Friday, September 23, 2005

Pocatello Weather Guy...

Has his own ideas
Since Katrina, Stevens has been in newspapers across the country where he was quoted in an Associated Press story as saying the Yakuza Mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina in a bid to avenge the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. He was a guest on Coast to Coast, a late night radio show that conducts call-in discussions on everything from bizarre weather patterns to alien abductions. On Wednesday, Stevens was interviewed by Fox News firebrand Bill O'Reilly.
(Only the last part was really strange...)
The Morons At The New York Times

Kos says it all! If it isn't Miller, Bumiller, Nagourney, et al. making up stuff and calling it news (remember WMD? Wen Ho Lee?), it's something else, like primo-stupido pricing policies. Meanwhile, I get conservative OpinionJournal from the Wall Street Journal twice a day - for free! Enough dumb-ass conservative opinion to choke two horses, twice a day!

Makes me wonder why I still get the Sunday Times....
Don't Go All Wobbly On Us!

Rita, as she approaches the shore!
Yeah, But I Like 'Doof Doof Dance Music'

Those annoying songs you hear in retail stores:
Workers in fashion and shoe shops suffered most from "repetitive record syndrome", having to listen to the same songs being played over and over again.

The top 10 most played - and most annoying - singers were: Britney Spears, Usher, Kylie Minogue, 50 Cent, Robbie Williams, Akon, Beyonce, Blue, Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson.

Christmas was the most testing time for the ears of retail workers, with Jingle Bells topping the list of the most hated seasonal songs, followed by Slade's Merry Christmas Everyone and White Christmas by Bing Crosby.
Baffling Storm

The official forecasts keep pushing Hurricane Rita east, towards Port Arthur. The forecasts keep changing, though, for reasons that baffle me. Tonight, the heavy rains forecast in NW Louisiana/western AR/eastern OK don't look quite so formidable as they did this morning. But I'll believe that when it happens.

What bothers me is, why doesn't the storm jog west, towards Galveston, instead of inching east towards Port Arthur? I mean, there is a ridge to the north of the storm, so why doesn't it jog west in response to the atmospheric speed bump? There was a remark on the Central Florida Hurricane Center blog suggesting that ridge isn't very strong, but still, it's there.

Despite apparent unanimity at present, the different computer models seem to have trouble resolving the exact fate and timing of Rita's movements. A lot has depended (and continues to depend) on the evolution of the elongated trough over the western U.S., but because radiosonde stations are scarce over the eastern Pacific, the data driving that evolution are imperfectly understood. So, watch for sudden forecast changes, as predictions for the future try to keep pace with a surprising present!
Hurricane Hall of Fame

Recorded Category-5 hurricanes.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Signs Of Sleep

One can only wish! (something new from Deborah)

Deborah McMillion Nering
Small show of sleepers and dreamers at:
Art One Gallery, Inc.
4120 N Marshall Way
Scottsdale, Az 85251

For the First Thursday Art Walk
October 6th, 2005
7:00-9:00 PM
Eastward Shift

Updated forecasts for Hurricane Rita by the major models (this compilation is sometimes called the 'spaghetti model') now show landfall will occur just east of Galveston Bay, rather than west, which means the city of Galveston is unlikely to see the maximum conceivable storm surge (which generally occurs east of the eye of the storm). Still, it will be pretty bad - like getting run over by a logging truck rather than a locomotive. And it's prime oil country down there: Port Arthur, Port Neches, Beaumont, Baytown, and, of course, Houston - which means the prices of petroleum products can't help but soar, for the rest of the year at least. The recovery from Hurricane Katrina was already relying inordinately on Houston-area facilities, since so many Louisiana ports are out-of-commission, so delays in the recovery of oil supplies will multiply.

The forecasts also show Rita blasting through eastern Texas/western Louisiana, and then more or less stalling, and meandering around the Texarkana, AR area for several days. Not that windy, but it does mean that all of western Arkansas/eastern Oklahoma is vulnerable to very heavy, prolonged rains: Boston Mtns., Ouachita Mtns. - Arkadelphia and the Ouachita River Valley watershed. It's ironic that so many refugees from New Orleans, stranded in places like Houston, Shreveport, etc., may be forced to flee again.
Meanwhile, in Washington D.C.

The homeland has never been better prepared....

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Apocalypse Now

Virtually all of the hurricane forecasts are now pointing directly at the Houston/Galveston area as the landfall point for Hurricane Rita. Very dangerous, particularly since (according to the National Hurricane Center):
That's EVER, as in all history! As the Weather Channel states:
Landfall is possible late Friday or early Saturday along the Texas coast. Residents and tourists in locations such as Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass, San Jose Island, Matagorda Island, Port Lavaca, Port O'Connor, Bay City, Lake Jackson, Freeport, Galveston, Texas City, Houston, and Port Arthur should ALL prepare for a very dangerous landfalling major hurricane.
History has shown (in 1900) that Galveston is quite vulnerable to storm surge, and the current forecast shows landfall just west of Galveston (perfectly placed for maximum storm surge). After that, the storm will go blasting through Houston, and eastern Texas, and into the Ouachita Mtns. of Oklahoma and Arkansas, leading to torrential flooding there.

Time to flee!
Guy Ritchie's New Movie

This sounds problematic - I'll go see 'March of the Penguins' (or something else) instead:
Critics reckon Revolver is even worse than his last stinker, the risible Swept Away, a film which starred his wife and all but destroyed her career as a serious actress. "After Revolver, Swept Away now looks like Citizen Kane," the Guardian said.

... The problem is the film is as muddled as the weird form of Jewish mysticism Ritchie and his wife practise. Some even suggest their obsession with Kabbalah has contributed to the film's impenetrability. Despite being ostensibly about gambling and gangsters, Revolver is full of obscure references to Kabbalah, with strange mentions of numbers and bizarre references to "ego versus the light" - both Kabbalah allusions.

At the premiere, Ritchie was in defensive mood. He said of the criticism: "I think it was inevitable. The concept of the film is tricky and that's part of the reason I was attracted to it in the first place.

... Madonna, 47, with her arm still in a sling following a riding accident, appeared pleased not to be involved in the movie and said she was there purely as an adornment.

... Asked why he hadn't given his wife a part, Ritchie, 37, replied: "Do you think they would let me get away with that? I did that last time - it didn't work."
Watch Your Microbes

People on raft trips in the Grand Canyon have been getting sick, maybe from spoiled meat.

This reminds me of what my hiking friend from high-school, D.B. (back in the day: mid-70's), experienced in the Grand Canyon. He was down on the Tonto level (if I remember correctly), in the summer heat with two companions, when he got the brilliant idea of mixing everyone's stash of honey with the drinking water - that way they'd get fluid and nutrition at the same time.

This proved to be a mistake. According to Chris N., honey resists spoilage because the sugar is too concentrated for bacteria to thrive. Mixed with water, though, honey becomes ideal for bacteria. They had to throw away their entire water supply, which was very dangerous anytime, but especially so in the summer. They tried to reach a spring by sunset, but were confronted with a cliff they couldn't negotiate in the dark. Parched, they collapsed at the top of the cliff, and had to wait till dawn, when they summoned the strength to descend the cliff to life-giving water.

Watch your microbes!

Yesterday evening, despite little sleep the night before, I ended up doing, back-to-back, Pepper Von's hi-energy step aerobics class AND hi-energy 'Victor/Victoria' dance rehearsal with Runaway Stage Productions - four hours of not a hell of a lot of sitting down. I got little sleep last night too, in order to participate in a meeting this morning with the City of Davis. Tonight, there is more 'Victor/Victoria' rehearsal. Then tomorrow evening, Pepper Von's hi-energy 'Get Fit Jam.'

I sense some lo-energy times coming on........
Davis Enterprise Review of "Cabaret"

I'm glad Bev seemed to like our production, particularly since the Music Circus production of "Cabaret" was no doubt still fresh in her mind (she reviewed that show for the Davis Enterprise as well). I also liked her use of the adjective 'bone-chilling' to describe Robert Coverdell's 'Tomorrow Belongs To Me.' I remember, from seeing DMTC's show in 2000, that that song can have a tremendous impact on the audience, but since I'm part of the ensemble singing the song together with Robert, I find it very hard to gauge its impact on the audience. The song should flash-freeze the bones, and I'm glad to read that it does!

Life is a 'Cabaret,' ol' chum!
Local company delivers a lively rendition of darkly ironic musical

Author: Bev Sykes
Enterprise drama critic

Between 1929 and 1933, Christopher Isherwood lived in Berlin, which formed the backdrop for chronicles he wrote on his return to London and published as "The Berlin Stories."

One such tale, that of writer Clifford Bradshaw and cabaret singer Sally Bowles, was dramatized by John Van Druten as the play, "I am a Camera," later made into a 1955 British film with Julie Harris and Laurence Harvey.

In 1966, John Kander and Fred Ebb won a Tony Award for their musical version of this material, which they called "Cabaret." The musical, of course, became an enormously popular film vehicle for Liza Minnelli and Joel Gray in 1972.

In 1993, director Sam Mendes revived the Kander/Ebb musical for his cabaret theater and gave it a darker, harder edge, emphasizing the decadence of the period. By the time the show moved to Broadway, where it enjoyed another successful run, the production — while still maintaining the darker feel — had lost a bit of the "edge" that it possessed in the smaller venue. The tunes were so familiar to the American public that it was difficult to keep patrons "down" for two hours.

The Davis Musical Theatre Company opened its 2005-06 season Friday with the Kander/Ebb version of "Cabaret." Set in Berlin in 1930, just before the Nazis come to power, the action takes place at the Kit Kat Club, a seedy nightclub where one goes to escape the reality of life.

"Leave your troubles outside," purrs the Emcee, played by Ryan Adame.

While not actually a part of the story, this master of ceremonies is the unifying character who brings all the action together, and Adame is perfect in the role. With a garish, white clownish face and lascivious manner, he commands attention.

Cliff is played by Ryan Favorite, last seen as Lun Tha in "The King and I." While we caught a hint of Favorite's talent in that earlier show, he truly shines in "Cabaret."

The character of Cliff has endured many permutations over the history of this story, being heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, depending on the particular version or director. Director Steve Isaacson's Cliff is unquestionably heterosexual, and the chemistry between him and Sally (Jessica Hammon) is authentic and believable.

Hammon is a bubbly Sally, with a huge smile. Her British accent isn't always spot-on, but she inhabits the character and has a terrific voice, especially while belting out the title song. She needs to learn about stepping into the spotlight, however, as half of this big number was sung with her face in shadows.

DMTC veteran Mary Young delivers the kind of performance we've come to expect from her as Fraulein Schneider, who runs the boarding house where Cliff takes up residence. Fraulein Schneider has a larger role to play in the stage version of this story, and her romance with another boarder, Herr Schultz (William Hedge), is quite tender, especially in their lovely duet, "Married."

Hedge, making his DMTC debut, is very good as the old Jewish greengrocer whose heart belongs to his landlady. He gives her special bits of fruit as if they were diamonds.

Heather Sheridan, a boarder who has a lot of "gentleman callers," has some projection problems, but otherwise she does a good job.

Michael Manly, in his return to DMTC after a nine-year absence, is quite good as Ernst Ludwig, the German smuggler who befriends Cliff. Wendy Young makes a fetching gorilla (in "If You Could See Her Through My Eyes"), and Robert Coverdell sings a smashing rendition of "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," the bone-chilling song that epitomizes the rise of the Nazi Party.

Michael Miiler choreographs the show, with lighting design by Isaacson and Dannette Vassar. Jeannie Henderson does her usual outstanding job of costume design; the gown for Sally's closing number is spectacular.

"Cabaret" is an entertaining evening of theater which — everyone hopes! — genuinely is the final DMTC show to be presented at the Varsity Theater.

Copyright, 2005, The Davis Enterprise. All Rights Reserved.
The Coast of Texas

This morning, I heard on the radio that they were evacuating Galveston, TX. Apparently a consensus had developed that Hurricane Rita was heading for the middle coast of TX, arriving by evening time, Friday, and given the chaos surrounding Hurricane Katrina, no one wants to take any chances with another urban area (especially one already known to be very vulnerable, through the actions of the hurricane of 1900, which killed 5000 people there).

Sure enough, the NOGAPS model predictions had changed, in order to finally join the consensus formed yesterday by most of the other models. Yesterday, NOGAPS predictions had been an outlier among the other predictions, showing Rita as hitting Brownsville, TX, and then moving up the Rio Grande Valley into NM. The consensus instead shows Rita moving through eastern and central Texas only, and not making it as far west as NM.

The reason NOGAPS shifted its forecast is apparently because the model decided that the large trough that has developed in the western U.S. will not be quite as deep as originally thought, and will therefore move east a bit faster than originally thought. Usually the accuracy is limited by initialization errors of the temperature and pressure fields, and since radiosonde coverage over the eastern Pacific is skimpy, initialization errors tend to be large, particularly over the western U.S.

In any event, the Freeport/Matagorda Bay/Victoria, TX area is in for a bumpy ride. Galveston probably won't see the worst of it this time, but they may get some flooding.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


The NEXT Supreme Court nominee!
Hurricane Rita

No real change in the forecasts: the NOGAPS model says Rita is headed towards Brownsville, TX, and the other models point at places farther north (the middle coast of Texas).

NOGAPS also says the storm will punch far enough inland, right up the Rio Grande Valley, to seriously upset the weather in New Mexico, and even possibly affect Arizona. Cool if that happens!
Tesla Would Be Jealous

Wrong dress ensemble for the occasion:
An Australian man built up so much static electricity in his clothes as he walked that he burned carpets, melted plastic and sparked a mass evacuation.

Frank Clewer, of the western Victorian city of Warrnambool, was wearing a synthetic nylon jacket and a woollen shirt when he went for a job interview.

As he walked into the building, the carpet ignited from the 40,000 volts of static electricity that had built up.

That of which we will not speak.
Take A Walk On The Wild Side

Apparently I'm in! I joined the "Victor/Victoria" cast at Runaway Stage this evening. We had one of Ron Cisneros' trademark vigorous rehearsals: tonight, of the 'Finale,' and 'Le Jazz Hot.' A strange mix: the young, talented Runaway dance corps, plus (mostly) older veterans of the Sacramento musical theater scene.
Such A Shame

The FUPF folks draw blood.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Like A Javelin

New, NOGAPS (Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System) forecasts bring Hurricane Rita's path a bit northwards (with passing showers around Tampa), ultimately hurling the storm like a javelin into the Gulf Coast around Brownsville, TX, and penetrating deep inland, up the Rio Grande Valley.

The National Hurricane Center seems to think the storm will come in even farther north, on the Texas coast. The 'spaghetti model' guidance puts the NOGAPS (NGPI) predictions on the southern envelope of all the other models. The key seems to be what will happen with the trough developing over the western U.S. The NOGAPS model shows the trough as stalling and digging over the west coast, even cutting off from the westerlies, and thus will move inland very, very slowly, which means Rita won't feel its effects until quite late, and thus Rita won't turn north until late. Presumably the other models bring the western U.S. trough further inland more quickly, which means the path turns north much sooner, thus bringing Rita into the Texas, not the Mexican, coast (my instinct is to go with the NOGAPS model on this, so watch out Brownsville!)

But whatever the quibbling regarding hurricane path, there is agreement on one thing:
Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Arrgghh, maties!
More Tales of Sacramento At Night

Last night, I dropped by the workplace (as usual), and left around midnight. In the alley outside, a scavenger was going through a large can of recyclable garbage. Dumpster diving is a well-practiced art in Sacramento (indeed, Squeaky Fromme herself spent a number of weeks dumpster diving in Sacramento alleys, just prior to attempting to assassinate President Ford in 1975 at the State Capitol), but this fellow last night was wearing the proper accessory: spectacles with lights on the rim, that allowed him to see into even the darkest garbage cans on even the blackest of nights. How inspired! How practical!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

"Cabaret": First Weekend's Shows

We opened "Cabaret" this weekend. By and large, things worked well, although there were some glitches, of course.

My glitches:
Friday night: I bumbled through the opening and closing scenes, forgot a few steps, and guessed wrong on some song words.
Saturday night: Clothing malfunction - my sailor collar ripped halfway off while going through a quick-change just before the 'Telephone Dance', and I struggled to figure out a quick, workable solution. I ALMOST missed my singing part!
Sunday afternoon: ALMOST forgot to drop hands to terminate a circle dance, and ALMOST dropped a glass while moving a table during a scene change.

Show glitches:
Friday night: Steve's absence doing percussion during tech week meant that the Kit Kat girls had never heard a critical drum solo until opening night. Keyboard and percussion coordination failed during the drum solo, and chaos on the line erupted. We also had trouble with singing during the 'Telephone Dance.'
Saturday night: Not too many problems - Diane H. almost toppled off her chair in the opening scene, though.
Sunday afternoon: The flag drop failed. Chris N. was beside himself with frustration. He had perfected the folding of the flag so that it would always fall properly out of its basket, but who knew the rope would occasionally get in the way? (Sporadic failures are always the hardest to catch in any show).

Nevertheless, each show was better than the one before. In addition, the audiences got progressively bigger, and more expressive. Sunday afternoon's show was excellent, and I think we are going to have even more fun as we go along.

Tonight, I'm pretty tired. I'm just idling away right now, but tomorrow may be busier than I expected. There is an active campaign underway in the local amateur musical theater community to flush out dancers for "Victor/Victoria" at Runaway Stage, and I was urged by friends to look into it. I'm skeptical: I mean, I think I'd make a damn funny-looking transvestite, but maybe it's a worthwhile challenge - I know I have a lot yet to learn about theater - costumes, gesture, acting, walking around in heels!
Smackdown - Two Snobby Filipinas Face Off

"A" is an Office Secretary (actually a Substitute Clerk), and "B" is a Visiting Client (actually an idle, wandering employee on break).

(on four previous visits)
A: "Is there something I can do for you?"
B: "I'm just looking!"

(then, on the fifth visit)
B: "Excuse me! Excuse me! Hey, excuse me!"
A: (ignores "B", then finally,) "Yes?"
B: "You're ignoring me! I'm a client here!"
A: "Oh, is that so? On your previous visits to this office, I asked if I could help you, and you said you were just looking."
B: "I don't know how the system works here in the U.S. I'm suffering from a cultural shock."
A: "What are you? What kind of shock are you suffering from? Mental illness?"
B: "I'm a native-born American!"
A: "Congratulations!"
B: "Who is your supervisor?"
A: "Would you like to speak to my supervisor?"
New Hurricane

The new hurricane currently forming in the Bahamas looks like it's headed on a beeline from Havana, Cuba to Vera Cruz, Mexico.