Saturday, June 20, 2009

Night At The Museum, Indeed

Like William Faulkner said, "The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past."
Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer was killed in 1876 along the Little Big Horn River by Native Americans he aimed to destroy.

But Hollywood brought him back to life as a character in the Ben Stiller comedy “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” which opened in theaters May 22. McDonald's included characters from the movie as toys in its kid-sized Happy Meals.

The fast food chain's decision to circulate the toy in Indian Country is akin to circulating a Hitler figure in Israel, according to Laurette Pourier, executive director for the Society for the Advancement of Native Interests-Today. “It's insensitive and disrespectful.”

“We are oral historians, and Custer's escapades are not far from our hearts,” said Paula Long Fox, a guidance counselor for the Rapid City School District. “Custer didn't kill Indians or Natives, he killed relatives.”

Just The Song For The Exasperated Liberal These Days

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Ten Commandments Of Being A Raver

The wisdom of the old ravers, passed on to the young ravers. Ah, to be young and in the early 90's again (except, as I recall, I was already bent with age by the techno days of the early 90's and didn't go raving, despite the yearning.

This reminds me a bit of "Xanadu", somehow. That was closer to my age. Back when we had taste (as 2002's Austin Powers III reminds us, in the roller skating scenes from "Goldmember").

"The Music Man" Premieres Tonight!

Left: "Marian the Librarian", featuring Rand Martin as Harold Hill and Laura Wardrip as Marian Paroo, with Christina Rae getting her book stamped.

Here are three pictures from dress rehearsal Thursday night....

Left: "Shipoopi".

Left: "Seventy-Six Trombones".

Left: Rand Martin as Harold Hill and Gil Sebastian as Mayor Shinn.

And more pictures from Wednesday night....

Left: Lenore Sebastian as Mrs. Paroo and Rand Martin as Harold Hill.

Below left: Left: "Marian the Librarian" - Tommy Djilas (Matthew Kohrt) and Zaneeta Shinn (McKinley C.).

Below right: Laura Wardrip as Marian Paroo and Kendyl I. as Amaryllis Hix.

Left: "Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little" ladies.

Left: "(Ya Got) Trouble", featuring Rand Martin as Harold Hill.

Left: "Iowa Stubborn".

Upcoming - "The Sleeping Beauty Ballet" - Applegate Dance Studio

I got a nice invitation in the E-Mail:

I offer an invitation to a wonderful ballet performance showing the weekend of June 26th, 27th and 28th. This is one of the two annual performances put on by Applegate Dance Company, directed by Lisa Applegate, a Davis local. This year's Sleeping Beauty ballet includes over 75 performers, some of whom are Davis locals, some professionals. I enthusiastically encourage you to come and see this wonderful performance and possibly write a review on your blog? Showtimes and ticket information are on the attached flyer.

Dion Wiedenhoefer

Thank you for the invitation!

That would be fun! I've never seen an Applegate show (except, kinda, once, when I stood behind the Vet theater during a recital and watched various groups practice in the parking lot before going onstage).

The only problem is that I'm also performing next weekend, in DMTC's "The Music Man". The only performance I could make would be the first one, and then only if I skip work. I'd have to develop a terrible, debilitating *cough* midday Friday, at least for half an hour, or for however long it takes to get out the door. But since they reduced my hours at work lately, maybe I don't even have to do that.

Looking forward to seeing the show!


Here's some more information......

Davis High School - Richard Brunelle Theater

The Sleeping Beauty Ballet

Friday June 26th,1:00pm
Friday June 26th, 7:30pm
Saturday June 27th, 7:30pm
Sunday June 28th, 2:30pm

Tickets: Pre-Sale $12, At The Door $14
Tickets Available starting one week in advance of the show at the Davis Nugget Market East Covell Blvd.

Starring Applegate Dance Company's Concert-Premiere Dancer Anna Wilen as Princess Aurora, Ted Keener of the Smuin Ballet as Prince Desire, and professional hip hop dancer "Q" as the Evil Carabosse. A cast of 75 zealous dancers, professional lights, sets and costumes bring to life the classic story! A magical time for all ages! Join us and get caught up in the spell!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Andrew Lippa's Wild Party - Runaway Stage

Within the last several days, several videos from RSP's January production "Andrew Lippa's Wild Party" have appeared on YouTube. Great show! The video for 'Poor Child' is a must-see as well, but I like this one the most, because it features Darryl Strohl's choreography (and dancing too, since he's right up there in the mix). (Pam Kay Lourentzos is featured at about 3:25).

"Let Me Drown" features Dan Masden as the clown Burrs and Andrea Thorpe as Kate.

"Poor Child" features Scott Woodard as Black), Andrea Thorpe as Kate, Amber Jean Moore as Queenie, and Dan Masden as Burrs.

RIP, Lee Donowitz

Lee Donowitz (Jan Isaacson's father) was a great guy; a nice man, and we will all miss him.

Steve and Jan left for Florida this afternoon, so this upcoming opening weekend of "The Music Man" will be something of an oddity: one of the few show weekends in DMTC's history when both the Isaacsons will be absent. Nevertheless, we will carry on, in high spirits.

After all, what can possibly go wrong...go wrong...go wrong...go wrong...go wrong...go wrong...go wrong...go wrong?

The Washington Post Double-Downs On Its Right-Wing Stance

It figures. Nevertheless, it means the Washington Post, along with the Washington Times, have decided irrelevance is the best strategy for their future:
The Washington Post Company has dismissed veteran online columnist Dan Froomkin, according to Politico's Mike Calderone, who writes about media for the political website.

Author of "The White House Watch" blog, Calderone said only that Froomkin had been let go. "In so many words," he writes, "Froomkin was told that his blog had essentially run its course."

"Froomkin's work for the Post has, at times, been amongst the most popular, but he has also ruffled some feathers, including former Post ombudsman Deb Howell, who used a column to field complaints over the labeling of Froomkin's "highly opinionated and liberal" "White House Briefing" column, which was subsequently changed to 'White House Watch,'" he adds. Froomkin's purportedly final column is available here.
Glenn Greenwald, a popular columnist and scholar at Salon, questioned the Post's intelligence in dismissing one of their most popular online writers.
One of the rarest commodities in the establishment media is someone who was a vehement critic of George Bush and who now, applying their principles consistently, has become a regular critic of Barack Obama -- i.e., someone who criticizes Obama from what is perceived as "the Left" rather than for being a Terrorist-Loving Socialist Muslim," Greenwald writes. "It just got a lot rarer, as The Washington Post -- at least according to Politico's Michael Calderone -- just fired columnist, long-time Bush critic and Obama watchdog (i.e., a real journalist) Dan Froomkin.
What makes this firing so bizarre and worthy of inquiry is that, as Calderone notes, Froomkin was easily one of the most linked-to and cited Post columnists. At a time when newspapers are relying more and more on online traffic, the Post just fired the person who, in 2007, wrote 2 out of the top 10 most-trafficked columns. In publishing that data, Media Bistro used this headline: 'The Post's Most Popular Opinions (Read: Froomkin).' Isn't that an odd person to choose to get rid of?
Greenwald praised Froomkin as one of the few liberal pundits who criticize Obama from the left under principles they also drew on when they criticized former President George W. Bush.

...Wonkette, a popular satire blog, was equally scathing.
Think about this one example, of many: wretched columnist Richard Cohen, whom the Post passes off as one of its tenured liberal critics, was embarrassingly wrong about every possible aspect of the Iraq War — as was the entire Liberal editorial board — and when asked in 2006 to reflect on his hawkishness during the first Bush term, he wrote, “In a post-Sept. 11 world, I thought the prudent use of violence could be therapeutic.” This pathetic, grumpy person who was sneeringly wrong about very important War issues and then explained it all away, years later, with that sociopathic “quip” about human life, is still a weekly columnist at this newspaper, where the other op-ed “stars” include Charles Krauthammer — who called Froomkin “stupid” in a printed column — Bill Kristol, David Broder, Fred Hiatt, Jackson Diehl, George Will, David Ignatius, and Michael Gerson.
-John Byrne

Governor Watts Announces Candidacy For California governor!

2010 approaches, and it's time to start thinking about running for Governor!

Daniel Watts was the second-youngest of the 135 candidates who ran in the 2003 California Gubernatorial Election, and among the most energetic. At the time, he was a student at UCSD. Now, he's at UC Davis, and part of the greater Davis community.

Support your candidates!

"The Music Man" - Wednesday Night Rehearsal

Left: "(Ya Got) Trouble", featuring Rand Martin as Harold Hill.

Left: "Goodnight, My Someone", featuring Laura Wardrip as Marian Paroo.

Left: "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean", featuring Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn (Mary Young).

Left: Wa Tan Ye Girls, with Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn (Mary Young) and Kendyl I. (Amaryllis Hix).

Left: "Seventy-Six Trombones" - Harold Hill (Rand Martin).

Left: "Seventy-Six Trombones".

Left: "76 Trombones" finale.

Left: "The Sadder-But-Wiser Girl". Paul Fearn as Marcellus Washburn and Rand Martin as Harold Hill.

Left: "Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little." The Pick-A-Little Ladies, with Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn (Mary Young) and Maud Dunlop (Dannette Vassar) at the front, talking to Harold Hill (Rand Martin).

Left: "Marian the Librarian"

Left: "Marian the Librarian" - Snakes in the library!

Left: "Marian the Librarian" - Cartwheeling girls (Elena L. and Lizzy C.).

Left: Lenore Sebastian (Mrs. Paroo), Laura Wardrip as Marian Paroo and Rand Martin as Harold Hill.

Left: "Wells Fargo Wagon".

Left: "Shipoopi", featuring Ethel Toffelmeyer (Wendy Young Carey) and Marcellus (Paul Fearn).

Left: "Shipoopi", with Matthew Kohrt (Tommy Djilas) and McKinley C. (Zaneeta Shinn) in the foreground).

Left: "Shipoopi", featuring Ethel Toffelmeyer (Wendy Young Carey) at the front. Also visible, left to right, McKinley C., Ashley H., Christina Rae, Lydia S., Kelly Soderlund, and Elizabeth F.

Left: "Shipoopi". I can't believe I caught them in the air at the same instant! Left to right, Riley H., Edgar L., Matthew Kohrt, and Calvin Y.

Left: "Lida Rose" - The Barbershop Quartet (Andy Hyun, Rick Price, Rick Wennstrom, and Don Stephenson).

Left: "Gary, Indiana". Lenore Sebastian as Mrs. Paroo, Laura Wardrip as Marian Paroo and Michael C. as Winthrop Paroo.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"The Music Man" - More Monday Pictures

Left: Wa Tan Ye Girls, with Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn (Mary Young). The five girls to the right of Mary Young are (I think), Monique L., Kendyl I. (Amaryllis Hix), Ani C., Rose M., and A. Ewey. The three girls to the left are (I think) McKinley C. (Zaneeta Shinn), Elena L., and Julia S.

I forgot to bring my camera on Tuesday, so here are a few more pictures from Monday rehearsal.

Left: "76 Trombones" finale.

Left: Harold Hill with the Barbershop Quartet - Olin Britt (Andy Hyun), Euart Dunlap (Rick Price), Oliver Hix (Rick Wennstrom), and Jacey Squires (Don Stephenson).

Left: "Marian the Librarian" - Harold Hill (Rand Martin) and Marian Paroo (Laura Wardrip).

Left: "Marian the Librarian"

Left: "Marian the Librarian"

Left: "Marian the Librarian" - Tommy Djilas (Matthew Kohrt) and Zaneeta Shinn (McKinley C.).

Left: "Marian the Librarian" - Snakes in the library!

Left: "Marian the Librarian"

Zaneeta Shinn (McKinley C.) and Tommy Djilas (Matthew Kohrt).

Left: "Shipoopi", featuring Ethel Toffelmeyer (Wendy Young Carey) and Marcellus (Paul Fearn).

High School Tony Awards

High School Tony Awards Honor Nation's Biggest Drama Club Nerds

Attack The Roma

What keeps the Protestant/Catholic tension at bay in Northern Ireland? The ability to attack Gypsies instead:
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND -- The thugs used bricks and bottles to drive more than 100 Romanian Gypsies from their homes in a wave of attacks. On Wednesday, the victims were sheltering in a community center after a church plucked them off a Belfast street.

...Police said the racist attacks started last week, with gangs smashing house windows and attacking cars. The violence flared again on Monday when youths hurling bottles and Nazi salutes attacked an anti-racism rally called to support the migrants.

Belfast City council press officer Mark Ashby said the majority of the victims were Roma, or Gypsies, from Romania.

..."Starting with Italy in 2007, there have been waves of ... racist attacks against Roma," said Mandache. "Afterwards, there were attacks in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania."

The Northern Ireland government said the displaced Romanians would be given temporary accommodation in Belfast. But many said they wanted to leave Northern Ireland.

"We want to go home because right now we are not safe here," said a woman who gave only her first name, Maria. "We want to go back home to Romania, everybody right now does."

Racial tensions are rising across Europe as the pace of migration grows and the economy worsens. Far-right parties picked up seats in many countries in elections for the European Parliament earlier this month. The whites-only British National Party, which calls for the "voluntary repatriation" of immigrants, increased its share of the vote and won its first two European seats.

Europe's 7 to 9 million Roma people face widespread prejudice in Romania -- where estimates of their numbers vary between 500,000 and 2 million -- and other countries. The European Union's rights agency has said Roma face "overt discrimination" in housing, health care and education, despite many government programs designed to help them.

Since Romania joined the EU in 2007, thousands of Roma have moved west to richer European countries, where many live in squalid camps with no access to health services, education, basic sanitary facilities or jobs. More than 700 encampments have been built in Italy, where Gypsies have been met with hostility and blamed for begging and street crime.

Northern Ireland has only a tiny Romanian population -- fewer than 1,000 people, according to a government estimate.

But a number of Romanian Gypsies have moved to Belfast since 2007 and have become a visible presence, selling newspapers on the city's streets.

...Northern Ireland's surge in racist violence over the past few years has coincided with the decline in Northern Ireland's traditional conflict between paramilitary groups rooted in rival Catholic and Protestant districts.

Much of the violence has been blamed on Protestant youths, who once would have vented their anger against Catholics or joined outlawed pro-British paramilitary groups.

Problem Solved - Next Problem?

Tales from the Gilded State:
Instead of a further cut, the committee's Democrats voted to delay paying workers on June 30, 2010, until July 1, 2010. That would carry 1/12th of the state's $11 billion annual payroll into the 2010-11 fiscal year, and not count on the coming fiscal year's books.

Schwarzenegger was not mollified by the accounting trick.

"It's outrageous that the Legislature would ask Californians to pay higher taxes but refuse to cut the pay of state workers by 5 percent," the governor said in a statement released by his office. "This is exactly why so many Californians have lost faith in Sacramento's ability to solve problems."
Not that I support cutting the wages of state workers, or anything, but it is interesting that, if times are as desperate as people say they are, why would they do something like this? It encourages a cynical stance.

Water Guerilla

Even though Sacramento is arid, by nature, its location at the confluence of two major rivers has allowed it to escape the sort of watering rules that are common elsewhere in California.

So, the City of Sacramento has finally decided to implement new watering rules, and begin enforcing others already on its books.

The rules are kept simple, to make administration easy, but there is enough nonsense in them to make the people rebel. Here are the rules:
New outdoor watering rules are in effect for all residents and businesses who pay water bills to the city of Sacramento. These are permanent changes.

Key changes:

• Watering banned from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Hose used for washing car must have shut-off nozzle.

• When standard time is in effect (generally November to March), watering allowed only one day a week (see below).

Continuing rules:

• Watering allowed only on alternate days: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday for addresses ending in odd numbers (Saturdays only during standard time); Wednesday, Friday, Sunday for even addresses (Sundays only during standard time); no one may water on Mondays.

• Watering days apply whether watering lawns or gardens; also apply to both sprinklers and hand-watering.

• Water waste prohibited: No one may willingly allow water to run off property into gutters or streets while irrigating landscaping.

• Washing driveways, sidewalks, parking lots is banned (except for health and safety reasons with prior approval).


• New landscaping or garden plants may be watered daily for 21 days from the date of planting.

Source: City of Sacramento
My beef is with the continuing rules. With caliche-type soils such are common in the Central Valley, in order to avoid runoff, shorter, more-frequent waterings are called for. This is particularly true with south-facing slopes.

I have a strip of grass in front of my house on a steep, south-facing slope. In order to avoid water runoff, I can't rely on any sprinkler or sprinkler system - I have to apply water by hose, by hand, and since the amounts of water I'm using are quite small, at the height of summer, in August, I have to water every other night, or sometimes nightly. The rules prescribe that, at times, I have to wait four days (from Thursday night till Tuesday night) between waterings. That long a gap means death to that strip of grass.

So, I will adjust my ways, but given my predilection to stay up all night doing various tasks anyway, will anyone notice the man with the hose at 3 a.m.?

On Twitter's Bleeding Edge

An amusing post by Steve Benen (reproduced in full):
NEW MEDIA, OLD RACISM.... Republican Party leaders have gone to great lengths to urge party activists to use tools like Twitter and Facebook to get their political message out. On the one hand, the GOP's rank-and-file have paid attention and taken the leaders' advice. On the other hand, it's the messages that have become, shall we say, problematic.

Yesterday, it was a prominent South Carolina Republican who used his Facebook page to liken First Lady Michelle Obama to an escaped gorilla. (He proceeded to blame Obama for his comparison.)

Today, a different prominent South Carolina Republican operative had shared this all-caps message via Twitter:
Just heard Obama is going to impose a 40% tax on aspirin because it's white and it works.
He later acknowledged that his comments "were hurtful, wrong and have no place in civil discourse."

And making matters slightly worse, this comes the same day a Republican staffer for a Tennessee state senator emailed a "composite picture of the country's 44 presidents, which represents President Obama with only a set of eyes," in what was clearly another racist message. The staffer backpedaled, not by denouncing the racist image, but by explaining she sent the email to the wrong list of people.

I suspect this isn't what Michael Steele had in mind when he vowed Republicans would go "beyond cutting edge" in using technology.

Not Even The Top Ayatollah Buys The Result

A credibility problem:
TEHRAN, Iran — Supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his main rival in the disputed presidential election, Mir Hossein Mousavi, massed in competing rallies Tuesday as the country's most senior Islamic cleric threw his weight behind opposition charges that Ahmadinejad's re-election was rigged.

"No one in their right mind can believe" the official results from Friday's contest, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri said of the landslide victory claimed by Ahmadinejad. Montazeri accused the regime of handling Mousavi's charges of fraud and the massive protests of his backers "in the worst way possible."

"A government not respecting people's vote has no religious or political legitimacy," he declared in comments on his official Web site. "I ask the police and army personals (personnel) not to 'sell their religion,' and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before God."

...Montazeri's pointed public comments provided fresh evidence that a serious rift has opened at the top of Iran's powerful religious hierarchy after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei endorsed the official election results and the harsh crackdown against the opposition.

A leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution who's often feuded with Khamenei and once vied with him for the supreme leader's position, Montazeri accused the government of attacking "the children of the people with astonishing violence" and "attempting a purge, arresting intellectuals, political opponents and scientifics."

"He is questioning the legitimacy of the election and also questioning the legitimacy of (Khamenei's) leadership, and this is the heart of the political battle in Iran," said Mehdi Noorbaksh, an associate professor of international affairs at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania. "This is very significant. This is huge support for Mousavi and the demonstrators on the reformists' side."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"The Music Man" - Monday Rehearsal

Left: "Seventy-Six Trombones" - Harold Hill (Rand Martin). Adults standing: Rich Kulmann (Constable)and Paul Fearn (Marcellus Washburn). Visible teens: Elizabeth F., Lydia S., Matthew Kohrt (Tommy Djilas), McKinley C. (Zaneeta Shinn), and Calvin Y.

Left: Mayor Shinn (Gil Sebastian, right) pilots River City through troubled waters, aided by alert school board member Oliver Hix (Rick Wennstrom, left).

Left: "Seventy-Six Trombones" - Harold Hill (Rand Martin) introduces himself to River City. Ladies on forward bench: Dannette Vassar, Anissa Smith, Jan Isaacson, Lenore Sebastian (Mrs. Paroo), and Mary Young (Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn). Three boys: Caleb & Josh S., and Michael C.

Left: Harold Hill (Rand Martin) and Tommy Djilas (Matthew Kohrt), with three girls in the background (Ashley H, Elizabeth F., and McKinley C.).

Left: "Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little." The Pick-A-Little Ladies, with Maud Dunlop (Dannette Vassar) at the front, talking to Harold Hill (Rand Martin).

Left: "Marian the Librarian" - Laura Wardrip as Marian Paroo and Rand Martin as Harold Hill.

Left: "Marian the Librarian" - Absorbed readers in the library.

Left: "Marian the Librarian" - Zaneeta Shinn (McKinley Carlisle) and Tommy Djilas (Matthew Kohrt).

Left: Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn (Mary Young), Mayor Shinn (Gil Sebastian), Marian Paroo (Laura Wardrip), and Zaneeta Shinn (McKinley Carlisle) begin to review the 'Indiana Journal'.

Left: "Wells Fargo Wagon" - Winthrop Paroo (Michael C.).

Left: "Wells Fargo Wagon".

Left: "Shipoopi", featuring Ethel Toffelmeyer (Wendy Young Carey).