Sunday, August 28, 2011

Water and Life

This story makes me so sad. It's an NPR piece [audio and article] on the drought here in Texas and how it's affecting... well... all living things. Water sources are drying up, killing food sources for wildlife - plants, bugs, fish. Young animals are malnourished and just waste away in misery. It's a vicious cycle, and heartbreaking.

Our suburban yard is a wildlife habitat, and we provide birdseed, fresh water, and enough uncut brush for a certain amount of shelter - but I don't know what else to do. Animals like rats, opossums and raccoons are welcome to visit us anytime, but there are hazards to putting out dog food or other tasty feed. The danger is to THEM, not us. Other people on the block are not so wildlife friendly as we are, and I am very certain that an increase in the number of these animals would definitely result in an increase in calls to Animal Control Services - or even worse, a DIY version that would be anything but humane.

This will be the hottest summer on record here, and the worst one-year drought. It's expected to continue through the winter so there's no end in sight. I remember reading one of the climate scientist's prediction that this area of Central Texas would become more like a desert over time. That's looking plausible.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Live from New York, it's Saturday night during a hurricane!

WTF, Weather Channel?!?! (You too, every other televised or video-streamed media source!) You have cameras situated in a place where we can see the roof shingles and piers being blown far and wide, massive flooding, surging water, trees being blown down... that's a great thing that these events can be shown to us folks out here watching it on TV. It's important to do that, I think.

By WHY do you keep sticking a person out there in the middle of it? Are you betting that the viewers are going to enjoy seeing some poor schmuck getting the hell beat out of him because he's enduring the full force of a hurricane? Are you going to keep doing that until one of them is killed? Or are you secretly hoping for that because you'd get a ratings bump?

Maybe you could send a drone camera out there, or if that's not exciting enough you could get one of those human-shaped robots and send it out there dressed in a raincoat? Then it could be the robot yelling into its built-in mic, "STAY INSIDE! I'M IN THE STREET BUT STAY OUT OF THE STREET! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!"

Jon Stewart did a sketch on something similar during the recent post-storm flooding. Brilliant as usual.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Weatherman-Based System of Flood Height Measurements
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Really folks, please DO stay safe, evacuate, or whatever has been advised for your area. Don't be like that guy on TV with the park bench hurtling straight at his head.

[UPDATE: Virginia streaker flashes dick on Weather Channel]

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How Far We've Come

Here's a video from yesterday's in-store appearance by Dawes at Waterloo Records (taken by the person standing next to me). I'm really loving the latest record from this band. This is the stripped-down version, which is the only one I've seen (the first time was at SXSW 2010 when we hadn't even heard of them, and saw them early in the morning in a hotel lobby). Love the harmonies and songwriting.

How Far We've Come

I felt like such a dork when we were getting our CDs signed and lead singer Taylor asked if we were coming out to the show that night at La Zona Rosa, and I answered "No, can't do it. It's a weeknight." So wimpy. But I get up at 4:30 for work, and it wears this (getting older all the time) woman out. Someday I hope to see their show with the full band.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Juvenile.

It's my birthday today, so "Pffthh pffthh pffthh pfffthh to me!!"

I don't share a birthday with very many 'famous' people that I am familiar with, except for the delightful Stephen Fry, actors Rupert Grint (yes, he WAS a perfect Ron Weasley, but wonder what he'll be up to in 10 years time), and Kenny Baker, the man inside R2D2.

A number of important and earth-shattering events happened on August 24. Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79, Windows95 was released (duh! 1995), Pluto was downgraded from full-fledged 'planet' (2006), Thomas Edison patented the movie camera (1891), Mark David Chapman was sentenced to prison (1981), Charles Darwin was asked to travel on the HMS Beagle (1831).

August 24th is also International Day Against Intolerance, Discrimination and Violence Based on Musical Preferences, Lifestyle and Dress Code, a cause I can definitely get behind. The date was picked because it was the day in 2007 that Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend were attacked in the UK, and she was killed, all because they were dressed in Goth fashion. The Romanian Humanist Association took up the cause and created the Black Cat Campaign, and it is observed on August 24 since 2009.

As for local events, today marks the breaking of the record (standing since 1925) for most days in a year (in Central Austin) when the temperature is 100°F (37.7°C) or more - with 70 days -- but the record will continue to be broken every day for possibly the next month. July just broke the record for the hottest month... ever... and August is topping it.

Tomorrow I am celebrating by taking the day off work (sleeping well past 4:30AM -- Yaaay) and going in the afternoon to Waterloo Records to see one of my current favorite bands, Dawes. That's about it. Oh yeah, and staying in the A/C as much as possible (hope they don't form a waiting line outside in the heat of the day when it's 105°).

Gah! No end in sight. Looks like a cloudy day coming up next week, but I'll believe it when I see it. via

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gotta Dance!

I love the British Invasion!! Even today I still love these bands and the pop culture that surrounded them. During the early Sixties, many variety shows seemed compelled and required to feature dancing with musical performances. These are some of my favorite British Invasion bands, subjected to different types of dancing incorporated into their TV spots.

The Zombies
A rare "live" performance on the Hippodrome that is not lip-synced, included very weirdly-misplaced burlesque dancers.

The Yardbirds
This is Hullabaloo, and featured caged as well as floor dancers, and they are wild and wonderful. The music is a combination of pre-recorded and live, and is, in my opinion this cover is one of the meanest, wickedest blues-rock songs ever done.

The Moody Blues
Top of the Pops. This is the 'Mark I' version of the band - the founding members, (before Justin Hayward and John Lodge joined the band), and this one features Denny Laine on vocals. Denny went on to be a member of Paul McCartney's Wings. You will also see Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas, Graeme Edge and Clint Warwick. Clint is the only one (other than Denny) who didn't continue to the most famous and enduring version of the band. The dancers are not professionals like the others, but they are surrounding the band and very much part of the show!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The eyes of the US are on Texas, and should be.

Meet the Real Rick Perry from Texas Democratic Party on Vimeo.

Meet Rick Perry [dot com]. Site just officially launched today. Time for the whole country to get a look at how he really operates. You might be thinking he doesn't have a chance at getting the GOP nom, but I think his chances are good.

Romney's support could disintegrate. As Rachel Maddow pointed out in one of her brilliant pieces from last week, the guy is awkward with people. Witness this PR catastrophe, "corporations are people":
He's not comfortable interactive with regular folks, or the ones among them who are hecklers. Perry also thinks corporations are people, and he will be able to state such things with pride and no hint of embarrassment.

He's got that old folksy charm that will insulate him and disarm his foes (not literally, of course), and by "charm" I am not implying "niceness". No way. And where Romney will try and distance himself as much as he can from the craziest fringe (can't get the GOP nom without a whole lotta that), Perry has that fringe on his saddle and is riding it in the elephant parade.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Don't trust anyone over 30

Wild in the Streets (1968) / Gas-s-s-s (1970)

This is one of those vintage B-movie DVD pairings, and these two were combined because their plots involve the adult generation either dying off through a killer gas, or being hauled off to prison camps by the ruling young, where they are kept under control through LSD in the water supply. They are both absolutely silly, extremely dated, and both intentionally and (mostly) unintentionally funny.

These came out a few years before the more well-known and well-done movie with this theme came along: Logan’s Run (1976).

Both movies feature actors, some famous and some who got a lot more famous later but not sure if these appearances were stepping stones or hindrances. In WITS, the famous ones are Shelley Winters and Ed Begley. Just barely getting started in movies were Hal Holbrook and Richard Pryor. The movie is also loaded with uncredited cameos. The star, Christopher Jones ("Max Frost"), had a real James Dean quality. He was a rising star for awhile but then dropped out of the Hollywood scene - then turned down a comeback opportunity in the form of the character 'Zed' in Pulp Fiction. Frost and his movie entourage all wore these identical teardrop peace necklaces, and it was kind of weird for me because when my Mother and I took one of our odd little vacations to the Sunset Strip/Hollywood in 1967, I got a very similar design (pictured) at a boutique on the Strip. I still wear it.

Wild in the Streets trailer:

Gas-s-s-s (alt-title: Gas! -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It.)

All the way on the left there is Cindy Williams, and from the right there's Ben Vereen, Tally Coppola (later known as Talia Shire) and Bud Cort ('Harold & Maude'). I enjoyed seeing a performance from Country Joe and the Fish in this one. I liked that band and got to see them up close in 1968. No deep thought required for watching this movie.

I think it's safe to conclude that the under-25 crowd aren't really capable of running things better than their parents' generation. I also think that this same generation of Baby Boomers (m-m-m-my g-g-generation) isn't so hot at governing now that they've grown up, either. {sigh}

The more things change, the more they stay the same remain insane.

Monday, August 08, 2011

The response to Rick Prayer-y

There was a whole lotta hoopla over Rick Perry's Fringe Christian prayer meeting, but it should be known that there were protests against it. The Austin March & Rally was themed "Rick Perry: Bad for Texas, Worse for our nation" and was organized by the Travis Co. Dems. The inspiration behind this rally was mainly to start getting the word out about Perry, since it looks highly likely that he will enter the Presidential race soon. People marched and rallied under the beating sun of a day where the temperature got up to 104°F (40°C), and there were a few hundred people there.

I thought that all the speakers, who ranged from clergy to politician, were fantastic. I have long been an admirer of Reverend Jim Rigby, who is known for his activism for civil rights and social welfare. Don't be turned-off by the fact that he's clergy, he hits it out of the park (as usual). All the talks were short.

Also recorded Rep. Lloyd Doggett's talk, we really think a lot of Doggett, and are glad to be represented by him.

Another speaker (who I wished I'd recorded) was Rev. Eliza Galaher, an openly gay Unitarian Universalist minister of Wildflower Church. Her talk kicked ass too. Same for State Reps. Eliott Naishtat and Dawnna Dukes. It's events like this that we have to show the world that not everybody in Texas is a nutjob. There is sanity here, as there is in pockets everywhere.

A small selection of the signs, you will see a lot more in this TV coverage and on FB.

No Theocracy. And no TEAocracy either!!

Facebook gallery
KXAN TV coverage

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Green woman

Wow, I am good at starting projects, but I take forEVer to finish them. Over a year ago, I picked up this mannequin at Goodwill, and intended to paint her and put her in the garden. I had all sorts of fantastic ideas, and with so many ideas I became indecisive - so I painted her a beautiful, solid green!

Was (and still am) considering adding some fake vines from Michael's, maybe some earrings attached with push pins, stencils... but then decided that hats, masks, and other accessories will work just as well. I am also going to keep her indoors.

With this mask and her new color, I dedicate this little photoshop-enhanced image to Ecocatwoman.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Yikes! Attack of the Killer Clamato.

It's meat! It's veggie/fruit! It's Bud Light! The future looks promising for a barf.

Here are the reviews of it on The Beer Advocate. They don't advocate drinking it. Most reviewers gave it an F, but there were enough Cs to bring the rating up to D-. Very colorful descriptions!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Monday, August 01, 2011

To Do is Never Done

August 1: There are some events coming your way that you already know about -- and you may be looking forward to them. But are you truly prepared for them? Unless you take time today to do some organizing in your life, you may be caught off guard when the time comes. This imbalance in your mood won't be major, but it will distract you from all the fun you could be having. Think ahead and get some stuff out of the way now so you won't have to worry about it later.
My horoscope for today. This is more like my horoscope for every damned day of the world. All I do is worry about stuff I need to get done, and think about how great it would be if I could get it done and get it out of the way so I could relax -- but as soon as I actually get something checked off the list, something else rears its head, so it's just one long "To Do" checklist. "Relaxing" or "not worrying" always gets shoved to the bottom.

This evil little bit of advice is that very demon that prods me day and night, weekend, weekday, and that part about not having worries later is a LIE. I live by this advice, it drives me everyday. It's the kind of things that feeds workaholism.

{I don't mean an *actual* demon like a little critter or something. Demons are real. They are just a part of your psychological makeup, part of your mind... addictions, obsessions, or even just worries.}