Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Merry (belated) Christmas

 It is gorgeous out here and I haven’t wanted to post too much and annoy people in the snow and cold. But it is a grand time and I did want to share a few pics.

More to come later, but it is very nice.





Wednesday, December 21, 2022

My Review of Between Riverside and Crazy

Stephen McKinley Henderson rules Between Riverside and Crazy

A Pulitzer Prize winner in 2015, Between Riverside and Crazy comes to Broadway with most of the cast repeated their award-winning roles. Stephen McKinley Henderson once again rules the stage as Pops.

I did not see the play off Broadway eight years ago, so I cannot comment on the changes. But from Mr. Henderson’s own interview, the original thrust of the play was Pops dealing with the death of his wife. The thrust of the story now centers around Pops’ police work and his retirement – the change brought on by acknowledgement of police brutality in the intervening years.

Stephen McKinley Henderson, Elizabeth Canavan, Michael Rispoli, Rosal Colon, and Common
(C) Joan Marcus

The famous new member of this experienced troop is the musician Common. He is excellent in the unlikeable role of Junior, Pops’ son. His performance is restrain when needed and agitated when appropriate.

The story centers around a rent-controlled apartment on Riverside drive, a very nice part of town. Pops houses a group of three young people: his son, Junior’s girlfriend, and Junior’s recovering friend, Oswaldo. But a rent-controlled apartment in this part of town is an endangered species. And Pops was offered a good price to move out 8 years ago. He fought the city as a decorated veteran, injured police officer and older man. And Pops is still fighting to stay in the apartment 8 years later.

Change comes when Pops is visited by his old partner on the force and her fiancé. They talk about old times and reminisce before she and her husband try, once again, to have Pops take a deal to get money and leave the apartment with a nice payout. He stubbornness and pride don't allow whim to take the offer. Then entire process of kicking him out of his home is indicative of the racism in the gentrification of the neighborhood.

But trouble brews in his home with the family. Junior has left, his girl-friend may be pregnant and Oswaldo has fallen off the wagon.

Stephen McKinley Henderson,  Common

Pops deals with these troubles, and a beating, with anger and bluster. But he and his son ultimately have a heart to heart. It is clear this open and honest relationship has been something Junior has wanted since his mother died. And it is equally clear that intimacy and openness come dear to them both. It is hard to open up after a lifetime of stoicalness. 

Between Riverside and Crazy is a story about forgiveness, stubbornness and love. None of these emotions come easily – except stubbornness – and it takes a life change for these to occur.

I very much enjoyed the show. The acting is wonderful with no bad performances or weak links. The sets are complex, but somehow add a simplicity to the show. Kudos to Production Manager John C. Moore. Austin Pendleton is the director and moves multiple story lines together seamlessly.

Between Riverside and Crazy
PlaywrightStephen Adly Guirgis | DirectorAustin Pendleton | CastStephen McKinley Henderson, Common, Elizabeth Canavan, Michael Rispoli, Rosal Colon, Victor Alamanzar, Liza Colon-Zayas
website

A Change of Christmas Day - in Orthodox Ukraine

Ukraine has two Eastern Orthodox churches. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church(UOC). The newer Orthodox Church of Ukraine broke off from the UOC in 2018 because the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was subservient to the Russian Orthodox Church. The UOC not only followed the Russian traditions, but fully argued for Russian control of Ukraine.


Despite a protest from the Russia Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, granted ecclesiastical independence to the new OCU.

Even before the attack by Russia, about a third of Ukrainians wanted to move to the western calendar. After the invasion, the move was seen as a tie to the west, and a break from Russia.

The new OCU has stated this is NOT a cancelation of the January 7th Orthodox Christmas, but only a new day of worship if people want. The church will reevaluate if they want to fully move off the Gregorian calendar if the December 25th Christmas is popular with worshipers.

A Stately Home in England

 When we were in England this past Thanksgiving, we visited a "stately home" (I can't remember the name - and right now my book is buried under Christmas packing boxes).

It was saved from destruction in the 1950s by a husband and wife who were childless. They had many nieces and nephews that visited often along with their parents. When they grew too old to take care of the house, it was given the National Trust.

The National Trust has kept the house, in the main, as it was in the 1960s and 1970s when the pair lived there. I though it was lovely.


Often very old homes have libraries for show. This one shows it was used a lot.

The courtyard near the garage and stables.



The entrance foyer


The Ballroom. Used as a large dining room when the owners were alive.
Dressed at a ballroom that was used in a Downton Abby movie

Daily Stoic: Last of the Year

 Ed and I are headed out for about a week for Christmas. Where? Well, I am not trying to brag, so let's just say, not the cold. I may post a few pictures and stories from the trip while I am gone, but no Daily Stoics for me until next year.

And I think today's meditation is probably a good one to wrap things up with this year.

Many times an old man has no other evidence besides his age to prove he has lived a long time.

Seneca

This meditation speaks to the idea that we waste precious time worry about what we cannot change, or letting time and opportunities pass by as we sit and do nothing. We all do this, but we should strive to not JUST relax. "Make the most of life, not in the form of achievement, or money, or status - but in wisdom, insight and real progress against things all men struggle with."

Don't just waste your life. As Shakespeare said:




Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Daily Stoic : Fear of Death

 This is another meditation that sounds repetitive in the original, so I am going to use an alternate phrasing from the book.

If death is truly the end, then what is there exactly to fear? For everything from your fears to your pain receptors to your worries and your remaining wishes, they will perish with you. As frightening as death might seem, remember: it contains within it the end of fear.

Epictetus

This seems a rather clinical way of looking at death. But I believe it. I mean, I believe that death pretty much ends life. I am not particularly counting on a Big White Glowing man in the clouds suddenly going, "Wait! I made a mistake Scott. Come on in, Brad Pitt is waiting for you and you have a 2:00PM Thursday with Rupert Graves. Remember, Punch a Fascist in the Face Fridays!"

Although that Brad Pitt thing circa: Thelma and Louise would certainly bring me back into the fold.

That being said, Dead's dead in my brain. Sure, we created flying, space missions and Twinkies. Yes, we might conquer death, but we aren't coming back here.

I could post an uplifting quote here or....

Brad Pitt circa Thelma and Louise.. This heaven would get me back to church.

Monday, December 19, 2022

New Post on Substack Intersection of Geography and Economics

 In order to get my annoying nerd on - the one where I tell people things they have no interest in - I have started a substack. Yes, this is the same thing I started before with what to do on weekends in New York.

But this is more fun and pretty much just for me - and a few people that find it interesting. So below the link to the site, if you want. I have no skin in your response. I'm not trying to make a name or money or anything, just enjoy writing it.

Scooter



I do feel better after ignoring the MTG and Lauren Boeberts of the world...

 So I am glad to have some "actual documentation" backing on this... 



Daily Stoic: Human Scale

I am using a the exposition here, not the actual quote from Marcus Aurelius. I find it much easier to meditate on. The original is confusing.

Consider your place in the universe next time you feel self-important, or like everything rises and falls on what you do next. It doesn't. You're just one person among many, doing you best among many. That is all you need to do.

paraphrased from Marcus Aurelius

This could be read as "you are unimportant". But it also reads that simply because we are not the most important thing in the universe, it does not mean you ignore your worth. Persevering regardless is all we can or should do. But that doesn't diminish our efforts. We are good, or moral, or helpful based on our actions, not our importance.



Sunday, December 18, 2022

I like this.. From Montana

 I suppose because my mom lives in Montana, I do check the news there often. But this is a great idea. IN Butte County Montana, during December, people can pay their city fines by donating to a food bank. Seriously.


There is a specific law there that allows this. Kind of cool, right?

Well, it has been a good news year.. comparably

 I have plenty of stupid ass nincompoopery to comment on today. But, as it is close to the end of the year (it stops for me on Dec 22 - as then I am off to the Caribbean until next year) so I am looking at good news.


Travel is open again. That is great. People who were house bound, and maybe a little worried about going out now have some options that are pretty Covid safe.

Speaking of safe, if you are vax'ed and updated, Covid does not usually end in death anymore. That is great news for people over 65 and all people. At 63, I am perilously close to being old, so I have taken full advantage of the boosters.

My immediate family and closer outer family and friends haven't los anyone to Covid this year, and haven't even had a real scare. That's great.


Ed is still doing great at work AND does NOT have to move to Orlando. That's great.

We were able to go to LA and get our annual check ups - a few years late - and we are healthy. That's great.

The midterms were a wonderful surprise where reality seemed to persevere. That is both unexpected and wonderful.


I was able to travel to some place I had been dying to go to and see some old Yugoslavian monuments. So that was very fun.

Theater opened up again - and I saw quite a few Broadway and off-Broadway shows. That is great.

We were able to have brunch with people again. That was great.

So, looking at the bright side, it has been a great year.

Surprising when you think about it, right?

And so Merry Christmas from the Montana Christmas Bears. Happy New Year.

And yes, that is the Loch Ness Monster is bringing the myrrh (and I checked the spelling on that bad boy).

Saturday, December 17, 2022

This SHOULD be a surprise, but it's not

 This is in percentage terms is a new, and pathetic, first.



Clearly the answer here is more guns so that the good guys can kill the bad guys.

I do love Audrey Plaza!

 We finished White Lotus. Sure Theo James, Jake Lacy and Will Sharp are handsome men. But my favorite actor by a mile (okay only by 1/4 mile over Jennifer Coolidge) was Aubrey Plaza.

She is one of my favorite actors, as she plays her parts great. White Lotus is 180 degrees away from The Little Hours, but she was hilarious in both. Here are some of my favorite of her roles.

I am loath to admit it, but I never saw Parks and Recreation

She was super great as the villain in Legion

Come on! Who doesn't love her as a demented novice in The Little Hours

Jilted and Angry in White Lotus

A solution - that people didn't like - Reverses a decision - that people didn't people don't like

The new New York Mayor has proposed, and is trying to roll out, a new policy towards the mentally ill homeless. That is mandatory hospitalization and then release or possibly longer care at an institution specifically for the mentally ill.

This has proven to be pretty unpopular with "concerned citizens". And yet...

.. those same "concerned citizens" were freaked out when Ronald Reagan CLOSED all the mental institutions. 

Now, for some reason, one of my high school classes visited the mental hospital in Paramount or Downey. I am sure we were on the non-violent level, but it was eye-opening, in that a lot of people were housed there that could not live alone. And often their families had committed them because they could not handle it anymore and provide a safe space for those family members that were committed.

Also, I have seen some mentally disabled people grow from a youth who cannot control his anger into a young adult with the correspondent growth. Now they might be very big, very powerful people who cannot control their anger, their violence, and then the shift to very nice.

There are good ways to move people to group home care. Or to home / semi-autonomous care. But this did not happen. These mentally disabled and mentally ill people were dumped and nearly all became homeless. 

I am not positive that Mayor Adams plan will work, will be fair, or will be a missed chance. If this is done indiscriminately or as a punishment it will fail. But, if it is done compassionately, with a good post hospital plan for supported living, I will be thrilled. I think it is better than leaving them on the street in the cold, then hot, and always unsafe environment.

The on-going cost and difficulty of proper oversight cause the closure of mental facilities, can we provide good care and a plan now?


Friday, December 16, 2022

Lynn and I have been to this pitch

 CNN has a photo special about the coolest soccer pitches in the world. Well, I will share some pictures, but first - this.

Lynn and I actually visited this one. Now, it was for a totally Scooter reason. When we were in the Faroe Islands for my birthday in 2019, we drove around the islands (remember I loved that place). Well we did stop in Eloi. We stopped for food, but there wasn't a restaurant open (not season yet). And so, we wre leaving. Well, there were public toilets at the football pitch. So we drove there, parked and - you know - pee'd. After we actually walked a bit around the field and were surprised.

It is a lovely spot - fake grass of course, but lovely. And we were kind of surprised how in a city of hills, mountains, and cliffs they managed

to build this pitch in a small town in the middle of nowhere.

It was (is) cool!

Don't know if I showed what I got Ed

 This year, on a trip to the Poconos with Randy, I got Ed this...

And it works for so many of my friends and family... 



What our choices mean

 This is not an attack on the United States or our people. What I am trying to point out, is that our system of economics and politics lead to odd choices. Nearly all seem to be choices of (nearly) unfettered capitalism versus common good. And many of our choices have changed over time.

This headline kind of sums up the choices we have made.

If you read the article, it talks about that part of the child care system that is "working". In this case working means making a profit. And the part of child care that is working is the part at the top of the economic ladder. Day care from these companies, which are very upscale, runs from $40,000 to $45,000 a year. Almost $2,000 a month.

Child care in the middle-class or poorer segments of our population are severely limited. Often either much less supervision per child, or other local friends and family one may or may not pay. Costs and limits on location mean that these workers - who often need two incomes - face impossible choices.

And these providers lobby Congress with millions of dollars to lower barriers to their business and raise barriers to other, lower cost, solutions.

This isn't a bug, it is a feature of our current system. Our country values profit over people. It is not a complaint or accusation, it is just a fact.

Childcare in other countries is subsidized by the state. Which sounds anti-capitalist, but it actually allows a higher percentage of people to be in the workforce. 

We don't have national health care, we have private hospitals and drug companies. This has lead to some of the best care in the world. But it comes at the cost of basic health care for middle class and poorer people who cannot afford it.

Our education system does not value children enough to pay teachers a comparable wage to those adults and college grads make at for profit companies. In fact, we use the saying often that "those that can't do, teach". It devalues our education and educators. 

And this is a choice that (mainly) boomers made. When I was young, my parents (boomer-ish) and the public at larger valued education as a way to increase knowledge and allow upward mobility. But once they and their children (me) were done with school, public support and funds began to dry up. College tuitions have increased 10 fold at public universities

Our system has decided that educating poorer people isn't worth it. The worse the poorer did on standardized tests, the less money we are willing to spend. 

Our police are paid from local states and taxes. This leads to ticketing for profit. When a policeman is judged by the amount of fines  they generate, or by the number of tickets written, there is a push for more money generated. And in many places that usually means a crackdown in middle class, poorer and less influential people. Rich people are more likely to be let off with a warning and more likely to have charges dropped.

Our homeless problem is without equal in the high income countries. We have decided to let hundreds of thousand people, often veterans with PTSD or mentally ill, fall through cracks in our system. And we choose to let it happen. There ARE solutions, Salt Lake City has shown the way here, but we choose to lower our taxes and let these people live on the streets - hopefully out of sight.

Like I said, this isn't a complaint, it is an observation. We value profit more than children, medical care, or equality under the law. If we want to change our country's choices ... we can't. All that profit leads to much of it being transferred to politicians via lobbyists.

It is very much this cartoon.



A Pointer to Longer and more "Full of Myself" posts

 I am having a fun time writing a substack (a place for reading / publication not a blog per say) about the "Intersection of Geography & Economics".

It is fun and a bit indulgent. I have had a couple people I don't know sign up and if you are getting notifications feel free to cancel. I am just musing aloud (or a-written) about things I find interesting. Or sometimes (as in the case of John - THANK YOU) if a question is asked.

I only done two do far, but I really enjoy it.



Daily Stoic: Everlasting Good Health

Today's meditation looks at our responses - and how they can positively or negatively effect us.

I tell you, you only have to live like a healthy person does ... living with complete confidence. What confidence? The only one worth holding, in what is trustworthy, unhindered, and can't be taken away from you - your own reasoned choice.

Epictetus

It is amazing to me how easily it is to smash confidence. I can see it with others, but I can only understand the process within myself. I am often impervious to criticism. But if the words hit just so, then I can spiral. I will clam up, freaked out that people cannot stand to hear my voice. I want to run away so badly because I am embarrassed I am alive. And it is a spiral I cannot easily pull out of.

The worse is that I can see that response as it barrels towards me, like some cloud of doom.

However, if I get a chance to think now, I can realize that whatever I did to annoy someone occurred at a state of time. I can't fully understand how we got to this point - but I don't have to bring that impression going forward. I can react from now, without dwelling (too much) on what prompted this criticism.

I'm working on it.


How it feels when I see my depression and self-doubt rushing at me

Thursday, December 15, 2022

He who is without sin can throw the first stone...

I kind of LOVE the hypocritical outrage here.

As I understand it, CNN and Western governments are in a tizzy because their governments have supported anti-LGBT churches to the tune of $5 million dollars in the past 5 years.

Which is horrible! Or is it really?

In America, churches are exempt from taxation, so we "pay for" church taxes to the tune of $75 - 80 Billion a year*. Add another equal amount they save in property taxes - although they get support from roads, fire and police departments, which property taxes pay for in most states and you are up around $150 Billion a year**.

And the great majority of these churches are proactively anti-LGBT. If you take the Catholic Church, there is about 1/2 the religious population there. Add in Evangelical churches and America subsidizes anti-LGBT church on a scale of at least 5,000 times as much in the United States versus support to African churches.

I'm not saying it is right or wrong, it just is.

* Per Tax Foundation

** Per Fast Company

Daily Stoic: A Simple Way to Measure Our Days

 Marcus Aurelius was sick and close to death when many of his meditations were written. Although we cannot know for sure, his writings indicate that, towards the end of his life, he was torn between his ideals, and his pain and fear of dying. Therefore, many of his meditations were directed towards how HE wanted to act. 

This is the mark of a perfection of character: to spend each day as if it were your last, without frenzy laziness or any pretending.

Marcus Aurelius

He was trying to accept death as part of life. He was exulting himself to be a better stoic in these difficult times. Nearly everyone has faced death and their own mortality. I hope I can handle it with the force of commitment that others do. 





Tuesday, December 13, 2022

I Don't Like Power

 As I get older, smarter and more inquisitive, I find flashes of self awareness at odd times. Today it was via a Science Fiction book. I realized I don't like or want power.

I mean that in a very personal way. Not that it bothers me in others, not that I find it unhelpful in the abstract: no, I just hate when I have it.

Let's look at why. Primarily I think it is because I am terrified of conflict. Terr-i-fucking-fied. I loved being a bartender because of very little conflict. I loved being a project manager because it gives me all the responsibilities of running a team and project, with none of the real power. Getting things done requires planning, give and take, and reasoning. For the Project Manager, getting things done does not include yelling at, threatening or giving crap reviews to people. Just getting the job done.

 My blood pressure at 170 first starting happening when I was a manager and had to reviews to my employees. I am sure it would have happened other wise, but that moment was the actual ignition.

And so it is so very much easier to blandly go along with others than to have some sort of conflict. 

With Ed, when something bugs me very very much, I will bottle it up and at some inappropriate point vomit it all up on him. Which causes a fight and I vow (to myself) to never say anything about that topic again.

To leave Greg, I had to actually read his diary - which chronicled his indiscretions and feelings about me - in order to get the push to actual confront him about it. And then I left and we never talked about it. In order to prevent myself from going back to Greg, I started a relationship pretty quickly so I would have a conflict either way. With a devil's choice staring at me, I had to have a conflict, so pick the one I liked better (i.e. NOT Greg). 

And I still feel guilty about it.

You may wonder how I managed to end other relationships - which are conflict minefields. For decades I would only go out with people that didn't actually like me or themselves or had super ass gay guilt. That way they would break up with me fairly soon.

You might think that would limit my pool of potential dates. But, you'ld be wrong. Being a bartender at a gay bar <used to> bring a parade of horny men - and I just filtered out those guys that had the most promise. I finally got a shrink that helped me break that habit.

But I never have been able to move past the overwhelming fear of conflict and the more general phobia about power. I still have a "flee" reaction about 75% of the time and have to conquer it.

Turns out there is a sculptor I love and didn't know it...

 Ed, Jane and I were walking through London after visiting Battersea Power station. We visited the Victoria and Albert Museum. Just walking through the place, actually on the way out, I saw this statue, which I loved.


You can read the inscription as below, but I did find on thing fascinating.

Winifred Turner (1903 - 83) About 1934

The attitude, two-dimensionality and pose of this stylized figure reflects Winifred Turner's interest in Assyrian and Buddhist sculpture and her passion for dance. The decorative pubic hair and thin loin cloth revel rather than conceal the anatomy of the figure. The shallow relief and sensuality can be seen as a homage to the Serbian sculptor Meštrović.

I had to look up the "Serbian Sculptor Meštrović". Turns out that Ivan Meštrović is Croatian, not Serbian and I have seen his stuff in Croatia. I have actually copied one of the statues we saw in Spilt and the second in a tiny town near Zadar.

You can see the influence between the sculptors

Saint Nin statue in the city of Ninski.

As I recall, he was a maverick because he preached mass in Croatian instead of Latin very early (600s?).


Daily Stoic: It's Just A Number

 Well, this is tough on multiple levels. But apparently the Greeks did not diet.

You aren't bothered, are you, because you weigh a certain amount and not twice as much? So why get worked up that you've been given a certain lifespan and not much more? Just as satisfied with your normal weight, so you should be with the time you have been given.

Marcus Aurelius

Yeah, but what if you ARE bothered by your weight? Oddly, I am not nearly as worried about my life span as much as my weight. So let us turn to Seneca, which puts it better.

Life is long, if you know how to use it.

Seneca

So let's summarize for modern times. The length of your life is unknowable, but the quality and enjoyment of that life is up to you. To put this in perspective, the Greeks worked as little as possible. They believed that contemplation, enjoyment and play were the real meanings of life, and work was just a way to get what you needed.


It was with Christianity in particular that pushed the idea of a "work week" and how work as a signifier of good morals became the norm. Of course, much of the output of that work, the wealth, was transferred to the church and local leaders. The church in particular was one of the first institutions (as opposed to individuals) that turned our output into their wealth.

That lesson has been learned and redoubled by corporations and a "Protestant Work Ethic" that has warped our sense of self to honor a belief that what you earn and your criticality to your company are the ideals to strive for. And, not achieving them means your are less than your peers. And rejecting that principle of work is even more disgusting to your countrymen than becoming a non-believer was to your community 500 years ago.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Ed's Spotlight Article is Up!

And it's a beauty. It's a look at a Badger Alumni that has made some real change in their lives. And Ed's article is dreamy! The title, "Ed Neppl Serves Up Success..." might be hokey but the article is great.


LINK

Saw Euphoria this week-end (the installation - not HBO show)

 It was ... wow! My review:

Hypnotic Euphoria at the Armory


I often go to a Park Ave Armory show on the spur of the moment. Seeing the new installation / movie Euphoria occurred in just this way. A happenstance look for something to do on a cold winter’s day lead us to the Park Avenue Armory this past Saturday.

Euphoria is an installation art piece that hooks you into philosophical piece of entertainment. 

You enter the dark Grand Drill Hall into a circular space. Surrounding the viewer are the members of the Brooklyn Youth Choir, projected in 360. Above the images of the choir are 5 large and 1 massive screen. The 5 ancillary screens show five jazz drummers which provide the music as well as the background sounds from the main screen.


The main screen flows from vignette to movement to vignette to movement etc, in a 1 hour 50 minute loop.

The dialogs are discussions about greed and capitalism, the pros the cons, the requirements and impacts of constant growth, and how this effects people. But the speaker’s words, sentences and thoughts are from history. To quote the program: 

Thoughts and musings from a variety of sources from economists, business magnates, writers, and celebrities from the likes of Warren Buffet, Ayn Rand, and Milton Friedman to Audre Lorde, John Steinbeck, Donna Haraway, and Snoop Dogg take on new meaning as they are reinterpreted as poetic monologues in real and imagined scenes of euphoric production and consumption...

And the conversations or monologues occur in spaces that are usually imagined to be pockets of hopelessness and stunted thinking. Be it kids getting high in a communist bus depot, or homeless men around a trash fire, or women working an endless distribution center or even a tiger in a supermarket – they are surrealistic spaces for an economic discussion.

But these conversations engage us and slip into our internal dialogs so easily that the situations stop seeming forced almost immediately. The viewer loses themselves in the imagery and the topics and explanations. Most of these conversations bring up thoughts that have lived in the corners of your mind – arising rarely.

I expected to be done and leave the venue well before the nearly 2 hour loop was done. But when I came to the moment I walked in, I was shocked to see how quickly the time moved. 

I was pretty much mesmerized by thoughts and images.

The show plays until January 8th. Go see it!

Euphoria
ArtistJulian Rosefeldt

Daily Stoic: Dignity and Bravery

 Today's Meditation must be brought past where it seems to start...

As Cicero says, we hate gladiators if they are quick to save their lives by any means; we favor them if they show contempt for their lives.

Seneca

The moral of the story is NOT to show contempt for our own lives. But we are meant to live our lives fully, not so afraid of failure or death as to be shrunk, and therefore lose much of ourselves in saving ourselves. Doing only the safest thing will not bring joy, but prioritizes existence over experiences.

And no one dreams of only "existing".


Saturday, December 10, 2022

Look, I love Olivia Colman as much as the next guy, but....


Olivia Colman is an Academy Award, Olivier Award, Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award winning actress. She might be the best actress working today in London or Hollywood.

But kids,...

... she isn't the ONLY great actress working. For goodness sake, pick another actress every now and then.

Too much of a good thing is too much.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Mountain Lion Kittens in LA

 There is a celebrity mountain lion in LA called P-22. You might or might not have heard of her. She shows up in the hills on security cams a lot. She seems to have also claimed a porch in the Hollywood Hills as a night nap place last year.

Well, she gave birth to 4 female kittens this summer. And they are very cute. The National Park Service is tracking her. And the LA City Council is thinking about designating a section of the mountains in LA as a preserve.

What I did NOT know is that mountain lions have been busy. There were 12 births this summer. That is a lot. These are in the Santa Monica Mountains and the hills above Simi Valley. It isn't Orange County where there are plenty of mountain lions already.

There are lots of scientific study now about nature on "nature islands" surrounded by urban areas. P-22 and her cubs will be very important to the study.


But What Does It NOT Say?

 New discoveries are making waves. Primarily due to some overlooked questions of people. First, let's start with the discoveries. First, surprising to no Geography major, Greenland and Antartica supported lush life. What IS surprising is how recently that was - geologically speaking.

Greenland had Mastodons. That is hella recent. Not dinosaurs, not tiny mammals that came after the death of the death of the dinos. No, recently when mega-fauna walked in North America.



But here is the rub. IF Greenland and Antartica could support life - that doesn't mean a Climate Change world that is much hotter than now can support us all. If the poles were balmy, how hot must the tropics have been. Even the belt of dense population running from Los Angeles through Europe and Africa to China must have been close to uninhabitable. The poles could not support the current population of 8 billion people. Those who live in, or would conquer these 2 regions would not let the teeming masses in.

These discoveries are warnings, not cause for celebration.

About sums it up