Saturday, April 30, 2005

Picture Day!

Woodland Dance Academy prepares for "Coppelia":

J.P. Villa (Dr. Coppelius) and Leah Miller (Swanhilda)

Lisa Marie Miramontes, Bridget Moore, Melissa Lopez, and Leah Miller

Megan Jackson (Arabian)

Demetra Simotas (Jester)

Picture Day means lots of waiting. Wearing her mantilla, and comfortable amongst the stuffed animals, Ruth Krabacher reads "Dear Dumb Diary: Let's Pretend This Never Happened," by Jim Benton (aka Jamie Kelly).

Friday, April 29, 2005

Clueless House

Bill Thomas is walking right into a trap. The Social Security debate has been focused on the Senate, because that's where the votes will be the closest. House hotheads are worried about next year's elections, though, and they've decided to proceed without the Senate. They are like rabbits who panic at the sight of an approaching car. And with Bush embracing big Social Security cuts with the Pozen plan too! Very bad error! They'll be decimated at the polls in November, 2006!
After months of little evident progress on the issue, House Republicans said they intended to have legislation before the Ways and Means Committee by June. "It won't just be a Social Security bill. It will be a retirement bill," said Rep. Bill Thomas, the chairman.
Missing Falcon

Keep on the lookout:
Douglas Bell knew his peregrine falcon might soar over ranchers' fields in Yolo County and never return. Still, he released the bird, Grommet, to hunt last summer, only to discover Wednesday that the falcon had fallen prey to a thief in Bell's east Sacramento backyard.

Bell, a professor of biology at California State University, Sacramento, is now consumed by his search for the 6-year-old raptor, and concern for his welfare.

Aside from a hand-fed diet of pigeon and quail, falcons need special care, Bell said.

"Otherwise, you could traumatize them mentally," he said.

...Bell arrived home at 64th Street near Elvas Avenue to find Grommet's mews (the proper name for a falcon shed) broken into on Wednesday. He said the padlock had apparently been pried open with a crowbar.

"I was ... quite upset, largely because this is probably the worst thing to happen, to have the bird stolen by someone who doesn't know how to care for it," he said.

Bell said cooked meat or beef could be hazardous to Grommet's health, and his talons could be hazardous to his captor.

...The Sacramento Police Department can be reached at (916) 433-0650. Bell can be reached at the CSUS biology department at (916) 278-6535 or dbell
"The Scream"...

The Munch masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna" have been incinerated, according to newspaper Dagbladet, citing criminal sources and a top secret police report.

The paper claimed Thursday that the paintings were destroyed in order to get rid of damning evidence as the police investigation closes in on the culprits behind the robbery.
Nucular Fallout

Frist is doing badly, so far:
Indeed, probably the most damaging result of Frist’s strategic clumsiness and political pandering is that he has so often managed to bring out into the open the degree to which Republicans do not (and cannot) actually deliver for their religious-right base. A skilled Republican leader -- think of the president -- obscures the fact that GOP political success depends on never achieving anything for the constituency that provides the party its electoral muscle. Frist telegraphs it.
No Justice

The architects of the Abu Ghraib scandal escape scot-free:
Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the Army officers under whose command these abuses occurred, and who appear to have encouraged and abetted them, have evaded any sanctions whatsoever. Indeed, Sanchez was publicly praised the other day by Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while Rumsfeld looked on benignly. Miller, who is strongly suspected of taking the abusive interrogation techniques from Gitmo to Abu Ghraib, has likewise escaped without so much as a scolding.
Great Interview...

by Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia:
Except for the religious fundamentalists, most of the hardcore Republicans have incomes over $90,000. I don’t think it’s the taxation system that bothers them, it’s the safety net. They believe in survival of the fullest. The people who are best off in this society are the ones who have been the beneficiaries of all of their policies. And now if they can get people to invest in—the more money you put into the stock market, the higher the average value, [the more] it accrues to the owners of our society. The people who have enough means to own stock, to own the means of production.

I think the Social Security thing is all about ideology. It’s certainly not about fiscal responsibility. If he wanted to get us excited about a crisis, he’d talk about healthcare, and how Medicare is actually going bankrupt, and how 45 million people don’t have healthinsurance.
Do Something!

I just know, in the shadow of great disaster, that I might just freeze. Many examples are available to illustrate the phenomenon, such as when those two jumbo jets collided on the runway in the Canary Islands in 1977:
Floy Heck, then 70, was sitting on the Pan Am jet between her husband and her friends, en route from their California retirement residence to a Mediterranean cruise. After the KLM jet sheared off the top of their plane, Heck could not speak or move. "My mind was almost blank. I didn't even hear what was going on," she told an Orange County Register reporter years later. But her husband Paul Heck, 65, reacted immediately. He ordered his wife to get off the plane. She followed him through the smoke "like a zombie," she said. Just before they jumped out of a hole in the left side of the craft, she looked back at her friend Lorraine Larson, who was just sitting there, looking straight ahead, her mouth slightly open, hands folded in her lap. Like dozens of others, she would die not from the collision but from the fire that came afterward.
Midtown Athletic Club to Close

Well, that sucks! According to the Spare-Time corporate lingo, Midtown isn't "state of the art" anymore. Even though they just did some remodeling. Apparently their new facility in El Dorado Hills is "state of the art" (or at least appeals to a higher-income bracket). Nothing like money to make even the worst dive "state of the art!"

Well, fine! I'll pick up my sweat rags and go somewhere else!
More Tales of Sacramento at Night

The young deaf-mute woman walked nearly two miles, from "Faces" to the "AM-PM." She was hungry, tired, had no money, and was miles from home. Ferreting out enough information regarding where she lived was difficult. From various clues she wrote down (e.g. "DeptHome"), and various gestures (the address on her driver's license was apparently obsolete, but suggested a neighborhood), I eventually puzzled out that she probably lived near the intersection of Manzanita & Madison, in Carmichael.

I wanted to drive the woman out to Carmichael and get her home, but B., the AM-PM clerk was dubious about the idea. There were too many things that could go wrong. What if the woman was providing false or incomplete information? What if I dropped the woman off in Carmichael, only to have her come to harm? Instead, B. called the police.

I left, to finish walking my dog Sparky. I later learned that the home address the woman was providing was not correct: the street name didn't exist. Using their own, more-comprehensive resources, the police were able to perform a reverse-address check on the phone number and rouse her roommates with a call. Last I knew, the police were going to take the woman home.

A lot of unanswered questions: how did she she travel to "Faces?" Why did she leave? Why was she so fuzzy about where she lived? Didn't she have any friends or family members who could help? But at least she didn't come to any harm, and that's the most important thing.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Fusion Stirrings

There has been a lot of new work lately on desktop experiments to generate small amounts of nuclear fusion. I wish these folks all the best - it would change life in a fundamental way if it could be made to work on a day-to-day basis.

Pyroelectric devices can be used to create an intense electric field that, in turn, generates a plasma where fusion can occur.

In the UCLA experiment, scientists placed a tiny crystal (of lithium tantalate) that can generate a strong electric field into a vacuum chamber filled with deuterium gas, a form of hydrogen capable of fusion. Then the researchers activated the crystal by heating it.

The resulting electric field created a beam of charged deuterium atoms that struck a nearby target, which was embedded with yet more deuterium. When some of the deuterium atoms in the beam collided with their counterparts in the target, they fused.
And, of course, sonoluminescence has come under greater scrutiny than ever as a way of generating the high temperatures required for fusion (sonofusion).
As soon as Satterwhite pokes the source near the glass cell, the liquid inside starts to sizzle and ping. It sounds something like a pan of water on the stove beginning to boil. The neutrons flying off of the source are tearing very small, almost microscopic, holes in the liquid, or “cavitating” it in the language of the physicists. You can see bubbles appear, flickering around the inside of the jar, most of them concentrated in the center of the liquid, where the sound waves are focused.

The bubbles pop and form, pop and form, over and over again, at 60 kilohertz. Each time, an acoustic wave is ripping the liquid open and then collapsing bubbles even more violently. Imagine smacking a piece of bubble wrap with a hammer. Now imagine hundreds of tiny spherical pistons, hammering away.

What happens inside the bubbles when they collapse still is somewhat mysterious to scientists. But Tessien thinks that the imploding bubbles follow some pretty well-understood physical laws. When gasses are compressed, they heat up. And when a vapor gets hot enough, it glows and gives off heat. In a sonofusion reactor, the gas inside these bubbles is being compressed so violently that it sometimes gives off the tiniest of sparks.
These approaches are different than "cold fusion," which was promoted prematurely by the publicity-conscious University of Utah (a few months before I arrived there, in 1989), leading to embarrassment and a massive loss of reputation.

I wonder if sonofusion and pyroelectrics could be combined? Bubbles trapped in solutions sealed within glass-enclosed squibs suspended between pyroelectric filaments? Hmmm...
Make Blair Pay

Welcome campaign news:

In an about-face, Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday published the full text of the advice he received on the legitimacy of the Iraq war, as he tried to defuse a dispute that has derailed his re-election strategy just one week before British elections.

Parts of the 13-page document, written by Lord Goldsmith, Britain's attorney general, on March 7, 2003, were made public Wednesday by the BBC and Channel 4, prompting a new furor about whether Mr. Blair misled the nation by depicting the war as unequivocally lawful.

The full document showed that while Lord Goldsmith said in public on March 17, 2003, that the imminent invasion of Iraq was unambiguously legal, the private advice he gave to Mr. Blair 10 days earlier showed far greater concerns about the legal consequences of going to war.

..."But regime change cannot be the objective of military action," it concluded. "This should be borne in mind in considering the list of military targets and making public statements about any campaign."

Mr. Blair portrayed the war's objective as disarming Mr. Hussein of chemical and biological weapons, an argument that brought him severe criticism when no banned weapons were found in Iraq after the invasion.

...Michael Howard, the Conservative Party leader, said, "If you can't trust Mr. Blair on the decision to take the country to war - the most important decision a prime minister can take - how can you trust Mr. Blair on anything else ever again?"

And Charles Kennedy, the head of the Liberal Democrats - the only one of the three mainstream parties to oppose the invasion - declared, "This is not a damp squib for those who have lost loved ones in the service of the British armed forces or for the families of thousands of Iraqi innocents who have been killed."

...In the document, Lord Goldsmith wrote that since the cease-fire terms ending the first Iraqi war in 1991 had been set by the Security Council, Britain believed "it is for the Council to assess whether any such breach of those obligations has occurred."

Lord Goldsmith further wrote that the United States had "a rather different view: they maintain that the fact of whether Iraq is in breach is a matter of objective fact which may therefore by assessed by individual member states."

"I am not aware of any other state which supports this view," he added.

Liberal's Dilemma

Excellent cartoon, suggested by Old Hippies:

Woodpecker, Wherefore Art Thou?

This would be great, if true:
The ivory-billed woodpecker, a striking bird that once flourished in the forests of the Southeast but was thought to have become extinct, has reportedly been sighted in eastern Arkansas, a Cornell University researcher says in a paper released Thursday.
Musclebound Into The Sunset?

A friend makes a prediction:
Looks like Arnold's popularity is slipping pretty badly. He's probably starting to look at the electorate in the same way that his character did in "Kindergarten Cop" -- "They're horrible!". I'm going to go out on a limb here, and make a prediction: He won't run for re-election. As an actor he craves adulation, which he surely is no longer getting! (It's Jesse Ventura, Hollywood style.)!
I reply: Yes, but Arnold's also captivated by the Great Man myth of history. It would wound his pride too much to admit defeat (same with G.W. Bush, as a matter of fact).

No, Arnold will run! I can't imagine him not!

(It will be interesting to see which of us is right!)
Kylie's Waist

An odd topic of controversy - she denies her waist is 16" - which is good, since she'd be a Cirque d' Soleil preteen freak of nature if it was. I just hope the corset is comfortable and aids her singing. And how is the corset made? And what happens if it breaks down on stage? And did it really cost thousands of pounds? And why don't women wear corsets more often these days?
Mt. Hood

Well, shoot, my story this week didn't meet B3ta's demanding standards of juvenility.

I tried a more juvenile offering as well, but that also failed to fly. The more juvenile tale occurred during my penniless second visit to Las Vegas, in the summer of 1980.

I still think my main offering is an interesting story, however, so I reproduce it here. These events transpired on or about August 1, 1974, on a 6500-mile, month-long odyssey that several of us high school friends put together, after high-school graduation. Our intention was to explore the rugged wild lands of the West (and SW Canada) before we entered college:

Slip Slidin' Away
My friend suggested climbing snowcapped Mt. Hood, Oregon, U.S., and I eagerly agreed. I had heard they recommended climbing up and back before NOON in summertime, but didn't understand why. I also thought it was a bit nannyish about everyone using crampons and ice axes: my bamboo pole and hiking shoes were up to the task!

Turns out, the surface snow melts as the day gets longer. And it was very steep near the top. We reached the peak at about 4 p.m., and the snow was now amazingly slippery.

Heading into the sunset, my friend sat on his ass and slid downhill, stopping with the aid of his ice axe. I tried the same with my ineffectual bamboo pole, lost control, and crashed hard into my friend.

Now I was scared. There was a sharp cliff immediately below us, leading into a crevasse, or "bergschrund," and I was going to die. My friend had absorbed my impact and had saved my life. I immediately called him every foul name I could think of (for having suggested the hike, not for saving my life). A panicky young death is not a pretty death!

After more scary sliding experiments that brought us closer to the brink, I discovered I could roll over, hug the snow, and stop on my own. And I could take tiny baby steps downhill. After an eternity, we got out of there. I apologized to my friend: I would have kissed him, except our tongues and lips were now all sunburnt from the panting and cursing, and neither of us needed more pain.

Evil place: Here is a particularly horrible accident, from 2002, at exactly the same location.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Wynn's Win

Steve Wynn's new project is open!:
For five years, casino developer Steve Wynn has labored over his latest creation, the $2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas, forbidding photographs of the interior and keeping most of its design aspects secret.

The wait to see Wynn's much-hyped design was ending early Thursday as the towering, bronze glass hotel-casino with 2,700 rooms made its official debut, perhaps bringing with it a new era of architecture that could reshape the city.
Oh no! More reasons to visit Vegas!
...Ultimately, the public will pass judgment on Wynn's curvy property, but a tour of Wynn Las Vegas reveals an intriguing design that differs in many ways from his previous hotel-casinos such as the Bellagio, The Mirage and Treasure Island.

...Along with Wynn Las Vegas, the gambling tycoon is building Encore, an adjacent $1.4 billion hotel-casino scheduled to open in 2008. Wynn is also erecting a $700 million casino in Macau and is bidding on one in Singapore.

....While the days of dark, smoky casinos have long passed, Wynn has finally taken full advantage of the sun that illuminates this desert valley. Light pours into many of its spaces, providing a sense of openness.

Vibrant and distinct colors are everywhere from the powerful red carpets with purple and green to the chocolate-brown ceilings.

Wynn Las Vegas, located on the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip, also embraces nature. He has built an atrium that connects the property's two main entrances filled with an array of mums and orchids. His restaurant, Okada, boasts an authentic Japanese garden with a pond teeming with vegetation found traditionally in Asia.

Other restaurants have patios facing a "Lake of Dreams," a watery area hidden behind a mountain of evergreen trees.
Sounds really interesting! I'm glad to hear about the space. One thing I never liked about The Mirage is the claustrophobic feeling one gets in the casino, which occurs because you can see very far horizontally, but not vertically. You feel like an insect under a hammer.
Wynn is counting on the restaurants to help generate a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue. He has landed top-notch chefs to work behind the stove instead of courting celebrity chefs more interested in television shows and cookbook signings than their cuisine.

Elizabeth Blau, Wynn's executive vice president of restaurant marketing and development, said the food will live up to the hype, surpassing anything she and Wynn did at the Bellagio.

The restaurants, she said, will make a "giant statement."
Smart move! The "cultcha" of Las Vegas has really advanced over the last decade.
Perhaps most striking about Wynn Las Vegas is that the traditional casino layout has been scuttled. The casino is no longer centerstage, dominating a visitor's attention and wallet. Many of the high-end restaurants and upscale shops like Louis Vuitton and a Ferrari-Maserati dealership can be reached without traversing the casino floor.

The place also feels deceptively small. Getting from one end to the other isn't like trekking across Caesars Palace or MGM Grand. But this isn't a boutique hotel, either. People clutching maps still had to ask for directions.

But the real switch for Wynn this time around, more than 15 years after he opened The Mirage, is what he has done with his name.

"This is the launching of a brand," Kramer said.

Wynn is omnipresent. His name is on the casino's parapet, the two marquees and slot machines. He has a slew of stores, carrying Wynn clothes, Wynn china and Wynn home furnishings.
If anyone can make this massive project work, Wynn can! Flamboyant showman, rich as Croesus, determined and energetic, appreciative of art, and smart!
Popping Amphibians

And the scientists who study them.

And now, perhaps an explanation:
"The crows are clever," said Frank Mutschmann, a Berlin veterinarian who collected and tested specimens at the Hamburg pond. "They learn quickly from watching other crows how to get the livers."

...Based on the wounds, Mutschmann said, it appears that a bird pecks into the toad with its beak between the amphibian's chest and abdominal cavity, and the toad puffs itself up as a natural defense mechanism.

But, because the liver is missing and there's a hole in the toad's body, the blood vessels and lungs burst and the other organs ooze out, he said.

...There have also been reports of exploded toads in a pond near Laasby in central Jutland in Denmark.

Local environmental workers in Hamburg have described it as a scene out of a horror or science fiction movie, with the bloated frogs agonizing and twitching for several minutes, inflating like a balloon before suddenly bursting.
Assassination Jokes

Everyone agrees joking about presidential assassinations is in bad taste. Jokes can dangerous and provocative too. But illegal? What about all the conservatives that joked about doing Clinton in over the years? Most of those guys are pretty sleek these days (From Drudge):
The red-hot rhetoric over Social Security on liberal talkradio network AIR AMERICA has caught the attention of the Secret Service, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Government officials are reviewing a skit which aired on the network Monday evening -- a skit featuring an apparent gunshot warning to the president!

The announcer: "A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little bastard. [audio of gun being cocked].

"The audio production at the center of the controversy aired during opening minutes of The Randi Rhodes Show.

"What is with all the killing?" Rhodes said, laughing, after the clip aired.

"Even joking about shooting the president is a crime, let alone doing it on national radio... we are taking this very seriously," a government source explained.

An Air America official tells Billboard Radio Monitor that they have no comment and are conducting their own internal investigation.
I'm sure there is a joke in here somewhere, but since it's probably a federal crime punishable with a stint in Guantanamo, I'll refrain - for now!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Bolton Spies!

So John Bolton was spying on N.M. Governor (and former Clinton Energy Secretary) Bill Richardson? Why, on God's Earth? Richardson's been scrupulous about making all his North Korean diplomatic contacts known to the Administration (North Korea favors Richardson as an interlocutor, however, because he is about as far from the current center of power as possible, while still being part of the American power structure. Plus, he's pretty affable.)

I have never seen the Australian soap opera, Neighbours, and this list of major events during the program's life tells me more than I ever wanted to know. I must at least remember that breathless Australian soap opera stars, tossed as they are from pillar to post, seem to have trouble avoiding falling over cliffs:
  • 1985 - The first episode involving Des Clarke's bachelor party.
  • 1986 - Clive Gibbons doing an emergency tracheotomy on Lucy Robinson after she was stung by a wasp.
  • 1987 - Charlene and Scott's wedding with cameo appearance by Angry Anderson.
  • 1988 - Daphne waking from her coma and uttering the immortal line "I love you too, Clarkey" to her husband Des, before dying of her injuries.
  • 1989 - Madge Bishop and Harold Bishop winning the Lottery.
  • 1990 - Kerry Bishop getting shot by a duck hunter.
  • 1991 - Harold Bishop disappearing off a cliff into the ocean.
  • 1992 - Todd Landers hit by a car and killed as he rushed to stop his pregnant girlfriend Pheobe from having an abortion.
  • 1993 - Jim Robinson's Heart Attack.
  • 1993 - The Waterhole explosion.
  • 1994 - Julie Martin falling off a tower and dying during the Murder Mystery Weekend.
  • 1994 - Mark Gottlieb jilting Annalise Hartman at the altar and telling her that he has decided to become a priest.
  • 1995 - Mark Gottlieb discovering Lucy Robinson working as a go-go dancer.
  • 1995 - Susan confessing to Brett Stark, whilst in Africa, that she performed Euthanasia on her mother.
  • 1996 - Helen discovering Harold Bishop alive when he had been presumed dead for five years.
  • 1996 - Cody Willis being shot by drug dealers.
  • 1996 - Cheryl Stark getting knocked over by a car and Karl Kennedy giving her the wrong injection which killed her.
  • 1997 - Helen Daniels dying in her sleep after twelve years on the show.
  • 1997 - Ben Atkins race car crashing and bursting into flames.
  • 1998 - Susan slapping Karl after finding out about his affair with Sarah Beaumont.
  • 1998 - Joel Samuels' leg being trapped under a ute, with the water level rapidly rising around him.
  • 1999 - Sarah Beaumont's wedding to Peter Hannay, in which her and Karl share one last passionate kiss.
  • 1999 - The Scully house catching fire at the Millennium Eve party, with Lolly Carpenter trapped inside.
  • 2000 - Steph Scully and Libby Kennedy having a serious accident on Steph's motorcycle.
  • 2001 - Madge Bishop's death, after suffering from pancreatic cancer.
  • 2001 - Whilst being trapped in a stable in Oakey, Libby Kennedy going into labour with Ben.
  • 2002 - Rosie Hoyland's church catching fire, with her and Lou trapped inside.
  • 2002 - Drew Kirk's death, after being thrown from a horse.
  • 2003 - Darcy gets arrested for robbing the Kennedys and knocking over a pregnant Lyn.
  • 2003 - Dee Rebecchi disappearing off a cliff after her wedding.
  • 2004 - Susan exploding at Karl after she found out he and Izzy were having a baby, and the rest of the street witnessing it.
  • 2004 - The Lassiter's explosion, in which the Coffee Shop, Lou's Place and the Doctors Surgery were all destroyed and Paul Robinson's return to the show during the chaos of the explosion.
  • 2005 - Steph Hoyland is incriminated for the death of her grandfather, Charlie Cassidy.
  • 2005 - Boyd Hoyland is believed to have murdered the father of Izzy's baby, Gus Cleary.
  • 2005 - Izzy finally pushes Karl to breaking point - Karl almost dies from a heart attack on a lonely country road, but is taken to hospital and survives.
  • 2005 - Boyd Hoyland is diagnosed with a big brain tumour.

...about interfering with the natural order of things, in order to advance scientific understanding:
Marina Bai, a Russian astrologist, filed a lawsuit last month with the Presnensky district court in Moscow, demanding that the U.S. space agency call off its $311 million Deep Impact mission. As reported in, Bai is also asking for 8.7 billion rubles ($311 million) in compensation for moral damages.

“The actions of NASA infringe upon my system of spiritual and life values, in particular on the values of every element of creation, upon the unacceptability of barbarically interfering with the natural life of the universe, and the violation of the natural balance of the Universe,” Bai said in her claim.

Deep Impact, which is already in space, is scheduled to collide with Comet 9P/Tempel 1 on July 4th of this year. The spacecraft will be used to dig out a crater in the comet. Scientists will then hope to learn what a typical comet is made of.

The district court dismissed the Bai’s case, but the Moscow City Court took up the appeal and will rule following a hearing scheduled for May 6.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Just Shut Up And Dance

Noel noticed that World Dance Day (April 29th) is almost here. In 2002, Professor Alkis Raftis (President of the International Dance Council, or CID) elaborated his philosophy of dance in his World Dance Day message. I don't know if something was lost in translation, but it makes me a bit nervous. Prof. Raftis starts with a quote:
Yo puedo bailar en un templo sin profanarlo (I can dance in a temple without profaning it). Vicente Escudero (1892-1980), Spanish flamenco dancer
OK, good start. I don't quite get it, but OK:
These eight words give the essence of good dance. They should be our compass in cases when commercialized dance in the rich countries deviates towards a meaningless sequence of movements.
Meaningless sequence of movements? What is he talking about? Rock and roll? Discotheques? Raves? Teletubbies? No sequence of movements is ever meaningless: badly done, sometimes, of course, but never entirely meaningless:
Choreography is corrupted by the frantic quest for innovation.
Well, lack of innovation is a sure-fire way to corrupt choreography: better to err on the side of frantic innovation:
Dance teaching is degraded by the blind concentration on steps.
More dance teaching is ruined by not focusing on the steps. Don't look at your feet, but by all means, drill those steps!:
Dance research is impoverished by the idealization of structure analysis.
This one makes my head hurt - what is he talking about? College-level mechanical engineering statics, applied to the physics of dance? College-level mechanical engineering dynamics, applied to the physics of dance? Dance as a branch of sculpture? Academicization? Watching too many videos?:
Too often we forget to ask ourselves if this or that dance is really beautiful, if it carries values, if it will resist the ultimate test of time.
Yup. I forget all the time. Mostly because the answer is self-evident - "The world will little note nor long remember....." We should be alert, of course, to really excellent dancing!:
Dance in itself is not sacred, but it can stand beside the sacred, as a means to transcend reality, a tool for liberation, a way of acquiring another self.
Good point! Like a fresh coat of paint! Well, maybe not paint, exactly, but maybe like a chameleon's skin. Well maybe not a chameleon exactly, but maybe like a peacock, or a duck, or an iridiscent fish, or a giant bumblebee!:
Not all creations can be fit to dance in a temple - just as we cannot always wear Sunday clothes.
That's right: when Pam hosts Sunday morning ballet class over at Cisneros' Temple of Dance, we don't do folk dancing. Well, not much folk dancing, unless Pam starts riffing on some Balkan or Greek melody, then, hey! Bring out the handkerchief, form a line, and challenge those weird rhythms!:
We therefore need to educate the public in developing qualitative criteria: how to tell "Sunday dances" from "everyday dances".
Pam tells me what that distinction is - I get them all mixed up!:
Our dances should at least be good enough to dance outside a temple.
    At every opportunity, especially since I don't go to Cisneros' Temple of Dance five days out of seven!:

    Happy World Dance Day!

    Sunday, April 24, 2005

    Textile Trade Wars

    China goes for broke, which is bad for South Carolina, but even worse for Lesotho:
    South Africa itself has lost more than 30,000 textiles jobs. In Swaziland and Namibia, an estimated three in every four jobs will be lost by the end of June. In Lesotho, where unemployment has reached 40 per cent, the textile job losses are simply unaffordable in a country where textiles account for 90 per cent of all export earnings, Mr Mohaleroe says.
    Fire Makes a Cloud

    Courtesy of Jerry, here is a cool picture of a fire-generated cumulus cloud. These sort of clouds are always interesting. Sometimes on summertime satellite pictures, you can see a tiny cumulus cloud (or at least it looks tiny from space), generated by the plumes from the coal-fired power plant in Joseph City, AZ. It's so cute!

    Quiet but busy weekend.

    Came back just now from Woodland, after practicing with Sally's group (Woodland Dance Academy) for "Coppelia" in May. Made a visit to the Yolo County Fair Grounds to catch the tail end of the annual Scottish Games there, but Jeannie had already left, and all their meat pies were sold. Drat! Caught a glimpse of peripatetic Whyt on her way out, however, which was nice.

    There was one last show, though: massed pipers and drums (about 100 each) advanced onto the field for awards. Very impressive - I've always liked bagpipes, and to see about 100 playing in unison was quite a sight (and sound). A single bagpiper played "Amazing Grace," brilliant white doves were released into the storm-cloud filled sky, and the massed musicians left playing "Scotland, The Brave."