Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Excellent Summary of Nincompoopery on the Campaign Trail

this is true, sad and funny... all at the same time.
killer quote:

Basically, Romney’s approach has been to play dumb, pretending to be baffled by suggestions that his Massachusetts law and Obama’s national program are largely identical and claiming that there are all sorts vital differences between them. He’s just as opposed to and appalled by Obama’s law as they are, he assures Republicans, and is committed to waging war on it as soon as he takes office.
In theory, conservatives should see right through this. The idea that Romney’s law is different from Obama’s in vital, fundamental ways insults the intelligence of anyone who looks closely at them. And even if you accept the federal/state distinction that Romney pushes, the fact remains that he empowered the government of Massachusetts to compel every resident of the state to purchase healthcare or face a fine.
But Romney’s chief rival for the GOP nomination, Rick Santorum, has rather articulately pointed all of this out without gaining much traction. And the candidates who preceded Santorum as  Romney’s main foe had even less success, in part because of their own ineptitude, but mainly because conservative hatred of ObamaCare isn’t rooted in the details of the law – it’s rooted in opposition to Obama.

A Reading Last Night

(This is a copy of my Reviews Off Broadway post - because I had such a good time)

So, yesterday I was reminded how amazing New York can be.  I attended a workshop of M – The Musical.
It was a very early reading – and in this case singing – of a work in progress for a new musical.  It was arranged by The Fundamental Theater Project as part of the development process for new works.  I didn’t attend as a critic, but as person able to see and hear something new, and give constructive feedback. 
Anastasia Barzee:
A Killer Lady MacBeth (in the best way)
So, the amazing part?  Well, I cannot believe the creative and talent of Garth Kravits (who did the Music and Lyrics) as well as Laurie Wessely who adapted the book.  It is a pleasure to hear this so early.  And who knows where it goes.  Some things go on to be great, and some never go on.  But to see it this early was a treat.
Also amazing, the talent of the people that sang this and brought it together out of respect for the piece.  The talent was stupendous, really.  New York is awash in people trying to make it in the theater; and too few get the big break.  I wish more people could have heard these voices, some of which are known and some, unknown.  They were great.
If you are interested in seeing some works being developed, keep an eye pealed for theater groups that do this in your neighborhood.  If you happen to be in, or visiting, New York you can contact the Fundamental Theater Project which runs think-tanks regularly (website). 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Clyde Prestowitz gives a clear answer on how to balance free trade vs. targeted industrial policy

Clyde Prestowitz uses the example of Chinese support for solar panels and solar cells to discus how government policies can skew rational free market trade offs.  In this case, the Chinese intervention has driven 13 US companies (engaged in next gen research) out of business.
Further, he presents a great, simple solution!

The root of the trouble here is that the fundamental assumption of private enterprise driven free markets and comparative advantage-driven free trade is wrong. When governments have five-year plans that target certain industries for development aided by a plethora of incentives, the assumptions of free trade are out the window. This is even more true when those governments have powerful bureaucracies with broad discretionary powers to administer "guidance." It is even more true when the governments are authoritarian, and it is even more true when state owned enterprises are involved. When this combination of forces is present, you can be sure that the outcome is not going to be determined by unfettered market forces. So we shouldn't act like we think it will be.
Rather than pretend a free trade situation exists when it doesn't, we should define a targeted industry category of trade and establish a special set of rules to govern it separately from standard WTO-style trade. This could be done within the WTO or bi-laterally with particular countries, but in either case it would allow immediate imposition of offsets to market distorting subsidies and protections based on the presence of industry targeting policies. There might be a system of the issuance of warnings and consultation and a scaling of the offsets. But there would be no long delays and also no bitter exchanges of insulting pejoratives about cheating and unfairness between the parties. It would all just be business.
"Ah, I see that you, government X, are targeting industry Y. That is certainly your privilege. I can understand that you think it an important industry for you to have in the future. We think it's important too and while we are not especially targeting it we are invoking clause Z of the WTO to offset any negative impact on our industry of your policies. I'm sure you understand. Of course, we always stand ready to discuss the situation with you and to make appropriate adjustments. Many thanks for your understanding and cooperation."
Simple, polite, no lawyers, no expenses, no damages. Just business. That's how it could be if we scrap the free trade charade.  


Pain In The Ass - But a Great Idea

As some of you know, I worked for a long time to have my Grandmother stop driving while she was still alive.  I gave her taxi coupons and a cell phone.  I begged, I explained.  And I was meet with the comment "If you won't let me drive, you might as well kill me!" and a barrel of tears.
Well, New York has a much better system - although it is a pain in the ass for those of us that need glasses.  When you get your license renewed, and you need corrective lenses, you MUST go to a optometrist and have your eyes rechecked!   That would have stopped Zela (and thousands of other California drivers) before they hurt someone.
Zela was lucky in that her last accident only totaled a couple of cars.  No one was hurt.  That old geezer in Santa Monica ran over 14 people and killed 2 - and his family had also tried to take away his license.
FYI, Doctors in California are worthless in this regard.  We spoke to the DMV, who said we had to talk to a Doctor and then to the Doctor who said he wouldn't tell Zela what to do because of liability.  FYI - it sucks when the entire state makes decisions based on who gets sued.  Apparently, old people will sue a Doctor who tries to claim they can't drive,  more often that than the people who are hit and incapacitated by those drivers sue the Doctors.
I like that New York takes it out of the Doctors and Drivers hands completely. Go get an eye test.  The optometrist did say that they aren't allowed to take peripheral vision into account (so even if you have tunnel vision - if it is correctable to 20/30 in the center - you can drive) - but it's better than nothing.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Brendan James: Stupid For Your Love

We all feel this way sometimes... at least I do about my honey.  (PS  - I LOVE this singer).
This is a more representative song of his (which I also freakin' love).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Look At These!

So, I got some flowers today, and they had special tulips, I had never seen.

They looked cool, so I got some.  But look after they opened!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Effie Jo's Book is out

Ed's mom has had her book on Monarch Butterflies published.
I am very proud of her (and it is a fascinating look at a life cycle.

 (LINK to buy and more information)

My Review of Jesus Christ, Superstar is up

My only question, does the title have a comma?
Here is my review.


Socialist Asshole Helping the Elderly and Disabled. Let 'em die

(from the Center on Budget and Politics Priorities)

I hate it when Kenyan Socialists try to help the Elderly and Sick that should be dying and not sucking up our taxes.  Or when they provide a basic floor level of support for working families.  If they can't make enough to live - well, then the poorhouse for them.

Why Doesn't Romney Fire That Guy!

So here's a question.  By his own happy quote, Romney "likes to fire the people that don't provide good service."  So why doesn't he fire his campaign manager that gave the Etch a Sketch quote?
Seriously.  It would show he holds friends up to the same standards he holds low-life employees up to.  Cuz, bet your ass, if someone he didn't know cost a Bain company this much money (and Econ 101 will tell you "Good Will" is a line item on a takeover with a dollar value assigned to it) - Romeny would fire his ass.
By NOT firing him, Romney just reinforces the perception that he has rules for his friends (crony capitalism at it's worst) and rules for the little people (the unwashed and non-Mormon).
Just saying....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Review of The Big Meal is up

My review of The Big Meal (at Playwrights Horizon) is up.

Heh Heh

Fascinating Look At the Liberal Mind

I am going to reproduce the first few paragraphs from Nicholas Kristof's opinion piece today.  It is fascinating.  Normally liberals tend to point out what is wrong with conservatives, but in this case it is a liberal is pointing out where liberal mindset breaks down.  (And if you read the whole thing you will understand why Ed and I love Trevor vs. a Golden Retriever... really).
--- First few paragraphs follow ---
Conservatives may not like liberals, but they seem to understand them. In contrast, many liberals find conservative voters not just wrong but also bewildering.
One academic study asked 2,000 Americans to fill out questionnaires about moral questions. In some cases, they were asked to fill them out as they thought a “typical liberal” or a “typical conservative” would respond.
Moderates and conservatives were adept at guessing how liberals would answer questions. Liberals, especially those who described themselves as “very liberal,” were least able to put themselves in the minds of their adversaries and guess how conservatives would answer.
Now a fascinating new book comes along that, to a liberal like myself, helps demystify the right — and illuminates the kind of messaging that might connect with voters of all stripes. “The Righteous Mind,” by Jonathan Haidt, a University of Virginia psychology professor, argues that, for liberals, morality is largely a matter of three values: caring for the weak, fairness and liberty. Conservatives share those concerns (although they think of fairness and liberty differently) and add three others: loyalty, respect for authority and sanctity.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

From my Friend's Facebook Entry

From the "not clear on the concept" department: Monday evening at the entrance to "Land of Smile Thai Restaurant" in St. Louis with Groupon in hand good only for this Monday.

What If Romney Wins

Now this whole election thing is mostly wrapped up for Mittens, it is time to question what kind of America this self-proclaimed Business Man with a Business Solutions for the country.  He has a successful history at Bain Capital – if you judge based on value to shareholders.
So what does Romney’s USA look like?
I am guessing that we start by combining business units.  
Of course, since the Senate apportions on statehood, and he has to depend on Republican States - I expect the business units of Delaware and Maryland to be the first combination- MaryDel – with DC thrown in as well.  New England should be another single choice, but Mittens has houses in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts, so expect a New England North (with Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine) and a New England South (with Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut).  That takes the state count down to 45.
By selling underperforming Hawaii, he raises cash and drops out another blue state.
He’s already said that he would let the auto manufacturing and related industries go broke, so outsourcing Michigan is an no brainer.  Bids from South Korea, Japan are expected, but there has been some recent interest by China.  Money raised would go to his share holders (to date $3 Million from the Arkansas Swift Boat Truther and ~$250 Million to various other Wall Street backers).
Guam has a very large Mormon population, so he will promote Guam to statehood (a guy’s got to tithe).
Immigration would be revamped, allowing full migration for workers that are exempted from the minimum wage.  And Mormons.
Retroactive Baptisms will be done for all Americans without a will, and the Mormon Church will get 10%.  FYI - it’s not a “death tax”, it is “Heaven Insurance”.
Gay Marriage won’t be touched, per say – but all states with Gay Marriage will be re-organized and new management appointed.  (previously noted state re-ogranization already reduces the number of states allowing this blasphemy from 8 (+DC)  to 6 ). 
California and Florida will be reorganized and leveraged against their un-utilized off-shore oil deposits.
There are 58 current national parks – of which 5.8 will be turned over to the Mormon church: the five in Utah, plus1 to be named later.
Medical Marijuana users will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  Sister wife users – not so much.
And poor Ann Romeny can finally buy a Lexus.
Tim Tebow gets to be the player / coach of the expansion Salt Lake City Four Horsemen (he's already be retroactively baptized a Mormon).

We are set for a long slog now with Romney

That sound you might be hearing is a big sigh that Willard "Mitt" ("Mittens") Romney has won Illinois primary - and probably shut down the nomination process.
The Republicans are happy the race is essentially over, and resigned to a dull as dirt candidate. He has huge negatives, but they have just brought in the big "lying" money.  The dickwad that painted John Kerry (2 time recipient of the purple heart ) as a chicken has just give Mittens $3Million , so we know the race is going for the high road.
But the real dejected sighing is from the political reporters.  What will they do for the next few months.  You know, besides broadcast whatever lie each party spins.  You saw the "deep reporting" yesterday when the Republicans released their "budget".  Their entire "budget" consisted of massive tax cuts, increased defense spending, medicare capped and shipped to the states and "other cuts" to balance the budget.  They didn't even bother to say what they would cut.
Oh yeah, and they will repeal ObamaCare, throwing 30 million people off insurance - because support is creating a "hammock of dependency".
The Democrats and their pie in the sky aren't really any better.  Just quieter because anything they propose will piss someone off, so they hide in the Senate like the freshman at a High School Dodge Ball tournament.
I suppose they could actually investigate and report rather than parrot and publish - but that is hard and, truthfully, probably no longer profitable.
On the other hand, I am kind of happy.  Listening to Mittens makes my brain hurt, but listening to Newt was making my ears bleed and one more pronouncement from Saucy Santorum was going to make my head explode.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Astana, Kazakhstan; Fun To See!

The Baiterek
So, Astana is the new capital of Kazakhstan.  The old capital was Almaty, but the President of Kazakhstan (a bit of a megalomaniac with oil riches) moved it in 1997.  He has built up a small town into a big city, and named it Astana (which means "Capital" in the Kazak language).
He also designed the Baiterek, which means "tall poplar tree".  It is a 318 f.t tower, buttressed by an exoskeleton of white-painted steel.  At the top is a gold-plated glass sphere.  According to the epigraph at its base, the monument represents the Kazakh myth of Samurk, a sacred bird that every year lays a golden egg (the sun), in the crown of an enormous tree of life.  its designer?  Nursultan Nazarbayev, the steelworker turned strongman who has run the country since independence in 1991!
The pictures in general are faboo! I would love to see it.  Kind of Vegas meets mini-Abu Duabi on the steppe.
Wait, it gets better.  In the top of the egg, there is a hand print of Nazarbayev.  You put your hand into the print and, if your lucky, either the National Anthem might play, or recorded words of wisdom from the President might play.
Wheeee!  (Select pictures to grow - all from National Geographic Magazine)
Color NOT photoshopped!

McManisons right out of Beverly Hills

Upper Right is a non-denominational house of worship by Norman Foster

Southern Miss Students are Stoopid

Well, in addition to going to "sensitivity training" (in Southern Mississippi what does that mean, "don't let them hear you"?), maybe they should go to class.  Puerto Rico is part of the United States.  The Puerto Rico natives are US Citizens and do not need a green card.

Will youngster even know of "seasonal" fruit?

On Tuesdays, Trevor goes to Doggie Day Care so as not to drive the cleaning lady (is it more PC to say cleaning lady or maid?) so as not to drive Amalia bat-shit crazy as she cleans.
That is not the point of this post.
The point is, I don't eat breakfast at home on Tuesdays - so I grab it from the cafeteria on Tuesday mornings.  I actually enjoy this because of all the fresh cut fruit - I like a variety and you can' t get that many different types at home without a bunch of spoilage.
But I was thinking as I got some strawberries, why are there always fresh strawberries?  I remember growing up, strawberry season was a giant deal.  My grandmother, child of the depression, LOVED strawberry season.  As a matter of fact, all fruit seasons where special to her.  Strawberries, peaches, apricots and plums.. She would announce them proudly.  They didn't grow a lot of that stuff in Illinois / Kentucky in the 1930's, so each year she was excited for them.
And she would pronounce the quality of the season, "Strawberries are a little hard this year."  "Too much rain for the peaches."  There was this fascinating connection between food and weather and mood.
Now, I love being able to have strawberries all year.  And I don't mind (much) giving up flavor of tomatoes, for regularity of supply.  But I just realized that for some kids in the richer countries, fruit isn't a treat.  You don't love strawberries as they come up once or twice a year.  They are (somehow) produced all the time.
I actually remember when Chilean fruit brought a "second" season.  Now there are no seasonal fruits, except for the odd fruits that only 1 area eats (there is still a lychee season and a cranberry season for example).  It is all good and things, but just removes us one step from nature.  Strawberries might as well be french fries now.
The just aren't special.  And so, for everything we gain - and I would never give up - there is a cost.  Too bad.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Food as God intended - Wrapped in a tortilla

From landing in Mammoth on Thursday night until wheels up out of San Francisco Sunday - I only ate 1 meal that wasn't wrapped in lovingly warm flour tortilla.  And that was because Gavin and Mickey wanted to eat at Burger.
Ah.. Mexican food.....

When laws go into effect (the reality)

from Texas (via Andrew Sullivan)

Halfway through her pregnancy, Carolyn Jones found out her fetus had a serious condition that meant her expectant son’s brain, spine and legs wouldn't develop correctly and that he would "suffer greatly". Before receiving an abortion, a new Texas law required her to undergo a sonogram and have the doctor describe it to her:
"I’m so sorry that I have to do this," the doctor told us, "but if I don’t, I can lose my license." Before he could even start to describe our baby, I began to sob until I could barely breathe. Somewhere, a nurse cranked up the volume on a radio, allowing the inane pronouncements of a DJ to dull the doctor’s voice. Still, despite the noise, I heard him. His unwelcome words echoed off sterile walls while I, trapped on a bed, my feet in stirrups, twisted away from his voice. 
"Here I see a well-developed diaphragm and here I see four healthy chambers of the heart..." I closed my eyes and waited for it to end, as one waits for the car to stop rolling at the end of a terrible accident.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hot Pots in the Snow

Gavin hurt his knee skiing, so today was something different.  We took a trip out to the Hot Springs.  Now in the years (YEARS!) since I have been here, they have created Hot Pots so you don't have to find a warm spot in the stream.
Look at the trek through the snow and then the spring.

Now it is raining in San Diego where Ed is, but don't cry for him Argentina.  This shot is from the President's Suite at the Palm Springs Tennis Tourny where he watched Rafa play!

Some pics from the trip so far

This was from the first day.  Before it was snowing, but there was snow on the mountain.
It was beautiful

This was with a friend (Rod) at the party on the first evening.
This is in the courtyard Thursday night.  Look ma, no  snow.

Same courtyard Saturday morning.  Yikes
So, it must be said, I am not a great skier - nor do I particularly like it.  I alternate between bored, terrified, cold, sticky, exhausted and back to terrified.
I am not suppose to look at my skis - and if I look down the hill I see 8,000 feet of falling so I am suppose to look somewhere in the middle distance.  I get over the thrill of it pretty damn quickly.

Overnight snow

So, after a few days of nothing, it snowed like a banshee yesterday and last night (and is still snowing now).
Yesterday, there was zero snow outside in the village.  As you can see, there is plenty out there now.
I skied for a while yesterday, but the high winds made them turn off the lifts on 1/2 the mountain - so I came back.
I am not snowing in the storm today as you can't see well (that grey mass in the background of the picture is the mountain a ski lift away), and it is windy and powdery and I am a novice.
Anyway, it continues. Friends and I are going to the Hot springs (outside hot springs). Yay!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ski school chums

So we took ski lessons today.  This is Wooly the Mammoth Mountain Mammoth.
This is me, Tristan?, Wooly, Simon and Michael.  Michael and Tristan (I know that isn't his name) were from Las Vegas and taking class too.
I was fine in class most of the day, but when I get tired I tend to fall.  Then people are all like "You're doing great." and I just want to punch them.
We are relaxing before a tea dance now (yes, Gay Ski Weeks have Tea Dances with Margaritas and the boom boom boom of disco, even at 8,000 ft.)
FYI - Syracuse almost lost in round 1, which doesn't bode well for my bracket.  I have them winning it all.

On our way

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Made it. 4 hours late, but still.

Let me just say

Let me just say sitting my ass in the San Francisco airport doesn't make like this shitty any more

Sent from my iPhone

Eddie on the Palms to Pines road


Here's the thing

It was 71 last night at midnight. Wonderful. Fabulous. But back east they can't turn off the damn heat until April, no matter how warm it is.
The house (where I control the thermostat) is fine. But every where else.... Oye vey

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Well At Least I Now Know Where I Got My Bad Info From...

So my understanding of the time frames and players in the New Testament isn't all that great.  Some might say - lacking.
But now I know the source of, at least some of, my bad information.
The musical Jesus Christ, Superstar.  Joe and I went to see it tonight - and there is line that TOTALLY explains why I thought Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were apostles.
At the last supper, the apostles sing:
Always hoped that I'ld be an apostle.
Knew that I could make it if I tried.
Then we retired, we could write the Gospel
And they will all talk about me when I die.
So it is all Tim Rice's fault!  Glad we settled that.
About the show.  It was okay.  To be honest, Jesus and Mary's voices weren't great.  And - as  a character - Jesus doesn't have much of a story arc.  Just saying.

Homeless Hot Spots?

So.. the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) has a company that has paid homeless people to be mobile hotspots.  SXSW is a music, film, arts festival in Austin.
This has caused quite a bit of controversy and press - which is probably what the company that paid for the mobile hotspots wanted in the first place.  Much of the anger appears to be around the idea that this is a short term solution.
The short term arguments are around the "teach a man to fish" idea.  That the company should show the homeless how to set up a hotspot company.  Like in the absence of capital, a home or  infrastructure they can do this.
Other arguments tend to revolve around slavery - which I think is a bit much.  No one is forcing the homeless to be hotspots.  It's a job - albeit temporary.
Personally I think that it is odd that we are okay with homeless as long as they are invisible, but are uncomfortable or angry once they are visible.  So angry we insist they are being exploited.  (FYI: they do this by wearing a small transmitter strapped to their ankle.  I suppose this can brign some uncomfortable imagery of the chain gang.)

Monday, March 12, 2012


Click to expand.

Well THAT befitted from low expectations

Eddie and I went to see John Carter and it wasn't bad.
IN fact, we kind of enjoyed the whole thing.  Yes, at 2 hours it was a little long (rare is the movie that couldn't benefit from a nice editing), but it was fun, distracting and enjoyable.
Anyway, we liked it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Sunday Walk About New York

It was a very nice day today around New York so Eddie and I went for a little spring walkabout - even though it isn't spring yet.
All can be selected for a larger picture.
So this is "touchable art" near NYU.  It has begun to fade.

I am touching the "touchable art".

This is a Chinese Restaurant.  Check out the name...
"Hung Ry"

Bond Street.  Suddenly VERY tony.

Bond Street looking the other way

This is the front of the Bond Street condos.
The "graffiti" on the green building is actually steel

Angles going up the side of a building

I hadn't seen this before

Up Broadway from NYU