Sunday, March 29, 2015

Heading to DC

We are heading to DC for a few days. As it turns out, lots of friends are there. It will be fun. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Tyne Daily and Harriet Harris - Perfection

I went and saw "It Shoulda Been You" last night.
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And I will say, it looked like it could have been cute or a stinker.  It was so much better than "cute".  It is a musical comedy on Broadway with no intermission and a shed-load of laughs.
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I was surprised.  And loved it.  I will do a full review when it is legal, but in general, I think I will like it.
Tyne Daily, Sierra Boggess, David Burtka (spouse of Neil Patrick Harris) and Harriet Harrison

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It started Tyne Daily and Harriet Harris.  They are perfection live.  I never saw an episode of "Cagney and Lacey" so I did not have any preconceptions before seeing her on Broadway.  I have seen her now in Comedies, Musicals, Dramas, as a Jewish Mother, as an uptight WASP.  And I have never seen her perform poorly.
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Harriet Harris is famous (to me) as Frazier Crane's agent.  That voice she has is all her own.  I have seen her in a couple of other things too.  She was the best thing in "Cry Baby", except for the Dance Captain - he was the mascot of the month once.  Scute.
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Anywho, if you are heading to New York and want some great old fashioned Broadway fun this is one of those shows.
During the bow.  That is Montego Glover (tony winner) on far right!

Speaking of Cars... And Bad Drivers

You all may now that I loved my Grandmother Zela.  A better woman would be hard to find.  She used to drive Nash Ramblers - later AMC Ramblers.
A Nice Boring American Motors Rambler
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However, she could not drive to save her life. My Grandfather used to tell this story (which was the only one he ever told with a dirty word).
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Zela drove to work one morning, and at Florence Blvd, sideswiped a car.  She called my Ham (my Grandfather (Henry Albert Mitchell aka Ham) to come get her.  She was a mess and upset.  Crying and apologizing.  Now they didn't have much money, but Ham knew better than to say anything right then.  Instead he consoled her and got her home.
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After a nervous day, she set off the next morning to work and, at the same intersection, she sideswiped another car (he said 2, but I think the tale grew in the telling).  About this time in the story Zela would being to tell him to "hush up".
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Well once again she called Ham, a crying mess.  And once again he consoled her and got her home.  Where she swore she would quit work and never drive again.  Ham knew she just wanted reassurance, but he words got away from him.  "You'll be fine, honey.  Just take a different damn road tomorrow!"
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Now you may say, what is a "Rambler".  A "Rambler" was a horrible, heavy, slow car that was like driving an underpowered tank.  Because my grandfather knew that she was such a bad driver, he always purchases slow, boring Ramblers to keep her and others on the road safe.  She always resented that damn Rambler.
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So, when he died, she was distraught.  But not so distraught she didn't go out town months later a buy a V8 Impala.
The 350 HorsePower V8 72 Impala

A Simple Example of We're Screwed Coming or Going

What seems to be happening right now is a Islamic Civil War between the Sunni and Shite (Shia) factions.  There has always been tension, but now it has grown into open war on multiple fronts.
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Our position here, which should be None-Of-Our-Business, is seemingly designed to make now no one happy (except businesses that build bombs).

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Yes, up in Syria / Iraq we support the Iraq / Iran / Syrian positions of anti-ISIS (which is Shia).  And yes, down in Yemen we support the Saudi / Egyptian  position of anti-Sunni.
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If we are going to be asinine enough to be drug into this, pick a side.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Final Four in Indianapolis - Can They Please Tell Us Fags Exactly Which Establishments Will Serve Us?

The Final Four is in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Indiana just passed a law that allows anyone to discriminate against gays and lesbians because they think it is icky against their religion.
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That is fine, one supposes.  But since there will be plenty of fags at the Final Four (depending on who goes), can the hate-loving homophobes at least give us a nice list of places we should not eat at, stay at,  or visit with our faggy dollars .
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I mean, if you can't stand to service treat us as customers, have the good grace to put up a sign that says, "I love Jesus, We don't serves Fags."  That way we won't offend you by offering to pay for things.

... like the corners of my mind...

Somehow in the my trip around the interwebs today, I found this picture (it was in the "10 worst cars of all time" display).  And I thought- Wow, that is the car where I learned to drive.  For those of you familiar with the story of my father's ashes; yes, this is where he put the cigarette pack on the hump.
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This could been ours, if the back of the car had a Mickey Mouse decal to cover the f-word scratched into the panel (before we bought it).
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It is probably the best little car to learnt to drive in.  It has the pick up of wounded gazelle, the handling of a dyslexic hippo and you can't enough speed to hurt yourself too badly in an accident.  Of course, if you get lightly rear-ended, it goes up in flames - but that just teaches you the value of the rear view mirror.
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When I make fun of my Pinto youth, Ed brings his own story into the can-you-top-this story.  I forget what he learned to drive in (a civic circa 1970s I think).  But his family had one of these beasts.
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I have to admit, when it came out with it's acres of glass, I was both terrified and awed.  In retrospect, the AMC Pacer doesn't look that horrible. And probably not as impractical in Wisconsin as in LA, where all that glass conspired to melt the plastic dashboard when you parked it in the sun.
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I love the older woman's sensible hair and polyester pants suit with matching long sleeve blouse.  Her tense stance and forced smile scream, "Honey, your not marrying someone who is proud of this."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Odd "In Rep"

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These two shows are being done "in Rep".  That is the cast is alternating between the two plays.
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Now normally this is done with two shows by the same author (often Shakespeare), or two different shows about the same topic - even if they are only tenuously related - like 2 shows on different aspects of love.
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But Macbeth - a Shakespearian tragedy - and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - a Mark Twain comedy best known from its Bing Crosby sing-along version?
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That is some twisted "in rep" thinking.

The Missions

After my last post (LINK) I couldn't let you go without a map of the missions.
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They were built starting in 1769 (before the American Revolution, our history teachers impressed on us) - thorough 1800.  They were built about a days horse ride form each other.
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You can tell they are historical from the old timey pictures.
The Missions brought the Catholic Church, and education (and slave labor) to the Indians of the California Coast.  Unlike much of the East, the California Coast we very lightly settled by American Indians.  This was due to two things:
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First, the California Coast, without irrigation and many damns isn't a bountiful place for settlement.
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Second, the diseases introduced int he proceeding 200 hundred years from Europe (for which American natives had no immunity) wiped out the native population long before the Spanish arrived.
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So the Missionaries set up schools and farms to educate and employ the natives.  These Mission were quickly followed by Land Grants first from the Spanish and later Mexico to their War Heros and major families.
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These giant land grants (Ranchos) were then farmed by the natives, all taught Spanish and trades by the Missionaries.  They exported leather primarily, because refrigerated shipping hadn't been invented yet.
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Here is a picture of a California doing what we all had to do in 5th grade.  Create a post about a mission (if you class was crowded you could double up - I doubled up with Devon).
See how good the missions were for the natives!

One of the Interesting Things about the US

I may have touched on this before, but I think this is interesting.
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In most countries, there is a unified history taught to school children.  That is kind-of the case in the United States.  For most of the country, the history books are essentially the same.
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Okay, actually there are usually two major set of school books.  Texas is the key buyer for a set of school books that more conservative states purchase.  California is the key buyer for most other states text books.
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That is because California and Texas have the largest school age populations, and once you create a good text book, it is much cheaper to buy one already done, than try to commission a new one.  Not that either Texas or California commission these, but they are the largest markets, and the purchase process tends to select ones the board finds relatable.
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But that is in general.
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In Grade 5 (maybe different now), most states' history classes are the actual state's "history".  That is, it is on the history of the state, not the country.
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So, in Ed's case, they learned about the mine workers (called "badgers", hence the school mascot).  They learned about the westward migration into the mid-west.  They learned about Indians and even the bad things we did to the Indians.
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There weren't many Indians in the California - the Spanish killed them off.  So I didn't learn all that much about them.
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In California, our history is really different than Wisconsin's or New York's.  We were first settled by the Spanish, who built the Missions and killed the Indians.  To this day I will roll my eyes when we pass a Mission, but secretly want to go to complete my mission charm collection.  We took school field trips OR my parents / grandparents took me to (deep breath): Mission San Fernando, Mission Ventura, Mission San Juan Capistrano, The San Diego Mission, The Santa Barbara Mission, and more.
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Japanese Interment Camp
We also learned about the Japanese Internment Camps.  During WWII, America decided that Americans of Japanese descent were a risk of treason and terrorism.  So they rounded them all up and shipped them to internment camps in the middle of nowhere (the deserts of California, the swamps of Arkansas, etc.).  The war hysteria was helped, becasue all that land that got sucked up by the states or connected individuals, but that isn't why it happened (sarcasm).  Anyway, I was told about this because Gardena, where I went to grade school, was one of the 2 places in Los Angeles that the Japanese were re-settled.  The other was a community called Sawtelle, which was condemned with a decade for the 405 Freeway. My school was probably 1/3 Japanese - and, like all children, I assume that the entire world was that way.  I thought everyone knew about this and that every town was 1/3 Japanese.  And this happened in 5th grade.
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So if you hang out with a bunch of Americans from different areas, you can ask them about their history and, depending on the state, get much different answers.  Isn't that odd.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Interesting Little Show

This is the interior of a Dime Savings Bank (now Chase) in Brooklyn
So, last week-end Randy, Ed and I went to the show mentioned here.  It was all about Landmark interiors in New York that were being saved.  It had lots of information and pictures from each building.
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One of the coolest amenities however, were the information cards.  For example, they told you where building was, and when (if) you could visit.
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These were some of the interiors highlighted (that you CAN get into see).
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Interior of the Gould Library in the Bronx. 
The mural in the Air Terminal Building at La Guardia (open, but I don't think planes leave from here anymore).

Friday, March 20, 2015

So Yes - I Wrote a New Novella

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So I finished a new novella (longer than a short story, shorter than a novel).  It is a sci-fi Kindle book right now.  And only 99cents!
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Go on, buy it if you have a Kindle or a Kindle application on your iPad or Tablet or computer. Cliffside The Lost Colony
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And then review it (lie and say it is pretty good).
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Huzzah!
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PS - As for the dedication it is:

For Joe McCarthy:
        Who inspired me, pushed me and checked my spelling.

Union Square Statues


Union Square Tables and Chairs, put in place ready for Srping
I was buzzing around Union Square the other day (Tuesday) and noticed the Union Square statues.  I noticed because Union Square is getting ready for spring (despite the 2 - 4" of snow today).
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Anyway, I took pictures of the statues.  I was interested in why it was called "Union Square" as well.  Most other squares make sense to me.  Madison Square is on Madison Boulevard.  Herald Square is at the front of where the New York Herald office's were.  Times Square, where the New York Times office's were.
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Cortege is "a solemn procession, especially for a funeral."
Then I found this plaque that says Lincoln's Funeral Cortege went through  here and it because Union Square (for the Union Army).
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Anywho, I have futzed with the pictures to bring out the detail and they are quite fun.
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George Washington is right up front on 14th Street - Front and Center
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Lafayette the Frenchie gets a big statue for his help during the Revolution
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I don't know why Gandi gets such lousy placement.  This area is impossible to see on the week-ends.
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Madonna and Jesus.  It's grainy because of the sun's position.
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Honest Abe.  They moved him here in 2002.  He is now opposite Washington, but faces the same direction.

How to make the "Religious Freedom / Right to Discriminate" laws FINE by me.

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The United States are clearly divided by their distaste for same-sex marriage.  This is not unusual.  There are many many divides in the US and this is only the latest one.  I have heard the solution (thank you Ohio).
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I am going to try to be fair to both sides here.
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From the traditional side, many people believe that their religious freedom should allow them to opt out of providing services to same sex couples.  The mildest of these would ensure that same-sex couples get equal service (say marriage license), but that employees with "religious issues" don't have to do the work, some one else is the office would.  The strongest of these would allow companies to refuse service to people who identify with same-sex attraction in any case.
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From the liberal side, many people believe that religious freedom DOES include the freedom to believe what you want and act upon it.  However, if you are providing a business service for a fee, you are not allowed to discriminate against customers based on sexual orientation as well as skin color, gender or marital status.
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I heard recently however of a proposed Ohio law that splits the difference for me.  Which, I know, is hard to believe.  It is a religious freedom law I can support!
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The crux of the law is quite simple.  A business is allowed to opt out of providing a service to same sex couples, provided that they advertise that way up front.  That allows same sex couples or gay people to not be offended when we are turned away or to make it our problem.  It also allows the religious freedom of individual to choose who to serve.
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The New York Farm that advertises as a space for Wedding and Wedding Receptions could then simple advertise, Available for opposite sex weddings only, due to Religious Freedom.  Now I could laugh with my friends and say, "I wonder if they allow second marriages.  Or if they allow people had sex before marriage to get married there. Because that is against the Catholic Religion too."  This gets them out of holding gay-wedding receptions there - which they are fighting in court right now.
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This would also allow them to deny weddings to Jewish people, Atheists, Lutherans ... well really anyone except Catholics who bring their own Priest.  And right now they have to provide access to these groups too.
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I make fun of "Liberty Farms", but I am serious.  If the law said they had to advertise that they discriminate against any group for religious reasons, I would be a-okay with that law.
"we grow memories" - if you are a heterosexual catholic

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Israeli People Have Voted: Congratulations

The Israeli people have voted and I fully support their right to elect leaders that agree with them.  Congratulations on a record 20th free election in 60 years.  That is an amazing achievement in the Middle East.  Their elections have been free since the founding of the contemporary state of Israeli. Another milestone.
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And so, in congratulating their process I am honest and truthful.  Is is an amazing achievement.
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The outcome, however, is not what I would deem as optimal.  (Although the 47 Republicans that signed the letter to Iran must be over the moon right now.)  You see after 40-ish years and 6 US Presidential Administrations (3 Democratic and 3 Republican including Reagan), Prime Minister Netanyahu has repudiated the peace process.  During the election cycle he has un-equivocally said that there will be no 2 state solution.
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Which, like I said, is his right to say and the Israeli people's right to vote for.  In fact, Israel now has the same position as Hamas, there is only 1 possible country between Jordon and the sea.  They differ only on the government of that country.  Which says to me the process of negotiations is over.  We stopped sending money to Hamas / Gaza when they repudiated the two state solution, we should do the same with Israeli.
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Let us agree to abide by the decisions of the Israeli people / electorate of the region and ske-daddle.
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I see no use in sending them $3 Billion a year.  The country is one of the richest and most technologically advanced in the world.  They are more than capable of taking care of themselves - and, in fact, doing that while persecuting the Palestinians.  Let's spend that $3 Billion on our own infrastructure (bridges, roads, etc.).  And, as long as we aren't buying peace in the region, let's stop spending $3 Billion a year on Egypt.  And roughly $1 Billion a year on the Palestinian West Bank.  I mean at $7 Billion we are talking real money.