Friday, November 04, 2005

Ye Gods!

According to Natalie, Ben Wormeli had to have (unplanned) gall bladder surgery on Monday, and so he's out-of-commission for this week, at least.

(Gall bladder surgery! Ye gods!)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Straw Man

Juan Cole has a theory, according to Billmon, that just about everyone in Iraq has an interest in greatly-exaggerating the threat of Al Qaeda in Iraq. It's an interesting thing to speculate about. The truth in Iraq, as in any war, is hard to come by, and Americans seem to be getting less curious, not more, about that bloody bazaar of lies and death. Same as Vietnam, as I recall!
Thumbs Down

We'll all pay the price for Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib eventually. The examples set overseas will inevitably filter back into domestic politics:
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has suggested that those who deface freeways with graffiti should have their thumbs cut off on television.

Goodman, appearing Wednesday on the "Nevada Newsmakers'' television show, said, "In the old days in France, they had beheading of people who commit heinous crimes.

"You know, we have a beautiful highway landscaping redevelopment in our downtown. We have desert tortoises and beautiful paintings of flora and fauna. These punks come along and deface it.

"I'm saying maybe you put them on TV and cut off a thumb,'' the mayor added. "That may be the right thing to do.'' Goodman also suggested that whippings or canings should be brought back for children who get into trouble.
Where There's Smoke....

Conservatives resist adding two and two together. According to the hyperconservative Washington Times:
During the ensuing debate in the Senate, Mr. Reid said Mr. Libby's indictment showed "this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq."

Ironically, while Democrats were trying to tie the Libby indictment and the Iraq war together, the chief investigator into the CIA leak said there was no connection between the two events.

"This indictment is not about the war," special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said at last week's press conference announcing the charges against Mr. Libby.

"This indictment's not about the propriety of the war, and people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who are -- have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel," he said.
Mr. Fitzgerald was simply saying a criminal prosecution isn't a political process. But the two events - the Libby indictment and the Iraq War - are very much connected. Would the Administration have been so determined to break the law (remember, Valerie Plame worked in the CIA's Directorate of Operations, not the Directorate of Intelligence, so they knew immediately she wasn't just an analyst) if Joseph C. Wilson IV, her husband, wasn't directly attacking THE chief justification for their cozy little war?
Ballets Russes

Caption from MSNBC: This 1939 photo shows Frederic Franklin, center background, George Zoritch, center, and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in their production of "Rouge et Noir," which was choreographed by Leonide Massine. The production's sets and costumes were designed by Henri Matisse. The photo was used in "Ballets Russes," a new film directed by Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine, which covers roughly 30 years of the famed ballet company.

A new documentary has arrived, with a stellar review, featuring none other than my first ballet teacher, George Zoritch! From Salon:
If you have some received ideas about ballet as a snooty art form imposed on the upper levels of the bourgeoisie by its culture ministers -- as I more or less did -- then Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine's marvelous documentary "Ballets Russes" comes as a humbling corrective. In telling the amazing story of how a group of dancers who sprang from the exiled and impoverished Russian aristocracy in Paris conquered America and the rest of the Western hemisphere, this movie reminds us that culture flows in all directions at once. It's a profoundly optimistic and delightful movie, for balletomanes and neophytes alike. It made me happy for days afterward.

The original Ballet Russe was the troupe founded by Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev in 1909, which captivated French society but collapsed with the coming of the Great Depression. Geller and Goldfine sketch that history quickly, but focus on the story of the second (and in fact third) Ballet Russe, which produced many of the legendary choreographers and dancers of the 20th century, and spread the art form to all corners of the globe. Small and middle-size cities in Missouri and Queensland and Uruguay have ballet companies and ballet schools today because of the Ballets Russes' indefatigable touring schedule.

Amazing as all this history is, the real fun comes from meeting the former Ballet Russe dancers, a supremely confident and defiantly eccentric bunch who have lived extraordinary lives and in many cases are still living them. Legendary ballerinas Mia Slavenska and Tatiana Riabouchinska taught in Los Angeles into the 21st century. Nathalie Krassovska taught at her Dallas ballet school until the day she died last February -- and we see her here, rehearsing a famous Ballet Russe duet with her longtime partner George Zoritch, who founded the ballet program at the University of Arizona.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Overwrought Meteorological Metaphors

I agree with the general sentiment, but good grief, the violence done to meteorology!:
Being the Nostradamus-lite that I am, I saw storm clouds hovering over a second Bush term. But these weren't storm clouds caused by the stabilization of a mesoscale region through violent heat exchange between the lower and upper atmospheres, fueled by diurnal heating, UV radiation, and moisture advection. No, these clouds were caused by idiots who thought the violent heat exchange coming from between their left and right butt cheeks didn't stink.
Learning To Drive Late

A friend, who grew up in Long Beach, was talking about how he didn't learn to drive until he was 18 (a legacy of an older brother's irresponsible antics). That reminded me of when I was learning to drive, and how today's teenagers seem to be learning to drive later and later. I was anxious to learn. At 16, in New Mexico in the 70's, I was already learning a lot later than many of my friends, and I didn't have a car of my own, and so the social pressure was intense, and escape seemed impossible.

I used to take my parent's VW Campmobile into the uninhabited spaghetti tangle of dirt roads behind Rio Rancho, NM. That vast area was bulldozed in the early-and-mid 60's according to an obscure Sandoval County ordinance requiring all developers to bulldoze roads on all their land, even if the land area (the former King Ranch) was larger than some small states.

Out there, on the edge of oblivion, I would practice parallel parking and other urban driving skills. The area was not far from the Black family's Seven-Bar Airport (where Cottonwood Mall is located today, near Coors and Corrales Rd.), and small private planes would dip down and buzz me in the boonies. I felt like Cary Grant in "North By Northwest," except in a VW Campmobile. Even out there in the boonies, the pressure was intense, and escape seemed impossible.

Driver's Ed was at Lincoln Jr. High School, not far from downtown Albuquerque. The teacher I got in Driver's Ed was the same guy who taught my 7th-grade Shop class at Taylor Jr. High School. I was always worried that he would remember the crummy screwdriver I made in junior high, and how the space in the handle was too big for the shank, and how the two were held together with sawdust and metal filings, and couldn't stand much torque, and so the pressure was intense, and escape seemed impossible.

Ah, memories, and the nostalgic haze of time!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mice Sing!

Who-da-thunk? (Besides Walt Disney, of course.)
October Auto Sales

Crumple, particularly for GM and Ford:
General Motors, Ford and Nissan reported big declines Tuesday, while Toyota's U.S. sales edged up slightly, Honda's sales rose and DaimlerChrysler's sales were flat. Sport utility vehicles took the biggest hit across all makers. Sales of the Ford Explorer, Lincoln Navigator, GMC Yukon, Hummer H2 and Toyota Land Cruiser were all down 50 percent or more.

General Motors Corp., the world's biggest automaker, said its U.S. sales fell 22.7 percent in October from a year ago, led by a 30.3 percent decline in sales of trucks and SUVs. GM's car sales fell 10.6 percent for the month. Overall, GM's sales fell 2.7 percent for the first 10 months of the year.

Paul Ballew, GM's executive director of market and industry analysis, said it was the industry's worst month since 1998. But he said October must be viewed in the context of the summer sales blitz, which was fueled by U.S. automakers' employee-discount incentives. This year is still on track to be the second or third best in history for U.S. auto sales, Ballew said.
Sea Level Anomalies and Hurricane Strength

Walt notices an interesting article in the American Geophysical Union's newsletter, EOS:
Interesting article about hurricanes in EOS, October 4, 2005, by Scharroo et al. They say that sea surface temperature is not the best measure of heat content & hurricane-fueling ability. A high SST might derive from a very thin surface layer with little caloric strength. Rather, sea level altitude, with tides, atmospheric pressure, etc. subtracted out, is better. A dome of high sea level is due to a thick warm layer with lots of heat. They used satellite altimetry data to show how Katrina strengthened over high-sea-level areas.
That is indeed an interesting article: it suggests that one could map in advance where storms might be most likely to intensify. Hurricane Wilma crossed the Loop Current on the way to Florida from Mexico, and also saw an unexpected episode of strengthening.

I wonder how quickly a hurricane can take energy from the underlying water? This article suggests quickly indeed, no doubt assisted by high winds maintaining high temperature/humidity gradients at the surface, but there's bound to be a limit beyond which deep oceanic heat remains essentially unavailable.

I remember first hearing about sea level anomalies associated with oceanic heat. People at the AGU Conference in San Francisco in December, 1986 were talking about the Gulf Stream Wall. At first I laughed, but they were serious, and they looked at me as if I came from Mars for my ignorance. They were oceanographers, though, and I wasn't, and so that explained the knowledge gap. I found it amazing - still do - that such sea level anomalies are routinely measured.
Kerry Gets A Clue

A year late, John Kerry is beginning to to signal that the U.S. should start withdrawing (some) troops from Iraq. Better late than never, I guess, but is this the standard for our national leaders, to cautiously follow the pack long after the real leaders departed?:
The way forward in Iraq is not to pull out precipitously or merely promise to stay “as long as it takes.” To undermine the insurgency, we must instead simultaneously pursue both a political settlement and the withdrawal of American combat forces linked to specific, responsible benchmarks. At the first benchmark, the completion of the December elections, we can start the process of reducing our forces by withdrawing 20,000 troops over the course of the
Border Toll

The annual death toll at the Mexican border reached 464 on September 30th. Every year, half a Hurricane Katrina's worth of victims die, where 25 years ago, very few did so. I remember when 13 Mexican illegals died in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, in Arizona, in 1981, and just how shocking that was: vulnerable women in high heel shoes, stumbling through the wilderness' summer heat, eating Noxema in a desperate effort to remain hydrated. Well, that was nothing!
A handful of weeks ago, a group of Tijuana-based activists gathered nine brightly painted full-size coffins and bolted them right onto the grimy border wall along a stretch of the heavily trafficked route to the local airport. Each coffin is inscribed with a year, running from the mid-’90s to the present, and a death toll: the number of Mexicans who have died while attempting to cross the border.

In 1995, the toll was 61.

In 2000, the number of dead had risen to 499.

This year, the toll already stood at nearly 400 at the end of October.

“The U.S.-Mexican border has been 10 times deadlier to Mexican immigrants in the last 10 years than was the whole 28-year history of the Berlin Wall [to East Germans],” says Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego.

Over the entire history of the Berlin Wall, 287 people perished trying to cross it. Since the Clinton administration implemented the current U.S. border strategy, more than 2,500 Mexicans have died. Or 2,600. Or 2,700 by some counts.

“It has been a strategy of prevention through deterrence,” says Cornelius. If the four traditional urban hot spots for illegal crossings could be barricaded, as they were, Cornelius says the U.S. government believed that “the mountains and deserts would do the rest.”

The calculation was either dead on or dead wrong, depending on how cynical you believe the architects of the strategy were. With the extremities of the border tied off, the immigration flow has been, in essence, funneled away from El Paso and Tijuana, and into the unforgiving mountains along the eastern edge of the California border and through the brutal deserts along the mostly uninhabited patches of southern Arizona.

Sunstroke, freezing temperatures, dehydration and asphyxiation in sealed containers are the primary causes of death, along with drowning and crashes of vehicles involved in high-speed Border Patrol pursuits. A full third of the Mexican dead go unidentified.
And what's it like on the other side of the border? Pretty surreal!
Las Chepas gained notoriety on Aug. 12 when Gov. Bill Richardson declared a state of emergency in four border counties and asked the governor of Chihuahua to bulldoze the town.

In mid-September, the Chihuahua government obliged, partly. Bulldozers escorted by police demolished 31 buildings.

But many other abandoned buildings remain.

The town is a surreal mix of farmers and transients heading north. Untended horses saunter through the streets, and here and there, next to abandoned graffiti-covered houses, are piles of tin cans and empty water bottles.

One of the town's founders, 69-year-old Benjamin Lerma Gonzales, says the housing demolition has not deterred border crossers.

''It's the same as before. Mexicans continue to walk through,'' he says.
Evil Republicans

Just more depressing evidence that Republicans feel free to say the most vicious, fascistic, thuggish things about Democrats, and the Democrats don't reply in kind. How can any feeling person be a Republican anymore? They've left common decency far behind and embraced totalitarian fantasies instead:
I've noticed, when people point to the language in this post as examples of the reactionary and violent nature of the Republican Party, a lot of Republicans and so-called "centrists" chime in with "Both sides do it" and "I could find Democrats saying mean things too." Well, no both sides don't, and no you couldn't. The quotes from this post are not just some random Republican individuals or Republican bloggers saying mean things. If I wanted that, I could stroll into any comment thread at LGF or Free Republic, or for that matter, at Political Animal. The people quoted below are Republicans with substantial power to affect the public discourse, whether as media apparatchiks, political advisors or lobbyists at the highest possible levels, or elected officials. And it's not just mean things; it's statements suggesting liberals be eliminated, exiled, killed. You absolutely can't find Democrats or liberals of equal rank saying anything of the sort.]
Budget Deficit? Let Blue-Staters Pay!

Republicans have come up with the ideal way to keep taxes low in the red states, but still close the budget deficit: make the blue states pay! What was that about no taxation without representation?:
On the one hand, gutting the mortgage-interest deduction seems progressive, because the deduction now favors the well-off: The mortgage deduction gets more generous the more expensive the home you buy, and the more income you have. And property taxes are generally a function of home size and value. On the other hand, regional variations in home prices and state and local taxes would heavily skew the burden of these tax changes onto blue-staters. Who has the most to lose if the mortgage deduction is capped at $313,000, and if you can no longer deduct local taxes from your taxable federal income? People who live in places where (a) real estate is expensive; (b) states and/or cities tax income; and (c) property taxes are high, to support local schools and services. In other words, people who live in California, Seattle, the entire Atlantic seaboard from Maryland up to Maine, and well-off suburbs of Chicago. If you live in a $300,000 McMansion in a state with no income tax, like, say, Texas or Wyoming, these changes aren't likely to affect you at all. But if you just bought a $700,000 house in Takoma Park, Md., you're screwed three ways.
I Know You Are, But Who Am I?

Conservative commentators confuse me. Here is an obnoxious headline regarding the Alito nomination:
The left gets what it asked for
It did? That's a surprise to me! What did he mean?
... "abortion" is the rallying cry that unites what's left of the party of FDR, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy.
Sorry, that's wrong! Economic improvement and secured rights for the majority of the American population is the rallying cry that unites Democrats. Pro-choicers do not define who Democrats are. Heck, Harry Reid is against abortion and he's the Senate Minority leader, the leading Democrat in the Senate.

"Abortion" is the rallying cry for conservatives, as it has been since the 60's.

Neener, neener, neener!
Jazz, and Katrina

I heard Aaron Neville on NPR last weekend, speaking from his refuge in Austin, TX, about Hurricane Katrina. He sounded pretty bitter - New Orleans didn't die, it was "murdered," and he wants to be part of the process of figuring out who's to blame.

Meanwhile, Wynton Marsalis has a bit different take:
Swing is a philosophy of steadfastness. It instructs us to maintain an equilibrium when external forces are conspiring to tear it apart. At the heart of swing, two extremely different instruments--the drum and the bass--must be played with absolutely the same intentions. The cymbal that is struck on every beat by the drummer is in the high high register, and the bass notes, also articulated on every beat, are in the way way low. In order to swing, these extremes must get together, and then they must stay together. If you think getting together is hard, then you probably know that staying together is practically impossible. Anyone can swing for a few measures--but swinging is a matter of endurance. It tests the limits of your ability to work with another person to create a mutual feeling.

That is what is required of the citizens of this country now: sustained engagement with the issues that have been raised by this tragedy.....

Now, through the displacement of 300,000 families, we are forced as a nation literally to come closer and deal with one another in an unprecedented way. The development of jazz showed what Americans can do when we come together. There is no greatness without discomfort. Will we now recognize that we are on this land together? Have we given up on the proposition that every generation of Americans will improve on the glories of the one before? Why are systems now failing to help the people they should help? We must not acquiesce in incompetence or bigotry or greed. In New Orleans, we have real big roaches, and we have a saying: "When you turn the lights on, the roaches scatter." We must keep the lights on.
Chill, Dude!

Is this good advice, or just too nannyish?: Don't Try to Surf a Tsunami!
The city of Malibu has a message for its residents: When a big quake hits, don't wax up the surfboard and head to the beach.

..."Never go to the beach to watch for, or to surf, a tsunami wave!" the guide states in bold letters.

" … Because they are not like regular waves, they are impossible to surf. They are much faster, higher and can come on-shore filled with debris."

Officials advise people to watch for other signs of a possible tsunami, including the receding of ocean waters, "creating a vast expanse of exposed beach."

Malibu emergency preparedness Director Brad Davis said some of the tips may seem painfully obvious, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.

"You can't overestimate the intelligence of people out there," Davis said. "Some people still might see it as a gigantic wave and think, 'This is going to be the ride of my life.' "

Along Pacific Coast Highway, some Malibu residents were left rolling their eyes at the warning.

"I'm speechless," said Candace Brown, a surfer and co-owner of Zuma Jay's, a landmark surf shop in Malibu. "I think the last thing people will think about if they feel an earthquake is surfing…. It sounds really lame to me."

But others believe that in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami last December, the city is being prudent in getting the message out.

Jeff Kramer, a surfer, lawyer and former Malibu mayor, said he thought warning people to clear beach areas in case of a big quake seemed like a good idea. But he said that despite their reputation for taking risks, surfers might be the last people to try to tangle with a tsunami.

"I think surfers, more than most people, understand the power of the ocean," he said. "I don't think they're going to go out there and try to surf a tsunami. That strikes me as somewhat silly advice."

But Malibu officials may have some history on their side.

In 1994, a tsunami warning in Hawaii drew more than 400 surfers to the North Shore of Oahu.

"Fortunately, that turned out to not be a huge, deadly, destructive tsunami. If it had been, there would have been over 400 deaths," an oceanography professor told a local paper at the time.

Last year the state distributed a DVD to 100 surf shops in Hawaii explaining the dangers of trying to ride a tsunami. Besides the risk of death, there are other reasons not to surf a tsunami. For one, according to a surfing website, "a tsunami does not curl."

In the Gulf Coast, people have headed to the beach to witness hurricanes making landfall, Davis said. And after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck off the Northern California coast in June, there were reports that some people had gone to the beach.

"With a lot of natural occurrences, sometimes people get curious, and we want to discourage people from heading toward a disaster," said Jeff Terry, chairman of the Los Angeles County Operational Area Tsunami Planning Task Force.

...But would anyone really think of surfing a tsunami?

You just never know, Davis said.

"You need to make all the statements you can, even the ones you think are pretty obvious to people," he said. "Because what seems obvious is not always obvious to everyone."

Monday, October 31, 2005

Nefarious Jesuitical Conspiracies

Interesting sidelight:
If confirmed, Samuel Alito would be the fifth Roman Catholic on the current Supreme Court and the 11th Catholic to serve in the court's history.
Brian Vincent Forment

Here is the obituary from the Woodland Daily Democrat.

I was thinking that it might be nice to host a photo exhibition of Brian's best ballet recital photography, maybe at DMTC's New Theater, at an appropriate time - lots of good photos taken over 26 years!:
Brian Vincent Forment

July 13, 1942 - Oct. 27, 2005

Brian Vincent Forment died at his home in Woodland on Thursday, Oct. 27 at age 63.

Mr. Forment was born July 13, 1942 in Millbrae, the only child of Vincent and Ida Forment. He had been a Yolo County resident for about 33 years. He grew up in Millbrae, where he attended local elementary, junior high, and Capuchino High School. He attended the College of San Mateo where he studied photography. After two years of military service in Missouri, Texas and Indiana from 1965 to 1967, he returned and entered San Francisco State College as an art and photography major. After graduation in 1969 he continued on to receive his secondary teaching credential at SF State College in the same fields. In 1970, he was inducted into the educational fraternity at SF State. His first teaching job was at Duarte High School in the Los Angeles area where he taught art from 1970 to 1972. On June 26, 1971 he married Sally Ann Page from Tiburon. After two years at Duarte, he applied and was hired by Esparto Unified School District at the high school level where he remained until June 2003, a total of 31 years where he taught art, photography, jewelry, ceramics, yearbook, school newspaper and driver's education. He spent the remainder of his years teaching history at the high school level until he concluded his teaching career at Madison Community High School in Madison. He worked with his wife Sally Ann Forment, who owned the Woodland Dance Academy, photographing the children in their "Nutcracker" and various costumes for 26 years as well as doing the videotapes, programs and posters.

Survivors include Mr. Forment's wife of 34 years, Sally Ann Forment of Woodland and his daughter, Page Anne Berghoffer and her husband, Charles D. Berghoffer III of Redmond, Wash.

The family requests memorials in Mr. Forment's name be directed to the Woodland Friends of the Library or to a charity of the donor's choice.

Services: A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30 at the Woodland Senior Center, 630 Lincoln Ave., Woodland. The Neptune Society is assisting the family with arrangements.

Published in the Daily Democrat on 10/29/2005.
McMartin Preschool Confessions

This stuff is horrible, but you knew they had to start coming eventually: the confessions of the little kids (who are now grown up) - the kids whose lies destroyed the lives of the hardworking teachers at the McMartin Preschool in LA, in the most sensational phony sexual abuse case of the 80's:
I think I got the satanic details by picturing our church. We went to American Martyrs, which was a huge Catholic church. Every Sunday we had to go, and Mass would last an hour, hour and a half. None of us wanted to go: It was kicking and screaming all the way there. Sitting, standing, sitting, standing. What I would do was picture the altar, pews and stained-glass windows, and if [investigators] said, "Describe an altar," I would describe the one in our church. Or instead of, "There was a priest in a green suit"—someone who was real—I would say, "A man dressed in red as a cult member." From going to church you know that God is good, and the devil is bad and has horns and is about evil and red and blood. I'd just throw a twist in there with Satan and devil-worshipping.
A Halloween Omen

Only Tesla understood this stuff, so be very afraid:
WACO, Texas (AP) -- A pastor performing a baptism was electrocuted inside his church Sunday morning when he adjusted a nearby microphone while standing in water, a church employee said.
A Dream

Last night, I dreamt we strung together dozens of stage wagons from the set of "Victor/Victoria" and took them on a highway and rail tour of the American West. We would stop at shopping malls, push the stage wagons around, and quickly complete set changes - all while dressed in drag - to the applause of thousands of wildly-cheering fans.

When we weren't performing set changes, we would stop at mineral water and hot spring resorts, where we'd alternate Jazzercise with sensual plunges in mud baths.

I think I'm flippin' tired.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

"Victor/Victoria" Weekend Two

Another weekend of experience under the belt! On Saturday, both Brett and Dian complained of crushed toes, but by Sunday, Brett had forgotten about his injury, so it must not have been too serious. Dian, meanwhile, had reinjured the toe that was battered in DMTC's "Cabaret" rehearsal in August, so she remembered her injury only too well.

Saturday featured several close calls. On both Chez Lui exits, the curtain snagged the stool placed on top of the bar. The first time, the stool fell, along with the cups o' gel, but both cups landed upright (!), so there was no gooey mess to confuse matters. The second time, the stool turned sideways, and almost brought the teacup down with it, but Marcy helped steady it (thanks!)

Age was on my mind: Sunday was my 49th birthday! There was an illuminating dressing-room conversation:
Scott: Did you know I'm older than Bob Baxter?
General Reaction: WOW! That's AMAZING!
Me: Did you know I'm also older than Bob Baxter?
General Reaction: (*yawn*)
I continued to learn new things. In 'Louis Seize' on Saturday, I turned around and all the guys had vanished, just leaving the women center stage. "WTF?", I thought, as I stared at the mirrors and the vacant back stage. (Musical theater is an emotional rollercoaster, but no emotion is more dangerous on stage than "WTF?") Then, I remembered an ancient Ron Cisneros dictum, that we were supposed to hide briefly behind the mirrors, before reemerging to assume our decadent poses. I had dropped the disappearing act in the general chaos of tech week, because we hadn't had mirrors to work with until late, and simply had moseyed upstage and posed decadently (and apparently cluelessly). By Sunday, I had picked up on the clue.

On Sunday, after second Chez Lui, I retrieved the chairs and table from under their new hiding place in the wrong alcove of the stage left wagon, in order to move them to the right alcove, but my exit was blocked by the turning stage left wagon, which had wandered too far upstage. I had also been saddled with the awkward larger table. I ended up being sealed behind the wagons, trapped as if in a sarcophagus, with my larger table, plus two chairs (HELP!) It took a while to squirm out of that!

The "Le Jazz Hot" outfits are causing problems for the guys. The satin left leg isn't very elastic - not nearly as elastic as the right leg - so when our quads pump up while we're doing the butt-slap-plie, we bust out the seam on the left leg. On Saturday, Lillian fixed my seam, which ripped on Friday, but, if anything, the fit is tighter now than before. The result is that I'm compromising the plie, trying to save the fabric, my focus, and my dignity. Not terribly comfortable!

In general, though, we are getting better, and having more fun with the show. We are singing louder and smiling more and moving better. The set changes are faster and we are certainly under 3 hours run time (including intermission). We are in the groove!

There were "Victor/Victoria'-related social activities as well. After Saturday's show, several of us went over to Michael Miiller's new house, not far from Sierra II, for a Halloween party. A (friendly) black cat cozied up to me in the street outside (is that bad luck or good luck?) Inside, there was a colorful mix of people, particularly the Harajuku Giantess and her friend.

On Sunday, after the show, several of us went out for dinner at 'A Taste of Thai' on Broadway. A good time! Then afterwards, a more-somber but nevertheless convivial get-together was had with the Forment family (including Page and Charles from Seattle) at 'Old Spaghetti Factory', following the afternoon service in Woodland for Brian Forment.
A Halloween Idea

A cool picture, from God knows where, over at The Poor Man: