Friday, May 31, 2013

OK, This Looks Like It's Closer

I hope John and family are all right. This is happening closer to where he lives. Some of the DMTC musical theatre people have a fundraiser scheduled soon for the people in Moore, OK, but that hasn't even happened yet, and there are more?:
Thousands of people in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, including the twister-ravaged community of Moore, were scrambling for shelter on Friday after the National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency for the area.

At least two tornadoes reportedly touched down, one southwest of the suburb of Bethany and another north of Union City, according to the National Weather Service's Norman, Oklahoma, office.

Parts of Interstate 35, which cuts through Oklahoma City and Moore, were "a parking lot," the weather service said, warning that those caught in the heavy rush hour traffic "are in danger."

"Please try to get to a building or safe shelter!" the weather service tweeted.

Police and firefighters were responding to reports of damage in El Reno, just outside Union City, but it was not immediately known how bad the damage was, Mayor Matt White said.

The tornado emergency declaration means a large, destructive tornado is moving into a densely populated area where widespread damage and fatalities could occur.

The weather service issued the tornado emergency for Oklahoma City as well as its suburbs of Moore, Yukon and Bethany.

Steve Soderbergh Has a Suggestion

Not a bad idea, really:
Steven Soderbergh has suggested the last two episodes of Breaking Bad be made into a movie.

The Side Effects director - who is a fan of the show - said that the film would be the perfect way to fill cinema seats.

"I thought it would be really cool to have the final two episodes of the show as a movie that aired the Friday after the penultimate episode," he told Empire.

"You'd sell that during the season - 'See the season finale in theatres!' - and just run it for a week, but I feel like you'd clean up. It's never been done before."

He added that the film would be released as a download after offering fans "a communal viewing experience that week" at the cinema.

The first of eight final Breaking Bad episodes will premiere on Sunday, August 11.

Weird ABQ Crime Watch

Dramatic suicide:
The dramatic public suicide happened after a man led police on a police chase from the Premier Motel on Central and Solano to the median on San Mateo, just north of Central.

...After police came to the scene, the man got in a blue car and sped away from them. Police said he pointed a gun to his head while he was driving.

"They pulled their guns on him and told him to stop and get out of the vehicle. He wouldn't stop," one woman said who did not want to be identified.

..."Spun him around (with their cars) and that's how he ended up on the median. And everyone started running over to see what was going on and I just heard a pop and I turned around and his windshield was shattered," she said.
Dramatic sex:
A drunken driver was having sex when he lost control of his car Monday night and crashed the vehicle, ejecting his naked female companion onto a New Mexico roadway, police report.

According to cops, Luis Briones, 25, ran a red light and slammed his Ford Explorer into another car on an Albuquerque street. The impact of the collision forced Natasha Carroll, 21, from Briones’s SUV.

With a bloodied Carroll lying in the road, Briones got back into his vehicle and attempted to flee the accident scene, witnesses told Albuquerque Police Department officers. After one witness confiscated his keys, Briones “then jumped into a bush, landing and attempting to hide in a cactus.”

When cops subsequently took Briones into custody, he was wearing one shoe and “had a pair of black shorts inside out.” A half-empty bottle of vodka was found inside Briones’s vehicle.

...Investigators concluded that Briones and Carroll--who was “completely naked”--were “having sexual intercourse of some sort while driving.” A criminal complaint also notes that cops received a 911 call before the accident reporting that Briones “was observed to be having sexual intercourse with the passenger” while driving at “a high rate of speed.”

Carroll suffered facial lacerations in the crash and was transported to an area hospital, where she was reported to be in stable condition.

The plastered Briones, cops reported, reeked of booze and was extremely belligerent post-arrest. He allegedly spit on officers, threatened them, and “refused to keep his pants on.”

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Liberace's Home Slipping Into Disrepair

I watched (or to be more-accurate, listened) to HBO's "Behind the Candelabra". Liberace was one strange fellow. But he had tremendous foresight and exercised great planning. In another circumstance, he could have been a great general.

I visited the Liberace Museum in 2009. I was very impressed at Liberace's vision. He loved to buy and own beautiful things, but he knew that beautiful things require diligent care to maintain (particularly keeping the dust off those costumes, and rebuilding them as old adhesives decayed with the years). So, Liberace set up his Foundation with a practically bomb-proof endowment and a steady stream of income from the nearby, leased stores, so that future generations of kids could love the same things he found so lovable - the costumes, the autos, the pianos, the statuary, etc. Where else in modern America could one find that kind of farsightedness; that kind of selflessness? On behalf of kids not even born?

Liberace's Museum was set up so well that nothing short of the Apocalypse could disturb it. Then the Apocalypse happened: The Big Recession. It hit Las Vegas hardest of all the cities in the United States. The recession revealed a small problem in Liberace's thinking. He built in the SE quadrant of the city, on Tropicana Blvd., which was where the real estate boom of the 60's and 70's was hottest, but in subsequent years, the big money headed NW, towards the mountains. So, he didn't anticipate that development. Wealth slowly ebbed from the area.  Also, his Museum was off the Strip, and without his actual presence it became harder and harder to attract tourists. So, the Foundation closed the Museum. They have plans to open storefront-type exhibits on the Strip in future years, to keep the glitz torch burning.

Five-Hour Energy Commercial

There's something vaguely-hilarious about this ad, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Riot At The "Rite Of Spring" - Exactly 100 Years Ago, To The Night

Even from the viewpoint of a century's passage, Stravinsky and Nijinsky's "Rite of Spring" is still the damndest thing ever presented on the stage, especially from the viewpoint of Classical Ballet. It premiered on May 29, 1913:
On the evening of the 29 May the theatre was packed: Gustav Linor reported, "Never...has the hall been so full, or so resplendent; the stairways and the corridors were crowded with spectators eager to see and to hear". ...  The Rite followed; there is general agreement among eyewitnesses and commentators that the disturbances in the audience began during the Introduction, and grew into a crescendo when the curtain rose on the stamping dancers in "Augurs of Spring". Marie Rambert, who was working as an assistant to Nijinsky, recalled later that it was soon impossible to hear the music on the stage. In his autobiography, Stravinsky writes that the derisive laughter that greeted the first bars of the Introduction disgusted him, and that he left the auditorium to watch the rest of the performance from the stage wings. The demonstrations, he says, grew into "a terrific uproar" which, along with the on-stage noises, drowned out the voice of Nijinsky who was shouting the step numbers to the dancers. The journalist and photographer Carl Van Vechten recorded that the person behind him got carried away with excitement, and "began to beat rhythmically on top of my head", though Van Vechten failed to notice this at first, his own emotion being so great.

Among the more hostile press reviews was that of Le Figaro's critic, Henri Quittard, who called the work "a laborious and puerile barbarity" and added "We are sorry to see an artist such as M. Stravinsky involve himself in this disconcerting adventure". On the other hand Gustav Linor, writing in the leading theatrical magazine Comoedia, thought the performance was superb, especially that of Maria Piltz; the disturbances, while deplorable, were merely "a rowdy debate" between two ill-mannered factions. Emile Raudin, of Les Marges, who had barely heard the music, wrote: "Couldn't we ask M. Astruc ... to set aside one performance for well-intentioned spectators? ... We could at least propose to evict the female element". The composer Alfredo Casella thought that the demonstrations were aimed at Nijinsky's choreography rather than at the music, a view shared by the critic Michel-Dimitri Calvocoressi, who wrote: "The idea was excellent, but was not successfully carried out". 
Rehearsals were hardly any better:
After the first part of the ballet received two full orchestral rehearsals in March, Monteux and the company departed to perform in Monte Carlo. Rehearsals resumed when they returned; the unusually large number of rehearsals—seventeen solely orchestral and five with the dancers—were fitted into the fortnight before the opening, after Stravinsky's arrival in Paris on 13 May. The music contained so many unusual note combinations that Monteux had to ask the musicians to stop interrupting when they thought they had found mistakes in the score, saying he would tell them if something was played incorrectly. According to Doris Monteux, "The musicians thought it absolutely crazy". At one point, a climactic brass fortissimo, the orchestra broke up in nervous laughter at the sound, causing Stravinsky to intervene angrily.
Indeed, the Riot at the Rite was the starting point for the recent movie: "Coco" (shown at the start of this trailer.)

Karma Police - Radiohead

To me, the lyrics and video suggest the eternal battle between liberals and conservatives.

Maybe Rain In The Rio Grande Valley Of NM On Sunday

The worst drought-stricken area of the country right now.

False Flag Operation

Never saw the shiv:
The best part of this crazy article in National Review on Michele Bachmann's stewardship of the House Tea Party Caucus is its conclusion that thanks her incompetence, President Barack Obama was able to get away with his criminal scheme to use the IRS to steal the 2012 election:
It is plausible to conclude that the administration adopted a successful program of using the IRS to suppress conservative votes while encouraging its own allies — unions, public employees, progressive 501(c)(4)s, etc. The administration may in fact have stolen an election. The House, which could have stopped the abuse, was crippled by the hibernation of its most likely instrument, the Tea Party Caucus.

In The End, It Came Down To Character

So, Michelle Bachmann will not run for her seat in Congress. She didn't have sufficient strength of character to be in Congress, particularly after falling under the spell of a Rasputin-like character, Brett O'Donnell:
"Once she asked me to ride on the bus with her to pray. Brett's objection was so intense that for the good of the order, I followed the bus in my personal vehicle... On one occasion, she whispered to me, 'Peter, don't get off the bus no matter who tells you to get off.' Another time, her personal assistant told me, 'Peter, Michele does not want to you leave. Stay on the bus. Please pray for us.'"

Beep! Beep!

Every Good Story Will Become A Musical

Mora County Bans Fracking

They know a bad thing when they see it:
Wells are the Alcons' only source of water. The same is true for everyone else in Mora County, which is why last month this poor, conservative ranching region of energy-rich New Mexico became the first county in the nation to pass an ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing, the controversial oil and gas extraction technique known as "fracking" that has compromised water quantity and quality in communities around the country.

"I don't want to destroy our water," Alcon said. "You can't drink oil."

...Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to fracture rock formations, releasing oil and gas that is hard to reach with conventional drilling methods. A blizzard of applications to sink wells using fracking is spurring a nationwide energy rush sometimes called the "shale gale."

Among the leading concerns of opponents is the absence of any federal law requiring companies to fully identify the chemicals in their fracking fluids. Such formulas are considered by the industry to be a trade secret. Community-based anti-fracking campaigns — citing public health issues — call for complete disclosure of injection fluids.

Many New Mexico counties welcome oil and gas production, an industry that adds to the tax base and employment rolls. But in sparsely populated Mora County, where 67% of the 5,000 residents are Spanish-speaking, people cherish their culture and way of life.

Sandra Alcon said her neighbors don't care about mineral rights or oil money. They are angry about the way energy companies' "land men" treated them. Residents here are seen as easy marks for hustlers offering little compensation for oil and water rights, she said.

"They know we have a lot of elderly and rural people; some don't speak English," she said. "They don't know that some of us went to college and some of us have the Internet.

"I may look stupid, but I'm not. I know what they are doing."

..."We are one of the poorest counties in the nation, yes, but we are money-poor, we are not asset-poor," Olivas said. "We've got land, we've got agriculture, we've got our heritage and we've got our culture."

...On a recent day back in Mora County, Roger Alcon drove his ranch with his herding dog, Pepper, at his side. He said the region's aquifer has been depleted by oil and gas operations in the region. He sees no reason to hasten the water decline.

Alcon pointed out the truck window toward the snowcapped Sangre de Cristo mountains.

"We have what we need," he said. "To me, the fresh air and the land, and water. It's better than money."

He Likes Jetta, Apparently

Trying to hunt down full episodes of the Katie Couric Show. Apparently yesterday, her guest Howard Stern used footage of my friend Jetta to promote the June 4th season premier of "America's Got Talent".

Agonizing Insomnia Week Continues

Dealing with the results of crazy insomnia. Had dreams about hallucinating. Wasn't sure if I was dreaming, or hallucinating.

I used the first of the two mouth guards last night. Seemed to work OK, but I chewed it up pretty bad. Worried I might destroy it pretty fast. That's why I'm glad I have the second one as a back up.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Inside A Kansas Tornado

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!

Scrub Jays Make A Home

I had lost contact with the world of Scrub Jays, since 2007, when I tried to raise a fledgling. Part of the trouble was their numbers seemed to decline locally. (West Nile virus is a terrible thing.) So, I accustomed myself to feeding birds, in general, every day: Pigeons, Sparrows, Mourning Doves, Crows, and some scattered Juncos, but not Scrub Jays very often.

About a month ago, I wondered if something might be up around the SE corner of the house. I went home from the 24th Street Theater during "42nd Street" intermission to use my bathroom (I live close enough that I can do that), and I startled a strange cat who had been lurking there. The cat panicked and left. As far as I knew, there are no cats next-door anymore, or really, anywhere around in the immediate neighborhood, so why would a cat be hanging around there? Granted, it's a nice place for cats, but still!

Then, about two weeks ago, I noticed a persistent Scrub Jay at the feeding spot. Every day, one Scrub Jay amongst a bunch of Pigeons. It looked like a lost international traveler at a train station!

Scrub Jays are omnivorous, so seeds make good food, but still, they prefer bugs, spiders, and worms to seeds. So, persistence at the feeding spot seemed to suggest a lack of food, or an unusually-large appetite. Now, why would a Scrub Jay have an unusually-large appetite?

Then, on Saturday, about 5 p.m., I heard the unmistakable sound of baby birds coming from a completely-unexpected location, under the eaves of the house at the SE corner (pictured above). That area, at the top of ivy snaking upwards on old telephone wires, technically belongs to me, but it looms over the neighbor's yard, so I don't go over there very much. (Indeed, I was surprised to discover that the tree in the yard, which the neighbors stubbornly insist belongs to me, abruptly died, and so now has to be cut down. But I don't want to do something that drastic so close to the nest until the babies leave.)

I am so surprised! I was spending so much time in Davis, with "Urinetown" and then "Oklahoma!", that I didn't notice the Scrub Jays move in. And I didn't hear the babies either. And I'm sure the Scrub Jays think that's just fine: the less attention, the better. As long as this situation of few or no nearby cats holds, with reliable seeds as a food margin, it's a great place to raise Scrub Jays.

I've been putting out more food for the birds, especially hard-boiled egg (the perfect bird food), but they haven't taken it up yet. These Scrub Jays appear to be pretty independent.

This morning, at dawn, I looked out my bedroom window. In the driveway, a single, solitary Scrub Jay listened for bugs in the unappetizing dirt. I've seen it in the past: for some reason those driveway bugs are irresistible!

Teaser Video

From the Fierce Funk workshop, held on May 11th. I'm here in the room, but can't be seen in this (soundless) video.

The Fierce Funk crew performed for us (with sound: I'm off-camera just to the left of the cameraman). Dancing closest to the camera is Krystle Morales.

And this snippet too!

And Corina Bianca is in her element here!

Agonizing Lost Weekend

Lost in a strange mental place this weekend.

The weekend seemed promising enough. Lots of sweeping and mowing on Saturday. Spent several hours Sunday lounging in a jacuzzi at California Fitness, followed by dinner with Steve and Jan and friends to celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary at Old Spaghetti Factory.

But I've also been working on my Recall 2003 book manuscript too. With such a big block of free time, I saw the potential to get some progress there. And I did. I more-or-less completed a third draft, including the balky index.

But it wasn't fun.

I've always thought sleep was kind of a waste of time, and suddenly I had unparalleled insomnia. I skipped all potential social encounters and got very little sleep. On Monday especially, from morning till night, and through night, I kept going, and going, and going. I'd rest sometimes, but kept going, even if I wasn't thinking quite coherently.

Frankly, I think I'm afraid to sleep. The teeth-grinding at night is out of control. I've been experimenting with cloth to keep the grinding from occurring (even used old but clean briefs), since they have the merit of being almost impossible to inhale accidentally, but the oddity of it also served to keep me awake.

So, I'm exhausted today, but the third draft of the manuscript looks good. Now the difficult step: uploading the third draft to Amazon and dealing with the oddities of their self-publishing software. Because everything will change. Of course.

Bouvier & Barona & Abigail - Surrender