Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hillary Finally Concedes

Hillary brings it to a close:
Hillary Rodham Clinton ended her historic campaign for the presidency on Saturday and told supporters to unite behind rival Barack Obama, closing out a race that was as grueling as it was groundbreaking.

The former first lady, who as recently as Tuesday declared herself the strongest candidate, gave Obama an unqualified endorsement and pivoted from her role as determined foe to absolute ally.

"The way to continue our fight now to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our strength and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States," she said in a speech before cheering supporters packed into the ornate National Building Museum, not far from the White House she longed to govern from.

"Today as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him and I ask of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me," the New York senator said in her 28-minute address.

...For Clinton and her supporters, it was a poignant moment, the end of an extraordinary run that began with an air of inevitability and certain victory. About 18 million people voted for her; it was the closest a woman has come to capturing a nomination.

"Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it has about 18 million cracks in it and the light is shining through like never before," she said.
Hillary's failure to come out four-square against the Iraqi War was what ultimately doomed her candidacy. By attempting to claim the Margaret Thatcher warrior-type mandate, and the same time trying unconvincingly to appease anti-war sentiment, she estranged herself from much potential support and opened the door for Obama to mount his successful anti-war campaign.
Good/Bad Animal News

Good news: Four scrub jays, maybe all from the same family, came to the house today to chatter and eat and raise lots of noise about, oh, nothing in particular.

Bad news: Squirrel #7 becomes defunct under some car's tires.
Fear And Loathing

Watched 1998's "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas", starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro.

Everything you always wanted to know about why you should avoid mind-altering drugs!

Still, moments of clarity stood out, particularly a simplified form of the "wave" speech, which Thompson himself felt was the best writing he had ever done (and which will ring through history!):
Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . .

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights—or very early mornings—when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder's jacket . . . booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change) . . . but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that. . . .

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . .

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Various Vignettes From Bill Bryson's "In A Sunburned Country"

Fun book!:
On my first visit, some years ago, I passed the time on the long flight reading a history of Australian politics in the twentieth century, wherein I encountered the startling fact that in 1967 the prime minister, Harold Holt, was strolling along a beach in Victoria when he plunged into the surf and vanished. No trace of the poor man was ever seen again. This seemed doubly astounding to me - first that Australia could just lose a prime minister (I mean, come on) and second that news of this had never reached me.
Strangely enough, I remembered when this happened, in my childhood, when I was ten years old. Those were the days when the local kids and ourselves were busily setting up territories, kingdoms, and protectorates, securing minerals and gems for trade and purchase in play-money currency, and even setting up hamlets made from lumber and assorted bricks in our respective back yards. The kids next door called their domain Great Britain; I called mine Winchester; and there were satellite domains as well, like the Desert (a strip of, well, desert).

Harold Holt's abrupt disappearance (with the usual speculation about shark attacks, riptides and the like) was so shocking I instantly dubbed a portion of a plot of land, adjacent to my own Winchester, as 'Holt', commemorating this terrible event.

Then, strange stuff just seems to happen:
In January [of 1997], according to a report written in America by a Times reporter, scientists were seriously investigating the possibility that a mysterious seismic disturbance in the remote Australian outback almost four years earlier had been a nuclear explosion set off by members of the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo.

It happens that at 11:03 p.m. local time on May 28, 1993, seismograph needles all over the Pacific region twitched and scribbled in response to a very large-scale disturbance near a place called Banjawarn Station in the Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia. Some long-distance truckers and prospectors, virtually the only people out in that lonely expanse, reported seeing a sudden flash in the sky and hearing or feeling the boom of a mighty but far-off explosion. One reported that a can of beer had danced off the table in his tent.

The problem was that there was no obvious explanation. The seismograph traces didn't fit the profile for an earthquake or mining explosion, and anyway the blast was 170 times more powerful than the most powerful mining explosion ever recorded in Western Australia. The shock was consistent with a large meteorite strike, but the impact would have blown a crater hundreds of feet in circumference, and no such crater could be found. The upshot is that scientists puzzled over the incident for a day or two, then filed it away as an unexplained curiosity — the sort of thing that presumably happens from time to time.

Then in 1995 Aum Shinrikyo gained sudden notoriety when it released extravagant quantities of the nerve gas sarin into the Tokyo subway system, killing twelve people. In the investigations that followed, it emerged that Aum's substantial holdings included a 500,000-acre desert property in Western Australia very near the site of the mystery event. There, authorities found a laboratory of unusual sophistication and focus, and evidence that cult members had been mining uranium. It separately emerged that Aum had recruited into its ranks two nuclear engineers from the former Soviet Union. The group's avowed aim was the destruction of the world, and it appears that the event in the desert may have been a dry run for blowing up Tokyo.

You take my point, of course. This is a country that loses a prime minister and that is so vast and empty that a band of amateur enthusiasts could conceivably set off the world's first nongovernmental atomic bomb on its mainland and almost four years would pass before anyone noticed.*

Clearly this is a place worth getting to know.

* Interestingly, no Australian newspapers seem to have picked up on this story and the New York Times never returned to it, so what happened in the desert remains a
mystery. Aum Shinrikyo sold its desert property in August 1994, fifteen months after the mysterious blast but seven months before it gained notoriety with its sarin
attack in the Tokyo subway system. If any investigating authority took the obvious step of measuring the area around Banjawarn Station for increased levels of radiation, it has not been reported.
Disturbing! But not as disturbing as some of the animals, like famous poisonous snakes, like the taipan:
At least the taipan is five feet long and thick as a man's wrist, which gives you a reasonable chance of spotting it. What I found far more appalling was the existence of lethal small snakes, like the little desert death adder. Just eight inches long, it lies lightly buried in soft sand so that you have no hope of seeing it before setting your weary butt on its head. Even more worrying was the Point Darwin sea snake, which is not much larger than an earthworm but packs venom enough if not to kill you at least to make you very late for dinner.

But all of these are as nothing compared with the delicate and diaphanous box jellyfish, the most poisonous creature on earth. We will hear more of the unspeakable horrors of this little bag of lethality when we get to the tropics, but let me offer here just one small story. In 1992 a young man in Cairns, ignoring all the warning signs, went swimming in the Pacific waters at a place called Holloways Beach. He swam and dove, taunting his friends on the beach for their prudent cowardice, and then began to scream with an inhuman sound. It is said that there is no pain to compare with it. The young man staggered from the water, covered in livid whiplike stripes wherever the jellyfish's tentacles had brushed across him, and collapsed in quivering shock. Soon afterward, emergency crews arrived, inflated him with morphine, and took him away for treatment. And here's the thing. Even unconscious and sedated, he was still screaming.
But then, there are the tantalizing mysteries still to be solved:
The difficulties are well illustrated, I think, by the uncertain fate of the oolacunta, or desert rat kangaroo. Nearly everything that is known about this interesting creature is owed to two men. The first was a nineteenth-century naturalist named John Gould, who studied and described the animal in 1843. It had, according to Gould, the shape and manner of a kangaroo but was only about the size of a rabbit. What particularly distinguished it was that it could move at very high speeds for unusually long distances. Since that one initial report, however the oolacunta had not been seen. Enter Hedley Herbert Finlayson.

Finlayson was a chemist by profession, but devoted much of his life to searching for rare native animals. In 1931 he led an expedition that traveled by horseback deep into the interior, to the perpetual furnace that is Sturt's Stony Desert. Upon arriving, Finlayson was surprised to discover that the little desert rat kangaroo, far from being on the verge of extinction or possibly gone altogether, was both visible and clearly thriving. The animal's speed and endurance were just as Gould had reported. Once when Finlayson and his colleagues gave chase on horseback a desert rat kangaroo ran twelve miles without pause through the searing heat of day, exhausting three horses in the process. Ounce for ounce, the little oolacunta may well have been the greatest runner (or bouncer, actually) the animal kingdom has ever produced. Returning to society, Finlayson reported his exciting find and naturalists and zoologists everywhere dutifully amended their texts to account for the desert rat kangaroo's rediscovery. Over the next three years, Finlayson made further expeditions, but in 1935 when he returned once more he was nonplussed, as you may imagine, to discover that the little desert rat kangaroo had quietly vanished - as utterly as it had after Gould's single sighting in 1843. It hasn't been seen since.
No, No, Nanette

Left: The cast of No, No, Nanette: Shonn Wiley, Beth Leavel, Michael Berresse, Mara Davi, Sandy Duncan, Rosie O'Donnell and Charles Kimbrough. (photo by Joan Marcus)

Kathleen mentioned this several weeks ago, and I had forgotten to note it, but there's never a bad time to mention Mara Davi's exploits:
No, No, Nanette is based on Frank Mandel and Emily Nyitray's comedy My Lady Friends. The musical, according to press notes, is a "light-hearted tale of millionaires, misunderstood wives, bathing beauties, wanton women and flappers. Nanette (Mara Davi), a young Manhattan heiress, tries to experience life by running away to the big, bad and bawdy town of Atlantic City, only to be followed by her straight-laced, tap-dancing fiancé (Shonn Wiley), her cook/chaperone (Rosie O'Donnell), her lawyer and his wife (Beth Leavel) and her legal guardians (Sandy Duncan and Charles Kimbrough), who just want everyone to 'be happy.'"

Bad girl, bad girl, whatchu gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Police in Bucharest are looking for a busking pole dancer who performs her routines on the city's underground railway.

...She apparently performs her routines only when the train is travelling between further apart subway stations in the Romanian capital.

Her modus operandi is to play Tom Jones's You Can Leave Your Hat On on a portable CD player while taking off her clothes and dancing around a pole.

She then puts her clothes back on and passes around a container for passengers to show their appreciation for her efforts.

One passenger, George Stancu, who witnessed the act, said: "I can't say I didn't like the show but I found it unusual. There are lots of kids who travel by underground and I just don't think it's proper."
Can't Get No Respect

Maybe we should hand out Superlative Lobbyist (or SLOB) trophies to help out with the self-esteem issue:
For a group of people who apparently have so much influence in Washington, lobbyists seem to have a hard time keeping politicians from bashing them.

The American League of Lobbyists (ALL) made its second appeal this year to candidates to treat them with more respect.

“We feel there is growing frustration with this concept candidates keep pushing that all lobbyists are evil and somehow what we do is inappropriate,” said Brian Pallasch, the president of ALL.

Left: Cover art by Fredy Wenzel.

Brian May gets his Ph.D.:
Brian May, lead guitarist for Queen and the author of the stadium anthem "We Will Rock You," was awarded his PhD this year in astrophysics from Imperial College London. Now, his first book, "Bang! The Complete History of the Universe," written with astronomer Sir Patrick Moore and astrophysicist Chris Lintott, is being released in the U.S.

Dow Jones Industrial index closes down nearly 400 points.

I love the fact that the DJI index has done so well over the last year, despite all the economic chaos, but I sure don't understand why it's still so high. It's like watching a pig-sized hummingbird zip up and over the oak trees.

Here's more:
Stocks plunged Friday, sending the Dow Jones industrials down nearly 400 points, after oil prices shot up by more than $11 a barrel and neared $140 a barrel — and wiped out investors' recent optimism about the economy in the process.

...Crude oil has seen a huge rebound this week after falling amid a drop in demand for gasoline. The jump continued Friday; light, sweet crude set a high of $139.12 in after-hours trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after settling at $138.54, a gain of $10.75 in the regular session. The surge followed a Morgan Stanley analyst's prediction that crude would reach $150 a barrel by July 4; a decline in the dollar and fresh tensions in the Middle East added to crude's advance.

Oil investors' frantic buying of crude futures made it clear that the market could make the Morgan Stanley prediction a reality. And on Wall Street, crude's soaring price intensified worries that ever-expensive fuel will lead consumers to curtail their spending on nonessentials. With gasoline at the threshold of a national average of $4 a gallon, crude's surge higher is expected to propel gas even higher — and make Americans even more reluctant to spend.

Moreover, the spike in energy prices came as the Labor Department said the nation's unemployment rate jumped to 5.5 percent in May from 5.0 percent in April. It was the biggest monthly increase since February 1986 and the rise leaves unemployment at it highest level since October 2004. Wall Street had predicted an uptick to 5.1 percent.

The number of U.S. jobs shrank by a smaller-than-expected 49,000, but that development offered Wall Street little solace given that May marked the fifth straight month of jobs losses.

Still, the sudden rise in oil prices appeared to weigh most heavily on Wall Street. The jump in oil also came after an Israeli Cabinet minister hoping to replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quoted as saying Israel would attack Iran if it doesn't abandon its nuclear program.

"I think the biggest concern right now is oil and it's potential for a stagflationary environment," said Bill Knapp, investment strategist for MainStay Investments, a division of New York Life Investment Management. Stagflation occurs when stalling growth accompanies rising prices.

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 394.64, or 3.13 percent, to 12,209.81. It was the worst percentage and point drop since Feb. 27, 2007, when the blue chips dropped 416.02 points, or 3.29 percent, as concerns emerged about troubles in the credit market and an economic slowdown.

Broader stock indicators also fell sharply. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 43.37, or 3.09 percent, to 1,360.68, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 75.38, or 2.96 percent, to 2,474.56.

Friday's pullback came a day after the Dow jumped nearly 214 points, its largest daily point gain since April 18 and a reacation to better-than-expected sales from retailers and a dip in weekly jobless claims. The welcome economic news helped investors shrug off a more than $5-a-barrel spike in oil prices. But the advance in oil Friday made it clear to Wall Street that oil posed a serious threat to consumer spending and the economy.
What's Going On At Panama Pottery?

Left: Joe The Plumber (lower right-hand corner) says let's check this place out!

Panama Pottery was founded in 1913 by Swedish immigrants who had been intrigued by pottery during a trip to Panama; thus the name "Panama Pottery".

Driving along 24th Street south of City College in Sacramento, both Joe The Plumber and I were intrigued by Panama Pottery (I had never really noticed it before).

Left: A co-worker with Adam Bradley works on wooden sculptures. Some of these recent sculptures will be displayed at the next Second Saturday, in July, at Tapa The World, at 21st and J Streets, in Sacramento.

Adam Bradley's studio was open. The chainsaws weren't out yet, but were promised!

Left: Big kiln at Panama Pottery.

Left: Pottery-themed mural by Lou (?) Dumron.

Left: The pottery yard at Panama Pottery.

The pottery yard was open too (June sale, 20% off, today and tomorrow). Many interesting works on display were by Susannah Kelly. Joe was particularly fond of a cat's face (seen in the last photo on the Web Page reached via the link above).

Left: Colorful works by Susannah Kelly.

Left: A sunrise (or sunset?) plate.

Left: Pink rabbit.

Left: Nothing like a Celtic-themed wind sculpture for the meteorologist!

Left: Friendly pig.
Cher - Believe

A Hillary anthem if there ever was one....
(thanks to Gabe's idea)

No matter how hard I try
You keep pushing me aside
And I can't break through
There's no talking to you
It's so sad that you're leaving
It takes time to believe it
But after all is said and done
You're gonna be the lonely one, oh

[Chorus] Do you believe in life after love
I can feel something inside me say
'I really don't think you're strong enough, no'
Do you believe in life after love
I can feel something inside that says
'I really don't think you're strong enough, no'

What am I supposed to do
Sit around and wait for you
Well I can't do that
And there's no turning back
I need time to move on
I need a love to feel strong
'Cause I've got time to think it through
And maybe I'm too good for you, oh'


Well I know that I'll get through this
'Cause I know that I am strong
I don't need you anymore
I don't need you anymore,oh
I don't need you anymore
No I don't need you anymore

[Chorus x2]
Circus Osorio

Here's something being erected right now on Franklin just south of Fruitridge. Looks like fun of some sort!


In the middle of routing out my sewer line last night with a rented 75' x 3/4" snake, Joe the Plumber appeared, and told me not to do it the way I was doing it. Fortunately, rather than insisting that he was right, he deferred to my approach, and instead, started to help out with the arduous work. I think there must have been a sequoia growing down there in the sewer line, there were so many tough roots.

Here's hoping the clean pipe lasts.
Edwards Says No

He's said it before, but maybe he means it:
John Edwards has ruled out being Barack Obama's running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket, according to interviews carried by two leading Spanish newspapers on Friday.
I'm now thinking Bill Richardson or Jim Webb.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

DMTC Teen Cabaret Postponed

As Tara relates:
Due to unforeseen circumstances, we will need to postpone the Teen Cabaret.
Early August (~ August 1) looks like the target time for attempting this again.
In The Bunker With Hillary

DMTC's Teen Cabaret This Weekend

Davis Musical Theatre Company
Teen Cabaret Dessert Benefit!
Friday, June 6, 7:30 pm

Come see DMTC’s teen performers light up the stage with great music and dance in the third annual Teen Cabaret! Dessert is provided and all proceeds from the event will fund scholarships awarded to graduating high school seniors. Come enjoy an evening with family and friends and support our teen performers.

Tickets include dessert: $10*
*There are no comp tickets for this fundraising event.

Please share this e-mail with friends and family, and encourage them to buy their tickets in advance, on-line at

See you on Friday night!
The End, Or Not?

One can hope:
“We pledged to support her to the end,” Representative Charles B. Rangel, a New York Democrat who has been a patron of Mrs. Clinton since she first ran for the Senate, said in an interview “Our problem is not being able to determine when the hell the end is.”
Desperation In Orem

Focus, focus:
A woman called Orem police Friday afternoon needing help because her battery died and she was locked inside her car.

When police arrived, they found the woman sitting in the car, unable to get herself out. She couldn’t hear the officers instructions through the rolled-up windows so she motioned to them to call her on her cell phone, according to police.

Once officers were able to talk to the woman on the phone, they were able to tell her how to manually operate the slide lock mechanism on the inside door panel to open the door and free herself.

“I'm just glad she had a cell phone to call for help,” an officer said.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"Secret Garden" - In Rehearsal

Left: Rick Eldridge as Dr. Neville Craven and Kaylynn Rothleder as Mary Lennox. Opening June 13th at DMTC.
Making It Official

Oh, okay:
After two years of below-average rainfall in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought on Wednesday.
Yesterday's Election Results

I was surprised Kevin Johnson did as well as he did in Sacramento's mayoral race. I figured Leonard Padilla's smear campaign would cripple Johnson, but voters apparently cut sports stars more slack than they would others for similar offenses.

The tree branch that fell on Heather Fargo's party at Vallejo's Restaurant looked like an omen; as the Chinese might say, she had lost the 'mandate of heaven'. I voted for her, but it was an unenthusiastic vote for 'Progress': her machinations over the years led to the rapid development of North Natomas, and to the risk that billions of dollars will be lost if/when that deep basin eventually floods.

I had thought of voting for Muriel Strand, since I once met her (on a bike ride from Chico to Sacramento in 1992), and liked her, but I couldn't stomach her insistence that global climate change is the biggest challenge facing Sacramento. Wrong scale of action for the Mayor of Sacramento.

Of course, I once met Leonard Padilla too, and liked him, but I found his intense focus on Johnson to be too smarmy.

On to the mayoral runoff election in November!

I was surprised and pleased that Prop. 98 went to defeat, and Prop. 99 won. Very perceptive voting on behalf of the electorate!

I was also surprised that Tom McClintock won the District 4 Republican primary over Doug Ose. It signals a deep ideological commitment by the Republican primary electorate, and it also signals a highly-polarized campaign this fall for John Doolittle's seat. More interesting than I would have anticipated!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Clinton In A Pout

"No decisions tonight."

We aren't interested in your decisions tonight. You lost. Deal with it.
Cutoff Lows and Australian Climate

It seemed to me that the rain event of May 31 - June 2 in Queensland & northern NSW was a near-perfect example of why the reentrainment of cutoff lows into the general circulation is so important in Australian climatology. Otherwise, what sort of event can be relied upon to bring moisture to such dry latitudes during the dry months? Similar events occur in northern Mexico and the southwestern USA too. The Americas are better situated, in general, for rain, and so don't rely quite so heavily on cutoff lows. Australia is in a jam locationwise, however. No cutoff lows passing near southern Queensland in the dry months means little or no rain.

Statistics on these events would be interesting.
"Mein Herr" from CABARET - Artistic Differences Benefit, June 1, 2008

Thanks to the tip from jrw24 in the comments section for the previous Artistic Differences post. It looks like Stephanie McCall has made the entire show available for viewing!
Reading Bill Bryson's "In A Sunburned Country"

Very funny travel book regarding Australia. Bryson focuses on those oddities most likely to amaze American and British readers.

Bryson relates a tale told by his friend, Catherine Veitch. It's a very Australian story from the bucolic past, long ago....
In the 1950's a friend of Catherine's moved with her young family into a house next door to a vacant lot. One day a construction crew turned up to build a house on the lot. Catherine's friend had a four-year-old daughter who naturally took an interest in all the activity going on next door. She hung around on the margins and eventually the construction workers adopted her as a kind of mascot. They chatted to her and gave her little jobs to do and at the end of the week presented her with a little pay packet containing a shiny new half crown.

She took this home to her mother, who made all the appropriate cooings of admiration and suggested that they take it to the bank the next morning to deposit it in her account. When they went to the bank, the teller was equally impressed and asked the little girl how she had come by her own pay packet.

"I've been building a house this week," she replied proudly.

"Goodness!" said the teller. "And will you be building a house next week, too?"

"I will if we ever get the fucking bricks," answered the little girl.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Artistic Differences Preview & Review Show

Left: Maggie Hollinbeck, Ian Cullity, Michael R.J. Campbell, and Kevin Caravalho sing 'Quartet' from "Chess".

Sunday night featured singular delights, as Artistic Differences' performers sang tunes from "bare", "Falsettos", "Hair", "Chess", and other shows that hopefully may be staged by Artistic Differences in the near future. Various fund-raising devices to help launch these projects included a raffle and a silent auction.

The show, hosted by Ryan Adame & Kristen Wagner, was presented at the Benvenuti Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. The hosts regaled the audience with amusing patter, often along the lines of: Musical theater is so gay, isn't it? And boy, is it ever! But that's another topic for another day. What mattered was that they were funny. And funny is hard.

I wondered how long Artistic Differences had in order to work out their routines, presumably rehearsed elsewhere, on this particular stage. Probably not long: Lighting Designer Nic Candito said he had started working on lights at 3 p.m. and was busy right till opening. Nic clearly loves the rush of deadline adrenalin: myself, nothing is quite so chilling as running out of time!

The show seemed to be late starting: I arrived ten minutes late, as is my flagrant custom, but I was still too early: the audience sat waiting for the show to start. I wondered fleetingly if Erik Daniells had staged this entire event just to deprive me of time with my clogged sewage line at home. But then, after a while, I wondered if lateness served a purpose. Maybe the show had already started, unbeknownst to the audience?

Ensemble members, dressed for the opening number of the show ('Epiphany' from "bare") gathered on the fringe of the audience, speaking and acting rather flamboyantly. Waiting for the show, they were the show. Two people were close enough that I could hear a portion of the extravagant stream-of-consciousness flowing forth:
....I was talking to my priest, and he told me to stop, but I didn't. But he knows what he is talking about!.....Everyone calls me Jungle Jim, but actually my name is Allan. It's not Jim. Or Jungle.....
Very odd! Very amusing!

Here are some pictures from Act I (before the camera's battery failed):

Left: Kelly Daniells as Sally Bowles in 'Mein Herr', from "Cabaret".

Left: 'Mein Herr' ending tableaux, from "Cabaret". Starting from second from left; Joelle Wirth, Kelly Daniells, and Maggie Hollinbeck. The other three, I don't know, but may be (from the program, in no particular order) as Sara Perry, Stephanie McCall, Whitney Claire Roeder, or Amanda Galang.

Left: 'Epiphany' from "bare".

Left: 'Epiphany' from "bare".

Left: Kevin Caravalho sings 'Marriage Proposal' from "Falsettos".

Left: Joelle Wirth sings 'Hippie Life' from "Hair".
A Preview Of The Democratic National Convention

Featuring my living room furniture, currently overwhelmed with superfluous chairs....:

Chair: The Chair recognizes the Chair from the great state of North Carolina.

NC Chair: Thank you. I am a genuine hickory chair, made in 1949!

Chair: Thank you! We are all proud of the heritage of the North Carolina Chair! The Chair now recognizes the Chair from the Golden State of California.

CA Chair: I am a Love Seat. Anyone who pleases can now marry anyone they wish!

AL Chair: Fine! Go marry yourself then!

Chair: The Chair from Alabama is out of order! The Chair from Alabama is out of order! The Chair from California has the floor!

CA Chair: I yield the floor to the unfortunate Rocking Chair from the Great State of Florida, which now has only half a seat.

FL Chair: This is highly irregular, and I must protest! Senior citizens have trouble enough with our ballots, and now this!

Chair: The Chair from Florida is out of order! This matter has already been addressed by the Rules Chair.

FL Chair: I yield to my fellow in pain, the Chair from Michigan.

MI Chair: The Chair from Florida is right! This is unfair! We have half seats, but we refuse to concede that we are half-assed! If this continues, we will have to become wheelchairs!

Chair: These matters have already been settled! There is no point in passing once again through this mill of ambiguity and despair! The Chair now recognizes the Chair from the state of Tennessee.

TN Chair: Musical chairs anyone?
Looking Under The Back Porch Again

Sigh. It's that time of year again, generally every spring, when growing tree roots invade the sewer system and lead to a sewage crisis.

Stage 1 of the crisis is when water backs up under the back porch. Pictured at left is the cement pit under the porch this morning just after I cleaned out the standing water. The cement pit was the house's original water closet area, circa 1908. When the bathroom was moved indoors a couple of decades later, the toilet and sink were removed, but the concrete remains, as does the pipe leading directly to the sewer line from what used to be the toilet. Sewage water generally appears here first, triggering a cessation of use of the washing machine.

Stage 2 of the crisis is when the water bursts from the sewage drain clean-out and floods the basement.

Stage 3 is when drainage from the bathroom grinds to a complete halt and personal hygiene is definitely disrupted. Definitely, definitely disrupted.

I'm at Stage 1 now, but the expensive roto-rooter apparatus I purchased several years ago just for this purpose developed a kinked cable, so it's useless to clean out the roots. The crisis will persist unless I call someone, or get the apparatus fixed. Should I call Joe The Plumber? Hmmmm.... Hmmmmm.... I think it's all a conspiracy of some sort....
Hey, It Happens

Keep an eye on the food stocks:
A JAPANESE man puzzled by food mysteriously disappearing from his refrigerator got a shock when he discovered a woman had been living in his home for months without permission, police said today.

The 57-year-old man who lives alone - or so he thought - in the western city of Fukuoka installed a security camera and called the police when he saw images of someone walking around his home while he was out.

"We searched the house in the man's presence. We found the woman in the closet," said a local police spokesman.

The woman, named as 58-year-old Tatsuko Horikawa, was found in a flat storage space only just big enough for a person to squeeze into lying down.

She had sneaked a mattress and several plastic bottles into the cubby hole, police said, adding that the women had been arrested.

"She told police that she had nowhere to live," the spokesman said.

"She seems to have lived there for about a year, but not all the time."

It is unclear how she managed to enter the home undetected. Police suspect she might have been closet-hopping, moving from house to house.
Dad Is 83 Years Old Today!

Wonders never cease!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Artistic Differences Fundraiser This Evening

From Erik. Lots of good singing! The show is over there at Blackrock & Del Paso, in North Natomas:
Tonight is Artistic Differences' 2008 Preview Show and fundraiser. See some of the top performers from Sacramento, performing songs from AD's past and present at the Benvenuti Performing Arts Center. We will also be serving complimentary refreshments and will be holding a silent auction and raffle with our grand prize : TWO tickets to Mamma Mia in Las Vegas plus airfare. For more information please visit See you at the theater!

Erik Daniells
Executive Producer

Box office #-916-708-3449
Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door
Australia Pulls Troops from Iraq

And the vaunted "Coalition of the Willing" fades away:
Australia, a staunch U.S. ally and one of the first countries to commit troops to the Iraq war five years ago, ended combat operations there Sunday, a Defense Department official said.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was swept into office in November largely on the promise that he would bring home the country's 550 combat troops by the middle of 2008.

Rudd has said the Iraq deployment has made Australia more of a target for terrorism.

The combat troops are expected to return home over the next few weeks. Local media reports said the first of the soldiers had already landed in Australia on Sunday afternoon.

``Our soldiers have worked tirelessly to ensure that local people in southern Iraq have the best possible chance to move on from their suffering under Saddam's regime and, as a government we are extremely proud of their service,'' Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said.

There are two kinds of people in the world: people who divide people into two kinds, and people who don't.

The same holds true for dogs....

Left: Real dog.
Left: Sun dog.