Observations Along the Road

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

Category Archive: 'news-chum'

Stew for the Week: Lemurs and Lions and Iron, Oh My!

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Nov 16, 2014 @ 1:39 pm PDT

Observation StewAs you can see by my previous two posts, yesterday was a busy busy day. So today, while I eat lunch, let me share with you some news chum stew items for the week:

  • Public Media Losses. Last week, I had to report the sad news that Tom Magliozzi had past way. This week brings news of the loss of another public media personality — this time from the public television side. Yes, Jovian, the lemur better known as Zooboomafu, has passed away.
  • Cast In… Iron. Sometimes, the best thing is the simplest. Consider the cast iron pan. I have quite a few of them, inherited from my grandparents. You’ve probably heard bad things about cast iron, but here is the truth.
  • Irvine. When you hear the word “Irvine”, what do you think of? Robert Irvine of Restaurant Impossible? UC Irvine (one of the blander UCs out there, although it is a good school)? A very homogenized Orange County community? If you’re old enough, you will think of Lion Country Safari, which used to be in the Irvine hills. Here’s a look back at Lion Country Safari.



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News Chum Stew

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Nov 08, 2014 @ 10:17 am PDT

Observation StewIn contrast to previous weeks, I found lots of articles of interest this week. I was so busy I couldn’t assemble them into a themed post, so you get a kitchen sink of stew:

  • Numbnuts. Although it is old news by now, I do want to comment on the passing of Tom Magliozzi of “Car Talk”. I have memories of paying bills while listening to Car Talk in the late 1980s, and I would still listen to it, off and on, until they went to repeats. Car Talk opened up public radio to be more than music and news, and it was just great. Supposedly, Ray will be doing a tribute show to Tom today; I plan to download that podcast and listen to it.
  • 1980s Sitcoms Gone Warped. I happen to be a big fan of TV themes. Having been a teen in the 1970s, I grew up with the sitcom, and the particular type of sitcom opening where the characters were introduced with this odd look at the camera. Yesterday, I learned of a wonderful and warped parody of all those openings called “Too Many Cooks”. I found the video on YouTube and it was great. Here’s an article that discusses the parody and provides the video.
  • Like Sand in the Hourglass. You go to the beach, and you think the sand is endless. The truth, however, is much worse. We’re running out of beach sand.
  • Held Up By A String. This seems like a regular occurance: An article about the future of Bob Baker’s Marionette Theatre in Echo Park. This time, the concern isn’t the property. The property was sold and a new development is going up, but they are building around the theatre and incorporating the theatre. However, Baker himself is in hospice, and the concern has never made money. I have vague memories of going there when I was a child in the 1960s — this is an LA treasure.
  • Milk Chocolate. If you’re a chocolate lover, you tend towards the dark chocolate, and look down on milk chocolate. However, there can be great milk chocolate, and here’s an article on some awesome milk chocolate.


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Good Things That Are Bad

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Nov 08, 2014 @ 10:12 am PDT

userpic=don-martinHere’s a collection of articles and opinion pieces that all seem to fall within the theme of things that are good, while really being bad:

  • Dogs. We all love our dogs. Our friendly canine companions have been shown to be good for our mental health and well being. But are they good for the environment?
  • Fake Grass. Here in California, we’re in the midst of a bad bad drought. The DWP (Department of Water and Power) is offering incentives for people to rip out their lawns and replace them with less water-hungry alternatives. Some go with fake grass (the modern-day equivalent of Astro-Turf). But is fake grass good for the environment?
  • Anesthetics. One of the things that makes modern medicine possible are anesthetics. But — especially in the elderly — they have their drawbacks — memory-loss. Here’s why.
  • It Does a Body Good. We’ve been taught that “Milk Does a Body Good” and that you should drink cows milk every day to get Calcium. The problem? Too much milk doesn’t do a body good. In fact, a recent study found that, in both women and men, higher milk consumption correlated with higher rates of death. And in women, those who consumed more milk were also more likely to have fractured a bone, not less. The fault may lie with lactose. In fact, fermented dairy products may be better for you — yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, and possibly cheese.


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It’s Something to Stew About

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Nov 01, 2014 @ 10:50 am PDT

Observation StewAs a reminder, I’m still trying to find the album title, album artist, and song titles for the album mentioned in my previous post. While you’re searching (I did find some stuff searching in Hebrew, but I couldn’t read it) and translating/transliterating, here’s some news chum to keep you busy:

  • It’s Back! It’s Back! The Empress Pavilion in Chinatown is back, under new owners, dispensing dim sum from carts in Chinatown. This is good news, as we were never able to find a place we really liked in Monterey Park (which was a schlep anyway). Sounds like a grand excuse for a dim sum run.
  • It’s Dead! It’s Dead! What happens to you when you die? I don’t mean meta-physically, I mean physically. There’s a body farm in Texas that is exploring the question, placing bodies out in fields and watching their decay. The article is a fascinating read — but be forewarned that it does include pictures of dead bodies in various stages of decay and decomposition. It isn’t as bad as you think (although you don’t get the smells), and it is comforting to think of your final act being to provide nutrients to other living things.
  • It’s Voting! It’s Voting! Of course, I shouldn’t need to remind you to vote on Tuesday (and if you need, here’s my ballot analysis: Part I (major offices); Part II (propositions); Part III (judges)). If you’re in LA County, you’re voting on the old Inka-Vote system. That may soon be going away: LA County has let a contract for a new electronic voting system. Based on what is described in the article, they may actually be doing it right: the County owns the code; the vendor that writes the code cannot operate the voting system; the voting machine prints a paper ballot to be tallied (hopefully legible to the voter).
  • It’s, umm, I forget. Recently, we’ve been dealing with the slow memory deterioration of my mother-in-law. It’s hard to deal with, and sad to see. This article — My Mom Has Dementia and Other Good News — was recently going around Facebook. It is an interesting take on the problem.
  • It’s Old! It’s Old! You know I like history, and that I like theatre. Here’s an interesting combination: the history of the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. It was once a movie theatre, and recently has been the site of numerous rental productions. We saw Marvellous Wonderettes, Pump Boys and Dinettes, and at least one other show there.
  • It’s Pastrami! It’s Pastrami! We’re seeing fewer and fewer true Jewish delicatessens. Here’s an interesting article on how one deli, Katz’s in New York, stays in business. Quoth the article: “But with a throwback menu comes a throwback business model, the downsides of which are especially apparent in these days of astronomical beef prices. That’s one reason why Dell—whose grandfather purchased Katz’s in 1988 and who in recent years has taken over most day-to-day oversight from his father and uncle—is fretting. If you want to fully appreciate why a place like Katz’s is special, you have to appreciate its odd economics, which pretty much ensure there will never be another deli quite like it.”


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Saturday News Chum: Better Late than Never

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Oct 18, 2014 @ 3:36 pm PDT

Observation StewI know, I’ve been abnormally quiet the last two weeks. Combine business travel, coming back with a cold, a busy week, and planning for a golf tournament (you can still sign up to play) and… whew! Still, I’ve got a few articles accumulated:

  • Passwords. Passwords of the bain of our existence online. For the longest time, I resisted the pull of password managers, keeping my passwords on a card in my wallet in 4 pt type or smaller, with only a code for the account and the password. Even that got unmanagable, and based on the recommendations of a number of others, I went with Lastpass. That’s all in the way of leadin to this article on what you should consider in a password manager. I looked for one that never handled the decrypted password vault in the cloud, and that could support two-factor authentication. It has certainly moved me in the direction of having longer and stronger passwords, which is a good thing. What is annoying, however, are the large number of accounts out there that do not provide anyway to change your passwords once established. Here’s a related useful article on how to enable two-step authentication on almost everything.
  • Getting the Youth. The Golf Tournament I mentioned above is for the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom. We have a problem: often, when I’m in a meeting, I’m the youngest in the room. How do we get college age kids active and involved? Here’s an interesting article from the Forward on Open Hillel, and how they got young folks back. Interesting thoughts. Intellectual debate about religion. Whou’da thunk it? :-)
  • Abandoned Malls. I haven’t seen the movie “Gone Girl”, but here’s an interesting article on the abandoned mall in the movie — which is in Southern California. Abandoned things are interesting — I still remember as a young child of perhaps 12 or 13 visiting some abandoned homes near my grandmothers in West LA that were about to be torn down. I go to that block today (1 block south of Santa Monica off Veteran) and all those homes have been replaced by large apartments. I still see the homes.
  • A Nobel Cause. I almost had a theme to post here last week: I had an article on how to dissolve your Nobel prize, and an article about carrying a Nobel prize through an airport. Never could find a third Nobel prize article.
  • Halloween Ideas. Seen on the news: The Teal Pumpkin campaign to indicate houses safe for those with food allergies.
  • Microsoft Patches. Lastly, I lost a good hour this week to failed Microsoft patches. I warned folks on Facebook, but here’s an article on the problem from Information Week.

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Delayed Stew: Post-Holiday News Chum Stew, in multiples of two

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Oct 06, 2014 @ 12:31 pm PDT

Observation StewThis has been a busy weekend, what with Yom Kippur and MoTAS building the Sukkah on Sunday. As a result, the posting of the usual News Chum stew got delayed until today. Hopefully it didn’t get burned sitting on the stove for so long.


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Saturday Stew: Roaches, Hookworms, and other things that are creepy

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Sep 27, 2014 @ 4:47 pm PDT

Observation StewJust realized it is Saturday and I haven’t done my news chum stew post, even though I’m likely to have stew for dinner. I’ve been too busy updating systems and installing the new version of Acronis, my favorite backup software. So here are some stew items for you:


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Saturday Stew: A Groupa Twos Stew, on Average

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Sep 20, 2014 @ 5:15 pm PDT

Observation StewIt’s Saturday, and you know what that means: Time to see what sort of a tasty stew we can make of the articles that I’ve saved over the week. Let’s see how flavorful this one is:


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