Observations Along the Road

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

Category Archive: 'news-chum'

Saturday… um… Sunday News Stew: TSA, Music, Piss, Names, and Las Vegas

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Jul 13, 2014 @ 12:42 pm PST

Observation StewYesterday was a busy busy day; so much so that the news chum stew I had planned to serve yesterday has continued to simmer on the stove. So here is your Saturday stew… on Sunday….

  • Stupid People Tricks. There are many who denegrate the TSA as “security theatre”. There are others who will argue that whatever they do is a deterrent; there is no way to prove that someone didn’t think about starting an attack, but was turned away from that course because of TSA’s present. That’s the nature of the beast. So what can you prove? You can show the stupid things that people tried to bring through, but were caught by the TSA. Admittedly, some are quite likely innocuous, but others (like the knife in a cellphone) make you wonder “what were they thinking?”. PS: If you would like to learn the history of airport security, I can recommend this recent 99% Invisible on skyjacking.
  • It’s all the Same to Me. Even wonder why all the songs on the radio are about the same length. How can it be due to the grooves on a record when we now play CDs or digital files with no grooves? Someone attempted to find out the answer. The conclusion is that songs get longer, even without new technology. Since 1990, it seems that the average song length has sort of stabilized around 250 seconds (over 4 minutes).
  • Piss on you. We’ve all seen it: the decal of Calvin pissing on something. But Watterson has never licensed the character. So where did the decal come from. Here’s the explanation. Now if someone can just explain the stick figure family.
  • What’s In A Name? Every wonder why Amazon is Amazon, or eBay is eBay? Turns out, there is a reason. Here’s the story behind 39 famous companies and how they got their names.
  • Beyond the Moulin Rouge. During the 1950s, Las Vegas was a very segregated town. You probably heard of the Moulin Rouge — the black casino in West Vegas where there were no segregation barriers, and how it only lasted 7 months. You might have heard how Sammy Davis and other entertainers forced the casinos to change their ways. You probably haven’t heard of Harrison House.



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You’ve Been Warned

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Jul 09, 2014 @ 8:17 pm PST

userpic=theatre2Here’s another collection of news chum, this time warning you of dire consequences. You’ve been warned…

  • You Think The Last Recession Left You Underwater. We’re all hearing about climate change and the melting of the polar icecaps. Here’s a dramatic example of what’s to come: Here’s what LA would look like when the polar icecaps melt. All I can say is that I’m glad I live in the valley. We’ll survive and be what remains of Los Angeles. This is an example of how things change. Here’s another example: a comparison mapping of Los Angeles 100 years ago and now.
  • They’re Back. Think a black cat is scary. How about a whole room of them, preferably dark, in a central part of a city, filled with a lot of people, all of whom have paid a lot to get in there. That’s right. The musical “Cats” is returning to London. Here’s what’s even scarier:

    The Associated Press reports that Lloyd Webber will re-conceive the character of Rum Tum Tugger as a rapping street cat. “I’ve come to the conclusion that … maybe Eliot was the inventor of rap,” he said, referencing poet T.S. Eliot.

  • Watch What You Say. Our closing warning comes from the good folks at NPR, in a warning about social media posts:

    We acknowledge that nothing on the Web is truly private. Even on purely recreational or cultural sites and even if what we’re doing is personal and not identified as coming from someone at NPR, we understand that what we say and do could still reflect on NPR. So we do nothing that could undermine our credibility with the public, damage NPR’s standing as an impartial source of news, or otherwise jeopardize NPR’s reputation. In other words, we don’t behave any differently than we would in any public setting or on an NPR broadcast.

NPR’s words are good advice — one far too many of us forget. What we do and say on the nets can undermine our credibility — be it something still we pass on, that picture we post. If you wouldn’t say it in public, don’t say it on the web.

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Little Known Shopping and Food Facts

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Jul 09, 2014 @ 8:05 pm PST

userpic=pastramiFor a change, I’ve been able to build a theme mid-week. Today’s news chum brings together a collection of articles about food and shopping, providing some facts you probably didn’t think about…

  • Playing Chicken. We’ve all been there: too tired to cook, so we stop by the market and pick up a cooked chicken. Now, what’s odd about this is these cooked chickens are often cheaper than the raw birds, let alone adding in the cost of spices, labor, energy, etc. Have you ever wondered about this? Wonder no longer. The reason those chickens are so cheap is the same reason that stores have salad bars and other prepared food — you don’t make a profit on food you throw in the trash because it is no longer shelf-worthy or is at near the expiry date. What do you do? Repackage it and sell it.
  • Pizza Pizza. Some interesting pizza related articles. The first looks at two Detroit millionaires, who both got rich off of pizza. One focused on delivery, promising “30 minutes or less”. The other focused on price. One founded Dominos, the other founded Little Caesar. Neither are in the pizza business, and the two are leaving very different legacies. One is focusing on the next life, emphasizing religion. The other is revitalizing downtown Detroit. Does this get you annoyed? How about this — here’s what happened to the Noid, once the mascot of Dominos.
  • Betcha’ Didn’t Know. Here are two lists of interesting facts. The first is a bunch of tips regarding shopping at Amazon that Amazon doesn’t advertise. These tips should help you optimize your shopping, or at least save some money. The second is a collection of facts the big-box home repair stores won’t tell you. Again, these provide useful insights into how these stores separate you from your money, and how to get the most when you need home repair products.


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Saturday Stew: Books, Dim Sum, Neverland, and Torah Thoughts

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jul 05, 2014 @ 11:35 am PST

Observation StewWell, it’s Saturday, and that means it is time to share the collected links of the week with you. Hopefully you’ll find something tasty in the mix:

  • Another One Bites The Dust. Brand Bookstore is closing. I think I mentioned this on Facebook last week. We were in Glendale last weekend when they were starting the closing sale. Whereas my wife loved the place for the books, they also had a great selection of records in good condition, including obscure shows and hard to find material. I found LPs there for $6 that were at least an order of magnitude more on Amazon. As an example, last Saturday I found the soundtrack to “Robin and the 7 Hoods” (which is hard to find), as well as loads of Sammy Davis Jr and Chet Atkins albums. I will miss this store, much more than I miss Cliff’s.
  • And Then Sum. Since Empress Pavillion closed, we’ve been on the hunt for a good replacement Dim Sum spot. We’ve tried NBC, and we last went to Seafood Harbor. Here’s a good guide to Dim Sum in the San Gabriel Valley, and it talks about the move to menu-based Dim Sum. I still prefer the carts, but I understand what they are saying. There are some places here that we really must explore.
  • Neverland. Abandoned places are fascinating. I still remember wandering around some homes that were about to be torn down near my grandparents when young. Here’s an interest exploration of an abandoned amusement park you might have heard of: Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara.
  • The Bible Says What?  Those of us on the progressive side of the scale often have trouble understanding the orthopractic and how they sincerely hold their beliefs. As for me, I view it with bemusement, and have no problem with orthopractic beliefs as long as they are not imposed on others (cough, Hobby Lobby, cough). Here’s an article on Orthopractic beliefs you might have missed: A Severer Chasidim village in New York has provided books to students in a girls school that cuts out some R rated passages in the Torah. It also leaves a word blank in each passage being studied, because it is forbidden according to this groups interpretation of Torah for women to study the whole Torah.
  • Coming Together. Before you think I’m picking on the Orthodox above, I’d like to share two excellent commentaries on the recent murder of three teens in Israel from two Orthodox friends of mine. In the first, Rabbi Micha Berger of Aishdas highlights something very important — although the various sects of Judaism may disagree between themselves, we come together in unity for tragedies like this. This is a demonstration of the Jewish family — although the family may bicker internally, and there may be times where one doesn’t talk to another or writes someone off, we call come together when we need to. In another post from Rabbi Yaakov Menken, he also talks about how this brings the community together, and discusses what the Torah means when it refers to avenging the deaths. It is not a quick and swift military retribution — the deaths are avenged by the survival and perseverence of the Jewish people. All those cultures that have attempted to wipe out Judaism haven’t survived; Judaism has. That’s the best revenge.

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Links in the Stew Pot

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Jun 29, 2014 @ 8:11 am PST

Observation StewYet again this has been a busy busy week. In particular, I’ve been so busy at lunch and when I get home I haven’t had the time (or energy) to share my accumulated links with you. So here’s a quick link post before I write up the review from last night’s show:


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Chunks of Theatre, History, Transport in a Tasty Broth

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jun 21, 2014 @ 12:26 pm PST

Observation StewThis has been another busy busy week, both at work (where there is always something on the review stack or a control to analyze) and at home (where the week was filled with concerts, headaches, and MoTAS). But a few articles have caught my eye, so let me come up for air and share them with you:

  • Puppets and Theatre. When you think of theatre and puppets, what comes to mind? Bob Baker? Flahooley? Carnival? Avenue Q? Indonesian Puppets? Here’s another one for you: Team Land. A noted marionette artist, Bill Land, has moved to Las Vegas and was profiled in the Las Vegas weekly.
  • Disneyfied Sondheim. If you didn’t know, Disney is working on a movie version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods“. Alas, they have insisted on changes. Stephen Sondheim talks about them in this article. Let’s put it this way: Disney does not recognize infidelity, and wolves do not have sexual appetites.
  • Wax On Wax Off. Disney is the in San Fernando Valley (Burbank and Glendale), so an article about the Valley is in order. Here’s a look back at The Karate Kid, which was mostly filmed in the valley. The article includes some current-day pictures of movie locations.
  • The Backlot. Let’s move a little bit south to another studio: 20th Century Fox. In the early 1960s, they needed lots of money, so they sold off their backlot to pay for Cleopatra. What resulted was Century City. Century City was a planned “downtown” of high-rises, residences, shopping and entertainment, all fed by the convenient Beverly Hills Freeway, Route 2. What’s that you say? The BH Freeway was never built. Alas, Century City was, and in fact it is almost built out. So where is the traffic to go?
  • A Moving Thought. Talking about bad planning and traffic, how about building light rail to near an airport… but not in. That’s LA’s problem: The Metro doesn’t go to the airport. But there are now plans to change that, connecting the new Crenshaw Line and the Green Line with an LAX station, which will connect to a train that will feed the rental car lots, and integrated transportation hub, and some terminals.  By the way, as we’re speaking of Airport transportation, FlyAway is expanding again, this time to Santa Monica and Hollywood. The latter is good — it is near a Red Line stop and much more convenient than Union Station.
  • Old Streets. Before we leave LA Streets entirely, here are some famous LA streets when they were just dirt roads.
  • Belly Up To The Bar. Since we’re at the airport, let’s talk about hotels. Specifically, what do hotels do with the partially used soap you leave behind. In Las Vegas, they are recycling it.
  • Such a Pill. OK, I can’t connect this one it: They are working on a pill to help those with Celiac. It won’t allow you to eat gluten, but it can help with the accidental exposure.
  • That’s Disgusting. Lastly, an article from Politico about Hobby Lobby and their plans. Hobby Lobby’s owners just don’t want to win their Obamacare case; they want a Christian Nation. They are building a huge museum dedicated to the Bible a few blocks from the Mall in Washington , with as much public space as the National Museum of American History. They’ve financed a lavish traveling exhibit as well, complete with a re-created Holy Land cave, a “Noah’s Ark experience” for kids and animatronic characters such as William Tyndale, who was burned at the stake for daring to translate the New Testament into English. The Greens are sponsoring scholarly study of the Bible and hosting forums such as a recent panel on faith’s role in shaping early America, which they hope to package for national broadcast. Most provocatively, they’ve funded a multimillion-dollar effort to write a Bible curriculum they hope to place in public schools nationwide. It will debut next fall as an elective in Mustang High School, a few miles from Hobby Lobby’s Oklahoma City headquarters. A draft of the textbook for the first of four planned yearlong courses presents Adam and Eve as historical figures.


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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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