Monday, July 31, 2006


Back to the scanner again, although this time not for family albums. This time I am scanning things as part of what seems to be the never ending preparation of my renewal submission. I am on to the "supplimental information" section, which for artists is akin to your portfolio. Never know what you will find when you open up old boxes.

Old Projects...

Here's the viola reception desk from the Chicago Symphony's ECHO Center during its fabrication at Chicago Scenic:

Here is it installed on site:

This is a lift Kevin and I built in three hours at Maine State Music Theatre for a production of "Into the Woods":

Old Friends...

Here's Evan Gelick on the set of "Mrs. Warren's Profession" at Northwestern:

We had a hardware box for that set that said "Mrs. Warren's Infection." Never gets old.

Here's David Sword peering at my mechanical work on a lift for "Underground" at the Yale Repertory Theatre:

Old Friend's Projects...

Here's a photo from Ruthanna's design for "Crossroads" at Carnegie Mellon:

and then Ruthanna's "Don Perlimplin":

This is what it looks like when you put the slide in the scanner backward:

But the find of the night has to be these two photos from when we had the CMU TV Project at WQED in Pittsburgh...

Cletus Anderson and King Friday XIII's castle:

And Paul Bistrican visiting X the Owl's house:

Can't wait to see what else is in the box.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Link of the Day

The BlogYear is almost up and I have a bunch of things bookmarked for link of the day that haven't gotten up yet. Guess I should do something about that.

Here's a little ditty for those of you who long for a simpler time, when the worst a President could do was score.


We've been having some of that beautiful Pittsburgh weather: 90/90 with rain and fog... Somehow I don't think Condaleeza is going to get these people to come to an agreement... Only one week left of pre-college, I never really got around to kicking their asses... All the talk about interest rates and the soft housing market never used to bother me when I was renting... It's nice, when you are about to put a pencil in your eye, if you are able to bust all of your people out of the meeting... I think maybe as Americans we don't have the bandwidth to process three wars at once. I wonder what happened in Afghanistan this week... I think that 30 days without action or comment amounts to ignoring... I really, really, really, hope he didn't dope to win the Tour... Somehow in the next two weeks I have to do a substantive amount of shop time... I believe that tying an increase of the minimum wage to a cut in capital gains is a little bit obscene... Another month has gone by without my renewal package completing itself... Even though I don't want the summer to end, I do believe I am starting to miss football... The kittens are getting real big, I wish they didn't have to... I am not sure that Barry Bonds is such a catch that they should have to apply the same method as with Al Capone... I haven't been to Kennywood or Sandcastle this summer. Maybe its time for Sandbar, perhaps next Friday night... Nobody said anything about my new picture... Does anyone have any job leads in Miami??? The people that wanted the ad on the other page never wrote back... It sounds like it won't be long until AOL is free. Be nice to keep that address and not have to pay anymore... Descent and Pulse both look like movies I think I will skip... Looks like Germans just aren't interested in Wal-Mart - Germans and Chicagoans... More record oil profits this quarter, bastards... Please everyone, when the time comes, remember we are no longer interested in the services of Rick Santorum... I need some new blogs to read...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

What Makes for "Bad Enough?"

Its interesting to me the way comments went on the last post. So much early conversation was about age of consent for medical procedures. Where I was going was that when transportation across state lines is involved, by the time you get to the point where a patient signs a consent form the facilitating adult has already committed a felony. Absent parental consent they had kidnapped the minor.

I guess that culturally there would be some kind of "no harm no foul" posture toward the kidnapping were the child returned and for some reason the legislature thought it was necessary to add another charge.

In this context though I do wonder about that bus driver. I have a suspicion that technically a minor should have to have parental consent to buy a bus or train ticket. Where's the line, county, state, federal border? An interesting artifact of the discussion. Although, if the bus driver has no intent to kidnap and is simply driving his bus and passively commits kidnapping surely there is no charge. If the bus gets into an accident and the minor dies, could the driver be charged with felony murder, as the death resulted in the act of committing the underlying crime? Really I do think I should have gone to law school.

Parents, don't let your children grow up to be artists. A public service announcement from the folks at TANBI.

Bad Enough. This is an interesting concept. I too have the reflex reaction when people say its bad here. That we're run by an American Taliban and the like. I do think it is an inequity in the rhetoric. People don't snap at Rush for calling people Nazis or Pinkos, or Commies which would seem to me to be every bit as hyperbolic as someone on the opposite end of the spectrum calling Bush and his crowd the Taliban. It's not true, but it is absolutely there in the context. Its one of the reasons I found AirAmerica difficult to listen to even though I agree in principle with the positions. When one of there guys would always say "Bush Crime Family" I would have a problem with it. When Janeane Gerafalo would start calling people names no worse than I hear on other shows going the other way it just sounded more spiteful than it does in the other direction.

I like to think its because we know better.

But I digress, I was saying that I have the same reflex when people talk about how bad it is here. I also get it when things go wrong, and not Katrina wrong but like the last week in Queens wrong. People on TV hour after hour complaining about no power, no air-conditioning. All I can think in my head is, well its no day at the beach, but then its not Darfur either. Shut up, get on the bus, and go to the movies - its cool there. As bad as it is here, its nothing like it is other places in the world. Our elections may be gerrymandered within an inch of their lives, but there are multiple candidates and anyone can vote for any of them. Our cops may occasionally step over the line, but there are no death squads roaming the streets. People may get Christmas as a national holiday and have to take a personal day for Yom Kippur, but the personal day doesn't lose you your job, and you don't have to worry about being gunned down in the street going to your observance. All things being equal the Earth is not currently hurtling toward the sun.

So I do believe that for a myriad of reasons we do tend to over react. And I also think that for some fundamentally rhetorical reason the language of the complaining just sounds worse than it really is. But also, in the context of "bad enough" I think there isn't just a line that you cross and then you are there.

Bad enough happens a little bit at a time. Often I think it begins for what are certainly legitimate reasons and only after it gets momentum does it occur to us that we have been off the rails for quite some time. I've quoted Jean-Luc Picard on this before, but its a good quote:

With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.
Somewhere here there is likely a stump speech in gestation. A government that wiretaps its own without warrant is bad enough. A culture that imprisons people without regard for human rights is bad enough. A country that values profit over sustainability is bad enough. A political authority that supports corporate persons to the detriment of private citizens is bad enough. Leaders that value the appearance of morality over the practice of moral and ethical behavior are bad enough. A nation of style over substance is bad enough.

We are well past the threshold of bad enough. I wonder how so few people seem to mind?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More Time Wasting

I'm not 100% certain on this one. Perhaps there's a lawyer out there to set me straight, but I think that once again the US Senate spent a goodly amount of high profile time on pandering rather than legislating. When we last left our august legislative body they were pissing around with a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. Today they made a big show out of passing a law making it illegal for anyone but a parent to transport a minor across state lines for the purpose of obtaining an abortion.


The Senate will vote today on the Child Custody Protection Act (CCPA), legislation that is dangerous for teens facing unintended pregnancies. The bill would make it a federal crime for any adult other than a parent to help a teen cross state lines to get abortion services. ItÂ’s a thinly veiled ploy to restrict choice, endangering teensÂ’ health and threatening jail time for grandmothers or aunts if they help teens.
Now I may be a moron, but I think this bill might actually be redundant. I mean, a minor child cannot consent to anything by definition, yes? A parent is the only person that can grant consent for the minor, yes? So any person, taking any minor, over state lines for any purpose without the consent of the parent - that would be kidnapping wouldn't it? And isn't kidnapping already a felony?

Also, how often do we think this actually happens, and out of that many times how many of those are not actually to circumvent state notification laws but rather because it just makes sense to go to another state. I can envision a situation where someone in Nevada would want to go to California just because the nearest city is in Cali.

And what does any of this have to do with why my gas is $3/gal, or why our education system is a shambles, or oudependencece oforeigngn oil, or our degrading infrastructure, or monopolization of media, or the strongarming of copyright, or oh yeah our multi-fronted war on terror?

I really wish these people would quit the pissing and pandering and do some honest to goodness governing. These wedge issues never get anywhere and just upset people. And yes I know one persons "upset" is another persons "energized" and this will probably generate voters and campaign contributions, but please, I beg our legislators, please don't use the instrument of our governance as a campaign ad. There are more responsible vectors by which to deliver that message.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Anyone know what a fair rate is for a small banner ad on a webpage?

I have someone interested in advertising on The News Page and need to come up with a fair price, and I have not one clue what it might be.

Someone got a clue for David, or know someone who might?

Sunday, July 23, 2006 - Show Will Go On Despite Strike Vote

This isn't getting a lot of coverage here. I think it should. Union or non-union, entertainment projects should hire entertainment technicians. - Show Will Go On Despite Strike Vote

Another Book Idea

Not too long ago I had another idea for a book. This is one that is only in existence because of the development of the camera phone. I think that maybe this book will not me the coffee table book I had originally envisioned, but rather I think this book would live in the bathroom. The last page - the back cover would just be a picture shaped hole, so you could look through to the floor of the room you are in.

The name of the book?

The View From the Throne

recognize any?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Well Done

Just wanted to take a moment to give kudos to the United States Congress for finally thinking so out of the box that the President had no choice but to veto their legislation.

Way to think on your own guys. I hope to see more of it in the future.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Parental Diplomacy

Who do you think should stop shooting first, the officially recognized national armed forces of the democratically elected government of an internationally recognized sovereign nation or the armed militia of a religious faction? Seems clear to me.

Although it also seems very parallel to the older brother younger sister backseat slap fight.

"Mom, he hit me!"

"She started it!"

"Yes, but as the older more responsible sibling you need to be the bigger of the two of you and know that we don't hit our little sister."

Just once I would have liked to have clocked her with all I had right in the kisser. Which means I think that every single older brother in the entire world knows how the Israeli army must feel. Also, one would assume that Hezbollah knows what every little sister in the world learns very quickly: Mom and Dad will not stand for the little sister getting clocked in the face, and the older brother is aware of that fact. That's why she poked you in the first place.

The more I think about it though the more I am certain that this sort of analysis ought not to apply to this situation. I also think the Israelis feel this way. I hope the Hezbollah leadership isn't counting on back seat rules continuing to apply. Lest when they look up they may see two things...

1. Israel about to clock them in the face with everything they have.


2. The face of George W. looking over his shoulder saying "I told you not to make me stop this car!"

Things I Want But Do Not Need

This should be an easy store to guess...

  • Carpet perch shaped like a grandfather clock
  • A tank full of sharks
  • A working pet fountain
  • The Litter Robot
  • A cat toy that is like a dog toy, but does not have a squeaky thingy

Well This Is Fun

This Space For Rent

I heard today on the radio (commercial free radio as it turns out), I heard to day on the radio that there will soon be a company using laser etching to place ads (specifically in this case for CBS TV) on the shells of eggs. I guess as advertising goes this is fairly tame. But I have to ask myself just when everything became all about advertising. On the whole I think we would be a lot better off without it.

Over on the other page I see advertising come up quite a bit. There was just a protracted disagreement between advertisers, producers, and creative unions over profits from product placement. I'm glad to know that when someone is now making something for media that so much of their effort is placed into making sure they wring every dime out of the effort by choosing the right soda to depict. There's also been some buzz about live action advertisements prior to performances of theatrical productions. It's apparently been going on for a while in London and Broadway saw its first instance recently.

I guess unlike the movies theatre skipped the previews thing and went right for the commercials.

I guess the argument here is that somehow the commercials reduce the end cost of the entertainment to the consumer. I am not sure that is a good argument though. Also, I think maybe it isn't why we went down the road in the first place. TV commercials are the children of radio commercials, yes? And then radio of newspapers. So maybe this was just so much learned behavior and status quo.

Unfortunately a TV commercial and a newspaper advertisement have a critical difference. One, one is passive and the other, less so.

Also, I really think early TV and radio spots were about sponsorship and raising of capital to produce programming. And, there is the issue of distribution. With a broadcast media you can't really collect from the user. Or at least you couldn't back in the day.

I am a mass market user of two non-commercial airing media services. I listen to NPR often, and I have premium cable channels. Somehow they seem to get by without much in the way of aggressive, intrusive advertising. Although NPR shills for money often, it doesn't appear to be going away, and HBO seems to be holding its own very well thank you. Recently there has appeared a fairly high appetite for subscription audio. Both satellite radio and podcasting are dominated by commercial free content.

Why do we need all this advertising? Who decided that our airwaves should be used so heavily for advertising? What is wrong with paying for the product?

I know someone will say that not everyone can afford premium channels, and I see that likely the cost of entertainment goes up if the commercial revenue goes away (although I wouldn't hold my breath there). But how much more do things cost because of advertising? If the people that make soap can't spend their money on TV ads and therefore the price of your TV goes up, does it matter if the price of your soap (the price of everything now heavily advertised) goes down?

Pay the soap people what soap is worth. Pay the TV people what TV is worth. What does TV have to do with the price of soap?

Likely this would also mean that it would be more difficult to break in a product. Without the tool of the advertising blitz companies would have to find another way to boost recognition. I say who cares. So they would have to find another way. Maybe they could generate word of mouth by making a good product.

I think this might have the knock on effect of making nearly everyone feel better about what they have because they wouldn't spend so much time being told they need something else.

I'm not even going to delve into the quagmire that is political TV advertising except to say that making one problem go away fixes the other.

How's this for a proposal: over the next 10 years broadcast media that use public spectrum must reduce the amount of time dedicated to commercials by 25% each year. If right now we get 22 minutes of programming for 30 minutes of broadcast then next year we would get 24. What would be left after 10 years would likely be akin to something at the top of the hour saying "this hours content sponsored by..." I can live with that.

Digital recording is paving the way for us anyway. With DVDs of TV shows, TIVO, and Podcasts a great many people are already enjoying the entertainment they set out to see without being subjected to sales they want no part of. Right now media companies are lobbying the FCC and legislatures to make it illegal to fast forward over commercials. Talk about wrongheaded. Commercials have been a bad idea all along, lets break the mold and find a new way rather than trying to cloodge the old mistake into the new technology.

And no more informercials. The rental on spectrum should say "no sub-lets."

When advertising went from print to broadcast it became intrusive. Perhaps it is time to roll it back and say that advertising should be passive. Print ads, fine, billboards, ok. You want to laser your logo on eggs, more power to you. Sponsor a sports team, go door to door, but get out of my face - I just wanted to watch the news.

Maybe they could laser etch the news onto eggs...

Monday, July 17, 2006


Diplomacy sometimes seems to slip into parenting language... I still desperately need a list, time is running out... Way, way too many kids are on medication. The paper says 40% of kids at overnight camp... It turns out Pamela's doesn't open until 9:00 on Sunday, but parking is easy... I heard a song "I Miss Monica" today about simpler times... Teachers really do get the cash flow shaft... Enough with the humidity already, I miss Vegas sometimes - like putting you head in the oven...Just because it is in the refrigerator does not mean you should eat it... Its only fair if you are reading this page and I know you and you have your own page for you to send me the url... I can't beat the "oasis" scenario of Civ IV, doesn't seem to matter what I do... I really do hope we are able to do something about Rick Santorum this fall... All of a sudden the rest room at the bookstore is like a gas station - you need a key. Very uncivilized... Mrs. TANBI is halfway through her European odyssey... I wonder who would turn up if I had a painting party... Does it make sense to disassemble a portfolio in order to compose a portfolio??? I'm not sure I understand what Carmen Electra has to do with a sports award show... I think they are waiting to indict Barry Bonds until he is one home run behind Aaron... Comcast continues to disappoint me. I don't think they care... I talked to the parents like a good department head. Woohoo... First fill up over $50 today. If the cynical people were right, and the war is about oil, then the war must not be going very well... We may have to give people a payroll tax credit to get them to go into eldercare... If they built the border fence out of solar panels, would it satisfy both conservatives and liberals??? Almost nobody is updating their page lately. I had to go buy a book... Kittens like to climb things, like your leg while sitting at the computer. Their claws are sharp... There's an interesting labor dispute happening over movie work in Quebec... The Tour De France is the latest of professional sports I can't seem to care about... These ellipses were not produced by either the string or card (trammel) method, nor by plotting points...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Long Way Around

System: Welcome David ...
System: Connecting to server. Please wait...
System: Connected to
System: AOLTechZJN has joined this session!
System: Connected with AOLTechZJN:
You: hi
System: Hello, David. Welcome to Live Technical Support. My name is Jessica.
System: David stated the question or problem as: I can't get to the s/n manager.
System: Are you signed on with the same computer that you need assistance with?
You: yes
You: I am trying to delete one of my screen names
AOLTechZJN: I understand how something like this can really try your patience. I am going to do my best to make sure you receive all the help you need.
You: every time I try I get a blank web page
You: You can get FREE help online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at AOL Keyword: Help
You: and when I click help
You: I get the same page
You: hello?
AOLTechZJN: Thank you for waiting. I appreciate your patience.
AOLTechZJN: I understand the Account Security Question (ASQ) does not appear correctly when you access AOL Keyword: NAMES to create/delete screen names. Do I have it correct?
You: no
You: I didn't say anything about that
You: using keyword NAMES
You: in the WAOL app
You: loads me a web page
You: that says this:
You: You can get FREE help online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at AOL Keyword: Help
AOLTechZJN: What I mean is when you go to your Names you are getting blank page on ASQ.
You: and if I click help
You: it loads the same page
You: recursively
You: forever
You: until my fingers bleed
You: or the world ends
You: whichever comes first
AOLTechZJN: Are you getting g the ASQ or the Account Security Question page blank?
You: I am not getting any page
You: all roads to help lead to that same page
You: You can get FREE help online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at AOL Keyword: Help
You: You can get FREE help online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at AOL Keyword: Help
You: You can get FREE help online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at AOL Keyword: Help
You: kind of ironic actually
AOLTechZJN: Do you still have that notice?
You: I closed the app
You: but I can get it back
You: yes
AOLTechZJN: Yes please do it for me.
You: I still have the notice
AOLTechZJN: I would like you to send me a picture of your screen, so I can see what you see. Display the screen that shows the issue then press the PRINT SCREEN key on your keyboard (near the F12 key). This copies the screen even though you won't see anything happen.
AOLTechZJN: On the AOL® toolbar, click the WRITE icon. Right-click the message text box, then click PASTE. This displays the screen shot. Right-click the screen shot, click RESIZE PICTURE, then click FULL SIZE. In the SEND TO: box, type AOLTechZJN, then click SEND NOW.
You: done
AOLTechZJN: Thank you. Please hold while I read the e-mail you sent.
AOLTechZJN: Thank you for waiting. I appreciate your patience.
AOLTechZJN: Are you trying to access AOL Keyword NAMES? when you get that page ?
You: names
You: yes
You: help
You: yes
You: screennames
You: yes
You: selecting sceennames from the help index
You: yes
AOLTechZJN: That's it.
You: selecting help from that page
You: yes
AOLTechZJN: That's what I mean in the first part of our conversation.
AOLTechZJN: The page you are getting is the ASQ page.
AOLTechZJN: That appears to be blank and unable to access your screen names.]
AOLTechZJN: I apologize you are affected with this issue.
AOLTechZJN: It appears to be a system problem on the AOL server due to maintenance. I would like to thank you for bringing up this issue to our attention. Please be assured that there is no problem on your computer or your AOL account. This is being fixed on our end.
AOLTechZJN: However, there is a temporary workaround you can try, that will enable you to access the ASQ area at this time.
AOLTechZJN: You: can access AOL Keyword: NAMES using Internet Explorer.
AOLTechZJN: You'll need to minimize AOL to double-click the Internet Explorer icon on the desktop. This will start Internet Explorer, which will automatically attempt to display the default home page. When it opens, maximize AOL and let me know.
You: I am chatting with you through firefox
You: trying to get to you in waol got me
You: You can get FREE help online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at AOL Keyword: Help
You: I have another tab open
AOLTechZJN: Yes and please use Internet Explorer for the mean time to access your screen names.
You: ok
AOLTechZJN: On the Internet Explorer window, type and click GO. Please tell me if that works.
You: It did, and in Firefox
You: thanks

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ooh Baby, Don't Stop, Don't Stop!

I really do like Pittsburgh. I like the point, the waterfront, the stadiums, Squirrel Hill, Shadyside. There's so much to like.




Sorry about that. I almost had an accident today trying to do a perfectly normal merge when I looked in front of me to discover that the car there had inexplicably stopped. It is a creature of Pittsburgh drivers. If the evolutionary solution to this wouldn't jam up other people I think I would wholeheartedly support the ramming option.

By the way, just in case you don't believe a civil engineer could do something so insane as put a stop sign at the end of an on ramp, I give you "The Merge of Death":

Things I Want, But Do Not Need

I just went shopping. For me, shopping is different than for many people. I believe that exiting the store without having purchased anything is a victory. For me, many stores are very much like museums where you go to see nice things. Or maybe it is like some kind of bizarre suburban hiking. Anyway, things I want but do not need - in no particular order...

  • New Ipod, big memory, video or nano
  • New, good buds for my current Ipod
  • Ultra compact notebook PC, or tablet
  • 802.11g wireless router
  • TIVO deck with lifetime membership and wireless capability
  • Slingbox
  • 23-34" flat panel HDTV
  • 13x19" Inkjet printer
  • Head unit Ipod integration for my truck
  • GPS Nav system - preferably in dash
  • A new cellphone, with a better camera
  • Bluetooth phone headset with bone conducting microphone
  • Dataprojector for my home office
  • 6 megapixel camera and a big data card
  • Home network audio distribution
Can you tell which retail museums I went to today?

Truth be told, even if I had the $10,000 that list must total if its a nickel I think it would go to other things - someone to paint my house, replace the failing brick, pave the driveway...

I guess its a good thing that wanting is not needing. Next week maybe I'll go to the hardware store.

Link of the Day

I have been playing this game way way way way way way way (you get the idea) too much. It has totally sucked out my soul and left me a withering husk. Its sort of like that game from Next Gen they used to take over the ship. Really there's very little strategy, no way to win, and eventually no matter what you do you lose.

It's perfect.

Now, like a communicable disease I am giving it to you:

Actually, its more like that movie The Ring and I am here hoping that by passing it on to someone else I will break the curse on myself.

My high score is something just North of 400,000. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I Watch Too Much TV

Project Runway is back, excellent. Rockstar is back too, but I don't so much care with Tommy Lee and without Ty Taylor.

But Project Runway, that rocks. I think I like it because in many ways it is like work. Here are all these defenseless, aspiring, creative people told to do unreasonable things in impossible time frames only to get the absolutely most ruthless feedback - if they get any real feedback at all. It may be fashion, but for all intents and purposes it is drama school.

Actually I think my appreciation is more nostalgia for when I was a Drama student than it is any kind of empathy for the situation I am in now. This is the story of the student type people, not the teachers. Although, I love Tim Gunn. He would make an excellent addition to the faculty of our department. I wonder if he's ever considered teaching costume design.

Tonight was the official premiere. Last night they did a making the cast episode and they showed their auditions around the country. I couldn't believe how much they reminded me of our interview process. They have a little bit of an advantage though. When someone walks through the door they just know is a "not for us" they can simply stop them and turn them around. When that happens to us we give the candidate the whole interview anyway. I think maybe we get surprised once in every thousand interviews. With that kind of predictive accuracy maybe we should just say "I'm going to stop you right now and say you're not what we're looking for" as Tim so politely said to one of their candidates on the show last night.

The cast for their show looks good this year. I hope the show stays fresh, the way Bravo plays things I am sure I'll see every episode a thousand times. It would be nice if it didn't suck.

I started thinking today that maybe we should do our precollege like project runway. Do a challenge like every four days and then have Heidi tell someone the are "out." Whoever is left at the end would get an admission to the school and the "winner" would get a full ride four year scholarship. At least that would keep people from falling asleep during class.

Actually, it probably wouldn't.

They could at least pick a seat near the back when its going to happen - you know who you are.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Who knew I had totally fallen apart?

Mrs. TANBI has been away for less than two days and I have degenerated ala Lord of the Flies. Tonight for dinner I finished a bag of Chex Mix. I have no idea when bedtime is. This could be a rough couple of days.


I have been a bad blogger lately. Captain Bad Blogger... The Autodesk people changed up printing AGAIN... I don't think I had a stake in Italy/France... The cat is away, anyone got good ideas on getting into trouble??? Really, it's not the heat so much as the humidity... My lobster injury still hasn't healed... Here it is the all star break and I haven't followed the Cubs inning one. Probably doesn't matter... Do the painting or the closet??? How can both "Nickel & Dimed" and our current illegal immigration situation be true concurrently??? A little bit I miss the blog sound... In case you weren't paying attention, like me, it is mid July... I don't think I will get to see Melissa this tour. That is a little sad... Today I signed up for four wisdom tooth extractions... Good for the court telling those people they can't re-edit and remarket films on DVD, although that doesn't make Remake by Connie Willis any less a good book... Good for PA in raising their minimum wage. Now if there weren't so many ways around the minimum wage... I think in the end the whole point of the line item veto is to allow everyone to work less - lazy... What kind of a world is it when bio-deisel is $2/gal??? Note to the airport authority, perhaps having the airshow at the airport isn't the best choice of venue - simple for you, rectal itch for the travelling public... An email today annoucing a meeting tomorrow is not really good business... I didn't sleep at all last night... Where can I get a good, high-res elevation of the Simthfield Street bridge??? Good for the court telling the President that semantics do not a difference make, "enemy combatant" my ass...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Statistical fallacy of terrorist-hunting surveillance

Boing Boing: "the probability that people are terrorists given that NSA's system of surveillance identifies them as terrorists is only p=0.0132, which is near zero, very far from one. Ergo, NSA's surveillance system is useless for finding terrorists."

Friday, July 07, 2006

It Did Get Nominated!!!

Complete list of Emmy nominations: "Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour): 'Camp Lazlo: Hello Dolly/Over Cooked Beans,' Cartoon Network; 'Family Guy: PTV,' Fox; 'Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Go Goo Go,' Cartoon Network; 'The Simpsons: The Seemingly Neverending Story,' Fox; 'South Park: Trapped in the Closet,' Comedy Central."

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Theatre Workplace Research

Have you ever met a successfully working theatre artist who faithfully refused to work on any day of the week due to regular religious observance - any faith?

If so, what were the circumstances and how did the employer deal with it?

What is the policy about this type of absence where you typically work?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

More Governmental Consumer Activism

One of our readers responds...

I saw your "I Want My Money Back" rant, which is on point. This started as a comment, but got way, way too long. Here goes:

I want my money back, too. Consider--

Despite the SCOTUS opinion giving Bush the smackdown on the scope of executive power, that ineffectual body, our "Congress," a Parliament of Whores (and Horrors) if there ever were such a thing, will now move as one giant blight on our civil rights to enact laws that will "legalize" Bush's power grab. One more step in our country's decline.

The Hamdan decision was remarkable, but I believe the Democrats will fail us all once again. I suppose our next hope will be an ex post facto challenge to the laws after they enact the crap legislation that will free the executive of oversight, finally absolve Bush of the cumbersome trappings of law--both domestic and international, and destroy the checks and balances those revered forefathers spilled blood to bring to the face of this earth.

It's truly depressing to see how willing this Congress is to strip us of our Constitutional protections against tyranny in an effort to "defeat terror." If the terrorists hate our freedom so much, why are we serving them victory on a platter?

Dahlia Lithwick, a writer for, reported on the oral argument for Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. She (correctly, I believe) points out that this administration engages in "legal analysis by assertion and justification by double standard. This war is like every other war except to the extent that it differs from those other wars. We follow the laws of war except to the extent that they do not apply to us. These prisoners [at Guantanamo] have all the rights to which they are entitled by law, except to the extent that we have changed the law to limit their rights."

And this:
"Solicitor General Paul Clement has 45 minutes to represent the Bush administration, and here is where the smoke and mirrors kick in. He cites the executive's longstanding authority to try enemies by military tribunal. When Justice John Paul Stevens asks for the source of the laws that such tribunals would enforce, Clement replies that the source is the "laws of war." When Stevens asks whether conspiracy is encompassed within the laws of war, Clement says that the president views conspiracy as within the laws of war. Neat trick, no?"

Her entire article is at

I see these developments (and the Democrats continuing, unthinking and utterly dependable tendency to just take any bait laid out by the Neo-cons) a tragedy--an ongoing, continuing tragedy. I don't think I'm being an alarmist, either. This is a bad, dark time and we can only hope that as a people, we will recognize the folly of the last 6 years and elect people to Congress who will work to set us back on SOME KIND of course. We have no leadership, we have no leaders. We have nothing except bloated, reactionary insane jackasses "debating" these silly social issues; burning up the airwaves and sucking ink into newsprint trying to come up with the next campaign slogan and to give the impression that they are "doing something." I do that at work. I'm doing it RIGHT NOW. I'm typing this email instead of a contract, and goddammit, people think I'm WORKING. Shit, I should run for Congress.

I digress. Given the gravity and the potential ramifications of the events unfolding in this world (Israel/Hamas/Syria, North Korea's missles, our wars), our government succeeds ONLY in further distancing us from the rest of the world, making us appear willfully ignorant, poorly informed, petty, small-minded and unbearably impressed with our own self-righteousness.

I'm not sure where this leaves me on the spectrum, and I'm not sure how much longer I can take it. It's draining. I think I'm going to have to emigrate. Probably Ireland. Maybe England. But I have no tangible fealty left for this country and the "will" of the people who live here. I have no loyalty. I didn't really even root for USA at the World Cup. I figure I might as well strike out for a place on the rise instead of the fall. The future, my friend, lies on the other side of the oceans that separate us from everyone else. Europe is on the wax, China is on the rise. The US can only slow her descent.

In an interesting take on the current state of domestic political affairs, take a look at Barack Obama's speech from June 28, 2006. Thought provoking, to be sure.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Congratulations Sis!

My sister got married this weekend in Cape Cod. Great fun was had by all. The pictures I have are from the Pre-nup dinner, but the wedding was even more spectacular. The pre-nup was a clam bake with all the fixins.

We have a tradition in my family about turning the pre-nup into kind of a roast. This event was no different. Here's what I remember of my toast (along with some things I forgot when I was giving it):

Be nice - like that's going to happen.

I have to start, I don't want to steal your thunder, but Marisa and I are pregnant.

No, that's not true.

I wanted to give you advice on how to have a successful first year of marriage, but I can't do that, our marriage is over.

No, that's not true either.

I have known Jessica for a very, very long time. Decorum prevents me from saying just how long. The problem is that the things I have to say, nobody will understand. See, I was going to start like this:

"Isn't this a beautiful place Jessica found to have this party? I guess the Magnani's house wasn't available."

The problem is that there are maybe five people here that understand that. Its too bad. To make a long story short for the rest of you. I believe that instance was Jessica's first experience with law enforcement.

Watching my sister's life has been watching the evolution from Veruca into Lola. We all know, Veruca wants what she wants when she wants it, and whatever Lola wants, Lola gets. Jessica has always been a very resourceful, focused person. She's always been able to find an alternate way to get what she wants. There's a quote in the Sound of Music "Whenever God closes a door, he opens a window." This fits real well with my sister, except in this case its my Father that is closing the door, and Jessica who is going out the window. At one point we thought that to be in compliance with county code we were going to have to put an exit sign over her window.

I love my sister very much. I am so glad she has found someone to make her happy, and she could not have found a better brother for me. The funny thing is that for many years now I haven't seen much of Jessica. We both work in an industry that makes it such that we never know where each other are, or what we're doing, or when the next time we'll be able to see each other. But still, whenever we are together we are always able to slip right back into it. There's a comfort there that is truly special.

And Matt, in my judgment you have absolutely the correct temperament to be a successful male member of this family. It isn't a challenge to be taken lightly.

Since so many of us are in the business, and this event is like our final preview before tomorrow's opening, I have some early reviews I would like to share with you.

Ben Brantly of the New York Times says: "You've loved them individually in the past. Just wait until you see what they do together!" I know that the people that write the headlines aren't the people that write the articles, but that sounds like a good review to me.

The Indianapolis Star-Tribune put their article on the weather page strangely enough and says: "HOT HOT HOT! These two individuals make for an incendiary couple. But no matter how hot they are, we promise you tomorrow will not be as hot as last year's event." For those of you that sweated of 10 pounds at my wedding last June.

And finally Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times says: "After year's of questionable casting decisions, this production is ready to go! When interviewed on the subject, the producing director of Apple Tree Theatre said 'its a great start, but we can't wait to see act two... they should come here to workshop that... really... I'm available for babysitting... anytime...'"

Great news. And so, I ask you to raise your glass, and for tomorrow's opening and an unlimited open run we all say, break a leg.