Saturday, September 06, 2008

Nevada Beach, Lake Tahoe

Left: Nevada Beach.

Left: Lake Tahoe crow.

Left: Douglas County Sheriff.

Left: Parasailer.

Left: Bizarro aircraft.

Left: Personal watercraft race.

Left: Heavenly ski resort.

Left: "Karen and Scott" pose for photos after their lakeside wedding.
"Anything Goes" - Runaway Stage Productions (draft)

Left: Bows.

Wonderful opening night show at RSP, with Ruth Phillips as Reno Sweeney, Tevye Ditter as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, Joshua James as Billy, Kelly Daniells as Hope Harcourt, and Bob Baxter as Moonface Martin.

Excellent casting all the way around. Tev and Bob are very funny. Ruth is a strong singer. Joshua is fast-talking and charismatic and kelly is glamorous.

Scott Woodard has few lines, but is very funny.

Nice set design!

Only weak part opening night was the lighting: the stage was shadowed at key locations. The folks are aware of the problem, however, and fixes will be implemented.

Ike Heading Towards The Gulf?

The models have settled down a bit and are now indicating that Hurricane Ike is headed through the Florida Keys into the Gulf of Mexico. NOGAPS suggests New Orleans is the landfall target; GFS suggests the Texas coast near Houston is the target.

If New Orleans is indeed the target, the storm will pass rather close to Tampa. We will need to watch this storm carefully!

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Mad Flosser Goes To The Dentist

When I was a child, my mother took meticulous care than my introduction to the dentist was as pleasant and painless as possible. In addition, my childhood dentist was one of the most affable men imaginable.

The net result is that, today, I love going to the dentist. My health plan pays for two cleanings a year, but I go three times a year - because - well, just because it's just fun to go.

Today I went for teeth cleaning at Dr. Woo's. Some deterioration in the gums that might require attention on my next visit. I can hardly wait!

Since their remodeling, the offices are almost like a plush palace of dentistry. Such a temple to dental cleanliness!

I wonder who pays for it all?
Shifty Ike

Hanna is approaching hurricane strength as it nears landfall tonight (perhaps a short distance east of Charleston, SC).

Earlier this week, the models suggested Hanna would be something of a stalking horse for Ike, and lead Ike offshore and keep it away from Florida. The models’ forecasts have shifted westward again, however. Currently the GFS model is projecting a path that could take out both the Miami area, and Tampa. NOGAPS is a little more generous and takes out only Miami and at the last minute saves Tampa. These forecasts are both quite dire, but because they jump unexpectedly and feature unusual shifts to the SW, I’m reluctant to place much faith in them yet.

It’s still a bit early and the forecasts for Ike could easily shift eastwards again.
Charleston, SC?

Hanna moving towards it.....
Murky Title Over At The Redneck Shop

Strange way to do business:
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A black South Carolina pastor and his church claim they own the building that houses a so-called Klan museum and store where KKK robes and T-shirts emblazoned with racial slurs are sold, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The Rev. David Kennedy said the property was transferred in 1997 to his Laurens County church by a Klansman who was fighting with others inside the hate group. A clause in the deed entitles John Howard, a man who runs the store, to operate his business in the building until he dies.

Kennedy said he'd like to close the store, but at the very least should be allowed to inspect the property.

"We've been outright denied," said Kennedy, pastor of New Beginnings Baptist Church. "Right now what we're focusing on is removing this cloud of doubt and this whole lie that we are not the real owners of the Redneck Shop building."

The lawsuit seeks to establish Kennedy's church as the legal owner of the property and stop Howard and associates from claiming to hold the deed.

According to the lawsuit, Howard and his associates have filed several court documents since the property was given to Kennedy's church that attempt to transfer the deed between various Klan-related owners, ignoring the church's claim.

...Howard, who calls himself a former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon for South Carolina and North Carolina, said Tuesday he hadn't heard of the lawsuit and hang up the phone on an AP reporter.

...Kennedy has led protests outside the store since it opened but said he's never been able to close it because of the agreement that Howard can run the shop for life.

He hopes the building will one day be the home for his New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church, which now meets in a doublewide trailer.
Paul Krugman Poses Some Questions

And follows up with a discussion about the politics of resentment.

I comfort myself with the analogy that Kennedy, not Nixon, won the 1960 election:
Can the super-rich former governor of Massachusetts — the son of a Fortune 500 C.E.O. who made a vast fortune in the leveraged-buyout business — really keep a straight face while denouncing “Eastern elites”?

Can the former mayor of New York City, a man who, as USA Today put it, “marched in gay pride parades, dressed up in drag and lived temporarily with a gay couple and their Shih Tzu” — that was between his second and third marriages — really get away with saying that Barack Obama doesn’t think small towns are sufficiently “cosmopolitan”?

Can the vice-presidential candidate of a party that has controlled the White House, Congress or both for 26 of the past 28 years, a party that, Borg-like, assimilated much of the D.C. lobbying industry into itself — until Congress changed hands, high-paying lobbying jobs were reserved for loyal Republicans — really portray herself as running against the “Washington elite”?

Yes, they can.
Fully Evolved

Story tag-line today over at Lucianne's site:
A startled MSM goes into cockroach panic as Sarah Palin shows what a fully evolved woman really looks like.
T-Shirts From Back In The Day

Left: This undated photo provided by the Heath family shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in her dorm room at the University of Idaho. Palin seems to have switched colleges at least six times in six years, including two stints at the University of Idaho before graduating from there in 1987.
(Heath Family/AP Photo)

Governor Palin graduated from the University of Idaho with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1987 (same year that I got a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona).

I like her T-Shirt. Reminds me of one of my favorite T-Shirts from the 1980's, which I used to wear a lot at the University of Arizona. I went to see a talk by one of the famed group who were the first women ever to climb the Himalayan mountain "K2" (among the highest mountains on Earth, and perhaps the most dangerous of all). The T-Shirt slogan was "A Woman's Place Is On Top".

The Eighties were a good decade for T-Shirts.....
What "Heart" Thinks About McCain/Palin Using Their Song Without Permission

Not happy:
They emailed the McCain/Palin campaign on Thursday afternoon, asking that they no longer use their song, but then it was played again on Thursday night.

“The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission,” said their initial email to the campaign. When it was still played, Nancy Wilson called Entertainment Weekly to vent. “I think it’s completely unfair to be so misrepresented. I feel completely fucked over,” she said. She and her sister Ann then emailed this statement to “Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song ‘Barracuda’ no longer be used to promote her image. The song ‘Barracuda’ was written in the late ’70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women.
Sarah Palin Rap: Angry White Woman

(Harsh language warning!)
The Magical Piggy Bank

The Wizard who utterly failed to anticipate the results of keeping interest rates too low speaks again. He seems to be worried about moral hazard, deficit spending, and creeping socialism, but really, what is Ben Bernanke supposed to DO, except handle the bad set of cards he was dealt as well as he can? Had he done nothing we would have already seen a stock market crash:
[Alan] Greenspan envisions the formation of a group akin to the Resolution Trust Corp. to step in, take a troubled company into conservatorship, wipe out the equity, impose some charge or "haircut" on its debts before guaranteeing them and then selling its assets. The RTC was created in 1989 to deal with the aftermath of the savings and loan crisis. It disposed of the assets of failed savings and loans and then went out of business.

...Critics in Congress, in academia and elsewhere worry that the Fed's unprecedented actions - including financial backing in March for JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)'s takeover of Bear Stearns Cos. - are putting taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars of potential losses. They also say it encourages "moral hazard," that is, allowing financial companies to gamble more recklessly in the future.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who took the helm after Greenspan, has repeatedly defended the Fed's actions, saying they were necessary to avert a meltdown of the entire financial system, which would have devastated the U.S. economy.

...Greenspan, 82, who ran the Fed for 18 1/2 years and was the second-longest serving chief, says he is concerned that Capitol Hill will look to the Fed's actions "as a wondrous new font of seemingly costless federal funding - a magical piggy bank."
Oh come on, Alan, who DOESN'T like the idea of a magical piggy bank?
Greenspan calls the current crisis "one of those rare, once in a century or half-century events."
No, these events seem to be happening once a decade, or less. Remember the savings and loan crisis, or the dotcom crisis? They weren't that long ago. Indeed, the frequency of these events seem to be increasing!
Looking back, Greenspan says governments and central banks probably could not have altered the course of the once high-flying housing market and broken through investors' fevered euphoria.
No, YOU couldn't, Mr. Greenspan. An interest rate increase anyone?
He believes that the government should have gone after fraudulent mortgage practices, however. "Bank regulators, who are expert in accounting, banking law and risk management, are not equipped for this job," he says. "It requires law-enforcement professionals."
You could have lobbied for the enforcement of laws already on the books, Mr. Greenspan, had you cared.
Greenspan has taken much criticism for failing to crack down on dubious lending practices that eventually came to roost with the subprime meltdown and for failing to act as a forceful banking regulator. He also has been blamed for keeping interest rates too low for too long, feeding the housing bubble.
Epitaph for a Wizard.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Battle Of The Birds

Support the team!
RIVAL groups of birds behave like football fans, shouting chants at each other and commiserating after a loss, research from England's University of Bristol has revealed.

Green woodhoopoes, a South African bird, live together in gangs of up to 12 and "rival groups often engage in raucous vocal displays, akin to opposing football supporters chanting at one another'', the university in the west of England said.

The research by Dr Andy Radford, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B, also revealed that the birds preen each other after a conflict, particularly when they have just lost or the battle lasted a long time.

"Just as football fans commiserate with their friends in the pub when their team loses a match... birds support one another following contests with their rivals,'' the university said.
Since Hanna Might Hit Savannah....

How I'll Spend Retirement

With my little part-time job, and my little male reluctance to ask directions:
NEW YORK -- The driver of a school bus that circled Brooklyn for nearly five hours while carrying about a dozen kindergartners and first-graders has been suspended.

Authorities say the 53-year-old driver claimed he had gotten lost Wednesday while ferrying the children from the Achievement First Brownsville Charter School to their homes.
Life Imitating Art

The September 2004 cover of Life Magazine, featuring Tina Fey and John McCain.
RNC Hell Week Crescendo Tonight!

I listened to a portion of Rudy Giuliani's speech last night. Like a commenter at another Web Site said, and quoting Molly Ivins, I would have preferred the speech in its original German.

Some things Rudy said were quite funny. Talking about Wasilla, AK (and paraphrasing what he said): "they probably cling to religion there." Funny! Sarcastic, but funny! I thought up one of my own: "They don't grow arugula in Wasilla," but Rudy had gone overtime, and I just bet he would have offended the well-organized lobby of arugula farmers from some crucial swing state somewhere. And, who knows, maybe they do grow arugula in Wasilla. That southern Alaskan soil does support some of the largest and strangest vegetables in the U.S., providing mutant pumpkins and watermelons among other things.

The amazing hypocrisy Olympics of the Republican convention is what startled most of all. The Republican Party abandoned many its well-considered Culture War positions of the last century in one short, spectacular week! Amazing! What will they do next? It's just a matter of time before its anti-abortion stance goes too, at this rate.

NKB sends this:
When I first heard about Sarah Palin's, uh, domestic irregularities, I expected social conservatives to react with a kind of qualified, patronizing support—we are all sinners, there but for the grace of God, something like that. Instead, they are embracing her with unbridled admiration. The Family Research Council praised her for "choosing life in the midst of a difficult situation." Cathie Adams of the Eagle Forum, a conservative women's group, called her "the kind of woman I've been looking for all along." The two difficult pregnancies—Palin's with a Down syndrome baby and now her unmarried teenage daughter's—is just proof that "they're doing everything right," gushes Adams. Even the stern religious right godfather James Dobson doted: "A lot of people were praying, and I believe Sarah Palin is God's answer."

...What's missing from the conservative reaction is still remarkable. Just 15 years ago, a different Republican vice president was ripping into the creators of Murphy Brown for flaunting a working woman who chose to become a single mother. This time around, there's no stigma, no shame, no sin attached to what Dan Quayle would once have mockingly called Bristol Palin's "lifestyle" choices. In fact, so cavalier are conservatives about Sarah Palin's wreck of a home life that they make the rest of us look stuffy and slow-witted by comparison. "I think a hard-working, well-organized C.E.O. type can handle it very well," said Phyllis Schlafly, of the Eagle Forum.

Suddenly it's the Obamas, with their oh-so-perfect marriage and their Dick Van Dyke in the evenings and their two boringly innocent young girls, who seem like the fuddy-duddies.

...The most remarkable differences between the large mass of evangelicals and the rest of Americans are in divorce statistics. Since the '70s, evangelicals and the coastal elites have effectively switched places. Evangelicals are now far more likely to get divorced, whereas couples with four years of college education have cut their divorce rates in half. An intact happy marriage that produces well-behaved children, it turns out, is becoming a luxury of the elites—bad news for the Obamas.
Fire Freaked Me Out

Left: It was Thursday at 2:10 a.m., and I was doing what I normally do at 2:10 a.m. - driving randomly around the city - when I spotted this fire engine directly in front of the Step One health and fitness studio at 19th & T Streets.

I circled back around the block, parked, opened the door, and caught the strong stench of smoke. I started freaking out! That's my aerobics connection there!

Left: Turned out the fire had nothing to do with Step One. The battery of this vehicle had exploded unexpectedly and the entire vehicle had caught fire.

The good-natured driver was resigned and philosophical about the situation. She said: "It was a good car."
Stock Market Fall Down, Go Boom

Ow! 345 points or so!

Mired in my trademark financial illiteracy, I tried to figure out why the mutual funds in my 401K seemed to defy gravity and rise, when everything else was falling. Turns out, the holdings were divided into two sectors: commodities and software. Even as Microsoft, Google, and others tumbled, the rapid rise of oil prices saved the day. It was like having half my body locked in ice and the other half in a sauna - on the average, I was doing fine.

But starting in July, oil prices started falling, so I too fell to Earth, waxen wings fluttering uselessly against the hard pavement.
Render Unto Caesar - Your Dead
(you are right, Gabe, that IS a crappy blog post title. Let's try...)
Bring Out Your Dead And Render Them Unto Caesar
(hummm...that's not funny, that's just sick. How about?)
The Decline And Fall Explained?
(that's just wrong. One last shot....)
The Roman Curse

I say, let's blame the Ancient Romans for everything that goes wrong today:
Researchers found that people who live in lands conquered by the Roman army have less protection against HIV than those in countries they never reached

They say a gene which helps make people less susceptible to HIV occurs in greater frequency in areas of Europe that the Roman Empire did not stretch to.

...People with the mutation have some resistance to HIV infection and also take longer to develop AIDS, reports New Scientist.

...More than 15 per cent of people in some areas of northern Europe carry it compared with fewer than four per cent of Greeks.

...But study leader Dr Eric Faure, of Provence University in France, does not believe the Romans spread the regular version of the gene into their colonies by breeding with indigenous people.

Dr Faure, whose findings are published in Infection, Genetics and Evolution, said: "Gene flow between the two was extremely low."

Instead he believes the Romans introduced a disease to which people carrying the gene variant were particularly susceptible. As the Romans moved north this disease killed off people with the variant gene that now protects against HIV.
Hanna Moving Northward Now

Tropical Storm Hanna is beginning to move NNW, and (fortunately) it’s still a disorganized mess. It’s likely to strengthen, however, with landfall predictions bracketing South Carolina (NOGAPS says Savannah; GFS says Myrtle Beach).

Ike is now a powerful, dangerous hurricane. It should approach Florida, but it is likely to get lured into Hanna’s path northeastward around the Bermuda High, and its Florida approach is thus likely to get short-circuited. NOGAPS suggests it gets close enough to clip the West Palm Beach area, but GFS suggests Ike won’t even get that close.

Tropical Storm Josephine is still a fairly-weak storm.
Everlast: "Folsom Prison Blues"

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My Most Annoying Movie-Watching Experience Ever

For some reason, Gabe decided I needed to be reminded of the most annoying moment in the most annoying film ever, 'The Day After Tomorrow'. In this scab on the body cinema, two LA tornadoes collide and merge (at point 3:37 in this YouTube clip).

Did the moviemakers spend five minutes consulting a meteorologist before spending a fortune on computer graphics for this scene? Do cinematographers understand that whirlwinds of any sort in close proximity to each other will dance around each other first in whirling circles prior to merging? No, of course not! Hello! Anyone in Hollywood interested in the science of weather? Are you kidding?

Now I'm mad. I feel like yelling at random strangers about vorticity....
Byron York Finds A Nut

I like the way Atrios headlines his post "Blind Squirrel", and leads into the quote with "Byron York's Hair finds a nut." Just a classic of the blog medium:
Perhaps I'm focusing on an irrelevant issue, but the presence, or non-presence, of Johnston on the stage tonight strikes me as important. It's one thing for delegates to be understanding and compassionate about the fix these two teenagers have gotten themselves into. It's another to actually celebrate it. And, given what we've learned in the last few days, if Johnston is up on stage with his girlfriend and the Palin family, and Republicans are wildly cheering, it will certainly look like they are celebrating this situation.

I don't usually engage in these scenarios, but I'll do it here. If the Obamas had a 17 year-old daughter who was unmarried and pregnant by a tough-talking black kid, my guess is if that they all appeared onstage at a Democratic convention and the delegates were cheering wildly, a number of conservatives might be discussing the issue of dysfunctional black families.
Wasilla Marquee

Best of luck!
Rain Showers In Brisbane Today

Nice, developing northwesterly low from central Queensland.

I've been a bit baffled by the water situation there for the last several months. It hasn't rained very much at all through the normal, arid Queensland winter, but the SEQWater dam water storage hasn't dipped in response. Either there have been some fortuitous, surreptitious rains down there, or water use is very low. Either way, it's an encouraging thing to see!
Cemetery Humor

Jim McElroy writes:
I lifted the photo you posted today and added it to my collection of cemetery humor. In return I am attaching my all time favorite photo in this category.
Ain't That The Truth!

A New Zealand photo spotted on Wicked Thoughts.
How Did Australia Edge The USA In The Obesity Olympics?

Both nations have a soft and fat citizenry, but Australia beat out the U.S. by a love handle. How was this feat made possible?

Probably it was because of this weighty Hungry Jack (same as Burger King) entry:
TV commercials are promoting the Hungry Jack's Quad Stack Burger, which contains four beef patties, four slices of cheese, two rashers of bacon, barbecue sauce and two sugared buns. It contains 71g of fat, 34.7g of saturated fat, 1930 milligrams of sodium, and 74.8g of protein.
Kylie Minogue - The One [Official Music Video]

So if this is the official video, the Kylie Show video is, in some sense, unofficial.
We Are Now All Moral Relativists

Conservative traditions, pretzelfied. Bill O'Reilly used to say it was the parents' fault, but that was so August. And it's the media's fault, of course:
The lack of mainstream media attacks on Bristol Palin didn't stop true believers from uncorking on a favorite straw man.

The crowd groaned at the mere mention of the pregnancy issue during a panel here Tuesday morning. Idaho Lt. Gov. Jim Risch was one of several panelists who rose to defend Bristol's honor. Risch dismissed all baby talk with a terse: "Next question." And former McCain political aide Mike Murphy, now an NBC news-talker, ordered the media to "lay off the kid."

Even the youngest delegate here, 17-year-old Mike Knopf, had fully digested the day's "bad-media" message. "Despite what the liberal media is trying to say," regurgitated young Knopf in an interview with Newsweek, "she has nothing to be ashamed of."
Still Worried About Hanna

This morning, the NOGAPS forecast was just about the worst forecast I had ever seen for Tampa: Hanna hitting the Miami area on Friday, and crossing the state to hit Tampa, followed in a week by Ike following almost the exact same path across Miami to hit Tampa.

Tonight, the forecast is slightly better, with Hanna hitting Jacksonville (and subsequently making a direct hit on Aiken, SC), and only Ike making a direct hit on Tampa.

Meaning that, despite news tonight that Hanna is weakening over Haiti, it still is a major hazard that must be carefully watched. Same with Ike; same with Josephine.

Tonight, GFS forecasts Hanna will hit Myrtle Beach, SC, on Friday. Since the storm is currently disorganized, it’s hard to say for sure which landfall point it will be.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Rhythmic Motion

This morning, I awoke to a strange squeak in the ceiling. The house was resonating to some unknown rhythmic motion somewhere. The washer or dryer could do that, but they were silent, so the motion had to coming from somewhere else.

It must be an earthquake. I wondered if it was a Bay Area quake, or a Napa quake, or a Lake Tahoe quake. Perhaps the strange squeak in the ceiling could yield a hint. Since the quake seemed to be quite extended, I decided it had to be a large Bay Area quake rather than an abrupt Lake Tahoe quake.

Listening a bit more, I finally realized the rhythmic motion was Sparky in the other room scratching himself....
Alaska Governor Palin's Welcome to the Alaska Independence Party

The AIP yearns for secession, but they have a friend in Sarah Palin.
Surfing B3ta

Left: DogHorse: Born To Krill

Thinks were quiet till just now, so I went over to B3ta to see what people there have been doing...

Left: Bela Lugosi's Dad: What's Wrong With You People?

Left: That Random Guy: We Don't Talk About Him

Plus, this animated gif by The Figurative Pineapple, called "Gustav Will Change The Face Of New Orleans" is great too!
The McCain Campaign Begins To Discipline The Media

Good luck with that:
Yesterday, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds appeared on CNN for an interview with Campbell Brown. Brown was tough on Bounds, refusing to let him spout typical campaign talking points. She repeatedly pressed him on Palin’s foreign policy experience and qualifications, asking him to name one decision that she made as commander-in-chief of the Alaskan National Guard. Bounds was unable to do so.

Today, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer revealed that because of that tough interview, the McCain campaign has canceled the senator’s appearance on Larry King Live tonight:
The McCain campaign said it believed that exchange was over the line and as a result the interview scheduled for Larry King Live with Sen. McCain was pulled. CNN does not believe that Campbell’s interview was over the line. We are committed to fair coverage of both sides of this historic election.
Meanwhile, back on the celebrity front, Lindsay Lohan thinks this pregnancy matter is distracting the nation from important issues:
I am concerned with the fact that Sarah Palin brought the attention to her daughter’s pregnancy, rather than all world issues and what she believes she could possibly do to change them-if elected. I get Sarah Palin’s views against abortion, but i would much prefer to hear more about what she can do for our country rather than how her daughter is going to have a child no matter what.
"Uniquely and Supremely Unqualified"

I like it when James Carville gets annoyed. Carville, who supported Hillary Clinton from Day One, took umbrage when he was told that criticizing Sarah Palin's qualifications was "demeaning to women."
Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself!

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters
When Governing Was New

Back in the 90's, before Sarah Palin got tired of Culture War issues and found ethics reform:
Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.
Hanna And Ike

The forecasts have shifted Hanna’s landfall west again. NOGAPS suggests a landfall south of Jacksonville, FL, on Thursday evening, and GFS suggests a landfall just north of Savannah, GA, sometime midday Friday, with the unhappy, exposed Georgia coast between both posited landfalls. Hurricane strength is currently forecast to be a little less powerful than Gustav was at landfall: perhaps Category 2 for Hanna.

Aiken, SC, warning: Be alert to heavy rainfall and winds this weekend!

Tampa warning: If the southern landfall holds, Tampa’s weather is bound to be perturbed by such a nearby hurricane.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 97L has been christened Tropical Storm Ike. NOGAPS currently suggests that it will be at the Florida Keys in a week, and a potential threat to Tampa, and other cities along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, in about 9 days.
Hurriedly Trying To Figure Out The History Of This Thing Before It Gets Erased From The Internet

My curiosity was piqued about how the liberal blog The Daily Kos was apparently the starting point of the false "Trig is Bristol's son" rumors that forced the McCain/Palin campaign to acknowledge that Bristol is pregnant. The scurrilous nature of the rumors forced the Obama campaign to denounce anyone associated with them. Whatever rumors these were, they were very powerful ones if they perturbed Obama too!

I was a little surprised that The Daily Kos might be the first blog to traffic in such rumors, mostly because, in the hen-peck hierarchy of left-bloggerdom, The Daily Kos is on top, not on the bottom, where one would presume such rumors would start. If anything, the Daily Kos compiles information from elsewhere, it doesn't start rumors. It's like the Encyclopedia Brittanica Of Left-Blogistan.

But because The Daily Kos has so many diarists, and so many more-or-less independent cells, it can troll both the top and the bottom of the rumor universe at the same time, like some kind of information sieve. An out-of-control balleen whale of gossip, should The Daily Kos choose, with people at the bottom starting rumors and people at the top simultaneously shooting them down. It could be made more efficient than Entertainment Tonight at spreading scurrilous rumors, if its contributors were interested in moving in that direction (which they usually aren't, except when they are). A very powerful information tool!

Today (so soon!), the scurrilous story is gone from Daily Kos. The history of this event is being dropped down the memory hole faster than you can blink your eyes. Amnesia cures all ails! But this time, it culprit isn't the usual suspects - Karl Rove and the Bush Administration - but more-affable folks one would think would be above this.

Fortunately the story was cached, and can be found at this site, and hopefully no one else will try to drop bombs on it - for the historical record, of course!

And the false rumor performed a useful function, which was to dislodge actual fact into the public realm.

Hail Gossip!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Like They Don't Have Enough Problems Already

In the family way:
Bristol Palin, the 17-year-old daughter of Sarah Palin, is pregnant and will keep the baby and marry the baby's father, the Republican vice presidential candidate said Monday.
Don't Knock The Celebrities!

Tina Fey will save us from the nasty hurricane.
Landfall Is Nigh

Gustav hits southern Louisiana Monday morning. Currently it’s a Category 3 storm (similar to Katrina) and heading towards Grand Isle, LA, just west of the Mississippi River inlet. After Gustav comes ashore it should continue on the same vector for awhile, crossing the state of Louisiana. Thus, the NOGAPS model suggests heavy rain may ultimately fall as far west and north as Oklahoma City.

There was this interesting article in the New York Times Magazine a year ago regarding hurricanes and insurance that provided an interesting fact: by happenstance and luck, no hurricane has yet been recorded to cross the Georgia coastline.

Hurricane Hanna might break that record. The NOGAPS model currently suggests a landfall at Jacksonville, FL on Thursday night. The GFS model suggests landfall at Charleston, SC on Friday morning. The Georgia coastline is right in-between, and quite vulnerable.

Tropical depression 97L is picking up strength in the eastern Atlantic and slowly making its way west.
Federal Energy Policy

This cartoon gives a flavor of how our politicians perceive American energy independence (as suggested by Jim McElroy).
"Hurricane Phoenix"

Jim McElroy sends a link to an interesting account of "Hurricane Phoenix": the big storm that recently struck Phoenix, AZ. Jim explains:
Terry Tang is a long time friend of my daughter and a writer for AP currently based in Phoenix.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

"bare" (draft)

I went to see "bare" at The Space on Friday. Bill The Carpenter came with me for Act I, but the excellent music at the show got him pining for his own compositions and he bailed out at intermission in order to go home and continue working on his own album (that's the strangest form of praise I've yet encountered - an itch to leave!)

"bare"'s rich harmonies reminded me of "Rent". In a sense, with its intimate coed Catholic school setting, "bare" has much of "Rent"'s appeal, but pitched to a younger age cohort. Since we tend to be most affected by art expression aimed at our age group, it didn't surprise me that several people I talked to were seeing the show for a second, third, or even fourth time. One person even said "bare" now superseded "Les Miserables" and "Rent" as his favorite show.

(Of course, this age appeal thing doesn't always work. For example, TV sitcoms about folks in their fifties trying to pay off mortgages don't particularly catch my interest, even today. But I do remember just how gripping I found the (then new) science fiction novel "Dune", which I read in 1971, when I was fourteen. And how old was the protagonist of the book, Paul Muad 'dib, Wormrider, he of the indigo-colored eyes, when he captured the Spice Trade and became Master of the Universe? Well, he was fourteen! I liked that book: I liked that book a lot!)

But it works the other way too. Several older people I talked to found the show somewhat offputting. "I don't know what I think about all this homosexual grab ass," one person said, which sounds like they know exactly what they think about all this homosexual grab ass, but just won't say it. Another person called the show "angsty - very angsty" (which brought to mind Woody Allen).

Before I saw the show, I heard a specific complaint about the staging of 'Portrait Of A Girl' which featured (Ivy) Kelly Daniells singing as a pair of dancers cavorted behind her: "That was very distracting!" Since I like dancing, I was tempted to counter-interpret this statement to mean Kelly's singing was interfering with perfectly good dancing. But when I saw the show, I realized the different actions weren't meant to clash, but rather complement each other, in a modern musical way, which has been heavily influenced by the sort of quick cuts and simultaneous singing/dancing exemplified in music videos. If you aren't a fan of music videos, or haven't been inured to their ways, you won't like the staging.

The show was amazingly crude at times, which is all part of the fun, of course. Everyone looks so - how shall I say? - sexy! (Netty Carey melts steel, Kelly Daniells can cause accidents, and if I played homosexual grab ass I'd be in heaven.)

I was a little disappointed the Catholic angle wasn't worked harder - papier mache gonads distract from philosophy. Scott Martin makes a fabulous confessional priest (particularly in 'Two Households'), but his character needs to break out more from the confessional box. Rewrite please!

The actors in the show were all top notch. Ian Cullity was just amazing as Jason. Lucas Blair was sensitive and tortured as Peter. Kelly Daniells was energetic as Ivy. Joelle Wirth's acidic interpretations of events were very funny!

(more to come)
Like a Laser Beam Pointed At Louisiana

The models all agree that Gustav will hit southern or SE Louisiana on Monday. Some forecasts say it will be a Category 4 storm at landfall – more powerful than Katrina. Nevertheless its presentation on satellite pictures is not as large and awesome as I remember Katrina being in 2005, and I’m hoping – praying - it’s not as powerful.

Hanna’s path is hard to forecast. The models keep inching Hanna farther east. NOGAPS currently forecasts landfall at Savannah, SC on Friday morning (which would lead to heavy flooding throughout the entire Savannah River watershed). GFS currently suggests a landfall near Wilmington, NC. I hope the models keep inching the storm to the east – we don’t any of this.

And there is a new tropical depression way out there over the horizon, named 97L, just west of the Cape Verde Islands just off the African coast. 97L may follow a path that would eventually bring it to the same area where Fay and Gustav picked up strength.