In remembrance of Dark Sky Festival

Dark Sky Festival at the Sequoia Parks Conservancy for 2020 has been cancelled, obviously over COVID-19 concerns. For those unaware of what Dark Sky Festival is, it is an annual event in which participating national parks raise awareness of one of humanity’s most precious resources: The naked night sky. If you’ve never been away from city lights, then you’ve never seen night sky naked. Most of the stars, as well as other faint objects, can only be seen when our limited human vision has had several minutes to fully adjust. Also, most of these dim objects can only be seen in our peripheal field. Don’t freak out when you realize that the center of your vision appears to be completely blind! As the Central Valley’s largest dark sky festival, it also features other activities, such as being able to see through many telescopes pointed at specific regions in the sky.

Bakersfield Fresno Merced Modesto Stockton Visalia

My first nitro beer!

I had my first nitro beer (BJ’s PM Porter) last night at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse. (This is a topic for another time, but they are handling COVID-19 the right way in Fresno, with their spacious outdoor dining.) The PM Porter had dark, roasted grains that lend a unique coffee presence, with a slight sweetness reminiscent of molasses. The nitro process further compounded how sweet and creamy Porters usually are.

Fresno Merced Modesto Visalia

Papagni Pink Pinot Grigio

Last weekend, most wineries on the Madera Wine Trail began to open up their tasting rooms again. Mike and I took this opportunity to finally try out some of these Madera wineries. They are too close to us to not try so we made a Sunday afternoon out of it. One of the wineries we visited was the Papagni Winery. As the information on Madera Wine Trail reads, you actually can meet and have a glass of wine with the winemakers themselves. After a few samples, there was definitely one wine that stole the show! That was a 2014 Pinot Grigio with a pink hue.


Selma movie thoughts and review

Yet another relevant movie (African American oppression) is completely free to watch on probably every digital platform (such as YouTube). Selma is a movie representation of Martin Luther King and what went down in Selma, which is somewhat familiar to the documentary film Freedom Riders. I won’t talk much about the plot, but about points and historical elements the movie itself has brought out.

Lyndon Johnson:

I simply had no clue this guy used the n word. His usage of this racial slur, which always happened behind closed doors, was no doubt very odd and disgusting. (There is audio clips to back this up that I just won’t link here) It was more surprising considering his “war on poverty”. However, this isn’t a review of a presidency so I’ll keep it short. Johnson was in the very least tilted in the right direction overall. His presidency just shows how far as country we’ve progressed as a country. Unfortunately, it also saddens me to also see how far we’ve stepped backwards as a country in 2016; when American elected a racist, small handed internet troll.

Non-violent protesting and MLK

Most importantly, the movie did some demythologizing of MLK’s non-violent protests. It showed how and why they were so effective. It revealed that non-violent protesting is not easy, but requires patience, endurance, and some stage craft. The non-violent protests effectiveness (horrifyingly) comes by having the opposing side beat you down. In this, you need to have cameras pointed at you, and gain the support of many people by not fighting back, and enduring beatings. Another obvious reason for not fighting back is simple; it would result in much more casualties. You can see why some of today’s protests aren’t non-violent: Untrained, angry, impatient, and vengeful youth that can no longer tolerate the police’s systematic killing of African-Americans.

African-American voting

Voter suppression of any kind is still practiced to this day by Republicans. You’d think gerrymandering, cheating, lynching, corruption and dogmatic brainwashing would be enough in their mission of corruption, but it just isn’t. African American males were technically being given the right to vote in 1870, yet voting was still impossible for African Americans until the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Still, since then, there have been many scandals relating to votes. A good first read to many of them can be seen on this handy Wikipedia page.

In bringing more attention to these and “demystifying” non-violent protests I give the movie a 10/10 for being so relevant to what is happening today. I recommend watching Just Mercy if you haven’t already, which by the way, is free in 4K.