Friday, March 07, 2008

Good For Bjork

It's funny, I thought Independence Day was aimed at Americans trying to escape the Dominion of Bush. Greenland and the Faroe Islands? WTF?:
China pledged Friday to impose tougher curbs on foreign artists after pop star Bjork sang in support of Tibetan independence in Shanghai, warning similar actions could lead to them being blacklisted.

"We will further tighten controls on foreign artists performing in China in order to prevent similar cases from happening in the future," the Ministry of Culture said in a statement on its website.

"We shall never tolerate any attempt to separate Tibet from China and will no longer welcome any artists who deliberately do this."

A video on the Internet site Youtube shows the Icelandic singer closing out her concert in China's financial hub last Sunday with the song: "Declare Independence", during which she yelled "Tibet" several times.

..."Some artist deliberately turned a commercial show into a political performance, which not only broke Chinese law, but also hurt Chinese audiences' feelings," the statement said.

"What Bjork said in Shanghai has aroused strong resentment among the general public in China."

..."If Bjork continued to behave like that in future, we may consider never allowing her to perform in China," the spokeswoman told AFP.

Bjork's support of the cause of Tibetan independence is not new -- she performed at a Free Tibet concert in San Francisco in 1996.

The song "Declare Independence", however, was originally written for Greenland and the Faroe Islands both of which belong to Denmark.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sigh. Missed The Mark Again

Every week, along with hundreds of others, I like to submit answers to B3ta's "Question of the Week" in the hope of ending up on their "Best" page at the end of the week. It's a hard process though. B3ta caters mostly to idle British schoolboys, and my writing is just too milquetoast for their tastes: not enough carnage, humiliation, drinking, and juvenile humor. This week I thought I had a sure winner. But I missed once again. Maybe if I stopped repeating the same stories over and over, it would help my chances.

Here is my answer to this week's question:
Have you ever seen a dead body?

How did you feel?
Upset? Traumatised? Relieved? Like poking it with a stick?
which I answer with an (unfortunately) true tale, plus some of the reader's comments:
The Night Of Sex And Death

New Year's Eve 1995 was notable. I was visiting my family in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, and took the opportunity to visit a strip club called the 'Ice House'. It was a frolicsome good time, but very frustrating after several hours of persistent sexual titillation at the hands of buxom maidens. In search of simpler pleasures, I left before midnight and went back to my family's home and walked my dog Sparky instead.

We were walking along a dark boulevard about 11:45 p.m., when suddenly a racing engine thundered in the distance. A pickup truck inexplicably careened off the street, rolled out-of-control across a no-man's-land, and then plunged into an empty ditch. Sparky and I ran to see if we could help.

Arriving first at the scene, I scrambled into the dark ditch, opened the driver's-side door of the pickup truck, looked inside, and saw - nothing at all. No one appeared to be in the vehicle. Where did the driver go? I could hear a distinct mechanical gurgling that I attributed to coolant escaping from the shattered truck's radiator. I decided to check the passenger side of the vehicle.

Different story over there. What happened was, the driver, who had fallen asleep at the wheel (as I learned later, apparently after just one New Year's Eve beer), had gone halfway through the windshield upon the collision, and had fallen backwards, catching his throat on the broken glass and slashing him from ear to ear. He had then fallen under the passenger-side glove compartment (which is why I hadn't seen him at first). The gurgling sound I heard was his last bloody breath. And there was blood EVERYWHERE!

The victim was labeled by the local news media as the first Albuquerque fatality of 1995, but I knew he was the last Albuquerque fatality of 1994. Poor guy - age 18, he had been married just one week. Life is unfair. No sexual frustration had he, I'm sure, but then he was cursed with a low tolerance for alcohol. Laid, but not alive, whereas I am the opposite.
Marc Valdez

Nicely told
All the people going on about "what a crap QOTW this is" should read answers like this. Yes it's not funny (whoever said a QOTW answer has to be funny?), but it's well written and moving.

Well done!
MrC - a camel named Simon

I read that as "wanked my dog Spanky instead"...

yeah, so did I!
MrC - a camel named Simon

Umm, no. Life is not unfair.
This was not fate cruelly snatching away life. This was an idiot who didn't wear his seatbelt, and was clearly in no fit state to drive, who paid for it dearly.

Oh do be quiet

I have loads of family in Albq.

that's all I've got....sorry
flirting with badgers

The low tolerance for alcohol was a bit of a tradgedy, the low tolerance for seatbelts doesn't get any sympathy.
Is Airborne Useless?

I know a lot of people swear by it, but I've never tried it:
The vial promised salvation. Take this potion, it offered, and your ills will be remedied.

I did. And it worked! I did not get sick. And from then on, I was hooked. At the first hint of sickness, I would reach for this magical drink. They -- and by they, I mean Oprah, a fervent proselytizer -- called it Airborne, and everyone used it: A couple years ago, sales of the stuff reached $100 million a year.

But was I tricked? I did not get sick. But was it the Airborne that kept me healthy? Had I not taken it, would I have gotten better anyway? On further uses, I found the potion less effective. I'd drink some at the first rumor of illness. Half the time I'd get sick, half the time I wouldn't. So was Airborne working, or wasn't it?

It wasn't. In 2006, ABC News discovered that the "clinical study" that the company had been touting as proof that its product cured colds was not really very clinical, nor much of a study.

"There was no clinic, no scientists and no doctors," ABC reported. "The man who ran things said he had lots of clinical trial experience. He added that he had a degree from Indiana University, but the school says he never graduated."

That report sparked a class-action lawsuit. Now, while not admitting any wrongdoing, the company has agreed to settle the lawsuit, and it will offer Airborne customers a refund on sales, paying out $23 million.

...Since the ABC report, the company has laid off claims that its product "cures" colds. Now the word "cold" appears nowhere on its packaging, and the company's CEO, Elise Donahue, told ABC that "We don't know if Airborne is a ... cure for the common cold." Rather, she said, the product "helps your body build a healthy immune system."

...There's an attractive creation myth to Airborne. The product was created by a schoolteacher who was "constantly exposed to germs in her classroom." This story carries no medical proof, but it's got charm: Doctors have labored for years to cure the cold, but trust a get-down-to-business schoolteacher to figure it out.

Airborne can't hurt you, either. So maybe it doesn't always work -- you take it, and still get sick. What about the times it does work? Sure, maybe the effect is only placebo. But doesn't that still count?

If it only makes you feel as if you're feeling better, you're still feeling better.

And that's the bottom line. When you're feeling down, you want to take stuff that feels good for you. Airborne feels good for you (it tastes pretty good for you, too).

Informed about the settlement, one customer told ABC, "What's so deceiving about it? ... It's vitamins and stuff like that that's supposed to make you feel better and make sure you don't get sick, right?"
Most Interesting "Vanity Fair" Article

George W. Bush's efforts to interfere with politics in the Gaza Strip, without getting anyone on board who knew anything about that hornet's nest - even the Israelis - were bound to backfire. Hamas wasn't stupid. They realized immediately what was going on, and reacted. Evil people make up Hamas, but I wish our leaders had half their smarts. Khalid Jaberi, a commander with Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades commented as follows:
Jaberi pauses. He spent the night before our interview awake and in hiding, fearful of Israeli air strikes. “You know,” he says, “since the takeover, we’ve been trying to enter the brains of Bush and Rice, to figure out their mentality. We can only conclude that having Hamas in control serves their overall strategy, because their policy was so crazy otherwise.”
Condoleeza Rice looks clueless:
Today, we receive official notice that as secretary of state, Rice set out to do for diplomacy what she did for national security. Vanity Fair has the documentary scoop on a scheme concoted by Rice and Iran-Contra convict Elliot Abrams to provoke a civil war in Palestine between the military wings of Hamas, the democratically elected ruling party much loathed by the Bush administration, and Fatah, the electoral losers who were loathed by the administration when in power but gained respectability by virtue of losing.

In true Bush-like fashion, and with the president's blessing, Rice and Abrams not only set out to provoke a war but backed the losing side. They had no idea Hamas would win the Palestinian general election, which they had pressured Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to call despite his concerns that Hamas was better organized and more popular than his Fatah movement, and once Hamas did win, they completely underestimated Hamas's popularity while overestimating Fatah's strength. And of course they selected as the vehicle of their dreams a man, Gaza warlord and long-time Fatah enforcer Muhammad Dahlan, whom the president and other senior administration officials had met and assessed as a man they could do business with.

The lone named Bush administration source in the story contemporary to the events under discussion is former Cheney aide David Wurmser, a staunch neoconservative who was central to the administration's efforts to promote the invasion of Iraq. Ironically, after two decades of advocating various forms of violence and subversion as a solution to the region's problems, Wurmser complained to writer David Rose of a "stunning disconnect between the president’s call for Middle East democracy" and the Rice-Abrams scheme.

Here's what Rice had to say about the Hamas electoral sweep. “I’ve asked why nobody saw it coming. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t caught off guard by Hamas’s strong showing.” But news accounts from the months before the election describe Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas's anxiety over his party's fading popularity, a concern that led him to postpone the elections once and which proved to be well-founded. Had she read the newspapers, she would have known. And Dahlan, the administration's point man for the Fatah coup, says he was telling everyone he knew in the administration that Fatah wasn't ready for elections.

Rice's statement about the Hamas victory is spookily reminiscent of her claim that no one could have predicted that terrorists would use hijacked airliners as weapons, even though US intelligence agencies had predicted exactly that. (And score one for pop culture, too: the pilot episode of X-Files spinoff The Lone Gunmen, which aired six months before 911 in March of 2001, featured a terrorist plot to fly a hijacked airliner into the World Trade Center. Clearly, administration officials don't watch enough TV.)

Rice was also warned that despite its evident superiority in numbers, Fatah's security forces were splintered, poorly motivated and highly unpopular, but despite years of accumulating evidence from the US experience with arming and training similarly dysfunctional forces in Iraq, she chose to believe that the US proxy in Palestine could carry the day.
Australian Summer Recap

The rains helped, but they weren't enough - at least, not yet:
DAM levels across the country have risen in the past year, but the Murray Basin remains in the grip of a big dry, and almost 70 per cent of Australia's farmland is still drought-declared.

...Melbourne's summer rainfall was 110 per cent of the long-term average, but stream flows were just 58 per cent of the long-term average. "The old rainfall-runoff relationship has broken down," WSA chief executive Ross Young said. "This demonstrates how dry catchments are."

...Southeast Queensland has the harshest water restrictions, but there is "a strong community focus on water conservation. The target of 140 litres per person per day has been beaten often." Mr Young said.

Average daily summer water use in Melbourne during the 1990s was 1631 litres, compared with 1092 litres a day at the end of last month.

Melbourne last year had the lowest per capita water consumption since 1934, while Sydney consumed the same amount it did in 1974, despite having 1.2 million more residents.

Mr Young said Brisbane's water storages had "been in freefall since the turn of the century". But 300mm of rain over summer, which is about average, had boosted the city's dams from 20.17 per cent of capacity to 38.84 per cent.

...At the end of last month, storages were at 100 per cent in Darwin, 66.4 per cent in Sydney and 61 per cent in Hobart. Melbourne storages were at 35.5per cent and Perth's at 34.8per cent.

The picture was mixed in the regions, with storages at only 9.5per cent capacity in Ballarat, northwest of Melbourne, and 12.9per cent in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, while the Goulburn catchment, southwest of Sydney, is 65.6 per cent full. Brisbane has the harshest water restrictions in Australia, while Hobart and Darwin have none.
It was sort of an odd summer:
Sydney residents and tourists are cursing La Nina as the harbor city says goodbye to the summer that wasn't.

While the La Nina weather pattern is delivering rain to farmers after the worst drought in a century, it's cutting profits for cafe owners, travel agents and insurers. Insurance Australia Group Ltd., the nation's largest home insurer, last week posted a sixth straight profit decline after hail storms cost it A$105 million ($97 million). The yearly `Symphony in the Park,' which usually attracts 80,000 people, had 700 this year as the orchestra played behind a tarpaulin during a downpour.

...After four years of water restrictions, Sydney saw about 50 percent more rain than usual this summer, according to Mike De Salis, a spokesman at Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.

No day topped 31 degrees celsius (88 degrees fahrenheit) for the first time since 1956. Average daily sunshine totaled 6.7 hours, an hour less than normal and the lowest since 1991-92. The average maximum temperature was 25.2, the coolest since 1996-97.

``Suddenly we get one cool, wet summer and everyone's complaining,'' said De Salis.

Matthew Hassan, an economist at Westpac Banking Corp., said the soggy summer has weighed on Sydney's $285 billion economy.

``The endless rain is certainly adding to the sense of gloom,'' Hassan said. Employment and housing data show Sydney is already struggling with rising interest rates and gasoline prices.

...Dam levels rose to 64.4 percent at the end of February from 37.1 percent a year ago. Rain fall reached 439 millimeters this summer, compared with an average of 298 millimeters.

``We're not whinging about the rain,'' said Ben Fargaher, chief executive officer of the National Farmers' Federation in Canberra, Australia's capital city. ``Good living weather is not good farming weather.''
Fun With Images

Anyone can play!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

D&D's Creator Passes On

Left: Image by Tribs, at B3ta.

Wow, Dungeons & Dragons dates from as late as 1974? I remember my group of high school friends playing it by 1975 (although by that time I was exasperated with board games and miniature golf, and the like, and wanted to hang out with chicks, and stuff, instead). One friend became a first-class Dungeon Master and hopscotched around the country running games in the 80's before getting religion, becoming a pharmacist, and consigning D&D to Satan's warehouse of sinful, youthful pasttimes:
Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.

...Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was turned into video games, books and movies.

..."It really meant a lot to him to hear from people from over the years about how he helped them become a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, what he gave them," Gail Gygax said. "He really enjoyed that."

Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and carry out their adventures with the help of complicated rules. The quintessential geek pastime, it spawned a wealth of copycat games and later inspired a whole genre of computer games that's still growing in popularity.

...Gygax also was a prolific writer and wrote dozens of fantasy books, including the Greyhawk series of adventure novels.
Las Vegas Hooters Gets The Hook

Seemed like a good idea at the time, but apparently not for the long haul:
Hooters Hotel will be rebranded into a yet-to-be named boutique hotel following a $130 million redevelopment of the property that could begin later this year, the investment group purchasing the hotel said Monday.
Leading one critic to ponder:
Today the business world learns an important lesson about the limitations of tits: They can sell cars, beer, deodorant — and even cynically overmarketed chicken wings that taste like chalkboard erasers covered in Taco Bell hot sauce — just fine, but as far as luring men-children to the numby vortex of video poker … not so much.
Anger Management - Failed Again

Anger management should require some role-playing, in order to avoid this:
According to the criminal complaint, Boudin was waiting at a bus stop in August when he harassed a 59-year-old woman. Witnesses say he yelled "Why don't you show me some respect?" at the woman.

The complaint says when she took out her cell to call police, he punched her in the face. When a 63-year-old man tried to stop him, Boudin hit him with a blue folder. Then he ran, dropping the folder.

Police were able to track him down using the papers inside, which included his name and his anger management homework.
A Martian Avalanche

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught a Martian avalanche, in action. How amazing is that? The place changes so slowly, it's almost impossible to see such a dramatic change actually happen. But here it is!

Here is the MRO Website caption:
Amazingly, this image has captured at least four Martian avalanches, or debris falls, in action. It was taken on February 19, 2008, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The image to the left shows the context of where these avalanches occurred, with white boxes indicating the locations of the more detailed image portions shown to the right. All images are false color. Material, likely including fine-grained ice and dust and possibly including large blocks, has detached from a towering cliff and cascaded to the gentler slopes below. The occurrence of the avalanches is spectacularly revealed by the accompanying clouds of fine material that continue to settle out of the air. The largest cloud (upper images) traces the path of the debris as it fell down the slope, hit the lower slope, and continues downhill, forming a billowing cloud front. This cloud is about 180 meters (590 feet) across and extends about 190 meters (625 feet) from the base of the steep cliff. Shadows to the lower left of each cloud illustrate further that these are three dimensional features hanging in the air in front of the cliff face, and not markings on the ground. Sunlight is from the upper right.

Cameras orbiting Mars have taken thousands of images that have enabled scientists to put together pieces of Mars' geologic history. However, most of them reveal landscapes that haven't changed much in millions of years. Some images taken at different times of year do show seasonal changes from one image to the next, however, it is extremely rare to catch such a dramatic event in action. (Another, unrelated, active process that has been captured by Mars cameras are dust devils.) Observing currently active processes is often a useful tool in unlocking puzzles of the past for scientists studying the Earth. Working from primarily still images, it is harder for scientists studying Mars to rely on this tool. The HiRISE image of avalanching debris is a very rare opportunity to directly do so.

The scarp in this image is on the edge of the dome of layered deposits centered on Mars' north pole. From top to bottom this impressive cliff is over 700 meters (2300 feet) tall and reaches slopes over 60 degrees. The top part of the scarp, to the left of the images, is still covered with bright (white) carbon dioxide frost which is disappearing from the polar regions as spring progresses. The upper mid-toned (pinkish-brownish) section is composed of layers (difficult to see here) that are mostly ice with varying amounts of dust. The darkest deposits below form more gentle slopes, less than 20 degrees, and are mainly composed of two materials: mid-toned layers, possibly ice-rich, that form small shelves, and more mobile, wide-spread, sand-sized dark material. The wavy forms on the flatter areas to the right are dunes.

The upper, steepest section, which appears highly fractured due to blocks pulling away from the wall, is the likely source zone for the falls. The precise trigger mechanism is not yet known, although the disappearance of the carbon dioxide frost, the expansion and contraction of the ice in response to temperature differences, a nearby Mars-quake or meteorite impact, and vibrations caused by the first fall in the area, are all possible contributors.

By comparing images taken before the fall (such as HiRISE image PSP_007140_2640) and after the fall, we may be able to see where material has disappeared from the steep scarp and where it has appeared on the gentler slopes below, possibly as larger blocks, diffuse streaks, or other debris deposits. By imaging this scarp throughout the polar summer, we may be able to determine how much material falls over a given time period. These observations would help determine how much, and at what rate, ice is being eroded from the cliff. Understanding the processes and rates of erosion will help determine how the polar landscape has evolved, and help reveal how volatiles, such as water and carbon dioxide ices and gases, move around Mars.

The precise composition of the ice-dust mixture making up layers in the upper, steepest section of scarp is not known. However, detailed measurements of the volume of material removed, the configuration of the source area, and the steepness of the slope can be used to estimate physical properties of the material that may relate to composition.

The complete image, HiRISE PSP_007338_2640, is centered at 83.7 degrees latitude, 235.8 degrees east longitude. The image was taken at a local Mars time of 1:05 PM and the scene is illuminated from the west with a solar incidence angle of 70 degrees, thus the sun was about 20 degrees above the horizon. At a solar longitude of 34.0 degrees, the season on Mars is northern spring.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson, and the instrument was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp., Boulder, Colo.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Monday, March 03, 2008

Oh, The Australian Press Is Cruel

And not even correct. Hillary has so many delegates already she could fight all the way to the convention even if she never wins another primary. But the failure to win primaries is a bad sign, and will be duly noted by the delegates to the Democratic convention in Denver this summer.

High Tech Soul Trailer USA

“Imagine a city designed for four million people that less than one-million people occupy now.”
- Jeff Mills

Review located here:

Oh this is interesting - a historically-oriented DVD about Techno music! Right up both my alleys! I purchased it the instant I saw it.

Interesting DVD, with surprisingly little Techno music on the soundtrack. As the review states:

“Techno music was created in Detroit in the mid- to late-‘80s and is credited to Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson,” Barbara Deyo of Touch Salon and Bold Face Media states at the beginning of the film. Bredow continues from there, laying down the historical facts exploring the creation of techno music by going directly to the pioneers of the revolution themselves....

As a class, DJs seem to be somewhat laconic, and project a tough urban coolness that is somewhat off-putting. So, the most voluble person on the DVD is actually an academic, a white, sort-of George-Will-lookalike Wayne State University English professor named Jerry Herron, whose gripping and soaring rhetoric has to substitute for the more-subdued testaments of the DJs themselves. It is fascinating hearing about growing up in the empty heart of once-populous Detroit, and also hearing how these (mostly black) DJs are serious celebrities in Europe and elsewhere overseas, but are ignored at home, and even confused with drug dealers at times. And also hearing about how they have personality frictions with other folks (Moby kind of creeps them out a bit).

One fun DVD!

How Can You Have Any Pudding If You Don't Eat Your Aluminum?

Last night, I was chewing my way through a sandwich in a downtown Davis eatery when I tried to bite through something hard that I thought might be a piece of bone. Wrong: it was a piece of aluminum. I presented the piece of shrapnel to the eatery staff, shrugged my shoulders, and said: "These things happen."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

"The Little Mermaid" - DMTC's Young Performers' Theatre

Left: Mermaids. This is hazardous, since I don't know everyone here, but I'm guessing, left to right: Madelyn Robinson, Rebekah Haworth, Nora Unkel, Melanie Platt, Hope Raymond, and Moriah Haworth.

Left: Mermaids, led by Mermaid Marina (Hope Raymond), and various sea creatures dance.

Left: Marina the Mermaid (Hope Raymond) discovers a marooned sailor (Chris Petersen).

Left: Sarah Rudy as Crustacea.

Left: Facilia (Jennie Knapp), and friend.

Left: Sometimes it gets really busy at the bottom of the sea.

Left: Mermaid dancing ensemble. Left to right, Kiyo Nishiyama, Maria Martinelli, McKinley Carlisle, and Jennie Knapp.

Left: Marina (Hope Ratmond), and Toby, the Official Seal (William Chan).

Left: Mermaids dance.

Left: Dylan (Andrew Lampinen) reveals his true identity.
"My Fair Lady" - Second Weekend

Left: Herb Shultz as Colonel Pickering and Steve Isaacson as Henry Higgins.

Left: "Get Me To The Church On Time."

Left: "Get Me To The Church On Time" (and Bruce Warren).

Left: Steve Isaacson as Henry Higgins celebrates his triumph at the Embassy Ball.

Left: Trevor Hoffman as Alfred P. Doolittle in "Get Me To The Church On Time."

Left: Jenny Parks as Mrs. Higgins and Lauren Miller as Eliza Doolittle.

Below: Lauren Miller as Eliza Doolittle and Steve Isaacson as Henry Higgins.

Left: Lauren Miller as Eliza Doolittle and Steve Isaacson as Henry Higgins.
Sarah, Plain And Tall - Woodland Opera House

Left: Helen Dahlberg after Saturday afternoon's performance.

Comely Helen was perfectly-suited to be Sarah. Not only is she sufficiently tall (6 foot, 1 inch), but with appropriately-severe choices in clothing and hairstyle, could be made to look plain.

A brief synopsis from the Woodland Opera House:
Set in the early 1900s, this play by Joseph Robinette from the Newberry Award winning novel by Patricia MacLachlan brings to life the charming, heartwarming story of a Kansas farmer, Jacob Witting, (Dan Beard) a widower with two children, Anna (Amanda Young) and Caleb (Abby Miles). When Jacob places an ad in the newspapers seeking a wife he receives a reply from Sarah Wheaton (Helen Dahlberg) from Maine. Sarah will visit the family for a month to see how things work out: “I will come by train. I will wear a yellow bonnet. I am plain and tall.” Narrated by the adult Anna (Rebecca Baland) the story follows the tumultuous month when Sarah and the Wittings came to know each other. The joys and challenges of everyday life are depicted in this tender and touching tale.

Also in the cast are; Wendy Harris, Olivia Roberts, Taelen Robertson, Bobby Grainger, Janey Pintar, Lisa Curtis, Frank Hickox, and Cynthia Drumbor. The show is directed by Jason Hammond and Cris Medina is stage manager.

The production plays Fridays at 7:30, Saturday February 23 and Saturday March 8 at 7:30, Saturday March 1 and Saturday March 8 at 2:00 and Sundays at 2:00.

Main floor tickets are $10-adults, $6-17 and under. For reservations call 530-666-9617.
Post-show view of set.

Nice-looking, well-made set. The fly featuring the old-time photos, meant to represent the Wheaton house in Maine (not pictured) was my favorite.
Bobby Grainger played William Wheaton, Sarah's brother, and Janey Pintar (last seen as Tintinabula in 'Forum' at Magic Circle) played Meg Wheaton, Sarah's sister-in-law. Janey was bright and bubbly. It was interesting watching Bobby playing a more-subdued kind of role. I liked Bobby's biographical blurb in the program, which gave the most succinct and accurate reason I've ever seen to be an actor:
Bobby Grainger (William Wheaton) is happy to be back at his 3rd WOH production having previously graced our stage as the shockingly misguided Giuseppe Zangara in Assassins and last year's adorable and endearing Lefou in WOH's Beauty and the Beast. This once again proving Bobby's gratefulness to theatre for finding a fun and acceptable place for his multiple personality disorder.
Also in the show, recently from DMTC, was Lisa Curtis playing Effie and Wayne Raymond as Matthew Nordstrom. Wayne sings marvellously, yet plays the part of farmer better than anyone in Davis. I was surprised how well Abby Miles did playing a boy (Caleb Witting). In fact, during the show, I had no idea she was a girl. Dan Beard played an affable Jacob Witting, and Rebecca Baland and Amanda Young make an excellent tag team playing Anna Witting.

Jason Hammond is a fine director, and makes sure his cast understands the slow, subtle rhythms of this show.

Post-show view of set.

The audience could figure out most of the set, since it was fairly-literal (the windmill silhouette, for example, represented a windmill), but they were baffled by the free-floating polygon. To me, it looked almost like abstract Chinese symbolism for 'one house', but it was odd to have just one example of abstraction. Usually you either have lots of abstract symbols in a show, or none at all. The audience in my row began having whimsical fun with the polygon:

"What is that thing there? Is it a roof"
"I don't know what that thing is."
"It's not often you see a thing like that."
"You're right - they've never had a thing like that here before."
The musical theater crowd, of course, knows that Kansas roofs are never meant to be permanent structures, but are meant to be blown away by ferocious windstorms. The "thing" was a nice symbol, whatever it was.