Have A Happy Facebook New Year…

December 31, 2010

 

…WITH A WARNING FROM ZAK

For those of you who have exposed and “laid bare” all of your family treasures, including photographs of your children, and have foolishly linked yourselves to so many marginal “friends,” an ominous holiday anecdote from Zak to you.

Last evening, Sheryl told me that she had “friended” Zak Turango, in accordance with my request.

Zak does not have a Facebook page and, oddly, if not eerily, did not make a request to be Sheryl’s “friend.”

Being curious, however, she retrieved the original “request” for me and, lo and behold, there it was, accompanied by the photograph of a much younger, pre-Zakian “me,” clad in hospital garb, taken while recovering from lifesaving emergency surgery at the Marble Mountain Naval Hospital, Danang, Republic of Vietnam, circa 1969.

It is the photograph that I use on the “About” page of Wildomar Magazine. (Click on the “About” button, above, for context). 

Somehow, Facebook self-generated a “friend” request, connecting my Wildomar Magazine front page, my pseudonym and my photograph, with Sheryl’s personal e-mail address, which I had never previously published.

Apparently, Facebook can now connect you with others by using “tools,” such as “face recognition technology,” without your knowledge or permission.

Please click on the following for more information.

http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/16/5660488-facebooks-facial-recognition-knows-who-your-friends-are

Apparently, according to the article, you can protect yourself and your friends by turning off the capability.

Or can you?

Beyond the potentially sinister capabilities of modern technology that far exceed your skills and abilities to control it, there is still the far more mundane nonsense that occupies, if not obsesses, people’s lives on Facebook.

Silliness was around long before Facebook was created. Even before Bridgette Moore was around, but she is especially proficient at it.

For instance, there is a drama currently being played out locally on Facebook, about a recent newborn addition to a local commercial alpaca herd.

Apparently, as often happens in nature, the mother of this young mammal accidentally stepped on it’s long neck, inflicting potentially mortal injuries.

Adult human beings with an obvious religious bent, probably Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians, and who apparently prefer that other humans should suffer, rather than to permit them safe access to medical marijuana in Wildomar, are “praying” for the healing and recovery of a soulless member of the goat family which is, after all, only a part of the food chain.

To me, nothing diminishes the sacred nature of prayer more than to waste it on the health of a mammal, apparently bred for commercial re-sale.

If you value prayer and believe in its efficacy, there are innumerable soulish humans created in God’s image, that would benefit more from your efforts.

Prior to the introduction of Facebook, I had always suspected that a certain multilevel marketing scheme selling soap products was the “Antichrist,” and that a competing food supplement scheme of that time was the “False Prophet.”

Now I am not so sure.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

If a virtual Zak requests you to be his “friend,” you have my permission to ignore the request.

If my dog, Dolly, gets sick, I will start my own intercessory “prayer chain” on Facebook.

And take her to the vet while you pray.

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Water District Merger Postponed….

December 29, 2010

….BY EVMWD

If the EVMWD “brain trust” (two oxymoronic elements, neither of which they possess in copious quantities) hasn’t appropriately tested the aging, admittedly decrepit underground pipes of the EWD, to determine the eventual cost to repair or replace them prior to a  merger, maybe testing the political waters is a reasonable substitute, for the time being.

We’ll take it.

For the time being.

Please click on the following link to confirm:

http://lakeelsinore-wildomar.patch.com/articles/evmwd-postpones-vote-on-merger-resolution

Perhaps public sentiment from EVMWD’s unconvinced rate payers has gotten their attention.

Perhaps the skepticism of EWD customers that their monthly water rates won’t increase after the merger. How could they not increase?

Whatever the reason, the EVMWD/EWD-induced stampede to push this merger forward has been delayed.

That’s a good thing, for we Wildomar ratepayers.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

This might explain why the Wildomar Magazine “hit count” was “through the roof” yesterday.

I can’t tell who the individual viewers are, but the specific interest in yesterday’s article was extraordinarily robust, according to my stat page.

 


Zak Retracts And Apologizes….

December 28, 2010

 

…TO JOSE CARVAJAL

On occasion, Zak gets it wrong.

That being said, the battle for transparency and disclosure continues.

I received an e-mail from José Carvajal, “spokesman” for the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, questioning my quote in the previous article regarding his having floated a “turd” that the proposed merger of the two water districts would be profitable within five years.

After scouring the necrotic recesses of my stroke-damaged cranium, I realized that I had been speaking to EVMWD District 5 Director-elect Andy Morris when the profitability turd was floated before Zak.

What makes the correction so disturbing is that it was not a statement put forth by someone paid to do so, instead, it came from the lips of the person who may vote on the issue, depending on the date of the meeting and Morris’s swearing-in date.

Hopefully, Morris will recognize that it is his obligation to represent the economic interests of this district, and not the residents of Director Judy Guglielmana’s or Harv Ryan’s districts.

I have already apologized for my “mis-memory,”  in a responsive, private e-mail to José and wanted to do so as well on the front page of Wildomar Magazine.

To be fair and equitable to him.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Wildomar’s Newly Installed Facial Egg….

December 27, 2010

…..FOR THEIR PREMATURE SELECTION

Without checking for the appropriate appointment protocol, Wildomar’s staff and elected officials have embarrassed themselves, if not the city,  in their naïve appointment of the equally naïve Wildomar Councilmember Ben Benoit to the Southern California Association of Government (“SCAG”).

According to Zak’s informed sources, the appointment to SCAG is not Wildomar’s appointment to make.

Rather, the subcommittee seat occupied by Sheryl Ade, is currently declared vacant and will eventually be filled by an appointment by the Executive Committee of the Western Riverside Council of Governments (“WRCOG”).

Please click on the link and scroll down to the City of Wildomar to confirm.

http://www.wrcog.cog.ca.us/content/executivecommittee.asp

The Executive Committee is not required to make, or accept, an appointment from Wildomar.

In a grown-up, political world, protocol matters.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

By the process of elimination, notice, if you will, who’s Riverside County Supervisor father is not on the Executive Committee of WRCOG.


“Misleading” Comment…..

December 27, 2010

….. DAMAGES A HARMONIOUS ACQUAINTANCE

Steve Fetbrandt, arguably the Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch’s premier reporter accurately quotes your’s truly’s recent comments to him in today’s Patch article on opposition to the proposed water district merger.

Please click on a link for the entire article.

http://lakeelsinore-wildomar.patch.com/articles/proposed-water-districts-merger-has-some-crying-foul

His writing reminds me of a former Californian reporter by the name of José Carvajal for its accuracy and incisiveness.

However, José took the job of Public Information Officer for the Lake Elsinore Unified School District as it probably paid better than being a reporter. Fair enough.

Sadly, however, José recently moved to the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District to be their “spokeshole.”

Which brings us front and center to today’s Patch article.

First, José, I understand that when you take  “The Man’s” money, you have to carry, ironically, The Man’s water for him.

That being said, to characterize my fact-based comments as “misleading,” sadly reduces my respect for you, downward to  the baser level of your predecessor spokeshole, Greg Morrison.

In a hopefully meaningful exercise for the readers of Wildomar Magazine, let’s discuss what’s been said, as follows:

“In the days following the meeting, foes continued to argue that the plan is awash in murky water, including inadequate information, dubious facts and suspect financial analysis.

“People don’t want to pay extra for new pipes,” said Gil Rasmussen, a Wildomar resident, EVMWD customer and merger opponent. “EWD hasn’t done its work and now it’s apparently caught up with them.”

Rasmussen believes it could cost upward of $24 million to rebuild EWD’s system. The $6.7 million would cover only the first phase, he said.

“The bottom line is that I’m not gonna pay a … penny to pick up the costs for the little water district,” Rasmussen said. “It’s their problem, not ours.”

 My comments regarding the $24,000,000 to replace the entire system is based upon information provided by the paid consultant speaking for the little water District during a break in the merger meeting.

My question to him was what would be the total exposure to the EVMWD ratepayers, if the entire aging, decrepit EWD system required replacement?

 The consultant’s response was $24,000,000.

Based upon my formal training as a Risk Manager, that is the figure that the EVMWD must anticipate, should this merger go forward.

And, José, if you recall, as I spoke at the merger meeting, my request was that a formal study be conducted by the various water districts to properly quantify, if possible, that exposure.

Not an unreasonable request, given the potential exposure.

José’s follow-on statement makes my point.

Jose Carvajal, public information officer for EVMWD, said the $24-million figure is misleading.

That figure is if the EWD system completely failed tomorrow and we had to replace the entire system,” he said. “That’s really not likely to happen. The $6 million is for the more immediate problems.”

Obviously then, according to Carvajal, there are “less immediate problems” as well.

No one can say for certain, not José Carvajal, nor Greg Morrison, nor EWD Board Pres. Jeff George, can tell us when the entire system might fail.

Or not.

Further, at last Wednesday evening’s Wildomar City Council meeting, Carvajal EVMWD Director-elect Andy Morris tried to float  a “turd” past me by stating that the EVMWD believes that the merger with the little water District will show a profit within five years.

Do the math with me, as follows:

1500 customers times $40 current average bill per month times 12 months times five years equals $3.6 million.

However, since most commercial operations can only achieve 5 to 6% net profit, “profitability,” even if 10% per year, would only net $360,000 in profitability.

According to my calculations, it will take more than 18 years to offset the cost of replacing the “known” substandard water lines.

Of course, if EVMWD raises everyone’s water rates, including yours, to amortize the known repair expense of $6.7 million, it will take less years to recapture it.

Or, am I misleading again?

I am calling on both John Lloyd and Andy Morris, since we’re not certain who will be voting on the merger, to properly represent Wildomar’s, and Murrieta’s, ratepayers by voting against this merger, unless, and until a properly conducted study on the exposure to the EVMWD  ratepayers is completed and published, before  this questionable merger should go forward.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

 


My Kids Are Not To Blame For….

December 26, 2010

…THE “LITTLE FOCKERS” MOVIE

Although my gifted son, Timothy Rasmussen, and his equally gifted writing partner, my son-in-law, Vince Di Meglio, broke into the Hollywood “big-time” with the “second draft” of their original screenplay, which  took the very successful” Meet The Fockers” (sequel to the original “Meet The Parents” movie) off the shelf of movie death and into full-blown production, they had nothing to do with the current release of “Little Fockers,” currently showing in local theaters.

Please click on the following link, under “Writers,” for confirmation regarding “Meet the Fockers.

http://www.westword.com/movies/meet-the-fockers-1670813/

I sense that, in recent conversations with my son, they are not unhappy about not being attached to this sequel. Oft times, just one more sequel is a blatant studio attempt to cash in on a popular “brand,” such as the “Fockers.”

During their “brainstorming” stage of development, I suggested that the Focker family should actually be the Fokker family, who were “on the run” from their World War II Nazi aircraft manufacturing legacy. Alas, not to mention fortunately, that idea didn’t “fly.”

Before you laugh, one of my suggestions netted the boys a writing gig with the director of “Wedding Crashers” worth a significant chunk of change. (As a gesture of gratitude, I received a new TV and a DVR).

And some bragging rights.

In fact, if you rent the “License to Wed” movie, which Tim and Vince also wrote, and click on the “extra scenes”, you will find the original animated, opening scene, which was deleted by the studio editors, at the last moment, to shorten the film. The entire scene was based on my boy’s inclusion of my creative suggestion.

At the very least, as Tim told me, one of my creative ideas, out of many lame ones, is actually incorporated into a Hollywood-produced DVD.

Therefore, in the interest of full disclosure, I also deny having anything to do with “Little Fockers.”

On a more personal note, Tim tells me that their “indie” production of “Smother,” starring Diane Keaton, is enjoying an appreciative and burgeoning following through Netflix.

What makes Smother personal is that my kids write about what they know and the premise of Smother is a compilation based upon attributes of each of their mothers, played by Diane Keaton, but set in the context of one mother who was stuck in a dying marriage with yours truly, played by veteran actor Ken Howard.

Take a moment to enjoy, if you will, a brief trailer from Smother.

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi773455897/

Then, if you enjoyed that, or are just curious, and you’re a subscribing member of Netflix, put it on your movie queue and look forward to an evening of quirky movie entertainment.

Unlike the studios, Tim and Vince made this movie for artistic reasons only. This is not an inducement for increased rentals, through Netflix, for reasons of any anticipated re$idual$.

It’s just an unusual twist on my “Brush with Fame” series.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Local Paper Learns What Zak Already…..

December 25, 2010

….KNEW

Years ago, when Zak Turango was the “prime contributor” for Elsinore Magazine, the issue of allowing comments from readers was heatedly discussed with EM Publisher Bill Reimbold, thinking that it would induce more people read the Magazine.

Bill flatly stated that he would never permit open discussion. 

According to Reimbold, based on his previous experience with discussion forums on the CosmoAccess Forum, moderated by a local Internet Service Provider, John Purpura.  the commentary and “conversations” always went wildly off-topic.

As a result, Reimbold declared he would never permit “anonymous idiots” to wrest control of “his” public conversation away from the direction he wanted it to go.

Having learned that lesson from Reimbold, Zak has rarely permitted comments from his readers.

The few times that I’ve done so, (to date, there have only been 44 comments received by Wildomar Magazine), many of which were negative attacks on the “mythical” publisher, Zak Turango, ended badly.

And added nothing to the “public conversation.”

And confirmed Reimbold’s wisdom.

It is, nevertheless, the policy of Wildomar Magazine, to provide an email address for any reader to register their thoughts directly with Publisher Zak Turango. And I usually respond directly to the e-mail.

However, since that does not provide the instant gratification of seeing one’s posted commentary, at least until the moderator can delete it, it is rarely used.

 According to a recent Californian Note from the Editor, Kent Davy, the Californian is changing its “online” policy regarding publishing comments to their articles.

Please click on the following link to see for yourself:

http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/columnists/davy/article_de2c432c-0de7-53d7-8e19-61cbfdb8af75.html

Obviously, the new policy is not sitting well with the “anonymous idiots.” So far, 181 (and counting) of them have generally reacted adversely to the new policy that will “stifle” their “parasitic creativity,” an oxymoron.

Of course, any of them could easily become “bloggers” on their own, but that would require them to produce content that others would sufficiently care  to read.

Not always an easy thing to do.

Congratulations to the Californian editorial staff for learning, and embracing, the “Reimboldian” wisdom.

You’ll be a better newspaper for it.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.