Friday, July 03, 2009

Marcus Crowder Interviews Mara Davi

Catch her while she's here!:
"Thoroughly Modern Millie" is a Tony Award-winning musical based on the Julie Andrews movie of the same name. Both tell the comic story of Millie Dillmount, a girl from Salina, Kan., who moves to 1922 New York determined to become a flapper and marry for money, not love.

Recently, Davi has been holding her own in New York, where she made her Broadway debut as Maggie Winslow in the 2006 revival of "A Chorus Line." She followed that by replacing Sutton Foster as Janet van de Graaff in the 2007 Broadway production of "The Drowsy Chaperone."

The singer-dancer-actress was also featured in the stage musical version of "The Band Wagon" at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego before starring as Nanette in the New York Encores concert presentation of "No, No, Nanette." There she appeared with Rosie O'Donnell, Sandy Duncan and Fred Willard.

Davi also prominently figures in the current film "Every Little Step," which documents the audition and rehearsal process of the new "A Chorus Line."

Back-to-back Broadway appearances notwithstanding, Davi has had the current sequence of events in her sights for a while.

"I told myself when I was in high school, 'I'm going to have to get on Broadway before I can work at the Music Circus,' " said Davi, who just got into town for the start of "Millie" rehearsals and was staying at her parents' home in Folsom.

Her family moved to Folsom, where Mara attended Folsom High School. Though she had been singing and dancing since her childhood in Colorado, she blossomed in Sacramento's regional community theater.

"I was a Little Bus Player, did shows with Runaway Stage and Davis Musical Theatre Company," Davi said. "That was my training until I went away to school and really started learning how to do what I do."

Davi's mentor with the legendary Little Bus Players was its artistic director, John Lee, who wrote, produced and directed the company's shows. Lee first saw her as the Little Mermaid in a show directed by Michael Coleman, then cast her in his own show featuring a Little Mermaid.

Davi impressed Lee not only with her talent but her willingness to try different things. Whether it was Elf Girl for one of his comedic "Santa in Space" shows or Lady Guinevere in a King Arthur spoof, the teenage Davi was game.

"She became someone we cast in every show," Lee said. "She could do anything. I always made sure there was a part for her."

Lee also introduced her to a young actor, Aaron Gaines, who became Davi's husband at a ceremony in Clarksburg last fall.

Davi and Gaines both went to Cal State Fullerton, but she left after her sophomore year to join a non-Equity tour of "42nd Street" as lead Peggy Sawyer. She also got an agent in Los Angeles. After moving to the East Coast, the New York office of the agency told her it didn't have anything for her except an audition for "A Chorus Line."

...Davi made the choice simple when she sang Maggie's centerpiece song, "At the Ballet."

"She was the only one who made the note!" Lee said. "She sang that top note and held it for life. She wanted the job!"

And she got it.

But Davi knows that many factors come into play when getting or not getting work.

"There are so many talented people in New York. It just comes down to being the perfect fit in the puzzle that they're putting together," Davi said.

Her next job in the "Drowsy Chaperone" was another significant step as it moved her from the ensemble to the leading actress in a Broadway show.

...This fall, Davi will head to Chicago's prestigious Goodman Theatre for a new stage production of the Marx Brothers' classic "Animal Crackers."

"We're trying to rejigger it," Davi said. "It's written to be a 30-person musical and we're doing it with nine. So I play two different roles, and everyone plays multiple roles."

After a heady run from one job to the next, Davi doesn't know what will happen after her three-month commitment to "Animal Crackers."

"It's definitely scary, but I never would've thought I'd be performing at Music Circus this summer," Davi said. "It's really nice to not have life planned out right now, because these surprises are fantastic."

Weapons Caches Surprise

An interesting new New Zealand problem: a very American-like problem. People are squirreling away vast arms caches, so, when they finally go postal, they go out totally ablaze:
A Tauranga armed offenders squad found a dozen single shot and semi-automatic rifles, long and short barrelled shotguns and pistols in a raid at a house in Pyes Pa, Bay of Plenty, early on Thursday morning.

Silencers, telescopic sights, 2000 rounds of ammunition and cannabis seeds were also found.

The discovery came days after wheelchair-bound Shayne Sime was shot dead by police after wounding a police officer in Christchurch, and weeks after Napier gunman Jan Molenaar killed police officer Len Snee and injured three others, sparking a three-day standoff.

Dream Quality Continues To Improve

Last night, I dreamt I was explaining "Family Guy" Bill Clinton jokes - to Bill Clinton.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

On The Role Of Bloggers

John Hartigan's disdainful remarks regarding the blogosphere have some merit (but not much):
Citizen journalists, he says, simply don’t have the resources to bring us reliable news. They lack not only expertise and training but access to decision makers and reliable sources.

The difference, he says, between professionals and amateurs is that bloggers don’t go to jail for their work – they simply aren’t held accountable like real reporters.

Like Keating’s famous “all tip and no iceberg”, it could be said that the blogosphere is all eyeballs and no insight.
Of course, bloggers don't have all the resources newspaper reporters do and don't always have access to decision-makers.

On the other hand, bloggers are often better-trained than newspaper reporters (they have advanced degrees!), and often have better access to events (note how we've been relying so much on Iranian bloggers the last several weeks?) And bloggers DO go to jail; indeed, they are even more likely to do so than newspaper reporters.

Reporters and bloggers are (or should be) mutually-dependent. Hartigan should grow up.

Hot World; Tiny Sheep

They're everywhere; everywhere!:
Along with polar ice caps and sandy beaches, sheep on a remote Scottish island are gradually shrinking as a result of global warming, according to a study published today in the journal Science. The finding offers unusual proof that large animals are already evolving to adapt to changes wrought by climate change, experts said.

The average weight of sheep in the feral flock has been falling nearly 3 ounces per year since 1985, the researchers reported. The cumulative effect has been a 5% reduction in total body size.

That trend had puzzled scientists, since they knew that evolution clearly favored larger sheep that are better equipped to survive the harsh winters of Hirta, a rocky outpost more than 100 miles west of mainland Scotland.

Now, using a sophisticated mathematical model, British and American researchers have concluded that warming temperatures have made it easier for scrawnier sheep to survive, thus reducing the average size of animals in the herd.

Watch The Cockroaches Scurry In The Light

In Washington, it's all about access, access, access:
Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth said today she was canceling plans for an exclusive "salon" at her home where for as much as $250,000, the Post offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record access to "those powerful few" — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and even the paper’s own reporters and editors.

The astonishing offer was detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he felt it was a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff."

With the Post newsroom in an uproar after POLITICO reported the solicitation, Weymouth and Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli both said today that they were not aware of the flier or the specifics of what it offered.

“This should never have happened,” Weymouth told Post media reporter Howard Kurtz. “The fliers got out and weren't vetted. They didn't represent at all what we were attempting to do. We're not going to do any dinners that would impugn the integrity of the newsroom."

Supposedly Left-Leaning NPR Bans Use Of Word "Torture"

Interesting times over there with the NPR right-wing flacks.

So, Let's Just Rid Of Links

Bad ideas, promoted by brilliant people:
So Richard Posner, professional smart man and US Appeals Court judge who writes 23,000 words per day, floated the idea of banning links (and more!), so internet cannibals don't keep stealing newspaper content for nothing:
Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.
Periods, Richard Posner. Try them. To break up text. What you may notice here is that Posner proposes banning linking or paraphrasing copyrighted materials. The problem: this is America dude, we say what we fucking want, amirite?

You can copyright a news story, but you can't copyright the news. "The news" just means "things that happen in the world." What would it mean, in practice, to make it illegal to paraphrase a copyrighted news story? Summing up, for example, political events, or a sports controversy, or even a fashion trend, could be interpreted as paraphrasing copyrighted material. So let's ban talking about anything. And banning links will help us make our references even more obscure, by making it impossible for anyone to refer to source materials! Good idea, Posner. This gross oversimplification makes you look none too freedom-loving!

We all know journalism happens only at newspapers. Better to protect them at all costs than to invest in the murky "future."

This idea is supported by a newspaper columnist! Connie Schultz, a columnist for the Cleveland Plain-Dealer (who's married to a senator, btw, nothing to see here), also touts the idea of giving newspapers a 24-hour injunction on news they post, during which time it's all theirs, and can't be aggregated by others online.

Fine. You can have your injunction. But you can't stop anyone from discussing, and writing about, current events. As they happen. Go read all those "Twitter Generation" stories you guys are always writing! The idea that it's worth crippling the entire free flow of information on the internet in order to add to the bottom line of newspaper companies is prima facie idiotic. I guess you could also help save newspapers by passing a law that everyone has to buy one every day, or by making it illegal for TV news to exist. That doesn't make those things good ideas.


The hardest kind of knowledge to get:
Mr Hodgkiss's ordeal happened as he walked in Tibberton, Worcestershire, on Saturday.

He dropped his mobile from the railway bridge but, as he was looking for it, the train slammed into him.

He was airlifted to hospital and treated for arm injuries, a broken pelvis and ribs but discharged himself on Monday.

"I don't even have the phone – it's in A&E somewhere smashed into a million pieces," he added.

"I have been unbelievably lucky and I will never go near the railway lines again. I'm not a hero, I'm an idiot."

Dogmatic Dissonance

There seem to be two warring ideas here, and sorting them out will make my head explode.

Apparently, the less dogmatic you are, the more close-minded you are. Also, the more dogmatic you are, the more close-minded you are.

Whatever your bias, you stay close-minded.

That's why I never really read the news - I just shout at it; whether it's on-line, on TV, on the radio, or in print.

You gotta terrify the facts, to keep them from causing trouble:
People who are less confident in their beliefs are more reluctant than others to seek out opposing perspectives, researchers said today.

The findings, which are based on a review of more than 90 studies, shed light on the debate over whether people intentionally steer clear of views conflicting with their own, or whether they are just exposed more often to ideas that conform to their own.
The former seems to be the case. Another recent study revealed that college students gravitated toward news that fit their views.

While it's not news that like-minded people often flock together, the new review suggests we actively keep our blinders on when opposing views are nearby. The review is detailed this month in the journal Psychological Bulletin.

...Overall, the studies suggested people are about twice as likely to cherry-pick information that supports their own viewpoints than to consider an opposing idea. Nearly 70 percent cherry-picked compared to about 30 percent who ponder the other side.

Close-minded individuals opted for information that went along with their views 75 percent of the time.

"Close-minded people are very certain and dogmatic in their views, and generally believe that there is a single correct point of view," said study researcher Dolores Albarracin, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "The implication is that you have a group of people who would only seek to confirm their points of view, resisting all evidence to the contrary via avoidance of exposure."

And since even a slight breeze could flatten a house of cards, the researchers found people with little confidence in their own beliefs are less likely to expose themselves to contrary views compared with their confident counterparts. In fact, another recent study showed that people with stronger party affiliation and greater interest in politics were more likely to read articles with opposing views.

Stir Fry Rambo Dreams

This week, I've continued to experiment with stir frys.

Last night's experiment was both too large (ummppphhh!), with too many varieties of vegetables (mushrooms, red potatoes, cauliflower, carrot, bell pepper, brussel sprouts, smoked turkey chunks, Top Ramen, and two kinds of sauce), and ultimately damaged by too much tomato.

And the damage wrought! I'm a mobile Bhopal! I just hope no one lights a match within fifty feet!

Side effects of the digestive experimentation have been repetitive dreams, all night long, whereby I travel down side streets just off the Las Vegas Strip, to visit seedy children's carnivals, run by distended Rush Limbaugh look-a-likes in baseball caps and overalls, and learn how to run construction vehicles, farm equipment, and heavy armament, and try them all out in a video-arcade environment filled with panicked extras from Dr. Who.

It's not so much that I want to be Rambo, but that, if I was Rambo, that I could responsibly carry out my duties to shoot up stuff without getting hurt.

Maybe I should try soups instead....

We Have A Three-Day Holiday Weekend!

I did not know this....

I don't really follow very closely what happens at work....

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

RIP, Karl Malden

Great actor!


Yesterday, I wrote Deborah in Phoenix:
Looking at the satellite pictures, I suspect the monsoon essentially starts today. Likely no rain for PHX, but the annual season for the SW starts - now!
She wrote back:
I believe it--it is HUMID! Whew -- monster thunderheads on horizon we try to lure with songs like this: KOTHBIRO [Rain is Coming]
Here is an added feature - a dance to KOTHBIRO. Choreography by Sue Manville, whom is based in MD, I believe (there is a Manville clan based at Tempe Dance Academy - an even more apropos desert location for a rain dance - but as far as I can tell from limited Googling, these Manvilles aren't related).

And yet another YouTube video of Kothbiro, with African images, and a translation:

Dear children,
the rain is coming,
bring the cows in the cattle,
bring in our wealth

Pot Calls The Kettle Black

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) calls incoming Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) a clown:
“I’ll tell you what a lot of people are thinking, and that is it looks like things are going to be over and we are going to get the clown from Minnesota,’’ he said.

“They are not going to get more than 35 votes.”

Asked if he was referring to Al Franken as the clown from Minnesota, Inhofe confirmed he was.

“I didn’t mean to be disrespectful. I don’t know the guy, but … for a living he is a clown,’’ the senator said.

“That’s what he does for a living.’’

When Osama Visited Indiana

Najwa bin Laden, Osama's wife, discusses their trip to America in 1979:
One evening he [Osama] arrived home with a surprise announcement: ’Najwa, We are going to travel to the United States. Our boys are going with us.’

I was shocked, to tell you the truth…Pregnant, and busy with two babies, I remember few details of our travel, other than we passed through London before flying to a place I had never heard of, a state in America called Indiana. Osama told me that he was meeting with a man by the name of Abdullah Azzam. Since my husband’s business was not my business, I did not ask questions.

I was worried about Abdul Rahman because he had become quite ill on the trip and was even suffering with a high fever. Osama arranged for us to see a doctor in Indianapolis. I relaxed after that kindly physician assured us that Abdul Rahman would soon be fine.

…I am sometimes questioned about my personal opinion of the country and its people. This is surprisingly difficult to answer. We were there for only two weeks, and for one of those weeks, Osama was away in Los Angeles to meet with some men in that city. The boys and I were left behind in Indiana with a girlfriend whom I would rather not name…

My girlfriend was gracious and guided me on short trips…We even went into a big shopping mall in Indianapolis…

I came to believe that Americans were gentle and nice, people easy to deal with. As far as the country itself goes, my husband and I did not hate America, yet we did not love it.

There was one incident that reminded me that some Americans are unaware of other cultures. When the time came for us to leave America, Osama and I, along with our two boys, waited for our departure at the airport in Indiana. I was sitting quietly in my chair, relaxing, grateful that our boys were quiet….

I saw an American man gawking at me. I knew without asking that his unwelcome attention had been snagged by my black Saudi costume…

I took a side glance at Osama and saw that he was intently studying the curious man. I knew that my husband would never allow the man to approach me…

When my husband and I discussed the incident, we were both more amused than offended. That man gave us a good laugh, as it was clear he had no knowledge of veiled women…

We returned to Saudi Arabia none the worse for our experiences.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Train Derails; LPG Explodes

It's bad when all that LPG goes up at once:
At least 14 people have been killed and dozens injured in the explosion of a freight train carrying gas which derailed in northern Italy.

The carriages jumped the tracks and crashed into homes in the seaside town of Viareggio on Monday night.

Several of the victims died when their houses collapsed.

Firefighters are searching for people believed to be trapped. An investigation into the causes of the crash in under way.

...The explosion happened shortly before midnight local time (2300 BST) when one wagon in the 14-car train carrying liquefied petroleum gas from La Spezia to Pisa came off the tracks before ploughing into several homes near the station in Viareggio.

"It was a derailment that caused the explosion of one of the rail cars filled with liquefied natural gas. It was a very strong explosion," Viareggio Mayor Luca Lunardini said.

...One witness described the scene as "apocalyptic".

"A young man with a child jumped out of a window to save themselves - a scene I hope never to re-live because I was really afraid," he told Reuters.

"People just couldn't do anything because with fire there is just nothing you can do, but we somehow managed to survive without any injury."

...The train's two engineers, who were only slightly injured, said they felt an impact about 200m (650ft) outside the station, shortly before the rear of the train derailed, officials say.

One of them said it was "a miracle" that he managed to escape after his cabin filled with the liquid gas.

Liquefied petroleum gas is a mixture of propane and butane that is used for cooking or as fuel for specially-adapted vehicles.


On Saturday, I was chasing a big black-and-yellow butterfly around, trying to get its picture, but it was elusive.

Ghost moths are even more elusive.

Earthquake Swarm Today

There have been a series of small quakes, including a 3.8 magnitude quake today, in the vicinity of The Geysers, at about 10:27 a.m.

Interestingly, I heard a rhythmic noise just about this time - a diploma sliding against the wall. A free hanging item in the room - an "ojo del diablo", or spirit eye - did not appear to move at all. So, at least in Sacramento, the intensity was quite weak.

The bedroom above the garage is peculiarly susceptible to vibration - I can always tell when the washing machine is on. Judging from the reports at the USGS, I may be the farthest person from the epicenter who noticed the quake.

Buzz Aldrin's Hip Hop "Rocket Experience"

Coleman Concedes


Michael Hagiography

From WiL

From OneTonTesti

From Barbarossa

From Dog Biscuit Boy

From Gingey.

Meth Bible Camp

Perhaps that explains those voices in the head.

Who's Watching The Birds?

It's that danged cat again!

Al Franken Wins!

The Minnesota Supreme Court rules unanimously in his favor.

Watch Norm Coleman continue to try to steal the election, in broad daylight. They will never, ever stop.:
The courts finds that "Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled under Minn. Stat. § 204C.40 (2008) to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota." This means that when Franken is ultimately seated, the Democrats will have 60 seats and be able to beat any Republican filibuster if they stay completely united (though good luck with that, obviously.)

It's been seven and a half months since Election Day, and five and a half months since the seat went vacant after Coleman's term expired -- but the state's process of recounts and litigation is now over, barring the unlikely event of a higher authority stepping in and forcing them to do more. Franken has won by 312 votes, out of roughly 2.9 million -- a difference of 0.011%.

The big question now is what comes next. Will Coleman concede, or will he take another path -- as national GOP leaders like Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) have urged -- and take this to federal courts, where he might try to get an injunction against Franken receiving a certificate of election? And if Franken does get his certificate, will the Senate GOP attempt to filibuster its acceptance?

Monday, June 29, 2009

On Drudge's Obsolescence

It's about time Drudge lost his punch. As long as he functioned as a conduit from the Bush White House, or from the RNC in the salad days, there was some reason to pay attention to him, but no longer! And Twitter has rendered him obsolete! I rarely check him anymore - hardly at all since the beginning of the year - and that's a good thing for journalism, too, since stories will no longer come with his pernicious automatic conservative spin.

Hooray for Twitter!:
Several very recent and very different news events -- the Iranian elections, the Mark Sanford story, and the death of Michael Jackson -- now raise a similar question: is the Drudge Report still the go-to online source for breaking news?

You can't have helped but notice the role that Twitter has played in the coverage of the events in Iran. And if you're a daily Twitter user, you probably got your first news of Michael Jackson's death that way.

But those events by themselves don't give us any particular reason to believe Drudge's influence is waning. Before you get to that, you have to take account of the explosion in popularity and acceptance Twitter has enjoyed among influential journalists working in the traditional media -- a story even hardened holdouts and Twitter-haters have doubtless heard by now.

That's the key factor, I think, in what I'm guessing is Twitter's eventually overtaking Drudge and robbing him of his influence. If the eyes of the journalists who drive the traditional media are getting their hottest, most rapidly-breaking news via Twitter, it could represent a sea change in how they view the news. And if that happens, it could change the way you'll view it, too.

For years, even people who hated Drudge's politics were addicted to his site because it was the fastest way to get breaking news, even if the stories he chose to cover were almost always the least substantial sort of bullshit. In particular, people whose livelihoods were wrapped up in getting the latest details on breaking stories -- including but not limited to the ranks of professional journalists -- often kept Drudge's page open on their computers all day long, using it as a pipeline for the latest infotainment, and extracting from it not only what would become the substance of the next news cycle's reporting, but oftentimes coming away with Drudge's own interpretation of events as well, and passing that on in their own reporting, whether in agreement, or at minimum as an "alternative viewpoint" that gave their stories "balance."

But if Twitter allows anyone (and everyone) to break a story, and to do it faster than Drudge can post it, that could indeed mean the beginning of the end of the Drudge era.

Imagine if the influencers who get their first reports of news through the horribly skewed bullshit lens of Drudge were liberated from that. It could potentially be a new world.

So, could it be happening? Well, it makes a hell of a lot of sense, anyway. Twitter almost forces media types who are on it to broaden their horizons, because Twitter only makes sense as an intake if you're following people in volume. And with its recent explosion in popularity, combined with the prominent role it's played in the reporting of the Iranian elections story, it's being "legitimized" among certain sectors of the elite traditional media. Even those who've previously dismissed other online sectors as flighty and unreliable (even as Drudge "ruled their world," curiously enough). The buy-in, for whatever reason, is there.

The Listless Cat Returns

Yesterday, I had to move that strange cat from the driveway again. He likes to watch the birds feeding where I place the bird seed, but in this heat he's too much in a stupor to do anything more than watch.

Legal At Last

Harvesting rain in Colorado:
DURANGO, Colo. — For the first time since territorial days, rain will be free for the catching here, as more and more thirsty states part ways with one of the most entrenched codes of the West.

Precipitation, every last drop or flake, was assigned ownership from the moment it fell in many Western states, making scofflaws of people who scooped rainfall from their own gutters. In some instances, the rights to that water were assigned a century or more ago.

Now two new laws in Colorado will allow many people to collect rainwater legally. The laws are the latest crack in the rainwater edifice, as other states, driven by population growth, drought, or declining groundwater in their aquifers, have already opened the skies or begun actively encouraging people to collect.

“I was so willing to go to jail for catching water on my roof and watering my garden,” said Tom Bartels, a video producer here in southwestern Colorado, who has been illegally watering his vegetables and fruit trees from tanks attached to his gutters. “But now I’m not a criminal.”

Who owns the sky, anyway? In most of the country, that is a question for philosophy class or bad poetry. In the West, lawyers parse it with straight faces and serious intent. The result, especially stark here in the Four Corners area of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, is a crazy quilt of rules and regulations — and an entire subculture of people like Mr. Bartels who have been using the rain nature provided but laws forbade.

The two Colorado laws allow perhaps a quarter-million residents with private wells to begin rainwater harvesting, as well as the setting up of a pilot program for larger scale rain-catching.

Just 75 miles west of here, in Utah, collecting rainwater from the roof is still illegal unless the roof owner also owns water rights on the ground; the same rigid rules, with a few local exceptions, also apply in Washington State. Meanwhile, 20 miles south of here, in New Mexico, rainwater catchment, as the collecting is called, is mandatory for new dwellings in some places like Santa Fe.

And in Arizona, cities like Tucson are pioneering the practices of big-city rain capture. “All you need for a water harvesting system is rain, and a place to put it,” Tucson Water says on its Web site.

Here in Colorado, the old law created a kind of wink-and-nod shadow economy. Rain equipment could be legally sold, but retailers said they knew better than to ask what the buyer intended to do with the product.

“It’s like being able to sell things like smoking paraphernalia even though smoking pot is illegal,” said Laurie E. Dickson, who for years sold barrel-and-hose systems from a shop in downtown Durango.

...A study in 2007 proved crucial to convincing Colorado lawmakers that rain catching would not rob water owners of their rights. It found that in an average year, 97 percent of the precipitation that fell in Douglas County, near Denver, never got anywhere near a stream. The water evaporated or was used by plants.

But the deeper questions about rain are what really gnawed at rain harvesters like Todd S. Anderson, a small-scale farmer just east of Durango. Mr. Anderson said catching rain was not just thrifty — he is so water conscious that he has not washed his truck in five years — but also morally correct because it used water that would otherwise be pumped from the ground.

Mr. Anderson, a former national park ranger who worked for years enforcing rules and laws, said: “I’m conflicted between what’s right and what’s legal. And I hate that.”

...Dig a little deeper into the rain-catching world, and there are remnants of the 1970s back-to-land hippie culture, which went off the grid into aquatic self-sufficiency long ago.

...Rain dependency has its ups and downs, Ms. Fitzgerald said. Her home is also completely solar-powered, which means that the pumps to push water from the rain tanks are solar-powered, too. A cloudy, rainy spring this year was good for tanks, bad for pumps.

...“We were ahead of our time,” she said.

Academic Debates Are So Bitter....

Because there is so little at stake:
(06-24) 13:20 PDT SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO -- A homeless man is on trial in San Mateo County on charges that he smacked a fellow transient in the face with a skateboard as the victim was engaged in a conversation about quantum physics, authorities said Wednesday.

Jason Everett Keller, 40, allegedly accosted another homeless man, Stephan Fava, on the 200 block of Grand Avenue in South San Francisco about 1:45 p.m. March 30.

At the time, Fava was chatting with an acquaintance, who is also homeless, about "quantum physics and the splitting of atoms," according to prosecutors.

Keller joined in the conversation and, for reasons unknown, got upset, authorities said. He picked up his skateboard and hit Fava in the face with it, splitting his lip, prosecutors said.

Fava also fell and broke his ankle, although how this happened wasn't known, authorities said.
[Update: Transient found not guilty in skateboard attack]

And let's face it, the jury system is just plain inadequate for solving these academic disputes:
Deputy District Attorney Sharon Cho said the jury that acquitted Keller of assault and battery charges couldn't sort out the conflicting statements of prosecution witnesses.

"The jury just felt unable to really know what happened out there," Cho said.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

"The Music Man" - Second Sunday

Left: "(Ya Got) Trouble", featuring Rick Price as Ewart Dunlop and Rand Martin as Harold Hill.

Left: "Seventy-Six Trombones". Facing camera, left to right, Rose M., Ani C., Amaralyn E., Elena L., Monique L., Lizzy C., and Julia S.

Left: "Marian the Librarian" - Christina Rae, Lydia S., McKinley C., Kelly Soderlund, and Ashley H.

Left: "Marian the Librarian" - Snakes in the library! The thre girls are (I believe) Kailani C., Danielle M., and Chloe D.

Left: "Marian the Librarian" - Marian (Laura Wardrip) clobbers Tommy Djilas (Matthew Kohrt) instead of Harold Hill (Rand Martin).

Left: "Wells Fargo Wagon".

Left: "Shipoopi". Tommy Djilas (Matthew Kohrt), together with Edgar L., Calvin Y., and Riley H.

Below: "Shipoopi". Laura Wardrip as Marian Paroo and Rand Martin as Harold Hill.

Left: Laura Wardrip as Marian Paroo and Rand Martin as Harold Hill.

Left: "Footbridge Crossover". Background, Riley and Ashley H. Foreground, Julie and Richard Kulmann.

Left: "Footbridge Crossover". Olin Britt (Andy Hyun), Mayor Shinn (Gil Sebastian), and Gracie Shinn (Vivi K.).

Left: Rand Martin as Harold Hill.

Left: "Till There Was You". Rand Martin as Harold Hill and Laura Wardrip as Marian Paroo.

Eleze - Teardrop (Fonzerelli Remix)

Love, love is a verb
Love is a doing word
Feather’s on my breath
Gentle impulsion
Shakes me makes me lighter
Feather’s on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Feather’s on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Feather’s on my breath

Water is my eye
Most faithful mirror
Feather’s on my breath
Teardrop on the fire of a confession
Feather’s on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Feather’s on my breath

You're Crazy With The Heat!

104 degrees Fahrenheit today!

Earlier this week, the weather forecasts seemed to be showing a heat wave coming, but more like a *small* heat wave, not one of the grandiose, legendary sorts.

Well, seems big enough to me right now!

Here's a Special Weather Statement from the National Weather Service:



This afternoon, I was listlessly sweeping the pavement near the bird seed spot in the alley - staring at the listless pigeons as they stared back - when I discovered a strange, listless cat in the bushes, also watching the listless pigeons. I picked the cat up and moved it, because I don't want cats lingering around the bird seed spot, but the cat seemed too stupefied by the heat to pose an immediate hazard. I wonder if he even remembers where he was?