Saturday, January 26, 2008

Friday Night At "La Cage"

Left: Tim Stewart, in the ecstatic spirit of the Can-Can.

Left: Cagelles, left to right, Daryl Clark, Marissa Tidrick, Tim Stewart, Catherine Williamson (obscured), and Andrew Read.

On the near side, left to right, Kris Farhood as "Anne-genue", Brad Bong, and Marissa Tidrick. On the far side, Michael Manley, Nic Candito, Daryl Clark, Time Stewart, Andrew Read, Catherine Williamson (obscured). At top, Georges (Martin Lehman).

Left to right, Daryl Clark, Kris Farhood, Brad Bong, Andrew Read, and Marissa Tidrick.

Left: Clearly visible, left to right, Tim Stewart, Daryl Clark, and Catherine Williamson.

Left: Left to right, Daryl Clark, Tim Stewart, Kris Farhood, Brad Bong, and Marissa Tidrick.

Left: Marissa Tidrick and Tim Stewart.
Sounds Like Paradise To Me

Or, rather, it could have been:
MARSHALL, Texas (AP) - An animal protection group on Friday rescued more than 200 animals, including 26 hissing cockroaches and two bearded dragons, from an eastern Texas home.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the animals were still being counted Friday night.

The group was acting under the authority of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department and had gone to the property on a warrant regarding medical neglect.

Besides the cockroaches and bearded dragons, the animals included 68 dogs, 16 rabbits, 15 guinea pigs, 13 gerbils, seven doves, two dwarf hamsters, two hedgehogs, an opossum and a pink toe tarantula.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Last Weekend Of "La Cage Aux Folles" Is Here!

Left: Andrew Read
Left: Birds and Zaza. Left to right, Tim Stewart, Daryl Clark, Ryan Adame, and Brad Bong.

Left: Tim Stewart as the Peacock.

Left: Michael Manley as Mssr. Dindon.

Left: Daryl Clark
Getting It Under Control

Looks like a lot of damage, though.


Stumped! Another Recall video, this one a 7.5 minute trailer for a film, featuring Brooke Adams (a former homecoming queen, if I'm not mistaken), Ron Palmieri (to some, the most annoying man in Southern California), Randy Sprague (a local, from Elk Grove), and once again, Diane Beall Templin (the dancing conservative), with cameos of candidates Gary Coleman, Bob Lynn Edwards, and also a cameo of California Channel interviewer (and DMTC's own) John Hancock.

Johnny Neurotic: California Recall

For devotees of the California Gubernatorial Recall Election 2003, this half-hour show is a must. Four candidates are featured (Chuck Pineda, Diane Beall Templin, Lorraine (Abner Zurd) Fontanes, and Bill Wyatt), and four call in (D.E. Kessenger, C.T. Weber, Lawrence Strauss, and Calvin Louie).

This Could Be Scary

With memory of the MGM Grand fire in 1980 in mind, here is news from Las Vegas. Large hotel fires can be the worst:
There is a large fire on the south tower roof at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino. Thick, black smoke is pouring from the top of the building. Four Monte Carlo employees are stuck on the roof. People are being evacuated from the property.

No cause for the fire is known at this time and no known injuries. Fire crews are on on their third alarm.

The fire was reported by passersby shortly before 11 a.m.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The New York Times Disses Rudy Guiliani

And endorses John McCain instead:
Why, as a New York-based paper, are we not backing Rudolph Giuliani? Why not choose the man we endorsed for re-election in 1997 after a first term in which he showed that a dirty, dangerous, supposedly ungovernable city could become clean, safe and orderly? What about the man who stood fast on Sept. 11, when others, including President Bush, went AWOL?

That man is not running for president.

The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square.

Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking. When he claims fiscal prudence, we remember how he ran through surpluses without a thought to the inevitable downturn and bequeathed huge deficits to his successor. He fired Police Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of the drop in crime, because he couldn’t share the limelight. He later gave the job to Bernard Kerik, who has now been indicted on fraud and corruption charges.

The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city’s and the country’s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign.
Funny, And Worth Every One Of Those Six Extra Years

Revenge of the tree-huggers:
TUCSON- A woman got a longer jail sentence after a judge heard a recorded jail conversation during which she made light of the bicyclist she had killed.

Melissa Arrington, 27, was convicted two months ago of negligent homicide and two counts of aggravated DUI in connection with the December 2006 death of Paul L'Ecuyer.

She could have gotten as few as four years behind bars, but Pima County Superior Court Judge Michael Cruikshank sentenced her on Tuesday to 10 ½ years, one year shy of the maximum.

Cruikshank said he found a telephone conversation between Arrington and an unknown male friend a week after L'Ecuyer was killed "breathtaking in its inhumanity."

During the conversation, the man told Arrington that an acquaintance of theirs believed she should get a medal and a parade because she had "taken out" what he said was a "tree hugger, a bicyclist, a Frenchman and a gay guy all in one shot."

Arrington laughed, and when the man said he knew it was a terrible thing to say, she responded, "No, it's not."

...L'Ecuyer, 45, was riding his bike the night of Dec. 1, 2006 when Arrington swerved off the road, hit him and then continued for 800 feet before stopping, according to Deputy Pima County Attorney Jonathan Mosher.

Arrington blood-alcohol content was .156 percent, nearly double Arizona's .08 legal limit. She also had been driving on a suspended license for a prior DUI.
30 Years Of Proposition 13, And The Loss Of Local Control

And that evil thing is still there:
Proposition 13 celebrates its 30th birthday this year. Revolting against out-of-control property taxes that outpaced growth in wages, 65 percent of California voters passed the anti-government measure and state constitutional amendment on June 6, 1978. It not only rolled back property taxes, but forced residents to rethink, virtually overnight, the role of government.

...In the 30 years that have elapsed since Prop. 13 became the rule of the land, L.A. County’s population has grown by 50 percent, adding plenty of residents who can’t plunk down $35 for the new Harry Potter, but its county libraries haven’t even been close to keeping pace. “Until the last, maybe, five years, the newest libraries I had were built prior to Prop. 13,” Todd says. “We were almost 30 years without any capacity to build anything. That really shows in my libraries. If you go to Lennox, which is my oldest, from the late ’40s, [it’s a] tiny, tiny library … huge population to serve. My Cesar Chavez Maywood Library, a postage stamp with a huge population now in Maywood. Even my communities like Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights, where lots of construction has taken place since those buildings were built in the ’60s and ’70s, there’s been no capacity to really increase the size of community libraries to fill the need of the population.”

...By neutering local governments’ incomes, Jarvis’s amendment made beggars of city and county governments. When they need money to provide services their constituents demand, they must crawl to the state government on their knees – the political equivalent of calling a plumber in Sacramento to fix pipes in L.A.

...Elisa Barbour, who recently authored a paper on Prop. 13’s aftermath for the Public Policy Institute of California, observes how the measure undid the old system. “It removed [the local control] that allowed the property tax to reflect, more than any other source, the community-wide taxing decisions of a given set of residents. The state was now responsible for allocating what had been the single largest local revenue source, yet local governments were still responsible for implementing programs locally.” Many theorists agree, she says, “You need to connect revenue raising ability with policymaking responsibility. The point I’m making is that, after Prop. 13, those waters got far muddier in relation to property taxes.”

...The outcome of these types of battles: While cities’ and counties’ inflation-adjusted total revenues are now about the same per capita as before Prop. 13, their general revenues – the funds they actually get to allocate – have shrunk to the tune of more than one-third for cities and more than one-half for counties, according to reports compiled by budget guru Michael Coleman for Coleman says that, with so much money already earmarked when they get it, city governments “have less latitude to be able to govern.” The general revenues that cities still get, he says, go to emergency services at the expense of other programs. “It’s not police and fire that are likely to get hit the most,” Coleman explains. “It’s parks, libraries, and streets. You can tell a city is in [budget] trouble when there are potholes, park closures, and cut library hours.”

Edelman governed through these dramatic changes, and their damage has been far reaching, he says. “It has made our education system, made our local government system – we used to have the best in the United States – now ... we’re way down at the bottom. Now, people are going to Sacramento, fighting for their own little areas, and it takes away the flexibility of local government to meet the needs in their area as they see them. We had to go up to Sacramento to get money to keep the county afloat. Eventually, they took the [revenue] they gave us as a substitute [for property taxes], and used it for their own needs,” he says. “We lost control of doing the things that we should be able to do as elected officials. We should be able to tax, and if we tax too much, the voters can vote us out of office!”

Edelman says that, despite the best efforts of the supervisors, county programs evaporated. “All the county services were cut ... whether it be for schools, whether it be for libraries, whether it be for mental health, whether it be for police and fire, it set us back,” he says. “We still have to go hat-in-hand up to Sacramento, and we can’t really run the county with the same ability we ran it previously. We have to release people from prison earlier than we should, the sheriff doesn’t have enough money, we’re still trying to do the best job we can, but revenues are not there.”
Dictators Live In Their Own Special World

In 2003, right-wing bloggers actively scoffed at the idea that Saddam Hussein feared the Kurds and the Shiites and the Iranians enough to lie to the world about the non-existence of his WMD programs - in effect, daring the U.S. to invade. But that was apparently exactly what happened:
Saddam Hussein initially didn't think the U.S. would invade Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction, so he kept the fact that he had none a secret to prevent an Iranian invasion he believed could happen. The Iraqi dictator revealed this thinking to George Piro, the FBI agent assigned to interrogate him after his capture.

Piro spent almost seven months debriefing Saddam in a plan based on winning his confidence by convincing him that Piro was an important envoy who answered to President Bush. This and being Saddam's sole provider of items like writing materials and toiletries made the toppled Iraqi president open up to Piro, a Lebanese-American and one of the few FBI agents who spoke Arabic. "He told me he initially miscalculated... President Bush’s intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998...a four-day aerial attack," says Piro. "He survived that one and he was willing to accept that type of attack." "He didn't believe the U.S. would invade?" asks Pelley, "No, not initially," answers Piro.

Once the invasion was certain, says Piro, Saddam asked his generals if they could hold the invaders for two weeks. "And at that point, it would go into what he called the secret war," Piro tells Pelley. But Piro isn’t convinced that the insurgency was Saddam's plan. "Well, he would like to take credit for the insurgency," says Piro.

Saddam still wouldn't admit he had no weapons of mass destruction, even when it was obvious there would be military action against him because of the perception he did. Because, says Piro, "For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam. He thought that [faking having the weapons] would prevent the Iranians from reinvading Iraq," he tells Pelley. He also intended and had the wherewithal to restart the weapons program. "Saddam] still had the engineers. The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there," says Piro. "He wanted to pursue all of WMD…to reconstitute his entire WMD program." This included chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, Piro says.
Gabe Also Notes...

Interesting how Catholics have long since stopped getting in the way of science (and vice-versa):
A Venezuelan-born Princeton scientist who is a strong environmentalist and believer in global warming was appointed today to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Vatican’s chief “think tank” on scientific issues, by Pope Benedict XVI.

Ignacio Rodríguez-Iturbe, 65, is also a believer in evolutionary theory, who says that Darwinian evolution poses no conflict with religious faith and that the rival school of intelligent design has been “completely rejected” on a purely scientific basis.

In a telephone interview with NCR, Rodríguez-Iturbe said he regards his appointment to the prestigious Academy of Sciences, with roughly one-third of its members Nobel laureates, as “a sign of the interest of the Holy Father and the academy in getting more and more involved in environmental issues.”

A practicing Catholic and a lay member of Opus Dei, Rodríguez-Iturbe argues that the church faces a moral responsibility to speak out on climate change.

“From a scientific point of view, there is overwhelming evidence of serious anthropogenic impact related to global warming,” Rodríguez-Iturbe said. “This implies an enormous responsibility with regard to the consequences for peace and prosperity for the world, and for future generations.”
Gabe Recommends....

The governor of South Carolina, as interviewed by Stephen Colbert.

Gabe fondly quotes Alan Alda:
Remember, comedy is tradegy plus time.
Fun Memory To Have

Of beating Bobby Fischer:
Fischer was fresh off his U.S. Championship when he came to town in 1964, playing a spectacle match against 50 simultaneous opponents. Holgerson, 16 at the time, was among the challengers. He lost his queen, yes, but he ultimately took the match.

"I almost couldn't believe it," he said. "If you're gonna beat Bobby Fischer, that's the way you want to do it."

Holgerson, now 61, knows there's no way he'd have been able to beat him one-on-one, but for a lifelong chess player, beating Bobby Fischer under any circumstances is the greatest claim to fame a guy could have.
On Obama's Rough Treatment By The Clintons

I'd like to say I'm sympathetic to Obama, but really, Obama's asked for it, with his lofty, almost academic pose. He handed Hillary an opening so big that she could drive a dump truck through it, and - surprise, surprise! - she drove a dump truck through it!:
The latest example is the Clinton camp's extremely effective effort to twist some remarks Obama made about Ronald Reagan and the years since his presidency beyond all recognition, which came up in their debate Monday night. In an interview with the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal, Obama had said that Reagan had successfully "changed the trajectory of America, in a way that Richard Nixon did not, and in a way that Bill Clinton did not," a claim few people of any ideological stripe would dispute. He also said, "I think it's fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10 or 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom."

For those of you who don't know, the "party of ideas" is a concept that people have been throwing around for quite some time in Washington, and it is almost always used in a value-neutral way, meaning the party that at a particular time appears to the public like the one offering something new and grand, and that seems to have political momentum behind its ideological thrust. Both parties want to claim the "party of ideas" mantle, but you can acknowledge that at one time or another your opponents have successfully grabbed it without saying their ideas are actually right. But Hillary Clinton responded this way:

I have to say, you know, my leading opponent the other day said that he thought the Republicans had better ideas than Democrats the last ten to fifteen years. That's not the way I remember the last ten to fifteen years. I don't think it's a better idea to privatize Social Security. I don't think it's a better idea to try to eliminate the minimum wage. I don't think it's a better idea to undercut health benefits and to give drug companies the right to make billions of dollars by providing prescription drugs to Medicare recipients. I don't think it's a better idea to shut down the government, to drive us into debt.
Is this a distortion of what Obama said? You bet! Does it work as politics? You bet!
Call For A Sacrifice

A little more subtle than what the Aztecs used to practice, but the tourist industry does have its needs:
The tragedy reopened a debate about culling. Many people in the area believe that there are too many crocodiles in the Northern Territory and that the reptiles, which used to be fearful of men when they were hunted, are now quite brazen. Culling does take place in a limited manner - crocodiles involved in fatal attacks are almost always killed - and in 2006 the local government considered allowing controlled hunting before eventually deciding against it.

Until any cull takes place, the crocodiles will continue to thrive. There are an estimated 70,000 now living in this part of Australia, their numbers having recovered dramatically since the 70s, when commercial hunting left only 3,000 in the wild. They are now a protected species and have become a major tourist attraction. Hiding half-submerged at the water's edge or sunning themselves on mud banks, they are a sinister presence, but an encounter with one - at a safe distance - has become a vital part of the Northern Territory experience. A study by Charles Darwin University found that crocodile attacks have even been shown to boost visitor numbers - lecturer Pascal Tremblay says bookings to the Northern Territory from Germany rose in the two years after a German tourist was killed by a saltwater croc in 2002. Crocodile farms, where the animals are bred for their meat and skins, have been developed alongside crocodile tourism, and the region has pioneered the commercial management of the crocodile population as a way of conserving the species.
There's A Slapstick Routine In Here Somewhere

Don't do this at home:
A JAPANESE astronaut plans to throw a boomerang inside a space station to test how it can fly in zero gravity.

Astronaut Takao Doi, 53, is set to travel on a US shuttle in March to the International Space Station, where he will be in charge of construction of a Japanese scientific testing room.

It is believed gravity is needed for a boomerang to fly back to the throwing spot, but no one has tried in zero gravity.

"Mr Doi said he will personally carry a paper boomerang for the upcoming mission and we presume he will try it when he has spare time,'' said an official of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Doi reportedly decided on boomerang tests after he received a request from Yasuhiro Togai, a world boomerang champion from the western Japanese metropolis of Osaka.

Doi later underwent training from the world champion on how to throw it, media reports said.
Playing Chess With E.

Like getting a hug from an anaconda - crushed every time!

Bobby Fischer, I ain't!
Arresting Images From Messenger

Learning more about Mercury:
NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft’s closest approach to Mercury on January 14, 2008, acquired this image as part of a mosaic that covers much of the sunlit portion of a hemisphere not view by previous spacecraft. Images such as this can be read in terms of a sequence of geological events and provide insight into the relative timing of processes that have acted on Mercury's surface in the past.

The double-ringed crater pictured in the upper right of this image appears to be filled with smooth plains material, perhaps volcanic in nature. This crater was subsequently disrupted by the formation of a prominent cliff, the surface expression of a major crustal fault system that runs alongside part of its southern rim. This may have led to the uplift seen across a portion of the crater’s floor. A smaller crater in the upper left of the image also has been cut by the cliff, showing that the fault beneath the cliff was active after both of these craters had formed. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Really Big Thunderstorms

Observed on Jupiter with the Hubble Telescope.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Amy Winehouse Goes To Rehab

They tried to make me go to rehab, I said 'no, no, no'
Yes I've been black but when I come back you'll know know know
I ain't got the time and if my daddy thinks I'm fine
He's tried to make me go to rehab but I won't go go go
Performance Art, And The Unwilling Participant

Blue Man Group ruffles some feathers:
James Srodon, a grandfather from California, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the group, saying cast members took their surreal antics too far by forcing a video camera down his throat during a performance on Oct. 8, 2006, at the Briar Street Theatre on the North Side.

The Blue Man actors used the "esophagus cam" to project an image of Srodon's mouth and throat onto a large screen for the audience's amusement, according to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

...Srodon was in the audience with his 8-year-old grandson when the Blue Men approached him, the lawsuit alleges.

The Blue Man actors circled him, held his neck and arms and "forced his head back" to insert the camera, according to the suit.

Srodon "struggled to free himself and remove the 'esophagus cam' from his mouth but was forcibly restrained by the Blue Man actors," the lawsuit said.

"At the time the 'esophagus cam' was inserted into plaintiff's mouth, it was covered in food, liquid and grime from the Briar Street Theatre floor, including the thick blue paint used to cover the actors' faces," the suit said.

...Srodon is seeking damages of more than $50,000 for battery, negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. He contends the camera injured his mouth, throat and dental work.
Raid On The Treasury

Wall Street held a rally because it looks like a taxpayer-funded bailout of bond insurers is in the works.

Capitalists sure love the government!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Charming Interview

With Australian actress Kate Peters:
"If you're in show business, you have to hustle and keep active. As they say, this ain't a show party, it's show business," she says.

"I'm a dancing tomato for a commercial one day, writing a show the next, and acting a part on stage the next.

"As a dancer, as long as people are paying to see my legs, then I'll keep on going.

"You have to multi-task to make money out of it (live entertainment). I like to be able to do everything from concept to curtain call, as Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter did."
Counting The Lies

As common as water drops in the sea:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

...The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

...Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.

..."The cumulative effect of these false statements - amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts - was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war," the study concluded.
A Time For Vivid Analogies

Like this one, by Robert Reich:

The problem is, people have different views about what's going wrong. Wall Street sees it as a credit crisis -- a mess that seems never to reach bottom because nobody on Wall Street has any idea how many bad loans are out there. Therefore, nobody knows how big the losses are likely to be when the bottom is finally reached. And precisely because nobody knows, nobody wants to lend any more money. A rate cut won't change this. It's like offering a 10-pound lobster to someone so constipated he can't take in another mouthful.
The Sun May Be To Blame

Just too bright:
Federal investigators are trying to determine how the pilots of two small planes failed to see each other before colliding over Corona on a clear Sunday afternoon, leaving five dead and showering wreckage over a busy auto mall.

...Patrick Crask, 41, who routinely flies out of Corona, said he had planned a flight Sunday but decided against it because the sun was so bright he worried about visibility on takeoff.

"The sun can often be almost unbearable," the Corona resident said. "If you were to come here at around 4 p.m., the sun is blinding for a good two minutes. You need to take extra precautions."

Inspectors with the National Transportation Safety Board said they were investigating whether the afternoon sun played a role in the 3:35 p.m. collision.

Both of the planes -- a Cessna 172 and a Cessna 150 -- appeared to have sustained damage to their midsections, and the wings of one plane ripped off, ejecting both pilot and passenger. Authorities said two people aboard each plane died in the crash and a fifth person, a man sitting in an office at a Chevrolet dealership, was killed when debris slammed through the building's roof.

The two Cessnas collided about a mile from the small Corona Municipal Airport, just north of the Riverside Freeway, said Wayne Pollack, an NTSB investigator.

Debris scattered as far as 1,000 yards from the main crash site, and the fuselage of one plane landed on a parked car. Corona police said one bystander sprained his wrist while fleeing a building that was hit by wreckage.
Oscar Nominations Out

Go "No Country!":
“No Country For Old Men,” about the ruthless aftermath of a botched drug deal, and “There Will Be Blood,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis as a scheming oil man in an epic about American capitalism, took the lead in the Oscar race with eight nominations each, including best picture and best director.
Dead-Cat Bounce

Or whatever animal analogy comes to mind.

Wall Street today....

She without arm, he without leg - ballet - Hand in Hand

A friend of Georgette sends this:

When I was in China last month, I saw a Chinese modern dance competition on TV. One couple won one of the top prizes. The lady has one arm and the guy has one leg. They performed gracefully and beautifully.

The lady in her 30s was a dancer and was trained as one since she was a little girl. Later she got into some kind of accident and lost her entire left arm. She was depressed for a few years. It seemed that someone asked her to coach a Children's dancing group. From that point on, she realized she could not forget dancing. She still loved to dance. She wanted to dance again. So she started to do some of her old routines. But by her losing an arm, she also lost her balance. It took a while before she could even making simple turns and spins without falling. Eventually she got it.

Then she heard some guy in his 20s had lost a leg in an accident. This guy also fell into the usual denial, depression and anger type of emotional roller coaster. She looked him up (seemingly he was from a different Province) and persuaded him to dance with her. He had never danced.

And to dance with one leg? Are you joking with me? No way.

But she didn't give up. He reluctantly agreed. "I have nothing else to do anyway." She started to teach him dancing 101. The two broke up a few times because the guy had no concept of using muscle, control his body, and a few other basic things about dancing. When she became frustrated and lost patience with him, he would walk out. Eventually they came back together and started training. They hired a choreographer to design routines for them. She would fly high (held by him) with both arms (a sleeve for an arm) flying in the air. He could bend horizontally supported by one leg and she leaning on him, etc. They danced beautifully and they legitimately beat others in the competition.

I would like to share with you this most magnificent and touching performance I have ever seen! It is a living proof that strong spirit can conquer any physical limitations!

Deborah's T-Shirt Line Expands

Fans (such as myself) of Phoenix artist Deborah McMillion-Nering can now order a wider range of her art on T-Shirts.
John Edwards Visits Oklahoma City Friday Night

Friend John heads down to hear the speech:
John Edwards was in Oklahoma City last night so Peter and I went to hear him. The venue was crowded but there was no charge so I cannot complain. The speech was in union hall which normally would comfortably seat 200 rather than the ~1000 who showed up to hear the speech.

It was a standard stump speech. Of course he talked about the importance of unions and his support for them. The line that drew the most applause, however, was when he said he would remove all US troops from Iraq within a year of taking office. Also his statements that he would halt torture, follow the Constitution and stand up to large corporate entities on issues such as offshoring US jobs drew strong applause. He also drew plenty of applause when he pointed out that he is the only candidate who has not taken campaign contributions from lobbyists.

His remarks on universal health care were not received quite as enthusiastically, probably because his recounting or the case of the girl who was refused a liver transplant has been repeated too often to have the effect it did initially. Still, there was clearly strong support for his remarks proposing a single payer health care system.

We did not feel quite the level of enthusiasm in the crowd that was present when we heard Obama speak last year. Perhaps it was a difference in organization and the lack of fired-up opening speakers.

In general I would say that Edwards is quite an impressive speaker. Peter and I came away respecting him but still leaning toward Obama. Some polls show Edwards leading in Oklahoma and, if it looks like he has a slight edge over Clinton with Obama in third place I would probably vote for Edwards. I suspect that he came here because Oklahoma is one of the few states where he is leading.

At this point Edwards does not seem to stand much of a chance of winning the nomination and I wonder if he is running for vice president at this point. Richardson is in the same position I think. I guess we will have a better idea about it all on February 6th....
Cal Aggie's Review Of "La Cage Aux Folles"

Favorable review. Their only negative comment concerned Mike Manley's performance, but there seemed to be some awareness that the trouble wasn't so much the interpretation as the nature of the role: "Perhaps homophobic conservatism appears wooden and lifeless when represented on stage...."

Yes indeed, at least in this sharp comedy! Mike plays the "straight man." The laughs come at his expense. He is wooden by design, and to a considerable extent, as long as he doesn't veer into caricature or become too lifeless, the more wooden he seems to be, the more he succeeds in his portrayal.
Coachella Lineup Out

Looks good!
E.'s Abridged Music History

Admittedly incomplete, since she never mentions the Musical Broadway:
In music, there are three important people: the singer, the composer, and the songwriter.

In the United States, there are two recording companies. One is in Hollywood, and the other is in Memphis - no, wait - no, the other is in Nashville.

In the past, the most important composer was Beth Hoven. There was another one too (Bramm?)

Beth Hoven had five major movements. He also went completely deaf. Do you want to know why? Because he liked his music LOUD! Especially the first, second, and fourth movements.
An Idea

Instead of Social Security, why don't we take all that money and put it into the stock market?
Leading Indicators Suggest Tuesday Will Be A Bad Day On Wall Street

Just a guess:
THE Australian share market had its worst day in a decade today, plunging over 7 per cent as investors panicked in the face of a looming US recession.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index suffered its biggest one day drop since October 28, 1997, falling 7.05 per cent to 5186.8 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index fell 7.26 per cent to 5222 points.

Panic, risk aversion and, increasingly, lenders' margin calls are behind the drop.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index is now down more than 20 per cent from its life high of 6851.5 reached in November 2007, indicating a slip into bear market territory.

A bear market is seen as a long period of falling prices marked by investor pessimism. It is often calculated as having begun when stocks fall 20 per cent from whatever peak they have hit during the recent cycle.

And the future is not bright in the world's biggest economy. While US markets were closed overnight for a holiday, US stock index futures were down sharply, suggesting investors were preparing to flee the US stock market when the market reopens later today.

With the Australian stock market in freefall today for the 12th consecutive day, the local stock market collapse is the longest losing streak since January 1982.

In Asia, investors too sold off stocks yesterday, carrying through from last week's concern on Wall Street that a $US150 billion ($174 billion) fiscal stimulus proposed by President George W. Bush would not be enough to stop a US recession.

To heighten fears of global financial doom, the IMF warned overnight the global financial outlook is dire.

The IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said overnight all developed countries were suffering from the slowdown in the US putting the world economy in a serious situation.

And billionaire investor George Soros said the world was facing the worst financial crisis since World War Two and the US was threatened with recession, according to an interview with the Austrian daily Standard.

"The situation is much more serious than any other financial crisis since the end of World War Two," Mr Soros was quoted as saying overnight.

Those comments came after European stock markets fell sharply overnight and demand for safe-haven bonds and currencies soared on fears a US recession, prompted by last year’s sub-prime mortgage crisis.

European stock markets posted losses of more than 5 per cent in many centres. In London, the FTSE 100 index plunged 5.48 per cent to 5578.20 points, the largest one day loss since September 11.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 6.83 per cent to 4744,45 points and in Frankfurt the DAX shed 7.16 per cent to 6790.19 points, also the biggest single-day losses since the September 11 terror attacks.

In Asian markets today, the losses are similarly steep. Japanese share prices tumbled 4.41 per cent in morning trade today, slipping below the key 13,000-point level for the first time since October 2005.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark Nikkei-225 index was down 587.63 points at 12,738.31 by the end of the morning session.

Chinese share prices opened sharply lower in early trade today. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers both A and B shares, tumbled 250.50 points to 4663.94.

The Shanghai A-share Index lost 262.84 points or 5.10 per cent to 4,894.60 points and the Shenzhen A-share Index fell 95.33 points or 6.25 per cent to 1428.85.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday "La Cage Aux Folles"

Mid-show, I started experimenting with the exposure level, getting darker but sharper pictures, and getting a few that have eluded me so far.

Left, finale: Albin and Georges (Ryan Adame and Martin Lehman).

Left: The "Can-Can." Left to right, Tim Stewart, Kris Farhood, Andrew Read, and Marissa Tidrick.

Left: Jacob (Nic Candito), Albin (Ryan Adame), and Georges (Martin Lehman).

Left to right: Tim Stewart, Kris Farhood, Daryl Clark, Catherine Williamson, Brad Bong, Marissa Tidrick, and Andrew Read.

Birds: Purple on left (Daryl Clark), Blue Peacock on right (Tim Stewart), Yellow (Brad Bong), and in the foreground, Orange and Yellow (Marissa Tidrick).

Birds: Clearly visible, Yellow (Brad Bong), and in the foreground, Orange and Yellow (Marissa Tidrick).

Left: Andrew Read.

Left: Foreground, left to right, Brad Bong, Marissa Tidrick, Catherine Williamson. Background, left to right, Nic Candito, Daryl Clark, Marissa Tidrick (obscured), and Andrew Read. Facing away from camera, at right, Georges (Martin Lehman).

Left: "Anne-genue" (Kris Farhood)makes her escape. Facing towards camera at left, Brad Bong. Facing away from camera, left to right, Daryl Clark and Tim Stewart.

Far left: Marissa Tidrick. The line from left to right (I'm a little uncertain here); Daryl Clark, Andrew Read, Georges (Martin Lehman), and Catherine Williamson.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Friday And Saturday Night "La Cage Aux Folles"

Left: Albin (Ryan Adame) transforms into 'Zaza' in "Mascara."
Left: Marie Dindon (Monica Parisi) makes her escape.

Facing camera: Brad Bong, and Marissa Tidrick (obscured). Facing away from camera, left to right, Nic Candito, Daryl Clark, and Tim Stewart.

Left to right: Nic Candito, Brad Bong, Daryl Clark, Marissa Tidrick, Tim Stewart, Catherine Williamson, and Andrew Read.

Left to right: Andrew Read, Tim Stewart, Daryl Clark, Marissa Tidrick, Catherine Williamson, and Brad Bong (obscured somewhere, Kris Farhood).

Left to right: Daryl Clark, Brad Bong, Catherine Williamson, and Kris Farhood.

Left: Jacob (Nic Candito), Albin (Ryan Adame), and Georges (Martin Lehman).

Left: Jacob (Nic Candito) and Jean-Michel (Jason "Clocky" McDowell).

Left: Monsieur Dindon (Michael Manley) and Marie Dindon (Monica Parisi) checked by the press.

Left: Facing camera, left to right, Brad Bong, and Marissa Tidrick. Facing away from camera, left to right, Daryl Clark, and Tim Stewart.