Saturday, May 17, 2008

Oh! Oh!

Departing 'Baker's Square' this evening, I discovered I can no long place my car into reverse. In addition, the 'Service Engine Soon' light is on.....
"The Music Man, Jr." - DMTC's Young Performer's Theatre (YPT)

Left: "Ya Got Trouble". Harold Hill (Cody Craven).

Left: "Ya Got Trouble". Harold Hill (Cody Craven).

Left: "Ya Got Trouble". Harold Hill (Cody Craven).

Left: "Goodnight My Someone". Marian Paroo (Madelyn Robinson).

Left: "Pick-A-Little/ Good Night Ladies". Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn (Kennedy Wenning), Harold Hill (Cody Craven), and the Pick-A-Little Ladies (including Ella Gallawa, Lauren Holcomb, and Ashley Hickman).

Left: "My White Knight". Marian Paroo (Madelyn Robinson).

Left: "Wells Fargo Wagon".

Left: "Lida Rose". Barbershop Quartet - Kristine Hager, Lisa Parente, Camille Totah, and Megan Aube.

Left: "Gary Indiana". Marian Paroo (Maedlyn Robinson), Mrs. Paroo (Camila Ortiz), and Winthrop Paroo (Matthew Fyhrie).

Left: From "Marian The Librarian". Tommy Djilas (Luc Luzzo) and Zaneeta Shinn (McKinley Carlisle).

Left: "Till There Was You". Harold Hill (Cody Craven) and Marian Paroo (Madelyn Robinson).

Left: Charlie Cowell (Andrew Lampinen) and Harold Hill (Cody Craven).

Left: 'Now, a fountain!' Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn (Kennedy Wenning).

Friday, May 16, 2008


Tom A. forgot his socks for a dinner date, so he borrowed mine.

Fortunately he remembered his other undergarments.
Clean-Air Rules Protecting Parks Set to Be Eased

More Bush Administration fun and games:
The Bush administration is on the verge of implementing new air quality rules that will make it easier to build power plants near national parks and wilderness areas, according to rank-and-file agency scientists and park managers who oppose the plan.

The new regulations, which are likely to be finalized this summer, rewrite a provision of the Clean Air Act that applies to "Class 1 areas," federal lands that currently have the highest level of protection under the law. Opponents predict the changes will worsen visibility at many of the nation's most prized tourist destinations, including Virginia's Shenandoah, Colorado's Mesa Verde and North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt national parks.

Nearly a year ago, with little fanfare, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed changing the way the government measures air pollution near Class 1 areas on the grounds that the nation needed a more uniform way of regulating emissions near protected areas. The agency closed the comment period in April and has indicated it is not making significant changes to the draft rule, despite objections by EPA staff members.

Jeffrey R. Holmstead, who now heads the environmental strategies group at the law firm Bracewelll & Giuliani, helped initiate the rule change while heading the EPA's air and radiation office. He said agency officials became concerned that the EPA's scientific staff was taking "the most conservative approach" in predicting how much pollution new power plants would produce.

"The question from a policy perspective was: Do you need to have models based on the absolute worst-case conditions that were unlikely to ever occur in the real world?" Holmstead said in an interview Thursday. "This has to do with what [modeling] assumptions you're required to do. This is really a legal issue and a policy issue."

The initiative is the latest in a series of administration efforts going back to 2003 to weaken air quality protections at national parks, including failed moves to prohibit federal land managers from commenting on permits for new pollution sources more than 31 miles away from their areas and to protect air resources only for parks that are big and diverse enough to "represent complete ecosystems."

For 30 years, regulators have measured pollution levels in the parks, over both three-hour and 24-hour increments, to capture the spikes in emissions that occur during periods of peak energy demand. The new rule would average the levels over a year so that spikes in pollution levels would not violate the law.

A slew of National Park Service and EPA officials have challenged the rule change, arguing that it will worsen visibility in already-impaired areas, according to internal documents obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

...Yesterday, the National Parks Conservation Association, an advocacy group, issued a report estimating that the rule would ease the way for the construction of 28 new coal-fired power plants within 186 miles of 10 national parks. In each of the next 50 years, the report concludes, the new plants would emit a total of 122 million tons of carbon dioxide, 79,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, 52,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 4,000 pounds of toxic mercury into the air over and around the Great Smoky Mountains, Zion and eight other national parks.

"It's like if you're pulled over by a cop for going 75 miles per hour in a 55 miles-per-hour zone, and you say, 'If you look at how I've driven all year, I've averaged 55 miles per hour,' " said Mark Wenzler, director of the National Parks Conservation Association's clean-air programs. "It allows you to vastly underestimate the impact of these emissions."
What is my take, as an air quality modeler?:
It’s a bit hard for me to figure out exactly what this is just based on the newspaper article, since it apparently deals with the emission side of things, where I typically don’t get involved.

Nevertheless, from my point of view, emissions estimates should be based on the shortest period of time practicable, because visibility is virtually an instantaneous measure. The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second, and requires very, very little time to zip between the typical power plant plume, and the typical eyeball.

Under current practice, 24-hour average measures are usually used. To me, this is already an arbitrary and irrational practice, because shorter averaging periods (1 & 3-hr) can be used, in principle. Nevertheless, use of 24-hour average measures is usually justified as a practical matter, because ambient particulate matter measurements are traditionally made on a 24-hour average basis, and because it takes a number of hours (12 to 24) for most power plant plumes to reach Class I areas like national parks and wilderness areas.

To head in the opposite direction, however, and use annual emission estimates, is to compound the existing irrationality. It simply ignores the fact that light doesn’t need a year to travel 80 or 120 miles across your typical viewscape.

So, the Bush Administration has had an opportunity to address an existing irrationality, and as one might expect, has decided to make matters even more irrational than they already are.

But there is the benefit that it is likely to make it considerably easier to site power plants and other industrial sources near to Class I areas, if no other changes are made to threshold measures to compensate for the change.
Evil Mickey Mouse And Heroic Felix The Cat

Bizarre but interesting Japanese cartoon. From ESP Visuals:
According to the post, "Toy Box Series, Episode 3: Picture Book 1936” (Omocha-Bako Series, Dai-3-Wa: Ehon 1936) is a 1934 propaganda-ish film about a future (1936) conflict started by a swarm of evil, bat-riding Mickey Mouse clones that descend on a tiny island inhabited by peace-loving dolls and cats (including a Felix lookalike). Overwhelmed by the attack, the desperate island residents bang on the cover of a large picture book to enlist the help of Momotaro, Urashima Taro (the Japanese version of Rip Van Winkle), and other traditional fairy tale heroes and characters. After Urashima Taro uses his famous “mystery box” to turn the big Mickey into a decrepit old fogey."
Cool Australian Wildlife

Left: Mitch Ralston, and playmate.

The Hercules Moth:
Measuring 26cm wing tip-to-wing tip, this Hercules moth stopped in at Sue and Iain Ralston’s home near Port Douglas, north of Cairns, for two days, fascinating their nature loving sons Sam and Mitch.

The giant insects have a 10-day lifespan and are attracted to veranda lights, Australian Butterfly Sanctuary manager Anja Bakker told The Cairns Post yesterday.

"We’re really lucky that we’ve got the largest moth flying around here," she said.

"They come out throughout the year but they are more frequent in summer months."

The nine and six-year-old brothers were disappointed when they awoke to find the moth gone from the family’s bi-fold door on their Spring Creek property.

Mrs Ralston said the boys would have liked to preserve the insect at the end of its short lifespan.

"They were slightly disappointed," Mrs Ralston said.

"They wanted it to stay here but they understood it was nature."

The family, who live in a pole home 13km from Port Douglas, usually get snakes, bats and green frogs inhabiting the house but nothing "larger than life".

"We’ve lived 14 years in this house and we’ve never seen anything like this before," Mrs Ralston said.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Unprepared Lamb Speaks About "Appeasement"

The Force Wasn't With Them

Darth Vader catches Jedis by surprise (via E-Mail from Andy):
A man who dressed up as Darth Vader, wearing a garbage bag for a cape, and assaulted the founders of a group calling itself the Jedi church was given a suspended sentence Tuesday.

Arwel Wynne Hughes, 27, attacked Jedi church founder Barney Jones - aka Master Jonba Hehol - with a metal crutch, hitting him on the head, prosecutors told Holyhead Magistrates' Court.

He also whacked Jones' 18-year-old cousin, Michael Jones - known as Master Mormi Hehol - bruising his thigh in the March 25 incident, prosecutors said.

The two cousins and Barney Jones' brother, Daniel, set up the Church of Jediism, Anglesey order, last year. Jedi is the faith followed by some of the central characters in the "Star Wars" films.

The group, which claims about 30 members, says on its Web site that it uses "insight and knowledge" from the films as "a guide to living a better and more worthwhile life."

"We all love the films and what they stand for. Obviously some people are going to laugh about it," the Wales on Sunday newspaper quoted Barney Jones as saying last month. "But a lot of people do take it seriously."

Unfortunately for Hughes, his March attack was recorded on a video camera that the cousins had set up to film themselves in a light saber battle.

"Darth Vader! Jedis!" Hughes shouted as he approached.

...In the 2001 United Kingdom census, 390,000 - 0.7 percent of the population - listed Jedi as their religion.
Almost Midnight

Deborah's got a show going over in Scottsdale!

Shemer Museum
The Portrait
May 20 - June 18, 2008
Opening reception May 20th, 7-9 PM

Shemer Museum
5005 E. Camelback Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 262-4727
Funniest Political Commercial Yet

Like the commenter on YouTube says:
Bahahahahahahahahaha... frickin' clueless Repunklicans. Your ignorance is catching up to you. Sh'yeah, you'll SURE hang onto the presidency and regain control of Congress in November. SUUUUUUUUUURE.
The commenter was inspired by this choice:
In a TV commercial where you talk about proposing to your wife on Pikes Peak, what mountain should you show in the background?
  • Pikes Peak in Colorado; or,
  • Mt. McKinley in Alaska.
California Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage

Hoo Boy, here we go!

I've always felt a bit dubious about gay marriage, mostly because I didn't know who the promoters of the gay marriage movement were, and didn't understand the movement's history. The issue seemed to come out of nowhere over the last twenty-five years. As we all know, stuff never really comes out of nowhere, it's just that I wasn't paying attention.

In any event, cultural issues like gay marriage have always struck me as not germane to the most urgent matters of our time, like War, and Oil, and why would Britney Spears date a paparrazi anyway? But I'll go with the flow on this matter. Now seems as good a moment for gay marriage as ever.
Went To The Dentist

Dr. Amy M. Woo's office remodeling project is nearly complete. The only room not ready for use is the dental surgery theater, where they will be able to knock you out first before doing their work (no doubt to soothing music of your choice).

The new waiting room is so elaborate and luxurious it would have been too plush for the palace of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV. (I wonder if there are new Marie-Antionette-style rates to go with the remodel? - thank goodness for health insurance!) But none of that matters, because, with construction nearly complete, they brought back my favorite part of the office visit, the waiting-room jigsaw puzzle! Nothing helps the search for meaningful images among the scattered pieces than complete luxury!
Today's Kerfuffle

I'm glad Obama and the Democrats are reacting, perhaps overreacting, to George W. Bush's provocative statements in Israel today. Better than reacting too little.

What's the deal about not negotiating with terrorists, or other bad actors? We've done it before (hell, we made an alliance with the Soviet Union in WWII) and we'll do it again whenever it suits us. It's called diplomacy. It's what diplomats do. You talk to the main actors. Even if, or especially if, they are bad people. These are the go-to people: the people you need to influence most to get what you want.

Sometimes it doesn't work out well: Hamas recently gave Jimmy Carter the shaft for his willingness to speak to them. But that's how it goes in the real world. There are no guarantees. Carter is to be commended for not allowing pride to interfere with necessary discussions.

I think the basic fear isn't about rewarding bad behavior, but rather the flop-sweat fear that the Iranians or the North Koreans, or whomever, have Svengali-like powers to hypnotize us and get whatever they want from us. The Bush Administration has often worked through projection, accusing others of the bad faith it holds closest to its heart. The Bushies are afwaid, afwaid, afwaid of the Iranians.

Obama should call Bush and Cheney the cowards they so clearly are.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Taking The High Road In Aerobics Class

When the instructor bites his tongue in response to a student's provocative remark:
This choreography is stupid!
Frustrating choreography, maybe, but judgment on its sophistication or stupidity should await until one has mastered it first. After that, then we can discuss....
Connecting Dots

Left:George Swazo is the self-appointed curator of Second and L.

In March, an article appeared in Sacramento News & Review (The People's Republic of Davis column by Ken Widmann) regarding George Swazo, who tends the garden at 2nd and L Streets in Davis. Swazo mentions his benefactors, "three or four generous regulars":
“Oh, there’s Joanne, Professor Jim, a guy named Rodney and a guy named David who has a guitar.”
I'm pretty sure the "guy named David who has a guitar" is David Nachmanoff, who sang about "George's Corner" at the DMTC concert held on September 9, 2006.
Hillary's Worst Mistake

As pointed out by Josh Green in this month's Atlantic Magazine, and as noted by Kevin Drum:
And as a newcomer to national politics, [Obama] needed to establish credibility by making inroads to major donors — most of whom, in California as elsewhere, had been locked down by the Clinton campaign.

Silicon Valley was a notable exception. The Internet was still in its infancy when Bill Clinton last ran for president, in 1996, and most of the immense fortunes had not yet come into being; the emerging tech class had not yet taken shape. So, unlike the magnates in California real estate (Walter Shorenstein), apparel (Esprit founder Susie Tompkins Buell), and entertainment (name your Hollywood celeb), who all had long-established loyalty to the Clintons, the tech community was up for grabs in 2007. In a colossal error of judgment, the Clinton campaign never made a serious approach, assuming that Obama would fade and that lack of money and cutting-edge technology couldn't possibly factor into what was expected to be an easy race. Some of her staff tried to arrange "prospect meetings" in Silicon Valley, but they were overruled. "There was massive frustration about not being able to go out there and recruit people," a Clinton consultant told me last year. As a result, the wealthiest region of the wealthiest state in the nation was left to Barack Obama.

Furthermore, in Silicon Valley's unique reckoning, what everyone else considered to be Obama's major shortcomings — his youth, his inexperience — here counted as prime assets.
Why The Superdelegates Like Obama

It's because of the geography....

Left: Counties where Clinton won at least 65% of the vote in purple. These are mostly traditional swing areas. Clinton's popularity in these areas doesn't translate into much opportunity to pick up extra states in the Electoral College.

Left: Counties where Obama won at least 65% of the vote in green. These are mostly traditional Republican areas. Obama's popularity in these areas, particularly the Northern Plains and the Northern Rockies, translates into an opportunity to pick up extra states in the Electoral College.

Got Duffy's new album, "Rockferry", special order CD from 'The Beat'.

Great singer, and great album!
Edwards To Endorse Obama

Yup, tonight. Actually I'd like Edwards to be Obama's running mate (or, if not Edwards, then maybe Bill Richardson).
That's What She Said

Having rid myself of television the last several years, I'm in some kind of a pop culture void. That's usually OK, but sometimes I miss the fun.

Two years ago, Lauren Miller suggested I watch "The Office". I've started going to Awesome Video to rent DVDs of the series and take advantage of her suggestion.

Left: I had not realized how common turret detachment might be.....

There is a wonderful cover article in the January 2008 of BAMS (Bulletin Of The American Meteorological Society) called "CuPIDO - Mountain Hotspots For Thunderstorms" (more information here). The folks at ASU, U of A, and the University of Wyoming have, with much monitoring and persistence, have probed and helped understand one of the Southwest's great treats, the onset and progress of cumulus convection during the annual summer monsoon season. The research focused on summer 2006 storms over Mount Lemmon, just NE of Tucson, AZ. The summer monsoon is a vastly complex, yet more-or-less dependable process that is crucial to life in the desert.

Michael Leuthold, one of the co-authors, was a buddy back in grad school days.

The article notes the unusual MCSs that developed over the Mogollon Rim during that summer of 2006. I remember watching those storms from afar, here in Sacramento, on the Internet, and being quite surprised by their appearance:
Flights had to be suspended during two 4-day periods (Fig. 5): the first one, 20-23 July, because it was too dry, and the second one, 27-30 July, because it was too wet. Overcast morning skies, record moist soundings (e.g., Fig. 6b) and record precipitation occurred during the latter period. This was the result of a low-level moisture surge and upper-level northerly flow associated with a weak, quasi-stationary low over New Mexico. On three consecutive days the northerly flow aloft drove mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) southward during the late evening and at night. The MCSs were sustained by the large water vapor content in the BL (over 15 g kg-1) and northerly low-level shear. Such flood-producing nocturnal MCSs are rare (McCollum et al. 1995) and were not predicted by operational models. In structure and predictability, these events are reminiscent of eastward-propagating nocturnal convection over the Great Plains (Carbone et al. 2004). Two ISFF stations (NE and ENE in Fig. 1) were severely damaged by the storms of that period.
Here's a general public newspaper article in the Arizona Daily Star regarding the project.
Crushing Hazard

Loss: $1,108.00
Hillary Clinton:Dear God, Please Make Barack Go Away

West Virginia, And All That

Nice, inspired victory speech she had, but full of worthless rubbish about how she had always been concerned about hard-working folks her entire career. Like, when did that ever happen - last month, maybe?

Here's some great commentary (I had the same kind of reaction to the speech):
Last night I listened to Hillary Clinton's speech, and I found it both unnerving and impossible to turn away from, in the way that it's hard to stop looking at a mudslide rumbling down a mountain towards an unsuspecting town. There she was, talking about how she was in it to win it, how she was more determined than ever, how she was ready to go head-to-head with John McCain, and I thought: can she possibly believe this? If not, why in God's name is she saying these things?

For some reason, what got me the most was hearing her ask for more money. She is, after all, an extremely wealthy woman. And she was asking those people she claims to be fighting for -- the nurse on her second shift, the worker on the line, the waitress on her feet, the small business owner, the farmer, the teacher, the coal miner, the trucker, the soldier, the vet, the college student -- to send her some fraction of the little money they have, for nothing. When she knows she can't win. That sort of took my breath away.

As I said before: this is not normal. People normally drop out when it becomes clear that they will not win. Sometimes they stay in in order to get their message out: they don't actually argue that people should vote for them, or ask for money, but they do go on giving speeches about whatever issue matters most to them. Occasionally, they stay in for the free publicity. But they do not do what Clinton is doing.

Last night, though, my main thought was: when someone finally drags her away from the race for the nomination, she'll leave teethmarks on it. They really will have to pry her candidacy from her cold, dead hands. She will go on doing this forever. She'll be like Harold Stassen, only all rolled up into one primary season.

And that made me think: if I were an undeclared superdelegate and I watched that speech, I would endorse Obama immediately. Because Hillary Clinton did not give the speech of someone who was about to go gently.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Things Younger Than John McCain

A new blog....

I did not know that Bugs Bunny is younger than John McCain. And the Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.

Doctor: Well, stop doing that:
Democrats heard something familiar today in that new theme emerging from House Republicans: “The Change You Deserve.”

Turns out that slogan is also used to market an antidepressant, which Democrats quickly lampooned as reflecting the Republican mood at the moment.

“We were alarmed by the slogan for the minority caucus’s re-branding campaign, for it directly _ though probably inadvertently _ addresses the depressed opportunities House Republicans might be feeling of late,” said a post at

Republicans said they had no hesitation about sticking with the slogan as they prepared to roll out their new policy agenda. And The “Change You Deserve” is just one variation on the theme.

E.: M-M-M-A-A-A-A-A-A-R-R-R-R-R-C-C-C-C-C! It was scary at the clinic today! One of the girls had a bloody nose, and she said: 'My eyes are burning!' Her eyes started filling with blood too! I told her: 'Stop looking at yourself in the mirror; don't pick at your nose; stop blowing your nose!' But the blood kept coming! Do you think she was possessed by the devil?

M.: Well, there is a tube that runs from the tear ducts of the eye into the nose. It's possible to make fluids run from the nose into the eye. There was that guy, on Jay Leno or David Letterman a few years back - I can't remember who or when - who would drink a glass of milk and force the milk to squirt several feet out from his eyes. Probably, when she was blowing her nose, she was doing the same sort of thing, and forcing blood into her eyes.


Thinking about it later, it made me wonder. Nosebleeds are common, but blood in the eyes is very rare. Why is that the case, when people often also blow their noses when they have nosebleeds and could very well blow blood into their eyes? Probably because, while nosebleeds are common, that extra missing element, diabolic possession, is very rare. Yeah, that's it!
Alex's Shadow

Parrots are very intelligent (African Greys, in particular), and often live longer than people, so it's no surprise they might have some of the same issues people do with death:
Griffin seems depressed. He's less talkative than usual and has lost some interest in learning. Given the death of his roommate, it might not take a psychologist to diagnose depression. Except Griffin, who lives in a psychology-department lab at Brandeis University, is an African gray parrot.

Griffin's trainer, scientist Irene Pepperberg, balks at applying the label "depression" to a bird. But she says she is not feeling so good herself.

"Where do we go from here?" she asks, referring to the loss of Alex, the rock star of the parrot world who dominated her lab and her life for 30 years. Alex died unexpectedly in September of a heart arrhythmia.

Alex could identify colors and objects, such as "rock," "wood" and "wool." He could identify "bigger" vs. "smaller" and knew a triangle as a "three-corner" and a square as a "four-corner." He could say how many objects were a particular color and shape ("how many green blocks?") as well saying "none" when a set of items was not present. When trainers worked with his labmates Griffin and Arthur, he sometimes interfered — answering for them, telling them to "say better" or posing a different question about the items.
A Pox Upon Y'All

Or something like that:
According to this activist, at the heart of the let-Obama-win movement is longtime Virginia conservative leader Michael Farris -- the nation's leading home-school advocate, who is now chancellor of Patrick Henry College (in Purcellville, Va.) for home-schooled students. Best known politically as the losing Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia in 1993, Farris is regarded as one of the hardest-edged Christian politicians. He is reported in evangelical circles to promote the biblical justification for an Obama plague-like presidency.
Whatever gets the harder-edged evangelicals out of active politics and back towards the more-detached position they used to have before the 1960's. Myself, I will gladly welcome the plague of locusts, or two-headed canines, or West Nile, or earthquakes, or infomercials, or telemarketers, or whatever bad thing they expect from an Obama presidency....

Monday, May 12, 2008

Recent Sacramento Temperatures

Left: Sacramento Normal, and 2008, Maximum, Minimum, and Average Temperatures, Since March 31st.

It seemed to me that this was a particularly chilly spring - it certainly seems chilly when I walk Sparky late at night - so I checked the data just to be sure.

The month of May looks just about normal so far (a heat wave is forecast for later this week), but April Low and Average Temperatures were definitely below normal (interestingly, High Temperatures were above normal).

I blame the chilly Pacific Ocean for this state of affairs.
Chicago Tribune's Stash Of Photos

Fun pictures over at the Chicago Tribune. Because no one did it better than they did it in Chicago.

Left: Sheriff Thomas J. O'Brien and William L. McFetridge (left), the Chicago area salvage director for the Office of Civilian Defense, take a few whacks at a pile of illegal slot machines confiscated by police from taverns, stores and roadhouses across Cook County in this July 22, 1942, photo. The slot machines were turned into metal for the U.S. war effort. (Tribune archive photo)

Don't you love 'em? :
It seems the teen girls who grew up with Duran Duran posters on the wall are now adult women with careers and childhood crushes that have yet to fully evaporate. On Friday night Duran Duran was set to play the Hard Rock, and one Duran Duran fan from the '80s reached out to the Hard Rock. She is now a prominent plastic surgeon and her offer: In exchange for meeting the band, the Hard Rock's representative could have a free work. "She said I could have anything like Botox." The twentysomething Hard Rock representative declined the offer. Of course, with Duran Duran, the surgeon may not have been a fan so much as looking to get its business.
Making Nice With Psychos

Notwithstanding a gaffe or two, we are just one big happy family:
What Democrats fear could have a lasting impact is what Clinton might say about Obama that could split the party or be gleefully reused by Republican John McCain in the fall election.

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn, an Obama supporter, compared Clinton to the Glenn Close character in "Fatal Attraction" -- a spurned woman turned stalker who was apparently drowned in a bathtub only to jump up one more time to be shot dead.

"Glenn Close should have stayed in that tub, and Sen. Clinton has had a remarkable career and needs to move to the next step, which is helping elect the Democratic nominee," Cohen said during a local TV interview. He later apologized for his comments.
John Conyers has some advice:
Rep. John Conyers said Saturday he is "very worried" that Hillary Clinton's continued campaign will make it more difficult to unify the Democratic Party this fall, but told fellow supporters of Barack Obama that the best way to end the nomination race is with kindness.

"Here's how we close this thing down early," the Detroit Democrat told 100 or more Obama supporters. "We are going to be real nice to anybody who did not support Sen. Obama. Real nice. Super nice.

"It's the most difficult thing one can do in the political system: Beat the crap out of your opponent, and then be nice and friendly after you do it."

...He acknowledged that some Democrats, including many African-Americans, have been upset by comments Clinton made this week to USA Today. Clinton, citing an Associated Press story, told the newspaper "Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again" -- remarks that were taken by many as racially divisive.

But Conyers refrained from commenting on Clinton's remarks: "I haven't heard it. I haven't read it. Because I have to be nice to her. I just finished telling everyone that."
Please put down the rabbit. Pretty, pretty please? No, I didn't mean 'put down' in that context. Just leave the rabbit alone, OK?
Sparky's Opioid Issues

I'm increasingly exasperated with my effort to keep Sparky properly dosed up with his drug of choice, Torbutrol.

Torbutrol can be used as a cough suppressant, and the pressure of Sparky's enlarged heart on his trachea, plus poor circulation, have caused him to have a permanent cough. He has a second cough suppressant, Theo Dur, but as far as I can tell, only the Torbutrol is really effective.

The veterinarian prescribes only small amounts of Torbutrol - about ten pills at a time - and cites trouble with obtaining adequate amounts of the drug, because human abuse has led the Drug Enforcement Administration to watch it's administration like a hawk. The stuff is expensive too: $1.25 per tablet. I'm supposed to give 2 to 4 tablets a day, but I'm giving just one a day, in order to stretch it out. And that just means Sparky coughs all the more.

When I obtain the drug, the folks at the vet ask, "Age?" I say "Well, Sparky is about 15 years old," and they say "Not Sparky, you!" I guess the DEA is monitoring who gets the stuff, to short-circuit the underground market. I wouldn't mind finding out more about the underground market in Torbutrol, to keep Sparky dosed up, but reading a bit more, it looks like Sparky might also be suffering weird drug-related mental effects, like crazy dreams and dysphoria - the opposite of euphoria. He certainly sleeps a lot these days, more than I would expect because of his age. Maybe he shouldn't be taking this stuff anyway. But the cough, the cough....

Here's some information regarding Torbutrol:
Brand Name: Stadol, Torbutrol, Torbugesic

Available in 1 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg tablets


The opiate class of medication is complicated to describe. There are several types of receptors in the nervous system that respond to opiates. These receptors are designated by different Greek letters (“mu,” “kappa,” and “sigma”). Opiates work by binding and stimulating some receptors (such opiates are said to be “agonists” of the receptors they stimulate) or they may bind and block receptors (in which case they are “antagonizing” the receptor). What the effects of a given opiate are (euphoria, cough suppression, pain relief, hallucination, addiction etc.) depend on which receptors are stimulated and which are blocked. Some opiates only stimulate receptors. These are called “pure agonists.” Some opiates, like butorphanol, stimulate some receptors and block others. This makes butorphanol what is called an “agonist/antagonist.” It seems to stimulate the kappa and sigma receptors and antagonize mu receptors.

Butorphanol is a controlled substance, which means there are special legal requirements for prescribing and stocking it.

How this Medication Is Used

Regardless of which receptors are stimulated and which antagonized, butorphanol ultimately is a cough suppressant as well as a short-acting analgesic. It also has some sedating properties. Many people are familiar with codeine, which has nearly identical uses and is also in the opiate family (though it is not an agonist/antagonist like butorphanol). It may be helpful to think of butorphanol as being similar to codeine: lower doses can be used to suppress cough, higher doses for pain relief.

Most opiates can be used to suppress cough but, unlike other opiates, butorphanol does not suppress the respiratory center in the brain (and does not slow respiration nor make breathing more shallow).

Butorphanol is also sometimes used as a pre-anesthetic tranquilizer though it is very mild in this regard. It may also be used for pain relief following a surgical procedure (it acts rapidly but only for a short time so usually a longer acting pain reliever is used in combination).

Butorphanol has some anti-nausea properties and is commonly used in this way prior to the administration of cisplatin in cancer chemotherapy.

Side Effects

The chief side effect is sedation. Occasionally, it can cause diarrhea or appetite loss. Butorphanol is able to slow the heart rate though this is rarely of meaningful significance to normal patients.
A human experience with Torbutrol:
Okay, this experience happened roughly a week and a half ago, and my memory is a little shaky. I have a good amount of experience with opiates, particularly oxycontin. My tolerance, however, was at an all time low after a four-month abstinence.

I obtained a bottle of Torbutrol from a veterinarian for administration to my cat. The pills came in 1.25mg pieces (5mg whole). I browsed the web to see what I could dig up on these pills. To my surprise, I found that they are an opiate synthesized from thebaine. I further looked into it, and found that there was a form called 'Stadol' which was an aqueous solution designed for insufflation. I immediately grew anxious to give it a try.

I started by snorting 1/4 of a pill. The burn was bearly noticable, but the drip tasted putrid- about two or three times worse than oxycontin.

I waited a couple of minutes and felt nothing. I then went ahead and bumped the other three quarters.

I proceeded into my room to play Amped, a snowboarding game, on my X-Box. Within a couple of minutes I noticed a warm sensation beginning in my stomach and radiating out into my legs and arms. Soon, I found myself somehow scoring higher than I ever had before, even though I was barely paying attention to what I was doing.

After about ten minutes of X-box, I decided to lay down. That's when it hit me like a ton of bricks. The room was spinning, and I had an awesome warm, jello sensation througout my entire body. It was pretty incredible, for a veterinary medicine.

I was soon walking around socializing, growing a little antsy. I could tell the effects were winding down.

I proceeded to my room and bumped another pill. This time it hit me extremely hard. I light up a bowl and laid on my bed.

I was completely disoriented, and what started out nicely turned dreadful. I had read of the dysphoria associated with high doses, and stupidly I ignored the advise.

I soon was feeling terrible feelings of panic and fear, potentiated by the pot. I had the feeling that everything was out of control. Within thirty minutes I passed out entirely.
At the least, it looks like Sparky shouldn't be operating heavy machinery. I guess that means I'll have to get the car keys back from him. Sorry, Sparky....
Final Weekend - "Pajama Game"

Left: "Steam Heat" - Lauren Miller, Jabriel Shelton, and Kris Farhood.

Nice finish to a nice show.

A few giggles along the way. On Friday night, I made myself giggle in the opening scene by cutting too soon while pulling the box-laden cart across the stage, and bumping into Poopsie's table.

During "Seven And A Half Cents" on Saturday evening, in the part where those of us in the ensemble alternate facing each other:
That's enough for me to get
An automatic washing machine,
A years supply of gasoline,
Carpeting for the living room,
A vacuum instead of a blasted broom,
Not to mention a forty inch television set!
I turned just in time to see Sarah sneeze, close-up (she turned, to spare me the spray, but still....) It made me just giggle!

On the last show, MikeMac said he made Choreographer Darryl Strohl laugh out loud by eating the prop apple as he did the picnic crossover. He then placed the apple in the kitchen scene, and made Amber smile in her scene when she happened across the half-eaten apple.

John was nursing a cold on the last day, as was Jonathan and myself. I was very sleepy afterwards at Lamppost Pizza, and made disturbing driving errors on the way home.

Time to rest!

Left: "Steam Heat" - Lauren Miller's big scream.

Below: Sid Sorokin (Joshua Smith) and Gladys (Lauren Miller).

Left: Joshua Smith, Jonathan Cagle-Mulberg, and Jabriel Shelton.

Below: Jan Isaacson, McKinley Carlisle, and Stacey Sheehan.

Left: "Once-A-Year Day".

Left: Sid Sorokin (Joshua Smith) and Babe Williams (Amber Jean Moore).

Below: Babe Williams (Amber Jean Moore) and Sid Sorokin (Joshua Smith).

Left: Babe Williams (Amber Jean Moore) and Sid Sorokin (Joshua Smith). Also pictured are Kris Farhood, Amanda Yount, Kristine Hager, McKinley Carlisle, and Jan Isaacson.

Left: "Steam Heat" - Lauren Miller, Jabriel Shelton, and Kris Farhood.

Below: Mr. Hasler (Dustin White), Mabel (Dannette Vassar), and Sid Sorokin (Joshua Smith).

Left: Gladys (Lauren Miller) and Sid Sorokin (Joshua Smith).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Southern Man

Southern man
better keep your head
Don't forget
what your good book said
Interesting consequence, many years later:
US singer and songwriter Neil Young has had an honour bestowed upon him that is not received by many musicians – his own spider. East Carolina University biologist Jason Bond discovered a new species of trapdoor spider and opted to call the arachnid after his favourite musician, Canadian Neil Young, naming it Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi.

"There are rather strict rules about how you name new species," Mr Bond said.

"As long as these rules are followed you can give a new species just about any name you please. With regards to Neil Young, I really enjoy his music and have had a great appreciation of him as an activist for peace and justice."

...Mr Bond discovered the new spider species in Jefferson County, Alabama, in 2007.

He said spiders in the trapdoor genus, who tended to live in burrows and build trap doors to seal off their living quarters, were distinguished from one species to the next on the basis of differences in genitalia.

He confirmed through the spider's DNA that the Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi was an identifiable, separate species of spider within the trapdoor genus.

Young is not the first musician to have a creature named after him.

A species of beetle that looks as if it is wearing a tuxedo - the whirligig beetle, or Orectochilus orbisonorum - was named earlier this year after the late rock 'n' roll legend Roy Orbison and his widow Barbara.
Republicans Denounce Mother's Day

Hard to believe, but there it is:
It was already shaping up to be a difficult year for congressional Republicans. Now, on the cusp of Mother's Day, comes this: A majority of the House GOP has voted against motherhood.

On Wednesday afternoon, the House had just voted, 412 to 0, to pass H. Res. 1113, "Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother's Day," when Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), rose in protest.

"Mr. Speaker, I move to reconsider the vote," he announced.

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), who has two young daughters, moved to table Tiahrt's request, setting up a revote. This time, 178 Republicans cast their votes against mothers.

It has long been the custom to compare a popular piece of legislation to motherhood and apple pie. Evidently, that is no longer the standard. Worse, Republicans are now confronted with a John Kerry-esque predicament: They actually voted for motherhood before they voted against it.

Republicans, unhappy with the Democratic majority, have been using such procedural tactics as this all week to bring the House to a standstill, but the assault on mothers may have gone too far. House Minority Leader John Boehner, asked yesterday to explain why he and 177 of his colleagues switched their votes, answered: "Oh, we just wanted to make sure that everyone was on record in support of Mother's Day."

By voting against it?
Too Much Of A Misfit For The Misfits

(Background: J. is being forced to vacate his house, because of a disagreement with his landlord about what sort of payment-in-kind constitutes rent....)

M.: So, what will happen to this house after you leave?

J.: The Misfits will take over. They'll be in here with their crank and meth. They run the houses in this neighborhood. They killed a woman a few houses over a couple of years ago. Her son didn't find her for several days.

M.: Misfits? Who are those?

J: Motorcycle club. From the Nevada hills. But they don't scare me. Nothing scares me. I used to fight on the streets of LA when I was young. Take the cops on with my martial arts, ten at a time. The cops there beat you up (or at least they used to, until I got, they just ignore me). Cop once grabbed my triceps with a pair of pliers and squeezed as hard as he could. I looked at him with contempt and said "Does that make you feel better now?" I didn't scream, because you can remove your spirit from your body when you have to. Gave me a big hematoma, though. Then, later, I joined the military....

No, I'm not scared of Misfits. I'm not scared of death. I'm tired of this life, but there is no honor in suicide. I have my eagle feather and I smoke my sage, to keep me pure.
Why I Smell Like Windex Today

(And will continue to do so, for the indefinite future....)

I spilled a big jug of the stuff in my car's trunk last night.