Thursday, July 31, 2008

How I get past it all...

If you read this, you know I tend to take things a little too seriously every now and then. And today was one of those days I was furious at "politicians". So how do you get past it.
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Well, I told you about kiva.org where Eddie and I loan money as part of a micro finance project (and I still recommend it). But today I got a newsletter from the Christine Nobel Foundation. Through this group I sponsor a child in Mongolia.
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She went to Mongolia once a while back and found that many kids were living in the sewers in Ulan Bator (the capital). They lived there because it was the only warm place in the winter. These kids were working or prostituting themselves to help their families.
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So she started this foundation that built schools and provides help. I support a boy and the money I send pays his family (mother and 3 kids, the father died) what he would make working on the streets. So he gets to go to school and the family has some money. $2 a month of it goes to health insurance for the family.
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The point here is look at the picture below. Knowing that many of these kids, now in school used to sleep in the sewer system and I dare you not to smile.


I am not saying that the Christine Nobel Foundation is the only answer. I also support a kid in Mozambique through World Vision (they are very religious, but they do great work so if they preach a little too - no worries for me).
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Actually I am not saying support anything. I am saying that I think what makes mankind special is that as a group we are capable of great good. Some of you do it by raising kids (which is satisfying and challenging), some by supporting others, some by mentoring. Every now and then, when the world sucks, we just need a reminder what we do to make the world better.
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So turn off the news, stopping reading stupid blogs (mine isn't stupid) and relax. Do what you can to stop the world from going to hell in a handbasket.

Christine Nobel Foundation






Drawbacks to the High Rise


There are drawbacks to living the high life. Last night, the high rise elevators went out. The low rise elevators (or as Ed refers to them as "the unwashed") only go to floor 30 (which is where the building in the picture dips in).
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The common areas, .like the gym, pool and breakfast areas are on 29 and 30; so both the low rise and high rise elevators go there.
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So a message went out that everyone should take the low rise elevators to 30 and then walk up.
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Well Trevor enjoyed the walk down to 30 and then his walk. (It was after 10:30 because I saw a 1/2 price show).
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After the walk, however, Trevor did not enjoy the walk UP the stairs. He has walked stairs before in stores or even escalators (in Office Depot), but only 1 or 2 floors. Well there are 8 floors between 30 and 37 (because 30 is double floor height due to the pool).
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And the stairwell is REALLY hot and humid. Also smells like smoke. You aren't suppose to smoke in the stairwells, but some people don't want to go downstairs to smoke outside - so they do it in the stairwells. I mean no air-conditioning in the stairwells and heat rises. So it is probably in the 90s in the stairwell. He walked 30, 31 and 32 fine. But at floor 33 he stopped at the door, waiting to go through it to the house. No such luck.
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He could tell the difference between left and right doors, so he passed 34 with no problem, but he sat down in front of floor 35 again.
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Nope, mean old Scooter made him walk up two more flights. He was quite happy on the 37th floor.
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I think if you were much above 37, you would have just put down a pee pad for the dog. Cuz there is a really really old blind collie up on 59. He never would have made it.
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They fixed 2 of the 3 by morning.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

For My Honey who doesn't remember when Linda Ronstadt was hot

So in talking with my Eddie, he didn't ever remember Linda Ronstadt as smokin' hot.
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I am sorry, when I was in high school and college Linda Ronstadt was it on a stick.
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Well, it on Roller Skates actually (from one of her album covers).
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Anyway, the post about Jerry Brown reminded me that not everyone remembers the Linda Ronstadt of my youth.
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Funny Linda Ronstadt story, the first time she got a back up group to back her on the "silk purse" album they were great. They were so great in fact that, with her encouragement, the formed themselves as a band, The Eagles (honest, look it up).
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Hence, by the by, Desperado by both groups.



Welcome Back Jerry

Well I need to start this by telling you that my mom and I probably have WILDLY different memories of Jerry Brown. A lot of people hated him. I loved him. Not the least of the reasons was that during a budget impasse once he imposed a $100 a month raise for everyone who worked for the state.
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For State Senators or Assemblymen this raise was, of course, nominal and they were pissed. They went on TV and said how awful it was. This tatic backfired because for Scooter, working at UCLA to put himself through school - and to most people in the late 1970s working at general state jobs (DMV, CalTrans, etc), it was a NICE raise. And the total funds used was a lot less than a 5% raise which the State Legislature wanted.
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Anyway, he his now the California Attorney General. I heard some things about the Attorney General this week and told Ed and Ron (I have included that note below), but I forgot it was Jerry Brown that was our AG.
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Eddie and Ron,
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So they have changed to wording of Proposition 8 from ... the measure would amend the state Constitution "to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." to...
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In a move made public last week and applauded by same-sex marriage proponents, the attorney general's office changed the language to say that Proposition 8 seeks to "eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry."
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The law of California has changed and so the Attorney General changed the heading. The also said that it would have a negative impact on the budget, based on the idea that Same Sex Marriages will be a money maker.
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All good (hopefully) for a March Wedding :-)
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scooter
Jerry Then and Now
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ps: If you forget the late 1970s, or worse, weren't alive then you may not remember that the woman in the picture with Jerry Brown is Linda Ronstat who was then a pop singer and a total hottie. They dated and went on vacations together.

Update on China

Hey there- so here are a couple of notes on China:

1.  I'm exhausted before it all really begins. (ergo typos) (what time/day is it?)
2. Things are incredibly coordinated and put together. This place is absolutely ready for the Games. I don't really give a crap about the smog. LA...14 years....I firmly believe it is "haze"
3. Each day more and more people arrive in the city.  Today, I found myself thinking of the house in the desert (earthquake and all) to get away.
4. This is really not China...I've been to China. This is sort of a Disney version of China. A little toooo put together.
5. I walked home and through the "Watercube" tonight. One of the most incredible places I've ever been. I wanted to dive in. The place is awesome.
6. I've never dealt with, and managed so much money in my life.  
7. I don't like buffets and group-dinners....that will make for a very long month.
8. This will all be really cool once it all starts!!!!!!
9. This will all be really cool once it all ends.

later
Ed

A Reminder about Points of View

Every now and then, there is nothing like a good reminder that I need to step back and look at things from another point of view. Like all of us, I intrinsically know this – but today I read something that reminded me, once again, of the absurdity of assumptions.
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In this case it was letters to the New York Times about the Catholic Church’s Humanae Vitae on birth control, which says –basically – that Catholics should not use artificially developed birth control. (I tried to state that in a completely neutral way, if I did not it is a limitation of my abilities – no perceived judgment is meant to be implied).
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As a non-catholic gay man I have no vested interest personally in the Humanae Vitae. My entire relationship with the Catholic Church consisted of going for a while when I was 7. I remember my mom wearing a lace doily pinned to her beehive (as did all the women), constantly falling asleep to the sound of Latin and the old “kneel to the left, kneel to the right, stand up, sit down, fight fight fight” and the endless rosaries said during a pre-funeral (which seemed to stretch into the days – but was probably only an hour or so – an hour was a LONG time when I was 7).
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So I read the letters and was amazed at the responses. My best guess, honestly, is that the Humanae Vitae was the Church’s response to the birth control pill. But the letters were all over the map based on the writers viewpoint. They (probably honestly) believe that the Humanae Vitae was one of the following:
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- The church’s attempt to castrate women (I know, I know)
- The church’s attempt to stop marital infidelity
- The church’s attempt to maintain the beauty and “specialness” of marriage
- The church’s choice to disregard the recommendations solicited from Catholic couples and physicians – and proof that it is all about power.
- The church’s attempt wage “all out war against women’s rights”
- The church’s willing blindness to not accept the love parents have for children (and the desire to separate out the time between children)
- The church’s transparent attempt to breed itself into a dominate role in life.
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Like I say, not being catholic or having to think about birth control, it is fascinating to see how people view the world through their own experiences and assumptions. It reminds me to try to be a little less quick with my assumptions of other people’s motives. And by other people I mean politicians I don’t like.

Except those assholes on their mobile phones who are stuck in front of me as I am late to the subway. I know they can walk and talk at the same time, they are just doing it to piss me off.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Advice from Old Christine


So last night the New Adventures of Old Christine was on and she had a very funny line.
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She was having problems because she is dating a 10 and she is only a 8 (7 ... okay a 5).
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She is explaining to her friend and ex-husband her thought process about getting plastic surgery.
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"Look! It is hard to be 32 in this town" (Ex-husband notes that math isn't her strong point) "Okay, I want to feel better about myself and the only way I can do that, short of diet and exercise, is plastic surgery."
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I love the caveat short of diet and exercise.
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It is a funny show.
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ps - Yes honey, I went to the gym yesterday and today. I just thought it was funny. And when you pick me up at the airport if I have less lines it's... magic?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Someone has a total thing for Simon Baker


Someone has a total thing for Simon Baker. He has another series. Ever time one gets cancelled, he gets a new one.
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This year it will be "The Mentalist".
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I mean, he is dreamy, but who is making the decisions at CBS? Some crazy 49 year old with no boundries?

I know Novac is smart, so is it just wishful thinking?

So Robert Novack, a smart conservative writer, has an article today about how McCain might back into the Presidency. And, of course, McCain might - but not from the evidence produced by Novack.
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His thinking is that at this time in 1976 and 1988 Jimmy Carter and Michael Dukakis were ahead by 33 and 17 points respectively. And both lost those leads prior to the election. He notes that Obama is only up 9 or 10 points and should therefore lose given history.
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Novack does explain why Carter and Dukakis were so far ahead...
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One candid Republican consultant says that the massive Carter and Dukakis summer leads were illusory, based on large generic Democratic leads. But their generic lead is back at 15 points after 12 years of a Republican Congress and eight years of George W. Bush.

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And Obama's lead is less than 15 points that a "generic" democrat would have.
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Well all that is fine, but I don't think Obama is a "generic" Democratic candidate. I think that the prolonged primary battle and the media attention focused on a black Presidential candidate has moved Obama far from a "Generic" Democratic candidate. We didn't get a lot of investigation of Carter or Dukakis until very late in the Presidential Campaign cycle (the tank picture was take in October!). We didn't find out that Dukakis was stunned emotionally and Carter was over endowed emotionally until much closer to the election.
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We know a lot more about Obama now than we did with either of those candidates. In fact I say we know a lot more about Obama than we do of any previous candidate at this point. The same would have been true with Hillary - for the same reason. It was a long, well documented primary fight with a unique candidate that television can visually encapsulate (a black man or a woman).
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One might argue that we know less about McCain as a person that we do about Obama. Most of what non-Republicans know is that he is/was the "anti-Bush". As people learn more about him he moves from being generic to having positions some people may truly disagree with (or agree).
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But the point isn't about McCain or Obama here, it is kind of a question about Novack. Didn't he really think this through, or do you think he is trying to build up McCain? I don't know. To be honest when I really like someone who has no chance of winning I fugue out scenarios of how they should / could / might win. Maybe Novack is doing that.
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Oh well, just my thoughts (and Ed isn't here to bounce them off of...)

Chinese Smog


Well Eddie got to Beijing yesterday. He is a picture from his hotel room mid-afternoon. The Chinese say that it is fog / haze not smog. It looks to me a lot like LA Smog back when I was a kid and we used to have 100+ Smog alert days instead of the 1 or 2 week get now.
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However the giant TVs on the other buildgins are cool. Plus in the lower right hand portion of the picture you can see part of the Bird's Nest (the Olympic Stadium!).

Here is a zoom'ed picture showing the edge of the Bird's Nest and part of the Water Cube (the swimming stadium (also in the header of Nincompoopery).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Waterfalls on the East River


So this is a picture of 2 of the waterfalls in the waterfall project. It is a art project by an Icelandic / Danish artist. One is right under the Brooklyn Bridge - it is very big, but we are at an odd angle.
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The second waterfall is in the center left of the picture. It is on the East River just past the Manhattan Bridge. It isn't the biggest waterfall, but it is very tall, and catches the wind well.


This is a picture of the New York Skyline from the Water Taxi (we took the water taxi to see the waterfalls). The red dot is above the Time Warner buildings, the blue dot is above our condo, the light green is above the Chrysler Building and the purple is above the Empire State Building.
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I think you can select either picture to expand them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Home Delivery Show at MOMA

So Eddie and I went to see the "Home Delivery" Show at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art).
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It was a very cool show about modular home building.
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Parts of it were fascinating, mainly because they pulled together some older stuff I had never heard of.
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There was a walk through building of a 1948 home that was delivered to sites on flat bed trucks and built there. It was this 2 bedroom steel building that was really cool for the late 40's.
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There were also buildings from Japan and all over Europe.
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It was really cool.
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This building here was actually built on the side yard of the MOMA space. We walked through this interesting 5 story space. It was very very cool.
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The also had a "micro" house which was impossibly tiny. \.
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This micro house had two sides. On one side was a kitchenette wall, and a toilet / shower room. ON the other side stepped down was a dinette and above a full size (double) bed that folded down. That was it.
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You can see more on their website.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dumb, but Fun


Today's dumb but fun topic is Handball. As you all know (if you have been keeping track) Eddie and I will be seeing handball at the Olympics. I don't knwo why, but I am excited.
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Anywho, today I found out who I will see. On one day I will see China vs. France and Spain vs.Poland. On the other day I will see Iceland vs. Egypt and Spain vs. Brazil.
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Iceland! Yeah! I get to wear my Iceland jersey and cheer on the Vikings. Kind of goofy, but totally fun.

Tooting the Bruin Horn


Go Bruins! Accompanying the US Olympic team will be 37 or 38 Bruins (Trinidad & Tabago trials aren't done yet). I can't find exact numbers for anyone else, although at least 5 Badgers (4 in Rowing and 1 Distance Runner) and 10+ Trojans (boo!!!) are also going. And no, that cheating women's swimmer is not a Bruin - she is a California Berkeley Bear. Double Boo on her!
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UCLA to Have Large Presence at 2008 Olympic Games
Bruins to send a total of 37 athletes and coaches to Beijing
July 17, 2008

LOS ANGELES - Looking to add to its rich Olympic history yet again in 2008, UCLA will send a total of 37 athletes and coaches to this summer's Olympic Games, which will be held Aug. 8-24 in Beijing, China. Of the 37 Bruins traveling to Beijing, 31 are athletes (27 former, 3 current, 1 incoming), and six are coaches.

UCLA was one of the nation's most successful universities at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, ranking No. 1 among all universities in number of different medalists (19) and number of Olympians (57 representing the United States and 13 foreign countries). Of the 19 medals UCLA took home in 2004, eight were gold, eight were bronze and three were silver. If UCLA were a country, it would have placed 14th overall in the medal count.

A majority of UCLA's 2008 contingent will be representing the United States (29). Seven other countries will also be represented by Bruins, including Australia (1), Bahamas (1), Belize (1), Canada (2), Korea (1), Poland (1) and Singapore (1). A large number of the UCLA athletes and coaches will be competing in the areas of women's track & field (7) and softball (6). Other sports represented by Bruins include: men's soccer (4), women's soccer (3), women's water polo (3), men's water polo (2), men's track & field (2), men's tennis (2), women's swimming (2), women's beach volleyball (2), men's indoor volleyball (1), men's rowing (1) and women's gymnastics (1).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Odds and Ends...

Life is gearing up for Eddie and I to go to the Olympics. I got my first tickets for the Olympics (the handball tickets I got) and I am way excited. Eddie leaves on Sunday, and I leave about 10 days later).

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We are both very excited, and kind of just waiting... waiting... waiting until then.
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I did see a really cool site that might be fun, it is the top 10 ghost towns in the world. None are in the US and "ghost towns" like old west towns we think of. Take a look and they are really cool.

Craco is a hill town in Italy in the boot.


A holiday village in Taiwan.

You should see the rest, they are totally cool.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm back in NYC

Well, after working on the desert house, I am back in New York (FYI- if you know anyone that wants to rent a house in Palm Springs area, send them to the site http://deserthouseforrent.homestead.com/ - referrals paid).
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You probably got Ed's note that we are engaged. It was a really nice note if you didn't get it.
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Anywho, more than one person asked if Ed had an engagement ring. Well, the answer is no because we already have wedding bands.
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But, I did get him an engagement watch. I got this at Diesel for him, and it has five time zones.
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There is a purpose behind it. 1) He loves watches - he doesn't really wear jewelery otherwise - and this is great on him. 2) It has five time zones to kind of symbolize the fact we love to travel and are always on the go.
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Anyways, I love him.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I used to laugh at Eddie, but he is so right.


So here is yet another story about something falling out of the sky in New York. This happens a lot. Ed goes out his way not to walk under scaffolding when he goes to work. Cranes fall, windows fall, this was bricks that fell 3 stories onto the spine of some old lady.
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I used to laugh about it, but it happens with alarming frequency here. And not just in bad weather (although really, is there good weather in NYC).

Rugby Boy for Lisa


Nice little South Sdyney Rugby player picture for mein Lisa (who loves thighs)....
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Issac Luke during the game.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Now for something completely different...

I wonder what the beginning of the Crash looked like?

I wonder what the beginning of the Great Depression looked like. Not the Crash of 29, I get that. But after the crash it wasn't immediately obvious what the Great Depression looked like. It was a bit of a slow motion depression for a while.
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I wonder, of course, because ... well, the bank failures are ugly, getting uglier and who knows how long they will go on. Inflation is higher than anytime since 1984 - and shows no sign of slowing down (heating oil is going to SUCK this winter). Credit is already tight (see point 1 about banks) so you can't cut back on it that much to stop inflation.
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And we are in an election where the two candidates are tone deaf about the economy. I mean they seem to be talking about yesterday's solutions which didn't even fix yesterday's economy.
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Maybe it is nothing and will blow over (he said whistling into the evening).....

...FYI... This is from Wikipedia. If one was pesimestic one could see parallels with our current situation. However, instead of "mining and manufacturing" substitute "construction and remodeling" as well as a service sector subject to consumer whims (and perceived reality).
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Debt
Debt is seen as one of the causes of the Great Depression. (What follows relates to the USA).
Macroeconomists including Ben Bernanke, the current chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, have revived the debt-deflation view of the Great Depression originated by Arthur Cecil Pigou and Irving Fisher: in the 1920s, American consumers and businesses relied on cheap credit, the former to purchase consumer goods such as automobiles and furniture, and the latter for capital investment to increase production. This fueled strong short-term growth but created consumer and commercial debt. People and businesses who were deeply in debt when price deflation occurred or demand for their product decreased often risked default. Many drastically cut current spending to keep up time payments, thus lowering demand for new products. Businesses began to fail as construction work and factory orders plunged.

Crowd at New York's American Union Bank during a bank run early in the Great Depression.
Massive layoffs occurred, resulting in unemployment rates of over 25%. (US) Banks which had financed this debt began to fail as debtors defaulted on debt and depositors became worried about their deposits and
began massive withdrawals. Government guarantees and Federal Reserve banking regulations to prevent such panics were ineffective or not used. Bank failures led to the loss of billions of dollars in assets.

The debt became heavier, because prices and incomes fell by 20–50% but the debts remained at the same dollar amount. After the panic of 1929, and during the first 10 months of 1930, 744 US banks failed. (In all, 9,000 banks failed during the 1930s). By 1933, depositors had lost $140 billion in deposits.
[8]

Bank failures snowballed as desperate bankers called in loans which the borrowers did not have time or money to repay. With future profits looking poor, capital investment and construction slowed or completely ceased. In the face of bad loans and worsening future prospects, the surviving banks became even more conservative in their lending.[8] Banks built up their capital reserves and made fewer loans, which intensified deflationary pressures. A vicious cycle developed and the downward spiral accelerated. This kind of self-aggravating process may have turned a 1930 recession into a 1933 great depression.

So the humidity is dropping

The "Monsoon Moisture" is moving out of the desert starting tomorrow. You know what is considered "monsoon moisture" here in Palm Springs.
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17%

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Turns out I am not crazy...

Turns out I am not crazy. 105F in Plam Springs IS nicer than 88 and humid in New York.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Yes she fell again...





Once again Miss USA takes a digger at the Miss Universe contest. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLCbsH1SOxs). Come on kids, this isn't rocket science. It's walking in heels.

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I don't know if we will get that far, but....


Well, I don't know how far we will get, but the Bruins are part of the "Coaches Against Cancer" series in November.  We host the first 2 rounds (along with Duke, Michigan and Southern Illinois) and the semi's and finals are then in Madison Square Garden.  I would love to see my Bruins playing in MSG in November.
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So here is my promise to the Don and John, if the Bruins get to MSG this November I won't slag off on Ben Howland this season.
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Go Bruins

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Last Movie You Loved...


In complaining about the Oscars, someone said "What was the last movie you loved, and wanted to go right out and see again?"
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(yes, I know it was Lisa, but that wasn't the point)
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If you haven't seen Wall.e then you must go. Now, right this minute. I'll wait.
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There. It was a-maze-zing wasn't it. I have no idea how the animators give a computer generated character so much more heart that ever. Clearly they pour in the love that they used to draw into cartoons.
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Put on your Sunday clothes when you feel down and out... (doo do do)...

Friday, July 11, 2008

And then the good news.....



The num-nuts are engaged. And I don't care if someone wants to keep it "shhhh!". Since my FRIEND Gavin didn't tell me, I don't feel bad sharing this wonderful news. Had he called, maybe I would have known he wanted to be discrete - but he didn't say anything to me. Of course, he didn't tell "anyone". By the way, my Eddie told me. Apparently "anyone" didn't include Ed!

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Of course it is about time. They have been living in sin for 8 years. And Mickey's not getting any younger. Oh wait, yes he is... it's Gavin! Gavin's not getting any younger....

A Recap of What We Have Lost Lately...

OMG, it annoys me as a Western-State Libertarian all the rights that we have lost recently. Let's take a SMALL review. FYI - remember now that Congress gave the President full rights to declare ANYONE (including American Citizens) an "Enemy Combatant" without any proof.....
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The Bill of Rights, which has stood well for Americans over 200 years. It was so important to our country back then that the Constitution didn't come into effect until these were ratified!
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First AmendmentEstablishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause; freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly; right to petition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Right to Assemble for purposes of free speech: No longer applicable. At government functions (OUR GOVERNMENT) any assemblies for purposes of dissent are removed from the function by .5 to 2 miles (at least 8 football fields away). This also occurs during Republican and Democratic Political Conventions, so our rights have also been removed for a non-governmental agencies and paid for by our tax monies (to police and private security enforcers).
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Second AmendmentRight to keep and bear arms.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Secure Now: Not only muskets, but the right of individuals to own semi-automatic and automatic handguns and AK-47s as long as they have been altered to shoot no more than 1 bullet a second.
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Third Amendment – Protection from quartering of troops.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Ignored in occupied territories after end of hostilites. The US government in Iraq also quarters private security troops without the consent of the Owner. Yee-ha!
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Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Overturned: The recently passed FISA laws have overturned the right to unreasonable search without warrants. (And, in case you wondered, there isn't a bucket-of-spit difference between McCain and Obama on this - they both voted for it). This may get overturned by the Supreme Court but the retroactive immunity from prosecution of government members and abetting telecoms will not be overturned.
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Fifth Amendmentdue process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, eminent domain.
No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Due Process: Overturned for "Enemy Combatants" (of which any American can now be declared by whim of government).
Self-Incrimination: Overturned for "Enemy Combatants" (of which any American can now be declared by whim of government).
(FYI - let's look at the case of Jose Padilla "Padilla was arrested in Chicago on May 8, 2002, and was detained as a material witness until June 9, 2002, when President Bush designated him an illegal enemy combatant and transferred him to a military prison, arguing that he was thereby not entitled to trial in civilian courts. Padilla was held for three-and-a-half years as an "enemy combatant" after his arrest in 2002 on suspicion of plotting a radioactive "dirty bomb" attack. That charge was dropped and his case was moved to a civilian court days before the supreme court could rule on it. So there you go, 4 years of SOLITARY CONFINEMENT before any trail at all. (sorry copied from Wikipedia so I can't remove the underlines).)
Eminent Domain: "Public Good" is now defined to include condemnation of private property for other private property such as a Best Buy or Shop-Right. So your house or church can be condemned to build a Ford dealership because it generates more tax money. A pretty wide definition of "public good" in my book.
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Sixth AmendmentTrial by jury and rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
1) No longer in effect for Enemy Combatants.
2) Supreme court ruled that the right to a "speedy and public trail" and "right to counsel"does not mean a competent trail. Having a defender appointed that SLEEPS during the trail is not a violation of the 6th amendment.
3) Ruled that the Confrontation Clause is not a right when the witness against the defendant is a prison informant or a minor or a federal official.
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Seventh AmendmentCivil trial by jury.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
No longer in effect for Enemy Combatants.
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Eighth Amendment – Prohibition of excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Idiots on the bench decided that murder can be a capital crime, but raping a child cannot be. Are you freaking kidding me!
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I think if you rape a 10 year old you should be killed slowly and painfully. I do not think that is cruel or unusual, I think it is appropriate for the crime. Hell, I would televise it - and then burn the perpatrator's private parts on a public fire. Really.
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Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
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Tenth Amendment – Powers of states and people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
See this kind of says that Marriage laws are the domain of the states, but the Defense of Marriage law says that the Federal Government will not recognize same sex marriages - even if they are lawful under state law. FYI - this is why the Defense of Marriage law will be thrown out some day soon. Marriage licenses are a state responsibility like local speed limits, city incorporation standards, hunting licenses and dog licenses. But I am sure that we want the Feds to regulate all of these too.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One of my most Guilty Pleasures

May I just say that one of my most inappropriate and guilty pleasures is "So You Think You Can Dance?"
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Now it isn't just the dancing, which is great! - That isn't a guilty pleasure.
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And it isn't the parade of young flesh - that is just creepy. Don't get me wrong, it is often hot, but creepy.
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No, I LOVE Cat Deeley.
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I don't even know much about this British Trollop, but I love love love her.
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She has been doing So You Think You Can Dance? (or SYTYCD - as it is known here) for all four seasons. And she just gets odder and odder.
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First it was the weird British way she says "judges" which sounds like "ji-gies". Then she started making the audience say it with her.
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Then there is the way she makes the little boy dancers SO HOT FOR HER. She is like 5' 10" and is never seen without the spiked heels. The little straight boys swoon for her and the little gay boys swoon for the heels. It is so cute.
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And she stands up for the contestants when the mean old British Judge (Nigel) is wrong.
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But most of all, I love her outfits. Online the designers are thanked, so they must be paid to cloth her, but it is often just a disaster- and she smiles through it. Look at that horrible Heidi-Goes-Porn leather & bows thing she has on at the top of this page.
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I have given a nice cross section for you to wonder at yourself. In some pictures the true beauty or horror of the outfit is hard to see. Eddie and I never fast forward through the opening of SYTYCD because we sit in breathless anticipation of what stinkfest they make her wear on any given day.



The picture doesn't do justice to the true horror of this off-pink blooming flower nightmare.


ps- Yes, I know I am a little off, but I prefer to think of it as "finding the joy in the everyday" as opposed to .. you know.. crazy.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fire Island Nicnompoopery

So Fire Island was totally fun. You can see the background from these pictures, the island itself is fairly rural. There are no roads or sidewalks. Everything is boardwalk.
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It was quite a time! The only person missing (besides Scooter) is Trevor - who was the hit of the party.
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Below are pictures of Randy, Ed, Jeff, Joey & Norman, Chuck & Dan, Jim & Joe.

We all had a lot of fun. We went to the July 4th Bay Dance (and met Christopher there - from LA). We took the pup to the beach - and he loved it.
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This is the "invasion" of The Pines, by the Drag Queens from Cherry Grove. It is something to see. FYI - The Pines and Cherry Grove are 2 of about 5 communities on the island. Each community is reached by a different ferry.
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Apparently 20 years ago 4 Drag Queens came to a gay bar on July 4th and the bar wouldn't serve them.
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The next year 100 showed up and everyone laughed and now it is an annual event.
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As you can see, they pile on a ferry (which lists more and more the closer it comes to shore). This area is the "harbor" which is also the only commercial area.
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This, like Halloween in West Hollywood, has become a total party, regardless of sexual orientation. There were tons of kids. The Fire Island Homeowner's Association President (some older woman and her husband) announced the coming of the ferry.
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It was a day!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Merry Window


So I know this is a little weird, but I went to the Ballet last week.  A work friend (Paul Chernick - Lynn, you will remember him as he spilt wine all down the front of your white blouse at the Hollywood Bowl) was in town and wanted to go out.  He suggested the ballet.
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Well we went to see The Merry Widow.  Let me say I was surprised.  I think I have only seen things like Swan Lake and the Nutcracker.  Things with frou frou and stupid outfits no one would wear.
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Now I agreed that these two in the picture (Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky) aren't dressed for saturday night out at Applebees, but they aren't in Swan costumes either.
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The Merry Widow is a ballet based (as near as I can tell) on a 1905 Operetta and more actually on a 1934 Jeanette McDonald movie (with a technicolor updating with lana Turner in 1950s).
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The theme and flow is very 1930s movie sensibility.  You know, rich widow as the only source of money  in a tiny kingdom, wild plans to marry her off to a local to save the tax revenue, stupidly pompous but handsome Frenchman, mistaken lover's identities, quarrels, and all ends well in love.  The sets and costumes, by the way, were so over the top technicolor it was eye popping.
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Irnia and Maxim (pictured) played the leads and were beautiful at it.  I guess in real life they are an "item" as they have a joint web site.  It was totally fun and I was happily surprised.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Just about to head home

So, we have been on Fire Island this 4th of July and had a great time. We were here with a bunch of friends (probably the onloy way to do it). It is an interesting and fun little island community. There are boardwalks everywhere (no roads or sidewalks). Everything is stupid expensive (because it comes over on the ferries).
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On the 4th, we went to a dance at a house on the bay and then there were fireworks from a barge, it was cool.
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More later.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mascot of the Month: Dara Torres

So the Mascot of the Month is another Olympian, but this time an old lady.
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Really an old lady, in the sense that she is over 40.
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Dara Torres won her first Olympic medal in Los Angeles. She is a native Southern California and swam in the 4 subsequent Olympics, finishing with a slew of medals at Sydney in 2000.
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She then retired.
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A couple of years ago she had a child, and started swimming again to lose the baby weight.
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It turns out she is still a terrific swimmer, setting world records this year. So she has decided to try out for the Beijing Olympics.
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There was an article in the LA Times, that Amanda Beard - 26 - felt like the oldest person at the meet until Dara showed up, and she welcomed her like a long time sister.


And like some other athletes, she gets tested for steroids all the time. She wants to prove that she can train and succeed on her own.
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Of course, she is clearly a mutant - but at least a natural mutant :-).

Here is the last thing (and the thing I worry about) her events haven't been held yet. So (knock wood) wish her well. The fact a 41 year old woman is even competing is great.


And, the way I look at it, I make friends look at beefcake every now and then, so here is a mascot that Ed's brothers can get behind.

Out of the Blue AEWSOME!

Last night Eddie and I went to a fund raiser for "The Trevor Project". Not the dog. The Trevor Project is a basically a helpline (and often suicide hotline) for any teen. But it is focused on gay youth, questioning youth, or battered youth.
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It's called the Trevor Project because it arose out of a 95 Movie Short called Trevor - about a kid who has no where to turn.
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Anyway, it was chockablock full of stars (which we did not know when we signed up). We went and picked a table at random, and apparently hit it good. First we met some GREAT amazing people. A guy who is a political fund raiser in South Carolina, a mother from Philadelphia who helps coordinate the Project there, a bunch of guys from LA (we are everywhere baby)... it was great.
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And the entertainment totally rocked. The guy who wrote the musical Spring Awaking (and won the Tony for book and lyrics) sang "I don't do sad" from the show.
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Sandra Burnhart told inappropriate jokes (as she does). Rosie Perez introduced Alan Cummings. It was all cool. But 2 things were the COOLEST ever. First, Idina Menzel was there and sang - a bunch. If you don't know Idinia was an original in Rent, the Musical, and was in the movie as well. She was also the original Alphaba from Wicked (and again, won the Tony). She rocks.
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Well, she sang There's Only Now from Rent (you know... forget regret, or life is yours to miss) and made the entire place tear up. It's a song about getting on with it and not letting life get you down. And friends, Scooter needs to hear that every now and then.
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Well after some more awards and discussion, Idina comes BACK TO THE STAGE! No one does that - she just wanted to sing one more song, because it means so much to the people that come to her concerts. She sings "Defying Gravity" from Wicked! As she starts, she finds out that Stephen Schwartz (the writer of the musical) is sitting right there are dinner and she gives him a hug and sings the hell out of it.
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It was a moment in time that is just that. A moment.
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Then, after dinner, Ed and I (1.5 sheets to the wind) go to mingle. We have been invited to an after party on a rooftop penthouse (pretty good for going to a dinner thingy where we know nobody, right?), and we are going to mingle a little before we go.
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Then Ed sees her!
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That's right; Ed's Icon, His Muse, His Windmill -as it were. Lisa Lampanelli! She wasn't performing or anything (although with Miss Burnhart's history of no shows, she might have been on call just in case..).
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If you don't know Lisa Lampenelli, well you have missed the most disgusting potty mouthed, inappropriate, politically incorrect performer EVE-AH! We spoke to her for a while (she is moving from Connecticut back into the city). Ed told her how many people he has shown her incorrect DVD to, and how he has purchased them for friends. WE talked, we laughed, we kvetched.
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She gave him a straight line ("So boys, I'm moving back to New York. Which Sex in the City girl should I be?") to which Ed responded in a way I am not comfortable writing here - so you should ask him. But it made her laugh out loud.
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I would say it was the perfect end to the night, but we went to the after party had fun. I meet the woman who first made the movie Trevor (and won the 95 Academy Award) - she lives in Pico / Roberston - so we talked the old neighborhood.
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Guys and Gals - it was the most unexpected fun night ever.
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Here is a little of Miss Menzel....
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