Observations Along the Road

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

Category Archive: 'news-chum'

Saturday Stew: Nipples, Laundering Money, Videos, and Bigfoot

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jan 11, 2014 @ 10:38 am PDT

Observation StewIt’s Saturday, and that means it is time for a tasty stew of the articles that caught my eye but didn’t form into a coherent theme of three or more articles:



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Looking Behind the Curtain

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Jan 10, 2014 @ 11:41 am PDT

userpic=cyborgToday’s lunchtime news chum brings together a collection of stories that are all related through the notion of peeking behind the curtain to see something previously hidden:


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If You Read It On The Internet, It Must Be True

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Jan 06, 2014 @ 7:35 pm PDT

userpic=don-martinNewspapers are cutting their staffs to the bone… and one of the first services to go is the fact checker. Articles move in a viral fashion around the net with loss of sourcing information, and of course, if it is on the net, it must be true. Here are three stories you may have seen recently… that aren’t true:

  • Radiation from Fukushima is Killing Off Sea Life in California. Umm, no. Read this. These are just natural cycles with no connection to Japan.
  • Kim Jong Un’s Uncle Was Thrown to the Dogs. Umm, no. Read this. It was a satirical article that went viral.
  • Crop Circles in California are Caused by Aliens. Umm, no. Read this. It was a marketing stunt.


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Historical News Chum Stew

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jan 04, 2014 @ 8:07 pm PDT

userpic=headlinesToday’s News Chum Stew is historical — that is, all the items have to do with history. Yes, that can make it a bit bland, but I think you’ll find a lot to chew on:

Any stew needs a little spice, so here’s a little flavor to perk things up:

  • Potty Emergency! Speaking about the movies, they are getting longer and longer, the drinks are getting bigger and bigger, and we’re getting older and our bladders weaker and weaker. What to do? Don’t worry! There’s an app for that! Specifically, there’s an app that will vibrate your phone during those moments in a movie when it is safe to run out and go… and will even give you a plot summary for what you miss.
  • Everyone Under 30 – Read This! Closing out on a slight history theme – here’s a list of 12 outdated items your parents owned that you should own too, even if they seem old-fashioned. Item No. 1: Stationary, so you can write actual letters. My daughter received a handwritten note from a roommate today, and just loved it.


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Battles — Something Old, Something New

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Jan 03, 2014 @ 6:54 pm PDT

userpic=los-angelesToday’s news chum brings stories of a collection of battles, some old, some new, some borrowed, and some, umm, crimson:


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What a Loss

Written By: cahwyguy - Thu Jan 02, 2014 @ 12:47 pm PDT

userpic=tombstonesFor the first news chum of the year, here is a late lunch posting of a few articles highlighting things we have lost, or are losing, as the year turns. I’m not going to mention the big ones — such as plastic grocery bags in the City of Los Angeles or new 40 or 60 watt incandescent light bulbs. However, these are important to some folks:

  • An Acting Loss. In the last couple of days, we’ve lost a significant actor. I’m not referring to James Avery of Fresh Prince, but rather Michael Levine. Michael was a regular actor in the Santa Clarita area, at both Canyon Theatre Guild and at Repertory East Playhouse, where I met him. I will always remember his portrayal of the grandfather in Jewtopia, his direction of A Few Good Men, and his performances in dramas such as Proof, On Golden Pond, and To Kill a Mockingbird. As I’m an audience, not an actor or creative, I never had the pleasure of working with him, but I always enjoyed him on stage and when I talked to him before a show.
  • A Dining Loss. Tonight, the penultimate Hamburger Hamlet closes as the Pasadena location is replaced by a – dare I say it – Dupars. I used to always love eating at the Hamlets in Palms, Brentwood, and Westwood — all long gone, and occasionally at the Pasadena and Sherman Oaks locations. I recall having the Rex Harrison, which was a fancy Bacon Cheeseburger, “Those Potatoes” (hashbrowns and sour cream), and wonderful French Onion soup. Lots of fond memories, but a dining style and menu that doesn’t resonate with many today. I’ll have to get down to Sherman Oaks while it still exists, and I won’t forget those sides. The closing has provoked a number of remembrance articles: LA Observed, LAist)
    [*: There may still be an East Coast location in Crystal City VA; the one in Bethesda MD (if it is still open - Yelp is ambiguous) is essentially a Dupars. The website also lists a Larchmont (Los Angeles) location, but that closed in December. There may also be a "Hamburger Hamlet XP (Express)" location in NoHo.]
  • A Television Loss. On 12/31/13, SoapNet ceased programming. Now, I never really watched the channel, but I do remember the heyday of both the daytime and the primetime soap operas. My grandmother loved to watch the soaps on NBC (I would watch them, as a kid, when she babysat). I remember the evening soaps — Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, and others — and I still watch the new Dallas. The death of SoapNet is a harbinger of the death of the genre as originally constituted, although I guess one can find the equivalent on Lifetime Network.


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Torn Between Two Topics

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Dec 31, 2013 @ 12:14 pm PDT

userpic=calendarFor my last post of the year, I’m torn between two topics:

  • Adaptive Reuse. I’ve seen two posts of late dealing with interesting adaptive reuse: the first having to do with the secret second life of old Pizza Huts, the second having to do with adaptive reuse of gas stations. I even thought about tying this to the story of a women who did adaptive reuse of husbands, climbing the social ladder in St. Louis until — surprise, surprise — she died and donated truckloads of money to foster family organizations (this being a story just ripe for a musical, but it’s too similar to Little Me).
  • How Lucky We Are. I’ve been thinking of late about all the terrorist attacks and bombings in Russia. This thinking generally resolves around the fact of how lucky we are. Think about it: We’re in a country with lots and lots and lots of cuckoos, from tea party folks to conspiracy theorists to dominionists to …. And yet, with all these crazies, we aren’t having a lot of home-grown terrorist attacks and bombings. Sure, we’ve got the occasional shooting, but even these are typically delusional folks with depression, not an organized effort by an internal terrorist organization. For as polarized as America is (and it is very polarized), at least there still seems to be some boundaries that are not crossed.

But I just don’t know which topic I should write about? Perhaps both :-)

Seriously, to all my readers — you have my wishes for a peaceful and happy new year, or at least one where you are somewhat healthy, and when you’re not, you heal fast. May your year be filled with critical thinking, good friends, better outcomes, less stress, and some modicum of financial security and calmness. Put the stress of 2013 behind you, and let’s all have a good 2014.


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A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Dec 29, 2013 @ 11:32 am PDT

Observation StewIt’s the last Sunday of the year, and so I think you deserve some Saturday news chum stew, a day late. That’s what prompted the title to this post. However, looking at the articles, they all seem to relate to that notion: they are either past their time, or they are situations where there might not be enough cash, or both:

  • Lick It and Stick It. If you aren’t already aware, postage rates are going up, “temporarily” (yeah, right), to 49c for the first ounce, and 21c for each additional ounce (forever stamps are still whatever the current rate is, so buy them now). Postcards will go to 34c. A number of other rates will also increase. The rates will supposedly go back down in 24 months, but I’ll believe that when I see it.
  • Bookstores Gone But Not Forgotten. Kevin over at LA Observed has posted his list of bookstores that have closed in Southern California. We lost some biggies this year, including Cliff’s in Pasadena (which I thought would be around forever). I regret not getting over to Cliff’s before it closed.
  • Breaking Away. A bunch of Northern California counties want to secede from California because they have no say in the legislature. Actually, they do have the same say as every other voter in the state; it just happens that most of the other voters live in the big urban areas. They seem to believe that their votes will make it so. What they forget is that it has to be approved by both the state legislature and congress.  Further, they will need to pay for their share of the state-owned infrastructure and assume their share of the state’s debt… and being rural, they won’t generate enough taxes to pay for all of that plus the additional bureaucracy they will need for a new state’s government. Since the United States has been created, a state split has occurred only once, and that was during the Civil War (the Carolinas split before the revolution).
  • Double-Chined Barbie. There is a meme going around Facebook encouraging production of a stereotypically obese Barbie with a double chin. While I certainly agree that having a Barbie with realistic proportions would be a good idea, and that having Barbies that look like real people (including skin colors and facial characteristics, as opposed to a colored-skin white Barbie), this mock-up is not the answer.


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