Saturday, April 09, 2005

Didn't Realize

Max's Opera Cafe closed at the end of last year! Andee Thorpe, a Max's alumnus, says it's supposed to reopen downtown, though, hopefully later this year.
Wide Load

This afternoon, I washed Cloudy the Rabbit (in anticipation of her visit to the vet this week) and also washed Sparky, and put them both out to dry in the afternoon sun. I heard a fuss in the backyard, though: it sounded like two upset blue jays spitting and hissing at a cat. Instead, it was two baby possums in distress, one in my yard and one in the yard next door, calling out for help. They had both fallen off Mama Possum, who was busy balancing on the fence top, with two of her remaining babies clinging on her back. Mama Possum was slowly pacing and turning around on the high, narrow beam of the fence top, endangering the safety her two remaining passengers.

Even though possums are a possible danger to Cloudy the Rabbit, I decided to help Mama Possum through this particular crisis. Even though I might regret my acts later, it seemed like the right thing to do. The babies looked really cute (not quite like last year's scraggly, adolescent possum).

Using a dust pan, I collected the baby possum in my yard and returned it to Mama's back, then went into the yard next door and tried to so the same with that baby possum. Baby possum lost its grip and fell again, however, this time in my yard, so I crossed back into my yard and tried again to help out, this time successfully. Then I heard another cry from next door: there was yet another baby possum in distress in the next door neighbor's yard. So, I crossed back over and put the baby back on a relieved Mama Possum. She was sure carrying a wide load: four big babies on her back, and a fifth big baby stuffed in her pouch!

By the time I left for Saturday ballet class, the back yard was a picture of bucolic bliss: wet Cloudy, miserable and suspicious, was trying to warm herself in the sun under the birch tree, and clueless Sparky, barking at phantoms, still hadn't figured out there was even one possum nearby (much less six). Mama Possum seemed to be eyeing Cloudy from the fence top, perhaps with hunger, or envy for Cloudy's carefree single life. Mama Possum was slowly changing direction yet again on the fence top (a really, really bad idea under the circumstances), and from somewhere in the yard next door, I heard again the bleating of a baby possum (presumably having fallen yet again from Mama's back).
Rafael Bonachela Interview

Oh, he's Spanish! I thought he was Italian!
A Surprise Arrest

A disturbing local story:
A 22-year-old woman who worked in the gift shop of Sacramento's Il Fornaio restaurant was arrested Wednesday in connection with a bold, midday gang slaying on Florin Road in February that highlighted a raging Asian gang war in Sacramento.

...The 5-foot-1-inch, 100-pound suspect is believed to have been the driver in the Feb. 20 shooting of a 23-year-old Marysville man who was attacked in his car at a stoplight in front of Florin Mall next to a church bus filled with children, Sacramento County sheriff's investigators said Wednesday.

As chaperones on the bus watched in horror, two men emerged from a 1997 Toyota Camry ..., skirted the bus, and shot (the victim) Pra Yang 14 times before escaping as the light turned green at Florin Road and Stockton Boulevard.
Il Fornaio restaurant is one of the poshest restaurants in downtown Sacramento. If such an unassuming person is a 'made man,' so to speak, what about everyone else you meet on a typical day in the city? Makes me want to hide under my bed!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Second Friday at Luna's

A pleasant evening at Luna's Cafe, listening to a variety of local poets. My understanding is that second Friday in April is now a tradition there, where the poets get to read selections written by their favorite poets.

I came to see Gil Rodriguez reprise Artaud, of course (Gil is my next door neighbor and Artaud is one bizarre French poet). Gil is a wonderful performance artist. Tonight Gil needed all his skills: he momentarily forgot his lines and had to improvise Artaud. He did it without apparent flaws, which is something performers have a hard time doing unless they really know their material well, which Gil does.

Jose Montoya was among the poets there (he is apparently well-known in Sacramento). Montoya asked violinist Arturo Balderrama to accompany him with a Yaqui tune. That sparked a memory from my days in Tucson, in the mid-80's.

Near I-10 in Tucson, just off W. Grant and behind the smog inspection station, there is a distinct barrio (Pascua) where many Yaqui Indians live. The Yaquis, originally from Sonora, were refugees from the Mexican Revolution, and had established the barrio on what was then the fringe of Tucson. 20th Century growth engulfed the barrio as the city limits expanded, but the place remained where it was, quite distinct. My customary jogging path ran right in-between the smog inspection station and the barrio.

One day, perhaps during Holy Week, I was jogging past the barrio when I suddenly noticed a number of Yaqui men, in full ceremonial Indian regalia, dancing in a line to the sound of tribal drums. I tried to jog past without drawing attention, but the Yaquis saw me approach. They broke their line dance, rushed up, and in full Indian dress, began jogging in an exaggerated way to the sound of the drums right beside me.

What a dramatic collision between new-fangled modern ways and ancient traditional ways! The Yaquis were mocking me! I didn't know, however, whether to be angry or to just laugh out loud! I smiled at them and continued jogging. After a while, the Yaquis broke off, and we parted ways, with a few waves and slight smiles. Certainly made an impression on me! The past lives with us still, modern city or not. May we all have the grace and the will to pass on traditional ways to the young, and from them to their young, ad infinitum! May we all mock the present!
Just Close the Blinds

Once again, a tornado passes only 4 miles away from here, and I'm unaware of its existence.

The first time was February 22nd: today is the second time. In both cases the tornado passed about four miles north of here (I'm in downtown Sacramento). KFBK radio is reporting the tornado today hit around Northgate and San Juan, just about the same neighborhood it hit in February. I'm getting worried about that neighborhood: what makes the sky gods so angry?

In February, I was working on a Saturday afternoon when the tornado passed. The lights flickered (the tornado was thrashing power lines and breaking stuff). Oblivious, I prudently saved the spreadsheet I was working on. Today, no lights flickered, so I remained unaware of any problems (I guess the power lines are still down in that neighborhood).

Afternoon heating in the Sierra foothills is promoting convection. That, and that low pressure system moving in as well. There may be more storms this evening. I promise to remain utterly inattentive to whatever is going on in the sky (unless the lights flicker, of course).
Helpful John Cornyn

Nice judicial robes there. It would be sad if anything were to happen to get such nice robes stained. Blood stains are the worst, they say. Let us help you keep your robes fresh and safe!
Celebrity Autonomy

Yesterday, Blogger was really acting acting up, and so I couldn't blog. Very frustrating. Now it's working again, and I suddenly have nothing to say. So, how's the weather?

Ballet practice yesterday in Woodland. Showers yesterday, and again today. I received my latest CD in the mail, the long-awaited critical success: "Britney Spears: Greatest Hits." Now I can listen to her most significant, insightful works. Not that they are all that significant and insightful, although there are few tunes that are nice for my inner dancer: 'Slave For U,' 'Toxic,' 'Do Something.' She's a terrible actress and mediocre singer, but a great dancer. Very popular in Iran, for some reason. She should dance some more: pouting songs about just wanting freedom, privacy, and autonomy while dealing with the demands of running a media empire tend to leave me a bit cold. A couple of weeks ago, Drudge was saying she was pregnant, then yanked the story quickly. Did he misunderstand the EPT results he picked out of her trash dumpster? Is she pregnant?

There was a funny blip in today's Bee regarding Madonna's two kids: they've been learning French in school, and now exclusively speak French to each other at home, because neither Madonna or Guy Ritchie speak a word of it. Get some autonomy and some privacy, and let their mother run the media empire. Good for them!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

I'll Stick With Coach Class, Thanks!

Human rights activists, watch your back!:
Police in Indonesia have named two new suspects in the investigation into the murder Munir Sa'id Thalib of Indonesian Commission for Missing Persons and Violence, in Jakarta.... The activist, Munir Sa'id Thalib, died on a flight to Amsterdam after ingesting a large amount of arsenic.

Munir Sa'id Thalib died in agony hours before his Garuda Indonesia airlines plane touched down in Amsterdam. According to an autopsy carried out by Dutch police, he had ingested nearly 500 milligrams of arsenic, enough poison to kill four people.

The two new suspects are both airline cabin crew: one was working in the plane's pantry and the other was the stewardess who served Mr. Munir his meal.

Police have already named a Garuda pilot as a suspect - he apparently offered his business-class seat to Mr. Munir, and there have been inconsistencies in his explanation as to why he was on the flight.

But friends and colleagues of Mr. Munir, a 38-year-old lawyer and human-rights activist who had challenged some of Indonesia's most powerful vested interests, believe that other people could have been behind the murder.
Benedict DeLay

Always willing to sell out American soldiers for cash:
And now we know, as Kevin points out, that DeLay was doing all of this as the beneficiary of largesse from the Russian security services. Taking an expensive vacation at the expense of the military of a foreign power to support America's enemies probably doesn't amount to treason under the Constitutional definition, but it comes close.
Sub-Launched Nuclear Weapons

How reliable are the W-76 warheads? Now that the land-based missiles are largely retired, the W-76 is our main nuclear warhead, but it may not be as reliable as we think:
Dr. (Richard L.) Morse (Los Alamos National Lab) specialized in scientific explanations for the complex flows that curl through the extraordinarily hot gases known as plasmas, which lie at the heart of an exploding nuclear weapon. His main goal was to help scientists develop a giant laser that, in lieu of an atomic match, would fire on a tiny radiation case surrounding an even tinier pellet of hydrogen fuel, releasing a burst of nuclear energy. Heat from such miniature hydrogen bombs was envisioned as one day being used to make electricity.

But Dr. Morse found that nature had erected tricky barriers to that goal. In particular, he documented how a form of turbulence known as Rayleigh-Taylor instability (named after the physicists Lord Rayleigh and Geoffrey Taylor) could perturb the expanding plasma of the very hot radiation case, forming waves, ripples and whorls that blocked ignition of the thermonuclear fuel. He also found that extremely small variations in the case were responsible for the onset of turbulence, making it hard to eliminate.

In 1996, Dr. Morse brought similar analyses to bear on the W-76's thin case, arguing that it would probably fail. He said that for decades, officials had swept the issue under the rug and that Mr. Cremer, the designer, had struggled with the problem.
In an interview, Dr. Morse said he was soon "disinvited" from the evaluation and left Los Alamos for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. But he added that concerns about the W-76 only grew.

Dr. Beckner (National Nuclear Security Administration) disagreed. He said the joint review found that the W-76 "looks like a pretty good weapon."

...At a secret meeting in March 2004 at Los Alamos, Dr. Morse led four critics who laid out their concerns to lab and federal officials, including Dr. Beckner. Dr. Morse characterized the discussion as acrimonious.

"It was a verbal mud-wrestling match," he recalled. The lab and federal officials "would not be candid with us. We told them things they didn't know. It was very, very disappointing."

In contrast, Dr. Beckner said the meeting and subsequent analyses left him with "high confidence that this nuclear weapon is a good design, was built properly and will function if required."

In early July, news reports in New Mexico began to describe the dispute, and the director of Los Alamos days later scheduled a secret lab symposium to review the "technical challenges" to understanding how radiation cases act in the first microseconds of a nuclear blast, according to a synopsis of the planned meeting.
As the number of news reports grew, officials denied that there was any problem with the W-76. They cited a history of detonations of the weapon at the Nevada Test Site.

In late November, the dependability issue emerged nationally as Congress approved a small budget item that began a new weapons design effort known as the Reliable Replacement Warhead program. Its goal is to have weapons scientists design a new generation of nuclear arms that are more reliable and more durable, reversing the cold war trend of making small, lightweight, powerful weapons. If possible, the effort is to proceed without nuclear testing.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Grapes of Warth Watch

And so, the joint cases were plea-bargained, and the jury sent home without being able to determine guilt or innocence "behind unreasonable doubt."

If I'm an agoraphobic Floridian, can I shoot at everyone?:
Florida's legislature has approved a bill that would give residents the right to open fire against anyone they perceive as a threat in public, instead of having to try to avoid a conflict as under prevailing law.

Outraged opponents say the law will encourage Floridians to open fire first and ask questions later, fostering a sort of statewide Wild West shootout mentality. Supporters argue that criminals will think twice if they believe they are likely to be promptly shot when they assault someone.
Candidate Adventures

From today's Wall Street Journal, regarding Ali Ghaleb, a Sunni lawyer from Tikrit, Iraq:

Mr. Ghaleb put himself up for election last year. Then he joined the opposition to the elections and resolved to withdraw, but got kidnapped and missed the deadline to remove his name from the ballot. On election day, he found himself a reluctant winner.

Big Bonuses

Big bonuses are supposed to be incentives to motivate hard work, right? So what exactly do they do for dead people?
Southern Symbols

I was amused by Diane McWhorter's story in the New York Times Magazine last Sunday, in her review of John M. Coski's history, ''The Confederate Battle Flag'':
Some years ago, I was looking into a potential elementary school for my younger child. It was a highly recommended prospect, located on the politically correct Upper West Side of Manhattan and named after one of General Sheridan's colleagues. Halfway through the school's guided tour, I decided ''no way,'' explaining to a fellow Southern mom who was there, ''Do you really think you could tell the folks back home that you're sending your child to the William Tecumseh Sherman School?''

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Science News (March 5, 2005) reports that sonoluminescence (the emission of light from collapsing bubbles in a fluid bombarded by ultrasound) may be so hot that fusion might be sustained:
Indeed the new data provide "indirect evidence" of temperatures of hundreds of thousands of degrees K inside the imploding bubbles....
That's amazing, if true!
They Are Blue, Aren't They?

I can't find my little blue pills! I can't find my little blue pills! I can find *that* but beyond that I can't find - anything at all!
The condition, known as nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), causes a rapid reduction of vision and can, in the most serious cases, lead to blindness.

Report co-author Dr Howard Pomeranz said the drug had long been linked to sight problems.

"For years, we have known some men who take Viagra will experience temporary colour changes in their vision and see things as blue or green.

"NAION is a much more serious condition because it can lead to permanent vision loss."
Breaking Wind

Regarding the recent report, "Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction," and the report's conclusion that there was no politicization of intelligence leading up to the Iraq war, Jacob Weisberg notes:
You can't see the wind either, but it still blows things over.

Josh Marshall:
Who's turning on the bug man? Call me cynical: but Drudge is playing this story awfully prominently. That makes me wonder whether a thumb at the White House that used to be turned up just turned down. More concretely, a lot of DeLay's lieutenants are now under indictment or on their way there. Eventually, you've got to figure one of them starts to squeal. You've seen Deliverance, right?

Did we lower the flag for Popes Paul and John Paul I in 1978? My memory is that we did not.
My Name is Gannon. Jeff Gannon

This is ridiculous, but it's great - missing child Johnny Gosch grows up to be - Jeff Gannon?!:
Reports the Register: "The complete concoction goes like this: Gosch was kidnapped into a pedophilia and child pornography ring that serviced the upper echelons of Washington, D.C., society. He was brainwashed by the CIA, trained to be part of a top-secret escort program. Then, he became Jeff Gannon and was given a plum job as a White House correspondent with the online conservative news service to keep him quiet. Finally, he was "uncovered" by the bloggers.

Additionally, the newspaper notes, "[Bloggers] try to link both Bush presidents to this conspiracy, prove that Hunter S. Thompson's death was not a suicide and investigate a so-called government-sponsored pedophilia operation they claim continues to abduct children."
More Pozen

Ryan Lizza at TNR weighs in on Pozen's disastrous ratchet proposal and Bush's desperation:
...the long-term effect of progressive indexing would be to turn Social Security into a welfare system and erode support for it. While there is now some wealth redistribution inherent in Social Security, there is also a relationship between how much one contributes to Social Security and the benefits one receives upon retirement, a linkage that is the linchpin of the system's near-universal support. Under the Pozen plan, benefits for high and middle earners would, over time, be drastically reduced, while benefits for low earners would hold steady. The entire benefit structure would be flattened, turning it into a wealth-transfer system from rich to poor and shattering the system's political popularity.

...Conservatives are tearing their hair out as they watch Bush negotiate with himself in public, moving from full price indexing (drastic benefit cuts) to progressive price indexing (less drastic benefit cuts) in a few months with no response from Democrats. Even worse, the private accounts in the Pozen plan are half the size of Bush's original plan, so Bush is likely to lose conservative supporters, especially in the House, by embracing Pozen. "Pozen's plan is further to the left than we need to move," says conservative activist Grover Norquist. "Plus, the other challenge is that any benefit cuts are problematic because Bush campaigned in 2000 and 2004 saying he didn't want any benefit cuts."

So why is Pozen the White House's new best friend? Because Bush is desperate. He is boxed in by his decision to make the inclusion of private accounts and the exclusion of tax increases his two nonnegotiable demands. The only real policy olive branch he can offer Democrats is on the restructuring of benefits, and it's not enough.
Good Cop, Bad Cop

Teaching them 'liberal' judges a lesson. Cornyn: good cop, a former judge, just trying to be helpful to his brethren. Bad cop: that Doberman DeLay.
Conservatism and Vicious Cycles

Economic big-think over at Smirking Chimp, regarding oil. The authors claim ex-urban growth is but a paradoxical symptom of our basic dilemma: we are addicted to petroleum! Conservatism is a natural reaction to shortage and so as petroleum gets scarce, we see a conservative trend.

But the more I think about this, the more skeptical I'm getting. It's hard to tell exactly where the circular logic fails, though. Even though the consumption of petroleum grew greatly over the 20th Century, at any specific time, there were always limits on the availability of petroleum. Nevertheless, progressives saw their influence grow at the expense of conservatives during the first two-thirds of the 20th Century.

The Depression was caused in large measure to the failure of consumption to keep pace with production. That may be the cause of a future Depression in the U.S.: the middle class is being systematically starved of wage increases commensurate to its production, with wealth gravitating towards the top. It may be that the circular logic fails with the need to grant tax cuts to the rich: that grant only slows, doesn't stop, the process of progressive indebtedness to foreigners, and losing control over the American economy's destiny. I don't think the gang currently in power cares much about the nationality of ownership. Just so long as they are rich!

Nevertheless, here are some selections from an interesting reading:
The competition is not over scarce energy in itself, but over a particular form of energy which can be used to substitute for everything else. There is nothing in this world that one cannot get more cheaply by using more oil to get it ... Americans moved to the suburbs because it was cheaper to drive farther than to work through the problems of urbanization, and one could get a larger house with a larger yard in the bargain. As long as it was cheaper to pay rent to Saudi Arabia for the oil ... people chose to pay rent to OPEC rather than taxes to the government....

But what happens when America buys energy? What does that trade deficit mean? This is the second step of the vicious circle: while many nations sell some energy, a few nations export energy, but import virtually nothing. ... (Oil) profits, rather than going into developing Saudi Arabia, are poured back into the US.

The reason oil causes a particular problem in the world economy is that one can make huge profits in an oil economy, without having the entire superstructure of a cosmopolitan, entrepreneurial, liberal and technological society around it. One cannot manufacture cars, develop technology or develop medicines without a large population of educated people, but one can run an oil economy with a relatively small core of people, many of whom can be imported....This means the trade deficit creates an investment deficit: the US takes in more investment from the rest of the world than it sends out to the rest of the world.

However, with investment pouring in from nations where the investors are also the government, more and more control over the US economy at its highest levels is in the hands of the wealthy of nations like Saudi Arabia. Should they chose to pull their wealth from the US, or even simply stop rolling over their financing, the result would be a rapid drop in the value of US stocks and assets.... To prevent investors in these countries from gaining control, the developed world, and particularly the US, is forced down a particular path: it must cut taxes on our wealthy, so that they match the taxes on the wealthy of Saudi Arabia. The "race to the bottom" starts at the top. This cutting of revenues is what drives the US budget deficit: without the reduction in revenues from upper-bracket tax rates being lowered, and without the interest on the National debt, there is no financial crisis. This means that the trade deficit, combined with the nature of a few energy exporting states, creates the budget deficit.

The money then comes back to the United States at the top of the economy - in the purchase of financial stocks primarily - and then filters downward. This "top down economy," called "trickle down economics," means that America cannot invest in getting out of the energy trap, because the very people who hold the purse strings have no interest in ending it. The only way to slow the process is by, as you should guess, holding real wages flat, because if people earn more, they burn more oil, and make the trade deficit worse.

The reason Reaganomics was put in place then, and remained in place even after the Democrats took back both the Congress and, by 1992, the Presidency, is that no single point on the circle could be broken: raise real wages, and the trade deficit gets worse, raise tax rates by enough to rapidly wipe out the deficit, and face the prospect of foreign ownership of the "commanding heights" of the American economy. Instead of finding a way off of the dependence on foreign oil, and instead of untangling money from oil, Reaganomics used cuts in capital gains taxes and upper-income marginal income tax rates, and the increase in FICA taxes as a regressive tax to reduce consumption as a way of allowing foreign investment to pour into America. The cost was that wages would have to stay flat in real terms, and that corporations and stock wealth would have to grow almost without limit.

This means that the reason Reagan won, and gradually pulled the media and much of the public mood behind him, was that in a world which is zero sum - and the amount of oil being the basis of profit meant it was zero sum - people become conservative, grasping at whatever bits of their bundle of ultimate scarcity they hold. It meant that allowing the rich to become richer was essential to keep America under the control of Americans. It meant that corporations had to be allowed to become larger and larger, so that they were harder and harder to hold accountable through political means. It also created another vicious circle: Americans had more and more of their wealth in their homes, which created more pressure for sprawl, which, in turn, created more and more demand that gasoline prices remain low, so that people could trade cheap energy to pay less for expensive land.

The process became a vicious circle because larger and larger corporations with more and more wealth at the top became the dominant political force. Natural selection of a political kind took over: attempts to change one of these features of the economy met with disaster. Raise wages, and inflation returned; raise taxes, and autonomy was threatened; cut oil consumption, and other nations would consume more oil to sell to the United States. In other words, progressivism ebbed because there seemed to be no single point of attack that did not involve a dramatic energy austerity, and the resulting reduction in American standards of living....

The vicious cycle is this: that a cheap energy deficit created a trade deficit, creating an investment deficit, which then created the political pressure for a wages and wealth deficit, which, in turn, made the cheap energy deficit worse, and even more political pressure for even more inequality of wealth and to keep the one lever Americans still had - the ability to drive further to keep costs down, since they could no longer strike or organize to raise real wages. This started the cycle all over again. This is the key to the move to the right - by creating an economy which is determined by the scarcity of one commodity: oil, and a money system which bends around the dynamics of that one commodity, an environment is fostered in which people think as conservatives first.
Terror-Alert Van

I saw a lot of these vans during the gubernatorial race. A lot of good they did keeping us safe from steroid extremists.
Painted red, white, and blue, the TerrorFirst! van is the first mobile unit devoted to monitoring terrorist threats on a local level. The van is equipped with live satellite feeds to and from the Fox News channel, a fax machine prepared to receive alerts from the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, an English-Arabic phrase book for translating any intercepted al-Qaeda correspondence, and a field-issue anthrax-detection kit.

"In a minute's notice, the van can be completely prepped, on the road, and speeding toward any site of terrorist activity within the WMFB broadcast area," Bogert said. "Assuming two attacks don't happen concurrently, of course."

According to Bogert, the TerrorFirst! van features a rooftop satellite dish, a diesel-powered generator in case terrorists take down the Tennessee power grid, emergency snow chains for use in the event of a nuclear winter, a supply of promotional "Fox 11 News...Looking Out For You" T-shirts and bumper stickers, and a gun rack. The van is outfitted with several state-of-the-art monitoring systems, as well.

"TerrorDoppler can detect a dirty-bomb detonation of any significant magnitude from up to 40 miles away," Bogert said. "The van can transmit a map of contaminated areas to the station for broadcast. That way, Fox 11 viewers gain valuable minutes—time which could be used to plan escape routes, call loved ones, and gather survival supplies."

Monday, April 04, 2005

Light Years Away

Just beginning the planning process. I was alarmed today to discover that almost all of Kylie's Australian Tour tickets have already been sold:
West Australian fans proved just how much they loved Kylie earlier this year when three Perth concerts sold out in a matter of hours. As a fourth show in Perth isn't possible, Kylie's management and promoter have been in talks determining whether seats could be added to the existing shows to meet the demand for more tickets. It looks like it worked, because an additional section of tickets will be released for Kylie's first Perth concert at the Burswood Dome on Sunday, June 12.
But what if I can't make that concert?

If you shouldn't be so lucky, then you should try your hand winning a Willy Wonka-style golden ticket. Festival Mushroom Records have weaved a lot of magic and have confirmed a national 'find the golden ticket' (read: peel a sticker off the cover of the single which reveals a unique code that you enter into a ninemsn database) competition where anyone who buys Giving You Up in its first week of release (from April 10-16 only) gets the chance to sit front row at one of Kylie's Australian Showgirl shows! There are five double passes hidden... so happy hunting!
That's ridiculous! I'm not going to buy every CD-single in Australia next week hoping to get lucky! Nevertheless, in response to heavy demand, new shows HAVE been squeezed into her itinerary:

True to past form, Kylie has sold out another Showgirl concert at astonishing speed. A fifth Melbourne concert went on sale this morning at 9.00am with all tickets snapped up in just two hours.

In response to the continued demand for tickets, Kylie has agreed to celebrate her birthday with her fans with one final Melbourne concert on Saturday 28 May. ...Kylie said; "I can’t think of a more appropriate way to spend my birthday than at home in Melbourne doing what I love best. I’m enjoying the Showgirl tour so much and I’d love to share this special day with my fans in Melbourne."

Promoter Michael Gudinski said; "Kylie’s Showgirl tour is already one big party from start to finish, so it seems fitting that Kylie is prepared to perform on her birthday. This will be an unforgettable night for her Melbourne fans."

The sixth Melbourne concert will absolutely be the last chance for fans to see Kylie in Melbourne on the Showgirl tour. So get your party shoes on and secure your tickets now.
So, I made a stab at the newly-announced third show in Brisbane Queensland, on Australia's fabled 'Gold Coast', north of Sydney, on Monday June 6th (which works out to June 5th on this side of the International Date Line). I secured one "Gold" ticket:
Kylie announced the European leg of her tour in 2004 and the tour exploded from the original dates to a thirty-five date run. Ticketing websites and booking agencies went into meltdown as the systems literally couldn't meet the demand for tickets.

...An enormous AUS$3 million stage will be especially shipped from the UK for the Australian tour.

And while no money will be spared in the production of the tour (staging of Show Girl will exceed the AUS$10 million cost of the Fever tour), Kylie is adamant the costs won't subsequently hit the wallets of her fans.

After a number of discussions with promoter Michael Gudinski, it was decided to keep ticket prices exactly the same as her 2002 Fever tour.

Michael Gudinski said the decision is illustrative of Kylie's long term dedication to her fans.

"Kylie wanted to ensure that her Show Girl ticket prices were kept as reasonable as possible.

"This is an enormously spectacular show, which will cost a fortune to stage, but Kylie's decision from day one was to keep the prices as they were on her last tour."
The Brisbane Entertainment Centre (BEC), built in 1986, sounds like a nice place: smaller than ARCO Arena's 17,317 seats.
The Brisbane Entertainment Centre is Queensland’s premier entertainment and meeting facility and was purpose built to accommodate the most complex events, from an intimate setting of 500 people up to a maximum of 13,500 for the grandest extravaganzas and international conferences.
Now the hard part - getting time off work and plane tickets and lodging! (Oh yeah, and unloading those silly Irish tickets!) Fun facts about the tour:
The show represents Kylie's finest moments in music, performance and style and is an homage to the showgirl, one of the most exotic, decadent and sensual icons of our times. Inspiration has come from the Moulin Rouge to the Folies Bergere, from the Doris Girls of the Paris Lido to the entertainment palaces of Las Vegas, from the underground burlesque bars of Soho to the Busby Berkeley musicals of the thirties. Kylie's show pays tribute to the showgirl in all her forms and guises. It also amalgamates the strengths of Kylie's past three major tours - the intimacy of 'Intimate and Live', the celebratory aspects of 'On A Night Like This' and the technological futurism of 'Fever'.

Kylie recently admitted that the scale of this tour came home to her when she realised the amount of trucks it would take to get the show from one city/country to the next - this show needs 15 trucks to ferry it around, including half of a truck devoted solely to feathers!

The show is so huge that it needs well over 100 people to get it on the road. The million pound, art deco inspired stage is believed to be the biggest ever built for an arena tour and features 5 hydraulic lifts within its construction. Like Kylie's 2002 Fever tour, Showgirl pushes the technological boundaries, using innovative technology in video, lighting and sound. At each venue the trucks will start unloading at 7am to have the show ready for 9pm.

Onstage with Kylie will be 7 band members and 12 dancers.
Here's a nice picture (via Bogs Doddy, from this site):

Thinking About Australia

Thinking? Thinking! I was alarmed when I saw my first Web page of plane fares, but the Australian Dollar is currently worth about 77 American cents, so the impact won't be as bad as I first thought. But are Kylie concert tickets available? Maybe I should go to Perth - what looks like the back of the outback to this naive Californian!
Looking Forward...

Interesting poetry reading next Friday night at Luna's Cafe. My literary next-door neighbor, Gil Rodriguez, has some interesting things planned, including, among other things, more Artaud, the semi-psychotic post-WWII French poet widely - and understandably - derided in his lifetime, but whose poetry functions much better as performance art.

To my unpracticed eye, having once seen Gil perform Artaud with his Und Heimlich group, it looks like Artaud the Poet missed his true calling, perhaps on Cable-TV's Comedy Central: like Lewis Black on acid. Gil has teased out what works best in Artaud's highly-conflicted mess of a legacy. Keep the date in mind: Gil's approach is excellent and intriguing!

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Boy, that was an abrupt rain-soaked frontal passage this evening! Reminds you of what spring is supposed to be all about. April showers, May flowers, and all that. Just wish I had put away my tools!
Damaged Goods

Digby makes the point that the conservative world-view was damaged by the Schiavo matter. Once a week, I see a conservative lawyer of my acquaintance, and we chat briefly. He was livid about the Schiavo matter. The gap between FOX News and the Constitution was too great to bridge.
For instance, a conservative doctor of my acquaintance was stunned by the Schiavo matter. This man watches nothing but Fox news and could not believe the anti-intellectual religiosity of their coverage. This is a matter that he knows intimately and he could see clearly that the coverage wasn't "fair and balanced." Indeed, it wasn't true. It's as if a veil fell from his eyes.

My conservative Rush loving neighbor was heard complaining the his hero didn't know what he was talking about on the Schiavo case. That is a first. This guy is a true believer --- who also has a very sick wife.

My nurse sister-in-law (also a born again Christian and avid FOX watcher) insisted that all the news be turned off in the house because she couldn't stand the exploitation of the patient or the sideshow outside that hospice. She's very depressed about all this.

See, the right isn't like us. They think that the so called liberal media is irretrievably biased but believe what they see, read and hear on their own media. We on the left, on the other hand, have no faith in any mainstream media, really, or any alternative media either for that matter. We have developed the habit of culling from various sources and analyzing the information ourselves as best we can. Even then we are very skeptical. Nothing that the media could do would particularly shock or disappoint us. No so with the other side. A fair number of them are actually hurt and bewildered by what they saw in the Schiavo matter.
The President

Cases the joint.
An Arrest

In the Arellano case.