Saturday, July 29, 2006

On The Importance Of Diction

M. Noel and Ben had a baby. They named him Noah.
E. Noah. That's a Biblical name, like Joseph, and Joshua, and Macho.
M. Macho is a Biblical name?
E. Gee, not Macho, Matthew!
Dry Night In Phoenix

Deborah reports it didn't rain in Phoenix last night....

Dang that NM low! It started moving back towards the east last night after feinting west yesterday. So, it rained in the vicinity of Phoenix: N, NE, E, & SE. But not in the Valley itself.

The weather forecasts are getting discouraging again, keeping the rain in SE AZ and NM. To blame is a midlatitude trough moving in from the West (a most welcome trough for me, because CA temperatures are tolerable again, but bad for the monsoon).

Nevertheless, the last few days have been amazingly hard to forecast. It's been like polling the preferences of a convention of cats. Certain things are easy to call - the popularity of fish, for example, but where does everyone want to go next? Can we get a quorum? Good grief!

Just because the overall weather picture is degrading doesn't mean it's degrading in any one spot. Keep hope alive that it might still rain this weekend in Phoenix!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Phoenix Outlook

It looks like some rain will fall tonight in the Valley of the Sun. It may be hard to avoid, even, as it moves in from the north. These storms are circling a rather intense center of vorticity currently centered near Zuni Pueblo, NM and moving slowly westwards.

Last night, the storms on the Mogollon Rim got caught in an anticyclonic shear zone between winds circling the NM low pressure system, and other winds heading west towards Emilia. The environment became unfavorable for development, so as soon as sunset came, the storms collapsed. Nevertheless, it looked like the collapsing storms helped promote a refreshing breeze that started from the Rim, passed through Oak Creek and nearby canyons, and eventually rolled most of the way to the Colorado River. Lots of storm activity in southern NM last night, though.
Charles Peer's "Outword" Review Of "Falsettos"

Fascinating reading. Peer seems to have high standards, and looks at things from the LGBT perspective. He liked the show, often using the highest praise, but worried about things that never occurred to me. For example, regarding Jerry Lee and Craig Howard's interaction:
And although the pair when singing together are very moving, dramatically you don’t feel the connection between them that leads to such moving songs as “Unlikely Lovers.” Simply put, there is no chemistry between them.
I was so impressed by the singing of both Howard and Lee, I failed to take much note of the dramatic side. I thought there was chemistry there - my pH filter papers were registering a bright pink, and I thought I felt the earth move - but maybe I just misinterpreted the data. Wouldn't be the first time.

Even after taking all that analytical inorganic chemistry in grad school, some chemistry still escapes this diligent meteorologist.

Better living through chemistry!
Auditioning For The Lead In "Oliver!", 2017

Noah Bruening, 6 lbs., 8 oz., 19", 12:14 a.m., July 28, 2006.
What Goes Around Comes Around

Gabe notes that today is the 212th anniversary of the death of Maximilien Robespierre. Max's most famous quote:
Terror is only justice that is prompt, severe and inflexible.

Terror without virtue is disastrous; virtue without terror is powerless.
Gabe is much too cheerful about this dark day's anniversary. I wonder if Gabe is a closet Girondist. I know he's fond of the Vendée. As Maximilien might have said (if he could have talked through his busted teeth): Beware the Ides of Thermidor!:
Robespierre was the next day taken before the tribunal, and without trial he was guillotined, face up and screaming in pain from his injured jaw according to reports, with Couthon and Saint-Just and nineteen others of his adherents on the Place de la Révolution on the 10th Thermidor An II (July 28, 1794). His corpse and head both are buried in the common cemetery of Errancis, today Place de Goubeaux, and the spot is covered by an unmarked gravestone.
Review Of The Artistic Differences PREVIEW

From The Davis Enterprise's own Bev Sykes.....

(Post title corrected, because of my usual inattention to details - I only skimmed the review looking for the wit and wisdom of Erik Daniells, and didn't notice that this review was for the preview only.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Guitar House Concert Series

At Nicholson Music in Folsom. Daniel Roest coming up, Sunday, July 30!
Spam For Thought

I don't have a spam filter, so every imaginable message reaches my eyes. Here's a thought-provoking one for today:
COSTA MESA CA USA -- MEDICAL INDUSTRY E-MAIL NEWS SERVICE(TM) -- JULY 27 2006 -- Today the FDA warned consumers not to purchase or to use high-strength hydrogen peroxide products, including a product marketed as "35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide," for medicinal purposes because they can cause serious harm or death when ingested. FDA recommends that consumers who are currently using high-strength hydrogen peroxide stop immediately and consult their health care provider.
Is this serious? H2O2 is the oxidant they use in products like Chlorox II, probably at much lower concentrations. In 1% solution, it's the fizzy stuff you use to treat cuts. At 35%, it'd practically be explosive. People drink this stuff? This is a problem? Regulators have to issue warnings, in 2006, about drinking highly-dangerous chemicals? Whassup wit dat?

By Deborah McMillion-Nering.

A desert painting for people like me, who forget what those big tall cactus-thingies - yeah, saguaro! - are called.....

I'm like that dessicated fish: fried brain, too damn dry, and rotting from the head down.....

Regarding weather, storms are late firing up today on the Rim. Last night's MCC is actively-suppressing convection in a ring just beyond its edge, so before it can start storming again, the MCC has to completely move out of the way. It has to be completely gone before convection can really get going in AZ. It's just barely out of the way right now, and so while there are some clouds up on the North Kaibab Plateau right now, the clouds on the Rim are only now just getting going. So, maybe rain in the Valley of the Sun after sunset, or in the early morning hours, like last night.
Why Montana's Senator Burns Is Likely To Lose Re-Election

What a colossal ass:
Republican Sen. Conrad Burns chastised a group of firefighters over the weekend for doing a “poor job” of squelching a 92,000-acre blaze near Billings, a state report shows.

Burns and the firefighters - members of the Augusta Hotshots from the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Virginia - were at the Billings Logan International Airport awaiting flights, according to Burns and U.S. Forest Service representatives.

Burns approached the firefighters and told them they had “done a poor job” and “should have listened to the ranchers,” according to a report prepared by Paula Rosenthal, a Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation employee who was sent to the airport to speak with the senator.

Rosenthal wrote in her report that she received word of an “altercation” occurring between Burns and the hotshot crew. The crew had been in Montana working on the Bundy Railroad fire near Worden.

The 92,000-acre timber, grass and sagebrush fire was contained on July 19 and the 368 people who came to fight it began dispersing a few days later.

...Matt Mackowiak, a spokesman for the senator, said he didn't think Burns met with any of the fire bosses who managed the firefighting response.

Instead, he confronted firefighters waiting for their ride back home.

...Burns said he was unhappy that fires are run out of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, which he called “ridiculous.”

“The government needs to listen to these ranchers,” the report quotes Burns as saying.

Mary Sexton, director of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, said in an interview that the National Interagency Fire Center does not run individual fires, but is the national hub for fire information and available resources. Beneath the Boise center are several regional dispatch centers, including one for the northern Rocky Mountains in Missoula.

Individual fires are managed by fire bosses on the ground, Sexton said.

Burns also said he was concerned that fire bosses don't let ranchers fight fire on their own land.

... Sexton said that fire teams - the groups of national and local fire experts who come to manage and fight large fires - cannot and do not tell private landowners what to do. They cannot force them to evacuate or not to fight a wildfire on their own land.

However, Sexton said, fire bosses prefer to know where all people working on a fire are - including landowners - and may ask landowners not to help in the interest of safety.

Burns also said he had heard from one rancher that fire crews on the Bundy Railroad fire put a strip of fire retardant on the edge of Bureau of Land Management land, implying that firefighters were more interested in protecting public land than private.

“The toughest part of the conversation was the point where the senator was critical of a firefighter sitting across from us in the gate area,” Rosenthal's report reads. “I offered to the senator that our firefighters make around $8 to $12 an hour and time-and-a-half for overtime. He seemed a bit surprised that it wasn't higher.”
Puritanical Las Vegas

One of the reasons Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are worth worrying about is the likelihood that some of the tortures implemented there are likely to find their way back into ordinary American life.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman apparently wants to lead the charge. Las Vegas has a freewheeling attitude towards some human sins, but not others, and as Richard Abowitz notes, he's willing to use the iron fist to make sure people do what he wants them to do:
A classic rock radio station sent two employees to a city park with sodas, iced tea and doughnuts. The station is the latest to rebel against city's the new rule that bans feeding homeless people in public parks. Police ordered the radio station employees out of the park. Do city officials even begin to see how nasty Las Vegas looks to the nation? Abbie Hoffman where are you?
And also:
It never ends. After outlawing feeding homeless people in parks, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman now wants to put those convicted of graffiti in medieval-style stocks.

The idea would be that the fiendish criminals would be locked and displayed in some sort of public square to be humiliated like a colonial Puritan caught missing Sunday church. For the final touch, the mayor thinks it would be great to allow the public to then come paint the criminals' faces.

To be fair, this is actually a step back from Goodman's earlier proposal to remove their thumbs. Anyone remember when Mayor Goodman's irreverence and straight talk used to be refreshing and fun?
Big Arizona MCC Report

Deborah in Ahwatukee reports:
It's raining now.

This shows the high water mark on our walkways from the faux arroyo put in to regulate run-off. Would've been cool to see if not for all the lightning.
I reply:
The thunderstorms that started on the Rim yesterday morphed into one ginormous Mesoscale Convective Complex (MCC): basically one big mass of many thunderstorms. The MCC proceeded south, through eastern AZ, carefully circled around Ahwatukee so as not to disturb your sleep (you caught only the feathery edge of it), and now it's heading SW, crossing the border around Organ Pipe Cactus National Park, and heading towards Mama - the remnants of Tropical Storm Emilia, which has broken up west of Baja California (Punta Eugenia).

There's no reason why this kind of stuff can't keep happening for the next few days. There's some sign the thunderstorm switch will be turned off by Tuesday of next week, at least for awhile. But as long as there's these big discontinuities of humidity, and Emilia keeps pumping humidity north, it'll keep raining!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"Pirates of the Caribbean - II"

Saw the movie. Had a great time. Didn't understand a frickin' thing.

According to G., the movie is composed of a number of interwoven Caribbean tales and legends of pirates, and has been carefully researched.

Well, maybe. If you take a bunch of unrelated Caribbean tales and try to weave a coherent plot, you might get something like mush:
Pintel: ...I always heard it said "kray-kin"
Ragetti: What? with a long A? Na-na-na-na-no-no no "Krah-ken"'s how it's pronounced in the original Scandinavian, and "Krakken"'s closer to that.
Pintel: Well we ain't original Scandinavians, are we?
Ragetti: It's a mythological creature, I can calls it what I wants!
And that's one of the better dialogues!

There's a lot of action and adventure. Way too much action. 'Pirates' resembles a forebear, "Raiders Of The Lost Ark," a movie with so much action, and so many improbable escapes, that it made me ill when I first saw it, in Las Vegas, in 1981.

In the Sacramento Bee's newspaper ad for the new 'Pirates' movie, they quote Larry King:
Finally, a movie you can see over and over again.
Well, you can do that with any movie. But if you want to understand what is happening with this movie, you might have little choice. It's been three years since the first movie, and I've forgotten who all the characters are. And so when the portentous music signals that someone has entered the screen that was in the other movie - in other words, a profound, significant moment with a supposedly familiar character - all I could do was shrug my shoulders in ignorance.

So, saw the movie. Had a great time. Didn't understand a frickin' thing.
Tears Of A Clown

Why can't everyone just get along?:
Happy the Clown is sad -- and looking for a good attorney.

A New York law firm is threatening to sue Happy and other clowns if they don't stop dressing as purple dinosaurs or red dogs in their shows at children's birthday parties. Those characters, the firm alleges, are too much like Barney and Clifford the Dog.

And no more Mr. Conductor or Bob the Builder look-alikes either.

``I was crying,'' said Sari Mitchell, the person behind Happy the Clown, who's also president of Most Unique Parties & Ponies, based in Boulder Creek. ``One clown threatened suicide but we talked him out of it.''

Now Happy and other clowns are worried about what Bay Area children will think when they find out they can't invite the characters to their birthday parties.
Rainy Night In Phoenix

Deborah in Ahwatukee reports:
We got hit by a major thunderstorm, rivers of water, light show of amazing proportions and 4 hours at least (I fell asleep at 1:00 AM) of solid rain. A huge miracle for our parched trees and cacti.

THAT'S monsoon!
That's wonderful to hear!

Yesterday, looking at the radar images, I could see a line of powerful thunderstorms coming off the Rim in the Oak Creek area, and they seemed to line up in an arc with budding storms east of the Four Peaks area, and with the big storms towards Nogales. There was also a sharp discontinuity in humidity between the humid low deserts in the west and the drier plateaus and mountains to the east. Thunderstorms often favor 'dry lines' like this. And so I thought, "what can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong?" And then the Four Peaks storms collapsed towards sunset, and then I thought, "that's what can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong!" But I still held out hope that you'd at least get some sprinkles, and I'm very happy for you!

The next week should feature more opportunities as well!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Small Changes

Can sometimes make a big effect:
When Starbucks started using 10% post consumer recycled paper cups and offered coffee sleeves so folks would stop "double cupping," 5.5 million less pounds got sent to landfills.
Forecasting For Phoenix

Should get a break, over the next week, with thunderstorms.

Lots of lower-level moisture from the south, particularly with Hurricane Emilia, spinning away off the southern Baja coast, acting to pump moisture north.

Upper level winds from the NE, from the Rim. The different wind directions means a considerable amount of shear - more than normal - which can, under some circumstances, promote storms.

It seems promising. What can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong?
Bad Israeli Idea To Make It Rain

Or at least it seems so to me. By creating very high surface temperatures with black plastic, the idea is to promote convective instability through the release of latent heat of vaporization of water, and generate an artificial cloud, and, with luck, a thunderstorm. Trouble is, I don't think they realize just how readily the hot air will mix with surrounding air, therefore lowering its temperature, and just how large an area they'd have to cover with the plastic:
They will spread large sheets of black solar-absorbing film over perhaps 9 square miles of land to generate intense heat. How long the plastic sheeting will withstand the natural elements is not clear from the article.

Energy from sunlight, absorbed by the material, will radiate upward, heating the lower atmosphere.

Scientists hope the heated air will lift water condensation high enough to form clouds and produce rain.

"I'm always interested in looking at anything that will make it rain," Grant told me by phone from his office in Big Spring. He added that the Negev project is all new to him.

The area between San Angelo and Del Rio is about 30 degrees north of the equator - virtually the same latitude as Israel's Negev Desert. A major difference, however, is that West Texas has no major bodies of water within 100 miles - unlike the Negev's nearby Mediterranean Sea.

"I guess the proof will be whether they can put it in and see what happens," Grant said. He oversees cloud-seeding across a 1,000-square-mile area of Borden, Scurry, Mitchell and eastern Howard counties, north and northwest of San Angelo.

...Over areas such as West Texas and the Negev Desert, normal air currents prevent water vapor from rising high enough to form clouds.

Israel's rainmakers say installing large black patches could raise the surface temperatures by 120 degrees, and thus create a chimney of fast-rising air currents. The artificial thermal would then lift the water vapor to about 10,000 feet elevation, where it can condense into water droplets that create clouds.

Clouds up to 20 miles long would form from noon to 5 p.m. daily above the black plastic, then drift with winds and shower nearby lands.
Parts Is Parts

Goth nude dancer has too many props:
While the subject of the initial phone call was not located in the home, authorities found six skulls in an upstairs room. The Middlesex County medical examiner has determined all are human. While human skulls may be purchased online, the origin of the hand is more troubling. The police report states it was severed roughly, not surgically, with bone fragments in the jar.

Two people who knew Kay, including one who stayed at her house for about two months earlier this year, told The Star-Ledger of Newark for that the hand, which Kay nicknamed "Freddy," was a gift from a medical student who frequented the Union strip club where she dances. At the all-nude juice bar called Hott 22, Kay nurtured her Gothic persona, wearing dark costumes, heavy eyeliner, piercings and tattoos.
Crisis In Lebanon

Not having any Cable TV has made this crisis seem quite remote to me: I have to judge it based strictly on newspaper and Internet reports. Nevertheless, it seems obscene for Condoleeza Rice to talk about the virtues of a new Middle East, when the good things of the old Middle East (children playing in the streets of Sidon, etc.) are being erased in favor of something far, far uglier. Where is this new, grand Middle East supposed to come from, if not from the civilians who live there? If you chase out the civilians and make a moonscape of southern Lebanon, the terrorists win. A cease-fire, as disagreeable as it might seem to Bush Administration radicals, is the only way to preserve what is best about the area.

Juan Cole details the negotiations:
The meeting was reportedly tense. Rice proffered "support" to Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, but not a ceasefire, which is what he really needs to keep his government from collapsing--and he testily told her so. She said she regretted the humanitarian situation (caused by America's ally with billions in American-supplied armaments), but the US is offering only $30 million in aid (billions of dollars of damage have been done to Lebanon by Israel, most of it unrelated to Hizbullah). She delivered her ultimatum to Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament and a leading secular Shiite politician who has an alliance of convenience with Hizbullah. Berri angrily rejected her terms and riposted that no negotiations would happen without there first being a ceasefire. He was relaying to her Hizbullah's position.

Rice's visit showed how low American stock has fallen in the Middle East, since she came virtually empty-handed, merely as a go-fer on behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, with little positive to offer. Berri thunderously rejected her ultimatums, or rather those of her political bosses. She came with nice words but Israeli bombs hit Beirut before and after her visit, according to my sources. Her professions of sympathy rang hollow, since her government was encouraging the bombing raids and blocking any UN or European move toward a cease-fire. She played no more exalted a role than Mafia enforcer, lifting her suit coat at the corner to display the loaded pistol as she discussed just how much the owner of the Lebanese restaurant would be paying per month for "protection" from certain of her "friends," or else, you know, something bad could happen to this nice restaurant of yours.
Don't Forget The Past, Lest We Repeat It

From the Daily Rotten:
July 25, 1990

At a baseball game, actress Rosanne Arnold warbles the Star Spangled Banner, grabs her crotch, and endears herself to an entire nation.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hydrocarbon Lakes

You just know Titan had to have them:
Scientists said Monday they have found the first widespread evidence of giant hydrocarbon lakes on the surface of Saturn's planet-size moon Titan.

The cluster of lakes was spotted near Titan's frigid north pole during a weekend flyby by the international Cassini spacecraft, which flew within 590 miles of the moon.

Researchers counted about a dozen lakes six to 62 miles wide. Some, which appeared as dark patches in radar images, were connected by channels, while others had tributaries flowing into them. Several were dried up, but the ones that contained liquid were most likely a mix of methane and ethane.

"It was a real potpourri," said Cassini scientist Jonathan Lunine of the University of Arizona.

...Last year, Cassini found what appeared to be a liquid hydrocarbon lake about the size of Lake Ontario on Titan's south pole. But the recent flyby marked the first time the spacecraft spied a multitude of lakes.
According to the Cassini-Huygens Web Site:
Scientists have speculated that liquid methane or ethane might form lakes on Titan, particularly near the somewhat colder polar regions. In the images, a variety of dark patches, some with channels leading in or out of them, appear. The channels have a shape that strongly implies they were carved by liquid. Some of the dark patches and connecting channels are completely black, that is, they reflect back essentially no radar signal, and hence must be extremely smooth. In some cases rims can be seen around the dark patches, suggesting deposits that might form as liquid evaporates. The abundant methane in Titan's atmosphere is stable as a liquid under Titan conditions, as is its abundant chemical product, ethane, but liquid water is not. For all these reasons, scientists interpret the dark areas as lakes of liquid methane or ethane, making Titan the only body in the solar system besides Earth known to possess lakes. Because such lakes may wax and wane over time, and winds may alter the roughness of their surfaces. Repeat coverage of these areas should test whether indeed these are bodies of liquid.

These two radar images were acquired by the Cassini radar instrument in synthetic aperture mode on July 21, 2006. The top image centered near 80 degrees north, 92 degrees west measures about 420 kilometers by 150 kilometers (260 miles by 93 miles). The lower image centered near 78 degrees north, 18 degrees west measures about 475 kilometers by 150 kilometers (295 miles by 93 miles). Smallest details in this image are about 500 meters (1,640 feet) across.
Toowoomba Takes Up The Challenge

In such a dry place, recycled sewage is the only way:
Residents of a drought-stricken Australian town will vote this week on whether they're prepared to drink water recycled from sewage -- the first such scheme in the country and one of only a handful in the world.

The controversial proposal has divided the town of Toowoomba in the state of Queensland, which has faced water restrictions for a decade.

Local Mayor Dianne Thorley, who is leading the "Yes" campaign, said that without drought-breaking rains the town's dams could dry up within two years.

..."Somewhere, sometime we have got to stand up and change the way we are doing things," she told AFP as the town prepared for the July 29 referendum.

"Otherwise our great grandchildren are going to be living in something like the Sahara desert."

A vocal "No" campaign opposes the proposal, and says there are unforeseeable health risks for the town's 100,000 residents.

"The scientists say it should be safe," said local councillor Keith Beer, one of three members of the nine-strong council that opposes the plan. "That is not good enough for me, for my kids and my grandkids."

Australia is in the midst of the third-worst drought in the country's history. The so-called Big Dry is affecting the eastern states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, as well as South Australia and the southern island of Tasmania.

It has cost the rural economy five billion dollars and many regional communities in the world's driest inhabited continent are teetering on the brink of collapse.
Amusing Review

Of Madonna's "Confessions" tour:
Madonna hatched out of a disco-ball egg that opened like a multifaceted DeLorean; there were pulsing lights and reflecting surfaces; it looked like 12 disco emporia had vomited simultaneously all over the Garden stage. A team of shirtless, musclebound dancers clippety-clopped around in plumed riding hats; gymnasts did some impressive tumbling and jumping on uneven bars, and a woman in electric blue Middle Eastern-ish gear convulsed in a cage. There was crumping. (OK, the truth is, I thought it was break-dancing but when I read Kelefa Sanneh's review of the concert in the Times, he said it was crumping.)

Musicals just coming out of the woodwork:
The production - simply called David Hasselhoff: The Musical - will open in Melbourne, Australia, before moving to America.

The actor - who is due to release his autobiography in September - said: "If it ends up in Las Vegas, how great would that be? I want to entertain people. Sammy Davis Junior was my hero."
Tropical Storm Emilia

Off the western Mexican coast, perhaps eventually affecting California humidity and storm potential:

Sunday, July 23, 2006

"Seven Brides For Seven Brothers" - RSP - Saturday Night

Bows: Andrea St. Clair (Milli) acknowledges the applause. Left; Scott Reese (Adam).

Bows: An excellent orchestra (led by Chris Congdon).

After the show, Anne Marie Trout greets Andrea St. Clair.

After the show, Melody Davi (right) talks with Chris Salmon (left), Cooper and Christian Salmon, and cousin Danny. Cooper and Christian played Jake and Billy in the show.

Saturday was one of the hottest days in Sacramento history - it hasn't been this hot since 1996. At 4 p.m., it was 109 degrees Fahrenheit downtown, and 110 degrees at the Sacramento Executive Airport: typical for Phoenix, but quite atypical here. In-between, in Curtis Park, it was 109-and-a-half degrees, and I was feeling vaguely ill. In my first effort to turn on the air conditioner this year, the thermostat simply failed, and so I hoped to cure my incipient heat stroke by attending RSP's "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers", in the cooler confines of the 24th Street Theater (and watch dozens of actors suffer that vaguely-ill feeling instead, as they labored under the lights).

An excellent show! This is the first time I've seen Andrea St. Clair play a character (Milly) with some range, rambunctious as well as feeling, and it was a delight to see how well she did it. I was also pleased at her dancing: the waltz steps, and chaines, came naturally to her. Scott Reese played the forest clan's elder brother Adam, and sang wonderfully. Both Scott and Andrea were well-matched leads for the show.

One choreographic problem was handled well: Reese, for all his skills, isn't a dancer. Ron Cisneros employed several strategems in dances like "Goin' Courtin", such as introducing Reese late into the dancing, and using him principally as support for a very-active Andrea (the way the old ballroom dancers were always told they should do always for their female partners). The accomodations worked well, because they served to enhance Adam's position as the head of the clan, and Milly's help-mate.

Apart from a few friends and acquaintances, most of the cast were new to me, and fresh. It was fortunate that they were so energetic, and their dancing so good. I also worried about the numerous fight scenes: no matter how much you practice them, they are never identical from night-to-night, and it's easy for them to go awry. Nevertheless, they all seemed to go fine, and no one appeared inadvertently injured.

The best dancer on stage was Kacey Kamrin (Sarah). What wonderful energy! Her male partner (one of the brothers, whose name I now fail to remember) was also excellent. Kamrin was sometimes matched with another dancer, whom I believe played Ruth (Jordan Gomez), who was also excellent.

The first challenge of Saturday's show came almost immediately when Scott Reese's beard began peeling away in the heat (and with Ray Fisher taping the show too). Reese gamely kept on, tufts awry, and removed the beard at his first off-stage opportunity (about the time he would have lost it anyway). I thought Reese should have casually peeled it off immediately, as the problem was obvious, as well as its solution, but others noted that the problem served to draw in the audience, to enhance their sympathy and support. In their view, Reese did exactly what he should have done. In any event, it was just a minor problem. Other problems that occasionally bedevil shows, like microphone glitches, were also rare (maybe some 'clipping': that's all).

At intermission, I overheard two audience comments. One was 'that lead actress is great.' The other was 'concentrations in Carmichael's water are 90 times EPA's acceptable limit.' (Never know what the audience voyeur will overhear!)

It is excellent that Andrea will soon leave for New York (October?) with such a recent triumph under her belt. Also in the audience was Melody Davi, and her mother Kathy. After touring nationwide with "42nd Street" for much of the last year, Melody is in town to tie up some loose ends, and work on a fab tan, with which to strike people green with envy on the Great White Way.

Melody told me she recently moved to exciting New York City. It occurred to me Kathy had also told me this recently. I think Melody's father, Tony, also told me this too, but I'm fairly dense, and so it takes a full family press for me to fully absorb news. Nevertheless, even though both Melody and Andrea have been active in Sacramento community theater in recent years, their paths apparently never crossed onstage here. I hope they'll cross in New York, though: make it that much more fun to make that New York trip!

After the show, I tried to plant sloppy kisses on the cheeks of various female cast members, but they all said exactly the same thing: "Eeewww, get away from me, I'm sweating!" (They're so cute!) Could have fooled me, though. Everyone looked fresh, despite the heat.....

Afterwards, I walked home, to commisserate with Cloudy the Rabbit, the only one of my friends and acquaintances who has a legitimate beef with this hot weather....
Mission To My Backyard

Alien vistas, altered landscapes, and in the middle, Adam Taylor.......

On a blazing Sunday afternoon, we went to Tropicana Floral, on Grant Line Road in Elk Grove, and watched hypnotized as the big koi fish swam around in circles...
"Falsettos" - Artistic Differences - Friday Evening

I arrived late, and sat too far away for my slow camera to get really good pictures. Nevertheless....

'March of the Falsettos'

'Jason's Bar Mitzvah' (left to right: Margaret Hollinbeck, Kevin Caravalho, Joey Harris, Craig Howard, Kristen Wagner, Jessica Stein).

The gala afterwards (left to right: Michael R.J. Campbell, Jerry Lee, Kyle Hadley, Kevin Caravalho, Jason McDowell, Jon Daniells, Nora Abaoli).

I think everyone was in agreement here: what a wonderful show! Strong, strong leads. Even young 14-year-old Joey Harris, who apparently has been in the chorus of two Natomas Charter School shows prior to this, and may have never even had lines before this, did fantastic.

Can't go wrong with Gino Platina's choreography! Since I was late, my first impression of the show was "March of the Falsettos." How bizarre!

This show is, in some ways, a kind of hothouse flower: narrowly perched on a small but important demographic at a moment of crisis - homosexual Jews in the 80's, coming to grips with AIDS. Add in the normal crises of adolescence, work/gender roles, and martial dilemmas, and you nearly have too many crises to effectively deal with in a single musical. Which, I guess, is why "Falsettos" is actually an assemblage of three musicals. According to the Artistic Differences Web Site:
Falsettos is a musical by William Finn that ran on Broadway in 1992 and 1993. The play is actually the second and third parts of a trilogy: the first show is called "In Trousers", the second is "March of the Falsettos", and the third is "Falsettoland." Each were produced singularly as one act plays before the second and third were put together as acts one and two of Falsettos.
I think many of us in the audience were intrigued to see a new musical of which we knew little. Of greater interest, however, was seeing so much superior talent on display.

The basic approach of Artistic Differences is to focus first on the talent and the music, and worry later about the tedious logistical details, such as securing a permanent venue for a full season of shows. If not for the potential of scheduling conflicts, that home could easily be DMTC - 'Artistic Differences' certainly are exemplary guests - but a full season might be difficult to accomodate with DMTC's current schedule.

I recall 1979, when I was vice-president of the University of New Mexico Ballroom Dance Club, trying to secure reservations for the on-campus Student Union Ballroom. "These people are supposed to help students, and we are students," I thought. "Is there a reason why they have to be so nasty, peevish, and myopic?"

The answer, of course, is that all facility managers, no matter how well-meaning, are doomed by their role to be difficult. It seems to come coded in the DNA, part of the business of worrying about who is paying for the lights and why is that item out-of-place and did someone lock the doors? Despite seeing first-hand the example of what being a facility manager did to the City of Davis, I worry that transformation will happen to us as well. It's not our fault. It comes with the territory. It's not just like being a parent: it's a bit like Smeagol playing with that damned Ring......

So worry about those logistical details. They are crucial. But not quite yet....

First, glory in artistic triumph! What a wonderful show!
Busting Records

From the National Weather Service in Sacramento:

MAXIMUM 110R 359 PM 103 2003 93 17 93
MINIMUM 76 535 AM 49 1987 59 17 58
AVERAGE 93 76 17 76



LOW.... 79 RECORD LOW 50 IN 1918 NORMAL LOW 61