Friday, September 14, 2007

"Pirates Of Penzance" - Opening Night!

Tonight, at DMTC!

Left: Travis Nagler as Frederick, and Allyson Paris as Mabel.

Left: Travis Nagler as Frederick.
Advice For The Faithless Agnostic

Worse places to start, I suppose.
North By Northwest

The Northwest Passage is nearly open:
This image shows the islands north of mainland Canada adjacent to Greenland, as observed by the the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite on August 29, 2007. While the usual veil of clouds over the Arctic is visible through the scene, the sea ice pack that normally covers the water between the islands is absent. Areas often choked with ice at this time of year, but free of it in this MODIS scene, include the Parry and McClintock Channels and the McClure Strait. Larsen Sound and Victoria Strait are hidden beneath cloud cover, but they are also largely free of sea ice.
Blue Whale Carcass Washes Ashore

Near Ventura:
The carcass of a 70-foot blue whale rolled gently with the incoming waves off a beach about 10 miles north of Ventura this morning as scientists from as far as the San Francisco area rushed to the scene.

Blue whales, the largest animal on earth, have been migrating through the Santa Barbara Channel. How the one that drifted into the rocks off Hobson Beach died will not be known until scientists have extracted tissues and examined its vast body.

Beached less than 100 feet from the Old Pacific Coast Highway, the whale has drawn dozens of spectators ambling on the roadside, taking photos and giving their children a rare glimpse of a huge marine mammal.
Florida Semaphore

The situation in the south is still very murky. The latest forecast downplays the threat a bit (which is reassuring). Suffice to say that IF a tropical storm emerges in the southern Caribbean by the end of this weekend, it is likely to head north, towards Florida. Whether it affects the eastern coast, the western coast, or comes directly up the middle of the peninsula is all quite unclear. Just be aware we are heading into a period where heightened awareness is advisable.

We’ll know better by Monday night if there is something there to worry about, or not….
First Alert

The NOGAPS weather computer model sometimes jumps the gun and forecasts tropical storms that never come to pass, so I’m hoping it’s nothing. Nevertheless, NOGAPS’ latest forecast is quite alarming – a direct hit on Tampa, and all the coast of western Florida, in a week’s time. Time to start keeping an eye on the southern Caribbean!

Right now, the southern Caribbean is stormy, in general, so it’s quite plausible a tropical storm could evolve from all that. Nevertheless, there is no sign at the instant that a tropical storm exists, or will exist there.

Here’s hoping this is all a false alarm…..

Thursday, September 13, 2007


We talked to them quite a bit in the 80's - we'll likely do so again:
Six years after the September 11 attacks, a few cautious voices are beginning to suggest the unthinkable -- maybe it is time to consider talking to al Qaeda.

The idea will revolt some people and raises obvious questions -- through what channels could such a dialogue take place and what would there be to negotiate?

But proponents say al Qaeda has established itself as a de facto power, whether the West likes it or not, and history shows militant movements are best neutralized by negotiation, not war.

"No insurgency or terrorism has been defeated by warfare or violence," former Anglican church envoy and hostage negotiator Terry Waite said in a debate on BBC World television.

"There are some rational players in al Qaeda but it also attracts the psychotic. We need to seek an entry point," said the Briton, himself a captive in Lebanon from 1987 to 1991.

Jan Egeland, a Norwegian who helped broker secret talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation in the 1990s and later, as a top U.N. official, dealt with warlords and guerrilla leaders from Colombia to Uganda, told Reuters: "I wouldn't rule out speaking to anybody, a priori."

He went on: "It depends on who you speak to, but also what you speak to them about. I'm willing to speak to the devil to help the victims in the depths of hell. If I could have a meeting with al Qaeda where one could impress upon them that they are the biggest anti-Islamic force around, why not?"

But Egeland and others point out there are huge obstacles to negotiating with al Qaeda, even if Western governments could overcome their revulsion towards it.

Unlike, say, Colombia's FARC rebels, the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland or the Afghan Taliban, to whom President Hamid Karzai renewed an offer of talks this week, al Qaeda is not so much an organization as an idea.

Its vision -- to create a global Muslim caliphate and convert even the United States to Islam, as its leader Osama bin Laden urged in a video last week -- is a dream that is not confined within national boundaries and leaves no room for compromise, or even realistic discussion.

"Al Qaeda is a universal movement and its demand is universal. It cannot be met by one single government. They're talking about the whole Islamic world from Chechnya to Yemen," said Mustafa Alani, security analyst at the Gulf Research Center in Dubai.

Some experts use the terms 'tactical terrorism' and 'strategic terrorism' to differentiate between traditional militant groups, typically fighting for negotiable demands such as political representation or independence, and those like al Qaeda for which perpetual struggle appears an end in itself.

"It's an endless struggle. The principle of jihad will not accept half-solutions. Either you are in the black or in the white. There is no middle ground. You are either a kafir (infidel) or you are a jihadi," said Alani.

..."One likely scenario with al Qaeda is that they will indeed become increasingly unpopular in the Muslim world and they will split and there will be back channels (of negotiation) to various of their networks," he said.

"That will be done by religious groups, by Muslim groups working with smaller actors, smaller countries. Middle Eastern countries, perhaps radical countries will be involved, that's the new way of diplomacy. It's not going to be the European Union or the U.S. doing it."
Berserk Llama Syndrome

Watch out for berserk llamas!:
Terrebonne resident Nancy Campbell was out for a neighborhood jog Monday night when her 8-year-old daughter, who was riding a bike ahead of her, warned that a brown llama was approaching from behind.

“(Nancy) had barely turned around to face it before it knocked her down,” said Campbell’s husband, Bill.

The llama stomped its feet, spit, bared its teeth and bit her. It eventually took five people to subdue the animal described by state police as brown, hairy and aggressive.

The llama suffered from a rare behavioral problem called “berserk llama syndrome,” veterinarians treating the animal said Wednesday. An Oregon State Police log said the llama escaped five days earlier from its owner’s fenced yard in north Terrebonne. With the owner’s permission, veterinarians euthanized it Tuesday.

...By the time Humane Society of Redmond staff made it to the scene to take the animal, State Humane Agent Carl Quigley said five people were struggling to hold the 5-foot-5-inch, 250-pound animal down. It took four people to carry him into the horse trailer.

...Carly is in shock from witnessing her mother’s attack, he added, and has been having nightmares.

...The llama was not well, according to veterinarians.

“We had to heavily sedate him before we could even euthanize him,” said Dr. Rachel Eaton, a mobile vet specializing in llamas and alpacas who was called to treat the Terrebonne llama.

Eaton said berserk llama syndrome typically affects uncastrated llamas by the time they hit puberty. While no one knows for sure why it happens, the disease is most likely to occur in llamas that were handled too much as babies, Eaton said. It makes the pack animals attach to humans instead of their herd.

“It’s really an unfortunate thing,” she said. “A lot of people raised them and cuddled with them — the llama is their best friend. But they still can become quite dangerous.”

Berserk llamas can be aggressive and scary, she said, and have been known to maul people. Whereas a normal llama would curiously and timidly approach someone standing near its fence, a berserk llama would charge at the intruder, Eaton said.

“They just click and they will attack and hurt people,” Eaton said, adding that in her 10 years practicing, she’s put down four berserk llamas in Central Oregon.

“Llamas are usually like cats — they are curious, but like to keep their distance,” she said. “But the second it turns and comes after you and starts biting, you know it’s trouble.”

...Berserk llama disease is rare, and 99 percent of pet llamas let loose wouldn’t go on an aggressive rampage, Eaton said.

“People who have llamas or who live next door to llamas shouldn’t be worried,” she said. “Llamas are very independent and curious. In general, they are very standoffish.”
Do We Really Understand The Internets?

Every once in a while, there is a step increase in traffic to this Web Log. I suspect it has nothing at all to do with what I post, but rather, with the way the Internet is organized, or maybe with the way Google searches for things.

Today, there is a big surge of people looking for the picture of Kylie on the sidebar that I posted several years ago. I may get record traffic today - today, of all days. More than 500 page loads already today, and climbing. Whassup? Suddenly the world's got taste? Or maybe Google has short-circuited? Dunno, dunno.....
TD 8

Hi Marc - What do you know about Tropical Depression 8? Appears to be headed toward FL.
The current forecasts suggest that TD 8 will break wide, and not come nearly far enough west to affect Florida, or even far enough west to affect the Bahamas. Worth keeping an eye on, in the event the early forecast is wrong, but right now, not a major concern.

The NOGAPS model suggests another possible threat in a week’s time, with thunderstorms from Columbia coalescing over the Caribbean several days from now to form a tropical storm, which would then head north, cross eastern Cuba, and approach the Bahamas almost directly from the south. It’s hard to evaluate this hypothetical threat, however, because this coalescence has yet to occur, and it may be that the computer model’s imagination is in overdrive.

As active as the tropics are now, I’ve been impressed with how few tropical storms there have actually been. May that record continue!
Kyla Ebbert's Fashion Statement

Fun to read the comments here.
Two Hearts

"Like A Butterfly":

Taking flight: Kylie Minogue is releasing her new single 2 Hearts in November

(I wonder is this is one of the ones Ellectrika accidentally leaked? No matter...I'll buy all the paraphernalia anyway....)
Disgruntled Valley Of The Sun

Life is not fair:
Arizona's monsoon wheezed out of existence this week, leaving behind less than an inch of rain amid a streak of sweltering temperatures.

The National Weather Service declared the monsoon over officially as of Tuesday, not even two full months after the season began July 19. Total rainfall at Sky Harbor International Airport was just 0.67 of an inch, the driest monsoon in 14 years and the eighth driest on record.

Some parts of the Valley received significantly more rain, attesting to the spottiness of summer thunderstorms. Several stations in the southeast and northeast Valley measured more than 3 inches.


They're an odd couple in every sense but a monkey and a pigeon have become inseparable at an animal sanctuary in China.

The 12-week-old macaque - who was abandoned by his mother - was close to death when it was rescued on Neilingding Island, in Goangdong Province.

After being taken to an animal hospital his health began to improve but he seemed spiritless - until he developed a friendship with a white pigeon.

The blossoming relationship helped to revive the macaque who has developed a new lease of life, say staff at the sanctuary.
Probably "Prisoners Of Love"

Historical document ceremony:
MYSTERY surrounds how it ended up in Canada but the oldest known document to be printed in Australia is now back where it belongs.

The precious document - an advertisement for a theatre performance, or playbill - was yesterday returned to Australia as a gift from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

...The document was found at Canada's National Library and Archives inside a 150-year-old scrapbook, among several other playbills for performances in 19th century England.

It is believed the playbill was printed in the late 18th century as it advertises a theatrical performance at the Sydney Theatre on July 30, 1796.

"A 200-year-old playbill is quite a find in its own right but what makes this one even more exceptional is that it is also the sole surviving copy of the earliest known document printed in Australia," Mr Harper said.

Researchers have concluded that the advertisement was printed in Sydney by convict George Hughes, who operated Australia's first printing press, which came out on the First Fleet.
Fashionably Young

Last month:
a 15-year-old model was dumped as the face of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week amid concerns about her age.
So, this month:
A QUEENSLAND fashion festival has been accused of child exploitation after choosing a 12-year-old girl as the face of the event.

The selection of Year 8 student Maddison Gabriel, pictured, as ambassador of the first Gold Coast Fashion Week has sparked condemnation from within and outside the modelling industry.
Given a strong parental presence, and from what little I know about fashion shows, myself, I don't think twelve is too young. But opinions may differ!
Handy-Dandy, Crime-Scene Gun Gizmo

Wave it around at the crime scene, and impress the sheriff:
"It scans, swipes, tracks GPS locations, sends data, takes pictures and even has an LED flashlight attachment."

...It really is an ingenious device," Erickson said. "You can collect, record, track samples and do many other things quickly and reliably with it."

..."We wanted to find a way to avoid contaminating samples in the field, while speeding up the collection process," Staab said. "Most of the information taken in the field now is done by two people - one who samples and one who manually logs things in. This is much faster."

Sample collection - such as swabbing surfaces to find certain chemicals or biological weapons - can be a lengthy process. Investigators manually collect substances, write down details about location and time, and then transcribe them into a computer later in the day.

The gadget puts all those steps into one package, and reduces sample collection to a process that only takes a minute or two, Staab said.

Staab came up with the idea for the device about three and a half years ago, after working with an industrial hygienist at Los Alamos and wondering if there was a way to simplify the sampling process, he said.

"We also wanted to prevent possible hazards to the collector," Staab said. "So we made an adaptor so you don't have to touch the sample at all. The gun ejects a filter disk which you can put right into a sample bag without using your hands."

The gun also has a wireless network card so encrypted crime scene data can be sent wirelessly back to a computer - without the need to transcribe information by hand.

"If, say, somebody from the FBI collected a sample at a person's house, they can create a complete chain of custody," Staab said. "You can take photos of the evidence, scan bar codes, record voice samples and also take environmental information like temperature and distance."

...A team of five Los Alamos employees worked with Staab to develop it, and CCAT spent an additional $7,000 for two more prototype devices in January, which are now complete, Staab said.

Hazardous materials teams at the lab tested the device during the past year and were happy with it, Staab said.

By the end of the year, Los Alamos hopes to find a commercial partner to mass-produce and market the gun, Erickson said.

...The price should be somewhere around $1,500 each - which is affordable for most law enforcement agencies, he said.

..."We can just easily hand it out to a company and they can produce it," Staab said. "It should be ready commercially perhaps next year."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Difference Between Mean And Median

Economic statistics presented in the media often fail to distinguish between mean and median. Mean signifies an average, but median signifies the middle of a range.

So if nine people possess nine dollars, on average, each person has a dollar. If one person has seven dollars, and the remaining eight people have a quarter each, the median is twenty-five cents - the middle-richest person has twenty-five cents. Since the median is below the average, it signifies that there is a cluster of people much poorer than average in the sample.

Regarding home sales in southern California, the median house price is rising, despite slower sales. It suggests that there are at least two real estate markets - the struggling middle-class one, and the market for luxury homes. At the moment, it looks like the market for the rich is not yet seriously-affected by the general slowdown:
Sales last month were the worst since 1992, according to research firm DataQuick Information Systems. In August, 17,755 homes were sold in the six-county region, compared with 27,875 a year ago, for a 36.3% drop.

Despite the sales slump, the Southland's median home price rose 2.7% to $500,000 from a year ago, DataQuick found. August's number was slightly off the local record of $505,000 set in March.


She's a human!

How Bad Could It Be?

Gimme More of the backup dancers (who actually looked quite good, very professional, like they actually practiced the routine, and thought about it, and stuff), and less of the ill-prepared lady center stage.

I wonder, what's up? Britney's been there, done this sort of thing, many times before. In her hey-day, just a few years ago, just before Madonna kissed her with those "Toxic" lips, and sent her career into a downward spiral, no one could touch her....

Despite her wretched acting talents, Britney will end up the Marilyn Monroe of this generation. I anticipated this possible fate nine years ago, at the 1998 CA State Fair, when I bought a Britney poster and noticed the irrational hatred people (women in particular) had on the Midway for her even then - just like they did for Marilyn in the late 50's! Keep her away from Presidents, sleeping pills, ball players, movie sets, and swimming pools. And, absolutely, keep her away from K-Fed! Bring back her mom, if possible!

[Postscript: I wonder if the root problems are those knee injuries she's suffered along the way - pretty bad ones, too. Good looks and dancing were always her strong points. Strip out the dancing and give her a bit too much of life in the fast lane, and suddenly she's in trouble....]

Via Obsidian Wings, a snippet regarding what scientific work with an intelligent subject like the recently-deceased African Grey Parrot, Alex, could be like:

My favorite story about Alex comes from The Alex Studies, p. 147. Alex had been asked to identify the color and material of various objects, and apparently he got bored. (Who can blame him?) Here's what happened:
"In each of two additional trials (one on color, one on material), however, he did not respond correctly on the second try. He produced instead each of the wrong possible answers from the appropriate category, repeated each wrong answer, then grabbed the tray liner and tossed all the objects to the floor."
Rest in peace, Alex.

I Feel Like Saying A Beatnik Poem 1950's B Movie Style

Let Uncle Fester turn you on to a thousand joys!

DMTC's "The Pirates Of Penzance" - Tech Week Continues

Left: Travis Nagler as Frederick, and Allyson Paris as Mabel.

Here is a brief write-up of Allyson's prior experience at Hawaii Opera.

Left: Travis Nagler as Frederick, and Allyson Paris as Mabel.

Lenore Sebastian as Ruth, Travis Nagler as Frederick, and Brian McCann as The Pirate King.

Katie Baad, Elsbeth Poe, Rhiannon Guevin, and Kat DeLapp.

Left: Allyson Paris as Mabel.

Left: Allyson Paris as Mabel.
Meanwhile, Back On Mars.....

Opportunity starts its journey into Victoria Crater, and Spirit arrives at Home Plate.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Vanessa Apologizes

You never know what will happen with photos, any photos, when you get nekkid in front of a camera. That's especially true for an actress. After being passed among gawking strangers and leering acquaintances, of course, the photos will end up, eventually, on the Internet:
And sources are claiming that the film's production house may have second thoughts about casting her in the light of the notorious episode. However, Hudgens' rep, Jill Fritzo insists that all rumours that the singer-actress has been kicked out from future productions are untrue . "Vanessa has apologized for what was obviously a lapse in judgment. We hope she's learned a lesson," a spokesperson for the production network said.
Keeping Calm And Collected

A story of heroism from Chicago:
Foust didn't act alone at the Chestnut Avenue rail crossing in Glenview. Classmates Tyler Brown, 16, and Zach Demertzis, 15, helped get the woman's attention by banging on her car just before the 8:30 p.m. crash, he said.

Foust and Brown each pulled over their cars after they saw the elderly woman appear to mistake the second set of tracks at the crossing for a street.

"She just started driving on the tracks," Foust recalled. "The wheels were spinning and throwing up gravel."

Then, the crossing's warning bells started to ring, and the gates began to lower, Foust said. When the boys reached the Lexus, the woman asked if they could help move the car, not realizing the trains were approaching at speeds of up to 79 mph.

"It was getting pretty intense," Brown said. "I looked to the south, and there's a train. I looked to the north, and there's another train."

Foust was at the driver's side door. The driver "wouldn't move," he said, "so I just reached over, unclipped her seat belt and pulled her out."

Foust said he got about 10 feet from the tracks when the southbound train hit. He covered the woman as glass and metal flew. No one was hurt.
Against The Grain

I just hope he's careful enough to sand the furniture he sits on first (hat tip, Jim M.):
An Oakland carpenter who has a history of working in the nude was acquitted today of misdemeanor indecent exposure charges stemming from an October 2005 incident in which a client returned to his house and found the carpenter naked while building a set of bookcases.

...His attorney, David Beauvais, said Honniball, 51, owner of Honey Built Construction in Oakland "has decided that that although what he did was not illegal, it's probably prudent to wear clothes while he works so he doesn't face legal hassles again."

Beauvais admitted that Honniball was nude while building bookcases for a man in Oakland's Montclair District, but successfully argued in court that his client didn't commit a crime "because he didn't intend to have a lewd display of his body."

Beauvais said Honniball was simply "going about his business as a contractor," albeit "somewhat naively."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ever Helpful Google

I entered the search term "jesus christ lookalike new mexico" and it came up with Bill Richardson.
Air Guitar Championships

In my first two years of college at NM Tech, the motley crew in my dormitory, in particular, the alarming folks at the east end of West Hall, who called themselves "The Hoovers" (because they sucked) would have given these guys a good run for the grand prize:
On sober reflection, Guillaume de Tonquedec probably shouldn't have tried to dive into the audience at the climax of his performance at the Air Guitar World Championships here on Friday night.

Instead of enveloping him in its warm embrace, the crowd drew back in fear, leaving De Tonquedec, the French national champion (stage name: Moche Pitt), to belly-flop directly onto the ground.

...The world championships, which began as an offshoot of Oulu's annual music video festival, have been held for 12 years in this small city of low wooden houses on Finland's west coast. This year, 19 men and one woman from 17 countries competed in the finals, trying to demonstrate to a panel of judges their charisma, technical skill and "airness."

"To be honest, airness is an American term, and I have no idea what it means," said the New Zealand competitor, John Gerrand.

It was hard to gauge how seriously the contestants took the whole enterprise. On one hand, they had all managed to make their way to an obscure part of Finland. On the other hand, at the precompetition news conference, many seemed slightly dazed, as if they had just gotten out of bed, even though it was 3 p.m.

"Let's rock!" they yelled sporadically to the assembled reporters when they couldn't think of what else to say.

The competitors had several hours between the news conference and the competition to gather their wits, mess up their hair and apply their Spandex. Some outfits were more successful than others. The snug red underpants worn by the Spanish contestant, David Moreno Gil, kept riding above his substantial hips even as his shirt and pants - a skintight leopard-print ensemble - migrated unflatteringly in opposite directions.

Moreno Gil, who billed himself as Moreno del Metal, pronounced himself unperturbed. "People say we are freaks, killers," said Moreno Gil, who dubs pornographic films into Spanish for a living. "I say, all you need is air."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Indians Hunt Whales The Traditional Way

You know, with a machine gun.
"Jesus Christ Superstar" - Runaway Stage Productions

Left: Cast at bows.

Steve Winlock reprised the role of Judas (he played the same role in 1987 at DMTC). Excellent actor and singer!

I liked Julia Mosby's singing in "Everything's Alright" and "I Don't Know How To Love Him".

Your own personal Jesus, Tevye Ditter.

Tev also played this role at DMTC in January, 2005. He was great there, but he is even better here - totally mesmerizing! With great depth of experience, Tev just gets better and better with the rock falsettos!

King Herod (Michael McElroy), together with Ed and Marge Hand, directors of West Valley Light Opera, in Saratoga.

I asked MikeMac whom he had modeled his King Herod character after - there was a special undefinable familiarity about his Roman-style corruption. A George Bush caricature came to mind, but it seemed wide of the mark.

MikeMac said that someone had remarked that MikeMac's King Herod reminded him not of a person, but rather, a muppet, in 1983's "Return of the Jedi", in the scene with the fabulously-corrupt Jabba The Hut.

This muppet is likely Jabba's sidekick, Salacious Crumb.

Jabba The Hut had many failings as an empathetic creature, but his taste in dancing girls was top-notch (as is MikeMac's King Herod's taste too).

Choreographer Pamela Kay Lourentzos and Dance Captain Charlotte Hartshorne.

Pam's choreography of "Simon Zealotes/Poor Jerusalem" was fantastic - just about the best I've ever seen from her! The placement of the raked star center-stage gave her several substages to work with. With Judas' (Steve Winlock's) entry at the beginning stage-right (weighed down by the Tormentors) to Simon's (Joshua James') stellar singing and dancing stage-left, to the final scattering into the aisles at the end, it was just great! The aisles of the 24th Street Theater have been used for many purposes in many shows, but I think this is the first time I've ever seen them used to handle what amounted to a detonation on stage - Pam's Big Bang, with the theater as the Universe!

A pretty rose, just outside the 24th Street Theater main entrance.

There were several criticisms I heard regarding the show:

1.) the troubles with stage microphones were maddening;
2.) spotlights and flashing lights bugged some people;
3.) it was too loud; and,
4.) there was a lack of warmth about the show - in particular, having the apostles dance around rather than listen to Christ ("What's The Buzz?" "The Last Supper"). Pilate didn't seem terribly warm either, or even that conflicted.

I agreed about the stage mikes - I wondered if there was sound board confusion from having so many people miked. I had no trouble with the lights or the volume (if anything, I would have had it louder).

Regarding warmth, I had a different take. The differences in age and stature between the apostles and both Judas and Jesus were great enough to cause a significant tension. But then again, Christ's and Judas' positions were singularly lonely and unique: the trials of the apostles came later, after Jesus' crucifixion. Admittedly, the apostles did seem heedless and young, just one step above the street, less like apostles, and more like groupies. To me, though, I thought that was a reasonable interpretation. And remember, this is rock opera, among musical theater's most kinetic forms. I don't think warmth when I think rock opera anyway, and having the apostles do something, anything, other than sit around was a good idea. It's gotta move!

Dack Lack played Pontius Pilate in an imperial manner, but, once again, I thought was well within bounds. His conflicts were explicit, I thought, and if Pilate seemed a bit disinterested, even callous - well, welcome to the Roman Empire!

So, apart from stage mike problems, I thought it was a grand show. Go see it!

I understand that at auditions for this show, a person appeared who looked, for all the world, like Jesus Christ. Matters of practicality prevented this person from being cast (he lives in San Diego), but it calls to mind just how important appearances are for certain roles and how we are all swayed by the hunger for a Messiah. I suspect the musical theater community is peculiarly vulnerable to this emotional appeal - after all, the Pied Piper was a musician.

Which brings to mind a college class on American Social, Cultural, and Religious History I once took, taught by Ferenc Szasz, at the University of New Mexico. His professional interest was late-19th Century American Protestantism. I can't immediately find a link, so I'm working from memory here....

One day, in 19th-Century frontier New Mexico, a mysterious, selfless, humble stranger appeared, who looked, for all the world, like Jesus Christ. People who encountered him were astonished at the eerie parallels between the Bible, and the person they saw with their own eyes sitting before them. Before you could say the word 'cult', this person had a devoted following that travelled from town to town....

Perhaps the local musical theater community needs a Messiah. It would be helpful if he were a stranger. So, we'll pick up the guy from San Diego, and we can send Tev to Reno, and maybe with all this shuffling, we'll all be happier as a result.
Subtropical Storm Gabrielle

Poised to strike North Carolina's Outer Banks. Drought-struck Carolinians are mostly-welcoming the rain opportunity.