Saturday, February 24, 2007

Opening Night - "Camelot"

By and large, a successful venture. There were some problems, of course, but given the length of the show and complications of the set and costume changes, it could have been worse. There were some communication difficulties between the stage and the light booth, and a few set pieces and props had been moved.

One of the ensemble members was sick and couldn't perform. That's always ominous, because no matter how you reassign set changes and minor lines, there is always something crucial that the missing person does that will be sorely missed at some point. In this case, the ensemble member helped with one of Guenevere's costume changes, and the replacement hands were slower and less expert with tying bows, because of no practice, and so there may have been a delayed entrance, or some disarray [UPDATE: Marguerite says she made it OK for her entrance, but just BARELY]. In addition, we had some trouble with getting awkward set pieces on and off the stage, slowing the pace down.

There were some incongruities. For example, the other knights had cumbersome swords - thick slabs of medieval Gothic steel - whereas I had a slick, slim 17th century French epee. Director Lenore ('She Who Must Be Obeyed') Sebastian noticed the incongruity too late to attempt a change, so for the moment, I guess I'm still the 'gay blade' of the bunch.

I was nearly thrown off the music a few times. 'Fie On Goodness' was like driving a sports car along a winding mountain road, and nearly careening over the edge, but the thrill was we did just fine.

In 'Guenevere', delayed by set change duties, I at first failed to throw the dark hood of my cloak over my face, in order to obscure my identity and blend into the chorus. When I finally did so, the hood fell completely over my face. Every time I inhaled to sing, the hood's material moved up and made a perfect seal over my mouth. I started to giggle about the absurdity of the censorious hood, threatening to undermine what had to be a serious piece.

A very large contingent of Tae Kim's co-workers and Griffin Jackson's relatives were in the house, composing half of the entire audience. The crowd was very supportive, as you might expect.
Britney Goes Feral

No, it's nothing you haven't already seen in the press, it's just that I like the headline. If I went feral, it would be just another happening in a busy week, but it's noteworthy when Britney goes feral. We live in feralous times, so keep it glued together when you enter a hair salon, or if someone pushy takes your picture, or if you trip over cracks in the sidewalk, or if you hang out with Paris and her poisonous posse.

Here's a call to lay off Britney.

Friday, February 23, 2007

TNR Sliding

Josh Marshall reports The New Republic is going biweekly.

May the collapse start now, in earnest!
Junky Low Orbits Around Earth

An increasingly-obnoxious problem (Feb. 21):
On February 19th, late-night sky watchers across Australia witnessed a bright explosion followed by a debris cloud that hung in the sky for nearly an hour. At first a mystery, the source of the blast is now understood. It was a Russian Briz-M rocket booster misplaced in orbit last year by the failed launch of an Arabsat communications satellite. The fuel tanks of the Briz-M ruptured on Feb. 19th, producing a vivid naked-eye display and more than 1000 pieces of debris. Experts are calling this a "major breakup event," comparable to or even worse than last month's Chinese anti-sat test.
Taking 'Fanta Se' Too Far

Meanwhile, high in the sere foothills of New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo Mountains, another traditional Ash Wednesday mass is held:
Santa Fe police say an Ash Wednesday service at the cathedral was disrupted by pornographic messages from three CD players duct-taped to the underside of pews.

Santa Fe police Captain Gary Johnson says the CD players had been set to go off at 12:20 pm Wednesday during Mass in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis.

Johnson says the recordings were full of foul language and pornographic messages. ... Church officials say churchgoers were not evacuated.

Johnson says the police bomb squad destroyed two of the players. Officers saved the third CD player after realizing the devices did not have explosives. It will be analyzed for evidence.
Troublesome Psychotic Astronaut?

No problem!:
... the astronaut's crewmates should bind his wrists and ankles with duct tape, tie him down with a bungee cord and inject him with tranquilizers if necessary.

"Talk with the patient while you are restraining him," the instructions say. "Explain what you are doing, and that you are using a restraint to ensure that he is safe."

The instructions do not spell out what happens after that. ... The crew members might have to rely in large part on brute strength to subdue an out-of-control astronaut, since there are no weapons on the space station or the shuttle. A gun would be out of the question; a bullet could pierce a spaceship and could kill everyone.

... Space station medical kits contain tranquilizers and anti-depression, anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medications. ... The checklist says say astronauts who crack up can be restrained and then offered oral Haldol, an anti-psychotic drug used to treat agitation and mania, and Valium.

... During missions in 1985 and 1995, shuttle commanders put padlocks on the spaceships' hatches as a precaution since they didn't know the scientists aboard very well. Some crew members, called payload specialists, are picked to fly for specific scientific or commercial tasks and do not train as extensively with the other astronauts.
But still no ideas about how to deal with a troublesome psychotic onboard computer system. Bring out the duct tape and you're likely to get "I wouldn't do that if I were you, Dave!"
"Camelot" - DMTC - Opens Tonight!

Left: Morgan Le Fey (Anne Marie Trout)

Here are a few pictures from Wednesday and Thursday night rehearsals:

Nimue Dancer (left, Meg King) ensnares Merlin the Magician (right, Paul Fearn) to the eerie song of Nimue Singer (off camera right, Bridget Maguire).

Evil Mordred (Jon Jackson) tempts Morgan Le Fey (off camera right, Anne Marie Trout) with a basket of her favorite treat, candies.

Guenevere (Marguerite Morris) listens as Lancelot (off camera right, Tae Kim) sings 'If Ever I Would Leave You'.

King Arthur (left, Gil Sebastian) invites Mordred (right) to join the Round Table.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Andy Warhol, And The Zuni War God

Interesting article about the return of an artifact:
Warhol died 20 years ago, on Feb. 22, 1987. A year later, as a collection of art and other objects owned by Warhol was about to be auctioned by Sotheby's, I received a call from one of my sisters, who had a friend working with the Zuni Indian tribe. E. Richard Hart, then director of the Institute of the North American West, had been helping the Zunis contact Sotheby's and the Warhol estate about an item listed in the auction catalog -- a Zuni war god, appraised at $2,500 to $3,500. Because I had been a friend of Warhol's, I placed a call to the estate as well.

To the Zunis, war gods -- or Ahayu:da -- have a value far greater than money. Carved by priests and placed in secret shrines on the reservation, the wooden figures are not considered art. To the Zuni people, Ahayu:da are living deities who, when disturbed, have the power to upset the world's balance. War gods are owned communally by the tribe and are never sold. If one appears in an art collection or museum, it has been stolen. Warhol's war god was probably a gallery purchase. American Indian artifacts, like cookie jars and jewelry, were one of his collecting passions.

As it turned out, my call was unnecessary. When representatives of Warhol's estate heard about the war god's background, they immediately volunteered to return it. They said Warhol could not have known of the war god's religious significance or its shady past. ... It took about two seconds." Although at this point all Ahayu:da in American collections have been repatriated, many major museums were not as swiftly cooperative.

In May 1988, not long after the 10-day Warhol auction set records at Sotheby's, Richard Hart traveled from New Mexico to New York City with two Zuni priests and a tribal councilman. The Zunis spoke limited English and had no idea who Andy Warhol was. It was certainly the first time a Zuni song of welcome was chanted in the reception area of Warhol's famous Factory, then on East 33rd Street.

Once the 2-foot-long wooden figure had been properly greeted, then cushioned in bubble wrap, and a photo taken of tribal members with Factory workers, the Zunis headed back to their hotel, near Penn Station. ... The Zunis wore ceremonial garb -- white cotton clothing, sashes, prayer pouches and colorful headbands. Walking single file, the small group was led by Joseph Qualo, a war priest, holding the Ahayu:da up high.

"It was amazing to see them cross the streets," remembers Hart. "Cars stopped, and no one honked." David Firestone, then at New York Newsday, now with the New York Times, also accompanied the Zunis that afternoon and described their walk west as "a remarkable religious procession through midtown Manhattan, a minuscule homecoming parade that took place under the eyes of hundreds of New Yorkers sitting in traffic or striding to a business lunch or looking down from the Empire State Building at a city that moves so quickly it cannot see its minor miracles."

... Some will argue that Warhol was one of the biggest burglars in art history for quoting and reworking the images of other artists for his own pictures; but that wasn't theft, it was homage, and the end product always looked like a Warhol, even when it was the "Mona Lisa."

Warhol was superstitious. A sacred object illegally removed from tribal lands would not have appealed to him. He was also a Catholic, and stealing is a sin.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's Black History Month, So Let's Honestly Discuss Race

Well, maybe....

A friend took affront at something written by Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr., back in 2003, namely:
The GOP is never comfortable discussing race, unless you count the thinly veiled appeals Republican candidates have sent to racists in the white South over the years.
My friend prepared a response that is still germane today. Like many similar letters-to-the-editor, the response isn't profound. Nevertheless, I post it, because flawed as it is, many people think along these lines.
Mr. Pitts: I am writing to rebut/complain/whine about your column regarding an “open” letter to Senator Bill Frist, which was published in the newspaper on January 6, 2003.

Before I get to the rebuttal, let me say that I have been reading your column regularly since the Chronicle picked it up perhaps a year ago, and my overall opinion of your work is high. Most of your columns are thoughtful, measured, and lacking the shrillness apparent in some pundits’ writings. The column in question is an exception for you, an openly partisan piece, and misrepresents the Republican party, perhaps knowingly so. That is why I am moved to respond.

The central portion of your column correctly notes one of the very core Republican beliefs, the “rising tide” metaphor – that by promoting laissez-faire capitalism for all, we create an environment which provides the greatest good for the greatest number with respect to pursuit of happiness, but you seem to imply at the same time that this belief is falsely held, that we don’t really believe in our core value. Get a grip, Leonard. Maybe our world view is right, maybe it is wrong, but please don’t say that we secretly disbelieve our own convictions.

Next you correctly point out that while black quality of life has been improving, it still lags the quality of life for whites. No argument there. You also attribute the gap to race. I agree with you, and think that most conservatives also agree.

The core of my complaint is the following text, which says that “the GOP is never comfortable discussing race”, and discusses “the GOP’s racial pandering (as if Democrats don’t), insensitivity, and silence”. All this is true. However, the reasons for this are very different than you make them out to be.

You don’t exactly say why the GOP is never comfortable discussing race. Perhaps you think Republicans want to keep the black man down, or that we believe black poverty is an acceptable price to pay for white wealth, or perhaps that we are genuinely perplexed at the failure of our world view in much of the black community. Maybe you think it’s all of the above. I’ll tell you why we are uncomfortable discussing race, although I think that you may already know.

Republicans and Democrats have contrasting world views; that is why they are adversaries. Republicans tend to believe that a person’s fate is largely in his own hands; Democrats tend to think that a man’s life is shaped largely by his environment or other external factors. Examples of this dichotomy are everywhere: who thinks homosexuality is a choice, and who thinks it is genetics? Who thinks the unemployed don’t look hard enough for work, and who thinks they are passive victims of circumstance? Who thinks criminals are 100% accountable for their deeds, and who wants to consider their childhood experiences as mitigating factors? To put it simply, Republicans emphasize free will; Democrats emphasize determinism.

Republicans believe they know why the black boats don’t rise so high, although they truly are never comfortable discussing it in public. In keeping with the Republican world view of free will, Republicans think that black poverty is no longer due primarily to external racism (although of course it was once, prior to about 1970), but rather is a predictable consequence of behaviors and values held by many blacks; in other words, black poverty in 2003 is largely a result of choices made by the formulators of modern black culture. “The government owes me a living. The government owes me reparations. I’m entitled to welfare, to public housing, to set-asides. Only Uncle Toms study and do homework. Colin Powell is no better than a slave because he takes orders from a white man.” I’ve listened to enough hip-hop music when I lived in Baltimore to have a good idea of urban black values: exaggerated self-importance, keeping three bitches but marrying none, and murder for fun. To me, the defining moment of modern black culture was when Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur had each other murdered because of, because of, what reason exactly? In all of human history, of all the various corners of the world, the only musicians to fight wars with each other are current-day African-American cultural leaders. The values and behaviors of these people are truly unfortunate. To one who believes that a man’s destiny is governed by his own values and behaviors, to one who believes that free will is more important than determinism, the low state of the black boats today is no mystery.

As thinking men, you and I both know that our lives are shaped not entirely by our own free will, but also not entirely by external factors. Both are important. Republicans are partly right, and partly wrong. Democrats, too, are partly right, and partly wrong. What is the true mix? Is it 80/20? 50/50? 20/80? Nobody knows. Surely this question can be an honest point of dialogue, surely reasonable men should be able to talk about this very important issue, and express varying opinions without fear of reprisal. Don’t you agree, Mr. Pitts?

But the problem, the reason why the GOP is never comfortable discussing race, is that in our present cultural climate, it is not possible for a white man to publicly discuss the low black boats in terms of a consequence of African-American values or behaviors. It doesn’t matter if the opinion is honestly held, it doesn’t matter if it expressed considerately and respectfully, it doesn’t matter if the speaker backs up his opinions with data, it doesn’t matter if the opinion is true. Any prominent white man who talks like this in public risks having his reputation destroyed immediately. No honest discussion about the relative influence of free will (choices made by blacks) versus determinism (discrimination by whites) is possible today in America, unless the speaker takes the determinism viewpoint. We have been living in a “McCarthy Era” on this subject for the past quarter century. Democrats, the press, and black leaders are the enforcers. If a white man believes that free choices made by blacks are at least partially responsible for black poverty, he will never be comfortable discussing race, if he values his career. This is the situation that Republicans are in, by virtue of their defining core value of free will. Leonard, as a black, a member of the press, and (I presume) a Democrat, you are three times a member of the enforcer class. You cannot possibly be unaware of the McCarthyism ruling public speech today; therefore you were intellectually dishonest in this column.

Try this thought experiment for me: imagine a white conservative candidate addressing a black church or convention, and suggesting that an ethic of entitlement, the practice of having children without marriage, together with a disdain for education, might be contributing factors to black failure. How would he be received? I believe he would be booed off the stage, he would not be permitted to finish his speech, and he might be physically attacked on the spot. If you think I exaggerate, please tell me. Is it really hard to understand why Republicans don’t contribute to what passes for a national dialogue on race?

As a final beef against your Frist column, I will point out your discussion, towards the end, of who is or is not vindicated by history. You said that you cannot think of a single example where conservatives were on the right side of history on a racial issue. The way I see it, the two parties in the long term take turns being the good guys. The Republican party was founded in order to advance black civil rights; their positions were vindicated by history from 1854 up through about 1910. Starting in the 1940s, it was Democrats who took positions for awhile that have been vindicated by history. However, note that all the examples of Democrat vindication which you cited -- military desegregation, bus boycott, Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Act, Brown vs Board of Education -- all of these came from an extremely narrow period of only 19 years, between 1946 and 1965. As far as vindication by history on racial issues, I believe the Republicans resumed their turn in the 1970s.

The Democratic and black leadership’s concept of cradle-to-grave welfare entitlement will not be vindicated by history. The concept of race-based college admissions will not be vindicated by history. The idea that lesser-qualified blacks should get jobs in preference to more-qualified whites will not be vindicated by history. McCarthyism will not be vindicated by history. Finally, the unanimous exultation of the African-American community at the acquittal of O.J. Simpson will not be vindicated by history.

Please try another thought experiment: imagine a white man who firmly believes that society should be colorblind; that men should be judged only by their merits, abilities, and accomplishments, but never by the color of their skin. This man refuses to countenance any government policy or social practice which favors one race over the other. This position will be vindicated by history. In 1960, such a man would march with Martin Luther King. However, the same exact man, today, would be called a racist by King’s protégé Jesse Jackson. Democrats, liberals, and black leaders lost their claim to historic vindication when they quit their “justice for all” objective and began working the black community the same way Republicans work the gun lobby – as a favored special interest group.

Mr. Pitts, in conclusion I want to emphasize again that I respect the majority of your newspaper pieces, and I feel that you are a reasonable man. I realize that you might be offended by some things written here; that is not my intent. However, you wrote an unfair, openly partisan column, so I feel you deserve a candid response. Please do not quote me by name.
So, what is my take?

In order to have an honest discussion, it is important not to deliberately insult the other party. What conservatives often interpret as political correctness gone amok is often just an attempt to preserve a public space where people can speak freely. The media, Democrats, and black leaders will pounce on openly racist caricatures, and grumble about "dog-whistle" messages that speak only to conservatives (e.g., G.W. Bush speaking of the 'Dred Scott' case during the 2004 debates with John Kerry). If one can't express oneself without running afoul of the language police, then it may signify another problem.

Actually I believe most black audiences would be receptive to a white political candidate who suggested that the blame for most black problems lay in the black community, provided the criticism was not condemnatory and insulting. After all, Bill Clinton was able to walk this line. The trouble is that context matters, and most conservatives can't do it successfully, because they have other interests in mind. Lowering tax rates does little for those who don't pay much in taxes, or who benefit disproportionately from government spending, for example.

I'm troubled by the paragraph where "current-day African-American cultural leaders" are essentially equated with hip hop musicians. This is an exaggeration, leaving out black pastors and a host of community organizers that collectively dwarf the impact of the (admittedly influential) hip hop musicians (many of whom are just as popular among whites as blacks).

The caricature of black attitudes (even placed in quotation marks) "The government owes me a living, ..." etc. is an attitude I think few blacks actually have. It is an attitude that is more-common on the urban street, which is multi-racial in nature. But even there, it isn't that common. For example, most of the homeless folks I've dealt with (I hire them sporadically for a variety of household tasks) do not have this attitude. Even as they fall short, their ideal is to prize labor and scorn sloth: much like the rest of society.

One trouble with laissez faire capitalism is that it is not as independent of culture and history as it's proponents would like to believe. Laissez-faire is an ideal condition rarely reached in human experience.

The Chinese and the Jews have long fostered strong merchant traditions, which derive ultimately from the tradition of book-learning: learning done originally for primarily religious purposes, but adapted for other needs. Malaysians or African Americans engage in capitalism at an initial disadvantage because of the absence of the merchant tradition, and that can't be made up for quickly.

For example, a young American Jew (or Chinese) might have several people in his immediate family that have either owned a business, or served in an important capacity in a business, so dinner-table talk tends to be dominated by discussions about market trends, money issues, etc. - conversations that are largely-absent in other households. So, in a fledgling business, the young American Jew is likely to have a variety of resources and experiences available to him that his African American (or Malay) counterpart does not. The ultimate effect is a higher business success rate.

Americans in general have a very hard time speaking honestly about race, and that is because we often speak without much reflection, in caricatures.

What would Tupac say?:
If I could recelect before my hood dayz
I'd sit and reminisce, nigga and bliss on the good dayz
i stop and stare at the younger, my heart goes to'em
They tested, it was stressed that they under
In our days, things changed
Everyone's ashamed to the youth cuz the truth looks strange
And for me it's reversed, we left them a world that's cursed, and it hurts
cause any day they'll push the button
and yall condemned like Malcolm x and Bobby Hunton, died for nothin
Don't them let me get teary, the world looks dreary
but when you wipe your eyes, see it clearly
there's no need for you to fear me
if you take the time to hear me, maybe you can learn to cheer me
it aint about black or white, cuz we're human
I hope we see the light before its ruined
my ghetto gospel
"The Producers" - Las Vegas

The reviewer was not pleased, Davis Hasselhof, or no:
Dialogue and scene trims brusquely advance plot at the expense of character, and the musical cuts are curious. "The King of Broadway" that introduces Max in Act I—deleted without consequence from the 2005 movie by going directly to Max and Leo's loopy office meeting that nicely establishes both characters—is reinstated. But the adorable and affectionate "That Face," a flirty song-and-dance courtship between Leo and hot-blond secretary Ulla (Leigh Zimmerman), is axed, destroying the foundation for their sweet romance that now seems dropped in from another play. "In Old Bavaria," a disposable Franz number also struck from the movie, remains, while "Der Guten Tag Hop Clop"—a hilariously physical showcase of Franz's comic dementia, with Max and Leo singing and dancing along—disappears. And late-play showstopper "Betrayed," a tour de force in which imprisoned, embittered Max delivers a machine-gun recap of the plot, is sacrificed, perhaps because with all the cuts, not everything that happens in The Producers happens in this Producers.
"Camelot" - DMTC - Tuesday Night Rehearsal

Left: Morgan Le Fey (Anne Marie Trout)

We are at the stage in tech week where we are playing with costumes.

Sir Sagramore (Leighton Worthey)

Guenevere (Marguerite Morris) and Lancelot (Tae Kim)

Morgan Le Fey (Anne Marie Trout)

Virginia Shaw

Merlin (Paul Fearn)

Sir Dinadan (Adam Sartain)

Michael Miiller visits the theater after a long absence.

Stacy Sheehan plays with a 'torch'

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Milquetoast's POV

Alan Colmes, about his co-host Sean Hannity on FOX News:
"Sean and I have different styles," said Colmes. "I believe it's better to put out fires with water, not with more fire."
(Or you could start a backfire, you doof....)
The Devil Is In The Details

Why are the wealthy so keen about Estate Tax repeal?:
Sanders's office came up with some interesting numbers here. If the Estate Tax were to be repealed completely, the estimated savings to just one family -- the Walton family, the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune -- would be about $32.7 billion dollars over the next ten years.

The proposed reductions to Medicaid over the same time frame? $28 billion.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Prisoners Of YouTube

It's worse than Caged Heat. Subtitle of article:
Meet the most hilarious people ever to lose their jobs, friends,
livelihoods, and their dignity—all for your personal amusement
The one I like best is Gary Brolsma in "Dragostea Din Tei".
Taking Note

Of some local and national news, before it gets too old:

  • YouTube's purge of Daily Show video really threw a monkey wrench into local vlogger's LiberalViewer's creative output.
    One day, you are a minor YouTube celebrity with more than 1,850 subscribers to your personal channel and nearly 1 million viewings of your videos logged.

    The next day -- poof! -- it's as if you never existed.

    Such is the fate of Allen Asch, a Sacramento man who went by the nom de Web of LiberalViewer. When Viacom last week demanded that YouTube, the popular online video site, remove more than 100,000 videos containing unauthorized content, it meant that some of the LiberalViewer's work soon would be purged from the site.
  • Normally I don't link to sports stuff, but I liked the Sacramento Bee's Ailene Vosin's characterization of Las Vegas:
    It isn't really true what they say about Las Vegas. What happens here doesn't really stay here, not unless the visit is brief and the departure exceptionally well-executed.

    This city attaches to your skin the way cigarette stench clings to your clothing. Its influences can be repressed -- think of Vegas as a recurring virus -- but never entirely purged. And you must reside here to fully appreciate the fact that although this is a fun place to visit, in decades past, this was a fascinating place to live.

    ... As we drove west from Brooklyn, N.Y., that summer in the early 1960s, I was California dreamin', hoping the family car would continue toward the home of the Beach Boys, surfboards and desirable soft sand. Instead, the car broke down, and my father immediately obtained a job cooking at a diner called "The Thief of Baghdad." A couple of city kids became desert rats exposed to a lifestyle so unique -- so bizarre -- it's hard to keep a straight face when NBA Commissioner David Stern muses about the league coming to town and offering family-style entertainment.
  • People who have trouble talking finances are confessing their indebtedness online. The Web is an excellent confessional:
    When a woman who calls herself Tricia discovered last week that she owed $22,302 on her credit cards, she could not wait to spread the news. Tricia, 29, does not talk to her family or friends about her finances, and says she is ashamed of her personal debt.

    Yet from the laundry room of her home in northern Michigan, Tricia does something that would have been unthinkable — and impossible — a generation ago: she goes online and posts intimate details of her financial life, including her net worth (now negative $38,691), the balance and finance charges on her credit cards, and the amount of debt she has paid down since starting a blog about her debt last year ($15,312).
    Excellent idea!

    Which reminds me... Did I mention my $2,200 night at Thunder Valley last week? No? Ugh!
  • Hope It Went Well!

    The St. Francis Winterfest Concert this weekend.

    Left: In no particular order - Stephanie Broadley '07, Melissa Evans '07, Emily Jue '07, Liz Liles '07, Kelly Mennemeier '07, Jacquie Neri '07, Meghan Yee '07, Angie Andrews '08, Francesca Arostegui '08, Charleen Choi '08, Harlee DeMeerleer '08, Molly Krafcik '08, Estrella Ramirez '08, Kristyn Schumacher '08, Katie Rose Mennemeier '09, Katie Fuller '10, Sophia Moad '10.

    (Photo: Stephanie Villanueva)
    Why Aliens Come To Earth

    The Plumber provided an answer to the question of why aliens come to Earth, when they could go to many other places instead:
    We have souls, but they don't, and they'd like to know why.
    Hence, the scientific experiments on us, the probing, carrying us away to other planets, etc., etc.

    In addition, the British own everything - everything, including the travel agent companies....

    And the wife of a friend ordered the Hells Angels to make a hit on his friend.

    The underlying theme? There are a variety of reasons people ultimately leave the Golden State of California.

    And yet, I'm still here....
    Fluorescent Lights Down Under

    The Australian federal government is preparing to ban incandescent light bulbs as part of its greenhouse gas emissions control policy.

    Note that this is the conservative answer Down Under to the issue of global warming - banning bulbs will be simpler than the Kyoto-style emissions trading rules favored by the Labor Party.

    Our own conservatives Up Above make dinosaurs look hip.