Friday, June 01, 2012

Feeding Time At Takasakiyama Monkey Park

Candy Candy

From WTF Japan Seriously.

Hot Enough For Bailey

It was 96 degrees yesterday at Sac Exec Airport, so I knew it was time to open the basement. Within a few hours, Bailey had slipped down there, and it'll likely be months before he prefers hanging out elsewhere.

It's Going To Rain Here On Monday?

But it's June!

Raining Sheep In Melbourne

John Edwards - Not Guilty

Gabe has been taunting me about John Edwards for several years now. Gabe asked me where my campaign contributions went, and I responded: 'Pampers'. Still, today, John Edwards gets vindication. As bad as his personal conduct may have been, it didn't amount to crime, and it's time to finally drop the persecution:
It seemed that federal prosecutors desperately wanted to find a way to legally punish Edwards for adultery, and their only hope of doing that was to reclassify hush money paid by private Edwards supporters directly to Rielle Hunter and Andrew Young as a campaign contributions, even though the money didn’t go to the campaign and “hush money for mistresses” has never before been treated like a traditional campaign expense. Luckily, the jury seems to have seen through the ruse, finding Edwards not guilty of one charge, and drawing a mistrial on the rest.

With the news of Karl Rove crowing about how he intends to spend $1 billion in untraceable funds to beat Obama in 2012, it looks particularly ridiculous for the government to waste resources on a showboat prosecution. Even the conservative news magazine National Review had to denounce the prosecution as a waste. John Edwards has been disgraced, humiliated and run out of politics. Bringing the full force of the law down on him on top of it all just seems greedy.

It’s become customary in politically obsessed circles for observers to preen about how they knew that Edwards was bad news all along. His lawyerly ways! His sentimental stories about growing up working class! His hair! How could his silly supporters not see him for the philandering phony he so clearly was?

Of course, a quick perusal of the John Edwards of 2007 demonstrates that this sort of hindsight owes more to revisionist wishful thinking than a correct assessment of the evidence at the time. Back then, the other potential Democratic nominees, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, were widely and correctly perceived as timid centrists who had a knee-jerk tendency to run from conflict the second conservatives ruffled their feathers. Edwards, on the other hand, spoke convincingly of how change couldn’t come from “negotiation and compromise,” arguing that the idea that corporate interests would voluntarily give away their power is “a fantasy.” Long before the economic crash and Occupy Wall Street forced major Democratic politicians to address the question of growing inequality, Edwards’s famous “two Americas” rhetoric helped force the issue onto the table. Occupy boiled it down to the 1 Percent vs. the 99 Percent, but back in 2007, Edwards was taking cracks at “the very rich vs. everyone else.”

In the rush of headlines about Edwards’s despicable sexual behavior, what’s forgotten is how much his campaign haunted the primary contest between Clinton and Obama long after he dropped out. An early push in the campaign season from Edwards on healthcare reform set the tone for the rest of the election season on this issue. Edwards put out a plan for healthcare reform before the other candidates, forcing the other candidates to release competing plans that were likelier farther to the left than they were comfortable promising. It’s arguable that without the primary season pressure from the Edwards campaign, the initial gambit of the Democrats in the healthcare reform battle — one that included a public option — wouldn’t have been as strong, which would have meant an even weaker bill than the one that eventually was pushed past conservative Democratic opposition.

Track Of The Week

Kelsey B's "Speed" is Miamilicious' 'Track of the Week'!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bob And Ro Productions To Close

Bob and Ro sent out a message to their supporters and subscribers:
Dear Friends,

After twenty-five years of triumph and tragedy, utter joy and deep sadness, of great success and financial despair, of lasting friendships and betrayal, and most of all, of artistic achievement, we have come to the realization that it is time to hang up our tap shoes and say goodbye to theatrical production.

This means that Bob and Ro Productions will no longer be producing shows at the Studio Theatre and that our planned production of "Camping With Henry and Tom" will not happen.

...We want to extend our most heartfelt thanks to all those wonderful and talented artists, technicians, box office staff, stage managers, and actors who shared their skills with us over these fantastic 25 years and especially the last two and a half. Without you, there would be no theatre.

We would also like to express our gratitude to those wonderful people who donated their own money to help Bob and Ro Productions at the Studio Theatre get started and continue for two and a half years. Your support has been invaluable.

Lastly, we would like to thank our very supportive Board of Directors, both past and present. Jeanette, Simon, Jackie, Gerri, Ruth, Gene, Al and Lydia. Having a supportive Board of Directors made these last two and a half years a joyful experience.

We can't say we are skipping merrily into retirement. First of all, we can't say that because we don't feel particularly merry at this moment. Secondly, we are trying to avoid that word, "retirement" and leave the door slightly ajar for the opportunity for us to work in some other producer's theatre. So we'll just say this...


With our deepest gratitude,
Bob and Ro
Right now is a hard time in Sacramento theater. The rapid expansion in the number of theaters, a trend that really got underway in the 90's, ran headlong into the Great Recession. I worried about the timing of Bob and Ro's new venture, and it looks like there was reason to worry.

I'm reminded of the Galapagos Islands, and the evolution of the Giant Tortoises. The brutal swing of feast and famine - El Niño and La Niña - created conditions that led to island gigantism. Only large creatures have sufficient capacity to outlast the famine to the better days beyond. Thus, the tortoises grew over the eons to amazingly-large sizes: because they had to, in order to survive!

When DMTC collected all its energies and resources and moved into its new theater in 2005, I wondered whether its comparative large size would be help or a hindrance. Was it a moment like the end of the dinosaurs, where size was an impediment, and only the small and swift mammals would survive, or was it a moment more like the tortoises in the Galapagos Islands, where the small and swift perish first? The answer was important, because I could sense hard times were just over the horizon.

The experience in Sacramento so far suggests a bit of both. The collapse of Civic Theatre West proved dinosaur-sized theaters can fall victim, but the collapse of theaters like Bob and Ro shows that small size is no panacea either.

I think DMTC made the right decision in its particular ecological niche to imitate the Galapagos Tortoise. Whether that strategy works for other theaters in the Sacramento area depends on that fickle ecosystem, and what it allows.

"The Dictator" - Sacha Baron Cohen

I expected not to like this movie that much, but it grew on me as time passed.

The reason that 2007's "Borat" worked so well was because many of the participants didn't realize it was a movie, and came up with perfect gems of dialogue right in the heat of the moment. You can't reproduce those conditions again, so for "Bruno", and "The Dictator" you have to script everything, and that's hard!

I liked the 'Death To Aladeen' Restaurant concept. The trendy, granola, health food angle felt a bit forced. I liked the 'Ebony and Ivory' scene. I found it interesting how masturbation is portrayed as a social advance, rather than a diversion or a retrograde error, but I didn't like their path to this place.

Not as fresh as "Borat", but just as crude, with a political message I quite agreed with. And like I say, winning in its own way.

Maybe A Job Possibility In New Zealand?

They've got needs, I have skills, and there's not enough work here. It just might work to join the globe-trotting elite and flit from port-of-call to port-of-call, as needs call. It depends mostly on my employer's flexibility, and the flexibility of the Antipodean folks.

Breaking Bad - Behind the Scenes

Pestilence Of Neighborhood Door Handlers

I had barely gotten to sleep last night, at about 3 a.m., when I heard a sound outside my bedroom window. Someone was trying door handles on my car in the driveway. Knocking over rubbish on my nightstand in the process, I stumbled out of bed, but the ruckus startled the door handler, and he quickly bolted down the alley.

I wonder if he's the same guy who I complained about to the police a couple of weeks ago?

Squeaked Through B3ta's QOTW Needle Eye!

I can't believe I managed to land on this week's 'Best Answers' page over at B3ta!

I've been having a harder and harder time over the years getting my stories on the 'Best Answers' page over there, because they specialize in naughty British juvenile humor, and I'm neither naughty, nor British, nor a juvenile. My stories are engineering-oriented, middle-aged American humor: basically, insanely dull by their standards. Plus, this is a repost (or a pearoast, as they say in their impish, dyslexic UK way). I improved the exposition this time, and besides, it was more on-topic this week. It was enough to put me over the threshold!

These events occurred in 1982, on Thurber Ranch, southeast of Tucson, Arizona, on the beautiful eastern flank of the Santa Rita Mountains. This week's question, and my answer, are below:
Down on the Farm

Have you ever been chased from a field by a shotgun-wielding maniac? Ever removed city arseholes from your field whilst innocently carrying a shotgun? Tell us your farm stories.
Pearoast For a Peabrain

I was once assigned to tend some air quality monitoring equipment located on a ranch in southern Arizona, so I'd make periodic visits to the ranch. Unbeknownst to me, the equipment was also claimed by an arrogant and territorial local pheasant.

As I approached the equipment, the pheasant would endeavor to approach me from behind. Every time I turned my back, the pheasant would peck at my legs. Incensed, I whirled around and kicked the pheasant, but I was never able to land a solid punch on the lightweight bird. Every time I kicked, the demented bird would merely jump upon my shoe and ride it angrily up and down like a seesaw. Kicking the bird just made it angrier, which just made me angrier in return. What the bird lacked in strength, it gained through obsessive determination that I just couldn't match over hours of pitched battle. Years later, I plot revenge, but quail at the thought of a rematch.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More Pictures From The Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibit In San Francisco

Sirène-reine” gown
Mermaids collection, haute couture spring/summer 2008
Woven silk and metallic-thread gown with pieced scales overlapping the bust and hip.
Time needed to create: 180 hours.
White version worn by Marion Cotillard at the 2008 Academy Awards.

This is a guy who makes clothes from Filipino placemats. Nothing can stop him!


One strange element about the exhibit was the use of projectors to impose smiling and winking faces upon the mannequins, and the use of speakers, allowing the mannequins to speak and sing. Very lifelike, but not lifelike enough to overcome that sense of estrangement we all feel towards robots and other automatons. Very creepy, but fun!


My favorite dress.

A singing Parisienne.

Mary Young's favorite dress.


Size Of The Fire In The Gila

I can't even wrap my mind around 170,272 acres. Let's see, that's 266.05 mi^2, or a square that's 16.3 miles on a side. That's more than 2.6 times the size of Sacramento, or about one-quarter the size of Yolo County. Burned in a flash!

Kylie Minogue - "Timebomb"

Down, Down, Down

No Internet at work today :(. Posting opportunities are limited!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kelsey B's "Pop Synth Sex Beat" Is Out!

Available now on Amazon.

Upon first listen, I like "Speed". "Sexy Face" is nice, but I prefer "Speed", because it's more original (and doesn't rely on the "I Feel Love" sample).

"Be With You" is featured here.

Nighttime Oration

At two a.m. last night, as I retired to bed, I noted a man making a speech in the parking lot outside my bedroom window. The man was standing near the cemetery fence and making some kind of self-pitying speech filled with obscenities. Annoyed, I retrieved my iPhone and prepared to call the cops, but just then a compatriot of his approached him, and the declamations softened into conversation. Ultimately, no Sac PD call was required.

Bailey The Rabbit Has A New Hiding Place

On Sunday, Joe The Plumber came over to the house. He generously gave me a mountain bike for my many indulgences to him over the years (but I had to first pay for the rim repair). Joe wanted to help me mow the lawn, but I wanted to watch Kylie's X2008 Tour video instead, so we did that.

Joe needed to secure his dog in some other place than his van during the hot daylight hours while we watched the video, so we tied up Bella the Labrador Retriever in the yard, making sure to keep the leash short, in order to minimize any chance that Bella would interact with Bailey the Rabbit (who likes to sleep in the garage all day). I also closed and locked a little gate into the garage, to further separate the two.

Late in the afternoon, after watching the video, I went out to the garage as Joe prepared to leave. The little gate was open, with the door propped open with some sponges. Bailey's water looked like it had been jostled. It looked for all the world like someone had come into the garage for some purpose, or that the rabbit had busted out, but the only valuable thing missing was the rabbit. So, where was Bailey?

For at least an hour Joe and I searched high and low for the rabbit. I searched every square foot of the yard and garage. There was no sign of the rabbit. Bella was still tightly-leashed, so there was no obvious sign of interaction there. Frustrated, I decided that Bailey must have become alarmed by the close presence of a dog and found a new hiding place somewhere, and that the best thing to do was to simply wait him out.

About 2 a.m., I quietly sneaked into the yard, and peeked into the furthest end of the yard - at Bailey's favorite hangout spot. Sure enough, Bailey was quietly sitting there.

It's completely-unclear what, if anything, actually happened. I still don't know how the little gate was opened. And that wascally wabbit! I might happen to know every square foot of the yard and garage, but Bailey knows every square inch of the yard and garage.

Burning Down The Entire Gila Wilderness

You shut your eyes for a few seconds, and another 10,000 acres of beautiful forest vaporize.

152,012 acres, and counting.

The Californians (With Mick Jagger)

RIP - Mindy Stover

Recently, sad news came that Mindy Stover, who performed at DMTC's Old Theater in the 80's and early 90's, had passed away.

Here is a record of her involvement with DMTC back in the Golden Days....

The Californians

At the Memorial Day gathering, Steve showed us this Saturday Night Live running skit, The Californians. What's available on YouTube lacks quality, but it's way too much fun to watch without laughing out loud.

I said all us Californians didn't look too good in these skits, but Marguerite said it didn't really apply to us NorCal types. I disagreed. A clairvoyant kid can see dead people; I see these folks. How did we arrive at this sorry state? Well, you take the 10 to Lincoln Blvd., take a right to San Vicente, then a left to the PCH (but you have to do it before ten, or it gets jahmmed).

Monday, May 28, 2012

This Photo Perfectly Expresses My Life's Start

I've been sporadically trying to find this photo for years, but because I didn't know who took it, I didn't know where to look. Nevertheless, I saw it fly past on a display at the De Young Museum on Saturday, and finally tracked it down. Garry Winogrand took this photo in Albuquerque in 1957, and even though that's not me in the photo, I am almost precisely this kid's age. It expresses perfectly the time and place when my parents first put down roots.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Just The Kylie Bits Of Jean-Paul Gaultier's Exhibit In San Francisco

Kylie belongs in an entire class of her own, and Jean Paul Gaultier was the perfect choice to dress her for Kylie's 2008 "X" Tour. Kylie's lust for haute couture met the man who was best positioned to meet it.

As soon as I walked into the exhibit, THERE IT WAS! THE DRESS! OH. MY. GOD! As first seen in her entrance for "Like A Drug" - the best entrance Kylie has ever made. Here is the video (previously posted) from the Paris concert, one of the earliest shows on her tour:

“Immaculata” gown. Virgins collection, haute couture spring/summer 2007. Crocheted lace dress with cherub appliques in linen. Crocheted lace headdress and mask. Worn by Kylie Minogue in her “Like A Drug” video for the X2008 Tour. I was curious why the huge skull appeared in the Like A Drug" stage show. It is a very Mexican element, and I was surprised to see it at all. This exhibit helps explain the influence to some extent. Jean Paul Gaultier was also working on the Virgins collection at the same time he was preparing the "X" Tour dresses, which included several Virgin Marys, including Our Lady of Guadalupe (which was also shown in the same display). So, the skull fits in as another Mexican element in the creative life of Jean Paul Gaultier at this same time. It would be interesting to know more about the creative process involved here.
”Auréole” gown. Virgins collection, haute couture spring/summer 2007. Pleated tulle and gold lame gown; hammered brass and Plexiglas headdress. Worn by Kylie Minogue in the Pierre et Gilles photograph The Virgin with the Serpents, 2008. Painted photograph. Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris.
“Barbarella” bodysuit. Movie Stars collection haute couture fall/winter 2009-2010. Lamé corset-style bodysuit with cabodian(?)-mounted shoulders and hips and diamond-faceted bra cups. Worn by Kylie Minogue in her X2008 Tour (2008) and by Arielle Danbadie(?) in her Live Glam Video Show concert (2010). American flag costume worn by Kylie Minogue during her For You, For Me (Kylie USA 2009) Tour. Ostrich feathers and leather on tulle coat. Collection of Kylie Minogue, London.
After seeing the exhibit, I purchased the "X" Tour video from the gift shop (which, surprisingly, I didn't already own) and was blown completely away again with how good it was. The European tour was substantially and surprisingly different from the Pacific and East Asian tour that I saw in Auckland, and so the DVD was still so fresh....

Jean-Paul Gaultier Exhibit At San Francisco's De Young Museum

What an amazing, amazing display of inventiveness, nerve, and riotous good fun!

Jean-Baptiste Mondino
Madonna, 1990
Corset-style bodysuit by Jean Paul Gaultier for Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour (1990).
Chromogenic print

Stage costume worn by Madonna’s dancers during the opening segment of the Confessions Tour (2006)
Satin vest; chaps-style jodhpurs with saddle.
Courtesy of Madonna, New York.

“La mariée” wedding gown
The Hussars collection, haute couture fall/winter 2002/2003
Silk faille skirt with metal bodice and shoulder jewelry; headdress and train of silk tulle and feathers.

The center dress, made with pheasant feathers, was my favorite of the exhibit.

(This dress was Mary Young's favorite.)

Made from a garbage bag, plus other refuse.

Costume from the Luc Besson film The Fifth Element (1997)
Low-cut fake leopardskin jumpsuit with matching thigh-high boots
Worn by Chris Tucker in the film.

Gabardine bodysuit and boots
Movie Stars collection haute couture fall/winter 2009-2010
Trench-style stretch gabardine bodysuit with shoulder flaps; matching thigh-high boots.
Time needed to create: 180 hours.
Bodysuit worn by Beyoncé in her music video for “Video Phone” (2009).


Visit To The De Young Museum

Despite my 22 years in California, this is the first time I've ever visited here! Looks like a Mayan temple in the jungle of Golden Gate Park!


Daytrip To San Francisco Upon The Occasion Of Steve & Jan's 38th Wedding Anniversary

What's that around the bend? Could it be? Yes, it is! The bouncing baby herself on her 75th birthday, the Golden Gate Bridge!


"Go, Dog, Go!" - Woodland Opera House

I was quite baffled by this odd show, until the cast showed a cover of the book upon which this show is based. Then, in a flashback, I remembered..... First grade! Mrs. Lindeman's class! But good grief, I haven't read this book in 49 years! About the same time I read "Are You My Mommy?" and "The Cat In The Hat".

I no longer remembered the plot of "Go, Dog, Go!". But suddenly, the oddities of the plot, as revealed on stage, began to make more sense: they were just trying to maintain fidelity to the book.

Like the whole sequence of the hats. Made no sense, really. No playwright would do that - the hats were gorgeous! But a children's book author might be so careless.

"Go, Dog, Go!" is the sort of musical dogs would write if dogs wrote musicals. Straightforward. No dark side. Simple.

The kids in the audience really liked Erik Catalan!