Friday, May 15, 2009

Adam Lambert compared to Secretariat and other things about Adam

For an athlete analogy for Adam Lambert, Paula used Michael Phelps; we use LeBron James; Rolling Stone, May 28, 2009, p. 38 goes with Secretariat and gets it just right:
Ever see that clip of Secretariat at the 1973 Belmont Stakes, where he's running 25 lengths ahead of the other horses, but he's still all "Wheeee! Fast is fun! More, please!" That's the joy Glambert shows when he sings . . .

This is the first Rolling Stone issue I think I've ever purchased and I bought it just to read the AL story. Such is my obsession.

I'll offer a couple other snippets from the story that reference Bowie (since Adam spawned our previous Bowie discussion):
Where the hell did they find this guy? There's a "boy who fell to Earth" quality about him, like David Bowie's Lady Stardust come to life.
We don't know for sure if Glambert is gay -- all he says is he has nothing to hide or deny -- but if not, it's the gayest embodiment of flaming youth by a straight guy since Bowie sold the world.
You know how your basic glam-rock epic ends with the hero dying because he's too beautiful for the cruel world? Adam has left this fatalistic aspect of glam rock behind; he's picked Bowie, Queen and Roxy Music clean in term of stylistic cues, but he's not content to be a beautiful loser - he wants to be a beautiful winner.

I sure don't hear any Roxy Music in him. I hope to hear Queen on Tuesday. He's already covered the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson and U2. He's just checking icons off the list and Queen has been conspicuously absent. It's really quite an opportunity to unapologetically put out cover versions of great songs and he's made the most of it, generating an album's worth of masterpieces, IMHO. He's described that he's put his season together like it was a set, so we have to expect he's saved the biggest and best for last.

As I type this, I'm hearing Adam coming from the Magneplanar speakers in one of my partner's offices. He's "sharing" from my iTunes via the office network.

That last RS quote touches on something I've been mulling. It seems to be a truism that stars that shine the brightest, shine too briefly. Adam couldn't really shine more brightly, so I fear some sort of tragic end. But he just doesn't have any signs of self-destructive behavior, no angst, no brooding, no signs of a tortured soul. This past Wednesday (results night for those who don't know), Ryan Seacrest had some time to fill while waiting for the stage to be set for guest performer Katy Perry and he turned to contestant Danny Gokey to ask how he was doing. Danny said something about just wanting to get it over with, just get to the results, displaying that his nerves were shot. Adam chimed in gleefully (gayly, if you wish), "I want to see Katy Perry!" No stress, no nerves, just joy in the moment. As further evidence that he's not on a path to a heroin overdose, I've noticed that in the thousands of pictures of him plastered across the web, many of which are in clubs, in wild dress, at parties, his eyes are always completely clear -- no sign of even being tipsy, much less wasted. He's all about his body and voice being one, and taking care of his voice. (When asked what item his missed most from home when he moved into the Idol mansion, he listed his humidifier to keep his vocal chords in shape, but noted that he'd eventually gotten it sent over.) Maybe vanity will do him in via botched plastic surgery. It seems way too good to imagine that he'll crank out great music for decades.

Extreme Shepherding

One of these days I'll figure out how to post these deals.

Behold, from youtube, I give you extreme shepherding. Even if faked it's pretty cool.

Feral Hogs Beware!

Gov. Palin would be proud.

Per the Houston Chronicle:

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas House on Thursday tentatively approved a bill encouraging hunters to take on wild pigs from the air.

Ditto the Austin Zoo

From the Austin Zoo website:

The mission of Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary is to assist animals in need through rescue, rehabilitation and education. We currently have over 300 animals from over 100 different species at the Zoo. Last year, over 200,000 people visited Austin Zoo. Over 45,000 were students and teachers visiting on field trips. Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary is a pleasant Hill Country zoo where the people of Austin can come to learn about the animals close-up, spend some time outdoors getting exercise, and have fun. It's a place where we Austinites can truly make the most of our time together.

Austin Zoo is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization, and we rely on private donations, gate admissions, grants and sponsorships to continue to care for the animals we have, and to be able to take in new animals that need a safe home.

Austin Zoo started out as a goat ranch. In 1990, it became the Good Day Ranch, which catered to animals in need. At that time, the animals consisted mostly of goats, pigs, fallow deer, donkeys and ponies... with just a few exotics. Today, the ranch is home to many more exotic animals, as well as domestic animals, that were either rescued from, or unwanted by, their owners.

The problem of unwanted or rescued animals is large. Austin Zoo is forced to turn down an average of 200 requests a month to care for additional animals, "from goats to elephants." Due to the growth of "roadside zoos" and private ownership of exotic animals, along with the release of older animals from big city zoos to smaller facilities, the number of animals in need of a safe and healthy home has multiplied at a rapid rate.

RIP: Fighting Sioux

The University of North Dakota has decided to drop its "Fighting Sioux" nickname and mascot.
North Dakota's Board of Higher Education voted 8-0 yesterday in Dickinson to retire the nickname starting October First.

The nickname and logo could be kept if the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake Sioux tribes endorse them by October First and agree to let the university use them for at least 30 years.

But tribal officials say that possibility is remote. Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman Ron His Horse Is Thunder strongly opposes the nickname.

This has been a hot button issue for several years. The decision by the Board reflects a settlement with the NCAA which had decided not to allow schools with "abusive" nicknames to use their logos in post-season play, but agreed to allow UND to continue to use their name if they got permission from a couple Sioux tribes. UND is a perennial hockey powerhouse; if not for that, I'm not sure their teams get to the post-season.

Generally, I'm all in favor of doing away with the mascotting of groups' identities and misappropriation of their culture without their permission, particularly when the use is demeaning (e.g. Redskins). Still, it's sad for me to see the Fighting Sioux name go, and I wonder if it isn't really good PR for the tribes for people to have the constant reminder of their existence that comes with the use of the name.

An interesting episode in UND's battle over its name is that there was a donor who donated money to UND on the condition that the school not change its name. From Wikipedia:
Former Fighting Sioux hockey player and wealthy alumnus Ralph Engelstad donated $100 million dollars for the construction of Ralph Engelstad Arena. This is one of the largest philanthropic donations ever made to a public institution of higher learning. One of Engelstad's conditions for his donation was that the University keep the Fighting Sioux name indefinitely.[6] Engelstad placed thousands of Fighting Sioux logos in numerous places throughout the arena to make physical removal of the logo very costly if attempted.
I wonder what consequence Ralph had in mind if UND were to change its name; must they tear the stadium down?

The Dakota Zoo

The Dakota Zoo in Bismarck is privately owned. From the zoo's site:
The Dakota Zoo began with the 67 acre Marc and Betty Christianson Farm located at what was then the north edge of Bismarck. Initially, the Christianson Farm operated as a kennel for the boarding of domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, horses and, at one point, was even used to raise mink for profit. However, over time, friends and neighbors who knew the Christianson family and knew of their love for animals began stopping at the farm to deliver stray and/or injured animals with the knowledge that they would receive the care they required.

As the number of animals increased and word got out about the farm and its collection of animals, curiosity about the farm also increased drawing an ever increasing amount of visitors to the farm to view the animals. The number of visitors to the farm would peak on "skip day" each year when school buses would transport bus loads of school children to the farm to view the animals housed there.

Publicity by the Marshal Bill Show on KFYR played an important role in the formation of the Dakota Zoo. Petitions were signed by 780 people who supported the idea of a community Zoo located in Bismarck. Marc Christianson took these signed petitions to the Bismarck Park Board to present his idea of a Zoo. He pitched the concept of the Zoo as a community Zoo which would be self-supporting and would require no funding from the City of Bismarck. The case presented by Marc to the Park Board was such that in 1958, with the support of the late George Schaumberg, then the Bismarck Parks and Recreation director, the Park Board made available to the Zoo an 88 acre tract of Park District land in Sertoma Park.

Ah. Well, private, but for the donation of the land.
The Dakota Zoo remains self-supportive and operates on monies raised through admissions, concession sales, animal sales, the adopt an animal program, memberships and donations.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oh come on

Scooter, your party is not worthy of your support:
A member of the Republican National Committee told me Tuesday that when the RNC meets in an extraordinary special session next week, it will approve a resolution rebranding Democrats as the “Democrat Socialist Party.

Zoo Privatization

Looks like it is part of the plan to save Los Angeles from the financial maelstrom. Looks like they might be selling off a lot of things. From a reporter at the Los Angeles Business Journal with the most unlikely name of Howard Fine (sounds like one of the Three Stooges):

The city is facing a $450 million deficit in the 2009-10 fiscal year beginning July 1 and a projected deficit of at least $500 million the following year.

Re: Rock star incongruities

Here is a way that I would not expect Slash to spend his time:

Privitization: maybe he'll show up on conservative talk radio too.

Cleveland Rocks

One simply doesn't hear enough Ian Hunter as bumper music on conservative talk radio. Mr. Hunter's song closed Bennett's show today.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Black Market Deer—I had no idea

The Texas Deer Mafia? From the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department last December:

AUSTIN, Texas — Game wardens in the Special Operations Unit of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Law Enforcement Division have arrested six men and executed two search warrants as part of Operation Texas Shuffle, a year-long investigation into the black market deer trade in Texas.

"Our focus here is stopping two main areas of criminal activity: deer being brought illegally across state lines, and wild deer being illegally laundered into deer breeding facilities," said Col. Pete Flores, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement director.

… [The names of the bad guys are listed here which is how I learned about the issue. One of the bad guys is in a feud over an easement with an adjoining landowner—a client of mine.]

Deer breeding is a legal and growing business in Texas, estimated by one breeder organization to be worth about $650 million per year for the state economy. It is illegal to capture or obtain wild deer and place them into breeding facilities. Breeders must obtain captive, pen-raised deer from other permitted breeders. There are currently 1,099 permitted deer breeders in Texas, holding 86,989 deer in 1,161 facilities. The vast majority of these are whitetail deer, and the rest are mule deer, the two native species in Texas.

"Money is driving the illegal trade in wild native deer," said Capt. Greg Williford with TPWD Law Enforcement Division’s Special Operations Unit. "A captive-raised breeder buck can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. So, catching deer in the wild seems a lot less expensive, until you get caught."

Update: I can't believe I misspelled "deer".

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Moms on computers

My mom is constantly annoying me by not knowing how to search for things on Google. She'll be wondering about something and I'll say, "Mom, just Google it" and she'll say, "I don't know how to do that" and for the gazillionth time I'll explain. We always end up with her asking me "what's a browser" at which point I conclude that if she doesn't know what her browser is, then I can't help her.

When she was here over the weekend we exchanged Christmas gifts. (We didn't get home for Christmas.) For the past few years, I've been asking for things that I know she has stored somewhere in her house and isn't using -- things that I remember that have meaning to me or that I have a use for. For this past Christmas, I asked for a little serving dish for nuts (that I can use for bookclub). I have fond memories of it, because she always used it for cashews when she hosted their couples' bridge club. (I liked the couples' bridge club best of all their friend groups because it included our veterinarian who was an outstanding storyteller and always had lots of animal stories. He was also the veterinarian for the zoo, so his stories weren't limited to cats, dogs, cows, and horses.) When I was little, I liked that the nut dish had a matching scoop and a place for the scoop to hang.

On Sunday, I was happy to unwrap the nut dish, but her story behind the nut dish was much better than the nut dish itself.

Her own nut dish had taken a fall from a top cupboard and cracked eons ago. So when I asked for it for my Christmas present, she went on EBAY and found one just like it and ordered it. I cannot get over how cool that is -- that she had the idea to look for it on ebay; that she figured out how to search for things on ebay; that she found the exact same nut dish; that she trusted it with her payment; that the seller of a silly old nut dish found a buyer looking for the same silly nut dish. The ebay one is the same vintage as hers, with an identical paper label on the bottom. (Yes, she still had the old broken one because she never throws anything away.)

Mother's Day

The strangest request ever from my Mom came this weekend. I was sitting in the living room with Mom and my sister.

Mom said, "Who was Janis Joplin?"

I told her, "She is one of the few to share a statue with Jimmy Johnson at the Port Arthur, Texas, high school. For her music in the sixties."

Mom asked, "What was she like?"

"Well, Mom, she was one of those pioneers of rock and roll in the sixties who got too caught up in the drug scene and died a terrible death at too terrible a young age," said I.

Mom then asked if there was anything she could hear.

I grabbed her computer and googled around and found the studio version of "Take Another Piece of My Heart." My favorite.

She was less impressed with Janis than she was with the interweb's ability to find it so fast. Mom grew up in the purely classicist vein but was never opposed to the Dorseys or Sinatra types. We then googled an artist from the good ol' days (of whom I'd never heard--Nellie Lutcher, from Louisiana) and found her very quickly. We listened and Mom was starting to get it. Mom was born about 20 years too early.

Guess I'll try "Somebody to Love" or "White Rabbit" next.

Once upon a time I played her some Yes tunes to which she had a less violent reaction.

Re: Trek

Lileks agrees avec moi:

Uhuru: Oh my. Ditch Ms. Nichol’s velvety star-stenographer routine, dress her up fine - these boots were made for establishing a subspace channel, and that’s not all they’ll do - and give her a hint of romance that really turned canon upside down and said HA HA to the purists. Loved her.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The question should be "who", not "why"?

Ever since the "story" about this photo came out, I had a feeling there was much more to it than we have been told. If you've ever seen a publicity photo of Air Force One, you usually notice a couple of things - (1) the sky is usually bright blue with no clouds and (2) the photo itself looks very professional. Look at this photo - gray, smoggy, foggy looking weather and obvious window reflections. The conspiracy theorist that I am, I've been all over the 'net and those much more into any and all "ct's" are all over this. The consensus is that the media is once again failing the public by not asking WHO was on the plane. Where is the passenger manifest? That if the purpose was a photo op, look at the weather reports and do it on the perfect weather day. So, of course, the reasoning is that they did it on a bad weather day because they had to to accommodate the schedule(s) of those on the plane. Big time donors on a joy ride? BHO family members on a joy ride? Big time politicians on a joy ride?

Eventually the "real story" will come out and then, when the first book about the incident comes out, I'll buy it for sure. My personal opinion is that it had something to do with checking out the WTC 6 site.

Re: That Curfew Thing

Mine changed over time. From what I recall (it was many brain-cells ago), in jr. high it was 10pm. High school until my senior year was 11pm. Senior year was midnight on school nights, "reasonable" (whatever that meant) on non-school nights. Once I turned 18, I didn't have one. I was expected, however, to make sure they knew I was home whenever I got home. My mom is a very light sleeper (that is where I get it from) and would almost always say "you're home?" when I walked towards my room. If not, I would just go to their door and say "I'm home" and she would answer. During my college years (and the one year after when I still lived at home), the always telling them I was home fell by the wayside.

I didn't abuse my curfew in my high school days and very rarely came home drunk. I did my share of stuff, but by the standards of many of those I knew, I was a fairly good kid. I do remember coming home one Sunday night when I was a senior and my parents were still up watching TV. I laid on the floor "watching" with them and could barely see the screen. I told them years later about that night and they had no idea I was so wasted.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

That Curfew thing...

I think we had similarly sad/safe high school days. Instead of Perkins, for me it was a CoCo's every Sunday night. Prom night I did see Bob Crane (Colonel Hogan) at about 2:00 AM at some similar kind of restaurant. He had two younger women with him but was generally well-behaved. Guess that dinner theater circuit wasn't all that glamorous. Several months later...he was bludgeoned to death.

Re: Curfew

I can't remember exactly what my curfew times were. They must have been reasonable, since I don't recall it ever being an annoyance. I think it was 1:00 on weekends. I was so obnoxiously well-behaved in high school that I could have stayed out all night and still not found any trouble to get into. As I was reflecting on this question, I was remembering how we spent late night hours: sitting at Perkins drinking Cokes; sitting in someone's family room drinking Cokes; sitting around a piano singing; holding impromptu Bible studies for FUN; OK, maybe an occasional episode of toilet-papering someone's house. It sounds dull, but my friends were smart and creative and funny, so all of these activities were infused with laughing to tears.

I didn't drink until college, with a few exceptions: 1) wine with pizza or steak at home with parents; 2) trip to Germany; and 3) one shared bottle of champagne, sitting on the hood of a car, parked in the middle of a field on the prairie, under the enormous North Dakota sky filled with stars on a warm spring night. During #3, we kept saying, "This is fun! Why haven't we been doing this all these years".

Obama's Monologue

Here is Pres. Obama's monologue at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. Good material delivered in a Carson-esque manner.