Friday, May 30, 2014

They switched it up on me (and many others)

Let's face it, we all manly make our commute 1/2 asleep.  With the subway that is even easier.  You stand on the platform and wait for the train.
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This used to be the E - No Matter What.
Now I take the E and it runs on the same track as the C when I pick it up.  The two split at the next stop.  But there is never really a problem with noticing which one is which, even 1/2 asleep, listening to the ipod, playing a phone game or doing the crossword puzzle.
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Because the E has it's number on big red lights at the front of the train.  You don't even have to see the train, you can see the reflection of red on the walls.  The C has no red light on the front, and so we all rustle in, like dead-eyed sheep in the morning to the train with the red light..
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Well, today, without warning, they finally upgraded the C trains to the new versions, with the red front light.  And, as it pulled up, all of us dead-eyed sheep got on, and looked around for a second and thought, "something's wrong...".
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The train was too empty.  So you look, and the stops are wrong on the lights and you jump out and look up and down the train.  And you see about 80 other people doing the same thing.
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So you curse (loudly if you are a native) and shuffle back, annoyed that now you have to be 2/3s awake in the mornings.

This can't be good

This looks like a leak to me. And liquid nitrogen shouldn't leak. On a public street. I wouldn't let Trevor pee on it, I was afraid it would be one of the tongue and frozen flagpole things. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

In case you haven't been watching Cosmos or following the craziness...


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Weather versus Climate is the latest info from Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson - the scientist behind the new incarnation of Cosmos.
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This new Cosmos has become a lighting rod for the Biblical Literalists to attack, because Dr. Tyson explains the science behind stating that the World is billions of years old (versus 6,000), that the Big Bang occurred, and makes science reasonable.
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This next episode will have the deliberately ignorant spinning their heads.  It discusses climate change and the difference between climate and weather.
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You know, I have been thinking about this for a while.  I think the whole reason we have a debate about this is liberals' own fault.  Liberals, with good intentions, allowed home schooling and a debate about evolution.  Because, it didn't' matter.  If people wanted to be idiots about evolution, we let them. It doesn't really hurt anything.
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But it did!  It gave power to the idea that science is debatable.  That an asinine idea - a 6,000 year old Earth where man and dinosaurs lived together like Fred Flintstone and Dino, was equivalent to the scientific consensus that evolution occurs.  We didn't argue, because who cares.  The crazies didn't reject evolution of disease - which allows for modern medicine, they didn't reject science of microprocessors that allowed computers, or aerodynamics that allowed flight.  If they wanted to be stupid, no harm no foul.
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But now their current dogged determination to reject education and science does actually hurt people.  And will hurt more.  I say AGAIN, you don't have to believe man is responsible for climate change to be prepared, but around the country the climate change deniers are being actively destructive and harmful.
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North Carolina's coastal commission isn't allowed to plan for sea level rise or higher intensity hurricanes.
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The military, which has identified climate change as a major threat, cause of wars and high risk area, isn't allowed to consider climate change in future plans (actually only passed a House committee and won't make it to the President).
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Being deliberately ignorant when it only effects you and your family is one thing.  Being deliberately ignorant when it effects the country is traitorous.
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And the new Republican mantra "I'm not qualified to talk to the Science of Climate Change" is even worse. (Here - John Bohner; Here Mark Rubio Here -Rick Scott; Here - Rep Lamar Smith - Chairman of the House Science Committee) This nice piece of verbal crap, which is effective in changing the subject, allows them to kill legislation, while pretending to admit they aren't sure of what to do.
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It is - the little sidestep.
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This just confirms what I knew

Without getting too schmaltzy, let me just say that I totally knew this.  I knew from the moment I kissed Ed that first time at CC Construction. LINK
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Key passage
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Well, there is some evidence to suggest that the first romantic kiss holds quite a bit of weight and serves as a way to assess the long-term potential of a mate. What are we assessing? A kiss may let you decide, via touch, taste and smell, the quality of a potential mate. Scientists speculate that we get a ton of information through the saliva about hormone levels, health and genetic compatibility. Hmmm… more like prairie dogs than we thought. Not to mention simple compatibility based on how well you kiss together. And naturally we aren’t the only species to kiss for ‘love.’ And once you kiss, there is a suite of chemical reactions in the brain and body. Sparks really can fly!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Young Mr. Spencer Day gave us a great show

Spencer Day is a crooner of the old variety that is tops.  His style is so fun, you want to get into the groove.
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Spencer from our seats (no zoom)
Well, Eddie and I saw him Monday night at Birdland, where he was launching his latest album.  It was a blast.  His album is 1960s songs that are kind of jazz-y (Never My Love), some songs that he gets into the 106-s groove (These boots Were Made for Walking), and one that he does in a blues style that seems all wrong, but works (Bad Moon Rising).
video
Just a taste....
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He is also quite funny.  He told a lot of stories about his "one of these things is not like the other" youth growing up in a divorced Mormon household with an attraction to liquor and men that he realized at as a youth while doing a year in Mexico.  He passed up his mission for. the sins of San Francisco.
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Birdland is tiny and the perfect place to see a singer (we also saw Morgan James there - she was great).  We sat next to a British couple from the east seacoast near London - and we all had a blast.  They were just looking for live music, and the hotel steered them to Birdland.  They loved the music.
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After the show we purchased an album and met him and it was a blast.
Me, Spencer and Sue (from England)

Eddie and Spencer

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Taliban Uses False Vaccine Initiative to Target Killings

Using a vaccine initiative to target killings of your enemies is repulsive.  And, when Al Queda and others were killing Doctors, Nurses and vaccine givers, I (along with most Americans) had to shake my head and feel sorry for those poor misguided bastards who thought we could be so evil, because we would never do that.  America would never go in an put so many health care workers in danger just to get some intel.
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Except, of course, we did.
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And since then, Polio has been on the rise.  Multiple health care vaccine workers and other care givers have been murdered to prevent vaccines from going forward (seven in one incident in Pakistan).
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On the plus side we killed Osama Bin Laden.  Which I totally get and approve of.  Seriously.  I don't know if I would have made a different call.
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Key Words Above: Anymore and No Longer..  

But I do know that there is pretty much nothing our government won't do anymore.  Make people distrust vaccine workers. check. We did that and now there are 66 cases of Polio this year in Pakistan.  And it's May.
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Make is understandable when doctors are killed.  Check.  How knows how many lives those seven (at the very very least) might have saved.
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And now the government says they won't do it anymore.  Why would anyone believe them?
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Worse than sad, it makes me feel a stupid fool for believing we wouldn't do it in the first place.
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CIA spokesman Dean Boyd told CNN on Monday that Brennan established the policy "after carefully considering a variety of views, including those from outside the agency. He took seriously the concerns raised by the public health community, examined them closely, and took decisive action."
Boyd also said it "is important to note that militant groups have a long history of attacking humanitarian aid workers in Pakistan and those attacks began years before the raid against the bin Laden compound."
SM - Apparently this is schoolyard "They were doing it anyway" excuse.
By publicizing the policy, he said the CIA hopes to "dispel one canard that militant groups have used as justification for cowardly attacks against vaccination providers," noting that the agency "has great respect for the vital work that vaccination workers perform around the globe."
SM - I love this, "dispel on canard that militant groups have used.."  You know what a "canard" is?  An unfounded rumor or story.  You know what this isn't, unfounded.  It was, in fact, the truth.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Madison Square Food Area

The Scene Entering
In the summer, starting last summer or the year before, Madison Square - the Park Garden, not the arena Garden, hosts a great pop up food square.  It is in what is otherwise a waster highway island, but it a lot of fun.
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Korean Spicy Pork Burrito

Eddie and I went today after biking around and had a great time.  There are all kinds of great food.  We had margaritas, plus tacos (I had pork rib and Ed had curry beef).  Then we split a spicy Korean Pork Burrito.
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Ed is not a fan of Kimchee, so he got another curry taco.
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It was a kick.
Curry Bar B Que Taco


A Beautiful Day (that is the Flatiron building in the back

Yesterday in Brooklyn

We had a great day yesterday in Brooklyn. Not so great we are moving or anything, but a great day none the less.
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Ed and sam "Not Poising"
It started with lunch with Val and Sam.  It was at some hip happening Brooklyn place near their apartment.  You know, huge line for brunch - Beyonce and JayZ go there kind of food.  Although it was excellent.  We scored a great table outside because Sam put our name in before his run.  So it was great.
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The Monument to the Winners 

The Facade of the Brooklyn Public Libraby

Then we walked up to Prospect Park because we had never been.  It was a nice (albeit long) walk up Park Slope.  We got to the top and saw this very cool memorial to the Civil War Veterans and this very 1930s Library.
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Azaleas, which bloom and they aren't pretty.  We hit them right. 
Next to the Library is the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, so we went.  Eddie and I enjoy a good Botanical Garden and this was nice.  It's not as great as the New York on in the Bronx, but it is well laid out and was very much in bloom.
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It also has a great Japanese Garden, which I love.  With a separate Bonsai Garden.  Apparently there was a lot of gift giving between Brooklyn and Japan in the 1920s.

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Finally, it made us think of Lynn because of the Lavender.  Lynnie loves lavender and there were fields of it.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

One Forgets James Franco Can Actually Act

I went and saw "Of Mice And Men" last night.  Eddie was out of the city on work, and I got a nice seat (4th row on the right).
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Anyway, I was surprised how good James Franco was.  He has a stage presence that is unmistakable.  None of his facial smirks, or weird surfer cadence, just a nice performance.  It was very good.
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Having said that however, Chris O'Dowd stole the show as Lenny.  He played him not as a caricature and he was amazing.  Their chemistry is great together.
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I never read the book - and seeing the show, I can't say I am sorry.  It is, for lack of a better word, a bit of a downer.  I mean it starts with dead mouse (no big spoiler there) so you know it is going to end up badly.
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It's not subtle.  I suppose the book is much better, I mean it is a great classic.
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One of the times you realize how much of a famous actor he is was at the curtain call.  After the curtain call, they tried to whip up money for Broadway Cares.  Now, like all shows, they sold signed posters and Playbills.  But then James Franco auctioned off a chance to meet the entire cast and take pictures.  They starred with $300, which I thought was a bit rich, but they quickly went up to $1,000.  At $1,000, they stopped and offered to let anyone that donated $1,000 to come stay and meet the cast and take pictures.
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It was pretty damn cool.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Well, I don't want to put chemicals in my body, but....

As I get old, I enjoy eating less and less.  I mean, it is a chore to make food.  And since there are only two of us, I always make too much – unless I make the right sized portions and then there is too little.
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And I am never hungry, until we get food.  Then I tear through it like a Bear.
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Enter Soylent.
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Named, rather whimsically, after the “recycled” human food in Soylent Green, Soylent was created by a few tech nerds that essentially hacked food information (in that they decoded what the body needed and created a modified food source) to drive a fully rounded diet.  I first found out about them around a year ago.
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At that time, the brains down at Soylent had to do work on their own selves to create it, AND it was based on their body type.  You could, for a few thousand, give them all kinds of details and samples and they would create a lab mix for you. Turns out, a bunch of $1,000 investments down the road, that everyone needs pretty much the same nutrients.  You might need fewer – but it would be uniformly fewer – except in truly bizarre cases.
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And so, they now sell Soylent.
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In a late night wheat induced cramp-fest in London, I purchased my first supply.  It takes 8 – 10 weeks for the first set, but then you can get them in a week if you are a member.  So we will see what happens.

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I just got tired of headlines like these.
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Sugar Packet Quality Control – meh

So, I have been using a sugar packet for my coffee lately at work.  I like the pink stuff, but I am trying to be a little more aware of what goes into my body and so I have switched to sugar.  I don’t use “sugared” Coke yet, because it is corn syrup and the only thing I worry about more than the pink stuff is corn syrup.  I do drink “GUS” (Grown Up Soda) made with sugar and only 90 calories.
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But I digress.
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So… as I was saying, I have started using a packet of sugar in my coffee.  Well, quality control in sugar packets is lousy.  Sometimes they are stuffed, sometimes barely half full.  It’s like, “Go on, Tubby, you’re going to use 3 or 4 anyway who cares?”
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It is disconcerting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Charles the Third in London


So, I saw Charles the Third in London and I LOVED it.  It was great.  Turns out it was written by a playwright I adore, Mike Barlett.  I have recently seen his plays Cock and Bull, and reviewed them both.  Cock I liked so much I went back twice, the first time with Ed and Simon, the second time with Ed and someone else (yes, Ed saw it twice).  But back to Charles the Third.
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It is the story of Charles taking over as King upon the death of Queen Elizabeth.  Almost immediately the funeral, Charles is presented with a bill to sign that is objectionable.  And, Charles is right.  It essentially removes Freedom of the Press if Parliament decides it wants to do it.
Adam James as the Prime Minister and Tim Pigott-Smith as Charles
Charles asks the Prime Minister to revise the law – but it is too late.  It turns out that “advice” is only nominal and the Prime Ministrer will not change it.  Ultimately (with some very very bad advice from the opposition leader) Charles refuses to sign it and that prompts a crisis.
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Charles is played by Tim Pigott-Smith and he is great.  He doesn’t really look like Charles, but he does convey the essential paradox.  This is a man who believes he is destined to serve the country.  He is very traditional about service to God and Country, while not particularly likeable, the character is quite admirable.  (Also Timothy Pigott-Smith, doesn't that just sound regal?)
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The Prime Minister is played by Adam James.  This was very fun for me because saw reviewed Adam in Bull in a theater where I literally stood right outside the stage (it was set like an office as boxing cage).  He is a great actor, playing full of bravado with the best of them.  Adam is a really forceful actor and it was cool seeing him do this.
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Lydia Wilson as Kate and Oliver Chris as William

The play then takes the audience deeper into the crisis, with two leaders that cannot back down.  There is manipulation by the Opposition leader, grandstanding by the military, and scheming by Kate (of William and…), carousing by Henry.  It is very current, but very Shakespearian in its machinations.  And, wait for it, written in Iambic Pentameter!  I couldn’t believe it.
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Beautiful.
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Note the Mural in the background, then compare it to another view of the same mural in top picture.

And the space was great.  It is an old semi-circular place (with an interesting mural across it for the show – that reads differently from different distances).  It is up in Islington at the Angel stop on the Tube.  I had never been up there, and it was a very cool, fun little area.  Not a lot for tourists to do, but cool restaurants and fun people.