Saturday, March 28, 2009
ringing cell phones, crinkling candy wrappers, whispers, coughs ... the straw that broke this camel's back was a group of giggling teenaged students attending Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, (which The Author & I went to see this Winter). The lead actor simply stopped the play, the house lights went up, and an ultimatum was issued: The play must go on ... but you're outta here
Had I been their teacher, I would have been mortified.
Friday, March 27, 2009
National Weather Service defines 'flood stage' for Fargo/Moorehead as 18 feet. This afternoon at 12:40 p.m., it was 40 feet 9 inches. It's expected to keep rising for another day or 2. According to the NWS, the record height observed was in 1897 at 40' 1".
It's top news on CNN, so the world at large knows. Of course, so is the fact that Texas is having blizzards - but that involves people driving who've never seen snow before. CNN reported an expected 7-10 in. snow in Amarillo (where the worst tasting coffee in the McDonalds universe is located). They promptly added there might be "snow drifts of up to 10 feet". Sure, if all of the snow in the entire county all shows up at the same place, maybe.
It's amazing reading/watching the news from out west - in the Fargo/Moorehead/Grand Forks area. Flooding has been in the news for at least the past week. It's like watching a freight train barreling down at you, and not being able to get away from it.
where do you get all the dirt for dikes? "out in a hole by the airport. It looks like the Grand Canyon."
Snows? Yes, the water slows down, but ... apparently "stacking frozen sandbags is like stacking frozen turkeys." The National Guard is storing their sandbags in a heated building for emergency response to dike/levee breaches.
MPR solicited "what would you grab, if you were getting evacuated?" My response:
my son's favorite stuffed toys. I think it would be easier to explain "the cat died" than "Mr. Giraffe got lost in the flood". Besides, the psychologically comforting function of the stuffed critters would be critical in maintaining my sanity.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Here's how it works: You sign up for this and configure it the way you want. It sends you an e-mail however often you want to be "pinged," so that the Deathswitch can make sure you're still kicking. If you don't respond, it goes into "worry mode," and eventually, if you don't respond, it announces to the online world that, yes, you've gone toes up.
There's an interview here with its developer.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
1 bottle of soda water (selzer, sparkling water, carbonated water - whatever you want to call it)
Take the left over fruit juice and pour it into an ice cube tray.
put 4-5 juice cubes into a glass.
Add soda water.
4 cubes in a 12-oz. glass gives a nice pear-soda flavor. And, the closer to the bottom, the sweeter the drink.
It goes without saying, one ought to start with the "lite" fruit packed in fruit juice, and not the syrup. I'm assuming this will work equally well with the juice from canned pineapple or peaches. They're next on the list. All of the canned mandarin oranges on the shelves here are from China & therefore not available for use.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I wish I could link to or upload some of these pictures:
If you do look at them, check out specifically
#7 - how to make a corn field look like Lake Superior
#14 - picture of a town park - you can see the bridge where the river normally is
If you've ever traveled US Highway 1 from Miami to Key West, you know what it's like to drive around West Central Minnesota and eastern North Dakota tonight. Other than the water lapping the road edge on both sides, and the anticipation of a cold drink at your destination, there the similarity ends.
Interestingly, the wonders of modern technology are impacting the flood-preparation/defense efforts. Not just the sandbag filling machine that will do 5,000 bags/day or some other insane number ... nope - calls for volunteers were amply responded to. Calls went out with email, Twitter, blogs & Facebook.
A US man who thought he was dying and confessed to having killed a neighbour in 1977 has been charged with murder after making a recovery, US media say.
James Brewer could now face the death penalty over the unsolved killing in Tennessee 32 years ago, reports say.
Convinced he was dying after a stroke, Mr Brewer reportedly admitted to police he shot dead 20-year-old Jimmy Carroll.
The 58-year-old, who had fled Tennessee after the killing, was arrested after his condition improved, reports say.
"He wanted to cleanse his soul, because he thought he was going to the great beyond," said police detective Tony Grasso, who interviewed Mr Brewer in an Oklahoma hospital, The Oklahoman website reported.
Mr Brewer had reportedly moved to Oklahoma from Tennessee after jumping bail after he was originally arrested and charged with Mr Carroll's murder in 1977.
The former factory worker changed his name to Michael Anderson and settled down with his wife, Dorothy, in the town of Shawnee.
The couple became active members of the local church, where Mrs Brewer established a Bible study group, reports say.
After suffering a stroke, Mr Brewer called police to his hospital bedside earlier this month, where he reportedly made the confession.
Detectives said Mr Brewer had admitted killing Mr Carroll, who he believed had been trying to seduce his wife.However, Mr Brewer survived the illness and surrendered to authorities in his former home town of Hohenwald, Tennessee, after they were notified by the Oklahoma police.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
from Our Zoo's newsletter:
Providing new smells in an animal's exhibit can cause excitement or alarm and often triggers territorial behaviors like rubbing and scent marking. A wide variety of scents are used for enrichment, including spices, perfumes and urine, as well as animal fur. Our clouded and Amur leopards like poultry seasoning, cardamom, dirty tapir straw and binturong fur. The tigers love "Obsession" and "Charlie" perfumes. The camels aren't very picky, they like most food extracts. On the other hand, the tapirs, tree kangaroos, binturongs and gibbons are very particular - they go for banana extract!
and yes, those are real grizzly bears. The faux Pooh is paper mache (sp?)
and here you thought that dorky opossum in Over the Hedge was just some animator goin' overboard? Nope, they really do look that goofy.
while it may not be totally obvious this is an ermine. His pumpkin is bigger, just ready for a nap.
There are 2 zoos here in the Twin Cities. Jr.Gopher#1 insists that the Minnesota Zoo is "Our Zoo" (reasonably enough, as we have a membership there - thanks, Dad - and go about once per month). Though, the other zoo in St.Paul has more animals that won't survive the Minnesota winters, like giraffes. Unfortunately, Jr.Gopher#1 informed me that Mr.Giraffe (his favorite stuffed toy) is allergic to the Como Zoo and can't go to visit the giraffes. Cute? just wait.
Our Zoo - that is, the Minnesota Zoo - is having an African exhibit this Summer, to include giraffes. It was here a couple years ago, and #1 was just totally geeked to see a real giraffe.
I informed him last month that the giraffes were returning. He said Mr. Giraffe wanted to go to the zoo. I asked him if he wanted to take Mr. Giraffe to see the real giraffes. He looked at me like I was stupid and said, "Mama, Mr. Giraffe is a real giraffe."
At least Mr. Giraffe isn't allergic to our zoo. I forgot to ask about Freddie (the girl giraffe who until recently was the stunt-double for Mr. Giraffe, i.e., the one Jr. got when the other was in the wash).
Friday, March 20, 2009
Pity I didn't read the paper earlier yesterday. Practice at the Metrodome was open to the public. WVU played today here in town - again, if I'd realized the game was in the middle of the afternoon, I would have at least checked out the ticket prices.
I saw a bit of the WVU-Dayton game. In which case, I'm glad I didn't bother to go to the game. The Mountianeers were playing a prett lame game toward the end of the 1st half. Perhaps someone forgot to tell them Dayton was a good team and that anyone can lose, no matter their relative ranking.
#13 Cleveland St. = 15 points over #4 Wake Forest
... 5 of the 8 games yesterday were "upsets"
Stanley Cup is coming ...........
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
We are drawn into being sympathetic, yet discover what we like about them hides the reasons we shouldn’t like them. It’s not a twisty plot of surprises, but the plot is only straightforward when viewed from the end in the very big picture.
A CIA agent fights the Good Fight against terrorism in the Middle East. Is there anyone worthy of our friendship (the governmental agency kind)? Who can we trust? Even more importantly, who should trust us? Nobody’s innocent - those who want to be trustworthy aren’t allowed to be: neither them nor us.
I’m probably one of the few women under 45 and over 25 who only saw Titanic once. I’m even more likely in the minority who thought it was a nice movie, but not awe inspiring. And I certainly was too old to fall in vapors over Leonardo di Caprio either in that or Romeo & Juliet. I thought Blood Diamonds was one of his better works, displaying real talent. Body of Lies eclipses that, providing a “solid performance” (I think the stock phrase is). The not-stock phrase: wow, that was a good movie.
It’s easier to see an actor who normally plays ‘the good guy’ continue to play one; it’s more challenging to see the normally ‘good-guy-playing-$5,000,000-earning-actor’ play an SOB. Russell Crowe was annoyingly good; the sort of fellow one loves to loathe. After seeing di Caprio in Blood Diamonds, his character’s performance wasn’t a surprise. After seeing Crowe in just about anything else, his character gives an opportunity to see his skills. A leading man who doesn't have to be center stage to be impressive.
I’m only left wondering if the CIA actually has anyone running big operations for them who is so Not A Company Guy. The technology gizmos I'll accept are either in existence or else are just a reasonably plausible as a plot device.
4 - Definitely see it on video.
"... are presented in a film experience of often fearsome beauty."
"The film is rich enough to be seen more than once."
Coming from my favorite movie critic. Wow. I've got the day off, I'm thinking about hitting the multiplex in Southdale ... I log on here, and what do I see? STFU&GBTW posted a review. No! Ah, normally, I would read them. For, while he isn't Roger Ebert, I enjoy his reviews. Not that Ebert is so wonderful, but his opinion usually matches mine, and his opus is more accessible than my brother's. 'Nuf said. off to the movies ...
A whopping 2:41 (hours, not minutes) managed to keep my attention. The characters aren't really "superheroes". They call themselves 'masks', as they all hide behind them. After being outlawed (the scriptwriters of The Incredibles must have read the graphic novel), a couple come forth to admit their prior activities. A murder of one retired 'mask' leads to others. Only one wants to pursue it; the others hide behind their secret identities and quiet retired lives as mild-mannered people.
Why does anyone want to kill retired crime-fighters? Mixed in are vignettes of how does one become a super crime-fighter? I found these little stories quite interesting in filling the characters' motivations. Following in mom's footsteps; nuclear accident; abusive childhood - other than the giant naked glowing blue guy, pretty much just the way anyone chooses a profession. There's more male full-frontal nudity than in any other ordinary Hollywood film I've ever seen. A swift flash of Mortensen in Eastern Promises this wasn't.
This is one of the more gruesomely violent movies I've seen: violent in the sense of Eastern Promises, not just ordinary action movies. There's a bit of romance & far more of social commentary. It's 1985, Nixon is on his 3rd (4th?) term and the government is running on the fear of imminent nuclear annihilation from the USSR.
The photography was wonderful, giving a distinct picture of 1985. The music, when it hit, was overwhelming, though quite a bit preceding 1985. Characters appear whom I doubt anyone under 20 would recognize, like Henry Kissinger or Lee Iacocca. Altogether a picture of how 1985 could have looked, perhaps not politically but visually. The end of the movie was a surprise to me (never having read the comic book), although the denouement was kind of saccharine.
okay, just read STFU&GBTW's non-review ... shouldn't have avoided it - though it's an interesting comparison of hypothetical "themes"
2 - Go see it on the big screen, at matinee prices
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The little person who leads the trio is an inspired man. His fiddle is out of tune, and there is no rosin on his bow, but still he is an inspired man - the hands of the Muses have been laid upon him. He plays like one possessed by a demon, of a whole hoard of demons. You can feel them in the air round about him, capering frenetically; with their invisible feet they set the pace, and the hair of the leader of the orchestra rises on end, and his eyeballs start from their sockets, as he toils to keep up with them.
[Tamoszius] has taught himself to play the violin by practicing all night, after working all day on the killing-floor. ... He is only about five feet high, but even so, these trousers are about eight inches short of the ground. You wonder where he can have gotten them -- or rather you would wonder, if the excitement of being in his presence left you time to think of such things.
For he is in a inspired man. Every inch of him is inspired -- you might almost say inspired separately. He stamps with his feet, he tosses his head, he sways and swings to and fro; he has a wizened-up little face, irresistibly comical; and, when he executes a turn or a flourish, his brows knit and his lips work and his eyelids wink -- the very ends of his necktie bristle out. And every now and then he turns upon his companions, nodding, signaling, beckoning frantically -- with every inch of him appealing, imploring, in behalf of the muses and their call.
For they are hardly worth of Tamoszius, the other two members of the orchestra. The second violin is a Slovak, a tall, gaunt man with black-rimmed spectacles and the mute and patient look of an over-driven mule; he responds to the whip but feebly, and then always falls back into his old rut. The third man is very fat, with a round, red, sentimental nose, and he plays with his eyes turned up to the sky and a look of infinite yearning. He is playing a bass part upon his 'cello, and so the excitement is nothing to him; no matter what happens in the treble, it is his task to saw out one long-drawn and lugubrious note after another, from four o'clock in the afternoon until nearly the same hour next morning, for his third of the total income of one dollar per hour.
Before the feast has been five minutes underway, Tamoszius has risen in his excitement; a minute or two more and you see that he is beginning to edge over toward the tables. His nostrils are dilated and his breath comes fast -- his demons are driving him. ...
Now he is in his glory, dominating the scene. Some of the people are eating, some are laughing and talking -- but you will make a great mistake if you think there is one of them who does not hear him. His notes are never true, and his fiddle buzzes on the low ones and squeaks and scratches on the high; but these things they heed no more than they heed the dirt and noise and squalor about them -- it is out of this material that they have to build their lives, and with it that they have to utter their souls. And this is their utterance: merry and boisterous, or mournful and wailing, or passionate and rebellious, this music is their music, music of home. It stretches out its arms to them, they have only to give themselves up.
Monday, March 16, 2009
hell, yes! Look at what we did to ourselves in 2000. And far more in 2004. The US government ran for 5 or 6 years on nothing but screaming fear of our security. (Admittedly, even today few seem to give a goddamn about our economic stability, which is likely far more critical to her novel's view of the future ... this being defined as the willingness to educate themselves about what the gov't is doing with their money, and scream about it).
Even today, the right-wing of the Republican party is harping on keeping out the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.* Tear down the big copper bitch, if we can't bother to respect her. At the rate copper is going, it might even make a microscopic dent in the national debt. Or sell it, like bits of the Berlin Wall, and make a more significant dent in the debt. I doubt any of the unmentionables on Wall Street would give a damn.
(the Wikipedia entry on it is pretty interesting, especially the Aftermath of 9/11 section)
Far, far too many Americans ponied up to the Fear-Я-Us campaigns. It was like watching the Deep South in '64 facing the potential of actually having the government enforce equal rights for all those 'pesky niggers'. Protect our sacred rights to racial purity! Let them into our schools and they'll be impregnating our daughters and stealing our jobs! They'll destroy Our America! Or was that Mexicans? Or Arabs? Or the Irish?
Who's kidding who?
We happily embrace limitations of our freedoms without blinking! The government is still legally allowed to tap our phones, grossly impede commerce/travel with TSA, obscenely violate our legal rights of a speedy trial, or even reasonable suspicion. God forbid any of these ignorant voting idiots actually know what the phrase habeas corpus means.** Did anyone bother to read the PATRIOT Act? Even legislators afterwards admitted they didn't! Has anyone got the brass balls necessary to revoke it? No. Why? Because politicians are too afraid of scaring off the votes of the Fearful, who happily accept those limitations. Hence does fear make cowards of us all.
Even with a change of governmental figurehead, the government doesn't bother to revoke the acts made in initial panic. They pander to the fearful, rather than do anything to educate them into some sort of recognition of reality.
** The Habeas Corpus Acts "declare no principle and define no rights, but they are for practical purposes worth a hundred constitutional articles guaranteeing individual liberty." ~ A.V. Dicey, specifically it is a summons with the force of a court order addressed to the custodian (such as a prison official) demanding that a prisoner be brought before the court, together with proof of authority, allowing the court to then determine whether that custodian has lawful authority to hold that person
*The inscription on the base of the statue originally named Liberty Enlightening the World reads:
With conquering limbs astride from land to land; [i.e., the Collosus of Rhodes]
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips.
"Give me your tired,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
admittedly, I'm sure the 'wretched refuse of your teeming shore wasn't intended to mean Manhattan's garbage scows
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Still out there in the T.C.
Coming Soon(er or Later) to a Theater Near Me:
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
Drag Me to Hell
State of Play
Already gone, but not forgotten - this is why DVDs exist
City of Ember
Burn Before Reading
The Lucky Ones
Pride & Glory
Fear of the Dark
furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.
This is my profession's mantra: "free from recognized hazards". Closing one's eyes fails to qualify as "I didn't see it".
Friday, March 13, 2009
"We have seen Al-Qaida franchise itself around the world ..."
Is this like McDonald's? Call 800-4TERROR now to ask about the franchise opportunities in your neighborhood for extremists. Evangelical Christians need not apply.
"Somali youth talk more about March Madness, Kobe Bryant, and the NFL draft than they do about [him],"
At least the discussion of March Madness isn't a total wash: the Gophers are managing to not loose all of their games. (mind you, "not lose" isn't quite the same thing as "win".)
Rep. Keith Ellison, the Minneapolis Democrat who became the first Muslim elected to Congress.
This implies there's been more than one, rather than "Ellison ... the only one who managed to get in"
If they're sitting around wondering why their kids are haring off to the Old Country with no clue about Reality ... they'd do better trying to integrate into Main-Stream America. Walking through Riverside (a.k.a. Little Mogadishu) is a fashion parade of eastern Africa. I really don't care what culturally-specific clothing people wear. I encourage people to keep their traditional languages alive, and am happy the Hennepin County Library system has Somaali books. (In fact, the only foreign language books in East Lake, Hosmer or Hopkins are Spanish and Somaali.)
The avoidance of being American is what leads naive children to do stupid things in pursuit of someone else's nationalism. If the kids had more ties to being American, and seeing America as their primary nationality, they'd be less likely to go wandering off in pursuit of someon else 's nationalistic goals. (Although, admittedly the problem in Somali seems to be the predominance of ethnicity rather than nationalism.)
Speaking of cultural fashion: there are several different groups of traditional/semi-traditionally clothed females around here. The traditional Somalis are quite noticeable with their head-to-toe veil-coverings. While I certainly couldn't tell, at least it would lend itself to wearing warm clothes in the Minnesota Winters.
The other Muslim traditionalists with hijabs are a common sight. Yesterday the weather was -3F when I left for the Light Rail to campus. The wind chill was at least -25F. I'm standing inside the shelter at Lake Street Station. A young woman is there wearing a hijab, coat and ankle-length skirt. Totally unremarkable sight, except ... she wasn't wearing gloves. Okay, a stupidity shared by quite a few others on the platform. Her hijab is a sheer, lightweight cotton/polyester - a stupidity shared by all the other women with them. Why don't you ever see them in heavy cotton flannel or thermal fleece? Not fashionable enough? But what made me struggle to not laugh: Because she was backlit in the bright morning sun, I could also see that her skirt was really sheer. I could see her legs clear up to her knees, where the skirt lining stopped. I was left wondering if she even realized this ... Cultural compliance in form, but not substance.
It is amazing how fast your brain works...
In about 1 second, my brain processed:
there's a kid running at me
get out of the way
if I leave my right leg where it is, he'll trip and fall on his face
step left, leave right leg out
unfortunately, he managed to stop before he got past me.
I was really surprised afterward that I considered and actually tried to trip the little snot. It's the sort of thing one thinks of in retrospect, like "I wish I had said ..." or "I wish I had done ..."
Personally, .... "I wish I'd contemplated hip checking him. It probably would have succeeded."
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Why argue with a political satirist? It's like putting a bullseye on your chest. A big one. The Daily Show - what a delight - makes fun of MSNBC's financial advice. One of the financial 'gurus' takes offense ... well, the description is the first minute or so of the video clip.
"You're not the only member of a multiplatform media conclogmerate with huge synergistic reach and strategic levering capabilities ... "
At 8:40 is the segment with Dora. Yes, Dora the Explorer. Wait through the teen-chick clip for the 2nd part of Dora. Well, actually the whole thing is funny.
Monday, March 9, 2009
"When I saw 'Iron Man,' I was one of very few people who got excited about the soldering," he said. "Robert Downey Jr. was using the same soldering tool I have in my lab to build his armor, and he was holding it correctly."
This started a discussion this afternoon with a couple of my classmates about the over-the-top safety-geek things we notice in movies: Bob the Builder's personal protective equipment, surgical masks in 24 where he ought to be using a supplied air respirator.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I cannot imagine my God turning her face away from a mother who helps her 9 year old raped daughter get an abortion. No, I'm sure DickWad's deity would rather shrug in paternal disappointment and say "Oh, well, that's just life. I'd rather she let her daughter die in childbirth".
If it was my daughter, I would move mountains to get her the abortion and I would without hesitation or regret turn my back on the Church who dared condemn my actions.
There's an interesting parallel between Bush [G.W.] and Richard Nixon. While Nixon was clearly a superior statesman and in many ways a more intelligent politician, what they share is a kind of boldness in how they emote their insecurities. What we're finding with George Bush, part of what's familiar to people and that adds to his likability for many, is that there's a commonality of deep insecurity and his handling it with a kind of bravado. What they both did is handle things with a similar certainty - certainty being the "disease of kings". --Sean Penn, no date given
*strangely enough, the Wikipedia article doesn't list "disease of kings" as one of the euphemisms for syphilis.
Friday, March 6, 2009
For 4 hunters who found the cat, it was a no-brainer: They liked the big cat more than the DNR.
DNR arrives. Trys to tranquilize cat. Puma leaves. Puma gets treed again.
That's when a tranquilizer-gun-toting DNR employee climbed up the oak tree to get a closer shot.
DNR arrives. Trys to tranquilize cat. Puma leaves. Puma gets treed again.
We've called our friends with dogs and told them if the DNR calls for help tracking the cat, tell them to go to hell.'
Puma last seen somewhere in northern Wisconsin. DNR hasn't been seen at all.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
It's up to the panel to decide whether the Coleman side has proven its claims, and how many of the rejected ballots should be counted.
Democrat Al Franken's attorneys begin presenting their case tomorrow and have about 800 of their own ballots to introduce. It's expected Franken's case could take two to three weeks.
Monday, March 2, 2009
From January's Atlantic Monthly, with thanks to my friend The Author:
"Change” has been President-elect Barack Obama’s mantra, and for many of his supporters, the most important change his administration promises is a more restrained, less arrogant foreign policy, a global posture that avoids the costs and dangers inherent in playing the world’s policeman.
They’re dismayed by the presumptuous and anachronistic attitudes behind the declaration that the president of the United States is the “leader of the free world.”
They’re exasperated with the messianic invocation of “America’s larger purpose in the world,” with the smug notion that this country is “called to provide visionary leadership” in “battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good.”
They discern the dangers of declaring with righteous omniscience that America “has a direct national security interest” in seeing its economic and political beliefs take hold in foreign lands.
They’re annoyed with the historical myopia that results in an unironic reference to American military “operations to win hearts and minds.”
In the claim that “the security of the American people is inextricably linked to the security of all people,” they hear echoes of the universalist logic that led to the disaster in Vietnam and see a sweeping foreign policy that the rest of the world finds at best meddlesome and at worst menacingly imperialist.
These lofty but potentially dangerous sentiments are entirely consistent with George W. Bush’s assertion in his second Inaugural Address that “the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands”—an assertion his critics at home and abroad rightly judged as … lofty and potentially dangerous. But the pronouncements quoted above—all of them—are in fact from Barack Obama’s two major foreign-policy statements, both made in 2007.