Wednesday, July 09, 2003

A New Defensiveness

All these concerns regarding the honesty of G.W. Bush and his Administration regarding the Iraq War are beginning to affect conservatives. I notice a new defensive tone in their proclamations: I noticed it particularly today in the Lucianne Forum. Meanwhile beautiful, but utterly vile, Anne Coulter, has captured the hearts of many conservatives. Some people (not necessarily here) say that her book reminds them of Mein Kampf, except with Jews replaced by liberals. This seems to be the fate of modern right-wingers - go absolutely beserk because they have no strong enemies anymore, and then pronounce the remaining few to be unworthy of remaining alive (the penalty for 'Treason', of course, is....). Will they self-destruct? I certainly hope so, but maybe not - it looks like a race to the bottom.

Tried the swing dancing again tonight - it was fun, got there early, had a bit of their lesson. Last night, still schlepping beginning tango at TBTR. Harder there - fewer people, and more guys than girls. For some reason its hard to get in the dancing groove these days - out of practice I guess.
Watching Kylie Minogue

Watched her 2002 Fever DVD again for the 10th time last night (first song from the DVD available here). Very impressed by her self-possession and determination to tell HER version of pop culture and history, based on her particular idiosyncratic Anglo-Australian perspective. Definitely a leader, not a follower. Actually very few pop artists (e.g., Bob Dylan) have such a strong perspective. When Madonna does something, you can always tell that she intends to make a STATEMENT about something. When Kylie follows a few years later with something similar, it isn't to copy or to make a similar statement, but merely because it looks like droll fun, maybe with a bit of a tale (a pop tale, not a political tale) to tell too. Which means Kylie understands what pop culture is about better than Madonna, and better than almost anybody, really.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

John Edwards

A good summary of why I like Edwards.

Just a Few Words About Ballet in General

What is it that makes ballet special? I think it's because ballet is a bit of an oxymoron, trying to impose a rational framework, a very French Cartesian 16th Century mechanistic framework, with opera house stages primarily in mind, upon an essentially irrational activity like dancing. And the framework is both sweeping, and arbitrary. For example, why the emphasis on turnout? One book I read pointed out that turned-out leg is more effective for stage work in general - people can see a turned-out leg more readily than a turned-in leg - and that's certainly a consideration, but there are plenty of other dancing traditions without turnout. And some folk dance elements are brought into ballet (pas de basque, tarantella) but others are more-or-less excluded (e.g. Celtic or Balkan dancing), which maybe has something to do with proximity to the European heartland, but maybe is just somebody's mad insistence. And yet. And yet..... It works! Ballet dancers, with their discipline, really push the limits on what the human body can do, and thus enrich dancing in general, even dancing done in spite of ballet. It's really a conundrum of an art. Wish I could master it!

Ricky Romero, Where Are You?

Had a scary dream, to go with the general sense of dread that permeates my life these days. The dream was triggered by Brian Forment describing his upcoming visit to Mexico City, to relatives who suffered a loss of one of their own about a decade ago to an armed robber at an ATM machine. I dreamed that I was in Mexico City, and a man dressed like a classic Mexican wrestler, but with panty hose over the usual head mask, casually walked up and shot a random newspaper boy. A mad panic ensued, and I unwisely started running up a steep hill. Then I awoke. What does it mean? Who knows? But I wanted someone like Ricky Romero, the TV wrestler hero of my Albuquerque childhood, to appear and make things right again.

Bad Bunny

It's interesting to share one's life with animals, whether they be dogs, or cats, or in my case, a dog named Sparky and a mini-lop rabbit named Cloudy. Rabbits are strange little creatures - they act like little autistic children, fussy about ritual, strange noises, and smothering hugs. I notice rabbits take three seconds, no more and no less, to make up their minds about what they are going to do. They get nervous if they don't have at least two avenues of escape, so they prefer to place themselves near doors, or other portals. They are very picky about the placement of furniture pieces, or other objects like shopping bags, and they'll go bonkers if objects keep moving, e.g., if the object named Sparky keeps running back and forth and barking. I've also read that rabbit brains are wired such that they learn things one side at a time, so if they learn something with one eye, they won't know it with the other eye unless the lesson is repeated. They get complacent and sometimes don't pay attention even to loud noises and abrupt movements.

Since I'm often not home, it's quite an event when I come home to lie on the couch and watch TV. Cloudy will climb the steps from the back yard where she usually spends her days, carefully approach me, drop a few pellets, gauge how far I can reach, position herself between me and the TV, so I can clearly see but nevertheless can't reach her, and pee. I jump up in mad chase, flinging one roll of paper towels (which I need to keep nearby these days) in her general direction as she runs to "base" under the kitchen table, and busily start to clean up with the other roll. Then a few minutes later, the game starts again. I don't know what territorial imperative or possessive impulse is driving her game, and it's exhausting after awhile, but she is so darn cute, in her little impish way, I can't bring the game to an end. I feel sorry for the unfortunate floor, and I'm buying a lot of paper towels these days, but that's about it.

Monday, July 07, 2003

How Could NASA Have Ever Got So Complacent?

Nothing like setting up a controlled experiment to see how the real world operates.....
George Zoritch

Received George Zoritch's memoir "Ballet Mystique" in the mail, and I've already lent it out to my ballet instructor, Pam Kay Lourentzos. He certainly had an interesting career - little did I suspect his subtle influence on the rest of my life when I entered his Beginning Ballet class in the fall of 1982.

John Edwards

Of the Presidential candidates so far, only John Edwards seems to me to have the populist rhetoric down right. Under the right circumstances, he could be the neo-Jimmy-Carter of 2004 (but less out-of-synch with his party than Carter was). But Edwards' campaign has been in turmoil, with high consultant turnover (the consultants snipe that Edwards needs to get a clue, but consultants being who they are, it probably just means that Edwards insists on being in charge). And Howard Dean is sucking all the oxygen out of the air at the moment. So, we'll see: an Edwards - Dean duel could be great fun.

Actors and Their Crazy Addictions

Maybe a 12-Step Platter of Finger Foods.....