Saturday, March 04, 2006

Memories of 1972

Before the 1972 election, Henry Kissinger announced that peace negotiations with the North Vietnamese were near a breakthrough. The emptiness of that announcement - the cynical abuse of people's hopes for electoral advantage - became clear after the election, with renewed bombing at Christmas, and the U.S. incursion into Cambodia.

I was very much reminded of that time, this time in advance of congressional elections, by the latest Iraq announcement from Britain:
The United States and Britain are planning to pull all their troops out of Iraq by the spring of 2007, two British newspapers reported in their Sunday editions, quoting unnamed senior defense ministry sources.

The Sunday Telegraph said the planned pull-out followed an acceptance by the two governments that the presence of foreign troops in Iraq was now a large obstacle to securing peace.

"The British government is understood to be the driving force behind the withdrawal plan but all 24 coalition members are likely to welcome the move, given the growing international unpopularity of the war," the Telegraph said.
Heavy Artillery Movement

The Air Force has deployed frightening AC-130 gunships back into Iraq.
Infringing Patent

Damon Wayans apparently wants to patent the word "niggas":
He wants to put it on a product line of apparel and whatnot. So far, he has not been successful, but one can imagine young American kids wearing that word emblazoned on their apparel and listening to rap "songs" in which the N-word frequently appears, in conjunction with "bitches" and "hos," among other denigrations.
Diet Soda

Experts ponder diet soda:
Harvard pediatrician Dr. David Ludwig worries that diet soda is causing "infantilization of taste buds."
I drink more diet soda than I drink water. And as soon as I get the sippy cup, the pacifier, and the teething ring out of my mouth, I'll tell you more....
Dang Weather!

These Hawaiian floods, in a just universe, should have gone to Arizona!
Can't Quite Believe His Eyes

Good government liberal Josh Marshall can't quite believe how rapidly Brownie's post-Katrina reputation is recovering, but at least he understands why it's recovering. In comparison to Chertoff and Bush, Brownie looks more and more like a wizard every day! Digby has two posts for March 3rd on the same point.
VAPAC Troubles

I wonder why Sacramento Unified School District is being so rough with the VAPAC Performing Arts Charter School. Ostensibly, Sac Unified is concerned about financial irregularities, but the roughhouse approach they're following, attempting a hostile takeover - literally, a hostile takeover, where security guards are required - hardly seems calculated to inspire confidence. Schools require mutual confidence to thrive, and that confidence has been shattered.

Governmental agencies, no matter how benign, look with suspicion upon satellite groups, like charter schools, no matter how selfless, where both private and public funds are involved. Clean lines of authority get fuzzy. (Reminds me a little bit of DMTC and the City of Davis!)

I hate to see this battle, though: VAPAC is a very positive part of the Sacramento Performing Arts community, and we would sorely miss it!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Hoping For The Best!

Best wishes for a good second Friday! (picture from PsychoWardJester at B3ta).

Hungry Next Week in Davis?

A fundraiser at Dos Coyotes on Monday evening for Davis Senior High Symphony Orchestra:

Plus, of course, DMTC's fundraiser on Wednesday evening, sponsored by California Advocates and graciously arranged by Michael Miiller:


". . .Splashed with rich earth tones and a warm European flair, and accented with murals and wine glasses suspended above the bar, serving as candle holders. It features hot and cold tapas, dinner and lunch entrées, . . . and a lengthy list of California and European wines.…” --Davis Enterprise on Aioli Bodega Española Restaurant

Aioli Bodega Española, is hosting a fundraising event for Davis Musical Theatre Company. Wednesday, March 8 from 5 to 7 p.m., 808 Second St., downtown Davis (formerly Cafe California.) Please join us at Davis’ newest restaurant, having the charm and romance of old Spain, and fill your belly with the finest sangria and intoxicating tapas.

$25 per person (covers admission, food and drink). All proceeds from this event benefit DMTC, a non-profit 501(c)(3) community theater company. The deadline for reservations is Sunday, March 5, 2006. Please RSVP to Michael Miiller at (Yes, that is two i’s in Miiller) or Jan Isaacson at

DMTC gratefully thanks Aioli Bodega Española and California Advocates for their generous support of this event. As a non-profit organization, DMTC recently opened its beautiful, new 240-seat home, the Hoblit Performing Arts Center. Much of this million-plus dollar dream came true through the heroic efforts and generous support of dedicated community volunteers and friends. DMTC is now in the process of retiring its remaining debt. Your donation to DMTC is greatly appreciated to keep the dream alive and real.
Getting Stranger

Apparently the Department of Homeland Security is somehow mixed up with the mysterious car crash that destroyed an extraordinarily-expensive automobile along the California coast.
No one was injured when the rare Ferrari Enzo traveling 162 mph smashed into a power pole on Pacific Coast Highway. But the case continues to generate interest because the Ferrari is one of only 400 built, and detectives have struggled to understand what happened.

Eriksson told investigators he was a passenger in the Ferrari and that the driver was a man named Dietrich, who fled from the scene. But officials have been skeptical, noting that Eriksson had a bloody lip and the only blood found was on the driver's side airbag.

... Just as murky is Eriksson's connection to the San Gabriel Valley Transit Authority. The organization is a privately run nonprofit that has agreements with Monrovia and Sierra Madre to provide bus rides for disabled residents.

... According to the website, the organization also has its own police department with a chief, detectives and marked police cruisers. Sheriff's investigators said Eriksson told deputies that he was deputy commissioner of the department's anti-terrorism unit.
Bush Caves On Discouraging The South Asian Arms Race

Doesn't seem wise:
It appears that, to close the deal during his visit, Bush directed his negotiators to give in to India's demands that it be allowed to produce unlimited quantities of fissile material and amass as many nuclear weapons as it wants.

The agreement, which requires congressional approval, would be an important step toward Bush's long-held goal of closer relations with India. It would reflect India's status as a global power. And, not least of all, it would more firmly establish India as a military ally and bulwark against China.

Critics have long denounced such an agreement, saying it would reward India for its rogue nuclear-weapons program and could encourage other nations to do likewise.

But now the criticisms may focus on this question: By enabling India to build an unlimited stockpile of nuclear weapons, would this agreement set off a new Asian arms race?

And here's another question: Were Bush and his aides so eager for some good headlines -- for a change -- that they gave away the store?
Trained Seals

A rare Joint Session of the U.S. Congress was called in order to provide camera shots for the current Italian election campaign. Your elected representatives applauded like trained seals for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, even though he spoke entirely in Italian, and no Congress member had a freakin' idea what he was saying.
Blowin' In The Wind

B3ta's Question of the Week asks their readers to submit their best airport stories. Here's my submission:
The Boeing 737 was an hour late taxiing to the runway for takeoff in Albuquerque, NM, USA on a windy evening. Many passengers were upset that they might miss their connection in Phoenix, AZ that would take them to Orange County, CA. They would arrive in Phoenix with just minutes to spare to run through the airport to make their connection.

Looking out the window, I saw a tumbling plastic dry-cleaning bag, being blown by the wind, towards the aircraft. Abruptly, the plastic bag jumped off the ground and went right into the engine. The lights flickered and my heart filled with dread: was there engine damage? Were we doomed? I frantically began waving my arms at the stewardess, she informed the pilot, and he did a U-turn and rolled right back to the terminal for another hour of delay, while mechanics picked plastic out of the engine cowling.

It's funny, despite all the broken connections, not a single person complained about the additional delay. All the impatient people suddenly had the patience of Job.
Apples Are Better Than Pears

At surviving car accidents:
Moderately overweight males are more likely to survive serious car accidents than either the thin or the very fat. Apparently, a bit of extra padding -- but not too much -- provides extra protection, according to the study.

... For reasons that aren't clear, women don't get the same protection from extra weight: Being fat, thin or in-between didn't affect their likelihood of dying in a car accident, the study found.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Was It Something I Said?

In 2002, Randall Kennedy wrote an interesting book: "Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word." Here is an excerpt from a review:
Kennedy seems to be a strict interpreter of the Constitution. He surprises the reader with his conservative takes on several remarkable cases of N-word litigation. When discussing famous rulings that invoke the fighting-words and mere-words doctrines, he opts against the fighting-words doctrine because it "gives more leeway to insult a nun than a prizefighter since the nun is less likely to retaliate." He also comes down against the mere-words doctrine (where words alone are not sufficient for provocation) by adding, "I am persuaded that there should be no bright-line limits to the array of provocations that a jury is permitted to consider for the purposes of mitigation."

Even further, he sides against the regulationists, who advocate for laws against hate speech. He also opposes the eradicationists, who condemn all uses of the N-word -- even in art, literature or by comedians. Kennedy, who is black, has little problem defending Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn over the controversy regarding its use of the N-word 215 times, of which he says, "... Twain designed to subvert, not to reinforce, racism." Onto which he adds that "... [our] thought becomes stunted in the absence of any sense of irony."
I was reminded of when DMTC did "Showboat" in the summer of 2003. I played racist Pete Gavin, who opens the show with crude, nasty use of the N-word. Like with 'Huckleberry Finn,' the N-word was used in 'Showboat' in order to subvert racism, not promote it, but nevertheless, Director Jan carefully lectured the assembled cast that DMTC would not use the N-word in our show at all, in order to avoid offending any sensibilities.

Unfortunately, I wasn't paying much attention on that summer evening: I was doodling instead. So, when the time came, I faithfully followed the script: I used the N-word in a nasty, crude way to one of the lead actresses. It was the first time, and probably last time, I've ever heard an entire assembled DMTC cast fall, utterly, into aghast silence.....

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mississippi Sheriff Shows Initiative...

during Hurricane Katrina, and brain-dead feds prosecute him:
About 150 people gathered in support of Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee on Sunday, outraged at federal charges against him stemming from a dispute over ice trucks in the days following Hurricane Katrina.

..."We had diabetic people who hadn't been able to put their insulin on ice for three days," said Lee Behrens, 53, chief of the McLaurin Volunteer Fire Department. "If it was up to FEMA, those trucks would still be at Camp Shelby."

McGee, 53, was scheduled to plead guilty Friday to a misdemeanor charge of interfering with, intimidating and impeding a federal officer, but the hearing was delayed indefinitely late Thursday. A new court date has not been scheduled.

McGee acknowledged to the Hattiesburg American on Thursday that he acted outside federal guidelines when he asked two ice truck drivers to follow him to distribution centers in the Brooklyn and Sheeplo communities.

... About 1,000 people relied on the McLaurin VFD for ice and water during those sweltering days, said volunteer firefighter Rhonda Hobson.

"I can hardly even describe the looks on people's faces when we had to tell them we couldn't give them anything," said Hobson, 37. "(McGee) did it for us, for the reasons we voted him in there - to protect us and take care of us."

...Charlie Sims, 47, of McLaurin asked sheriff's deputies to relay a request from the people of South Forrest County. "Would you please ask him to write a handbook for FEMA on how to make a decision?"
Las Vegas Musical Theater Lessons

Faced with Q-miliation, mogul Steve Wynn apparently has been bad-mouthing "Mamma Mia," but Michael Riedel at the New York Post (via blogger Richard Abowitz) has done some sleuthing regarding just how successful "Mamma Mia" is (and continues to be). Riedel comments:
People involved in "Mamma Mia!" think Wynn is trashing their show because he tried — and failed — to get it himself. He offered Judy Craymer, its producer, several million dollars for the exclusive North American rights. He wanted "Mamma Mia!" to forgo a U.S. tour, bypass Broadway and head straight to Vegas.

Craymer turned him down, a decision that has made her one of the richest women in England. The Broadway production and the U.S. tour have made tens of millions of dollars. All that plus the Vegas profits.

What Craymer understood instinctively — and what Wynn is now, only after his "Q" black eye, just beginning to grasp — is that for a show to be successful in Vegas, it must have a high profile. It must, says Wynn, "arrive in Vegas late in its life." "Mamma Mia!" criss-crossed the country and ran on Broadway for a year before playing Mandalay Bay. It was already a famous show by the time it got there.

The lesson theater people are drawing from the failure of "Q" and the success of "Mamma Mia!" is that the Vegas audience only buys what it knows and likes. When you're in Vegas, you take your chances with the slot machines, not with the price of theater tickets.
So That's What Happened!

I once had a VW Bug. I once had a cat. These days, I have neither, and now I know why.
Davis Enterprise Review of DMTC's "Titanic - The Musical"

Since there is no indication that Bev Sykes' review will even be archived by the Davis Enterprise, to allow paying readers to access it, so here is a JPEG of her review. Just copy and save it, and zoom in on it, to get readability.

Every technical annoyance she mentions did occur on opening night, and to my knowledge, has been fixed. Whatever annoyance she had with the singers can't be fixed so easily (except to note that many of us mercifully drown in icy North Atlantic waters).

"Wizard of Oz" Callbacks

Lots of talented people! I was surprised, actually. I expected this show to be a showcase for new, unknown talent, and there was some of that there, but many of the Sacramento Valley's young, experienced musical theater people were there as well. That will make casting decisions hard!
More On Kelly Daniells

Mentioned in passing in this Las Vegas Sun article. It's interesting how the reporter seemed to have no particular tag to put on Kelly (a community theater veteran) except "Annie Get Your Gun." Jumping into the professional world appears like a rebirth: talented people magically appear, fully trained, just out of nowhere! In any event, Kelly will become known to everyone soon enough!

The big rollout of the new "Mamma Mia" cast apparently happened last Thursday. Jason says the new cast was invited to the Mandalay Bay's posh Foundation Room for a party. More information should be available soon at Kelly's Weblog (address on sidebar).

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Drug of choice these days at the VA for Gulf War Syndrome.

(Personal experience): Actually, Obecalp might be preferable to the usual VA approach, which is to prescribe mind-altering drugs, and then not follow up with a review of medications until after the side effects are bizarre enough to frighten small children.
Cool As A Cucumber

Panicked stewardess freaks out over Greenland.
Swindle's Maglev Express

The City Manager wants to connect Bernalillo, NM (3rd-oldest town in the U.S., and trailer park capital of the universe) with Rio Rancho, NM (exploding subdivisions from hell, characterless sheet-rock capital of the universe, but without trailers) with a Maglev rail line. I wonder if this is connected with Rio Rancho Mayor Jim Owen's megalomaniacal idea to push his exploding subdivisions all the way to Laguna Pueblo?

I remind these low-budget fantasists that Sacramento had to give up computer-driven light rail trains, because they kept crashing into cars and drunks and cows and any number of other inconvenient objects, on a routine basis:
Swindle believes it could happen with the urban maglev, a high-speed train that floats above its track on a magnetic field, transporting passengers above the metropolitan area without traffic congestion, expensive rail lines or even a driver.

It's a real technology, already carrying passengers in Germany and Japan. In the United States, maglev exists on test tracks in San Diego and Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo.

The stumbling block is the price. At an estimated $20 million per mile, Swindle's idea would cost $100 million.

But with support from neighboring Rio Rancho, Swindle hopes to find investors to help build a five-mile maglev system connecting the Bernalillo rail stop for the state's Rail Runner commuter train to Rio Rancho's downtown, which is under construction.
Medical Malpractice Crisis Is Over

For now....
....These kinds of volcanic eruptions in insurance premiums have occurred three times in the last 30 years — in the mid 1970s, again in the mid-1980s, and then again following the year 2001. The cause is always the same: a severe drop in investment income for insurers compounded by underpricing in prior years. Each time, insurers and the health care industry have tried to cover up their mismanaged underwriting by blaming lawyers and the legal system.
It's Not Racist To Be Concerned About Port Security

With the Senate majority leadership falling in line like little robots to support the port deal with the UAE, it's important to note that security questions remain:
That post-9-11 pressure has caused the UAE to switch sides is surely a good thing. But America has allies, and then we have allies. Our strategic partnerships with close democratic friends -- Britain, Germany, Japan, etc. -- extend across decades and involve presidents and prime ministers from all parties in both states, transcending personal ties or whims of the day and reflecting deep alignment of values and interests. Partnerships of convenience with friendly despots dating back to the early 21st century and reflecting handshake agreements between George W. Bush and the local monarch aren't the same thing, and there's nothing racist about pointing this out.
Plumb Forgot

I was supposed to be the expert involved, but I ended up going to the supermarket instead:
Scooter Libby, lawyer, foreign policy hand, author and Dick Cheney's personal one-man heat shield, has hired a memory loss expert to assist in his defense.
So, the Red Chinese Are Miffed

What are they going to do about it? Close the port of Los Angeles? Well, ..... yeah! They already run the port! Just a few phone calls and they could shut it down, if they wanted. Do we have enough National Guardsmen to keep the place functioning if we had to?:
Chinese President Hu Jintao denounced the Taiwanese president's decision to scrap an agency dedicated to uniting Taiwan with the communist mainland, and warned Tuesday that Beijing will not permit the self-ruled island to pursue formal independence.

Hu's criticism came amid a series of stern Chinese statements Tuesday that vilified Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian but refrained from repeating Beijing's frequent threats to attack the island, which it claims as part of its territory.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry called on the United States, Taiwan's only major ally, to block any moves toward independence for the island, split from the mainland since 1949.

Hu accused Chen of taking a "dangerous step" toward independence.

"We will continue to strive for the prospect of peaceful unification, but we will never allow Taiwan to be split from the motherland," state media quoted Hu as saying.

The high-level warning reflected the depth of Beijing's alarm at Chen's decision Monday to abolish the National Unification Council along with guidelines calling for uniting Taiwan with the communist mainland.
Pass The Bon-Bons

Oink, oink:
Half of Europeans are obese or overweight, but citizens do not see obesity as a major health threat, a food industry report said on Tuesday.
Bad Timing

Time for the blackboard:

I promise never again to have the gutters removed just before heavy rains.
I promise never again to have the gutters removed just before heavy rains.
I promise never again to have the gutters removed just before heavy rains.
Three Marsupial Night

I don't know whether they were freaked out by the winds, or excited by the smell of wet earth, but the streets of Sacramento were swarming with possums last night, in the early morning hours. Sparky thought it was invigorating fun to make these peculiar tree dwellers freeze right in their tracks.
YSG Valentine

On the evening of Friday, February 17th, I was leaving Old Spaghetti Factory with the DMTC borg, when teenagers abruptly stopped me and raved about the "Tommy" DMTC sweatshirt I was wearing. "I LOVE The WHO!," one girl exclaimed, "I saw them at the Hollywood Bowl!" I was surprised, since I thought The Who stopped touring years ago, but I was even more surprised to discover they were from the West Valley, or Hollywood, or somewhere down in the South Coast, in Sacramento for a YSG (presumably Youth in Student Government) weekend at the State Capitol. They gave me a little YSG Valentine, colored red, green and yellow (looks Italian, which is fitting for the restaurant).

I've since tried to confirm the YSG acronym on Google, but all I get is 'Young Solicitor's Group,' and 'Yap State Government,' and 'Yokohama Shakespeare Group," so I don't know for sure who they were, but I'm carrying around the YSG Valentine wherever I go.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Franklin Foer Named Chief Editor of TNR

Too late. That rag is headed to obsolescence. To think I subscribed for a quarter century too. Surprised I didn't get neoconservative scabies.
Right From The Heart

Assistant to the State Treasurer of Arizona resigns.
America Is Not Alone

And if we all could wedge ourselves out of the comfy chair, we could do something about it:
The Australian Bureau of Statistics national health survey, released yesterday, found 62 per cent of men and 45 per cent of women were overweight or obese.

However, only 32 per cent of men and 37 per cent of women saw themselves that way.

It also found Queenslanders are fatter, drink and smoke more and have higher levels of preventable diseases than the average Australian.
The 2003 Recall Candidates Respond....

To Gerald Gorman's candidacy:
Cheryl Bly-Chester: Good Luck on your Assembly Race - I agree - engineers know how to work through problems. - Fellow Historical Figure - Cheryl Bly-Chester

Marc Valdez: Engineers are good with most problems, but too quick to answer others: questions like 'do I look fat in this dress?' kinds of questions, the kind where the human element gets involved....

Diana Foss: Mark - I'm not an engineer, but you don't look fat in that dress. Don't worry - Diana

Marc Valdez: Thank you, Diana (whew!)

Christopher Sproul: Once again, I agree with Diana's judgment. And while we were in the minority in urging No on Recall, I trust that history will vindicate us on both Arnold and your attire. - Borrowing from Cheryl, Your Fellow Historical Figure, Chris
Nation's Wackiest Street Names

(Courtesy of Noel): results of a poll:
10. Tater Peeler Road in Lebanon, Tenn.
9. The intersection of Count and Basie in Richmond, Va.
8. Shades of Death Road in Warren County, N.J.
7. Unexpected Road in Buena, N.J.
6. Bucket of Blood Street in Holbrook, Ariz.
5. The intersection of Clinton and Fidelity in Houston
4. The intersection of Lonesome and Hardup in Albany, Ga.
3. Farfrompoopen Road in Tennessee (the only road up to Constipation Ridge)
2. Divorce Court in Heather Highlands, Pa.
1. Psycho Path in Traverse City, Mich.
Mister X

Has a blog.
A Day of Non-Sequiturs

Gabe notes that today is the anniversary of the Reichstag Fire. After throwing today's date around a bit, Gabe has a Guy Fawkes fantasy:
Future news flash: Marc Valdez was found naked behind the State Capitol after a stink bomb went off on December 13, 2006. The Governor declared a state of emergency, dissolved the Legisature, and the people cheered the end of governmental stalemate. Forever after the period of Utopia reigned, and from there on out, every December 13, Marc Valdez is set free on the Capitol grounds to throw a ceremonial stink bomb. After the air clears, the Governor appears to declare a year of prosperity with much rejoicing. Marc Valdez is shown by his side, with mouth gagged, to show a sign of the loyal opposition. With many cheers and hurrahs, Marc is put away for another year to star on a tv show strangely reminiscent of the 1960s: The Prisoner.
I respond: Hurrah, Progress! I like it! Especially the ceremonial part (being chased naked by a big balloon in public somehow excites me...)

Gabe responds with a Wikipedia reference to 'The Simpsons':
Another episode, "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes", had the final act completely based on The Prisoner. Homer became trapped on an island which was similar to the Village and Patrick McGoohan even reprised his role as Number 6 (Homer was Number 5). While on the island, some of the reasons for prisoners being there were revealed. Number 27 could turn water into gasoline, Number 12 knew the deadly secret behind Tic Tacs, and Number 6 invented the bottomless peanut bag. While trying to escape, Homer was pursued by Rover and easily popped it with a plastic fork. The episode ends with Homer returning to Springfield, only to be abducted again, this time with his family, but they find that life in The Island isn't that bad after all.
Gerald Gorman, Candidate

Former 2003 California Recall candidate Gerald Gorman is in the running again, for State Assembly:
Yep, I've got my hat back in the ring again. This time it is for the State Assembly seat that will be vacated by Joe Canciamilla at the end of the current term due to term limits. Interestingly enough, even though I ran for Mayor of San Bruno in 1991, and for Governor in 2003, and another time for a County Board of Education spot - the Contra Costa times still considers me to be a political unknown.

Now I realize that some of the things that I have said over the years have been very contraversial - and this may be problemetic insofar as how I should approach the current situation. My first instinct is to run a basic platform that I think that "political decisions would be better off being made by engineers than for engineering decisions to continue to be made by politicians" AND that "I have a track record of identifying (the critical) issues (that are most often overlooked by those suffering from a failure of imagination)"
Gerald has formidable memory skills: name a week in the last half-year, and he can tell you what the Super Lotto Megabucks number was for that week. If politics were like 'Jeopardy,' he'd win easily. But as we know, politics is a trickier game....
Tipping Point?

How forgiving will the voters be in 2006 regarding Bush Administration missteps? It's dangerous to provoke voters - witness how California Governor Gray Davis generated a massive backlash in 2003 with the 2001 electricity debacle and his ham-handed interference in the 2002 Republican gubernatorial primary. Voters can lunge for the pitchforks at times. Rhode Island's Republican Governor is a little more optimistic this year, though:
The Medicare program left several governors shaking their heads, though they said efforts to improve it were helping. "Probably the design of the plan could've been better," said Republican Don Carcieri of Rhode Island. Bush has called for steps to limit the confusion. Still, Carcieri was sure voters would forgive, both on the drugs and on the hurricane response. "They're more understanding of that kind of thing. They understand they're only human."
Well, in 2003, fickle California voters changed their minds and decided Gray Davis was an alien from Mars, with thin green blood. What will happen, this year, to Republican candidates?
A More Relaxed Schedule For 'Showgirl'?

Kylie's Australian tour may be stretched out to leave R&R time:
[T]he Showgirl show itself certainly won't be scaled down - quite the opposite, it looks set to be revamped and updated - but the tour schedule looks likely to be a lot more relaxed than previously, with large back-to-back blocks of shows being replaced with more spread out dates, giving Kylie chance to regain full health in between, and hence not tiring her out; we all know how Kylie has suffered from exhaustion due to the chaotic scheduling of previous tours. There is no word about exactly how the show will be updated yet, although we were excited to hear that William Baker had been spotted visiting Kylie in Melbourne, and Showgirl must certainly have been one of the many things they must have discussed.
A more-relaxed pace is a good idea. I remember the original schedule: finish in Brisbane and open in Adelaide: the next night! How would that even be physically possible? All that equipment, travelling a thousand miles, supposedly by truck? For everyone's sake, take some time!
Ebony and Ivory

Mixed race couple have twins. One baby is white and the other is black, the odds of which are about one in a million.
Disturbing Trend

Run as a Democrat, end up on the no-fly list.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

First Weekend Complete

Opened the newspaper this morning: got a jolt!

"Titanic - The Musical" is off to a good start (well, as good a start as a sinking ship ever gets).

Just a few problems today: several bobbled lines, that's all. With experience, the show continues to improve! Second Friday approaches in a few days - usually the bane of community theater - so we'll have to continue to maintain our focus.
Amazing Coincidences

Steve just distributed this E-Mail he received to the cast of "Titanic - The Musical":
To the cast and crew of Titanic,

Dear cast and crew, I have just come off stage after seven full-house performances and have spent the day nursing bruises and reflecting on what has the best week of my life.

I have been searching the web for reviews of our shows following the verbal support that we have received. Imagine my surprise when I found you lot!

The reason is that I am a member of DMTC (Durham Musical Theatre Company) based in Durham City in the North East of England. Our home is the Gala Theatre in Durham and my aches and pains have been caused by the fact that last night was my last performance of the Northern premiere of Titanic! How weird is that!

Last November my colleagues and I visited Liverpool to see West Kirby's production of Titanic where I met my namesake Jonathan Taylor who played Etches, the part for which I was auditioning. I did not get the part of Etches, instead that of Charles Lightoller and have thoroughly enjoyed playing him in this show. I'm sure it is too much to assume that you too have a cast member named Jonathan Taylor!

Never have I experienced such powerful emotion and such a strong vocal bombardment. I have loved ever second of it and wish you all well in your forthcoming show.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan R Taylor
Second Officer Charles Lightoller
Brown Snow

In Colorado:
FRISCO, Colo. (AP) — Snow that some residents described as dark as chocolate brown was reported across parts of Colorado Thursday, a result of a wind storm in northern Arizona that kicked up dust that fell with the snow overnight, officials said.
"Titanic - The Musical: First Two Nights

Things are going swimmingly! (ha! ha!)

Considering everything, we are off to an excellent start. The stage issues have been resolved, to the extent that serious difficulties are increasingly remote, and maybe statistically improbable. As Michael McElroy notes, the stage is not loaded when it is moving, and blocks are positioned to carry the weight when the stage is stopped, so any chance of breaking cables is remote. In addition, the strengthening of the rear coupled timber with nails and steel plates went well, so trouble there is now highly unlikely.

Robert Rehmus is the best kind of Stage Manager: paranoid about making everything work right, serious and dedicated, with safety as top priority number one, even above the show itself.

There were some light programming difficulties the first night, some prop problems, and actors were dropping lines (myself included). But not bad - I've certainly seen worse. The biggest set flaw was not getting enough of the right kind of chairs, so we ended up with white plastic chairs in the dining salon. If they had had white plastic chairs in 1912, they would have been very popular marvels on board the Titanic, but they didn't actually have them, to our discomfort.

Interestingly, the Crow's Nest seems to be among the most-popular innovations of the entire show. This is the Mark II version of the Crow's Nest: Mark I, which Michael once described as 'the bane of my existence' was mercifully cannibalized - the 'Dream of Progress' realized.

Second night (tonight), I nearly got into serious trouble, right off the bat. In the opening scene, I apparently was staring directly into a light, so when I turned to make my exit, I was utterly lost, bereft of all bearings in the darkness. I took a step off a platform without knowing where I was. Fortunately, the surface below was flat and even, so no harm.

Some minor problems: Rich Kulmann made a late entrance (places may not have been called at the top of Act II); 'Murdoch' froze, 'Lightoller' scrambled geographic coordinates. Steve believes 'To The Lifeboats' still isn't intense enough. But the cart scene went well!

I've been hearing lots of good reactions to 'Edgar' and 'Alice'. It's a distinct pleasure working opposite Lauren McElroy: her sharp focus contrasts well to my pixellated blur, and helps sustain our couple-at-cross-purposes act. For 'Edgar' and 'Alice', it's good we look at things from different perspectives. Lauren really hams it up in 'The Latest Rag,' shamelessly stealing focus and hearts.

Time to recoup for tomorrow's matinee!
My Dog Is More Powerful Than The Sun

And maybe your dog too! San Francisco wants to use dog doo for power:
Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but the city's estimated 240,000 cats and dogs leave calling cards of their own. Norcal has decided to focus on dog doo because it is easier to collect, since dog owners frequent certain parks and could dispose of their pets' waste in controlled receptacles.