Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

Category Archive: 'news-chum'

Saturday Stew

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jun 14, 2014 @ 10:01 pm PST

Observation StewIt’s Saturday and it’s late, but hey — I’ve been at a Bat Mitzvah and fighting a migraine, so give me some slack. So here’s some news chum stew that’s been simmering on the stove for a while:

 

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Something To Stew About

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jun 07, 2014 @ 10:55 pm PST

Observation StewThis has been another busy week, what with trying to get the truth out about the kerfluffle at the REP in Santa Clarita (#IStandWithTheREP),  my daughter Erin being in town getting ready to go off to a summer Yiddish program back east, installing and setting up a new password manager, and loads of stuff at work. Still, I grabbed a few articles of interest:

 

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Seeing Things Differently

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat May 31, 2014 @ 8:43 am PST

userpic=observationsYesterday morning, while putting on my shoes, my lower back slipped out of whack again. This, of course, has put a kink into day. So while I work up the gumption to move, here are some news articles from the week. All of these deal with different ways of seeing things.

 

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Sunday Stew: A Day Late, and Appropriately Short

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun May 18, 2014 @ 2:54 pm PST

Observation StewIt’s Sunday again, and … what’s this? No stew on Saturday? We must remedy this, with this hastily thrown together pot of material collected during what was, again, a very busy week and an even busier weekend:

  • It’s Too Big. Here’s a call from a congressional candidate in Los Angeles to break up LA Unified. What’s interesting here is how he wants to do it: His bill would make school districts with more than 100,000 students ineligible for federal aid.  This would affect almost every major city school district, and result in lots of wasted money as many of the supporting school services — payroll, human resources, legal, and such… as well as school boards — get duplicated. The larger question, perhaps, is how much of LA Unified’s problem is LA Unified. After all, there are schools within the district that are excellent (many of them charters, such as Granada Hills or Pacific Palisades). There are lower performing schools, but these tend to be in lower performing neighborhoods. Often, the district’s hands are tied by state and federal requirements, as well as their own procedures. Breaking up the district doesn’t solve those problems. Decentralization (where appropriate) and local empowerment (when appropriate) does.
  • It’s Everywhere. One little snippet in the latest from Donald Sterling was not emphasized in the news — where he repeated Jewish stereotypes. You might have thought or hoped antisemitism would be dead … but you would be wrong. A new ADL survey shows that pnly 54 percent of people polled globally are aware of the Holocaust — and an alarming 32 percent of them believe the mass genocide of Jews was a myth or has been greatly exaggerated.  The survey found that 26 percent — more than one in four — of the 53,100 adults surveyed are “deeply infected” with anti-Semitic attitudes. Nine percent of Americans surveyed harbor at least six of the 11 anti-Semitic views. About 31 percent of respondents believe Jews “are more loyal to Israel” than the U.S.
  • It’s Scary. Antisemitism is really scary. The Disney comedy Frozen, edited into a horror movie trailer, is less so. Still, it is a great example of how the Frozen mania is continuing unabated. I think the last Disney film that got this deep into the social context was The Lion King.
  • It’s Dying. When they came out, CDs were touted as the perfect music medium. Crystal clear digital reproduction (as opposed to those scratchy vinyl records or tapes that wore out and broke), and they would last forever. Guess what? That was all a lie — CDs are degrading at an alarming rate. I have a large CD collection (and a large LP collection, and a large digital only collection … my iPod just crossed the 34,000 song mark). Of these, only the LPs have a long life — they degrade by scratches and stuff. All the tapes I made of records are long gone, and I rarely pull out the physical CDs anymore. Will they be there as backups, or will only the professionally made ones be readable. This, friends, is why people stick with analog data in the form of vinyl and paper.
  • It’s Dead. The death of the Fountainbleu in Las Vegas is closer: the construction crane has been removed. It is now less likely that this 80% finished mega-hotel will ever be completed. More than likely, it will be an expensive scrap recovery project, with loads of material destined for landfills. What a waste. How much dead landfill space in Las Vegas is taken up by the remains of hotels?
  • It’s, uhh, I forget. There might be some good news for those of you taking antidepressants. It turns out that certain antidepressants — particularly Celexa — is good a combatting memory loss. This may help combat Altzheimers Disease.
  • It’s Back. Lastly, those in the Bay Area can rest assured in the safety of the Bay Bridge. Sure, the bridge might fall down in an earthquake due to newly discovered flaws. But the protective troll is back, protecting drivers from his barely visible perch.

 

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Mothers Day News Chum Stew

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun May 11, 2014 @ 4:43 pm PST

Observation StewYou know you want to take your mother to dinner. But what will you talk about? Here’s a bunch of news chum stew items, accumulated over the last two weeks (I’ve been busy, what can I say) that might just do:

  • Size Matters. Here’s a great discussion topic for your mom… or for “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me”. A recent study has shown that, the larger your penis, the greater the likelihood that your wife will cheat on you. In particular, according to this study, every one inch longer penis increased the likelihood of women being involved in extra-marital partnership by almost one-and-half times. I think I’ll leave the subject at that and go on to the next subject…
  • Got Gas? Here’s some more useful information. Remember “Beans Beans They’re Good for the Heart”. Well, it turns out that lots of gas is a sign of a healthy biome in your gut. This reminds me of a joke from Jason Alexander. It seems there was this long married couple whose sex life was in the dumps (see item #1). The wife went to a sex counselor, who suggested they try 69. She came home and explained it to her husband. They got in bed and in the position…. and she ripped a good one. After the air had cleared, they tried it again… and she ripped another one. They were about to try it again when the husband said, “you think I’m going to do this 67 more times, you’re crazy”.
  • It’s the Place To Be. Yup, that Farm Living is the life for me. If this makes you think of Green Acres, you’re not along. There are plans for a Broadway stage play adaptation of the hicksville TV show originally starring Eddie Albert and Eva GaborThe rights to the property were acquired by director Richard L. Bare, who was one of the most prolific helmers on the original series, and by producer Phillip Goldfine through his production company Hollywood Media Bridge.
  • Cramming It In. Sony is working on new technology that will cram 3,700 blue-rays into a single cassette tape. Actually, that’s a little misleading — we’re not talking here about a C-60 or a C-90, but a specially designed cartridge. Still, the technology is intriguing: a whopping 148 GB per square inch, meaning a cassette could hold 185 TB of data. Sony uses a vacuum-forming technique called sputter deposition to create a layer of magnetic crystals by shooting argon ions at a polymer film substrate. The crystals, measuring just 7.7 nanometers on average, pack together more densely than any other previous method. The result is that three Blu-Rays’ worth of data can fit on one square inch of Sony’s new wonder-tape.
  • A Touching Story. Here’s a very touching story about a late night encounter in a supermarket, told by Mark Evanier.
  • Anything But Starbucks. A touching obituary for Herman Hyman, founder of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf chain. This chain, which roasts its beans in Ventura County, started in a small store on San Vicente Blvd in Brentwood in the 1970s. I think, in fact, that it started not far from my first condo.
  • Buildings Up, Buildings Down. Two interesting buildings in the news. First, the plans have been announced for the former furniture store space across from the Pasadena Playhouse. Should be an interesting project; it will be interesting to see how it changes the character of that area. In Las Vegas news, approval has been given to finally take down the Harmon. If you aren’t familiar with the Harmon, it is the oval blue-glass coated skyscraper next to the Aria and Vdara, across from Planet Hollywood and the Cosmopolitan. It was built wrong and is unstable, but they can’t implode it because it is too close to other stuff. They have to take it down piece by piece. Now if only they could do something with the Fountainbleau, which is an even bigger eyesore on the N end of the strip (where the Thunderbird once was).

 

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Saturday (ummm) Gruel: Sex, Judaism, Surviving, and Carrie

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Apr 26, 2014 @ 6:18 am PST

Observation StewThis has been an even busier week than usual — I’ve barely had time to keep up with my RSS feeds and skim the LA Times. So I’ve only got a few items for you this week:

  • Not Tonight, Dear, I have a headache. In a scientific survey destined to end up on “Wait Wait”, scientists have shown that headaches impact a woman’s sexual desire much more than they impact the desire of men. Specifically, new research has shown that for female mice, bodily pain puts a serious damper on sexual desire, but pain-reduction can help restore libido squelched by physical discomfort. However, for men, the desire to have sex wasn’t dampened even if you kick them in the nuts. But is this really news?
  • It’s your shul on line 1… Here’s an article that every synagogue (and probably church) board member should read: What if your synagogue called and didn’t ask for money? The answer, not surprisingly, is that people are much more receptive. This goes to what a number of URJ leaders are saying these days: focus on building the relationship, and not getting the donations. When the relationship is strong, the donations will show up. Will temple boards listen, however, and pay this more than lip service?
  • Connections. Every week the Jewish Journal highlights a holocaust survivor (and I’ll note that this weekend is Yom Hashoah). This week, it was Frank Schiller. I’m not sure if I ever met Frank, but I did go to both camp and temple with Frank’s children, Gary and Vicky. Haven’t seen them in years, but I’d love to get back in touch.
  • La Mirada Season. Lastly, the La Mirada Theatre has announced their 2014-2015 season. It consists of “Good People“, “Late Nite Catechism Las Vegas: Sister Rolls the Dice“, “Billy Elliot” (the musical), a musical version of “Pride and Prejudice“, “Mary Poppins” (the musical), two special events (“Dancing with a Twist” and an Amy Grant concert), and the musical “Carrie“. Of these, “Carrie” is unique enough to get me to travel down to La Mirada. Already blocking it off on my calendar.

 

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Saturday Stew: Over the Hill, Food, Sports, and Shopping

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Apr 19, 2014 @ 10:02 am PST

Observation StewThis has been a busy busy week — even busier than my normal busy weeks. I’ve only had a little time to read the news, and even less time to comment on it. Further, nothing has completed a threefer or better theme. So let’s clear out the stack and make a little stew, shall we?

  • It’ll Soon Be Over. According to reports, Metro and Caltrans plan to all-but-finish the 405 HOV lane project through the Sepulveda pass in May. “All-But” means that there will still be landscaping, and I’m guessing just a little retaining wall work to do — but all lanes will be open. I’ll believe it when I see it — the 405 has been under-construction since I started work at Aerospace — first completing the I-105 interchange, then adding the HOV lanes through west LA, then the HOV lanes in the valley, then the HOV lane southbound through the pass.  Hopefully it will make the drive easier for the van.
  • Los Angeles History. While we’re talking the 405 and history, let’s talk a little about places the freeways touch. From the 405 go N (W) on US 101, and you reach Woodland Hills. The history of that community, and the scoundrel that created it, is quite interesting. A true flim-flam man. While in Woodland Hills, you’ll see a number of LAUSD campuses that are closed and decaying. Luckily, not for much longer — LAUSD is finalizing plans to have long-closed campuses taken over by charter schools, including El Camino Charter HS.
  • Food News. A couple of food items. The first looks at Tilapia, a white-fish that is growing in popularity. The problem is that it might not be that great for you (but it is still better than any red meat). The second notes that you might be able to get bigger muscles by eating green tomatoes. Not fried, of course.
  • Shoeless Joe from Hannibal Mo. The LA Times had an interesting article on the backstory of Yasiel Puig, a star of the LA Dodgers (you know, the team you can’t watch on TV). There were rumors Puig was smuggled out of Cuba by members of a Mexican drug cartel. There were rumors he still owed the smugglers money, and that his life could be in jeopardy. There was talk about Puig being essentially owned by a Miami businessman with a criminal record who hired those smugglers in exchange for 20% of the ballplayer’s future earnings. I read this, and the story in the musical Damn Yankees popped into my head. Young Joe Hardy also just showed up from nowhere, and then all these rumors surfaced about his connection with criminals. I wonder if Puig will disappear after hitting the winning run when the Dodgers make the playoffs?
  • Let’s Go Shopping. A few commerce related items. The woman’s retailer “Coldwater Creek” is going bankrupt, and is holding a major liquidation sale starting on Mothers Day. That may be of interest to those who can fit into Coldwater Creek’s stuff. Secondly, information on about 3 mln credit and debit cards have been stolen from the retailer Michaels. This is a big deal — much bigger on the consumer side than anything leaked by Heartbleed. Keep an eye on your statements folks, especially if you live with a person who loves crafting.
  • Pasadena Playhouse, Sigh. The Pasadena Playhouse has announced their next season. In a word, “sigh”. I so want them to succeed, but Sheldon just doesn’t know how to pick a good season. They start with a rework of Kiss Me Kate (a musical that needs no rework) to put it in the context of the African-American theatre of the 1900-1925 period. Why? They also have Stop KissPygmalian, and Two for the Seesaw (the comic play that was the source of the musical Seesaw), plus a TBA play. Nothing that would attract me. This seems to be the year for long established companies to have completely uninteresting seasons.

 

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Saturday Stew: Clearing out the Groupatwos before Pesach

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Apr 12, 2014 @ 9:18 am PST

Observation StewIn the Talmud, there is a learned Rabbi who opines that groupatwos are to be considered Chametz during Passover. Luckily, this week was so busy I accumulated a bunch of groupatwos. So let’s get that feather and that candle and get them out of the links list before Passover starts Monday night:

 

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