Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ozone Alert in Las Vegas

Deriving from that big Southern California wildfire. Talk about long-range transport!
Hurricane Bud

In the eastern Pacific, off the southwest coast of Mexico, with a second storm to follow in a few days. No major threat. All is quiet in the Atlantic, but some signs of storminess deriving from Venezuela in a week.
Updrafts, Downdrafts

Cool mammatus cloud photos!
No Need To Exaggerate

This is just silly. People can breathe really atrocious air with no long-lasting ill effect. This isn't lethal air pollution, it's more like an average weekend at my house:
Two women in Marion County, Fla., were arrested after a 5-year-old boy was found living with 14 dogs, four cats, two ferrets and three large turtles in a home that had air pollution at "lethal levels," according to investigators.

Deputies discovered the sick animals in the home because the stench was so bad neighbors had called to complain, said Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Paul Youmans said.

Investigators said when they entered a home located on Southwest Second Court in the Turning Point Estates, it was difficult to distinguish dog feces from the cockroach and rodent droppings on the floor.
Remembering Dark Days, Now Happily Past

Jul 12 1979
It is "Disco Demolition Night" at Chicago's Comiskey Park, where baseball tickets cost only $.98 if the purchaser brings along a disco record for the bonfire. During the second game of the doubleheader, thousands of vinyl LPs fly onto the field, generating enough chaos that the White Sox are forced to forfeit.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Tropicana Hotel's New Non-Smoking Message

As part of its weird and grotesque and fascinating 'Bodies' exhibition (just opened at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas) is an appeal (strange for a casino) to stop smoking:
Also on the walls were anatomical facts such as: "On average, a pack of cigarettes takes 2 hours and 20 minutes off your life. We'd like you to be around longer. Leave your cigarettes here and stop smoking now!"

Next to the inevitable display of a healthy lung next to a smoker's lung is a large plastic container where people can make the decision to quit smoking right then and there. (This seems like such an odd message to be placed in a casino that employs hundreds of workers who must work in secondhand smoke....)
In 1988, at the University of Arizona, I got a chance to see tissue samples from smokers' and non-smokers' lungs, and I was startled to find out how similar they both were. There is a process called 'pleural drift,' where deposited particles are continually removed by macrophages (cells that swallow and digest foreign objects, including bacteria and dust) and transported to the pleural lining on the outer surface of the lung. So, the outside of smokers' lungs - pretty danged dirty, but the inside - ta da! - pristine! Dr. Sobonya said that if the particle clearance rate diminished below about 99%, lung disease and death would soon follow.

Let's hear it for the macrophages!

There was other weird lung stuff too - the body likes to store hemoglobin there, for some inscrutable lung reason.

Even doctors don't really understand the human body all that well......
Strange Hurricane Season So Far

Except for Alberto (which blew up out of the Caribbean, not the open ocean to the east), the Atlantic Ocean has been a remarkably placid place this summer. A flat, calm, tepid little pond. And it's supposed to be a bad year too.

Meanwhile, so far, the western Pacific is a nightmare. A typhoon is likely to clip Taiwan by the weekend, just one of an assembly-line of storms hitting Oriental shores.

This pattern is unlikely to last, but it's interesting to see!

Monday, July 10, 2006

"Oklahoma!" - Final Weekend

Finally now, Sooner territory can join the Union!

Bethany and Claire apparently saw a midnight preview of "Pirates of the Caribbean II" in the wee hours of Friday morning, and so when they arrived at the theater Friday night, they came decked out in the cutest pirate gear. They waved plastic scabbards at everyone and said 'Aaarrggghhhh!" a lot.

On Friday, I had trouble mounting Ryan Adame's back for the mini-pyramid in 'Kansas City' (I swear, his back seemed lubricated with butter, or Crisco or something). It's fun to be spread-eagled by surprise for the audience's examination and entertainment. Ryan's been complaining about a back ache during the last half of the run - are my 180 lbs. to blame?????

On Friday, the men's ensemble nearly missed its entrance for 'It's a Scandal, It's A Outrage.' I felt superior on Saturday night, and chastised the men's ensemble with my superior punctuality, but, sadly, joined the almost-missers on Sunday afternoon, when we were nearly all late for the entrance.

Georgette Robin came to the show on Friday night and Monica Parisi came on Saturday night.

There was weird music stuff Saturday night - transposed notes at the start of 'Kansas City,' problems with 'Oklahoma,' etc. I blame gremlins for Bushy Head and leprauchans from Missouri.

On Saturday, in the 'Farmer and the Cowman' dance lift, Chelsea Beatty and I miscommunicated. Her leg buckled early and it was nearly a dead-weight lift for me. It could have been worse, but we recovered OK.

On Saturday night, Jaimie Tvrdik crushed the blood capsule as he normally did every night (playing Jud accidentally stabbing himself), but the bloody mess seemed unusually coherent as it exitted the corner of his mouth and went splat! onto the stage. As we lifted him Jaimie, the bloody strand elongated and broke under the tension, like chewing gum, forcing Steve to hastily leave the stage as he burst into barely-concealed laughter. On Sunday, we nearly dropped Jud as we carried him offstage (the lift was nearly beyond my left forearm strength - I was the only one supporting his spine and we began moving him before my arm was in position). Jaimie giggled a lot through the stabbing scene aftermath, all weekend long.

MikeMac chuckled inadvertently in 'Oklahoma,' in the 'pasture for your cattle' line, when he glommed a pine-sap covered palm onto Steve's shoulder. Pine sap and fake blood are both funny substances - not quite liquid, not entirely elastic!

After strike, at Andy Hyun's invitation, some of us went to Woodland for Ludy's Barbeque. Saw Jason Hammond and Deborah Douglass there too ('Godspell' at Garbeau's just closed, and they were apparently returning items to the adjacent Woodland Opera House). Discovered that Tomas Casillas used to do a lot of soccer. Interesting!

Peas in a Polish pod:
President Lech Kaczynski appointed his identical twin brother Jaroslaw as the new prime minister, the presidential Web site said. Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz and his government formally resigned earlier in the day, paving the way for Jaroslaw Kaczynski to form a new government.

...Though the Kaczynski brothers have the same round faces and short, stout builds, many Poles have learned to distinguish them, thanks to the fact that Lech has two moles on his face, and wears a wedding ring. Jaroslaw is unmarried, and has no moles.
Paris Hilton Performs At Tao

What she sings, I can't quite make out - is this lip-synching, karaoke, or is it just a bad recording in a deafening environment? Give me William Shatner's 'Rocketman,' any day.