Thursday, April 29, 2010

Indian burial mounds

Suzanne and Perron took me around Madison and we saw the Native
American Burial Mounds. It was cool.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beautiful Day Out The Window


Beautiful (but chilly)

I saw a really fun show last night

I can't say much until the review is out (they are not allowed out until after the show officially opens), but I really enjoyed it. Both people (Julianne Nicholson and James Waterston) are vaguely familiar and were great.


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Both have been in Law and Order (Julianne as Detective Megan Wheeler for a lot of episodes) and are familiar faces on TV. It was great to see them in a show - where they were amazing.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

U By Kotex: The Best Tampon Commerical EVER

Scooter & Ed & Minions


Eddie and I went to the "Despicable Me" screening a while back. Afterwards we got to take pictures with 2 of the minions. Totally fun. Site www.despicable.me

WOW This is great stuff


I have bad sinuses (sini?) and use the Breath Rite Strips to help me sleep. Well, last night Eddie got this stuff called "Sinus Buster" in a gift bag and I used it.
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Wam-O!
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It burns like hell (it has cayenne pepper and eucalyptus) but it works amazingly! I took some today (thinking I would be used to the pain) but it still burned like hell. But cleared me up.
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Of course, I am afraid my nose will fall off at some point, but until then it works great.
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This is not a paid advertisement - I was just thrilled I could sleep.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Joke for the Orange County Homies

On tonight's repeat of The Big Bang Theory, there was once again the great joke that goes out to the Homies in Orange County (the "homies" of Orange County being drunken white boys looking for fun - it was a long long time ago).
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Leonard to his mother after she asks him about his new girlfriend, "Are you drunk?"
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Mother, "God I hope so, otherwise why did we stop at Del Taco."

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Del Taco is the 24 hour, end-of-a-night-of-drinking food stop. A Del Beef Burrito, french fries and Diet Coke will sop up any excess alcohol in your system before you crash. There was (is) a Del Taco in Hollywood on Santa Monica Blvd and Highland that pretty much made all of its money on the week-end after the Orange County boys had been up drinking in West Hollywood as they went home. There was never a line until 1AM - 4:30AM on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
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Memories... like the corners of my mind...
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A Conundrum For My Eddie

It is truly a conundrum for my honey. Because you see on the one hand he really hates WalMart because of their wage and benefits programs (we all pay for their lack of health insurance). On the other hand he really hates unions in general (and the SEIU in particular).
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So WalMart versus the Unions.... Hum.....
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Sign #23 of the Upcoming Apocalypse


Strappy Crocs

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Informative, Inappropriate and Hilarious


Watch CBS Videos Online
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I am a little worried about the two fingers he holds up...

Imagine the Tea Partiers were Black.....

Great Piece....
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(some of it below...)
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Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.
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Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.
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Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Nice Week-End in New York

We had a nice week-end for the most part. But my Eddie has had to work a lot this week-end. He went into the office on Saturday and worked all day.
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Last Friday our friends, Joe and Aldona, had a dog emergency. Coco (pictured) was in the vet hospital and they were in St. Thomas and (obviously) couldn't get to her. Multiple X-Rays didn't find why she was so lethargic, even a ultra-sound didn't find anything.
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So I went and got her to stay with us - where she would be happier. She LOVES Trevor and we are pretty good understanding dogs.
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She ate a little, relaxed and got a little more perky.
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About an hour after this picture she pooped out a rock. Not figuratively, literally a 3/4 inch round rock.
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Now that doesn't sound too big, but Coco is all of about 7 pounds and I think it upset her a LOT going through her system.
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She really felt a lot better after that and played a lot.
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Today we had brunch with a friend, but now Ed is on a work conference call again.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My 2 Cents on the New Arizona Illegal Immigrant Law

Here is my 2 Cents on the new Arizona Illegal Immigrant Law.
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First, I get it. I understand the outrage that many Arizonans feel. Our border with Mexico is the longest border in the world between a "rich" country and a "less rich" country. (Mexico is by no means "poor" in the context of the world, but the US is definitely more rich).
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This means that there will be movement by people that want a better life from Mexico to the US. And this movement falls on the border states, primarily New Mexico and Arizona now (California has a better fence all the way to the Colorado River, and Texas as the Rio Grande followed by way too much desert to make it past.
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And illegal immigrants require a lot of services and provide very little taxes to pay for them. Once they are capable of paying taxes with good jobs, they are out of Arizona and onto the country.
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Second, the feds suck ass at protecting the border. Really, honestly, truly suck ass. And, as Mexico has become much more violent the situation has gotten worse.
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So I understand the driving force behind the law. Honest people want to enforce the law. And Arizona's new law to makes not having your immigration papers on you a state misdemeanor. However, the rule that you must have your immigration papers on you is a federal regulation. So Arizona can technically be said to legislating state law to follow federal regulation.
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BUT Even given all that, this law bothers me (and should bother us all) because it is picking on an easy a target. Dick Face Asshole John McCain said, "It's the people whose homes and property are being violated. It's the drive-by that -- the drivers of cars with illegals in it that are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway. " Which is, of course, bullshit. (Quote here). But for lying bitter old politicians, it is EASY to pick on illegal immigrants.
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If you REALLY WANT TO STOP MIGRATION AND NOT JUST SCORE POINTS, it is simple, possible and easy. Take this type of law, but make it illegal for anyone to hire an illegal immigrant and put them in jail for 3 months for the first offense. And it stops.
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Don't just fine the corporate owners of the slaughter house in Kansas (fines do no good). Don't round up the illegal workers for TV (the are just working for a better life). But throw the Manager, his Manager, her Manager, the HR Manager, the President of the slaughter house and the CEO of Hogs Inc into jail for 3 months. Throw the men that hired them into jail for the first offense. They WILL stop hiring illegals.
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Put every house owner who pays a illegal gardener into jail for 3 months.
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Put every home owner who has an illegal maid into jail for 3 months.
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Check restaurant busboys, cooks and dishwashers. Put the Restaurant Managers, Owners and corporate board into jail for 3 months.
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With no jobs, there is no incentive to stay.
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Instead what Arizona and the rest of commentators are doing is making grand gestures that "We are against illegal immigration", but the truth is that we are only against this when it is convenient for us. And Arizona is only doing this to score political points. (Why do I say this? Arizona is going to have to spend millions to defend this law in court. But that happens in the future and the politicans will be elected this year - it will hurt Arizona, but help the politicians.)
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This new law in Arizona isn't bad because it trys to enforce the law. The thing it, it is NOT trying to enforce the law. It is bad because it is making an easy scape goat out of people who are trying to better there lives - who are coming here for the same exact reasons our families came here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

AARP Mailing List

For my British friends who can't believe my age, let me explain something. Turning 50 in the US one gets an AARP membership.
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AARP is "American Association of Retired Persons".
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So you get immediate feedback you are old. Yay.
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I recently received a new catalog, which I can only assume was targeted to me due to my new AARP status.
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The good news, I can by a Tray that coverts my walker into a TV Tray! Of course, IF I used a walker, I would probably trip face first into my oatmeal.

This is a really cool train...

Being a Geography & Economics Major, I really like intriging new methods to deal with transportation. This is a bullet train that never stops. There is a interesting method to putting passengers on and off.
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It is a little like multiple faster moving sidewalks, but much more effective.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Climate Change Impact Pictures

So.. the climate is changing because man has shoved way too much CO2 into the atmosphere. That is a fact and there is no arguing with it. You can doubt it, if you want. I cast no stones, some people think the Earth is Flat, some people think AIDS is God's Judgement on Homos and Black People, believe what you will. But the FACT is that the Earth is changing due to emissions of CO2 at higher than 350 ppm. Scientist first guess is that the thresehold for catastrophic change was 600 ppm - turns out they were very optimistic.
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Anyway here are some interesting pictures that show climate change in action. They are (in the case of Maldives) pretty and (in the case of both) pretty disturbing.

From Daily Beast:
Maldives
Image: Getty Images
The first democratically elected president of the Maldives came to office at a critical time for his country. The nation, made up for 1,200 islands, is slipping beneath the Indian Ocean. President Mohamed Nasheed has urged developed nations to reduce the carbon emissions that are causing the Maldives to disappear, but instead of waiting idly by, he has proposed buying a new homeland for his 300,000 countrymen with some of the massive revenue brought in by international tourists.
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"We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades," Nasheed said.
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Shishmaref, Alaska
Image: AP Photo
The permafrost holding the Shishmaref above the sea is thawing, causing dramatic erosion that threatens the existence of this Alaskan village, home of 600 people. One house has fallen into the ocean, while more than a dozen others have been moved to avoid that fate.
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Shishmaref is only 20 miles south of the Arctic Circle; it has been inhabited for centuries, but became a more permanent home for the nomadic people there when the federal government built a school on the island 110 years ago. Several other villages in the area are also moving because of erosion or flooding.
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FYI: Pictures of warmer air which leads to torrential rains and flooding or in other areas to drought are not so easy to show.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Brain At Night

Sometimes I must try to explain that my brain works at triple speed all night.
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It is very odd, and heaven knows I wish I could turn it off, but it just keeps running and running like the freakin Energizer Bunny on speed.
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So last night, I put 2 and 2 and 27 together and got this crazy assed idea.
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There are all these decrepit buildings in Detroit, right? And, the price of oil keeps going up, right? Well, what if you take some of these big ware-housey buildings and turn them into greenhouses?
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Not just greenhouses, but green houses for Rubber trees! As the price of oil rises, synthetic rubber gets prohibitively more expensive and the price for"real" rubber increases. IF we really are at a balance between production capacity and demand, then the price of rubber can only go up.
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In buildings like this in Detroit you could build a lowish cost dome or top for this, and grow rubber trees indoors. In the winter you could also let people (and dogs or whatever) in to get some "nature".
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And I was sober!

My Mother's Fault

I blame my mother... which I suppose is not unusual - mothers have to deal with this all the time. Well, perhaps not this - per say, but blame in general.
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In any case you may wonder what "this" is.
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It is my unfathomable enjoyment of Dean Martin in general and "Matt Helm" movies in particular.
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It was, I believe, a set of books much like James Bond. But during the transfer to the big screen, it was discovered that our man Dino was a much better lover and joker than lover and fighter.
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And so Dean followed the footsteps of Bob Hope - albeit it with more style, panache and liquor, instead of Sean Connery. Instead of plots and guns and the occasional girl, Matt Helm was surrounded by girls and guns with the occasional plot.
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And I enjoy them ever so much.
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Love this Gizmondo Blurb (and the watch, but not $15,000 worth)


OMG, I am on the same side as Justice Alito


Well, in the catagory when-pigs-fly, Scott and Justice Alito agree. I agree with him that videos of extreme animal cruelty or videos of women in high heel shoes crushing small animals to death is not a form of free speech.
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Justice Roberts disagrees on free speech grounds, and that animal cruelty might, someday, mean hunting videos. So in the abstract face of that threat, we will set dog fighting video producers and producers that have women in high heels step on squirrels and chipmunks and stomp them to death - well that is "free speech".
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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court struck down a federal law Tuesday aimed at banning videos that show graphic violence against animals, saying it violates the right to free speech.
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The justices, voting 8-1, threw out the criminal conviction of Robert Stevens of Pittsville, Va., who was sentenced to three years in prison for videos he made about pit bull fights.
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The law was enacted in 1999 to limit Internet sales of so-called crush videos, which appeal to a certain sexual fetish by showing women crushing to death small animals with their bare feet or high-heeled shoes.
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The videos virtually disappeared once the measure became law, the government argued.
But Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, said the law goes too far, suggesting that a measure limited to crush videos might be valid. Animal cruelty and dog fighting already are illegal throughout the country.
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In dissent, Justice Samuel Alito said the harm animals suffer in dogfights is enough to sustain the law.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fwd:


Having fun with Gavin inLA

Sent from my iPad

Begin forwarded message:

From: Scott Mitchell <scott9m@gmail.com>
Date: April 17, 2010 11:24:59 PM EDT



Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spending a Week-Out out of Town: Timed Right!


Next Pope Election: Suggestions

Well, it's about time someone offers some helpful tips to the church on how to select the next pope (oh sorry) Pope.
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While you guys and gals (oh sorry) guys put on a good show, the locked doors and white smoke is a little to 1300's, don't you think? It's time to hip it up kids. Time to put the Inquisition, Support of the Axis Powers and the whole child molestation thing behind you.
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In short..
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Time to ReBrand!!!
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Let's start by trying to look a little less like Darth Vader at the all you can eat buffet. How's that? Okay? On to the whole "election" thing.
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You're the Catholic Church for goodness sake! You were the original glam. That whole "locked in a room" thing is too cage-fighty now.
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Idea 1) Look, these guys are just waiting to judge. Give them a contest! Once you narrow down the field to 12 (Miss USA uses 15, but I think that is mainly for the skin in swimsuits), broadcast it! You already have the Evening Gowns, just add poise and the question and answer section.
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Let's face it, having more of the runner ups ready for questions and answers is always a good idea, n'est pas?



Idea 2) It's the 2000's baby. I got 1 word - Synergy! Start putting your up and comers onto other shows. Get them ready for the big time and see how they do under pressure. The product placement here with "Project Runway" was great. Great! Now do more.
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I see wonderful opportunities to console losers on America's Top Model & American Idol! This allows you to get back into the "emotional support" space without the pesky side effect of underage console-ees.



Idea 3) Look to a break out star on your B Team. Look EVERYONE loves an underdog and a come from no where story. Sure Cardinal Ratzenberg moved up the totem pole and earned his stripes, but where did that really get you? An infallible ex-Nazi Youth member that approved moving child molesting priests to other parishes... not your best work. You've been through some tough times. Reach deep onto your bench.
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You know where Kurt Warner was before his first Super Bowl? Stocking groceries! Even people that don't watch football loved that story.
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Who did James Cameron chose to star in Avatar? Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Matt Damon? No, Sam Worthington, a hunk with no name he could rebrand totally. Don't you have a straight humpy Italian Priest with no paper trail back there somewhere? That's a Pope people could get behind!



Idea 4) If you insist on the Conclave of Cardinals (and we all know how stubborn you are), during the Conclave give a show. Keep us entertained. You know what we see now, endless shots of the smokestack and a bunch of tourists bitching about how long they have been standing there.
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How's this "Vatican Cribs!" Look, you got the house, you got the bling, baby show it off! No one's jealous anymore. There are suites in Vegas with bowling alleys, you CAN NOT go to over the top.
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Consider these free advice. if you like what you hear and you want some more ideas, I consult extremely reasonably.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An Emotional Response to Langston in Harlem

Last night I saw the show "Langston in Harlem" about Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance. It moved me.
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That is a weird comment, huh? But it did.
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It tracks the story of Langston Hughes' emotional and creative growth and change in the Harlem Renaissance and beyond into the 40's and 50's.
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It is a musical with music put to Langston's poetry. Sometimes blues, sometimes jazz, sometimes gospel, sometimes the poems were simply performed as "Spoken Word' art.
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Blues were the most prevalent and moving of the style choices (although a couple of the spoken word performances were mesmerizing).
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What worked, BIG TIME, was the growth and maturity that evolved in his work. Often evolving into anger, into frustration that he managed usually (but not always) to bring back to a creative space.
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His emotional arc mirrors so many of our own - regardless of color, creed or sexual orientation. We grow up, we learn, we enjoy, we see wrongs and scream at them, then scream at the world and then, hopeful accept the world and try to change it in our own ways. We try not to admit defeat, but we don't want to spend our lives tilting at windmills. We want more, but learn to accept the happiness we have gratefully.
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The two pictured above, Josh Tower as Langston Hughes and Kenita Miller as Zora (Zora Neale Hurston) blew me away with their skill.
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But this isn't a review. My review will be out later - but this is an acknowledgment of an absolutely beautiful work that made me think. It is a World Premiere, not of the poems, but of them set to music and the story behind them.
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If you are in New York - it is at the Urban Stages (30th between 7th and 8th). SEE IT.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stop Blaming the Fags! (Commandment 8)


Listen.
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STOP. BLAMING. FAGS. FOR. YOUR. EVIL!
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Once again yesterday, the Catholic Church trotted out fags to blame for pedophilia. Documented here in the Washington Post.
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Asininely enough as that is, it is made only more asinine by the fact this was brought up in Chile by the Vice Pope (#2 in the hierarchy) where the victims of the abuse were young girls.
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Look, more young boys are molested because your sicko priests (NOT ALL OF THEM - just the bad ones) have easy access to boys. Alter boys, boys in school. You segregate your schools. If the child rapists had access to girls, they would screw them up (there is plenty of evidence that they did when they had the chance).
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Homosexuals are not the problem. Abusing, Buggering, Forced Oral Sex with children is the problem! And blaming it on others is not very Christian (as in morally right) however it is very Vatican right now (as in morally evil).
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Just like this week-end when you blamed the Freemasons and the Jews, WE ARE NOT THE ONES RAPING KIDS. That would be you guys! So just admit it or shut the hell up.
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Finally, I would like to quote Commandment 8 (for Catholics - Hit #9 for most of the rest of you). Note to Pope: This is the one your minions are constantly breaking.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Dinner With Mike at a New Sushi Restaurant


Last night Mike (Ed's old boss and the gentleman that performed our marriage ceremony) was in town. We all went to a new Sushi restaurant in the New York Times Building, Inakaya.
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It was good fun to see Mike again. He's a nice guy and we had a great time. This week-end we are going to LA to his son's wedding!
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It will be nice because we will see Gavin, Mikey, NORMAN and Joey (at the very least) before the wedding.
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And yes, I am little fire-water hung over today (why can't those Corcoran men drink Sake like normal sushi eaters?!).

Monday, April 12, 2010

No Laws Broken?

Not to put too fine a point on a painful and difficult decisions, but ..
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Isn't Child Abandonment breaking the law? (The answer is yes everywhere but Nebraska or Iowa or somewhere that they are fixing the law).
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Putting an unescorted minor on an international flight, with orders to take him to the Foreign Ministry, isn't that Child Endangerment, isn't that against the law in Tennessee. (The answer is yes, as anyone who would put an American child on a flight with the same situation would find out).
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And isn't failure to attend school against the law in Tennessee?
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Look, I know adoption is hard. But this family should have known it too. Adopted kids in run down orphanages are going to have problems. Medical and Psychological problems. That is why it is tough to adopt and raise these children. But to quote Mike Huckabee, these aren't puppies (oh wait, he said that about fags having kids...).
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Seriously. This is a sad situation, and getting mad at this poor lady doesn't make it any better. But ignoring her actions doesn't help either. Either other adoptive parents or any adoptive kids. How would you like to explain to a fragile adopted child that "changing mom's mind and she doesn't want to have you anymore - well that's fine." How much does doing nothing to this woman fuck up other kid's psyches?
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Even if she has done nothing illegal, lock her ass up overnight while you "check into it". You do that with liberal protesters, abortion protesters, random black men, and fags all the time. It is the least you can do for all the poor adopted kids to make this woman pay some teeny tiny price.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Time to Remember

I don't know why, but I was thinking overnight about the first time I tried different vegetables when I was young.
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(I remember now, we spoke with friends about kids)
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Anyway, I had this charming habit of sticking my tongue out and just barely touching the vegetable (or casserole, I wasn't fond of those either).
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Then I would pull my tongue in, make a horrible face and shiver, as if I had just tasted death.
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My mom would put up with this display about three times, and the respond in one of two ways, depending on her mood.
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Fine, starve, I don't care.
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or.
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Just eat the goddamn thing. You'll live.
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My grandmother, would just dump sugar on what ever it was until I ate it.
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Except Black Eye'd Peas. There wasn't enough sugar on the planet for those bad boys.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Anyone Can Whistle: Wow!


So last night I saw "Anyone Can Whistle" at an Encore performance. Encore performances are essentially run throughs without set where the actors can use scripts. But in New York and LA (which also does these often), it is a way to explore bigger, older works without having to mount a full production.
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Anyone Can Whistle was a colossal failure that has passed into legend. It played 9 previews and 3 shows before closing. However Colombia records saved the score.
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Three of the songs (Anyone Can Whistle, Everybody Say Don't & With So Little To Be Sure Of) are standards now. But I am surprised that the show stayed in minds so long due to the score. The score is fascinating, but chaotic.
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And many of the big reviews talk about an unwieldy story (NY Post, Washington Post, NY times, etc.)
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I disagree.
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What enthralled me was the story. The entire musical is a tribute to individuality. A scream against conformity and blind obedience to authority. A wail about the powers of government (or just other people) to quash dreams. And the power that love and companionship bring against that. And all wrapped in Musical Comedy!!
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So, I fracking loved it.
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And .. AND .. AND it was written in 1964! As Vietnam was escalating. As the Civil Rights movement was being born. Here are the guys who wrote "Gypsy" and "West Side Story" moving to address the nation in the only way they thought would work. With a sly story about a city government gone wild and the Mayoress' attempt to lock up anyone in her way. With the Mayoress played over the top funny.
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I am thrilled I got to see it. I know I took away a different moral than some people (and definitely the reviewers!), but the play spoke to me ... actually screamed to me.
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I will NEVER listen to "Everybody Says Don't" the same way again. Thank you Raul Esparza.

Friday, April 09, 2010

What Happened to poor Liam Neeson

Really, I wanted to give him a break too! I KNOW Natasha is tragically dead. But this whole spiral started long before that.
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This movie, After.Life (not a typo, it's the way it is spelt), has all the hallmarks of bad hokum. Apparently Liam is a mortician that deals with Christina Ricci. He is either crazy, talking to a dead person - or crazy, keeping a live person locked up in the morgue while he buys gasoline.
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Either way, it is creepy-in-a-ruining-your-career kind of way, not crazy in an art-house-thriller kind of way.


And what was just before After.Life. "Release the Kragen!". Just because Sir Larry Olivier could pull off Zeus in an over the top, camp way doesn't mean you can.
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First, Larry was OLD. We gave him benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was make a nest egg to give to the relatives. You, on the other hand, are really trying to bring gravitas to a cartoon role. Take a clue from Ralph Finnes and chew the scenery. We KNOW Ralph is just in for a lark.
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Speaking of Ralph (brother of Joesph So-Finnes), take a leaf from his book and mix in some good movies (like "The Reader") with the duds. You know what you mixed in... Voice overs for "The Lion The Witch and Wardrobe" and "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea".


Oh yes. This is where it all started Obi Wan... The hair, the stupid prequel. Man I hope you made a lot of money here, because this sucks.
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Even Micheal Caine knows the difference between a payday (Bewitched), a fun stupid movie (Miss Congeniality) and a small good movie (The Quiet American). See!!!! Mix it up a little.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wasting Away? Really?


I know it is a TV show, but if Fringe has a episode where Peter is dying because he is wasting away as a youth - couldn't they find a skinny kid. This kid was dead the next scene, and baby he was totally NOT wasting!
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Lesson: Don't hire a chubby kid actor to be "wasting away".

You Want Some Nincompoopery.. YOU paid more US Taxes than General Electric and Exxon / Mobil COMBINED

Sweet Huh?
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Exxon Paid Zero U.S. Income Tax In 2009, While Big Oil Defends Billions In Senseless Tax Subsidies

Over at ThinkProgress, Ben Armbruster highlighted a Forbes report on the taxes paid by top corporationslast year. According to Forbes, General Electric managed to make $10.3 billion in pretax income, butpaid nothing into the U.S. Treasury, as it counted its losses in the U.S., while registering its profits overseas. As Forbes put it, “GE Capital has displayed an uncanny ability to lose lots of money in the U.S. (posting a $6.5 billion loss in 2009), and make lots of money overseas (a $4.3 billion gain).”

And then there’s Exxon-Mobil, which paid more in income taxes than any other U.S. company last year, just none of it to the U.S.:

Exxon tries to limit the tax pain with the help of 20 wholly owned subsidiaries domiciled in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islandsthat (legally) shelter the cash flow from operations in the likes of Angola, Azerbaijan and Abu Dhabi. No wonder that of $15 billion in income taxes last year, Exxon paid none of it to Uncle Sam, and has tens of billions in earnings permanently reinvested overseas.

Instead, the $15 billion was divided among the countries where Exxon has set up one of its hundreds of foreign subsidiaries. In total, Exxon 122 foreign subsidiaries, including 32 in countries that are officially labeled tax havens by the U.S. government. It has 18 subsidiaries in the Bahamas, and 3 each in the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

In each of the last two years, the Obama administration has proposed eliminating the loopholes and incentives in the tax code that allow companies to set up subsidiaries in these low- or no-tax countries, which help them lower their effective tax rate by 20 points or more. Both times, the administration saw its efforts rebuffed by Congress and the Big Business lobby, which means that a $100 billion annual tax burden will continue to be shifted onto U.S. taxpayers (including corporations) that don’t engage in this sort of tax evasion.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Very Santa Ana like today in NYC


Today is a very "Santa Ana" like day in New York City.
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Warm, dry winds are blowing out to sea. Of course, this being New York not LA, "dry" is a relative word here. But it is definitely warm for April in New York - it is up to 85!
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Anyway, I was walking the Trev-myster and we liked it.

Virginia practices.... Nincompoopery (Updated)

One's mind reals.
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From the Washington Post ..." RICHMOND -- Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, reviving a controversy that had been dormant for eight years, has declared that April will be Confederate History Month in Virginia, a move that angered civil rights leaders Tuesday but that political observers said would strengthen his position with his conservative base.
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The two previous Democratic governors had refused to issue the mostly symbolic proclamation honoring the soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War. McDonnell (R) revived a practice started by Republican governor George Allen in 1997. McDonnell left out anti-slavery language (SM: emphasis mine) that Allen's successor, James S. Gilmore III (R), had included in his proclamation.
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McDonnell said Tuesday that the move was designed to promote tourism in the state, which next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the war. McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery because "there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia.".
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The mind reals that slavery is not mentioned as ".. focused on the ones (aspects of the war) I thought were most significant for Virginia."
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While it is true that slavery, per say, was not the only driver, it was the catalyst of all reasons. The sovereignty of the States over the Federal government came to a head over slavery. The problem with the tariffs rate differential between manufactured goods and agricultural goods was based on the competitive advantage provided by slavery in the south.
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(Updated 4/8/10)
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The Governor apologized for this, saying he was sorry. And Sorry is better than Not Sorry any day. But to quote Salon,
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But this isn't forgetting to turn off the lights. It's not really the kind of thing for which you can smack yourself on the forehead and say, "Man, I am so sorry I forgot about that." The proclamation didn't just fall out by accident, or happen automatically. The last two governors, both Democrats, made a point of not proclaiming a Confederate History Month. And even the Republicans before them had made some acknowledgment of the evils of slavery, even amidst their celebration of the slavery's defenders. McDonnell was consciously reversing both policies.

Some Thoughts in Gray...

Maureen Dowd (of all people! - if you don't know her, she is kind of a bitchy New York Times analyst, one with which I don't usually approve even if I agree with her). Anyway, Maureen Dowd had a column this morning that made me think and question myself a little.
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So for a moment, just a moment, let's look at the current problems in the Catholic Church in a less contentious way. And I fully admit that is hard.
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I tell you the problem. The Catholic Church deals with black and white, good and evil, right and
wrong. Therefore, they are finding the critics of the Church to be motivated by evil.
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On the other hand, many critics of the Church (like me) look at this as black and white, child rape / abuse is evil, ergo the Church is wrong. Efforts to blame this on homos (per the Catholic League), or or call it "pernicious gossip" is inherently wrong.
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But let's step back for a moment into the real world of grays. Yes, preying on children is evil and wrong. But not all, not even the vast majority of the Church is doing this.
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If it is a small subset of Priests, then maybe the Church REALLY doesn't know how to deal with this. The Church deals with Faith and Forgiveness. If your worldview is dependent on Faith, then you need to have Faith that these people can change.
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What the Church needs to understand here is that some of the members are losing Faith in the church over this. The World still runs on Faith and Forgiveness, but earthly forgiveness requires (in the words of Dr. Laura) taking responsibility for your actions and being truly repentant. Comparing child molestation to "pernicious gossip" is neither repentant nor taking responsibility.
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As for me (and I use "ME" in this sense as people who are livid at the actions of these Priests), I need to step out of my worldview which says many of these Priests are rapists and should be flogged, damnit, why isn't that happening now? To his credit, before he was Pope, as Cardinal Ratzinger, this man did start trying to address this issue. Not always well, but my guess is that turning the Church is like turning an Ocean Liner, it takes a little time and you can only see the correction from 10,000 feet. The Church cannot take responsibility for condoning child rape, nor should it - no sane person or institution condones attacking children.
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So let's step to the gray. Me, I should cut them some slack for a little while. I DO NOT MEAN that I accept the actions of the guilty, not that much slack. But enough slack to admit that the Church tried to handle it the only way they knew how. They are trying to right that ship now. And they are steering in the dark. Giving too much power to civil authorities has been bad for the Church in the past, so they are hesitant. Hesitant is understandable.
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And the Church should see some gray here. People attacking the Church are angry. They aren't attacking Jesus or even the Catholic teachings. They are attacking what they see as evil actions. What the Church itself has defined as evil actions! Painting all those people who criticize the Church on this issue as attacking Catholicism is wrong. They are mad about this issue precisely because they love the Church and don't understand the response of the Church Hierarchy - which is seen (rightly or wrongly) as protecting the molesters not the victims.
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So I shall try to be less strident and remember the good the Catholic Church does. That is the best I can do.
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Plus I love you can spell it grey or gray.

Two things...

First) I took a very interesting class tonight from the Gotham Writers Project about fiction writing. It was cool and helpful (and free!)
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Second) I manipulated some things and got a copy of mybook onto my iPad. I can soon sell this at a price I set (and yes, I editted the changes!).

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Monday, April 05, 2010

I don't know... I kind of like it...


Senegal has unveiled this gigantic statue (it IS one big assed statue, a foot taller than the Statue of Liberty). It was designed by the current President of Senegal. And yes, there is all sorts of criticism because the money could be better spent on nearly anything else in Senegal.
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All of which is totally true. But it is done now and I want to see it!
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ps: Spell checker says it is "unveiled" not "unvieled"... I think that "I before E" rule is bullshit.

Out Damn Spot!


Okay, question - how many people do we let die for this?
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Just let me know what makes sense to you? 1,000 - 10,000? When we get to 55,000 a year like the peak of Vietnam do we leave?
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And if you don't like the Vietnam analogy then don't investigate the heinous back-stabbing, election-stealing leader we have in place.
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KABUL, Afghanistan — As President Hamid Karzai made more antagonistic statements over the weekend toward the NATO countries fighting on behalf of his government, the West was taking stock of just how little maneuvering room it has.
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There are no good options on the horizon, many analysts say, for reining in Mr. Karzai or for penalizing him, without potentially damaging Western interests. The reluctant conclusion of diplomats and Afghan analysts is that for now, they are stuck with him.
Many fear the relationship is only likely to become worse, as Mr. Karzai draws closer to allies like Iran and China, whose interests are often at odds with those of the West, and sounds sympathetic enough to the
Taliban that he could spur their efforts, helping their recruitment and further destabilizing the country.
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“The political situation is continuing to deteriorate; Karzai is flailing around,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul with long experience in the region. “At the moment we are propping up an unstable political structure, and I haven’t seen any remotely plausible plan for building consensus.”
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The tensions between the West and Mr. Karzai
flared up publicly last Thursday, when Mr. Karzai accused the West and the United Nations of perpetrating fraud in the August presidential election and described the Western military coalition as coming close to being seen as invaders who would give the insurgency legitimacy as “a national resistance.”

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Jenga on Easter


We spent Easter down with Paula, Loyda and the boys. Their English is getting really good. They showed us their bike riding skills and their basketball skills. Of course Trevor popped the ball - but all was forgiven because they love Trevor.
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Paula is an amazing cook, I had no idea.
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We brought Jenga and Ed taught them to play. They were surprisingly good!

Friday, April 02, 2010

I thought it was an April Fool's Joke

I totally thought this was an April Fool's Day joke when it premiered yesterday (April 1st).
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Apparently not. This is the new London Tower for the 2012 Olympics. Because, Olympics and London is exactly what this bad boy brings to mind?
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It looks to me like the love child of a Roller Coaster and the Eiffel Tower.

Mascot of the Month: Jane Russell


Sometimes you need a lift, a pick-me-up, a happy place. For me, that happy place is often "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and my pick-me-up person is Jane Russell (although of course I love Marilyn as well).
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Why Jane?
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First, she is way funny. In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Paleface (with Bob Hope) you see a great Jane Russell. And not just on screen, I read her book and she is hilarious. You should read her describe the "underwire bra" that Howard Hughes designed for her for The Outlaw. She decided it was painful, unwieldy and didn't work, so she used her own bra and pulled down the bra straps (despite the great PR that Hughes brought with the original story).
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Second, Jane never took herself too seriously. I read her biography a long time ago (Jane Russell: My Path and My Detours) and I loved it. She is down to earth, has a very inclusive religious philosophy and was married for a long time to a Bruin.
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Third, Jane and her Bruin husband (Bob Waterfield) found Jane couldn't have kids, and so they adopted. But Jane didn't stop there. Russell herself was unable to have children and, in 1955, she founded World Adoption International Fund (WAIF), an organization to place children with adoptive families that pioneered adoptions from foreign countries by Americans. (see Wikipedia - in this case correct).
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Finally - at the bottom of this, is one of the all time camp classic movie songs. It was filmed for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on the ship that really was caring American athletes to the Olympic games in France. And, I believe, some of the extras (but not all) are Olympians - a placement that would never happen today.
Here are Jane and Marilyn relaxing on the set of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"

Glamour shot!
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It might be hard to believe this, but this story was about Billy The Kid. But there is no doubt who Howard Hughes was trying to make the star!

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BEST MOVIE SONG EVER (except maybe when Gene Wilder sings in the ship in Willy Wonka).
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