Saturday, September 16, 2006

"West Side Story" Opening Weekend

Seemed like a good opening night. People had a few bumps and bruises. Scene changes mostly went OK. I believe Arthur said there were 134 in the audience, 6 shy of the number in the audience for "Wizard of Oz", making "West Side Story's" opening night the second-most-popular so far in the New Theater.

One strange thing was Katherine Vanderford rear-ending someone just short of the Yolo Causeway on Friday night (in the stop-and-go traffic, the woman ahead of her stopped just too quickly). It's always been my fear that I'd have an accident just prior to a show and couldn't make the show in time. Fortunately, Katherine's accident wasn't so bad, and she didn't miss anything.

I'm surprised by the different number of teenagers asking me about Lieutenant Schrank's reference to the "DTs": delirium tremens. According to Wikipedia:
Delirium tremens (colloquially, the DTs, "the horrors", "the shakes" or "rum fits") is an acute episode of delirium that is usually caused by withdrawal or abstinence from alcohol following habitual excessive drinking. Delirium tremens can also appear after a rapid reduction in the amount of alcohol being consumed by heavy drinkers, or as a complication of withdrawal from benzodiazepine or barbiturates. It only occurs in individuals with a history of constant, long-term alcohol consumption. Delirium tremens typically manifests about 18 to 24 hours after discontinuation of alcohol consumption, but can appear on the second or third day of abstinence.

Five percent of acute ethanol withdrawal cases progress to delirium tremens. Unlike the withdrawal syndrome associated with opiate or stimulant addiction, delirium tremens (and alcohol withdrawal in general) can be fatal. Mortality can be up to 35% if untreated, though if treated early, death rates may be as low as 5%.
The fact that most teenagers today DON'T KNOW what the DTs is a statement about what a happy society we really live in, and how few people are familiar with end-stage alcoholism. A similar group of teenagers, 50 or 80 years ago, would have known all too well, through bitter personal experience with parents and other relatives, just what an evil it is. I knew about the DTs as a teenager (early 70's), but only because it had a special horror for my father, and he talked about it - A LOT!

Oh, happy age!

Then again, those teenagers of olde never heard of AIDS either, so maybe there is a conservation principle at work - Conservation of Pain in the World: exterminate smallpox, and you get hantavirus instead.

On Saturday, the Cokes spilled after the Scene I Doc's Shop scene. The two Shop carts bumped into each other, and the Cokes spilled. The ensuing Rumble scene was more tense than normal as a result, because there was no time to inform the Jets and the Sharks of the danger. Only Andy stepped in it, though - he said he never knew there was anything wet on-stage at all.

On Sunday, Dannette got skinned knees after getting hit from behind and falling, while removing clothes dummies from the bridal shop scene. It's so easy to get hurt during scene changes!

Speaking as Officer Krupke, my nightly tumble backwards went OK, for the most part, but I bruised my upper hip on Saturday night. I generally practice beforehand, tumbling backwards several times in the dressing room, but on stage, Andy (who is on all-fours right behind me as Ryan pushes me from the front) gets in the way, so the tumble over him is generally clunky and awkward. Buffee said she thought it looked painful. Sometimes, yes!
Las Cruces Under A Cloud

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Las Cruces police are warning residents that someone threatened to randomly shoot people if city leaders failed to hand over what they described as a "substantial" ransom.

The city received the second of two threatening letters Friday afternoon, but police remained tightlipped about details of the demand, including how much money was involved. They did say the demand called for a "substantial amount."

At a news conference late Friday, Lt. Randy Lara said he didn't want to alarm residents but he urged them to watch for any suspicious activity.

"The letter did reference that Las Cruces residents will be shot at random if the city didn't comply with the extortion," Lara said.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Community Musical Theater - A Cult?

Following up on James McElroy's suggestion that Musical Theater meets some of the definitions of a cult, and like a good devotee, seeking guidance, I looked up his link to the Rational Enquirer BC's article from 2000:
What features are necessary, then, for a group to be properly called a cult? A cult attempts to impose a certain worldview on its members while rigidly preventing exposure to and arguments from competing worldviews. A cult typically has a charismatic leader whom the membership believes to be infallible, and thus above questioning.

Hmmm...Close. If you try to escape - here!, rearrange the props table. Except maybe the infallible part. I chase after Steve all the time, relentlessly questioning him about this and that, but distracted by 50 other weightier matters, he sometimes doesn't answer, so is that the same as having an infallible leader above questioning? A fallible sphinx-like leader?

The article continues: "A more appropriate definition of a cult would demand that a group exhibit most, if not all, of the following attributes:"

the group must demonstrate a considerable degree of deviance from the norms of civilized behavior observed by the more mainstream social, political, or religious organizations that try to attract adherents and shape their behavior.
With all the singers and computer geeks, and avid TV watchers....yeah, we're deviant, and proud of it!
it should be shown to cause some non-trivial harm to individuals, groups, or society as a whole.
Nah, we're just silly...
the group must engage in “thought reform” tactics to achieve conformity and compliance (i.e., tactics of the sort described by the American psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton in his classic books on so-called “brainwashing”). These include systematic application of propaganda and social engineering techniques. Many would-be cult leaders have probably never read a textbook on these subjects but the effective ones seem to have a natural knack for such manipulativeness.
This is what the T-Shirts are for. That's why I have a whole closet full of them.
cult leaders typically demand social isolation of followers to insulate them from contrary opinions and exert the maximal force of their own manipulations. Within the cult, they try to prevent proselytes from having the time or solitude to reflect on what they are being told. Physical and emotional exhaustion are often used as a conversion tool.
Boy, that sounds like Musical Theater! Sorry about the 3 a.m. cue-to-cue rehearsal, but, as they say, the show must go on! And don't be late for the extra-special dance rehearsal at 8 a.m.!
there must be some degree of deception in recruiting efforts and the use of strong psychological or physical threats in order to retain those who join.
Don't worry, you'll have plenty of free time AFTER the show opens!
there must be a rigid hierarchy that controls all information fed to the group and an attempt to isolate members from contact with non-adherents.
Yup, that's the DMTC Board for you! We are SO effective controlling the flow of information, three-quarters of the time, we have no idea ourselves what is happening.
there must be undue demands for money, work, sexual favors, further recruiting efforts, etc.
Sexual favors? Where?
there is usually some claim of supernatural sanction in order to justify the intrusive powers and special privileges enjoyed by the group’s leader and his or her entourage.
God created DMTC!
Without most of these attributes being present, a group probably should not be labeled as a cult.

Do cult leaders possess secret powers of persuasion that are unique and irresistible? Given the strong hold they exert and the dramatic results they obtain, it may hard to believe, but the answer to this question is “no.” Cults use basically the same social conditioning and indoctrination methods described in any social psychology text.
Hmmm....I still don't think DMTC is a cult.

But you have to wonder about the names. Woodland Opera House is fairly bland name, and most people who perform there often seem pretty clear-eyed. DMTC sounds like the KGB or the CIA - a secret society with special powers. Runaway Stage sounds like a hideout characterized by an absolute evasion of responsibility, a place full of spendthrifts and fugitives. The spookiest name of all, though, is Magic Circle Theater - Ooooowwwweeeeeooooo!

The article asks "how can we recognize a cult? A fair use of the cult label for a questionable organization would require the presence of most of the items on the following checklist.

Does the group:
engage in deceptive recruitment practices? (recruiters typically disguise the true nature and aims of the group when seeking converts)
You will always be the lead player! You are bound to get an Elly Award!
tend to target vulnerable individuals, as outlined above?
How many years of vocal lessons have you taken? Good! You're vulnerable!
offer unconditional affirmation and support initially, but soon make its continuance contingent on obedience?
Blackout! Move the furniture piece! MOVE THE FURNITURE PIECE!
have a closed social system that makes a special effort to isolate acolytes from family, friends, etc.?
Not deliberately - only by time demands!
use constant bombardment with pro-group and pro-leader messages and exclusion of other messages?
Go Kings! Go Orchestra! Go DMTC!
have a rigid, authoritarian hierarchy?
There's the Board again!
have a leader and ruling clique that are perceived to possess infallible insight, supernatural powers, etc.? Do they claim to have been chosen by some higher authority to rule, and thus to be excused from the normal social restrictions on one’s behavior?
The DMTC Board was chosen by Zeus. Now, about those sexual favors again?
have an eclectic, often muddled and internally contradictory, set of teachings - usually a magic-laden philosophy that claims to have infallible answers to those “big ticket” questions of existence?
Boy, that's DMTC to a tee!

Close James, but no cigar - we're not quite a cult. Now, if you don't mind, I have to render unto Steve that which is Steve's....
Tropical Storm Lane - A Hurricane John Doppelganger?

After my Hurricane John forecasting debacle, I wanted the Pacific to just shut up for awhile, but the Pacific has other ideas.

Tropical Storm Lane may be following a similar path to Hurricane John, and may well end up in the same place, bumping up the Baja coast, and crashing into Sonora and Sinaloa, causing even more flooding excitement in the El Paso, TX area.

Once again, there are indications that the storm may perturb AZ, without actually hitting it very hard. There's even a smaller satellite storm forecast to be located to the west of Hurricane Lane, and interacting with it in a complex way, akin to Hurricane Kristy and its complex interactions with Hurricane John.

I'm bitter, but still hoping for rain. That, after all, is the time-honored Arizona way!
"Oliver!" Auditions, September 17 & 18, At DMTC

Audition dates: Sunday, September 17 and Monday, September 18, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Callbacks: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Directed & Choreographed by Jan Isaacson At the Hoblit Performing Arts Center, 607 Pena Drive

Character Descriptions:
  • Oliver (9-13 years old) strong boy soprano, loving, sad, hopeful.
  • Fagin-Character actor, must sing well, houses and trains pickpockets, miserly, welcoming
  • Nancy-Strong belter, rough, kind, strong-will, sympathetic, Bill Sykes girlfriend
  • Mr. Bumble-Legit Tenor, workhouse boss, mean, over bearing, pompous
  • Widow Corney-Strong character actress, workhouse mistress, domineering, fussy, proud, sharp-tongued
  • The Artful Dodger (12-25 years old) Fagin’s brightest pupil, friendly, optimistic
  • Bill Sykes-Baritone-Bass, must sing, a villain who associated and does business with Fagin, rough, brutish, glowering, violent
  • Bet-idolizes Nancy, pretty, sweet, strong-willed
  • Mr. Sowerberry-Character role, funeral home owner, grim, formal, graceful
  • Mrs. Sowerberry-Character actress, Funeral home owner’s wife, sour, middle-aged woman, mean
  • Charlotte-Daughter of Funeral home owner, lazy, mean, sour-faced
  • Noah Claypool-Lazy, shop keeping apprentice, mean, taunting, coward
  • Mr. Brownlow-Wealthy gentleman, Oliver’s unknowing grandfather, kind, mannerly, sympathetic
  • Mrs. Bedwin-Brownlow’s housekeeper, kind, motherly
  • Dr. Grimwig-Aristocratic doctor for the wealthy, friendly
  • Charlie Bates-2nd in command of Fagin’s boys
  • Who Will Buy Sellers-Men and women legit singers.
  • Fagin’s Boys-must sing and move well
  • Workhouse Boys (girls and boys)
  • Large Ensemble of singers and dancers (of all ages) who will fill in numerous roles
Performances November 10-Dec 3, 2006; Fridays and Saturdays at 8:15 p.m. and Sundays at 2:15 p.m.
You do not have to come both days. Please bring sheet music for a song that you already know and are comfortable singing. You do not have to sing the entire song, just enough to give the director and music director an idea of how well you can carry a tune and follow our piano player’s accompaniment (no pre-taped music or a cappella, please).
Just For A Tank Of Gas

An excellent series of articles from the Chicago Tribune, methodically tracing just what sorts of deals had to go down to get your next tank of gas to your pump nozzle.
Catching Up On The In-Box

MikeMac sent this one a month ago...a trailer of an upcoming movie featuring Robin Williams as a presidential candidate.
Pass The Potatoes, Please

Noel sent this link, where the Chicago Sun Times religion columnist ponders whether Baptists, among others, just eat way too much at church functions. I can't answer that question, but late night gluttony after DMTC shows has helped put the pounds on me:
"America is becoming known as a nation of gluttony and obesity, and churches are a feeding ground for this problem," says Ken Ferraro, a Purdue sociology professor who studied more than 2,500 adults over a span of eight years looking at the correlation between their religious behavior and their body mass index.

...Ferraro's most recent study, published in the June issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, is a follow-up to a study he published in 1998, where he found there were more obese people in states with larger populations of folks claiming a religious affiliation than elsewhere -- particularly in states with the most Baptists.

So it's not surprising that Ferraro's latest study found that about 27 percent of Baptists, including Southern Baptists, North American Baptists, and Fundamentalist Baptist, were obese.

Surely there are several contributing factors to such a phenomenon, but when Ferraro accounted for geography (southern cooking is generally more high-caloric), race and even whether overweight folks were attracted to churches for moral support, the statistics still seem to indicate that some churches dispense love handles as well as the love of the Lord.

Having attended a Southern Baptist church for most of my formative years, I was hardly shocked by Ferraro's discoveries. From the coffee (and doughnuts) hour after Sunday-morning worship, to the huge potluck dinners and the Sunday-night ice-cream socials, there was always food around, and it was rarely the lo-cal variety. Ambrosia salad. Seventeen different kinds of chicken/broccoli/cheese casserole. Banana-and-Nilla-wafer-pudding. Fried chicken. Barbecue chicken. Sweet tea. Those were the elements of our social sacraments at the Baptist church.

In religious traditions where drinking alcohol, smoking anything and even dancing are vices regularly preached against from the pulpit, overeating has become the "accepted vice," Ferraro says.

Or, as Homer Simpson so eloquently put it on his way to a First Church of Springfield picnic: "If God didn't want us to eat in church, he'd have made gluttony a sin."

...Food often is substituted for alcohol at Baptist and other conservative Protestant gatherings, Ferraro says. I once attended a wedding at a conservative Bible church where, instead of an open bar or champagne fountain, the bride and groom toasted their new beginning with a massive ice-cream sundae buffet.

...While some megachurches have fitness facilities and long have offered exercise classes as well as Bible studies, in most congregations you're still more likely to find a bake sale than a spinning class on any given Sunday.

Ferraro's study also found that about 20 percent of "Fundamentalist Protestants," (Church of Christ, Pentecostal, Assemblies of God and Church of God); about 18 percent of "Pietistic Protestants," (Methodist, Christian Church and African Methodist Episcopal), and about 17 percent of Catholics were obese.

By contrast, about 1 percent of the Jewish population and less than 1 percent of other non-Christians, including Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and others), were tipping the scales with commensurate gusto.

"In my mind, one of the distinctive things about Christianity, particularly American Protestant Christianity, is we don't have any [dietary] behavior codes," said Daniel Sack of Chicago, a historian and author of the 2000 book, Whitebread Protestants: Food and Religion in American Culture.

"Islam does, Judaism does, Catholicism does, but basically there's nothing scriptural and in most [Protestant] traditions as long as you don't drink, you're fine. Particularly in that Baptist cohort, that's the only real rule."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"West Side Story" - Wednesday Night Rehearsal

This Round's On Me!

I wonder what the musical theater impact is on income?:
People who consume alcohol earn significantly more at their jobs than non-drinkers, according to a US study that highlighted "social capital" gained from drinking.

The study published in the Journal of Labor Research Thursday concluded that drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more than teetotalers, and that men who drink socially bring home an additional seven percent in pay.

"Social drinking builds social capital," said Edward Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University and co-author of the study with fellow researcher Bethany Peters.

"Social drinkers are out networking, building relationships, and adding contacts to their BlackBerries that result in bigger paychecks."

The authors acknowledged their study, funded by the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, contradicted research released in 2000 by the Harvard School of Public Health. "We created our hypothesis through casual observation and examination of scholarly accounts," the authors said. "Drinkers typically tend to be more social than abstainers."

The researchers said their empirical survey backed up the theory, and said the most likely explanation is that drinkers have a wider range of social contacts that help provide better job and business opportunities.

...The researchers found some differences in the economic effects of drinking among men and women. They concluded that men who drink earn 10 percent more than abstainers and women drinkers earn 14 percent more than non-drinkers.

However, unlike men, who get a seven percent income boost from drinking in bars, women who frequent bars at least once per month do not show higher earnings than women drinkers who do not visit bars.

"Perhaps women increase social capital apart from drinking in bars," the researchers said in an effort to explain the gender gap.
Reverse Graffiti

Paul Curtis challenges authorities by selectively cleaning dirty surfaces.

Mike Judge's new movie sounds like a winner. It's going to be hard to find, though:
So when soldier Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) wakes up 500 years in the future, the result of a botched hibernation experiment, he finds the country hopelessly dense and incapable of solving the most basic problems. Buildings are teetering and collapsing. Garbage towers high in the streets. Farm fields are barren because a sponsor pumps salty energy drink into every place water used to be -- including the irrigation systems.

Most everyone in 2505 is a mouth-breathing lout, barely capable of forming a sentence. They've elected as president the guy who seems cool to them, a loudmouthed porn-star wrestler (unfailingly funny Terry Crews, the dad from "Everybody Hates Chris"). They pass their days consuming, defecating, fornicating and gawking at anything that goes boom. Then consuming some more. And because they don't know any better, they've let themselves be co-opted by corporate marketers, taking brands ("Frito") for names and wearing disposable clothes covered with ads.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"West Side Story" Photos - Monday Night Rehearsal

"Cool" - Doc's Shop

"Cool" - Doc's Shop

Riff (right, Robert Coverdell) chastises Bernardo (left, David Ott).
Tupac Shakur - Ten Years Gone

Odd cult, that. Still is:
Tupac Shakur, born Lesane Parish Crooks in June 1971, was raised by Afeni Shakur, a radical Black Panther who represented herself in a murder case in the late 1960s and won. His mother renamed him Tupac Shakur after Tupac Amaru II, an Incan revolutionary.

...Besides his high-profile shooting, Shakur left his mark in music. He's listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling rap and hip-hop artist ever, selling more than 73 million albums worldwide. Most of Shakur's songs are about growing up around violence and hardship, ghetto life, racism and his public feuds with fellow rappers, including The Notorious B.I.G, who was murdered six months after Shakur in a similar drive-by shooting.

As a teenager, Shakur read Shakespeare and Machiavelli's The Prince. Many of the lyrics on his album "All Eyez on Me," which was released the year before his death, reference classic works.

"Now rule two is a hard one, watch for phonies," Shakur wrote. "Keep yo' enemies close ... Watch yo' homies."
The Blob

Don't fool around with Mother Nature:
Nothing, it seems, can stop the mud. For more than three months, the hot, noxious goop has spewed up through a crack in the earth at a natural-gas exploration site, swamping everything in its path.

The expanding, surreal gray lake with the stench of rotten eggs has enveloped more than 10 square miles of land in eastern Java, Indonesia's most densely populated island. The flow has forced 8,000 to 10,000 people from their homes, engulfed about a dozen factories, contaminated fish farms and intermittently closed a major highway.

... Nerves have frayed over the slow and uneven response to the crisis by government agencies and Lapindo Brantas, the politically connected company with a controlling stake in the exploration project. Frustration spilled over last week when displaced villagers set fire to a camp of tents used by Lapindo workers.

... At the shore of the mud lake, white smoke billows ominously. Large bubbles burp at the center, marking the roughly 50-foot-wide crack, where temperatures reach about 140 degrees. Only rooftops and the tips of denuded trees poke above the surface of the mud, which is 20 feet deep in places.

...On the white wall of his home, Haryanto, 47, had scrawled, "Beware of Lapindo's henchmen." "I saw them on TV promising that they will reimburse everything, every little thing," he said angrily. "They promised that. That is why I still live here, with the mud. I don't want to go to the [market]. This is my house, and I want them to see that."

...Meanwhile, the mudflow continues. The chief of one flooded village recently offered a free house to anyone who could use magic to stop the flow. More than 60 people from around the country have tried, the chief said, but no one has succeeded.
He's Back!

El Niño.
Gary Weddle's Beard

He won't shave until Osama bin Laden is caught. With Dubya in charge, Weddle will no doubt be soon stepping on the beard's graying, frayed ends.
A New Bird

India has abundant natural riches:
A new bird species has been found in India, the first time such a discovery has been made here in more than 50 years, an astronomer and keen bird watcher said Tuesday.

The multicolored bird, Bugun Liocichla, was spotted in May in the remote Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in India's northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh near the border with China, said Ramana Athreya, a member of Mumbai's Natural History Society.

Athreya, who found the bird, named it after the Bugun tribe, which lives in the area. The bird has a black cap, a bright yellow patch around the eyes and yellow, crimson, black and white patches on the wings, he told The Associated Press.

...Athreya caught two of the species, but released them after making detailed notes and taking photographs -- and keeping feathers that had worked loose in his net.

"We thought the bird was just too rare for one to be killed," Athreya said.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dave's Continental Fans

Continental Europe might be unusually fertile soil for Dave Nachmanoff's folk/rock music. Dave has a Ph.D. in philosophy, and can easily use the heaviest intellectual artillery in what might superficially appear to be vapid, light-hearted folk music.

And every performer needs fans. True fans are hard to come by.

Dave Nachmanoff has a German fan named Stefan, who is doing his utmost to pave the way for Dave's music in continental Europe. Stefan writes:
Hi Mark,

Just got and read your guestbook entry - thanks a lot that you've thought of that and have done it!

It's unbelievable that as per my impression Dave's capacity hasn't reached this in this respect dreamy/bemused old Europe so far (the UK fans have always orientated more to the US of course, and he has been there several times), therefore we have had more US than European visitors on the temporary eu site until now. But I'm convinced that should change rapidly as soon as the Al Stewart tour will have reached this continental part and folks will have experienced what they have missed in their lives until now, by the cause of Dave's opening sets!

And I'm sure you definitely appreciate that wonder of a person living round your corner! I saw him only once in my life, that was last year in England, when I went there for my first Al concert ever. Dave's performance and personality was gripping, and since that night I cannot get loose of his music and intellectual excitation - it's magic!

At least everybody in my personal surrounding who has had to listen to it is smitten with amazement on the spot. So that assures me that there are miracles coming up to old Europe very soon.

Best regards, and thanks again!

Stefan Hesse
I reply:
Glad to make your acquaintance, Stefan!

Even though I live near Dave's home, this concert was the first time I had ever heard him, or heard of him. I'm Treasurer of a community musical theater group called Davis Musical Theater Company (DMTC) and last year we built a new theater. We had to secure so many bank loans that now we are struggling to maintain our finances. We have to find ways to use the new facility to generate money when we don't have shows of our own to present, and so we decided to host travelling musicians for their concerts.

But who would be the first musician? Ben Wormeli, who plays electric guitar for our shows said, "let's get Dave Nachmanoff!" We all said "Dave who?" (We don't follow the local folk music scene much.) But we trust Ben, and his judgment of local musicians, so we said "let's proceed with Dave Nachmanoff!"

I was very impressed with Dave, and his fantastic musical skills. I bought four of his CDs after the concert.

This week, Dave is in a recording studio in Los Angeles, no doubt preparing something for his fans.

You are going to have a special musical treat, come December!

Marc Valdez
So, What Were You Doing September 11, 2001?

Shocking events will often leave vivid memories. Where were you, and what were you doing, when you about heard "X?"

Several events have left their mark in my lifetime, including:
  • Assassination of JFK (I had just returned from lunch recess to Mrs. James' 2nd grade class);
  • Newark riots (watched on NBC);
  • Assassination of RFK (at the kitchen table, reading about it in the paper, the following morning);
  • Resignation of Richard Nixon (hiking on the southern leg of the trail encircling Lake Louise, in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada);
  • Attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan (in the basement of the Student Union building at the University of Arizona, at lunchtime);
  • Destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger (entering my lab at the Ft. Valley Experimental Forest Station, 5 mi. NW of Flagstaff, AZ);
  • Death of Princess Diana (heard about the accident on the evening news, just prior to going to bed);
  • Destruction of the Space Shuttle Columbia (just pulled out of my driveway in Sacramento).
On September 11th, 2001, I awoke (~ 9:30 a.m.) to the sound of a car radio blaring in the DMV parking lot outside my bedroom window. Clearly, the listener felt something important was going on, and the radio was loud enough that I could make out some phrases, but it was quite baffling. The radio announcer said that the President's plane would soon land in Washington, D.C. This was strange - didn't the President's plane land nearly every day in Washington, D.C.? So, I decided something must be wrong with the President's plane, like maybe the landing gear was stuck, or something, so I ambled over to the TV and turned it on, with the thought running in my head, 'well, this ought to be good for a laugh.'

Despite people's repeated assertions on TV that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed, I refused to believe it for at least an hour, attributing pictures of falling debris to a falling facade rather than to the structures themselves (When I tuned in, they weren't showing pictures of the second plane's impact, or pictures of the collapse taken from the distance, but rather of close-up pictures that couldn't readily show the scale of the disaster.)

Later that day, walking the streets, I noticed the absence of aircraft in the sky, and it was eerie knowing the few planes left in the sky were solely military aircraft. I wondered where those aircraft were going, and what was going to happen next. I also worried about Al Qaeda-piloted kamikaze Central Valley cropdusters dropping nerve toxins unannounced in Sacramento for at least a week or so.
Blog O' The Day - Badtux

John recommends Badtux, the Snarky Penguin.

Today, Badtux, The Cynical Penguin, disparages the Baby Boom Generation.

I'm all for it (since I'm not a Baby Boomer, no matter what the calendar, or all my friends say), but the acid test is 'what does Gen-X Gabe think?'

Gabe says:
I don’t know if I like the analogy of the Reichstag fire either. George Bush isn’t Hitler. I find it a tired analogy (can we be any more lazy than to always refer to Hitler and the Nazis?). If there is a more apt analogy, I would prefer to see one of the 19th Century (or early 20th) monarchs, like George IV, or the Kaiser, or someone else.

Does that make any sense?

P.S. He does seem like a thoughtful fellow, though, but not one to my liking.
That's a Gen-X guy for you! Picky, picky! Thank goodness I'm from my own independent generation (born in October, 1956), where our daring freethinkingness is matched only by our laziness at picking out Nazi analogies, whether appropriate or not, any day of the week, on any subject imaginable.

Monday, September 11, 2006

WTC Spam

I won't link to the advertisment, but I was impressed by the chutzpah. Pretty soon, they'll have WTC booths at the State Fair, and you can toss balsa-wood gliders at Twin Tower milk bottles, with stuffed animals for those who knock them over:
This historic 2-piece memorial transforms into a magnificent standing sculpture of the Twin Towers, and is clad in 24 KT gold and .999 Pure Silver recovered from Ground Zero!

$5 of every commemorative order is donated to official 9/11 family charities and memorials.

This groundbreaking non-monetary issue will never be released for circulation. It is available through this special private minting for collectors only!

The World Trade Center skyline is lavishly clad in gleaming silver that was miraculously recovered from a bank vault found under tons of debris at Ground Zero. Now, to mark the fifth anniversary, the same silver that was reclaimed from the destruction has been used to cover the magnificent Twin Towers depicted in the 2001-2006 World Trade Center Commemorative.
"West Side Story" Tech Week Begins at DMTC

Left, foreground: Katherine Vanderford sings 'Somewhere,' on Sunday afternoon.
David Nachmanoff Concert - DMTC - Saturday night

Left: Donna Lemongello (left), an audience member Saturday night (but a fellow band member with Dave Nachmanoff in the nineties) sings a song with Dave (right) Saturday night.

Experiments are a good thing, especially the kind where you throw something against the wall, to see what sticks. For the inaugural concert of DMTC's "Keep the Music in Your Community" series, we carefully placed Dave Nachmanoff in a medieval-style catapult, outfitted him with a bicycle helmet (for safety's sake), and flung him against one of the new walls of the Hoblit Performing Arts Center. Lo, and behold! Dave stuck!

What an excellent concert! About 45 folks showed up, mostly die-hard Dave Nachmanoff fans - some from the Bay Area, some from the Sierra foothills, and one couple from Arizona! He sang some of his favorite sings: 'Gulliver, The Cowboy Cat," "The Pope Valley Hubcap King," "The Loyalist," and he sang "Sophia," as his daughter, who was sitting behind me, told her mom, "Daddy's singing about me!" He also sang as tribute song to my neighbor, well-known Sacramento bassist Erik Kleven, who recently perished in a head-on collision on Highway 16 near Rancho Murietta. The song was called "Without a Compass or a Map." He also sang a song about a local place, "George's Corner," about the intersection of Second and L Streets, in Davis.

Dave is going into a recording studio this coming week, and this December, he will be touring in Europe with fellow singer, Al Stewart.

"Glorious" (and one of Ben Wormeli's favorite songs)
Have you ever seen a newborn baby?
The wonder in her eyes
Every sight and sound astounding
Every moment's a surprise
Mother's smiling at her laughter
Father's babbling like a child
Now they're cast into a new world
By the glory of her smile

We were glorious once, and we're glorious still
If we take the time to look, we can see the glory well

"A Certain Distance"
And the satellite is beaming down its signal, to your tiny town
But nothing's getting through
He's much too far from you and you know it
There's a certain distance

"El Niño"

They're catching stingray in Washington State
Down south, there's nothing but drought
There's brush fires all over Australia
And in the north, it's flooding them out

The tradewinds are stuck in the doldrums
The Pacific's receded and warm
The forecast is gloomy for winter
What's causing this tropical storm?

El Niño
blame it all on El Niño
It's because of El Niño
Says the man on the news

El Niño
blame it all on El Niño
That anomalous weather phenomenon from Peru

My last 15 gigs have been empty
It seems like I'm under a curse
The computer is invaded by gremlins
And the stock market couldn't be worse

I broke a nail last Thursday
And the dog somehow injured his paw
I gained 20 pounds, and lost my wife

I tell you, there must be a cause!

I asked Dave what kind of music he calls what he sings: folk, rock, emo, reggae, jambalaya, what? He said, "I don't know - historical folk-rock?" Whatever it's called, it's very intelligent!

Regarding DMTC's plans for its concert series, locally-base singer/songwriter Dave Nachmanoff offered some advice. He suggested keeping a local component to the artists that DMTC brings in. Local artists have local fans, who can be counted on to show up. Local artists will ask less in the form of a money guarantee. And since the only viable local alternative, short of the "Palms," is passing the tip jar at the "Delta of Venus" coffeehouse, local artists may even forgo a guarantee altogether, perhaps in exchange for a portion of the gate. Artists brought in from outside will have no alternative but to have a money guarantee, and since they may not have a local fan base, DMTC might end up losing money on them. The risk is greater.

As DMTC Treasurer, I was pleased with the inaugural concert. The concert brought in slightly more than the most-recent "Dancing Through The Decades" dance, but with fewer food and decorating expenses. As we develop a reputation in the community for these events, and as attendance rises, we will benefit all the more.

Thank you, Dave, for the wonderful music, and for being such a sport!

Cop 1: "Ma'am, we really don't care whether he's taking a long time. What matters is what the homeowner thinks."
E: "He called me a bitch, and threatened!"
M: "You threw a pair of shears and hit him in the back!"
E: "He's stupid!"
Cop 2: "That isn't against the law, ma'am!"
"Harvey" - Chautauqua Playhouse(first draft)

Left: Harvey (playing himself) takes a bow on the (stage right half of the) set.

I was late in arriving for the show, so much of the exposition I missed. I haven't seen "Harvey" since 1999, when Solano Community College did it. The caharacters seemed to be quite strong, though.

Daryl Petrig played a wistful, whimsical Elwood P. Dowd, one very pleasant fellow, except for an apparent mental glitch: he has an imaginary friend! Richard Spierto was excellent, as always, as Dr. William Chumley, and Monique McKisson was so funny as Dr. Chumley's wife, Betty. The rest of the cast was strong as well: Cathy Rasmussen as Veta Simmons, Melissa Rae Frago as Myrtle Mae Simmons, Olivia and Brad Carpenter as Nirse Kelly and Dr. Sanderson.

I was very surprised to see John Montagna as Taxi Driver E.F. Lofgren: John is a theater fan and a long-time DMTC Season Ticket subscriber, but I didn't realize he sometimes jumps the fence and gets on-stage as well! Wonders never cease!

Left: Cloudy, Harvey's biggest groupie and autograph hound, edges cautiously in (as rabbits always do) trying to get a closer look.