Friday, March 17, 2006

Strange Titanic Coincidence

[Significant Update: OK, now I'm really frosted! Steve began investigating this story, because it sounded just so fantastic, and he discovered that the Snopes-Web-Page link enclosed here features another link that sends readers to a false IMDB Web Page regarding the supposed Poseidon Adventure movie directed by D.W. Griffith. If you go over to the real IMDB Web Page on D.W. Griffith, however, you quickly discover that he never directed such a movie, and indeed, that no such movie EVER EXISTED! Damn! When you can't trust the Web Sites intended to debunk common myths, who can you believe? I'm complaining to Snopes! Meanwhile, I'll let this post remain, as a monument to my gullibility!]

Noel noticed this over at Snopes:
... The next evening -- the Titanic's last, as it turned out -- the entertainment switched to another 1911 film with a nautical theme, this one the work of an actor/director who was one of young Hollywood's fast-rising stars: D.W. Griffith. The movie was The Poseidon Adventure (unusual in its time for its length -- an amazing 53 minutes in an era when the 10-minute one-reeler was still the norm), about a group of six passengers and crew members who struggle to stay alive after the ocean liner in which they're travelling is capsized by a tidal wave.

... The Titanic's passengers, obviously unaware of the doom presaged by the film they were viewing, were so enthralled by the events of the The Poseidon Adventure that they failed to notice the slight shudder that marked the Titanic's fatal encounter with an iceberg at approximately 11:40 P.M. ... So enthusiastic was the audience's reaction to the film (and so slow was word of the true nature of the Titanic's dire condition in spreading) that The Poseidon Adventure was immediately screened for a second time just after midnight.

Ultimately, the grim coincidence of a film about a sinking ocean liner's being shown aboard a sinking ocean liner may have cost some passengers their lives. ... By the time the second screening drew to its conclusion after 1:00 A.M. and a few hundred Second Class passengers filtered back out on deck and finally learned of the Titanic's plight, all but a precious few of the woefully inadequate number of lifeboats had loaded and cast off ....
Moth, And The Light

Together with that Jackson story at FOX, they also had a video clip concerning Mary Carey's latest effort to run for Governor of California.

There's no question there's great theatrical allure in such a candidate, but porn stars in politics are unlikely to make a serious dent in a political campaign unless they address serious issues of some sort - an approach that HAS worked in Italy and Hungary, for example, where porn stars have ended up in Parliament.

In the FOX video, Mary Carey alluded to people disrespecting her (e.g., the National Republican Committee babysitters sent to keep her under close watch at a fundraiser). Disrespect is a problem she also experienced in her 2003 campaign (I disrespected her myself in the 2003 campaign). Disrespect is a great engine for political involvement, of course, but only if she can connect her experience with the disrespect others suffer. Narcissistic performance artists often can't make that jump, however, and appear instead as marginalized seekers of fame.

If Mary Carey could just connect her campaign to marginalized people beyond the Van Nuys adult film community, such as illegal aliens, or the rural poor, or maybe to neglected issues of some sort - inadequate fire protection or overcrowded child protection services, or SOMETHING, then maybe she can get some traction. Look to Europe to find an appropriate model, tailor those experiences to California circumstances, and then see what might happen!
Farewell, Neverland

After yanking his employees around regarding pay and health benefits, Michael Jackson ultimately decides to shut down Neverland Ranch.

What will become of Bubbles?
I Didn't Wear Green Today

So won't you pinch me then? (Picture from Aphex at B3ta).

This week, B3ta asked people to describe interesting fights anyone had ever engaged in at school. Maybe I was off-topic: I don't know, but they didn't pick my story for their 'Best' page this week. Still, I liked my story, so I'll reproduce it here:
I was eight-years old, at a playmate's birthday party, the first time I ever saw a piñata (a hollow papier-mache donkey filled with candy). They hung the piñata from a rope and a blindfolded kid swung at it with a bat. I stood expectantly underneath the swinging donkey, surrounded by playmates.

Whack! The donkey shattered directly over me, and candy showered below. Suddenly, sheer brutality, as every kid attacked. Bloody nose, knocked to the floor, kicked, bitten - I began madly swinging, but was overrun.

Quaint, light-hearted birthday customs teach Mexican kids early about the world....
Final Weekend!

OK, this ain't so bad! Just use 55,000 sticks of Guernsey butter from the first class kitchen and practice deep-breathing exercises, and we'll make it! (image from somewhere at B3ta)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Balkan Dispute

Serbia-Montenegro, that odd political remnant of the Yugoslav Federation, is bickering bitterly regarding whether the Montenegrin band 'No Name' will represent it in the Eurovision pop music contest. Serbs are enraged about the Montenegrin judges voting as a bloc to put 'No Name' forward.

Put the leading groups on 'American Idol', and we'll see who's best!
Obituary: Jane Katherine Arthur

The Sacramento Bee published a fine obituary this morning for Jane Katherine Arthur. I'm trying to get permission from the Bee to publish the obituary in full, but in the meantime, here is a portion:

Obituary: Jane Arthur, 58, reveled in the unconventional
By Robert D. Dávila -- Bee Staff Writer

Jane Katherine Arthur followed her bliss at age 20, shedding the comforts of a genteel upbringing in Virginia to wear flowers in her hair on the streets of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district during the Summer of Love in 1967.

She embarked on an unconventional path that led her to seek enlightenment at an ashram, travel with musical bands and read palms to support her three young children. Along the way she married and divorced five husbands, became a lawyer and served in the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.

A lively, stubborn woman who spoke her mind, she enthralled friends with tales of meeting the Beatles as a teenager and hanging out with the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane in San Francisco. She was a force of nature and devout Buddhist who faced breast cancer by learning and teaching yoga to others coping with illness.

Composing her own epitaph, Ms. Arthur wrote that she "lived and loved passionately, completely and without regrets." She died March 4 of cancer in Sacramento. She was 58.


Jane Katherine Arthur
Born: July 17, 1947
Died: March 4, 2006

...Survived by: Daughters Kashi Francis Albertsen and Persia Ramana Nelson-Crates, both of Sacramento; son Alexander Garth Samans of Grass Valley; two grandchildren

Memorial services: 2 p.m. Sunday at the SGI-USA Buddhist Community Center, 1812 Tribute Road, Sacramento

Jessica Simpson Backpedals

Jessica Simpson decided not to meet George W. Bush at a Republican fundraiser, because she is representing a non-profit organization (Operation Smile), and feared entangling her group in partisan politics. Such a visit could kill contributions from upset liberals, and have been ethically dicey to boot: 501(c)3 non-profits are banned from participating in partisan politics.

NRCC spokesmen are surprised, pointing to U2's Bono attending such events, but Bono is not an American citizen (and may not have been representing American non-profit organizations).

A wise move on her part!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Can It Be?

Apparently the Crest Theater has extended the run of "Ballets Russes" through Thursday, March 23rd! I don't know why - I think attendance has been pathetic: about 17 on Monday; maybe 24, or so, on Tuesday. Maybe it was me flinging cash at the concessions counter, or bending the ear of the theater management, or humming "Petrouchka" in the lobby. But whatever it is, thank goodness! Don't be complacent! See it while it's here! "Ballet Russes" now has Gabe's stamp of approval (he saw it last night!)
Partisan Children's Literature

Start them while they're young.
A Handgun Is Not A Toy

Modern parenting:
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A 3-year-old boy shot his mother in the knee with a 9mm handgun he had found under a couch cushion over the weekend, police said.

It was the second time the boy had handled the gun on Sunday. The mother had taken the gun away from the child and removed the bullets - apparently overlooking one in the chamber - and put the weapon back on the couch.
Mexico Announces Deep Water Oil Find

Remember the big Ixtoc well blowout years ago? I just hope the technology is better this time around!:
An exploratory well dubbed Noxal 1 was drilled at a depth of 3,070 feet below the water, and is seeking a depth of 13,125 feet.

"With Noxal we will begin a new era of oil exploration in our country," Fox said aboard the "Ocean Worker 6 Britania" platform.
Go Ahead - Think Of An Elephant

Kylie getting some fresh air:
KYLIE Minogue has delighted a Sri Lankan theatre troupe formed in the aftermath of the tsunami by flying in for a surprise visit - and sitting on top of their elephant.
North Korean Musical

What will people think of next?:
Producers held a preview in Seoul yesterday of the musical called Yoduk Story that features goose-stepping North Korean soldiers and deprived prisoners wondering if they can survive into the next day.

...Songs in the musical include You are just like germs and All I want is rice. The producers hope audiences can find beauty in the misery of life in the prison camps.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Remembrance At The Yoga Solution

Left: The Yoga Solution. At the left is Katherine's (now Persia's) 1994 Mazda Miata.

For Jane Katherine Arthur. We shared very touching stories of Katherine's life. It was especially good seeing Persia and Kashi again.
Trademark Infringement

I like the dusty, arid battles that occur over the use of registered, trademark slogans that nevertheless enter common use:
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority hasn't been too happy about companies and organizations that have attempted to profit or call attention to themselves by using some form of the phrase "What happens here, stays here," which it considers to be a registered trademark.

Now the basketball sneaker is on the other foot, and it's the National Collegiate Athletic Association that is riled up about the LVCVA's use of the term "March Madness."
Funnel Cloud SE of Davis

Apparently it didn't touch ground (thank goodness, since I might have been in its path, living just downwind, in Sacramento.) Here is the video link from KXTV Channel 10.

The troublesome weather has already blown through Elk Grove. Most of the current trouble is now in El Dorado Hills/Folsom on one hand, and Stockton on the other hand.
Dial-In Plumbing

A surprise!:
It almost seemed like a miracle to Haldis Gundersen when she turned on her kitchen faucet this weekend and found the water had turned into beer.

Two flights down, employees and customers at the Big Tower Bar were horrified when water poured out of the beer taps.
Rumsfeld 'Shocks' Muqtada al-Sadr

Shock - and awe! And I'm puzzled as well. Why, precisely, are American troops there, if not to attempt to keep the peace? From Juan Cole:
Like many Iraqi and Arab observers, Muqtada was shocked when US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said last week that the US military would not intervene in an Iraqi civil war, leaving that to Iraqi forces.

"May God damn you," Sadr said of Rumsfeld. "You said in the past that civil war would break out if you were to withdraw, and now you say that in case of civil war you won't interfere."

Monday, March 13, 2006

"Ballets Russes"

I went and saw the film again. Roughly 15 people at the Crest (let's beef those numbers up so they extend the run!)

One point that impressed itself on me tonight was the importance of teaching in dance: dancers learn their craft under the tutelage of instructors, and the strength of the student/teacher relationship is crucial. Mia Slavenska was Maria Tallchief's teacher: what an extraordinary relationship that must have been! And George Zoritch's teacher (and one of the crucial figures of 20th-Century dance) was Olga Preobajenska.

Praise be to teachers!
Is Jon Zellhoefer A Shoo-In?

According to former 2003 California Recall gubernatorial candidate Daniel Watts, Assembly District 34 leans heavily Republican. Maybe Jon will get in after all!
Congratulations, Jon!

I Googled Assembly District 34, and it looks like you're a shoo-in if you can get through the primary (48% Republican to 33% Democrat).

Good luck with the campaign!
Services For Jane Katherine Arthur

The first one is tomorrow night:
Hello to Katherine's friends. Our sweet mama passed on, peacefully, surrounded by her family. She was very fortunate to have so many wonderful friends, and we hope to see some of you at one or both of these gatherings. She loved all of you very much, we will not forget her strength or laughter.

Love from her family.

Here is the latest on the celebrations of Katherine. There will be two different celebrations/memorials.

1. Tuesday, March 14 at 7:45 p.m. @ The Yoga Solution, 887 57th Street, #B, Sacramento, CA 95819, (916) 383-7933.

2. Sunday, March 19 at 2 p.m. @SGI., 1812 Tribute Road, Sacramento, CA (916) 564-4700.

Hopefully this will provide everyone who desires to be at one of the services an opportunity to do so. These celebrations are open to everyone and both SGI members and The Yoga Solution friends may go either or both services.

Again, please pass this on if you know someone who knew Katherine and who would like to come. Thanks.

Blessings, Jennifer
It's Later Than You Think!

Only three more nights for "Ballets Russes" at the Crest Theater!
George Clooney, Liberal

It's sad when valuable political advice has to come from outside the caste of politicians. Bloggers have been harping on this theme endlessly, but we need Hollywood actors like George Clooney to amplify what must be said. It reminds me of Vietnam, when students and preachers and, yes, actors were forced into the role of truthtellers:
Clooney exhorts the lily-livered Dems to stop being cowards and put some steel in their spines.

"It's not merely our right to question our government, it's our duty. Whatever the consequences," he lectures.

"We can't demand freedom of speech, then turn around and say, 'But please don't say bad things about us.' You gotta be a grownup and take your hits."

The actor vents frustration that "liberal" has become a dirty word. "Too many people run away from the label. They whisper it like you'd whisper, 'I'm a Nazi.'"

But as for Clooney, "I am a liberal. Fire away," he taunts.
For the record, my view is that an invasion of Iraq might have been appropriate only if WMD were there: otherwise, the opening of that diabolical Pandora's Box called Iraq would not have been worthwhile. By not demanding more WMD information at the time from the criminal Bush Administration, Democrats failed liberals - failed everyone. By May, 2003, it was clear there wasn't any WMD at all.

Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden who still refuse to denounce the Iraq invasion at this late date must be ostracized. Their fears will lead only to their own irrelevance. John Edwards ultimately turned his back on the Iraq invasion. Even gelatinous John Kerry finally came out against it (a year too late to have any effect on his campaign). Clooney is right:
"Which is why it drives me crazy to hear all these Democrats saying, 'We were misled.' It makes me want to shout, 'F— you, you weren't misled. You were afraid of being called unpatriotic.'"

I've always had trouble with the concept of TMI (Too Much Information): that nails-on-the-chalkboard moment when you reveal just a bit too much of your inner life to others, to general consternation.

Two moments recently illustrated my problems with finding that boundary.

I was nodding off at a recent DMTC Board Meeting, when Steve called out to me. Opening my eyes, I said, "Oh, I'm not falling asleep - actually I was wondering why I grabbed my crotch in aerobics class tonight. I mean, there I was, right at the front of the class, the only male student in a class of 35, or so, dance and swimming instructors, former cheerleaders, and state employees, and suddenly, for reasons I don't understand, I grabbed my crotch. I just hope, with all the exercise activity going on, that no one saw me." TMI! The meeting came to a halt for several minutes: Dian practically fell out of her chair with laughter.

Then there was today's TMI E-Mail exchange. N. took note of the recent case of the Berkeley man who was arrested for urinating in public, and the California court ruling that it is illegal to urinate in public:

N.: Urinetown really exists. Apparently, the musical was psychic.

Marc: I once peed in public in Berkeley. I would recommend it to everyone, except that we'd all get arrested.

N.: Only you could admit that. Um, thanks for the info. And for the record, it's a lot easier for guys. I think there are other gender-related issues that make it less appealing to women than to men.

M.: Wait a second... I could have been peeing in public all the time until just now? What the hell?! And do they ever mention THAT in school?!

Marc: What are the lyrics from 'Big Yellow Taxi'?
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
Misconstruing 'The Alien'

An 'Unrest Cure' at work:
E.: Your using paint thinner! I can smell it! You're dumping it in the yard!
A.: No ma'am, I'm using a concrete saw.
E.: You're staying here till midnight! I must get my sleep!
A.: It's 7 p.m., ma'am.
E.: You're making too much noise! It's too much!
A.: Ma'am, I don't think you realize the seriousness of the drainage problems here. I'm doing what I can. I'm sorry if it's a bit noisy at times.
E.: There's mud everywhere!
A.: That's correct, ma'am. It's wet down here.
E.: Don't touch my things!
A.: ?????
Standardized Tests

Stupid is as stupid does:
Mayra Ramirez thinks driver's ed is a waste of time.

And in her case, it is. She's blind.

But the 16-year-old and dozens of other visually-impaired sophomores are required to pass a written rules-of-the-road exam to graduate from Chicago schools.
That Sinking Sensation

Another "Titanic" weekend. A good weekend, with large houses. I messed up a line on Sunday, maybe partly because I was getting emotional and overwrought in 'To The Lifeboats.' When warned by gambler Jay Yates that I could expect him to cheat in our final card game as we sank, instead of saying, 'that's all right, I'm not going to pay you anyway,' I said 'that's all right, we're not going to make it anyway,' which lost a laugh from the gallows humor, but also yielded a sickening moment of dead-seriousness, so it kinda worked. You wouldn't think that kind of mistake would happen towards the end of the run, but strange things can happen onstage!

I wonder if my sadness regarding Katherine's death is affecting my performance?
Washington Post Plays Bush Defense

If ever there was a sign that there is no significant liberal media anymore, today's announcement by Ben Bradlee, Editor of the Washington Post, that he suspects Richard Armitage leaked Valerie Plame's name to the media, surely must stand out. Most speculation regarding the Valerie Plame leak has centered on Dick Cheney's office: Armitage was over at the State Department, and out of that circle. To me, it sounds like utter balderdash, the lamest of lies. Bradlee is doing everything he can to get Bob Woodward out of the hot seat for having done so much to tar Plame's reputation at the behest of the Bush Administration, and if he has to back the Bushies to the rafters, so be it.

Liberal media, RIP.

[Update: Digby apparently commented on this line of attack some time ago, and concluded that it doesn't much matter whether Armitage was involved, or not, in revealing Plame's identity to Woodward. What matters for a free American press is that the vaunted Washington Post feels compelled to protect Bush officials from their misdeeds, thus hopelessly compromising their reliability.]
Mingus Lakeside Panorama

March 12, 2006, from Deborah, who was exulting in the weather on Mingus Mountain (between Prescott and Cottonwood, Arizona.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

How Does Enceladus Stay Warm?

Scientists offer wacky ideas:
An insulating shell of clathrate hydrates – a form of water ice containing trapped gas molecules – could help Enceladus retain more heat. Additional warming may come courtesy of the gravitational tug of war between Enceladus and Dione, a neighbouring moon.
View From A Portugese Village

George W. Bush (photo by Skip Kaltenheuser, with explanation, as posted at Steve Clemons).