Saturday, August 20, 2005


Hasn't anyone ever heard of infill development? This is a really bad idea, putting a huge suburban development in the Rio Puerco Valley, west of Rio Rancho, New Mexico (NW of Albuquerque). In fact, it makes me incredibly sad to see that wonderfully empty land, where mammoths once ran in the last Ice Age, get defiled, and go under the blade. It is a sin.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Provo Cavers

Apparently miscalculate.
Sparky Wishes I'd Do This

Barking man attacks postal carrier.
Sounds Like An Interesting Lady!

Obituary for Esther Wong:
Wong, who earned the nickname the "godmother of punk," showcased such popular groups as the Police, X, the Go-Gos, Oingo Boingo, the Motels, the Knack, the Textones and Plane English early in their careers, giving many groups their first major break.

The native of China originally booked Polynesian bands to play at her restaurant, but when hardly anyone showed up to hear them she decided to take a chance on rock acts. Almost overnight in 1978, hundreds of people began showing up at her Chinatown restaurant to hear the new sounds, and she opened a Madame Wong's West in Santa Monica that same year.

"Before, I didn't think I'd ever like rock music," she told the Los Angeles Times in 1979. "Now I can turn it on, and it doesn't bother me."

As her clubs flourished, Wong quickly became known as a no-nonsense proprietor. She once halted a performance by the Ramones until the band members left the stage and cleaned up the graffiti they had put on a bathroom wall. She rarely booked female singers, calling them "no good, always trouble," and she was known to go into the audience to try to sniff out marijuana smokers.

... Wong auditioned performers by listening to their tapes, often while driving in her car, until she said her habit of flinging bad music out the window nearly got her in trouble.

"One day I almost hit the highway patrol car that was right next to me," she told the Times in 1980.
Australians Still Dominate

American competition still appears weak (photo #16):
About 40 mothers gathered at the park as one of the seven venues in Alameda County to attempt to break Australia's world record (1,664) for the most mothers breastfeeding simultaneously. With only 287 mothers participating, the record still stands.
A Polynesian Link?

An interesting hypothesis that Polynesian Islanders came into contact with coastal California's Chumash Indians (Santa Barbara area) in the sixth century A.D. (Sacramento Bee link not yet available). Sometimes these things are coincidences indicating nothing except similar responses by different peoples to identical pressures, but maybe there really is a link!:
...[Kathryn Klar] happened upon two terms for a type of canoe - the Chumash tomolo'o and the Hawaiian kumulaa'au. Subsequently she noticed these words shared a linguistic heritage with the Polynesian tumuRaa'au, a word for the wood used in seagoing sewn-plank vessels.

... [Terry Jones] and UC Berkeley anthropology professor Patrick Kirch determined that a type of Polynesian fish hook looked stunningly similar to one used by the Chumash.


A friend who once lost some weight said the most interesting part of the experience for her was how bad her breath got. She fancied that maybe toxic compunds dissolved in the fat were being released, but she wasn't sure what it was. I wondered whether it was ammonia: I read somewhere we have roughly 7 parts per billion ammonia in the lungs, which is sufficient to neutralize the acidic aerosols one might encounter in a natural environment.

Apparently the culprits are ketones, which fat turns into upon combustion, particularly with low-carbohydrate diets, and which are volatile and stink (Friends Julia and Fred sent this picture via E-Mail).

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Mickey Kaus discusses an apparent correlation between the original Star Trek, and pedophilia, that the Toronto Sex Crimes Police Unit has noticed.
How's The Weather Up There?

More oppressive news about the advantages of being tall.
The Late, Lamentable Seymour Valdez

Once in a while, you'll get a spam E-Mail that makes you smile. I got one today from an English 'barrister' looking to dispose the estate of the late 'Seymour Valdez':
After these several unsuccessful attempts, to locate any member of his family hence I contacted you. I am contacting you to assist in repatriating the money left behind by my clien t before the y get confiscated or declared unserviceable to the security company in Europe where this huge deposit were lodged.
Seymour died in an auto crash in Manchester, UK, on April 21, 2002. Despite the fact that Seymour was incinerated along with 95 other people, the terrible calamity was somehow overlooked in the local media (no reference in the Manchester Evening News archive!)

Poor Seymour! As overlooked in death as he was in life! The barrister wants to invest his 'shear' of Seymour's estate in the Real Estate business: good for him! May the barrister have better fortune than Seymour, who was the last one to join the dot-com boom, and who no doubt would have squandered what would have remained of his investments in Halliburton and various, dubious Iraqi business ventures.
The Romance of Polar Adventures

Pales somewhat when you read about the close escapes!
Three unarmed Polish researchers stranded on a remote Arctic island were rescued by helicopters as polar bears were closing in on them, officials said Wednesday.

The hairsbreadth escape took place on an island in Norway's Svalbard archipelago, about 650 miles from the North Pole.

"It was the worst imaginable situation. They were cold and wet, had no equipment or weapons, and were surrounded by hungry polar bears," said Peter Braaten of the Svalbard governor's office.

This is already well-covered, but last Saturday's remark by George W. Bush surely must rank as among his most callous public remarks ever. What a breathtakingly evil guy he is! And what can one say about people who defend him, people like Christopher Hitchens, or for that matter, numerous acquaintances? Satan's minions all!:
"I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. But I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life ... I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy. And part of my being is to be outside exercising. So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so."
Scientific Grants, and Corruption

There was an interesting article in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal about a Cornell University doctor, Kyriakie Sarafoglou, who, as a newly-appointed "research subject advocate", objected to what she saw as a diversion of National Institutes of Health (NIH) research money to treat regular hospital patients. In fact, as far as she could tell, the research was merely a ruse: the money was being for any number of other purposes outside the scope of the approved research projects. She eventually filed suit, and in June, Cornell's Weill Medical College agreed to settle the government's charges for $4.4 million, without admitting wrongdoing.

This story brought back memories of when I was a postdoctoral assistant at Arizona State University (ASU) in the late 1980's. I too fought back at what I saw as corruption, but it was of a different sort: the emergence of the scientist as administrator - an administrator who appeared to no longer have the ability to properly understand, much less do, the science. In fact, it was the graduate students and postdocs who had to teach each other the skills of the trade: the "job" of the "lead scientist" was to harrass grant reviewers at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington, D.C.

In both cases, it was easy to understand why the corruption occurred. It's expensive to run a teaching hospital, funds have to come from somewhere. I can see why hospital administrators and the research faculty who work there might have to get creative with the financing. Similarly, the ASU faculty had expensive electron microscope facilities to maintain, and where else was the money going to come from but Washington, D.C., and how do you guarantee your access to it unless you concentrate your energies there? In both cases, however, the purposes of science were being subverted for the purposes of obtaining grant money: the exact opposite of why the money is supposed to be there in the first place! There is a difference of degree though: Sarafoglou's problem was larger, since NIH health science grants tend to be much larger than what NSF doles out to physical scientists.

It had never occurred to me that the higher one looked in the Pyramid of Science, the more people of lesser ability one might be likely to find: that's not how things should work! But under some circumstances, particularly at large U.S. state universities, where the competition for money is strong, the higher you look, the more gladhanding dummies you find. Similarly, Sarafoglou had probably thought she left behind petty corruption when she closed her medical practice in Greece in order to become an assistant professor at an acclaimed U.S. medical school. You learn something new all the time!

In any event, after leaving ASU for a second postdoctoral position (that also went badly for different reasons), I left academia entirely for consulting air pollution engineering. Oddly enough, there seems to be less corruption overall in the private sector, probably because the race for money is less brutal. And the expectations tend to be less exalted, which means targets can be more easily met without twisting people into pretzels. Regarding Sarfoglou, for her own good, she had to leave Cornell for the University of Minnesota. I hope she is happy there!

Anyway, there's a lot of sham research out there, which is quite unfortunate for the progress of science. Watch those scientists: underneath those lab coats, they might be surprisingly corrupt! All understandable, of course, but still lamentable!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Pretty Toasty!

July was unusually warm, with a record five tropical storms.
Where's The Willpower?

I've been trying out a diet for the first time in my life, reducing portions, but otherwise not making substantial changes in what I eat. Over the last two weeks, I dropped 4 pounds, from 182 lbs (82.55 kg) to 178 lbs (80.74 kg). Big whoop-dee-doo! Then tonight, after Pepper Von's step aerobics class, I drove away from Step One as fast as traffic would permit (and by happenstance passed ballet teacher Victoria along the way, who waved in a very friendly way, because she had no idea what I was up to) in order to eat not just one helping of ice cream, but after an intervening meal, yet a second helping of ice cream! Bet my weight loss stalls after that!

Fear is a good motivating factor in a diet. I've managed to reduce my lunch portions (which I usually eat quite late) because if I don't, I will puke in step aerobics class (it's THAT high-energy!) I fear irretrievably embarrassing myself in front of Sacramento's hard-body elite more than I want the extra lunchtime food. But what can I fear in the evening, after step aerobics class?

If I eat ice cream after dark, the terrorists win, I suppose.

There was a very funny article on Salon by Garrison Keillor about his efforts to lose weight: Is finding one's inner Puritan the true path to weight loss and eternal happiness?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Science Wars Abate

And the grand coalition of scholars is reassembled (it's almost like The Return of the Jedi, or something!):
So perhaps it's no surprise that the science wars of the 1990s have almost entirely subsided, and, as the scientific community has increasingly become embroiled with the Bush administration across a wide range of issues (from evolution to climate science), a very new zeitgeist has emerged. The summer issue of The American Scholar, a leading read among academic humanists and the literary set, provides a case in point. "Science matters," blazons the cover. Inside, Editor Robert Wilson explains to readers that although "the attack on science has always been our game … the enemy of our enemy is most definitely not our friend."

Yoda gazes out at the commercial exhibit floor at the California State Fair, 2005.
Not a Politician

Christopher Hitchens certainly has a tin ear these days! His dismissal of Cindy Sheehan on George Bush's behalf certainly has the charm of being honest and unaffected, but it clearly demonstrates why he'll never hold office.
Republicans Hate Crippled Veterans

How else to explain the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto's attacks on what he calls the crippled veteran ploy: the use of crippled veterans to elicit assistance in pushing a political program? Remember, sympathy for the veteran is just about the only advantage veterans have in securing the benefits they have supposedly been guaranteed, and are often systematically deprived of - just ask anyone involved in veterans' organizations! How brave of Taranto to attack veterans' only effective tool!
Inherit the Wind

Nice post at TNR regarding Intelligent Design.
Gas Mileage

An amusing comment at Obsidian Wings regarding the Bush Administration's plan to ease the auto industry's pain over Corporate Average Fuel Economy for those huge SUVs:
This would make no sense at any time. It makes anti-sense at a time when we badly need to reduce our reliance on oil for both economic and national security reasons. If this anti-sensical anti-plan ever came into contact with a coherent and reasonable proposal of any sort, there would be an explosion and a huge flash of light, and the entire universe would be destroyed. Which, no doubt, is why it has been carefully sequestered within the Bush administration.
War and the Bush Administration

Nice post over at Paperwight:
José Padilla's detention (1189 days and counting) is the paradigmatic example of all of these things. Remember, George W. Bush's administration justifies detaining Padilla because the United States is a battlefield in the "war" on terror.

That "war" will never end, because it's not a war at all. One can't wage "war" on an idea, and certainly a "war" on an idea shouldn't give the executive the authority that it would have in an actual war. In that sense, the "war on terror" is the perfect war to create and sustain the Imperial Presidency: unpredictable and therefore perfectly suited to fear-mongering and bully-pulpit pounding, but unwinnable by military means and therefore perfectly suited to a permanent "war" rationalization for any number of actions. And every square yard of the planet is part of the "battlefield".

If the Republican Extremists believe that they are justified in arresting an American citizen on American soil and detaining him indefinitely on the emperor's president's say-so, they believe the are justified in anything, as long as it's in the name of their "war".
The concept of a permanent, endless war where little real damage gets done was explored by George Orwell in "1984". In many ways, the GWOT is even better-suited for sustaining the power of the rulers than the skirmishes at the edges of the three great empires that Orwell wrote about. Also, recall that Michael Moore stressed exactly these points in "Fahrenheit 9/11". As time goes on, we will all tend to gravitate towards Michael Moore's political positions, as much as many of us may dislike the slide, because he saw sooner than most where the GWOT is going.

Horses again:
US singer Madonna was taken to a British hospital after falling off a horse while celebrating her 47th birthday today, her spokeswoman said. The pop queen has broken her collar bone, a hand, and cracked three ribs in the fall.

From Beau Bo d'Or at B3ta
Advertising Is A God

The Pentagon, looking for innovative ways to thwart deadly roadside bombs in Iraq, has launched an $11 million program using robots, body armor and a "first-ever advertising campaign aimed at the Iraqi" people, the weekly Inside the Army reports.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Isn't this Helios Airways crash in Greece the spookiest ever? And it concerns the ubiquitous Boeing 737 (every Southwest Airlines airliner is a Boeing 737, and 99% of my flights are on Southwest). People are getting arrested, presumably for evidence, or related issues. As Kieran Daly of Air Transport Intelligence was quoted in this morning's paper:
It really is all very peculiar. I rather suspect we're heading for a
very complicated investigation.
"Intelligent Design" and "Dumbth"

I was struck by a recent letter by Ejnar Fjerdingstad in Science Magazine: a European perspective on the so-called Intelligent Design movement (reproduced below in full - emphasis added):
It is a strange experience for a European biologist to read about the growing support in the United States for so-called "intelligent design," the current name for good old unintelligent creationism. Strangest of all, though, are the recent activities of the Kansas Board of Education (Y. Bhattacharjee, "Kansas gears up for another battle over teaching evolution," News Focus, 29 Apr., p. 627; E. Reynolds, "A cry for help from Kansas," Letters, 29 Apr., p. 631). The Kansas Board's proposal to "[change] the definition of science" is unheard of in a western democracy, although similar activities have been common in dictatorships. In Nazi Germany, relativity was considered "Jewish science" and therefore unacceptable, while in the Soviet Union, modern genetics was rejected as unmarxist in favor of the ravings of the charlatan Lysenko. Is this the way the good citizens of Kansas (and the many other states where similar initiatives are seen) want to go?

Obviously, there must be a profound ignorance of science and the scientific method among the U.S. public for such a thing to happen (an ignorance that intelligent design supporters evidently hope to perpetuate), and for this, scientists must be held responsible. There is too much looking down at colleagues who engage the public through popular science, such as the late Carl Sagan (1). All scientists, not just biologists, should realize that an attack on the very roots of science concerns every one of them, and accordingly, they should do their utmost to counteract it by actively participating in the debate.

Ejnar J. Fjerdingstad*
Montauroux, France.
*Retired Professor of Anatomy, University of Aarhus, Denmark.


S. J. Gould, Science 275, 599 (1997).
As troubling as this new-fangled creationism called 'Intelligent Design' is, it's important to keep it in perspective: in some ways it's just a new expression of a very old problem: stubborn, stupid, mulish American ignorance. It's very hard for scientists to effectively combat it, because the administration of American education is decentralized among the various states, and vulnerable to political enthusiasms: scientists thus have to divide their attack so as to be effective in many places simultaneously.

Over the last several decades, the late comic, television personality, and social critic Steve Allen noticed, and attempted to label, what he saw as a new efflorescence of American stupidity: he chose the word "Dumbth". I picked up Steve Allen's book again, for the purpose of relating Dumbth to Intelligent Design, when an acquaintance, who is a prime example of the concept in action, began perusing the book. "He is a vociferous! He is a defiance!" she proclaimed. Then my acquaintance began reading aloud from Allen's book, playing inartful word games with Steve Allen's writing, so as to make Allen's work the "dummiest" one, and expose Allen to the scourge of criticism that he was all-too-willing to levy against others. It was really much too funny, especially when she disagreed whether Allen correctly-reproduced Lincoln's 'Gettysburg Address': "that's not what I read in the American History!"

What I wanted to say is that Intelligent Design is a response by an inherently-skeptical American audience towards a wooden caricature of Evolution. Creationists use this usually-beneficial skepticism for their own ends.

I've heard that evolutionary biologists say that whales descended from cow-like mammals that moved from land to sea. Two decades ago, I saw Creationists made a mockery of this idea with a cartoon cow-whale, with a cow's head and udder, and fins for limbs. How could this happen in a rational manner, they ask? Presumably today Creationists are a little more sophisticated, but not much. It doesn't help having the know-nothing Bush Administration, the Creationists' friends, in power.

The answer is patience, and education, and maybe a little muscle. Scientists are a notoriously short-tempered, intolerant group of people (a justified intolerance, by the way, but inappropriate for the task at hand), but kindness can work wonders. People are genuinely curious about the world, and willing to listen to scientists, but it's most-effective to relate the findings of science directly to people's lives.

An effective approach to teaching Evolution might revolve around the lethality of viruses and bacteria. The menace of the invisible world depends on Evolution in a way quite distinct from what 'Intelligent Design' might be inclined to suggest, and thus affects the design of vaccinations required to combat them: something that directly affects people's health. And muscle: nothing would set off a shock wave better than a few of the Ivy League colleges getting together and regrettably informing the State of Kansas that graduates of their public school system have to meet a higher standard before being allowed to enroll, on account of their substandard education. Sticks and carrots!

And remember, "Dumbth" is not just an American phenomenon, it's a universal experience. Dumbth exists anywhere and anytime ignorance or stupidity afflicts people. I like the example Bertrand Russell provided of dumbth in action:
The philosopher Bertrand Russell served six months in prison as a war resister during World War I. As is customary in prison, Russell's incarceration began with an interview with the Prison Warden. He was asked the customary questions – name, age, place of residence.

Then the warden inquired, 'Religious affiliation?' 'Agnostic,' Russell replied. The poor man looked up, 'How do you spell that?' Russell spelled 'a-g-n-o-s-t-i-c' for him. The warden wrote the word carefully on the prison admission form, then sighed, 'Oh, well; there are a great many sects nowadays, but I suppose we all worship the same God!
The U.S. Footprint in Iraq and Iran

We had better get around to doing a lot more than just declare that we don't want a permanent military presence in Iraq. No one believes us, and who can blame them?
In May, the Washington Post reported that military planning did not envision permanent bases in Iraq but rather stationing troops in nearby Kuwait. But the report noted that the Pentagon was also planning to consolidate U.S. troops in Iraq into four large fortified bases.

On the theory that concrete speaks louder than words, critics see such work as a sign the administration is planning to stay longer than it has acknowledged.

John E. Pike, a defense analyst at, points to another indication. Although the United States is systematically training Iraqis to fight the insurgents, he notes, the Pentagon has not taken key steps — like making plans for acquiring tanks or aircraft — to build an Iraqi military capable of defending the country against its neighbors.

To Pike that means that although the United States might reduce its troop level in Iraq, the fledgling nation, like Germany or South Korea, will require the sustained presence of a large American contingent, perhaps 50,000 soldiers. "We are building the base structure to facilitate exactly [that]," he says.
Meanwhile, we are squandering what little credibility we have in the area with hollow threats regarding Iran:
Last week [President Bush] responded to Iran's decision to resume work on its nuclear program by asserting that "all options are on the table" to stop Iran's nuclear development. He also implied that were Israel to strike at Iran's nuclear facilities, the United States would support it. Unfortunately, these are hollow threats, unlikely to have much effect other than to cheapen America's credibility around the world.
Bees and Musicals

Shouldn't mix.
Chickens Come Home to Roost

Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo too abstract and remote for the typical citizen? Never fear! Strong prison guard unions, especially in California, make it a certainty that torture will become standard routine in American prisons:
But a 16-hour “hellish nightmare” awaited Hall, who attended Newport Harbor High School, graduated in 1991 from UC San Diego with a degree in economics, and says he has operated several small companies. When he complained about the tightness of his handcuffs, five deputies swarmed him, yelled obscenities and attacked without legitimate provocation, Hall claims. Handcuffed and overwhelmed, his body was treated like a piñata.

... In fact, politics tops the sheriff’s list. When they’re candid, Carona’s advisers admit the sheriff won’t end jail abuses for fear of alienating the deputies’ politically powerful union. With an election year approaching and challengers such as Bill Hunt and Ralph Martin already campaigning, it’s unlikely Carona—who is seeking his third term at the $500-million-a-year agency—will enact reforms any time soon.

That reality gives rogue deputies leeway to misbehave with little or no fear of punishment. Sources inside the jail say these officers often arrive at work looking for excuses to employ violence.
Elly Award Nominations

2004-05 Elly Award nominations were announced Sunday night at Garbeau's Dinner Theater. Lots of friends and acquaitances on this list!

DMTC apparently garnered three nomination, one expected (Byron Westlund, lead actor in a musical, as Don Quixote in "Man of La Mancha") and the other two surprising: Jason (not Jean) Hammond for choreographer in "Anything Goes", and Ben Bruening for supporting actor, as Drake, in "Annie."

The Elly process seems like an out-of-control pinball game: good work is routinely overlooked, and what doesn't get overlooked seems random. Makes me wonder.....hmmm...... The Elly judges these days seem to favor new theaters over established theaters, but beyond that, it's hard to spot a specific bias - almost like roulette, or a sweepstakes.....

California State Fair, 2005

On Saturday evening, I joined Steve, Jan, Gayle Wakefield, Jennifer Bonomo, and daughter Sarah at Cal Expo, for the California State Fair, which opened Thursday. It was a pleasant evening. I spent about $50 on parking, tickets, food, and not much else, since I came away apparently empty-handed - oh, but then there was the ladder!

I arrived shortly after 5 p.m. and entered through the West gate of the fairgrounds. There was an FMX Freestyle Motocross exhibition going on at the instant on the Midway. Daredevil riders raced up a ramp and leaped 30 feet into the air on their lightweight motocross motorcycles, and performed stunts while suspended in midair (here is a Web Site about the sport), prior to landing on the opposite ramp (a la Evel Knievel). It was wonderful to watch, but I couldn't endure too much, because it just looked so dangerous. The riders would dismount their cycles midair and extend their legs sideways while holding onto the handlebars before remounting in anticipation of landing. Even better, they would completely let go in midair, slip backwards, hold onto the seat from the back of the motorcycle, then pull themselves forwards in order to remount for landing. Excruciating, and delightful: one false move would have been quite disastrous!

I was under the vague understanding that the crew was somewhere on the other side of the fairgrounds, in or around a southern barbeque place. I quickly walked across the crowded fairgrounds, and stumbled into a floral garden based on a pirate theme. Lisa Lewis, who used to work with DMTC, and whom I now see at Step One step aerobics, was strolling around dressed as a pirate. She introduced me to her friend, who, with multiple piercings, actually did seem to resemble what we might think of as a real pirate!

On the east side of the fairgrounds, I found a southern barbeque place, but the crew was not there. After awhile, I began looking for a phone to call Steve. I still resist getting cell phone service (like this guy at The Onion), and so needed to find a public phone: that took awhile, though, since they've been eliminating public phones at the Cal Expo this year.

I finally reached Steve, and he said they were at the southern barbeque place (but apparently not the one I was near). "It's across from the line of cars, next to the Dish TV HDTV trailer, across from 'Hot Dog On A Stick': you can't miss it! Well, I was next to a line of cars, next to the Dish TV Sports Theater, adjacent to 'Hot Dog On A Stick', so this must be the place! Right? Right?

Wrong! They designed the State Fair so that no matter how specific Steve's instructions were, they weren't good enough. There were doppelganger southern barbeque places, lines of cars, and Dish TV complexes adjacent to each other, one on the east side, where I was, and one on the north side, where the crew was. Very confusing!

After finally locating the crew and eating, we headed to the race track, where the Bridget Maguire, master of raptors, was stationed with her crew from UC Davis, except that instead of hawks and eagles, she was mastering Japanese Quail for Fair purposes. Interesting little birds (especially for raptors). There were other birds there too, including an out-of-control macaw in an impossibly small cage.

After watching birds at the race track, we went outside and entered interesting modular manufactured houses for sale. Reminiscent of mobile homes, but much nicer, these homes are much cheaper than traditional housing and may represent the wave of the future in regards to low-cost housing.

After visiting the llamas, we went and revisited some of the commercial displays. There were these excellent tall ladders for sale: I regretted not purchasing one last year (my house is tall, and I just can't reach places that desperately need paint). Steve also got excited about the ladder, for theater purposes such as lighting and set painting. After a thoroughly unnecessary sales pitch, the Theater and myself decided to share the purchase price on the tallest, best-equipped ladder setup they had (with three to four weeks for delivery).

We kept walking around the fair. There was band playing, and the drummer was using drumsticks nearly as large as baseball bats - it was fun to see percussionist Steve's eyes upon seeing those drumsticks. We traveled around the fairgrounds on the monorail and witnessed the 10 p.m. fireworks. The crew departed at that point, and I wandered alone (and got lost) on the midway. The various midway game booths featured prizes that were much less interesting (almost entirely stuffed animals), and much tamer, than 5 to 10 years ago (I wonder why that is?) Interesting fair: I need to revisit the place and see the displays this time!

Steve spots yet another field on which to build a New Theater, or maybe place a manfactured home, or maybe a whole series of manufactured homes - heck, why not a whole community of affordable housing, equipped with hot tubs, TIVO, and reasonable season tickets, where musical theater is king: DMTC Acres anyone?

The monorail glides over and through the nighttime midway fantasy land of the 2005 California State Fair.
Summer Anxiety

I had an odd dream Friday night. I dreamt I was in Monrovia, Liberia, a warm tropical locale. The afternoon was warm and breezy. Friend Craig was firing a RPG (rocket propelled grenade) at a troop transport helicopter that had landed at my house, a short distance away.

Then abruptly, I was approaching my real house in Corrales, NM, in a VW Bug, with Friend Steve. The moonlit wintertime night was bitterly cold, and snow lay everywhere. I was upset that Steve wouldn't stop singing and talking, since presumably the enemy troops were still at the house.

I think it's a New Theater anxiety dream of some sort, but exactly what sort, who knows? And who exactly is the enemy?