropriate to the apparent interest of each purchaser:

The foibles of the jury?
Cop says he killed her
Bitemark experts concur
    Defense creates doubt
    Jury can't figure it out
Sends Ray Krone to stir
Rix's own role as a contemporary Sherlock Holmes?
Cops catch a snaggletooth
I become a sleuth
    Cops claim he bit
    Evidence doesn't fit
I'm amazed at the truth
The immediate efficacy of DNA in winning his cousin's release?
Evidence a bite mark
Experts to jury bark
    Saves the Day
Bite mark analysis a lark
Jingle Jangle as a whodunit?
Cousin Ray did the time
Who did the crime?
    Read ‘tween the lines
    Discover the signs
Solve this riddled rhyme
Other suspects?
The story of the Snaggletooth Killer
Is a real whodunit thriller
    But was it Ray
    Or two women gay
Or the man doing time in the chiller?

Tiki J crew provisioning to depart for Hawaii

As of this writing, only four days and about 15 hours remain before the embarkation of Tiki J to Hawaii in the Pacific Cup Race.
    Pineapple Girl recounts the crew's provisioning. You can also follow there the official countdown to embarkation.