Friday, May 30, 2014

"Thoroughly-Modern Millie" - Woodland Opera House

Saturday, May 24th, a group of us headed to Woodland to eat at Ludy's and see our friends in "Thoroughly-Modern Millie". Amy-Jacques Jones was great as the lead. It's nice seeing a tap-oriented show: we need more of those.

Tomas and Hugo had great fun, I could tell! The choreography was clever and fun.

Cool ceiling.

The scrum at the door, seeking to meet their favorite players!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Marilyn Manson To Be On "Sons of Anarchy"

Remembering how much the Right used to tar Marilyn Manson (as documented by Michael Moore in "Bowling for Columbine") I find this really surprising. I don't watch SOA, but hear good things about it, and something like this might make me watch:
Marilyn Manson will have a recurring role on the upcoming season of FX's hit biker drama, Sons of Anarchy, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The musician will portray a fittingly outrageous character: Ron Tully, a white supremacist who uses his reputation as a prison big shot to help Jax (Charlie Hunnam) expand his power base.

"Sons has been such a big part of my life, as well as my father's," Manson said in a statement. "So I was determined to make him proud by being involved in what will probably be remembered as the most amazing piece of television cinema. After all, the very heart of SOA is about that relationship. So, now all I need is a motorcycle."

The Idiots At The Washington Times Don't Even Know Where The Organs Are

I was very pleased that President Obama proclaimed the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces as a National Monument. The Organs are a beautiful place! I remember rock-climbing there, back in the day.

Nevertheless, last weekend, John noted this hopelessly-partisan, profoundly-ignorant article on the proclamation:
President Obama on Wednesday will declare a national monument in southern New Mexico, delivering a win for environmentalists but angering ranchers and local law enforcement, who say the land restrictions will end up creating a safe haven for drug cartels to operate within the U.S.

Mr. Obama will declare about 500,000 acres as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. About half of that land is expected to be set aside as wilderness, meaning it will be closed to vehicles and construction.

Local ranchers say it’s a land grab that will interfere with their grazing rights, and border security advocates said the move will make it tougher for federal agents and local police to patrol the land, leaving a security gap that Mexican smuggling cartels will exploit.

“This is about opposing so many thousands of acres that is going to create nothing more than a pathway for criminals to get into this country to do their criminal acts,” Dona Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison told The Washington Times in a telephone interview Monday.

...But land rights advocates said it is the precursor to more conflicts like the recent standoff in Nevada, where a rancher refused to comply with a court order that he stop grazing on Bureau of Land Management property, prompting the BLM to confiscate his cattle, though they were returned after a public outcry.

The BLM, which is part of the Interior Department, will administer the national monument.

The land contains five mountain ranges with fragile landscapes, prehistoric rock art and more recent historic sites such as a training area for the Apollo astronauts.

The monument would cover hundreds of thousands of acres right next to the Mexican border.
First off, the Organs aren't on the border. Second, if they were so desirable for criminals, don't you think creating a national monument, with heightened Federal monitoring of the area, improve security? Third, the Organs are right near Ft. Bliss, Texas. It's already some of the most heavily-watched real estate around. You really think criminals are even interested?

Go ahead, whine away Steve Pearce, no one buys your bullshit.

Environmental Protection Law of the People's Republic of China

Compared to similar American documents, it's amazingly brief, but that's probably because it embodies a lot of discretion and is painfully vague. Which can be both good and bad.

Delightful Dance Video

Kelli Leighton posted a CORE video, "The Library," that's just delightful. As is anything CORE does!

Got A Call From The Candy Lady

Chewed me out a little bit for what she considered underpricing the book. She's looking at Europe (as am I). She was busy, so I didn't have a chance to fully explain the low price (the information is already on the Web, so a well-organized European doesn't really need it). In any event, she wants a box, so a box she gets!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What New Developments In Arizona?

Fraud, it seems:
A Mohave County developer and his family are being accused of bilking $20 million from 460 investors in a scheme that federal authorities say lasted almost 20 years.

...The judge said Hoover, who is a licensed attorney in California, is "willing and able to engage in significant patterns and practices of criminal deception."

...According to the indictment, Hoover created nearly two dozen companies that he used to solicit money from Arizona and California investors for bogus real-estate developments beginning in 1997. Several investors were widows who, authorities said, gave Hoover control of the bulk of their estates based on his friendship with their families and because of the trust he developed as an attorney.

...Hoover had investors liquidate retirement accounts, life-insurance policies, mutual funds and securities, and Social Security death benefits, according to the indictment.

Hoover used investor money to pay some expenses at the country club, but most went for his living expenses, according to the indictment. Among those expenses were a multimillion-dollar home and a condominium in Newport Beach, Calif.; the apartment in Paris; a $150,000 Bentley Flying Spur and other high-end automobiles; jewelry; artwork; furnishings; and French school for his daughter. Authorities also said Hoover took vacations disguised as business trips to Hawaii, China, South America and Europe.

Authorities said that when Hoover ran out of money, he and his son refinanced properties with false representations about salary, assets, liabilities, employment and sources of down payments. Then, he and his wife filed bankruptcy while hiding assets, authorities said.

Kiwis Are Not What They Seem

They surprise. Although Madagascar and New Zealand all used to be part of Gondwanaland:
The kiwi, a bird endemic to New Zealand, was long believed to be an Australian import. However, new research published Thursday in the journal Science found that the kiwi’s origins aren’t so simple.

Researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA discovered that the kiwi is not closely related to Australia’s Emu as previously thought. Rather, its closest relative is the Madagascan elephant bird. DNA extracted from the bones of two elephant birds at the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, revealed a genetic connection between the elephant bird and the kiwi despite their physical and geographical dissimilarities.

Scientists say that the connection between the two also means that the kiwi, now a flightless bird, once took to the skies.

“This result was about as unexpected as you could get,” Kieren Mitchell, PhD candidate with ACAD, said in a statement. “New Zealand and Madagascar were only ever distantly physically joined via Antarctica and Australia, so this result shows the ratites (a group of flightless birds) must have dispersed around the world by flight.”

Won't Real Estate Developments Ever Cease?

Not very happy about this:

Fifty years from now, an enormous chunk of the old Atrisco Land Grant could be home to 90,000 people living in a self-sufficient community with its own residential villages, business parks and open space.

At least that’s the vision of Western Albuquerque Land Holdings LLC, the Delaware company that now owns most of the property.

The company is asking Bernalillo County to approve a master plan for 13,700 acres on the far West Side, near the city landfill and county jail and south of Interstate 40 and west of 118th Street.

Called Santolina, it’s the biggest master plan the county has ever considered, and it’s reignited a debate familiar to Albuquerque – how best to handle growth and development on the outskirts of the community.

Huey - Pop, Lock & Drop It

Amused this qualifies as an oldie these days.

Tropical Storm Amanda Is Falling Apart

And that stream of moisture is heading north into the Southwest. It'll be interesting to see if it amounts to much.

Thinking About Kimye

Got A Call From CSF Today

They will let me know their judgment late in July.

Link To The Inmarsat Data Logs For MH370

This will take a while to process.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Neo-Con Rubbish At "The New Republic"

I cast away my quarter-century TNR subscription ten years ago, in disgust at The Editors' calls to bear the weight of the world's responsibilities and, say, start a really-cool Crusade against the Islamists, and Iran, and similar deeply-juvenile, profoundly-ignorant rot. So, I check up on TNR every now and then to check on the state of the fever, and this article confirms it's just as bad as ever. America isn't reluctant in any way to insert itself internationally: quite the opposite. American reticence is a good thing. The United States needs a different, better foreign policy elite. Maybe it will get one eventually, but the old one has to die off first.

What a hopeless piece of shit:
In recent years, the world has picked up unmistakable signals that Americans may no longer want to carry the burden of global responsibility. Others read the polls, read the president’s speeches calling for “nation-building at home,” see the declining defense budgets and defense capabilities, and note the extreme reticence, on the part of both American political parties, about using force. The world judges that, were it not for American war-weariness, the United States probably would by now have used force in Syria—just as it did in Kosovo, in Bosnia, and in Panama.

In Awe Of Edvinas Petrauskas' "New Hampshire Breaking Bad Cabin"!

Breaking Bad Cabin Environment [UE4] from Edvinas Petrauskas on Vimeo.

Edvinas Petrauskas' "New Hampshire cabin from Breaking Bad TV series"

Music: Apparat - Goodbye (Instrumental)

Even The Noosa Coast Has Trouble With Meth

Trouble in paradise:
He lives near the latest drug lab to be found on the Sunshine Coast and says he fears the suburb has more like it yet to be discovered.

"This area of Tewantin is a beautiful spot," he said.

"It's just nice and quiet.

"I think it attracts people like that because they think they're not going to be noticed."
That coast near Noosa is so pretty, but fairly upscale too. I'm surprised they would choose that area. Australia has so many other places better suited for illicit activities.

Richard Martinez Speaks

Toasty Warm Australian Spring 2013

Global warming is easier to spot in an isolated, insular continent like Australia:

The spring of 2013 has been Australia’s warmest on record. Mean temperatures for the season were 1.57°C above the 1961–1990 average, surpassing the previous record of 1.43°C (set in 2006) by 0.14°C. Daytime maximum temperatures were also the highest on record, coming in 2.07°C above average and 0.24°C above the previous record (also set in 2006). Overnight minimum temperatures were the fourth-warmest on record with an anomaly of +1.07°C.

... [T]he warmth was most significant in September, which saw a mean temperature anomaly of +2.75°C, setting a new monthly record by more than a degree. At 1.43°C above average, October was also a very warm month. Temperatures during November were 0.52°C above average – the smallest temperature anomaly since August 2012 – but warm enough to complete a record spring.

The spring warmth was extensive, with virtually the entire country experiencing above-average mean temperatures. It was the warmest spring on record over an area covering much of Queensland (sufficient to give Queensland its warmest spring on record), and extending into the eastern interior of the Northern Territory. Records were also set on the west coast around Perth and on parts of the Nullarbor.

Australian temperatures have warmed by about 1° C since 1910, with the warming being fastest during spring. In this context, the recent record warm spring is consistent with the established warming trend. The degree of warmth reflects a combination of factors including global warming, dry conditions affecting much of central and eastern Australia and unusually strong westerly winds.

Elliot Rodger, And Negotiating Around The World Of Female Privilege

Reading about Elliot Rodger and the tragedy in Santa Barbara, I was most struck by the futility of pushing people off a ledge at a party he went to:
Elliot Rodger's rage-filled manifesto documents his growing fury with the world and his initial attacks on women and couples that he envied. One of those attacks occurred on his 22nd birthday.

Fueled by vodka, Rodger decided on July 20, 2013 to party with the California college students he despised.

“I was giving the female gender one last chance to provide me with the pleasures I deserved from them,” he later wrote in a 137-page manifesto.

That "last chance" turned bleak – a night that reflected his ambitions, fury and warped perspectives. It became a flashpoint leading up to last Friday’s attacks that left six others dead and 13 injured.

Rodger bought a bottle of vodka that night, taking a few shots for courage, maybe downing one too many. Other students were partying – “good looking popular kids,” as he identified them. Without the buzz, he would have been too intimidated to mingle.

He walked into a house party. Hip-hop music blasted from the DJ booth. The students played beer pong.

Rodger soon became frustrated that no one was talking to him. Instead, women were giving “obnoxious slobs” attention, he wrote. With his inhibitions blurred by the liquor, Rodger’s rage boiled over. He confronted a couple before walking outside, “realizing how pathetic I looked all by myself when everyone was partying around me.”

He decided to climb onto a wooden ledge and plop onto a chair. Some partiers eventually climbed onto the ledge, too. But since the students weren’t talking to him, Rodger snapped.

“That was the last straw,” he wrote. “A dark, hate-fueled rage overcame my entire being, and I tried to push as many of them as I could from the 10-foot ledge.”

He didn’t succeed. The students pushed him back, and Rodger fell onto the street, breaking his ankle.

As he stumbled away, he realized his Gucci sunglasses were missing. He turned back – but he was so drunk, he forgot where the party was, so he ended up walking onto a nearby front yard, demanding to know who took his sunglasses.

The students there called him names, and more fighting followed. Eventually Rodger staggered home, beaten and bloody. No one offered to help. His sunglasses – as well as his necklace, he later learned – were gone. And his ego was crushed, he recounted in his manifesto.

I think maybe most young men find themselves isolated at parties at some time, but lashing out like that doesn't even begin to solve the problem.

Rodger had advantages of wealth and good looks, but social awkwardness combined with latent mental illness and Napoleonic grandiosity erased these advantages. It probably didn't help he was on the periphery of Hollywood, with all its unrealistic expectations. Never having been in this position themselves, his parents did not know how to address these issues. The mental health folks had no effective remedies.

This week, I notice most female writers on the Web are referring to the problem as one of male privilege. To me, that doesn't sound quite right. To me, Rodger's problem was negotiating around the world of female privilege. How to take the social initiative is key.

Most young men face these same dilemmas and blunder through these same spaces. At Rodger's age, I had disadvantages of comparative poverty and severe acne. Eventually, though, I formulated a plan. At age 20, I moved to Denver, CO, where I knew no one, for seven months. No more excuses: I would have to figure out how to socialize. No pushing people off ledges either. My guidebook was the cheesiest of cheesy books from the Seventies, Jess Lair's pioneering 1973 self-help book, "I Ain't Much, Baby - But I'm All I've Got." I took particular comfort in that helpful slice of cheese. And, after a fashion, the socialization plan worked. Better than I had expected.

Not entirely, of course. I'm still awkward around women in general, and sorority girls in particular. But I'm learning.

Rodger never did.

Monday, May 26, 2014

They Ain't Stoolies

I guess things are more complex at the spot I feed the pigeons than I realized. Carefully tucked among the other birds was a decapitated pigeon. No idea why, and they aren't talking.