Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Children Of The Corn Find A New Toy

I remember seeing a television special regarding the 1989 crash of United Airlines Flight 232, and the heroic actions of the flight crew in trying to control the plane's movements. A shattered turbine fan blade managed the near-impossible, and severed all three, redundant, flight control hydraulic systems: 100 people died in the spectacular crash, but 185 nevertheless survived.

Some of the survivors were flung from the cartwheeling fireball of an airliner into a field of corn (maize), and ever afterwards, they suffered from an unreasoning, irrational fear of corn.

These people here will also suffer from an unreasoning, irrational fear of corn.

Unreasoning fears seem to be in vogue. I may as well join too. So, in addition to unreasonably avoiding tongue piercings (see below), I vow to unreasonably avoid corn as well:
A grain bin collapsed and sent a tidal wave of corn into a home, sweeping it off its foundation, trapping a family of four and shaking the ground for miles.

One man was taken to a hospital after being buried for hours in grain and debris in Hillsboro in southeast Iowa.

The bin - about 100 feet in diameter, 90 feet high and containing more than 500,000 bushels of corn - collapsed Monday evening. The force of the grain broke the walls of Jesse and Jennifer Kellett's home and sent the roof crashing down.

"The force actually took the house with the corn and shoved it and crushed it," Dan Wesely, Henry County chief sheriff's deputy, said Tuesday.

The Kelletts and their children, Jordan Walter, 11, and Sheyanne Walter, 9, were trapped. Jennifer Kellett and her daughter crawled out, but her husband and son - pinned by walls, wood and corn - had to be rescued.

Many residents of the town of 200 said they could hear the bin's rivets giving way, sounding like machine-gun fire. Farmers miles away reported feeling the ground shake. The bin was about 20 feet away from the house, authorities said.

The grain bin is owned by Chem Gro. The bin was new, Wesely said, and officials are investigating the cause of the collapse. A telephone message left with the company Tuesday was not immediately returned.

..."The thing was they had to move this corn, and it kept rolling in. They had to move a lot of corn back before they could get down and find out what was holding them in. That would be the lumber, walls and different things," Wesely said.

..."When it happened, my house shook, and I'm clear on the other end of this town," Hillsboro resident Naomi Sanderson told the Hawk Eye newspaper of Burlington.
Fashion Fatale

Keeping my tongue intact, thank you:
Kate Donovan, 20, died at a Boston hospital Monday, according to family friends.

Donovan was an employee at Jamie's Pub in Scituate, Mass., where co-workers said she had gotten her tongue pierced about a month ago.

NewsCenter 5's Mary Saladna reported that an infection soon developed, but antibiotics did not seem to help. Donovan began suffering severe headaches and was hospitalized.

...Bacterial infections and meningitis can be a complication from tongue piercing, according to the Web site

Meningitis is an infection of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of meningitis may appear suddenly and include fever, severe and constant headache, stiff neck or neck pain, nausea and vomiting and rash.

Viral meningitis is not contagious. Health officials said her co-workers and customers are not at risk.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Upcoming - Sac State Dance Concert

Looks like an interesting time coming up at Sac State!:

Six faculty choreographers and two special guest-artist choreographers will have free rein for all forms of dance during Dance Sites 2007/ new work in choreography and performance, at Sacramento State’s University Theatre, 6000 J. Street.

Performances are Nov. 29 through Dec. 2 and Dec. 6-9.
Directed by Theatre and Dance professor Lorelei Bayne, the program features almost 50 performers in dance works including contemporary ballet, tap, modern, salsa and jazz. “Each piece is it’s own entity, so the choreographers can let their creativity lead them and explore new ideas regarding live performance,” Bayne says.

In addition to Bayne, the faculty choreographers are Nathan Jones, Lisa Ross, Karen Toon, Nolan T’Sani and Melissa Wynn. The guest artists are Randy Solorio and Sac State alum Jill Stripling. “The genre in movement each artist works with is individual, exposing performers and audience to a diverse feast for the eyes.”
Ross’ piece is a reflection of images of French culture and art and her love of the French language. “So it’s all of those images and the feelings they invoke,” Ross says.

Her work is contemporary jazz-based with some characteristics of musical theater and will feature different pieces of music from traditional French with accordion, to French children’s tunes as well as a Celine Dion song.
Ross hopes the audience will see the images of French artwork through the dancers’ performance.

Bayne describes her own piece as elegantly eerie, done by eleven women to one of F. Chopin’s few orchestral works. New full-time lecturer, Melissa Wynn will combine African-influenced movement, text and the music of Phillip Glass with contemporary dance, while Jill Stripling’s piece is a physically challenging work for five, exploring human crisis. New part-time faculty, Nathan Jones, will perform his own solo work.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 and Dec. 7-8; at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 and 9; and at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6. Cost for the 6:30 p.m. shows is $8 general admission and $5 for children 11 years old or younger. All other performances are $12 general admission; $10 for students, seniors and Sacramento State employees; and $8 for children.

Immediately following the performance on Friday, Nov. 30, there will be a short Q and A with the choreographers- all welcome to attend!

Go to for a high resolution photo. For more information, call the Theatre and Dance Department at (916) 278-6368. For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.
Cheryl Bly-Chester Hears A Rumor

Cheryl called with an interesting rumor - that John Doolittle is surrendering to fate, calling off his 2008 Congressional campaign, and endorsing Republican Rico Oller for the Congressional seat representing Roseville, Placer Co., and vicinity.

If that significant rumor is confirmed, then her candidacy for State Assembly, District Four, comes alive.

But first, she's starting a two-week vacation by boat, starting in Florida, and travelling into, I believe, in the Caribbean.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"A Little Priest" from Sweeney Todd

With Johnny Depp's new movie opening up soon, it seemed like a good time to review Angela Lansbury's and George Hearn's Broadway performance.

OK, La Niña Starting To Kick In

It's taking nearly-forever, but the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is poking over ten, finally.
A La Niña event is well established in the Pacific, with further intensification evident during the past three weeks. The main characteristics of the event are colder than average temperatures along the equator both on and below the surface, stronger than average Trade Winds and reduced cloudiness. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is the one ENSO indicator that is yet to show a typical La Niña signal: it remains neutral at about +6 for the past 30 days. Computer models forecast the La Niña to last at least until the southern autumn of 2008.

Ocean temperatures immediately to the north and northwest of Australia (to near Sumatra) have been warming during October and November, although they remain somewhat cooler than would normally be observed during a La Niña. This would suggest an increased chance of a more typical La Niña rainfall pattern over Australia over the coming months.
And sure enough, it's raining a bit in Victoria....
Redneck Humor

Adam in NC forwards some amusing pictures, such as....

Redneck Hot Tub
Redneck Space Shuttle

Redneck Car Lock

Redneck Dentures

Redneck Cupholder
Freddie's Blues

Freddie Mac, one of the flywheels of the economy, isn't doing too well these days.
Gabe's Roman Odyssey

The discovery of Lupercale reminds me that Gabe recently went to Rome (and Asissi).
Major Archaeological Find

ITALIAN archaeologists believe they have found the cave where, according to legend, a wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of Rome.

An underground cavity decorated with seashells, mosaics and pumice stones was discovered near the ruins of the palace of Emperor Augustus on the Palatine hill.

Experts say they are “reasonably certain” it is the long-lost place of worship sacred to ancient Romans and known as Lupercale, from the Latin word for wolf.

“This could reasonably be the place bearing witness to the myth of Rome, one of the most well-known in the world, the legendary cave where the she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, saving them from death,” said Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli, presenting the discovery.

The cave was found several metres underground in a previously unexplored area during restoration work on the palace of Augustus, the first Roman emperor.

Archaeologists investigating Renaissance descriptions of the sanctuary used a camera probe and the images suggest the vault, which has a white eagle at the centre, is well-preserved.

“You can imagine our amazement, we almost screamed,” said Professor Giorgio Croci, the head of the archaeological team working on the restoration of the Palatine hill overlooking the Roman forum, told a news conference.

According to the myth, Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the god Mars, were abandoned by the banks of the river Tiber where a wolf found them and fed them with her milk.

The brothers are said to have founded Rome at the site on April 21, 753 B.C. and ended up fighting over who should be in charge.

Romulus killed Remus and became the first king of Rome.

...“It is clear that Augustus ... wanted his residence to be built in a place which was sacred for the city of Rome,” said Croci.

...More than two-thirds of the cavity, which is some eight metres high, is filled with debris and earth after part of it collapsed, and it is not clear where the entrance is.
Mangling "The Eagles"

It's a pretty simple process, really:

  • Listen to a favorite pop song;
  • Get rid of any characteristic rhythms of the piece;
  • Render the song in a kind of plaintive High Plains wail;
  • Misremember the lyrics;
  • Take the song to karaoke Saturday night down at the VFW;
  • Get flummoxed by the speed at which words scroll across the screen;
  • Find solace in the laughter.
So, here is E.'s rendition of one of her favorite songs (because it has a 'West Coast' dance rhythm) - The Eagles' "Take It Easy" :

I'm running down the road, trying to loosen my load,
I've got seven women in my mind:
one that wants to stone me, one that wants to own me
and one that she says she is a friend of mine
Take it easy, take it easy,

Well, I'm standing in a corner of Winslow, Arizona
and a girl she slows down to take a look at my flat bed Ford
Take it easy, take it easy,
E.: Why are you laughing?
M: You can't have seven women in your mind - you have to have seven women on your mind.
E.: But that doesn't make any sense! It's a prepositional phrase!
M.: But it's the English idiom!
E. English! It makes no sense! But you know, oftentimes we foreigners understand and speak it better than native-born Americans! So ignorant! We work harder! You know what I mean?
M.: Yes, yes.....

Next week E.'s rendition of Dolly Patron's "Sudden Sheets" (better known as Dolly Parton's "Satin Sheets").
Upcoming - "The Divas Lament"

Ryan Warren writes regarding the upcoming show that Flying Monkey Productions is putting together for December 22nd at Veteran's Memorial Theater in Davis: "The Divas Lament":
just wanted to update you on some stuff -

I will be producing a concert on Dec 22nd at the Veterans Memorial Theatre at 8pm. It's called The Divas Lament - it will feature young women singing broadway songs. The concert will feature Carly Ariela (formerly Wielstein), Kayla Berghoff, Inertia DeWitt, Kelley Jakle, Kristin Kelly (formerly Cunningham), Jacqueline Mietus, Ashley Mortensen, Julia Mosby, Kay Parker (formerly Hight), & Katherine Vanderford.
This looks like it will be an excellent show, featuring some of the strongest young divas of the area (and not just the best Divas of Davis, but the best Divas of the entire Sacramento area).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Long-Range Forecast

Maybe a Pineapple Express type storm for Southern California, in about ten days.
Allahu Ragu

From many noodles, One:
The appearance of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on the agenda of the American Academy of Religion's annual meeting gives a kind of scholarly imprimatur to a phenomenon that first emerged in 2005, during the debate in Kansas over whether intelligent design should be taught in public school sciences classes.

...An Oregon State physics graduate named Bobby Henderson stepped into the debate by sending a letter to the Kansas School Board. With tongue in cheek, he purported to speak for 10 million followers of a being called the Flying Spaghetti Monster -- and demanded equal time for their views.

"We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it," Henderson wrote. As for scientific evidence to the contrary, "what our scientist does not realize is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage."

...Between the lines, the point of the letter was this: There's no more scientific basis for intelligent design than there is for the idea an omniscient creature made of pasta created the universe. If intelligent design supporters could demand equal time in a science class, why not anyone else? The only reasonable solution is to put nothing into sciences classes but the best available science.

"I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; one third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence," Henderson sarcastically concluded.

Kansas eventually repealed guidelines questioning the theory of evolution.

...It was the emergence of this community that attracted the attention of three young scholars at the University of Florida who study religion in popular culture. They got to talking, and eventually managed to get a panel on FSM-ism on the agenda at one of the field's most prestigious gatherings.

The title: "Evolutionary Controversy and a Side of Pasta: The Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Subversive Function of Religious Parody."

...The presenters' titles seem almost a parody themselves of academic jargon. Snyder will speak about "Holy Pasta and Authentic Sauce: The Flying Spaghetti Monster's Messy Implications for Theorizing Religion," while Gavin Van Horn's presentation is titled "Noodling around with Religion: Carnival Play, Monstrous Humor, and the Noodly Master."

Using a framework developed by literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin, Van Horn promises in his abstract to explore how, "in a carnivalesque fashion, the Flying Spaghetti Monster elevates the low (the bodily, the material, the inorganic) to bring down the high (the sacred, the religiously dogmatic, the culturally authoritative)."

...Indeed, the tale of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and its followers cuts to the heart of the one of the thorniest questions in religious studies: What defines a religion? Does it require a genuine theological belief? Or simply a set of rituals and a community joining together as a way of signaling their cultural alliances to others?

In short, is an anti-religion like Flying Spaghetti Monsterism actually a religion?

Joining them on the panel will be David Chidester, a prominent and controversial academic at the University of Cape Town in South Africa who is interested in precisely such questions. He has urged scholars looking for insights into the place of religion in culture and psychology to explore a wider range of human activities. Examples include cheering for sports teams, joining Tupperware groups and the growing phenomenon of Internet-based religions. His 2005 book "Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture," prompted wide debate about how far into popular culture religious studies scholars should venture.

Lucas Johnston, the third Florida student, argues the Flying Spaghetti Monsterism exhibits at least some of the traits of a traditional religion -- including, perhaps, that deep human need to feel like there's something bigger than oneself out there.

He recognized the point when his neighbor, a militant atheist who sports a pro-Darwin bumper sticker on her car, tried recently to start her car on a dying battery.

As she turned the key, she murmured under her breath: "Come on Spaghetti Monster!"
Weekend Dreams

I had odd theater-related dreams all weekend long.

I have a recurring dream that under my house there are multiple levels of caverns and passageways, full of pits, dust, and spider webs. Saturday afternoon, taking a nap, I dreamt that dozens of zombie-like people were beating on the outside walls of the house, trying to get in (lawn workers were busy next door while I napped). I was at Level I under the house, and Steve was conducting a music rehearsal somewhere further below, maybe on Level III, with sad strings reminiscent of 'Nightmare Before Christmas', when the doorbell rang. I had fight past a shrewish young woman hiding below the front steps in order to answer the door. Surprisingly, Steve was at the door, and he said.....darn it, I forget!

Then I dreamt that there was an orange macaque quietly clutching a blanket on the floor in the corner of my kitchen (suggested by a headline I saw regarding some kind of monkey on the loose in Florida). When I tried to pull the blanket away (suggested by the shawl in Brigadoon's Funeral Dance), the macaque jumped into my arms (suggested by Lauren's 'Meg Brockie' jump into Michael's arms in Brigadoon), and ran outside with the blanket into the frigid cold (suggested by a story I was telling recently about a 1970/71 cold snap we once endured in NM, where we befriended a tailless stray cat, but the cat attacked our parakeet in the night, so we threw the cat outside into the cold) and took refuge behind a dormitory at the University of New Mexico (???)

There were more dreams too, but keeping them in memory is a chore.....

I need to get more rest.
Informative Interview Regarding The Zumanity Accident

Suggestions that an error occurred, but it must be remembered that errors never occur in a vacuum and are often surprisingly complicated in origin.
"Brigadoon" - Weekend Two

Views from the wings

Left: Finale. Tommy Allbright (Brennen Cull) and Fiona MacLaren (Caitlin Kiley).

Left: Confronting Fiona. Jeff Douglas (Michael McElroy), Fiona MacLaren (Caitlin Kiley), and Tommy Allbright (Brennen Cull).

Left: Tommy's takeoff roll, Saturday night. Jeff Douglas (Michael McElroy) and Tommy Allbright (Brennen Cull).

Left: Same as above, Sunday afternoon.

Left: Jeannie MacLaren (Katherine Coppola) in "Come To Me, Bend To Me".

Left: Jeannie MacLaren (Katherine Coppola) in "Come To Me, Bend To Me".

Left: "Come To Me, Bend To Me". Left to right, Lindsay Dibben, Sue Sablan, Shannon Kendall, Lorna de Leoz, and Katherine Coppola.
Sparky Goes To The Vet Again

The enhanced medication seems to be having some good effect, so we'll continue with that.

As a reward, afterwards, I cut some of his hair. Sparky tolerates the brush, is worried by the electric razor, and hates the comb.

Soon, he'll get a bath.