Friday, May 17, 2013

"Indomitable Gerwigian Charm"

Steve points out a pair of nice articles in the New York Post:
We get the sense that it’ll all work out for Frances, which is comforting. But despite the indomitable Gerwigian charm the character is barely on the right side of cliché — a manic pixie dream girl twirling her way through youth.
A new Queen of Quirk is in town. Greta Gerwig is quickly conquering the indie film world with her laid-back look, goofy persona and Everygirl roles. She’s also drawn comparisons to another of Hollywood’s more oddball leading ladies, Diane Keaton.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Just Six?

Six Kinds Of Transplants Ruining LA:
6) The Hippie: Hippies are often thought to be mostly harmless, so long as they bathe once in a while. But the problem with the hippie is that he thinks he belongs here. In fact, hippies generally labor under the delusion that this land was built for them, ignorant of its origins as a homicidal cattle town built on the banks of a capricious river.

5) The Instant Hater: Here's a good rule of thumb: Until you've either conceived a child here, started a business or achieved enough to deserve your own Wikipedia page (of moderate length, not just two paragraphs you wrote yourself), you are a guest in our great city. Ask not why we do what we do; ask what you can learn from our strange and curious ways.

4) The Instant Connoisseur: So don't call anything "the best" until you've lived here for at least five years. In fact, you should have no opinions whatsoever about any goods or services sold within the borders of L.A. County. All you're allowed to say is, "Really? That sounds amazing. What's it called again?"

3) The Screenwriter: We get it. You have a dream: to spend three years of soul-wrenching work on 120 pages that an enormous multinational conglomeration will buy, hire five guys to rewrite, focus-group to within six inches of its life and turn into something commoditized and horrible that makes gobs of money overseas. Cool dream, bro. Too bad you have a better chance of getting hit by a meteor while scratching off a winning lottery ticket.

2) The Actor: No, our problem is that actors are self-obsessed, overly dramatic and frankly disingenuous people who pollute our environment with their spastic behavior, high-pitched laughter and funny voices. And say what you will about screenwriters but at least they pick up a book once in a while.

1) New Yorkers: The only thing New Yorkers love more than talking about New York is talking about how Los Angeles isn't New York, how our streets are too long; our public transit, nonexistent; our pizza shitty, our bagels shitty, our bars close too early, everything closes too early, no one dances at shows, everything is too slow, and everyone is too polite.

...Ours is a kind of freedom New Yorkers will never know. And that is why they hate us. They hate us because we are free.

And so they move here. Go figure.

Danish Teenager Finds Viking Coins

Got lost in the dirt lot surrounding a Viking phone booth?:
Danish museum officials say that an archaeological dig last year has revealed 365 items from the Viking era, including 60 rare coins.

Danish National Museum spokesman Jens Christian Moesgaard says the coins have a distinctive cross motif attributed to Norse King Harald Bluetooth, who is believed to have brought Christianity to Norway and Denmark.

Sixteen-year-old Michael Stokbro Larsen found the coins and other items with a metal detector in a field in northern Denmark.

Stokbro Larsen, who often explores with his detector, said friends find him “a bit nerdy.”

Moesgaard said Thursday that it was the first time since 1939 that so many Viking-era coins have been found, calling them “another important piece in the puzzle” of history.

Old Water

The ancient water bubbling up from the floor of a zinc and copper mine near Timmins in Canada's Ontario province looks crystal clear, but it would not make a cool refreshing drink.

Scientists say it is warm to the touch and much saltier than seawater.

...Scientists have already found evidence of microbes living in much younger but similarly isolated underground waters in a mine in South Africa.

...Enter a team of British scientists who had developed a way of telling the age of water by measuring how many isotopes of noble gases had built up in it over time.

Using this technique, they concluded that the water is 1 billion to 2.6 billion years old.

...If it is as old as 2.6 billion years, it could have been trapped at the same time that the rock formed," Sherwood Lollar said.

Back then the entire area was covered by ocean waters, and the floor of the mine would have been the ocean floor.

The lead author of the study, Greg Holland of Lancaster University, thinks the discovery of this ancient water, and its potential to support life, could affect the search for other types of life on Earth, and on Mars.

"We have identified a way in which planets can create and preserve an environment friendly to microbial life for billions of years," he said in a statement. "This is regardless of how inhospitable the surface might be, opening up the possibility of similar environments on the subsurface of Mars."

Get Back To You In A Few Days On That

Google's power is so vast as to seem magical. Today, it referred to my blog this search: "show actual weather of May 25-29 2013 San juan puerto rico"

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Busy Today With The CSF Application

At last, ever so little, the ball seems to be rolling against the Evil One, and I needed to do my part.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Greta Gerwig Discusses "Frances Ha"

Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach were on "Fresh Air" today:
"There's a grace period where being a mess is charming and interesting," Gerwig tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "and then I think when you hit around 27 it stops being charming and interesting, and it starts being kind of pathological, and you have to find a new way of life. Otherwise, you're going to be in a place where the rest of your peers have been moving on, and you're stuck."

Gerwig, who's also starred in films such as Damsels In Distress and Woody Allen's To Rome with Love, co-wrote the film with director Noah Baumbach. She's only 29 years old herself, and she says she was far from immune to post-college malaise and the bumpy transition to adulthood.

The tipping point for her, she says, came amid seemingly small indications that she was being taken seriously professionally.

"It sounds like I'm making a joke, but I'm not," she says. "Having health insurance made me feel like a real person. Up until then it felt like I was getting away with something, and if three things went wrong it would all fall apart. And so when I got health insurance a few years ago, I felt like a real person, but before then I felt like I was pretending.

Russian Ram Knows What To Do With Drunks

Sushi Cats

"Wearing Only Underwear, He Brings Down Evil"

World-Record Rope Jumping Dogs

Uchida Geinousha's 'Super Wan Wan Circus' based in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, offers a unique act for its audience; the incredible sight of 13 dogs skipping on a rope.

Head Of GOP Latino Outreach Joins The Democrats

What choice did he have, really? Latinos are not welcome as Republicans, period:
Pablo Pantoja, who previously served as the State Director of Florida Hispanic Outreach for the Republican National Committee, has defected to the Democratic Party.

Citing the GOP's "culture of intolerance," Pantoja confirmed his party change in an email sent Monday to Florida Nation. Pantoja also drew reference to a much-maligned dissertation from the Heritage Foundation's Jason Richwine that sought to discourage non-whites from immigrating to the United States on the basis that those groups have lower IQs. Richwine resigned from his post at Heritage last week.

"I have wondered before about the seemingly harsh undertones about immigrants and others," Pantoja wrote. "Look no further; a well-known organization recently confirms the intolerance of that which seems different or strange to them."

Monday, May 13, 2013

Getting Annoyed With This IRS/Tea Party Tax "Scandal"

What is bothering me with regard to this so-called Tea Party/IRS ‘scandal’ is that there is a long record of ‘Patriot’ groups committing tax evasion. This practice was particularly prevalent in the early 90’s. They might still be doing so, for all I know.

I remember spending Christmas, 1993, in Stockton, CA, with the folks associated with the Pilot Connection. The bigger wigs ended up in prison within a few years. There were other organizations involved in this stuff too. Heck, Michelle Bachmann herself was an Untax Sympathizer working in the IRS offices. There are wingnut footprints all over this stuff.

All you have to have is just one IRS agent in the Cincinnati IRS office old enough to remember the early 90’s – just one - to explain why Patriot groups remained targets despite orders from above. It’s called being a diligent IRS employee. Doesn’t anyone remember the early 90’s anymore? (I know, I know, everything was different after 9/11, blah, blah, blah.)

Beer Taxes

Belly up!

Rasputin vs Stalin - Epic Rap Battles of History

Some background:
Shukoff was hungry for fresh material when, in 2010, Ahlquist described the rap battle segment in his improv show, Check One Two. Shukoff was convinced that Internet audiences would thrill to the random collisions of characters real and fictional who would only ever meet "at a party in transdimensional space."

...In what became the first installment, John Lennon threatened Bill O'Reilly, "I'll take Maxwell's Silver Hammer and give you a lobotomy," while O'Reilly retorted, "You longhair living in your yellow submarine, you're about to get sunk by the right-wing political machine." The video has gone on to reach 26.7 million views.

Thirty-two videos followed over the course of three years, including one in which rapper Snoop Dogg appeared as Moses dissing Santa Claus.

"Snoop rapped every word that we wrote," an awe-struck Shukoff says. "He Snoopified it and made it awesome."

..."Epic Rap Battles of History" — whose channel now boasts more subscribers than Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift or Skrillex — has achieved a broad audience by departing from one aspect of the traditional rap battles, in which the keen-eyed observer lambastes an opponent's appearance, reputation or background. Instead, its sketches mine humor from the oddball matchups and funny outfits, and in lampooning the foibles of well-known characters.

Farewell, Sweet Rabbit

RIP, Bailey the Rabbit. (Just seconds before the needle at VCA Animal Hospital in Elk Grove.)

Bailey the Rabbit has been a daily companion for the last two years. He loved kale and hated being picked up. He tolerated being petted, though, and so that's what I did at feeding time. Lately, his fur coat looked magnificent - just at the start of the shedding season, so it hadn't become tattered yet.

Bailey seemed to disappear this weekend, but with me being so busy at the theater, and all, I hardly noticed. He often did that. Disappeared from immediate view, only to reveal himself later.

This morning, bringing his kale down to his feeding bowls, I noticed he hadn't been eating - last night's kale was still there. I went hunting for him, and found him, hiding and listless in the yard. He was a mess. I cleaned him up, and noticed he had a massive, maggot-infested wound on his abdomen near his hind quarters. I drove him to Elk Grove, where they have staff at the animal hospital that specializes in rabbits.

The Veterinarian recommended immediate euthanasia. She suspected urea burn on his hind quarters created a weakness that was infested by flies. After a time, maggots punctured into the abdomen. By the time I brought him in, it had progressed too far. "He's having trouble even now - catching his breath - and see how pale he is," she said. Ominously, fleas were beginning to depart. I hadn't seen any recently, and I gave him flea medication a few weeks ago, but that's no hard guarantee, especially after last year's troubles.

The wound was so large, I had trouble believing maggots could do that. But it's also possible it came from some other source, like a small cut that became infected, or a cut from having been pursued by a predator. There had been a raccoon in the yard several weeks ago, but because Bailey's legs seemed uninjured, I suspect a raccoon wasn't involved. Or perhaps both a urea burn and an injury, together. Because maggots destroy all evidence, the source of the wound remains a mystery.

Bailey was a male rabbit, and they hate being turned over. In the Rabbit Kingdom, they do their own thing, as a general rule. So, I had a kind of compact with him: I would touch him, but almost never turned him over - because being turned over was so stressful, and rabbits don't handle stress well at all. But pets are like kids, where you sometimes have to force them to do the things that are good for them, but that they don't want to do themselves. Instead, I was too indulgent, and rarely turned him over, and examined him now and then. I remained unaware, even as a threat to his life developed.

I asked T. this weekend about her pet turkey. She was a bit reluctant to talk: they'd put the bird down. The turkey ate and ate so much that it couldn't walk properly anymore, and a minor fall broke its legs. So, in a way, her family indulged the bird, by not putting the bird on a diet, in a way similar to how I indulged the rabbit by not turning him over. We love our pets, but in giving them freer rein we don't always do the right thing for them.

The Vet did mention how pretty Bailey's fur coat was. Magnificent, actually (but with a fatal, unseen flaw).

Sunday, May 12, 2013

"Oklahoma!" Sunset

Picture on Laura Sitts' camera.

Reminds Me Of My Freshman Year In College

Except we didn't have to be lured, but went willingly, to end up in the desert:
Laurence Fishburne and newcomer Brenton Thwaites (“Maleficent”) are starring in Will Eubank’s indie sci-fi thriller “The Signal,” which begins production next week in New Mexico.

...Story centers on three college freshmen becoming the targets of a rival computer hacker and being lured to an abandoned shack in the middle of the desert.

If I Did Drugs, I'd Do This

He thought he was breaking into a Breaking Bad set, but an Albuquerque man reportedly high on meth needed to take his rake elsewhere.

Neighbors in the 1600 block of Coal Avenue said a confused looking man was digging with a rake outside a home in southeast Albuquerque, according to a criminal complaint.

That man, Christopher Moulin, later told police he was looking for a hidden key outside the home he thought was a set for the popular TV show Breaking Bad.

The homeowners said they did not know anything about a TV production set, nor did they know Moulin.

...The officer asked Moulin if he had any drugs in his possession, and he reportedly told the officer he had a bag of meth in his front pocket. The officer found three small bags of meth in Moulin’s right pocket and later found more drugs at his home, the criminal complaint states.

Sorry I Haven't Been Posting Much

First, there has been the end of "Oklahoma!", which finished this evening. But secondly, I decided to make a major push and finish a second draft of my memoir about the 2003 California Gubernatorial Election (nearly complete). I hope to finally publish it this summer: the tenth anniversary of that event.