Friday, March 02, 2012

Carla's "Rise Again" Teaser

I asked Carla last night about her "Rise Again" video, and when it will come out. The answer is "soon" (but no hard date yet).

Jabba Without Sleep Train Will Be A Sleepless Hut

Did Rush overreach?:
You never know with these things, but there are signs aborning that Rush Limbaugh’s two-day tirade against Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke may have been a very serious mistake. When the President of the United States goes to the trouble of personally calling the victim of a media bully to comfort her, the bully is getting into the kind of danger zone usually reserved for nasty tinpot dictators and perpetrators of heinous crimes. And when the Speaker of the House representing the party you have lorded it over for many years finds it necessary to denounce your behavior, you might want to consider a vacation of a trip to rehab.

More On My YouTube Post

White Supremacy saw Sacramento
As just a nice bauble or memento
White pride's so hard to hide
Said it's genocide
But everyone called it Nazi-Neo

More Davy Jones Retrospective

Possible Rain Event Shaping Up Mid-March

But it still seems like a million years from now.

Occupy Protest On Monday

Craig sends this:
Expect traffic detours and delays into and around the State Capitol on Monday, March 5th . There is another Occupy Movement/Protest scheduled at the State Capitol. Estimates are anywhere from 1000 to 1500 people will be gathering for what is supposed to be a lawful and peaceable assembly. In addition there will be an estimated 150+ law enforcement personnel on hand to assist with traffic control.
Apparently there is also going to be an independent law enforcement gathering in town on Monday (I think Craig heard this on the radio). So, lots of Occupy people in town, and lots of loose law enforcement people too.

(Maybe not caught so flat-footed this time....)

The Parking Lot Is A Dog Track?

A mystery.

Last night, I went out to the driveway to retrieve my 'Damn Yankees' script from my car, and a white sedan in the parking lot behind my house caught my attention. The vehicle raced to the end of the parking lot and stopped abruptly. Then, the vehicle idled.

After awhile, I noticed there was a dog loping around the vehicle. Sometimes the car's headlights would catch the dog. It appeared to be some kind of racing-type dog: like a greyhound.

After idling for ten minutes, the white sedan roared off with the greyhound-type dog in hot pursuit. They pulled onto a public street before I lost sight of them. I jumped into my car and tried to pursue, but they vanished (I didn't pursue too long - I wasn't carrying my driver's license). I called the police, but since I didn't have the dog at the house and there wasn't (yet) any animal control issue, or a specific crime to address, they didn't respond.

Either these folks love their dog and were exercising it, or they hate their dog and were abandoning it. I wasn't sure which.

In retrospect, they were probably just exercising their dog. Greyhounds love to run! But it was all quite strange....

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Going Postal Over Karaoke Song Choice

Sounds like a good idea, but the actual circumstances make you think twice:
Authorities in southwest Houston say a man may have been killed early Monday morning over his choice of karaoke songs.

Investigators told KPRC that the incident happened around 2 a.m. at Ostioneria Mazatlan, a Mexican seafood restaurant.

The victim reportedly yelled that he was from Guerrero, Mexico after singing “Somos Mas Americanos,” which means “We Are More American.”

...“(The shooter) told him to shut up (and said) ‘Why are you screaming the name of that town?’” the employee told KPRC. “(The victim) said, ‘Why? It’s my town.’”

Earlier this month in California, 70-year-old William Oller, Sr. was arrested for shooting his own son, 50-year-old William Jr., for singing a Kenny Chesney country tune.

In recent years, there has been so much violence related to the singing of Frank Sinatra songs at karaoke bars in the Philippines that the media began referring to the incidents as “My Way Killings.”

“I used to like ‘My Way,’ but after all the trouble, I stopped singing it,” one singer told The New York Times in 2010. “You can get killed.”

Hmm, Andrew Breitbart Passed Away

I wonder what that's all about?:
He became the slightly unlikely (as a hard-partying Hollywood media gadfly) self-appointed spokesman of the Tea Parties, defending the movement from all charges of racial resentment-based motivation, making always entertaining if frequently delirious and baffling television appearances, saying outrageous and often indefensibly inflammatory things for attention, and tweeting constantly. The shtick got old, and so many of his predictions of earth-shattering liberal conspiracy-exposing scoops fell flat. He ruined a number of people’s lives for no real reason, and he was generally a toxic influence on the national debate.

Madonna - Burning Up (1983)

I can tell when a new pop artist is likely to make a major impact, because my initial reaction to them is that I don't like them. The worse my initial impression, the bigger the star they are likely to be. Madonna, Britney, Lady Gaga: all similar strong, negative reactions.

I liked Madonna's 'Borderline' when it first came out, but the next couple of her songs made me wary. Too pushy, I thought. Plus, a friend of mine had started a 'hate Madonna' campaign, and I was swayed. By the time 'Burning Up' came out, though, I had seen the errors of my ways, and had become a fierce Madonna partisan....

So We Got Maybe 0.44" Of Rain From This Last Storm

The most wretched winter ever continues.

There is some forecast indications of interesting movement around Hawaii in maybe about a week, but if that stuff comes up here (a big IF), the month of March will be nearly half over.

The most wretched winter EVER continues!

What Meth Hath Wrought

Too horrible:
A 26-year-old Floridian woman admitted to burning down one of the oldest trees in the world Tuesday afternoon.

According to WFTV, Sara Barnes was arrested after admitting she set The Senator, a 3,500 year old bald cypress tree, on fire on a mid-January night in Longwood, Florida.

Barnes, a regular drug user who was smoking meth with a friend at the time, lit the tree on fire so that she could see in the dark but could not stop it from spreading.

“I can’t believe I burned down a tree older then Jesus,” Barnes told authorities before taken into custody by police.

The Senator, which became a landmark in Longwood, was the fifth oldest tree in the world.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Shit Theater Girls Say

Via A., on Facebook.

Be Prepared

Anything could happen, of course. Yellowstone could erupt. Locusts could return. Grizzlies and wolves could run riot. You just never know. But if it all goes to hell, I think the best option is to move to Colorado:
CODY, Wyoming (Reuters) – In a sign of rising consumer confidence prevailing over go-it-alone pessimism in the Cowboy State, Wyoming lawmakers on Tuesday narrowly defeated a “doomsday bill” to help the state prepare for a total collapse of the U.S. government and economy.

The bill, rejected on a 30-27 vote by the state House of Representatives, would have allocated $16,000 for a panel of legislators and emergency managers to study various measures, including a new state-issued currency, for handling a range of apocalyptic scenarios.

...Despite the grim national economic outlook expressed by backers of the doomsday bill, some who opposed it cited the economic reality that Wyoming is faring better than most other states.

“We’re in relatively good shape financially, with $14 billion in savings and assets,” said Representative Sam Krone, a Republican from Cody.

North Korean Progress

News that hasn't been heralded much, with all the saber-rattling going on over Iran:
North Korea has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and nuclear and long-range missile tests in a breakthrough in negotiations with the United States, which is set to provide food aid in return.

...Coming just over two months after the death of longtime ruler Kim Jong Il, it signals a willingness by the secretive government under his untested youngest son, Kim Jong Un, to improve ties with the U.S. and win aid. It still falls far short of an agreement to abandon the nuclear weapons program Pyongyang likely views as key to the regime's survival.

...In a major concession, North Korea said it had agreed to allow the U.N.`s International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to verify and monitor a moratorium on uranium enrichment activities at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex, a program that the North unveiled to visiting U.S. academics in 2010.

Avenue Jew

Wow! The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect!

Wow! The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect! (a story which both Jonathan and Jerry shared on Facebook):
They call it "Ball's Pyramid." It's what's left of an old volcano that emerged from the sea about 7 million years ago. A British naval officer named Ball was the first European to see it in 1788. It sits off Australia, in the South Pacific. It is extremely narrow, 1,844 feet high, and it sits alone.

What's more, for years this place had a secret. At 225 feet above sea level, hanging on the rock surface, there is a small, spindly little bush, and under that bush, a few years ago, two climbers, working in the dark, found something totally improbable hiding in the soil below. How it got there, we still don't know.

Here's the story: About 13 miles from this spindle of rock, there's a bigger island, called Lord Howe Island.

On Howe, there used to be an insect, famous for being big. It's a stick insect, a critter that masquerades as a piece of wood, and the Lord Howe Island version was so large — as big as a human hand — that the Europeans labeled it a "tree lobster" because of its size and hard, lobsterlike exoskeleton. It was 12 centimeters long and the heaviest flightless stick insect in the world. Local fishermen used to put them on fishing hooks and use them as bait.

Then one day in 1918, a supply ship, the S.S. Makambo from Britain, ran aground at Lord Howe Island and had to be evacuated. One passenger drowned. The rest were put ashore. It took nine days to repair the Makambo, and during that time, some black rats managed to get from the ship to the island, where they instantly discovered a delicious new rat food: giant stick insects. Two years later, the rats were everywhere and the tree lobsters were gone.

Totally gone. After 1920, there wasn't a single sighting. By 1960, the Lord Howe stick insect, Dryococelus australis, was presumed extinct.

There was a rumor, though.

Some climbers scaling Ball's Pyramid in the 1960s said they'd seen a few stick insect corpses lying on the rocks that looked "recently dead." But the species is nocturnal, and nobody wanted to scale the spire hunting for bugs in the dark.

Fast forward to 2001, when two Australian scientists, David Priddel and Nicholas Carlile, with two assistants, decided to take a closer look. From the water, they'd seen a few patches of vegetation that just might support walking sticks. So, they boated over ("Swimming would have been much easier," Carlile said, "but there are too many sharks."), they crawled up the vertical rock face to about 500 feet, where they found a few crickets, nothing special. But on their way down, on a precarious, unstable rock surface, they saw a single melaleuca bush peeping out of a crack and, underneath, what looked like fresh droppings of some large insect.

Where, they wondered, did that poop come from?

The only thing to do was to go back up after dark, with flashlights and cameras, to see if the pooper would be out taking a nighttime walk. Nick Carlile and a local ranger, Dean Hiscox, agreed to make the climb. And with flashlights, they scaled the wall till they reached the plant, and there, spread out on the bushy surface, were two enormous, shiny, black-looking bodies. And below those two, slithering into the muck, were more, and more ... 24 in all. All gathered near this one plant.
Birth of the insect:

Lord Howe Island Stick Insect hatching from Zoos Victoria on Vimeo.


Craig sent this. Way, way too cool!:
“We were just blown away by how beautiful they were,” producer Kathryn Jeffs told Jeffs was in Antarctica with Miller and Anderson to capture the unique event. “We were exceptionally excited and we knew we had something that had never been filmed before, never been seen before. No one has really seen the formation of a brinicle.”

This magnificent yet terrifying phenomenon is caused by brine, or naturally occurring salt water, which tends to be denser than the surrounding seawater and has a lower freezing point. When super cold brine trickles down, the warmer seawater surrounds the cyclone with a brittle layer of ice.

But capturing the event on tape was no easy feat, as the crew battled brutal conditions, technical challenges, and even seal attacks.

A Petition

Jonathan is sharing this on Facebook. (I removed the embed script because of slow response time).

RIP, Davy Jones

Last train to Clarksville:
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Davy Jones, a former actor turned singer who helped propel the TV rock band The Monkees to the top of the pop charts and into rock 'n' roll history, died Wednesday in Florida. He was 66.
There was an interesting episode of a radio show recently (unfortunately, I can't locate the show) which featured the six OTHER, more-or-less-doomed acts on the same, famous Ed Sullivan show where he introduced the Beatles to the U.S. audience in 1964. It was tough-going for the other acts. The Artful Dodger (Davy Jones) was on that same show to sing 'Consider Yourself' from the new West End musical, "Oliver!" According to the radio show, from the wings he saw the Beatles perform, heard the screaming girls, and thought to himself 'I'd like some of this action.' And in a fashion, he did indeed!

Judging From The Comments On My YouTube Video...

The folks known as the Neo-Nazis really don't like being called Neo-Nazis....

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Romney Wins

I liked this tweet, on Daily Kos:
The Kennedy thing killed Santorum with Catholics. How ironic...I wonder if he is throwing up now.

Saving The South

Northern New Zealand rugby mascot goes on a fundraising trip to help save the south:

Larger than life rugby mascot Hori BOP is embarking on a 1300km hikoi to help save Otago rugby.

The Tauranga resident - real name Terry Leaming - is hitch-hiking to Dunedin today after hearing news of Otago rugby's $2 million debt crisis with a last-ditch bid to save the union from extinction.

"New Zealand rugby without Otago? That's like Hori BOP without a pie in his mouth!", the 170kg Leaming said.

"Otago is a vital part of New Zealand rugby and the whole country has got to get behind them to make sure they stay a part of it. We just can't allow them to fold - the NZRU and the rugby community have got to step up and save our southerners."

...While he's in Dunedin, Leaming plans on swimming across the harbour as an additional fund-raiser, bless the new stadium and jokes he's also gauging interest in developing a new blue cod pie.

Though he remains a committed Bay of Plenty supporter - with many officials suggesting he should be committed - Leaming has a lot of sympathy for Otago's plight.

"Bay of Plenty loaned Otago the use of our blue and gold colours all those years ago so there's a deep connection there and besides, we've got far more Bay players in the Highlanders than those useless bloody Chiefs," Leaming said.

"But this trip isn't about a provincial pissing contest. It's about sharing the love with our southern cuzzies. We love to beat the crap out of them on the pitch but off the pitch, we've got to stick together."

...Otago rugby has nearly 200 creditors and debts of $2.35 million and is looking at a significant revenue shortfall this year. ORFU chairman Wayne Graham said the board had taken the only responsible action it had available to it by proposing to go in to liquidation.

More Battles With The Wildlife

Last night, the light burned out above my back porch, so by 8 p.m. it was even darker than usual.

Standing in my back yard, behind me, I heard a rustle on the back fence. I turned around, but saw nothing.

I climbed up the steps of the porch, and suddenly I saw a possum race into the garage at high speed. It vanished into the shed portion of the garage. Following quickly, I could hear the animal gnawing on something behind some paint cans (perhaps gnawing on a carrot left out for Bailey, or some such).

I went inside and retrieved a flashlight, but was unsuccessful in locating the varmint. Meanwhile, Bailey was in the yard, wisely away from the action.

Horseman Cooks Wild Mushrooms

NSFW, and a bit odd too.

Carvelo - Status, ft. Kelsey B (Original Club Mix)

Kelsey's on this:


Fine Day For A Riot

A little after 3 p.m. this afternoon, I got an informational E-Mail from a coworker, saying:
Streets leading in, to and around the State Capitol have been CLOSED OFF (15th, 16th, L, N, K, etc.) Apparently the Occupy Protest Movement has escalated into a Small Riot…
I also learned that another coworker was caught in traffic, and had seen someone tossed onto a car hood and arrested by the cops.

Well 3 p.m. was about the time when I normally go to lunch. Time to check out today's chaos. But I wished I had known about the riot in advance: I was caught completely flat-footed, 2/3 of a mile from the scene of all the action. So off I went, to try and learn what I could.

I got down to the riot too late to fully understand what was happening. Quite amazingly, the first person I encountered at 10th and L Streets was my next-door neighbor (an apartment dweller who nevertheless was willing to sweep falling leaves last November, just to keep his area clean, an effort I appreciated.) He said he saw the bicycle cop get jumped on, and saw the assailant flee with cops in hot pursuit, but who that fellow was remains unclear.

The folks along 10th Street seemed watchful, but not terribly tense. There were rumors of scattered pockets of remaining trouble on P Street. Here, the trouble had spread along 10th Street from L Street to J Street.

The Sacramento Bee article seems hard to understand: perhaps a function of the story itself being hard to understand:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- At least two law enforcement officers were injured Monday during a clash with members of the Occupy movement who were at the state Capitol to protest a rally by a pro-white group.

The clash erupted in the afternoon as California Highway Patrol and Sacramento city police officers were escorting about 35 members of the South Africa Project to a parking garage following their protest outside the Capitol building.

About 50 members of Occupy Oakland began throwing cans and bottles at the South Africa group and at the officers. The Occupy members then rushed the officers as people with the pro-whites group rushed into the parking garage.

A city police officer was injured when a member of the Occupy group jumped on him, and a CHP officer was hurt after being struck by an object. Both were taken from the scene by ambulance.

At least two Occupy members were arrested.

The people on-site referred to the 40-to-50 or so 'South Africa' people as the 'neo-Nazis': a term the Sacramento Bee appears loathe to use. I also understood that not all the 60-to-70 opposing people were Occupy Oakland folks, but a coalition of people, of whom Occupy Oakland folks were the largest contingent.

I ran into Laura Peck of the Sacramento Police Department as she gave an informational briefing to the media. Indeed, I also caught Jim Naylor from KFBK radio (News Talk 1530: generally quite conservative in political leaning) as he 'went live' on the radio (which I caught on camera).

Some skepticism is merited on these occasions. One young man said in passing, 'she's lying.' (I think Peck was simply saying what she knew at the time.) Indeed, according to the Sacramento Bee article, one injured officer was Sac PD, and one CHP, but at the time of this briefing it was all still a little unclear, and it was believed that both officers were CHP.

The simplistic meme that seemed to work best for Jim Naylor as he digested Peck's briefing was that the Occupy folks were the aggressors (with the unspoken assumption that the neo-Nazis were the victims), but it's still unclear to me how all that worked. I specifically asked Officer Peck in Naylor's presence whether anyone knew who the assailants were who attacked the police, but she didn't know yet.

I get suspicious of simplistic memes regarding riots. Even the simplest riot can be quite complex. Here, there were at least two kinds of clashes: protesters vs. each other, and some protesters (or provocateurs) vs. the police. Keeping it all straight (and keeping the blame straight too) is important.

So, some civic chaos today, but in my memory it still doesn't hold up to the wilding on October 11, 1991, when frustrated Act-Up AIDS activists from the Bay Area broke away from their State Capitol protest and set upon mourners from Bishop Gallegos' funeral as they left the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. Talk about the collision of two utterly-dissimilar worlds! Oil and water!

Here is the live radio briefing:

And here is more video of yesterday's irregularities: from 10th & K Streets, where the injured bicycle cop is sitting on the sidewalk.

And photographs of the demonstrations facing off.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Escaped Rhinoceros Drill At The Zoo

And This Little Penguin Went To Market

Snoring Peruvian Hummingbird

The STRATFOR E-Mails Are Indeed Interesting

Once again, the Anonymous folks have done the world a favor by highlighting the intelligence community opinions that actually run the world. Via FDL, here's one:
- "Where are the moderates in the Muslim world?" That was the theme of the conversation on source's end. If you listen to this person, you come away with the notion that the Israelis seem extremely unnerved about the future of the region, with the primary focus being on the Iranian threat. (Again, this is not groundbreaking insight.)

- Source openly said that none of this shit would be happening right now had Obama not abandoned Mubarak like he did. When I later criticized Bush for shattering the balance of power in the PG, source shot back, "Well what about Obama?" I said that Obama had maintained the same FP as Bush, a claim with which the source agreed. And yet the source loves Bush's policies and hates Obama's. Israelis are not a fan of Barack.

Video streaming by Ustream
Interesting press conference. Highlights:

Julian Assange from 4:53 to 14.30.

Yassan al-Assadi discusses the generally poor quality of private intelligence, witnessed by bias and racism in the American understanding of the Middle East: 30:00 - 34:48.

The use of private intelligence to make money - the STRADCAP hedge fund: 40:00 - 41:30.

'National Security', neo-McCarthyite hysteria, and the problem of low-quality intelligence: 56:20 - 60:00.

Julian Assange's kind-of rant: 1:05:00 - 1:10:40.

Pompeii On The Western Front

A story from earlier this month:
Twenty-one German soldiers entombed in a perfectly preserved World War One shelter have been discovered 94 years after they were killed.

The men were part of a larger group of 34 who were buried alive when an Allied shell exploded above the tunnel in 1918 causing it to cave in.

...Many of the skeletal remains were found in the same positions the men had been in at the time of the collapse, prompting experts to liken the scene to Pompeii.

...As well as the bodies, poignant personal effects such as boots, helmets, weapons, wine bottles, spectacles, wallets, pipes, cigarette cases and pocket books were also found.

Even the skeleton of a goat was found, assumed to be a source of fresh milk for the soldiers.

"Damn Yankees" Opening Weekend

I was so "on edge" all weekend regarding Stage Managing "Damn Yankees" that I didn't get a single picture. Maybe just as well. So much can go wrong in an instant that it's best to just focus on getting the set changes right.

Friday was opening night, and there were incidents where things didn't work quite right. The first started at the start of the show with the hand off between Pam and Steve in the lighting booth. I called 'lights' to start the show, and Pam informed me that she was waiting for a few stragglers in the audience to sit down before bringing lights down. Then she was relieved by Steve and she headed down to the orchestra pit. Steve hadn't heard our previous conversation. Steve asked why we were waiting and I told Steve that I understood that we were waiting for a few people to sit down. Steve said 'no, we aren't.' So, I assumed the lights would come down immediately, but Steve hadn't heard me say 'lights', and kept the lights up. A standoff ensued. I fished around for magic words to start the show - maybe a Druidic incantation, or burning incense, or something - and eventually I hit upon the word 'lights,' but it took awhile.

We had some trouble with loose electrical cords on stage during the First Act, and a late entrance, but on the whole the show went fairly-well.

On Saturday, the show was going well until I snapped the furring strips in the rolling locker platforms as I helped move them onstage (they are far more fragile than I had thought). These furring strips still haven't been fully repaired, and may yet cause more difficulties. A few people missed set assignments. I also placed the stage left rolling platform on the wrong spike marks in the last scene (someone stepped on someone's foot, and so someone never got backstage to help with the scene change, and having never moved that platform before at that particular time, I had to guess where it belonged, and I guessed wrong).

On Sunday, I managed to accidentally gouge my right pinkie with my left thumbnail, and started bleeding profusely on everything I touched (and there are plenty of things backstage to bleed on). There was also a very late entrance, and people had to make up things to say in the interim. But overall, there were lots of nice compliments on the show.

And so, we're off.

Obama's Correct To Apologize On Behalf Of The U.S.

There is nothing wrong in the U.S. apologizing for mistakes in burning Korans, or for any actions that trample on religious sensibilities. Nevertheless, both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich seem to think such apologies are inappropriate. We burn their Korans, and they are supposed to apologize to us? Please!

It's important to remember that Muslim populations are very sensitive to these sorts of slights, and riots over exactly these kinds of issues have happened many, many times in the immediate past. American soldiers will die if the violence does not stop, and the violence will not stop as long as Americans refuse to apologize for religious slights. Santorum and Gingrich are dangerously-stupid in their bigotry; in their zealous hatred of Muslims and their religious beliefs. Santorum and Gingrich help get American soldiers killed. God save the United States of America if they actually get any real power.

Bailey Likes The Cilantro

Bailey the Rabbit has a fondness for kale, but it's sometimes difficult to satisfy that hunger at this time of the year - kale's not so much in season. So, I've been trying other things - spinach; radishes; chard; collard greens; romaine lettuce; butter lettuce; flowering kale; baby bok choy; just about anything green - but Bailey pretty-much just prefers the kale.

So, I tried cilantro. I had read that the human desire for cilantro is hard-coded into the human genome: people either love cilantro, or hate it. Is it the same with rabbits?

Bailey likes the cilantro. Just like his master....

A Second Trip To San Francisco

M.: You went to San Francisco a second time?

J.: The AGT people said I was supposed to get an E-Mail before midnight that same day I auditioned. When I didn't get it, I thought maybe I made a mistake, or something. It was driving me absolutely mental, so I had to go back there, if only for my peace of mind. I had learned that Howard Stern was supposed to be there on Saturday, which is why I HAD to go down on that day, since I knew the producers would be there. I have to admit you were right; it was a misunderstanding. I talked to a producer, and she apologized, and said no one got such an E-Mail: that's for next month. But at least I can move on, knowing what I know now: Like you were saying, the philosophy is: "don't call us; we'll call you."

M.: Did you at least see Howard Stern?

J.: Naw. By the time I got it all straightened out, I was tired and had no interest.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rats Everywhere

J.V. is fascinated by this video, which aims to shock. All I could think was, the rats sure look cute and furry, and how did so many of my cousins end up in this video?