Monday, April 30, 2012

Amazing Video by Shawn Reeder of Yosemite and Other CA Parks

The Expo Line

LA has completed the Expo Light Rail line now. Oddly enough, now people are worried the mass transit line will push OUT low income people as development occurs around the stations.  When I was a young'in, the worry was that the transit lines would bring IN the low income people.
This picture is of the station at La Cienega - which I drove under every day on my way to work.  They started working on the line just as I was leaving (in 2006).  I included the map too.
La Cienega and Jefferson - downtown in the background

Select to expand.

As My Mother Would say, "Oh, for fuck's sake!"

It's politics when Obama does it.
See - This is politics
It's NOT politics when GW Bush does it AND makes it a prime time photo op.
But this - premature and in prime time, that was just straight shooting
"Cries" is correct.  As in cry-babies.  And Mittens - even though he says now "anyone" would have made the call - in 2008 he said...

Nearly five years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama said that if he were president and had actionable intelligence that high-value al Qaeda targets like Osama bin Laden were within Pakistan, he would take action with or without the cooperation of the Pakistani government—and Mitt Romney slammed him for it:
"I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours... I don't think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort," Romney told reporters on the campaign trail. [...] Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is one of the Republican front-runners, said U.S. troops "shouldn't be sent all over the world." He called Obama's comments "ill-timed" and "ill-considered."
Despite that criticism, Barack Obama kept his promise four years later, giving the order that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden. That order carried significant political risk, but it was the right call. Yet now that Obama's position has been vindicated, Mitt Romney is trying to erase history:
Romney on if he'd go after bin Laden: "Even Jimmy Carter would have would have given that order"
— @EmilyABC via Seesmic
If that's true, it's only because Mitt Romney has never been president. And if Mitt Romney had been president in May of 2011, Osama bin Laden would still be alive. It's as simple as that.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Random Frank Lloyd Wright Pics in Wisconsin

So, after House on the Rock, and before the Cheese Factory, we drove through Spring Green Wisconsin. This is where Frank Lloyd Wright had a home and school - Taliesin.  This are some pics from the area.
This is Frank Lloyd Wright's barn outside his house.

A bank in Spring Green

This is now the Spring Green Visitor Center.
I don't know if it was a bank or Gas Station originally.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cheese making in Plain WI

Plain Wisconsin is a lot nicer than it sounds.
And there, in Plain, is a Cheese factory where they show you how cheese is made. 
We stopped by, met a great woman who explained cheese, curds and everything else, AND we picked up some of the yummiest cheese curds ever.  Fresh out of the pile.

What's a trip to WI, with a stop at House In The Rock

This is a nice looking shot of The House on The Rock.
A pack-rat's dream of a home filled with the world's largest collection of... you name it.  I mean there is the worlds largest carousel, the biggest steam driven violin section, doll houses, butteflys, ships, space headlines, a four story whale and octopus diorama - and I have only begun.
I'll post picture later, but it is amazing.  A little creepy, but amazing.

Let Me Just Say: Ben and I disagreed on Leap of Faith (as well as Newsies and pretty much everything else, except Claybourne Park)

Now, I know Ben Brantley hates all things peppy and fun, but we really disagree on Leap of Faith.  I expected this once I saw he was reviewing it.
Songs are by Alan Menkin, who has committed the sin of working for Disney.  It doesn't take long for the reviewer to trash Newsies as well (songs by Alan Menkin).
Anyway, here is my review (which I LOVED the performances and thought the story was okay) and here is NY Times review in which Ben Brantley hates everything about it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Is it just me - or does Craig Romney look like an Osmand?

I know that all Utah based Mormons are probably a little bit related (this is just fact, not prejudiced).. but doesn't Craig Romney look more like an Osmand Brother than a Romney Brother?
The Romney Boys with Mittens and Ann
Craig - cuter with a smaller smile (a bit toothy)
Craig's son, Craig and Grandpa.
PS - Same Shirt as dad in pic above? 

Now, of course, anything I say about his looks, please take with a grain of salt.  I would love to be as photogenic as him.  He is a good looking young man (in that non-sexual Mormon kind of way).  I am not trying to make fun or objectify him. 
I am just saying Osmand 2.0.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Holy Roller is Raul Esparza Amazing

I saw Leap of Faith last night on Broadway.  Now, they did change a few things from the Ahmanson in LA (at least as I can tell from the You Tube stuff).  The biggest seems to be the Love Interest was a Waitress and now she is the Sherif - which really works well.
I am going to review it, but - spoiler alert - I loved it.  The cast, not just Raul Esparza - but especially him - take a  pretty good show and make it amazing.
The cheesy beard is gone in the Broadway version.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Update for those of you outside the USofA

So, for my non-USA readers, I have tried to reduce my annoyance towards the asinine media stories in the USA.  I have ignored most everything.
But don't think that means our press has gotten any better.  Oh my no!
For the last week or so, the top story on nearly every national newscast has been our new "Secret Service Scandal!"  It has everything a scandal in the states needs here in the states, sex.
In this case, our Secret Service (which are the guys with ear pieces that protect the President) were in Columbia before President Obama went down for a Western Hemisphere meeting.  The news out of that meeting should have been that the American States pretty much rebuked the USA for not letting Cuba come to the meeting.  But there are Cuban exiles living in Florida still, and Florida is a swing state - so that ain't happening anytime soon.
But instead we got a scandal that Secret Service agents went to prostitutes before the President got there. Yes, prostitution is legal in Colombia.  And no, nothing was compromised by the incident.  In fact, it only came to attention because one of the agents didn't want to pay the next morning.  But it is que'll scandel.
So, we are fighting for year 11 in Afghanistan, outside groups are pouring over $100 million dollars into this election, we can't stop people losing their homes, and we are introducing armed drones into our police forces, but this - 11 agents legally went to prostitutes, this is what has us in a tizzy.  Who says our news media is a side show.
And, of course, the Republicans are going on TV asking if anyone on the Presidential staff visited said prostitutes.  Not that they did.  Not that the President's staff was even there the week this happened.  Not to make this political - Heaven forfend.  They just went on Fox News to ask the question.
Fox News Splash Page.  There was no staff involvement, but Iowa Senator is challenging that -
on no proof but it does make fun headlines.

Ghost: The Train Wreck I Missed

So the reviews are in for Ghost.  The are not good.
I have to quote some from the New York Times (and this is the nice reviewer).
Toward the close of Thursday night’s performance of this thrill-free singing theme-park ride, the sound of grinding metal echoed through the Lunt-Fontanne Theater. The complicated machinery of the moving sets stopped moving, and the curtain was brought down for almost a half-hour while a technical glitch was solved.
Surely the ghosts of the foremost acting couple of the Broadway theater in the 20th century had been roused from their posthumous slumbers to make a little mischief, aghast at the dreary digital spectacle taking place on the boards they once nobly trod.
These high-tech flourishes lend the show the feel of one of those sensory-bath, movie-inspired rides at the Universal Studios and Disney theme parks. But the thrill is fairly minimal, since the seats in the Lunt-Fontanne can’t make like a roller coaster and jolt us around, addling our brains to the point of forgetting the plodding apparatus of the story.
But you quickly grow weary of Sam’s obtuseness about the rules of the post-mortem game. Long after a friendly fellow ghost (Lance Roberts) has laid down the law about the separation between the living and the dead, Sam can’t seem to get it into his head that people can’t hear him. He keeps angrily chasing around the stage, shouting things like, “Molly, get out!” and “Molly, don’t listen to him!” Clearly death does not do much to improve I.Q. We can only hope there are no SATs in heaven.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Orange - People don't like Orange! What is wrong with them?

Apparently research shows that Orange is not generally liked.  Well, anyone who knows me knows I LURVE orange.

Lucinda Rosenfeld delves into the fascination children have with colors:
"If people want children to act in a calmer way, they should go with blue or another cooler color," [Marilyn Read, an associate professor of design and human environment at Oregon State University] advises. Even little girls’ love affair with the color pink—forever the object of much hand-wringing by parents uneasy with the message it sends—may be innate. "Pink is a color that makes us hungry. It’s also a color that boys like until they’re told not to like it," says Read, who notes just one case in which gender differences in color preference might be nature not nurture: Some researchers suggest that boys tend to prefer yellow-based reds (think: tomatoes), while girls prefer blue-based reds (think: rubies). Both boys and girls tend to dislike orange.

A Question of Priorities

How can we afford an 11 year war in Afghanistan - but not afford to Public Universities?  How can we afford to roll back taxes so that they are the lowest in over 40 years, but raise tuition at a public Universities to over $21,000 per year - before books, room and board?  How can we afford to send  more on our defense departments than the next 10 countries added together, but rank #37th in national education spending.
When did we stop investing in our future?
Isn't giving our youth an opportunity a National Priority?  Isn't it at least as important as keeping 25,000 men in uniform in South Korea and 140,000 in Afghanistan?  Unless we are training our youth to be mercenaries?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Scene from Greenwich Village shop

So we saw these on a what today in Greenwich village and I thought they were very fun!

Black tulips @ Jefferson Court

I didn't get a great picture of these, but they were the coolest dark tulips I have ever seen.  We had a lovely day bumbling around the city with Aldona's Granddaughter.  We took her to lunch and a movie, while Aldona and Joe spent 6 hours at The Ring Cycle at the Met.
Funny story, Saturday night we went to a party with someone who played Clarinet at that same show.

Friday, April 20, 2012

One other thing

So, if you are an avid reader - or happened upon this yesterday afternoon - you might notice a couple of posts are gone.  Yep.
I decided that despite the hierarchy's hatred of my monogamous, committed relationship - Catholic people in particular, and other religious people in general, they aren't responsible for the inconsistent things some in their religion preach; anymore than pregnant women are responsible for Octomom or I am responsible for the crazy gay-pride person who marches in a jockstrap and a rainbow wig or all Jewish people are responsible for the crazy West Bank Settlers who spit on little girls.
From Shutterstock
Furthermore, pointing out the asinine things the Cardinal or Pope says - may lead people to think I don't like religious people.  And that just isn't true.  I honestly admire people who take the values of love, charity and peace into their hearts.
I have family and friends that not only believe in God, but follow the precepts of love and duty to others.  They follow the best tenants of religion - and I admire them.
And so, despite what the hierarchy thinks they know about my heart - it is time to give religious people the benefit of the doubt.  And no reason to dwell on the stupid things their leaders sometimes say.  Sure, the Pope still bugs me - but so does Harry Reid, John Boehner, Bill Pullman, David Brooks, the Michigan Wolverines, Regis Philbin, Ann Coulter, Provo, Cote d'Ivorie (don't ask!), Mr. Sparks (10th grade PE), Gloria Alred, the Tree People at Christmas, people who drive the speed limit in the fast lane, everyone in the TSA line ahead of me, people who laugh at the wrong things in movies, people who don't laugh at the right thing in live theater, cats, Bob Dylan, whoever cancelled Firefly, whoever invented Tuesdays, and Bruce Chancey who hated me in 3rd grade and then was at my 7th grade school and hated me there too - even though I was a nice kid.

Luck and the Lower East Side

So I was walking to and from a show I reviewed on the Lower East Side last night.  It ended around 10:45 (and yes, it desperately needs to be edited down!) and I realized a few things.
First, I love the Lower East Side.  I love the just-this-side-of-annoying-hipster vibe.  It is earthy and cool, without the pretension of Willimasburg.  And, I love being able to wander around at 11:00PM on my way back to the subway.
Which brings me to the luck.  On the four sides of my family tree, I have (1) inbred Kentucky, (2) inbred Illinois, (3) inbred Mormon and (4) crazy Dutch.  Thank goodness I lucked out with the crazy Dutch in height, weight and hair (if you have seen the hillbilly side of the family you would know I mean hair in general - blond is just icing on the cake of that one).  I mean, most of my male relatives are under 5'8" - which isn't a bad thing, but makes wandering around the Lower East Side at 11PM more dicey.
I don't feel like a big guy, but I am a skosh over 6 foot, and weight just the wrong side of 200.  While I may not feel big, there are easier targets in the Lower East Side if someone just wants to cause trouble.   I was walking outside of a loud bar yesterday, where the cool-but-annoying kids were outside smoking, drinking beers and generally being a pain to the passersby.  And I thought, if I was a woman or a smaller guy or myself 15 years ago, I would be nervous at best or, more likely, pretty scared. Now I just met their eyes and don't really give a shit.  7 times out of 10, I'll make fun of someone's shirt and we'll all have a good laugh.
Sure, I inherited the bat-shit crazy along with the height and hair, but for the ability to wander this city at will... totally worth it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Magic of New York Neighborhoods

One thing I love about New York is stumbling onto cityscapes you NEVER expect.  For example, last night I was walking in the way East Village to review a show and I stumbled on this church behind a set of 4 story apartments.  It was late, so the color is marginally - but I think it is beautiful.

I had to walk around the block to see what it was.  It is a 1866 built church called "Most Holy Redeemer Church"  and it is a "Pilgrimage Shrine for Our Mother of Perpetual Help."  Doesn't that sound wonderful.  I wonder if the Catholic Church, back then, was more focused on helping the poor rather than hating gays and fighting health care?  I tend to hope so.  I remember when churches were a force of good.  Even now, I see some my friends' Churches as working to help the downtrodden. (I am looking at your church and their work in Caucuses, Shelly).
(aside) You know in New York, the Cardinal won't even met with the homeless youth; because too many are gay homeless - young men and women kicked out of their homes by parents who couldn't deal with them being gay.  The Cardinal feels meeting with them would signify some sort of "approval" of a gay lifestyle - rather than providing solace to young people on the streets.  (Really, it is quite the bru-ha-ha here with Cardinal Dolan.)  But that isn't the point of this post).
All over New York, you can turn and see these amazing scenes.  The building below is gorgeous.  It now houses a Bed Bath and Beyond.  And this clock once graced the storefront of a clock builder.  It seems obvious, but if something like this was put up now - my guess is that it would be stolen rather quickly.

Anyway, I love stumbling on these surprising scenes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ha ha

Reprinted (because it is HIGH-larious) from Salon's Alex Pareene

Thomas Friedman: America’s escalator is broken and only Mike Bloomberg can repair it

The dumbest columnist in the world calls for Mayor Mike to save America with third-party pixie dust

Thomas Friedman, globe-trotting superstar New York Times columnist and America’s foremost Big Thinker, noticed recently that America is Broken, and by “America” he means an escalator, in a parking garage, at the train station in Washington. There is only one man who can fix this escalator that represents America: Famed escalator repairman and billionaire mogul Mike Bloomberg.
I had to catch a train in Washington last week. The paved street in the traffic circle around Union Station was in such poor condition that I felt as though I was on a roller coaster. I traveled on the Amtrak Acela, our sorry excuse for a fast train, on which I had so many dropped calls on my cellphone that you’d have thought I was on a remote desert island, not traveling from Washington to New York City. When I got back to Union Station, the escalator in the parking garage was broken. Maybe you’ve gotten used to all this and have stopped noticing. I haven’t. Our country needs a renewal.
And that is why I still hope Michael Bloomberg will reconsider running for president as an independent candidate, if only to participate in the presidential debates and give our two-party system the shock it needs.

Finally! A Great Mexican Restaurant in NYC

Success.  After 6 years of flailing about, we have finally found a great Mexican restaurant.
It is called Hecho En Dumbo. But it is not in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) but in the East Village.  Apparently it grew out of a DUMBO food truck - which is where the name is from.
But who cares, the key is amazing food, served kind of Mexican small plate / sharing size.  A bit bigger than tapas - nicely smaller than the blue plate special.
I loved it.
Some pics.
The bar

Carnitas, Guaq, Chicken Sopas and Shredded Beef Burritos

The seating.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This is why Dogs Hate Romney

Oh good grief.  Just admit it was a boo-boo.

See, this is bullshit (link to ABC News).  No dog wants to ride 7 hours at highway speeds.  And, even if the dog did want to ride this way- no dog wants to have diarrhea, get hosed off at a gas station and go back up into the carrier on the roof.

Ann Romney's comment - "..the dog loved to go on vacation", is undoubtedly true.  But, I think the pup would have liked it even more if he didn't ride on the roof - in a kennel full of dog poop.  Like if he rode in the car!
And, of course, despite how much the dog loved it, this is illegal in Mass., New York, and Canada (states and countries they drove through).

Last Night's Presentation: Saving The Elephants

Eddie (and I) are members of the Wildlife Conservation Society - which runs a lot of programs in the field and operates the New York Zoos.
Last night I went to a talk at the Princeton Club on the new challenges facing the Elephant.  It was surprising.  In 1998 all Ivory trade was outlawed.  And this allowed for a very large rebound in the numbers of the African Elephant, both Savanna (the kind you see in South Africa or the Serengeti)  as well as the Rain Forest Elephants of Central African.
But since about 2006 numbers have crashed as poaching has gone up astronomically.  It turns out this poaching is different for a couple of reasons.  First, Ivory Trade is already illegal - so outlawing it won't make a dent. Second, there is a lot of development in Africa now, particularly with regards to raw materials.  So roads, container ports and other infrastructure have increased markedly.  These all making trafficking poached animals easier and smuggling easier.  Third, there is a huge growth in the middle class with money in China. This society traditional values Ivory so prices have climbed.  With new prices comes organized crime.  Estimates now say illegal Ivory trade is organized crime's second biggest money maker now, after drugs (but before prostitution).
More smuggled Ivory was confiscated in 2011 than any year since 1998, when trade was outlawed.  The Ivory confiscated probably came from about 2,500 Elephants.  But that was only the quantity intercepted!  Since 2006 almost 60,000 Elephants have been killed for Ivory (or other body parts for herbal medicine - like toenails).
Forest elephants are particularly susceptible, because; 1) the are hard to see and manage, 2) they are less of a value as a tourist attraction (so governments have less incentive to manage them) and 3) it is harder to spot poachers.
The speakers were amazing in detail and experience (each one had over 20 years in the field).  It was a cool talk. Also surprising, the US is a big purchaser of smuggled Ivory.  One of the speakers said you could go down to Canal Street and buy illegal Ivory anytime.
So, don't buy Ivory.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Saw One Man, Two Guvnors on Saturday

One Man, Two Guvnors has made the trip to Broadway from London.  Eddie and I tried to see it in London at Christmas, but it was sold out.  So, after it came to New York this spring,  we were able to get tickets this Saturday.  (thank you for the clarification)
How was it?  I laughed my ass off.

Ahh Jay ... you will be missed

I waited so as not to be anyone's buzz kill if you Tivo'ed it (and if you did you should have watched it by now), but poor Jay of Survivor is gone.
Gone, but not forgotten.  Cute grin, spaghetti strap tank tops with a great body and a model's grin.  Jay Byar, you will be missed. (Of course, he can be goggle'd easily, but it isn't really the same.)

Model Shot (not Survivor)

What hath electronics sundered?

So, I was in the kitchen just now and the coffee machine (a nexpresso type; one cup at a time machine) wasn't working.  It gave the cryptic message "Call Operator with Error 350".
And I (jokingly) said, "Just smack it on the side.  It's works with TV's." and I was rewarded with a look of total incomprehension from the young lady who broke the coffee device.  Really, she looked at me like I was talking Latvian.
It took a co-worker, older than I, to explain (to me!) that youngsters don't remember the old days when you hit the TV.
Oh dear!  I am now so old I remember smacking the TV to get it to settle on a channel!  I even remember (however vaguely) going with my baby-sitter to the supermarket, where they had an honest to god vacuum tube tester, so you could plug in the tubes from your TV - one by one, until you found the problem one. And you could buy a replacement from the cabinet in the front.
(One of the other benefits of hitting the TV on the side was to pop one of the tubes back into alignment.)
I don't even think you can open a TV now adays.
Good Grief.

Friday, April 13, 2012

If it saves even 1 life...

This is that whole "If it even saves 1 life" thing to is almost obvious conclusion.
Look, I am sure that someone knows someone that has a child who fell, hit their head on a coffee table - and grew up to run a horrible campaign for President. But just because Newt Gingrinch could have benefited from this is no reason to foist it on the rest of us.
Really, the other babies in the playgroup are just going to laugh behind your back.

Last Night's Event

Eddie and I got all dude'd up last night for the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health Foundation event.  He also founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS (which does much of its work at UCLA where Mr. Ashe went to college and lead our team to an NCAA Tennis Championship).
UCLA's Arthur Ashe Health Center
Arthur Ashe (for those of you that might not know) was famous African American Tennis Player - who won the US Open in 1968 and Wimbledon in 1975.  He was famously denied a visa into South Africa in 1968 to the South African Tennis Open - and used his platform to call for an end to apartheid.
He was later invited back to South African as a member of the 31 person US African American delegation to help South African integrate their society. (thank you Wikipedia for that detail.)
Arthur Ashe contracted AIDS during a heart operation in 1985 and passed away in 1992.  the Foundation - who's event we attended last night, raises money for the young men and women of the Institute to attend school and become doctors.  It was a great night.  Except for the tie.  Gosh I hate to wear a tie.
Jeff Williams, Katrina Adams - and my Eddie
The young woman with Eddie in the picture above is Katrina Adams.  She runs the Harlem Tennis outreach program.  And, get this, she was playing at Wimbledon (on court 5) the same middle Sunday I was watching Ivan Lendel (on court 2).  How cool is that!?
Jeff is a USTA Volunteer District grand-poobah (I haven't gotten all the titles right yet :-), and all around nice guy.  I had a very nice time with these two - as well as the other people we hung out with.
Eddie and I in the mug shot
ack! Tie

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Apparently - they thought it worked with Obama

Okay - this cracks me up.  After calling president a Socialist / Communist, there was no blow-back.  So now Allen West (right wing heart throb from Florida) is stepping up and saying that 80 of his Co-Representatives in Washington (the Democratic ones) are Commies.
Really.  He is tooting about Commies.  Nincompoopery!