Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Just Wish Trevor Could Get Comfortable

Eddie posted this on Facebook, but if you haven't seen it- you must.
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PS: The Iris in the back were a "feel better" gift from my honey to me... ahhh.

No water for 12 hours then a water fountain name, Really?

Well that was just a ton of fun - bleh.
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Actually the "procedure", I don't remember.  The prework wasn't  bad (despite most people saying it tasted awful- I don't think they drink much juiced Kale).  The doctor was fine and I don't remember anything after the anesthesia kicked in.  But I have a headache now which must be due to the anesthesia, because it isn't a migraine and I can't kick the head ache with a nap.
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I won't go into detail out of respect to Don :-).  But they took out 1 polyp and I get to wait a week to find out if it is benign or deadly. I also got a little talk-back from my doc saying to eat more fiber.
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Good news, I have a pass for 3 more years - butt scope free!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Federal Hall and the Beginnings of Wisconsin

I was out yesterday (talking with a Head-hunter) and passed Federal Hall, right next to the Stock Exchange.
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Federal Hall with Washington's Statue.  The Plague is on the far left.

It was where George Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the Unites States.
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I also saw a plague there that talked about the incorporation of the Ohio Company of Associate, which opened up the Northwest Territories.  The plague speaks of it being the first step on the road to statehood for a number of states, including Wisconsin.
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Kind of cool.

Ann with an E

As MasterCard would say, Priceless...
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Oh Fab - I'm Glad...

If you don't know that jingle, then you are too young (or foreign).  I think Borax was kind of bleach (was't it 20 Mule Team Borax - which actually came from Death Valley).
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But I digress.
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FAB is now an addictive online store instead of a laundry detergent with a snappy jingle.  Usually a very addictive store, but every now and then they score a huge swing and a miss for me.  Take this ad.  Please.
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Look at it.
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First, "Spurbe"?  Is it like hipster "superb"?  Because it sounds like an embarrassing bodily function to me.  It sounds like you were going to burp, but then you spit-up a little.
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You know, like shart.  When you were going to fart and instead you.. well you get it.
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Second.  I am not sure that we have the same definition of "Fashion Forward".  Camo:Algae is not a style so much as a k-ration gone terribly terribly wrong.  Camo:Forest, I get it.  Camo:Desert, I get it.  Camo:AutumnAlgae, not so much.
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Third, hipster Zacc (with like 2 c's , no k) pictured here, he is going for what look - exactly?  Bored bad robot-dancer?  And what is with the androgynous hair and eyes, but the 5 o'clock shadow of a 11th grader just out of puberty?  Is that ironic somehow? Yeah, I want to buy these clothes and look like as ass-less dimwitted Adam Levine knock off, minus the definition.
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PS - Earth to Zacc, once you get a little older you will realize that "bedroom eyes" as a model's direction, means sexy, not sleepy.
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And while we are on the subject... what is it with the 5 O'clock shadow all the time now?  Some guys can pull it off (I'm looking at you Stephen Amell (the Arrow)).  But most guys that do look good with it, would look even better without it.  Don't believe me, look at Ryan Gosling.  Sure, I get that evolutionarily speaking, it signaled a good testosterone count to cave women.  But then, why are the mo's doing it?
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Nope, I don't like it.  I mean it is okay, but I am over it.  Of course, being married pretty much makes my vote a moo point.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hummm... Bad Commercial with Tivo

H and R Block is running a commercial that has a number of their preparers saying reassuring things, while at the bottom in small letters is a disclaimer.
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Like 1 guy is a CFO wioth 25 years of experience (disclaimer: Experience varies across employes, this is not typical).
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Another woman said she has read all the legal changes in the tax law and is ready to help (disclaimer: H and R Block does not provide legal advice)
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But this is my favorite.  Joyce (below) has done 25,000 tax returns!
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You can see the disclaimer yourself.  Experience varies, last year our tax professional prepared an average of 152 returns each.
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AVERAGE of 152 returns.  If you add up Joyce and 163 other people who have NEVER DONE A RETURN IN THEIR LIFE - you get an AVERAGE of ~ 152 returns each.
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Sweet

The Gift of Prophecy...

Salon often cracks me up.  on Monday, this was the headline.
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And of the reasons, here is the key one.
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Lindsey Graham
One member of the “gang of eight” is, naturally, Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is always joining gangs with his best friend John McCain. That’s a bad sign. Because Lindsey Graham is a pathological deal-killer. He lives to bargain endlessly and then pull out at the last minute. Lindsey Graham is the master of refusing to support things he actually supports because a Democrat hurt his feelings. He withdrew his support for immigration reform in 2010 because the Senate planned to also consider climate legislation, another policy he claimed to support. He reneged on the Dream Act. He promised that he was working on immigration reform with Chuck Schumer two years agoand nothing happened.
The problem is, Graham is actually necessary for the bill to pass the Senate, and whenever his vote is crucial, he responds by withholding it. Here’s the National Journal’s Fawn Johnson explaining the Senate situation:
Advocates expect to lose at least five Democrats in the Senate, which means they will need upwards of a dozen Republicans to vote for the legislation. That’s where Rubio and other Tea Party favorites like Senator Mike Lee of Utah will come into play. Rubio and Lee are newcomers to an old discussion among Republican veterans like McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Newly elected Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona will be a key Republican player as well.
If history is any guide, Graham will continue carefully negotiating and signaling his support for the proposal until he is forced to withdraw his support at the last minute because of some entirely unrelated bit of Senate business.

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And today (1 DAY LATER) here is an article from the Huffington Post.

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters on Tuesday that it's a mistake for the president to push for same-sex couples to be included in immigration reform, if he wants Republicans to support the bill.
"Why don't we just put legalized abortion in there and round it all out," Graham said to reporters.

Downton Abby is making Lord Grantham kind of an idiot nudge, aren't they

So I don't know if this is just paving the way for  a redemption scene or what, but Downton Abby is making Lord Grantham kind of a stuffed shirt idiot.
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Before my socialist Brit friends go off that they entire aristocracy were idiots, let me just say that they didn't start with him being an idiot.  Stuffy - yes.  Tied to old ways of doing things - yes.  Self-involved, gold digging skirt chaser - point taken.  But not an idiot.
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I get the feeling Julian Fellows (the writer creator) kind of despises him.  Apart from walking on water (or the audience having extremely short memories - which is true), I don't see how they redeem him.
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Two Post Scripts here.
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First, I love this promo picture of Dan Stevens for his "Why I left Downton Abby" interview.  The pose says Serious Actor.  The washed out coloring (faded shirt, faded desk, supersaturated colors) says I Don't Want to Play Period Pieces Forever (Helen Bonham Carter did a similar picture after Merchant . Ivory). Playfully tussled hair says I Am Still Young and Not Stuffy. But the deep eye stare says If You Liked Me on Downton, Wait Till You See Me Tonight, Baby.

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It is the quintessential portrait of heart-throb doesn't want to break up, but has too; it will be better for both of us.
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Second, every time an American reads the name Julian Fellows, this is what they hear...(we forget that it it Brian - we just remember him screaming "I'm Julian / Brian Fellows!".
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LINK on YouTube

Sunday, January 27, 2013

And so we bid farewell to the beautiful Bahamas

This is a compass directional, pointing North in the backyard of our friends' house.  That is Eddie laying by the pool with our friends.  It was the morning of our last day.  It was a perfect goodbye day.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Spending afternoon at Ocean Club

So today we spent at the Ocean Club.  
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It is a hotel / resort kind of higher-end place associated with Atlantis, but without the crowds.  Our hosts were members, so we spent the day at the pool.  The blue chairs in the distance are the pool area.  These are a set of formal gardens leading from the pool to the cloisters (not seen in this picture).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A wandering.. Sohmer Piano Building

As I go a wandering....
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From last Tuesday's walk.
I happened upon this building - The Sohmer Piano Building, which I find draws me in like an air conditioned speak-easy on a Santa Ana night.
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I am oddly fond of tall, thin New York Beaux-Arts buildings.  Perhaps it is due to the utter lack of them in Los Angeles.  Or perhaps it is the absolute uselessness of them.  I mean it is over embossed, over designed and over indulgent.  It is the architectural equivalent of eccentricity - which I so admire in people, buildings and dogs.
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Anyway, I was on my way to the doctor's the other day (nothing serious, I am getting ready for my first  colonoscapy - yuck!).  ps - Even auto correct doesn't suggest a word for colonoscapy - except yuck.
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But I digress.
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I was struck by this building right across the street.  It is the "Sohmer Piano Building", so named because the company used to have it's offices and showroom there.  It was part of the "ladies mile" which was an area on 6th (although this is on 5th) where women were allowed to shop in the olden days.  It would probably attract more attention, but for that gaudy attention whore, the "Flatiron" building - which is the grand dame of the area.
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Apparently early in the 2000s, more than 100 years after it was built in 1897, it was converted to condos.  The picture below is from Wikipedia of the top of the building - a crown so unnecessary it makes the place!
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Ahh Congress...

Did I happen to mention our system of government is SNAFU / broke.
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Picture will make sense after post

So we have a "debt ceiling".  This is the limit to the amount of money we can borrow and spend.  Congress sets this limit  on the amount of money the Treasury can borrow(through an arcane, World War II era process - it's not sure that we actually have to do this, it isn't in the Constitution).  Congress also sets the budgets (that process IS in the Constitution) so they can decide how much to spend, and then approve it.  Well, now Congress doesn't want to raise the limit to borrow to cover everything, yes that is everything that they already approved to spend.  So, even though they approved a budget last year, they don't want to spend it this year.
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The House of Representatives want the President to cut the budget ("but wait Scott, doesn't the budget get created in the House of Representatives?" - Yes Constitution Article 1, Section 8 - but it is so much more fun to blame the President).  In order to get the Presiden to agree to cuts - and honestly he does have the power of veto, they want to hold their breath until we all turn blue (this is called shutting down the government) - they can do this by not raising the debt ceiling - so the Treasury cannot borrow to pay the bills which Congress has already approved.  Which is EXACTLY like signing up for a car loan, then not making payments because you don't like the preset radio stations.
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Anyway, the Republicans have decided that it is bad optics to shut down the government over this one thing - so in 3 months they get to shut down the government over 2 things (longer story).  But, how to do this?  You see they promised their voters they wouldn't raise the debt ceiling without cutting something.  And they can't go back on their word.
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What to do?
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What to do?
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They have a unique solution.  They are trying to pass a law today that will be reported as "raising the debt ceiling" - but it isn't.  What they are really doing is "not enforcing the debt ceiling."  Honest to God.  They are passing a law that allows them to break the law, rather than pass the law to do what they want to do.  This way they can tell their voters - they didn't vote to raise the debt ceiling!  Ta Da! (Really - here is the Washington Post LINK)
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What did Suzanne call it, a clusterf*ck?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Phil - Our Hearts Bleed


PHil: Call the Whaaa..mublance
Golfer Phil Mickelson didn’t make much noise on the links at this weekend’s Humana Challenge tournament, finishing in a tie for 37th, but he tried to take a mulligan on his post game remarks. Mickelson, whose net worth is an estimated $180 million, said onerous taxes were really messing with his plans. In particular California’s top rates were forcing him to consider leaving the state and playing fewer tournaments. They also played a role in his decision not to invest in the San Diego Padres:
“There are going to be some drastic changes for me because I happen to be in that zone that has been targeted both federally and by the state and it doesn’t work for me right now,” Mickelson said.
While Mickelson didn’t state specifics, increases in federal taxes under the deal to avoid the fiscal cliff in Washington D.C. and the passage of Prop. 30 in California in November to raise money for school funding have all increased taxes on the wealthy class.
Mickelson’s airing of his grievances was sufficiently tacky that even Forbes.com, a publication with an attitude towards wealth that might be described as breathless, gushing, rapture, found the golfer’s plaint a bit, um, rich. (And Forbes once published a slide show on the world’s highest paid golfers. Mickelson is second):
For starters, courtesy of President Obama’s re-election and the subsequent fiscal cliff negotiations, Mickelson will experience an increase in his top tax rate on ordinary income from 35% to 39.6%, and an increase in his top rate on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends from 15% to 20%. Clearly, when faced with tax hikes of that magnitude, it stops making economic sense for Mickelson to continue to swing a metal stick up to 70 times a day in exchange for the $48 million he earns on an annual basis.
But it gets worse. Thanks to the expiration of the temporary 2% reduction in the payroll tax rate on the first $113,700 of self-employment income, Mickelson will have to fork over an extra $2,274 in tax during 2013, an additional burden that makes it hard to justify briskly walking as many as five miles per day, four days a week. In long pants, nonetheless.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

So I Watched "The Hunger Games" last night...

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss... yeah, she's 17
I finally watched the Hunger Games last night.  I say finally because I have had the DVD fro NetFlix for a while, but the running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes seems like a lot of time to invest in a teen movie.  And, truth be told, the first Twilight movie put me rather off that entire genre.
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But I watched it last night.
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So, I kind of loved the allegory of the 1%.  That I thought was funny, interesting and twisted.  The inability of the masses to have any say was so very "liberal".  Probably a more radical (and archly realistic) portrayal of political powerlessness than in any other recent movie.
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Jennifer Lawrence.  Well, I couldn't see her as a teen heroine.   No fault of her acting.  In fact because of her acting in Silver Linings Playbook.  Maybe a zillion teenage girls will always see her as Katniss.  I will always see her as Tiffany from Silver Linings Playbook.  She was mesmerizing in that role.  Amazing.  Unforgettable.
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Jennifer Lawrence as crazy Tiffany - totally believable; Hot and SuperNuts

The "unforgettable" part as Tiffany reduced Katniss - to my eyes - as imminently forgettable.
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It was also an odd, but entirely understandable, choice to have Katniss kind of ... stumble into the winner's circle.  For a game where 24 kids have to kill each other to come out with 1 winner, she did remarkably little killing.  I guess that on-screen having her put an arrow throw other kids might reduce your sympathy towards the lead - but it was still odd.  She played a steely eye'd, passive winner.  Passive lead characters are dull.  The whole "Lord of the Flies" last hour was kind of a waste - except to show the producer manipulation.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

As I freeze at home..

As i freeze my behind off and walk Trevor in the cold, Eddie is "attending meetings" on Kiawah Island in South Carolina.  Tough life.
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Chameleon color? Come on!

Look, I like FLOR as much as the next guy.  In fact, probably more than the next guy.  We use it in the bedroom because if Trev (or CoCo) has an accident, you can change out just that 1 tile.
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Having said that, I find this picture less than helpful.
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The colors of five different FLOR tiles are listed as "Chameleon, Hummingbird and Iguana".
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Hum...
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First, those are only 3 color names and there are 5 colors.
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Second Hummingbirds come in any variety of colors - not a helpful name.
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Third, I don't see a dirty sand color, so I have no idea which tile "Iguana" is.
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Finally.  "Chameleon"?  Really?  Isn't that the animal that can change its color to suite the background.  It would be quite a trick make a FLOR tile that could do that.

You wouldn't normal see me put My Father and the New Yorker in the same sentence, but...

My father, passed now these many years ago, was a charming man.  Charming and a pathological liar - so not charming when you were on the receiving end.  Actually charming when he said it, but he made you feel like a total dumb-ass when you looked back on it later.
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I saw this New Yorker cartoon today and thought of him.  Not fondly, per say, but not with ill will either.  Just kind of typical.
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It has been 30 years, and I still miss some Xerox Ideas

You know, if Microsoft and Apple were going to steal from Xerox ViewPoint, they should have taken more.  I still find annoying things in Microsoft Word that were just easier in ViewPoint.
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Take sentence selection.
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Microsoft Word; 1 click = letter, 2 clicks = word, 3 clicks = paragraph
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Xerox ViewPoint (Circa early 80s); 1 click = letter, 2 clicks = word, 3 clicks = sentence, 4 clicks = paragraph
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When you are writing, moving just a sentence in Word is cumbersome and stupid.
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Rant off....
Icons before Apple, Writing application before Word, Internet Mail before graphical World Wide Web (www)
And that printer icon (lower right, second row, 3rd from left) could be located anywhere in the world.
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Just FYI, there is a little icon that looks like a PC and says "PC Emulator", that is how I got a Xerox job.  Steve hired me (thanks buddy) in order to test the ability to run PC programs in a little window on the machine with icons.  Yes, they wanted to be able to run PC-DOS programs because some customers didn't know how to use "icons".

What if Wayne LaPierre has a point?

Okay, I think Wayne LaPierre - spokeshole for the NRA, is a blathering idiot.  He SHOUTS platitudes and sound bites and never faces the truth about gun violence in America.
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However, maybe buried in that self-serving diatribe he calls a "discussion", he just might have a point about violence in our culture.
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Americans are freaked out over sex, but we have desensitized our culture to violence to a point I wouldn't have believed a few years ago. Beheadings, mass automatic weapon shoot-outs and splatter blood erupt in prime time on basic TV channels.  Janet Jackson showed a nipple for less than 1/2 of one second was fined $550,000 dollars.  But last night on Fringe (which had an awesome ending - FYI) there was a 4 minute gratuitous automatic weapons fight, beheadings, blood splattered everywhere - and that was fine on regular TV (not even cable).
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Tom with another big gun...
Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, Jeremy Renner, Harrison Ford are the mainstream actors, that killed violently and often and then end up with the girl and the glory.  Not just "the girl", but the much younger, hotter girl... like Thadia Newton or Cameroon Diaz or Donna Murphy or Mila Kunis or  Katherine Heigl (okay - Katherine Heigl is kind of a booby prize, but you catch the drift).
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That doesn't even include "action" stars like Bruce Willis, Arnold, Sly and Jean Claude.  Question, when was the last time someone used their brains or empathy to save the planet - Matthew Broaderick in War Games?  And he ended up with Ally Sheedy in her pre-slut days.  No self respecting adolescent boy wants to grow up and be Matthew Broaderick - not since Ferris Buehler's Day Off.
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On TV?  The most critically acclaimed new show is The Following where Kevin Bacon searches for a serial killer (the always cute James Purefoy) who stabs women in the eye with a knife, carves up people and kills like you and I make dinner - he (or his followers) kill 8 people in the first 1 hour show.  Sure crazy Hannibal Lecter did something like that, but he was in jail and shown as crazy.  Look at this big picture from the The Following.  Which is the killer - scary looking Kevin Bacon or hot Jame Purefoy?
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And I don't think it is fair to say "it's just TV" (or the movies, or video games or whatever).  Look, as a gay man, I applaud every time a positive gay role model is on TV or in a movie.  I think that this helps normalize us mos and shows people that we are just regular people.  So how can I honestly say that showing wholesale murder over and over again, often in the cause of justice - doesn't normalize this action?  And they get the girl and the happy ending.  Even if they die, the girl they love gets saved and goes on.
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Who is cuter?  Sad Cop or Happy Humpy Serial Killer?
So yeah, maybe Wayne LaPierre has a point about this.  He can still be wrong about assault weapons and generally, you know, an idiot.  I can admit he has a point and still think he is an asshole of such proportions that he is generating his own gravitational field.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Alone?

Are we alone in the universe?  I don't mean in the sense "are there other biological life forms?", which I am positive there are - but in the "is there anyone we can talk to?" sense.
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My guess is no, we won't find anyone to talk to.  I mean, there probably is / was someone, but I also don't think we will ever meet them.
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There are 3 problems in hoping to meet other smart(ish) species - let's take them in biggest to smallest.
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1. The Universe is hostile and big.  By that, I mean that there are a myriad of ways that the sky can break us.  Too many gamma rays, too much radiation from noves, too many comets, etc.  We are lucky to be stuck way out on the Milky Way's Rim, where the effects of random acts of star creation don't really effect us.  But most stars are in clusters closer to the center of the galaxy.  And there, a stray Nova or two could easily wipe out life, early in it's development.  So, if life - sentient life was going to evolve somewhere else, it would probably be another Rim area planet - which puts it too far for us to meet.
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2. Humanity is short lived.  I mean in the aspect of Universal time.  There is a fascinating walk in New York's Rose Planetarium, which takes you from the Big Bang to the the moon-shot.  It is about 1/4 of a mile, of which the last 1/4 inch is the history of mankind  - and only the last specks on the line indicate a time when man might venture out into space.  And that spec is effectively over now.  Having looked around the solar system and seen nothing to hold our attention, we spend more on TV shows about juiced up college students downing beer and vodka till they puke than we do on space exploration.  We have a short life expectancy (compared to the time it would take to travel to the stars) and an even shorter attention span.  Meantime there are a million things which have to be done to keep this planet viable.  In the 1950s and 60s - it was the prospect of nuclear war that might wipe us  out.  In the 1970s and 80s, it was the prospect of polluting ourselves to oblivion.  Now we are turning ourselves into the frog on the stove, with the water slowly heating up to boiling as we debate what to do about the bubbles.  Even if we avoid that, regular old wars are still being waged (or talked up).  It will be tough going to stay at this level of modernity for the next couple of centuries.
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3. What makes us think other sentient species are any better at the whole "exploration" thing than us?  Which multiples the problems of #2 across multiple species.
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I am not saying there aren't other people out there to talk to.  I am saying we just won't get the chance.
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I blame Einstein and that damn Speed Of Light limit.

Jefferson Market Library (ne Courthouse)

As I have said many times, one of the things I do love about New York is the walking and the you stumble upon. There are amazing buildings here, and you happen upon them all the time.
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This is the back of Jefferson Market Library.  It was built in 1877 as Jefferson Market Courthouse.  After it stopped being a courthouse, it sat empty for 22 years and was to be torn down.  The people in the area (Greenwich Village) fought and finally got the area converted in the 1974.
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It is called Jefferson Market because it was built on grounds of the 1800s major food markets.  In an interesting turn, the grounds behind the building have been given over as a garden to the city.  Before there was a (reportedly) ugly women's prison that was torn down.
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Jefferson Market Library.  Taken from Waverly & 6th last Sunday on a bumble with Ed and I.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

So - A question to readers

Hello.  Just in case you don't know or forgot, I occasionally blog as a UN Volunteer for the Center for African Affairs and Global Peace.  I just posted something that I think makes sense, but let me know if it is too out there.

Thanks (comments are open, but be nice) Post is below or HERE.
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A Jihadist Behind Every Tree

On January 17, 2013, in Conflict, by Scott Mitchell
As the conflict in Mali grows, the United States needs to find a justification for entering the civil war.  Recent military involvements in the Asia and Africa have not been popular with the population, and so there has arisen a method to “sell” the conflict.  Intervention for humanitarian reasons or due to a civil war is a difficult sell, particularly to a nation built on revolution and currently stuck in a bad economy.
During the Cold War (1940s- 1990s) the default motto was to Stand Up To Communism.  Since the 9/11 attacks on New York, the justification for intervention has defaulted to Stand Up To Islamic Terrorism.  So there has been a very recent change American officials’ response to the Mali Uprising.  In June of this year, both the Administration in Washington and the top US General in Africa said that there was no US threat from the Mali insurgents.  In the last few days the Administration has changed it’s line to say that the Mali insurgency is more.  Now the official line is “…they (Al Qeada) would use this a base of operations”. *

French Troops in Mali. (Harouna Traore/Associated Press)
The rhetoric of the change may seem slight.  At its most basic level, it provides an immediate justification for the US Administration to help the government of Mali.  However, it is detrimental in the long run.
If intervention is sold as a response to “Islamic Terrorism”, then there can be no negotiation with the rebels.  Any actual and reasonable grievances of the Taureg people might have will be ignored in the push to wipe out the enemy.  And, in the case of “successful” mission against the rebels, the US and others will immediately leave without considering any other support (economic or technical) that might be needed.
It wasn’t always this way.
In the period after the Cold War and before 9/11, the West tried to craft a reasonable set of criteria for intervention.  The mass killings in Rwanda in 1994, and the lack of a Western response, are seen as a moral failing.  After that incident, there was a period when international humanitarianism was considered a reason for foreign intervention. But the New York attacks in 2011 changed the mindset.  Now the West is busy “fighting terrorism”.  It is always easier to rally a populace against an enemy, than it is to sell a humanitarian mission.  This was one of the worst side effects of the 9/11 attacks.

I Find Myself Oddly Liking Chris Christie

The headline is totally wrong.
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In fact, if anything, Chris Christie agrees with Obama in message.  You can read the article, but the New Jersey Governor already supports a automatic weapons ban (which New Jersey has) and more Mental Health support to end violence.
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I actually don't undertand the purpose of the headline, except to get people to read it and show that the Governor would be a formidable candidate for President, should he ever get that far.
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I agree.  He's got an honest edge that I like, although he is rather prone to blaming the Teachers Union for all the ills of the world.  Aside from that, he's a good guy.  He is willing to work with either party to get things done.
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Given that (AND his support for an assault weapons ban AND his appointing a Muslim to the State Supreme Court AND his no-doubt future signature for Gay Marriage AND his working with Obama during Hurricane Sandy AND his limited support of a woman's right to have a teeny tiny bit of control over her  own vagina) he will no doubt never get the nomination - unless every other Republican is of the same caliber as 2012's crop of nincompoops.
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But if he gets that far, I like him.  I mean, at least he doesn't reflexive get the hee-bee jee-bees from 47% of Americans, so he's off to a better start already.
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In any case, he is reasonable. ARTICLE
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PS - Totally rude to start an article with the clause.. "By the time Gov. Chris Christie waddled out the door..."

The Heiress with Jessica Chastain

So first let me acknowledge that Yes, I do have a great life right now.  I am fully aware of how lucky I am.
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With that caveat, I got to go see The Heiress yesterday at the a matinee.   It is an old (and olde time) play about a young woman who is courted maybe / maybe not for her money.  Since she has a decent income (from her deceased mother) and a promise of an even greater income from her father's fortune - her father is worried that she is being swindled for her money.
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Judith Ivy, Dan Stevens, David Strathairn and Jessica Chastain

Despite this rather thin idea, it is well thought out piece.  The father actually quite dislikes his daughter, blaming her for his wife's death (she died in childbirth).  Nothing Cathy does can ever please him and he is constantly and reflexively so passive / agressive towards her that she had become a insecure mess whenever he is near.  When he is not around, she is freer to be herself, so much so that her aunt and then the beau (and the audience) find her fun and attractive.
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Jessica Chastain (who just won the Best Actress Golden Globe for Zero Dark Thirty) plays the heiress (Catherine).  Having seen Julianne Moore on Broadway, I expected rather a lousy performance from Ms. Chastain (film actress is lousy "live" and all).  But she was great.  A little one-note in the first act, but that is the show.  She was spot on through-out the play.
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It is a limited run - but pulling in great crowds since Ms. Chastain not only won the Globe, but is nominated for Best Actress Oscar and plays opposite Dan Stevens (from Downton Abby), David Strathairn and Judith Ivy.  They were all great.  Even Mr. Stevens American accent was excellent (actually he has 2 because he has returned at one point after 2 years "out west" - and he has acquired a slight twang - all quite well done).
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I got very lucky because the "Premium Tickets" didn't sell and I got 6th row center for regular price the night before the show (one of the true perks of living in New York and being able to check the day of).
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To see Cathy's transformation towards both her father and her suitor (hell, even her aunt) played out so well was great.  I got to see, honestly, at her first romantic kiss ever, Jessica Chastain - as Cathy, actually had a tear roll down her cheek.  Honest to goodness, that is committing to a role and believing it (at the matinee!).  She turned herself into an unattractive spinster with her bearing and manner.  I was impressed.  (I, of course, loved her in "the help" - but it is hard to believe it was the same person.)
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Jessica in The Help

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

So, What's the Poop-ski on Jeopardy?

So, I am done.  Two days and out.  Here is the poop-ski, and some answers to questions.
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First, of course I knew more answers than I got.  The hardest thing about the game is getting to answer a question.  What happens is that Alex reads it, and you can't buzz in until he is done.  Once ALEX finishes reading the clue, a Jeopardy employee across the room "unlocks" the buzzers (they are clickers, but lets not be padantic). Only then can you buzz in.  If you are too early, then you get a 1/4 second penalty, which locks you out effectively.
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Does the returning champ have an edge?  Only in the fact that s/he has figured out the timing of  unlocking the buzzers better.
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Are the buzzers all the same and do they work? Yes.  They check them at every break in the action.
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That NASA person had a category NASA acronyms, was that fair?  Fair, yes.  But very unlucky for us.  The categories are determined by a group not in the studio who don't know the contestants.  The 2 groups (contestent wranglers and clue team) are kept separate and don't talk.  By the same token, I had movies to Broadway musicals - although I couldn't get clicked in for the life of me.
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Is Alex nice?  Yes, charming.  It's a job, so he doesn't get overly invested in us (I wasn't invited out for cocktails), but he is very nice.
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Do you know the score during the game?  Not really.  The scores can be seen by us over to the left of the board, but honestly, you are so busy you don't every look at the score until it's a break or you have to bet on a Double Jeopardy clue
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Why did the girl bet $0 in your first game? Well, she wins either way.  For me to tie here, I have to bet it all AND get the answer right.  If she bets anything and is wrong, she risks losing the game.  If she bets zero, the worst she does is tie.
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Do you ever go blank?  The hardest categories are the ones you should know.  I blanked in Geography (and said Bissau Guinea, when i know it is Guinea Bissau every day of the week!)  I hear that Lit majors often do the same thing.
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Why did you bet so much in Double Jeopardy on World History?  Because I was losing badly.  I wanted to get back into the game and I took a shot, hoping I would know it.  I did not.
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You looked good, gauze?  No, a lite touch of HD makeup to everyone on the show (and the tiniest amount of Botox 3 weeks earlier).
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Did you really drop a girl on national TV?  Yes, and where ever you are Cheryl, I apologize.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Me & Alex

At the first break, we all get a picture with Alex....
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Tonight...

Yep, I am on tonight, but the "Hometown Howdy" isn't ready yet.  Just my picture.
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And with my lucky "US Open" tie.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Pronunciation Guides in Wikipedia are Useless

Okay, I know that I am old, but in my day the dictionaries had pronunciation guides which were comprehensible. Short vowel sound in lower case, long vowel sound in lower case with a bar over it, only the upside down e was tough to learn.
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So here is the pronunciation for "Aquitaine" in Websters: ˈa-kwə-ˌtān
Easy...
- Frist syllable: short a and this syllable is emphasized.
- Second syllable: well the kw is the qu sound, so no problem the upside down e is as in bleh.
- Third syllable with a long a.
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But Wikipedia, on the other, suffers from design by committee.  Here is their pronunciation of
"Aquitaine": French pronunciation: ​[a.ki'tɛn]English /ˌækwɪˈtn/
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To which I can only say... what?  If you gave me only this, without the actual word, I would have no idea what it is:
ækwɪˈtn

I LOVE the Clothes of 30s and 40s

I love the clothes of the 1930s and 1940s.  If you watch Clifton Webb get dressed in Laura, you realize it is just a silly amount of clothes, but they are so beautiful.
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And, I can pull most of it off.  But you need the hat.  I can't pull off the hat (I have huge ears that are off center).
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It's too bad, because this stuff is gorgeous.  Look at these pictures of Ryan Gosling's outfits from Gangster Squad (although he is the clothes horse in the movie).  And you can't see the shoes, but I saw them in a spread and they are stunning.  Vintage and stunning.  The made his hats special.
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With Emma Stone (who also looks amazing)



Even the casual clothes work (but that might be because he is cute).

Okay, most everything works if you are that cute.  But still, great clothes.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Somewhere a Republican Operative is screaming, "Shut Up!" (Updated)

From Huffington with further credit embedded...
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Just so you know, this Representative, a former OBGYN, says when some couples can't conceive  he tells them to drink wine and relax so the woman can ovulate.  Rape, therefore, prevents ovulation, since the woman is obviously not relaxed.  The problem here is that you don't ovulate and get pregnant AFTER sex, but you ovulate first, then have sex. (Update: I stand corrected.  Sperm can live 3 - 6 days so you can ovulate before or after sex.  So Rep. Gingrey has a point IF the victim hasn't already ovulated and IF she has had trouble conceiving previously.  Although, I doubt that most rapists stop to ask the victim about her ovulation cycle - I still think he is an ass. Hat tip J(B)E)
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The other problem here seems to be that male elected officials should just  shut the hell up about Rape, except to say it is a terrible and horrible thing. (No update to this.  They should shut up about rape.)
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Phil Gingrey Defends Todd Akin's Rape Comment: 'He's Partly Right'

Former Senate candidates Todd Akin (R-Mo.) and Richard Mourdock (R-Ind.) may have lost their respective elections over their controversial comments about rape and abortion, but Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) made the point clear on Thursday that they are not alone in their beliefs.
Gingrey, a former OBGYN and co-chair of the House GOP Doctors Caucus, defended the two men at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Georgia on Thursday morning. He said he believes that they are at least "partly right" in what they said about pregnancy and rape, the Marietta Daily Journal reported:
In Missouri, Todd Akin ... was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, "Look, in a legitimate rape situation" -- what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that's pretty tough and might on some occasion say, "Hey, I was raped." That's what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that. ...
And I've delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, "Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don't be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate." So he was partially right wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman's body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.
Akin said in August that victims of "legitimate rape" rarely get pregnant, because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." He later apologized and acknowledged that his comment was factually wrong. Recent studies have shown that rape and consensual sex have the same pregnancy rate.
Gingrey also defended Mourdock, who said in October that he opposes legal abortion without an exception for rape victims because if a woman conceives from rape, "it is something God intended to happen."
“Mourdock basically said, 'Look, if there is conception in the aftermath of a rape, that’s still a child, and it’s a child of God, essentially,'" Gingrey said. "Now, in Indiana, that cost him the election."
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NOTE - He didn't lose the election because he said it was a child of God.  He lost the election by saying that Rape was God's will.  Just shut up.

Funny, but...

So I saw this and laughed.  Then  I thought, goodness, there is a lot of work and effort going into odd things nowadays.  What if we could harness all that energy and brainpower for something really worthwhile.
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But then I thought, well, what if all that brainpower was diverted to evil instead of good.  Maybe those stupid lolzcats and "little brother snorts spagetti" videos is what is keeping true evil at bay rather then plotting the overthrow of the world.
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But then I wondered, I am over thinking all of this?
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Then I thought.  Whatever, this is still funny.
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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Really Surprised by Golden Boy

Yvonne Strahovski & Seth Numrich
I saw Golden Boy today at the matinee.  I have to say, I was really (pleasantly) surprised.  I have never seen the movie (I don't like boxing movies in general), so I didn't know much of the plot past - man has to choose between boxing and music.
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But it was great.  Written in 1930s in a very realistic way, it was probably quite racy back then.  It was handled perfectly; everyone played it straight from the no real cursing to the tragic blonde who's been around the block too often.
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It could have come off has half-assed melodrama, but it didn't.  For that kudos have to go to the leads (Seth Numrich & Yvonne Strahovski) as well as some amazing performances by Tony Shalub as the father and Danny Burnstein as the trainer.
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Loved it.
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Tony Shalub with Seth Numrich

San with Danny Berstein.  Bad picture, but the only one I saw.  Danny was amazing.