Friday, September 20, 2013


Jetta Aims Videos At The Howard Stern Crowd

What Could Possibly, Go Wrong, Go Wrong, Go Wrong?

Just words:
EDMONTON - Coca-Cola has cancelled a Canadian promotion that paired randomly generated English and French words inside bottle caps after an Edmonton woman got one that said "You Retard."

..."Both my husband and I were pretty shocked. We couldn't actually believe what we were seeing," Loates said. "We thought maybe it was a joke or that maybe a rogue employee got a hold of the lid machine and wrote it."

...Shannon Denny, director of brand communications with Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada, said consumers were supposed to collect the caps to combine words into humorous sentences.

Anglophones would use the English words and Francophones would use the French ones, she explained.

Denny said the problem was the word lists for each language were approved separately and that in French, "retard" simply means late.

"Some words that were on the list, such as the one we were contacted about, have a completely innocuous meaning in French and are used regularly within French conversations," Denny said.

"But when you look at that word from an English standpoint, it takes on a much different, offensive meaning. And that was an oversight on our part during that review process."

Denny said the complaint from Edmonton wasn't the only gaffe. One consumer contacted the company after finding a cap with the word "douche" printed on it.

"It's the French word for shower," Denny explained.

Something To Wear To A Squirrel's Wedding

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago for Karina, but forgot to post it myself. It's graffiti on a dumpster behind Midtown's Spaghetti Factory.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Recall Election Ten Years Later

A few months ago, San Francisco Chronicle Reporter Joe Garofoli tracked down several of the Gubernatorial candidates and interviewed them about the Recall Election and its effects, a decade later.

From his piece about Mary Carey:
Carey was only 23 when she moved to Los Angeles in April 2003. The fledgling theater major dropped out of Florida Atlantic University, where she had taken classes for three years, to seek her fame in LA’s adult film world. When she filed her candidacy papers for governor, she still had Florida license plates on her car.

She signed with a smaller company whose owner Mark Kulkis promised to make “me a household name in a year.”

One day, he asked her a question: You want to run for governor? “Well, I didn’t graduate from college,” Carey recalled telling him. “I dropped out.”

No, no don’t worry about it. You just have to be 18 and have no felonies.

So Kulkis, the president of Kick Ass Productions, much like any other campaign operative, began prepping Carey on everything from the state’s budget deficit to its tax structure.

“I’m really good with coming up with funny answers and being witty,” Carey said. “Because I was kind of goofy, people mistake my playing dumb for really being dumb…. realistically, if I was dumb, I wouldn’t have been able to get through these interviews and come up with funny answers.”

Saw "Spamalot" On Sunday

I liked how creative and new DMTC's "Spamalot" was, despite starting from the well-watched (and thus no longer quite so new) "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".

Cast List For "Oliver!" Up

Down and out in London town.

Life Beginning To Get Rough For Holly

Rush Limbaugh's Worst Nightmare - Where Is He When You Need Him?

Icona Pop - All Night

Pop expression of 'Ballroom' drag culture!

I Haven't Seen These Yet, But They're Only A Mile Away, Or So, So I Will

A well-established and reproducing population of brown marmorated stink bugs (BSMB) has been found in a Midtown Sacramento neighborhood, reported Chuck Ingels, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for Sacramento County. The infestation seems to be centered around 13th St., south of Capital Park. This is the first reproducing population in California outside Los Angeles County.

...“This is the worst invasive pest we’ve ever had in California, but there is no funding to attempt to eradicate it, nor is there a mandate to do so,” Ingels said.

Brown marmorated stink bug affects many different crops and is a serious residential problem. It moves around easily, so can be expected to spread. It can fly up to a half mile at a time and also travels long distances by hitching rides in vehicles or inside furniture or other articles when they are moved, often during winter months. As a result, most new infestations are found in urban areas.

Brown marmorated stink bugs are native to China, Japan and Korea. They were first documented in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2001, but was likely established there several years earlier. ... The pest has been present in Los Angeles County for 6 years.

BMSB feeds on dozens of California crops, including apples, pears, cherries, peaches, melons, corn, tomatoes, berries and grapes. Feeding on fruit creates pock marks and distortions that make the fruit unmarketable.

...In addition to the damage caused by the BMSB feeding, the “true bug” can cause disturbing problems for homeowners in the winter. When the weather cools down, bugs migrate in droves to sheltered areas, including inside homes and buildings.

...“Because they are strong fliers, it’s just a matter of time before they reach farms,” Ingels said.

The pest can be distinguished from ordinary brown stink bugs by its larger size, marble-like coloring on its shield and white markings on the extended edge of the abdomen. BSMB also has distinctive white bands on the antennae and legs.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mercy Attack

E.: MMMAAAARRRRCCCC! One more time!

M.: (no, no, please, no....)

You can't hide your lyin' eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you'd realize
There ain't no way to hide your lyin eyes.
M.: What's this in the news?:
Police in South Carolina arrested a North Charleston woman Monday night after she allegedly stabbed her roommate multiple times for refusing to stop playing music by the classic rock band The Eagles.

According to the official report, Vernett Bader, 54, became irritated with her 64-year-old roommate (and one-time boyfriend) after he rejected her pleas to turn off the Eagles and told her to "shut up."

Bader then entered the kitchen and grabbed a serrated knife, which she subsequently used to stab her roommate several times in the arm, hand, and elbow.

The roommate and his brother managed to wrestle the knife away from Bader, but she quickly retrieved another from the kitchen.

All three were intoxicated at the time, per the report.

It's unclear which of the band's songs drove Bader over the edge, but police have narrowed down the possible suspects to "Witchy Woman," "Take It Easy," "Peaceful Easy Feeling," "Take It to the Limit," "One of These Nights," "Tequila Sunrise," and "Hotel California" on repeat.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Worried About The Folks In Tampa

I'm very uneasy about this. The weather forecast has been waffling a lot, sometimes indicating a hurricane, sometimes not. Nevertheless, the National Hurricane Center thinks the chances of development of the storm system as it moves from the Yucatan over the western Gulf of Mexico are quite good. If that happens, and the system gets caught by the trough currently over the western U.S., as also seems likely, it will move right for you. The forecast currently suggests a direct hurricane strike on Tampa Monday morning. Hope that doesn't happen, but it might be wise now to clear the social calendar for this weekend, because you might need time to pack.

Best Show, Evah!

Allen St. John at Forbes thinks "Breaking Bad" is the best TV show ever. Whom am I to disagree?:
Twenty three minutes into Episode 514, entitled “Ozymandias” after a Shelley poem, Breaking Bad made television history. Except that most fans didn’t notice. They were instead ready to cry, scream, vomit, or hurl a waffle iron at the plasma TV, or some combination of the above.

Sometime around that first commercial break, Breaking Bad broke away from the pack and staked its claim to the title of television’s Best Show Ever.

Over the course of five years, Vince Gilligan and his friends have constructed a world piece by piece, with attention to detail worthy of a Faberge egg. They created a compelling protagonist, a deeply flawed yet charismatic genius. They built a business at which he had savant-like skills, and depicted the family that often drove him crazy. Then blurred lines between the two. And in that way created a life for Walter White that many of us can relate to.

But other great and groundbreaking TV dramas had done something similar, most notably David Chase’s The Sopranos, David Simon’s The Wire, and David Milch’s Deadwood.

But Breaking Bad did something those iconic shows didn’t do. Showrunner Vince Gilligan set his protagonist in motion. Television had always been about a kind of inertia. After every episode of M*A*S*H or The Rockford Files there’d be a cosmic reset button that would allow the characters to return to exactly where they started at the beginning of the episode. That’s how you can make the Korean War last eleven years.

And as that first generation of shows from television’s post-millennial Golden Era threw off so many of the shackles of convention inherent in the medium, they kept this one.

Tony Soprano was a man who didn’t change, couldn’t change. Jimmy McNulty, Stringer Bell and other characters of The Wire fought hard for change—changing themselves and changing the system—but Simon’s message was that the drug/cop/court/prison/politics system in a fictionalized Baltimore was, tragically, too big and too strong to be taken down by a few angry men and women.

Vince Gilligan started Breaking Bad with no such constraints. Whereas Tony Soprano spent seven seasons running errands around North Jersey, Walter White embarked on an epic journey, tracing an arc reserved for iconic characters of literature and cinema like Jay Gatsby and Michael Corleone.

As he morphed Mr. Chips into Scarface, Gilligan wrote his own version of The Great American Novel. On Steroids.

Star Gazers Making The Rounds

Ha! Ha! Reminded of the recent Ignobel awards, for researchers showing that dung beetles use the Milky Way for navigation. I wonder what Walter White uses?

This Ig Nobel winning study by Marie Dacke and colleagues showed that dung beetles use the milky way for navigational orientation. Previously it was believed they use the moon, but this study reveals it’s not just that.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Praying Mantis Entranced By The Moving Shadows

It was time for the annual task of trimming the smaller branches from the tree branch that hangs over my house. That entails climbing onto the very pinnacle of the house, which is close to three stories up, and extending the branch-clipper pole into the tree's canopy.

I've written before how I felt using my branch-clipper: like a solitary crab waving its claw around in the current. This time, though, I had company: a praying mantis. The mantis was entranced by the leaves swaying in the wind. It's head swayed back and forth in amazed wonderment at all the shadows.

I lost track of the praying mantis: I hope I didn't inadvertently hurt it. It's nice to think of them as eternal.

"Breaking Bad" - 'Ozymandias'

Large audience! 6.4 million viewers!

I'm strangely-reminded of the death journey of Joe Gideon (which I've posted on before). Bob Fosse conceived of his alter-ego Joe Gideon as a sort of Walter White of Broadway, employing the crystal-blue of great choreography to great effect. Features Ann Reinking, with the most spectacular legs the world has yet beheld:

10th-Anniversary Reunion of the 2003 California Gubernatorial Recall Election Candidates

Left: In anticipation of appearing later that evening on Jay Leno's Tonight Show, Candidate Mike P. McCarthy from San Luis Obispo arrives at Johnny Carson Park, Burbank, CA, for the Candidates' Forum, September 22, 2003.

Date: Saturday, October 12, 2013
Place: Committee Room 126 in the California State Capitol Building
Time: 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. (2 and ½ hours)

The candidate reunion is open to all who wish to attend. Room 126 can house a large group.

The first hour will be meet-and-greet. At 2 p.m., the Main Event starts: a screening of Jayson Haedrich’s 90-minute documentary of our various activities on the campaign trail. As Jayson relates:
It features 5 main characters:

Cheryl Bly-Chester
Mike McCarthy
Bill Wyatt
Georgy Russell
Mary Carey

The coalition of candidates is the biggest part of the story and the bus ride you guys took following Arnold becomes the big story in the end- but there are definitely other characters

Short Synopisis: “Born to Run AKA Gubernatorious”:

It was once said that politics is the art of the possible - and in California for eight short weeks in 2003, 130 Americans without a lick of political experience ran for Governor hoping to defy that statement. This comedy about democracy follows 5 first-time candidates in their quests to be heard as they vie for attention in an electorate gone mad. When an opportunity from an odd political loophole arises that allows any citizen of the state easy access to a place on the ballot, the would-be candidates came out of the woodwork. Quacks, dreamers & opportunists -ahem... Americans - all scramble to put together first-time campaigns with the hope of becoming the leader of one of the largest economies in the country. Coming up with a platform and an issue or two is one thing but having people listen to you once you do is a whole other animal. Join the struggle to be heard as a Soccer Mom, a Used Car Salesman, a Radical with a MiniVan, a Young College Grad, and a Porn Star all compete to capture a few precious seconds of the public's attention. Discover truths about electioneering, the media and what gets votes in this unique American political comedy.
Food and drink are not permitted in the Committee Room. If some are willing, we will go out to eat afterwards at one of several nearby eating establishments.

I have recently published a book regarding the campaign, called "Carpe Diem! - A Memoir of the 2003 California Gubernatorial Recall Election":

"Marc Valdez, one of the 135 official and 28 write-in candidates in the 2003 California Gubernatorial Recall Election, relates the (sometimes) heartwarming political tale of how, when faced with media scorn, the multitude of obscure candidates for governor banded together to enhance their visibility and advance each other's candidacies, despite vast differences in party, ideology, outlook and temperament."

I will bring a bunch of owner's discount copies, and autograph them. I’ll charge $7.00 each for them (but no money can change hands within the walls of the State Capitol itself, since that is expressly banned). Copies are also for sale on-line for $20.00 here:

Amazon and Kindle.

Best wishes,
Marc Valdez

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ritz and Triscuit - Triscuit's Obsession

Just discovered this duo, whom I'm acquainted via health club contacts, also like to do Comedy videos. Cute! Sacramento talent!

Albuquerque Gets Hammered by Rain Saturday Night

1.13 inches at the airport. Jeepers! Tonight, Mother Nature showered ABQ with some of that special Colorado love. I mean, this never happens, especially these dessicated days. It's probably rained more this week than the previous year. What happened?

Compared to the semi-tropics (like AU) the rainfall amounts are modest, but like many desert places, NM soils have a caliche layer just below the surface that inhibits absorption (e.g., in Breaking Bad terms, in the pit Walt and Jesse dig for Saul, you can actually see the whitish caliche layer). So, heavy rain runs off sooner than it would, say, in Florida, or the UK. They have been getting some flooding (e.g., San Felipe Pueblo area, near the wooded area where Walt shoots Mike). On the other hand, those woods REQUIRE flooding in order to reseed. With the brutal drought, I'm amazed the trees are still alive. They desperately need exactly this calamity to survive. So, on balance, I love it. Even if NM gets to be Colorado Jr., let it fall!

Krystle Gets Interviewed At The Comedy Spot

It was surprising how little of Krystle's hip-hop interview got used in the follow-up improv comedy. The questioning was somewhat opaque, so the troupe didn't have much to work with, and thus fell back on staples (e.g., fart jokes, sex jokes, etc.)

Give It 2 U - Robin Thicke and 2 Chainz