Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Vote in the UK's Wildlife Photo of the Year Contest

 The National History Museum of England is having a contest that allows you to vote on your favorite picture of the year. There are 22 different ones. Go on...

Meanwhile, here are my two favorites. The second one is two guineafowl, with one scratching the other's head. It is one of the few images that captures bird's emotions (one is loving the scratching).




Daily Stoic: You Don't Have to Stay on Top of Everything

 Usually I quote the Stoic, but in this case, I am going to use the explanation from Ryan Holiday's book The Daily Stoic.

How much more time, energy and pure brainpower would you have available if you drastically cut your media consumption? Hoe much more rested and present would you feel if you were no longer excited and outrage by every scandal, breaking story, and potential crisis (many of which never come to pass anyway). 

Ryan Holiday translating Epictetus.

Epictetus is not suggesting that we ignore the world. He says Yes, you owe it to your country and your family to know generally about any events that may directly affect them, but that's about all.

 I have tried to do that by ignoring much of the manufactured daily outrage. But it gets harder day by day. And I have to try harder to ignore things I worry about, even if I can't effect them. 

Like this bullshit from Florida that I cannot effect.


Yes, ALL books now have to be reviewed and vetted and can't be read or even viewed until someone checks each and every book they have been using for years.

I bet it makes you angry too. It's impossible for me to just "let this go".

Monday, January 30, 2023

Cleaning Pictures and found these again

Found these while cleaning up.

First is Lynn, Ed, and I at the Hawaii / Wisconsin Football.


The second is of Lynn when we were in Venice - a million years ago.



This is 1 thing I don't understand

 Again, as a rule I try not to talk about individual politicians or even the crazy ass crap that happens in Florida and Texas. But this is super-duper crazy.

Republican State Legislatures, often at the whim of a Politician with delusions of grandeur, have declared a new enemy. You know they hate gays, trans, climate realists, blacks, people who believe in science and anyone that looks to do the least bit of good towards any of these groups.


So their new enemy is companies that practice ESG policies - which are Environmental, Social and Governance. So not only do these Republicans not believe America should invest in its future, they don't want to invest in any companies that practice looking for the best for people. 

So, first of all, the entire ESG movement is more about optics that anything else. Blackrock is getting shit for being a company that looks at ESG when decided how to balance its investments. So so Florida is banning investing in them. But Blackrock also has investments in oil and gas. But the very idea that a company might LOOK at ESG factors is too much for Florida.

Second, it turns out, this may open up the Florida and Texas to legal action against general funds and retirement funds for the state. Say if any retiree getting funds from Florida can sue them if they are not fiduciaries* for the people and investing. Because - again, as it turns out, ESG investments have better rates of return than your basic dirty polluters that do not believe in climate change.

*A few years ago laws were passed that make fund investors "fiduciaries", that is they are chartered first and foremost with putting client needs ahead of any other reason for investing (example: a fiduciary cannot ban investing in ESG funds if they have greater returns).

Holy 1970s Batman

 Every now and then, when looking at house porn in Palm Springs, you come across a home in good shape. But none the less it hasn't been changed since the 1970s. One room may be camp, but a whole house is ... a lot. See below.

Yep, even starts out as a circus

Orange and brown (I think the couch has been stage to at least bring something cool to it. Look at the other couch and TV trays that seem more original.

1. How bad must the original furniture have dust
2. See the orange and brown color scheme repeats out to the bonus room.

That is some original shit right there.


Daily Stoic: Watching the Wise

Take a good look at people's ruling principles, especially of the wise, whaat they run away from and what they seek out.

Marcus Aurelius

This meditation seems fairly obvious to me. Often we find someone that we admire then try to mimic what we admire about them. 

I did this when I signed up and helped with Project 1948. Ed did this when he became a board member for a non-profit housing group. Lynn set a great example for others by volunteering at a food back after the hurricane.

I admire many things about my friends. I think it is hard to find and keep a great friend if there is nothing you admire about them.



Sunday, January 29, 2023

Hard For Me...

 I like to write. I do it even if I never show it to anyone. It makes me calm and happy (usually). But I am a converted Luddite given ChatGPT. You may ask what ChatGPT is? It is a artificial intelligence Chat creating machine that can write short stories or essays in a natural voice. It can also write in (say) the style of Willie Nelson, or Alexander Hamilton, or Taylor Swift.

And it's writing may need a little editing, but mine needs a lot :-).

And it has taken the wind out of my sails. What fun is writing when you compare to a machine? It is like asking 63 year old me to race against 19 year old Usain Bolt. hatGPT is not only a better writer but can churn out millions, probably billions of stories by the time my Word comes up.


And we will all use ChatGPT soon, if not months, then in just a couple of years. Teachers already see essays that are great and they are trying to understand how to use ChatGPT in school.

Where does it leave writers - and readers. If you can create better stories by computers, why buy books? And if you can listen to computer generated books, read by famous computer generated voices, why wouldn't you do that. 

But the beauty of books is that are not interactive. Their unique stories are meant to be consumed with imagination and awe. 

There is very little awe in reading  story, no matter how great, generated by a computer. You know the manipulation and pacing is set by someone who isn't human, but knows where the optimal place and emotions should go. If you don't believe me, think of Marvel Superhero movies. There is the same pacing, the same - the hero is "almost" defeated, then gets his (usually a his) strength at the end to come back and win.

Every time. "Somehow" the same almost dead / miraculously gets better scene ends every single Marvel movie. Kids get used to it and that is all they want to see now. Other stories are "boring" or slow. Now imagine that same type of training with writing.

Some Sci-Fi stories have protagonists that can't read. The people in these stories ask their phones or ear pieces or computers to read aloud passages from something very much like google. I thought that maybe, some day, something like this might happen. But not this fast, and not everyone.

I fear / think / dread reading going the same way as cursive writing. Quaint by not particularly useful.


Friday, January 27, 2023

I Posted This on my substack

 Again, you don't have to read it, I just write there to satisfy myself.


LINK

We are watching a pup today

 Friends got a new puppy, but he can't go to Day Care until he gets all his shots. Someone had a surprise meeting at the office set up for today...

So we get Spoon for the day. Spoon loves Ed, that's him sleeping under Ed's desk.



This is not good

To prepare you for the demonstrations ahead. Tyre Nichols was beaten to death by 5 police officers in Memphis. They said he was driving erratically when he was 200 yards from home. Then the police said that he ran away and resisted arrest. So they beat him when he was 100 yards away from his mother's house.

He was on a break from work going home for lunch / dinner!

Now you might say he was drunk or high. You would be wrong. He was on his break from the night shift at FedEx and going to his mom's house for his break, as he did every night. The police beat him so bad, they had to take him to the hospital where he died of his injuries 3 days later.

They are set to release the body cam video tonight (Friday Jan 27). It has to be horrible. They have waited until various cities (including Memphis and Washington DC) could be prepared for what must be terrible footage and demonstrations that go with it all. The 5 police have already be fired and are charged with his death. How bad is that body cam footage if the police were arrested!?

Tyre Nichols leaves behind a 4 year old son

This was a picture of Tyre a day AFTER the beating, but a day before he died.



Daily Stoic: 3 Areas of Training

 I often wonder, in doing this Stoic thang, what to focus on. This meditation outlines the 3 principals here.

There are three areas, in which the person who would be be wise and good must be trained. The first has to do with desires and aversions - that a person may never miss the mark in desires nor fall into what repels them. The second has to do with impulses to act and not act - and more broadly, with duty - that a person may act deliberately for good reasons and not carelessly. The third has to do with freedom from deceptions and composure and the whole area of judgement, the assent our mind gives to its perceptions. Of these areas, the chief and most urgent is the first, which has to do with our passions, for strong emotions arise only when we fail in desires and aversions.

Epictetus

These three areas to train try to bring up to a peaceful or unemotional state for us to make decisions within. 

I get it in that you never want to lash out in the heat of the moment - which of us has not acted emotionally and then regretted it - like the horrible [REPLY ALL] mistake.

And often anger leads us to bad decisions - like the email a Sorority Sister sent out regarding the next Frat Party. 

WARNING - TRIGGING CURSE WORDS FOR ADULTS....

If you just opened this like I told you to, tie yourself down to whatever chair you're sitting in, because this email is going to be a rough fucking ride.

For those of you that have your heads stuck under rocks, which apparently is the majority of this chapter, we have been FUCKING UP in terms of night time events and general social interactions with Sigma Nu. I've been getting texts on texts about people LITERALLY being so fucking AWKWARD and so fucking BORING. If you're reading this right now and saying to yourself "But oh em gee Julia, I've been having so much fun with my sisters this week!", then punch yourself in the face right now so that I don't have to fucking find you on campus to do it myself.

I do not give a flying fuck, and Sigma Nu does not give a flying fuck, about how much you fucking love to talk to your sisters. You have 361 days out of the fucking year to talk to sisters, and this week is NOT, I fucking repeat NOT ONE OF THEM. This week is about fostering relationships in the greek community, and that's not fucking possible if you're going to stand around and talk to each other and not our matchup. Newsflash you stupid cocks: FRATS DON'T LIKE BORING SORORITIES. Oh wait, DOUBLE FUCKING NEWSFLASH: SIGMA NU IS NOT GOING TO WANT TO HANG OUT WITH US IF WE FUCKING SUCK, which by the way in case you're an idiot and need it spelled out for you, WE FUCKING SUCK SO FAR. This also applies to you little shits that have talked openly about post gaming at a different frat IN FRONT OF SIGMA NU BROTHERS. Are you people fucking retarded? That's not a rhetorical question, I LITERALLY want you to email me back telling me if you're mentally slow so I can make sure you don't go to anymore night time events. If Sigma Nu openly said "Yeah we're gonna invite Zeta over", would you be happy? WOULD YOU? No you wouldn't, so WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU DO IT TO THEM?? IN FRONT OF THEM?!! First of all, you SHOULDN'T be post gaming at other frats, I don't give a FUCK if your boyfriend is in it, if your brother is in it, or if your entire family is in that frat. YOU DON'T GO. YOU. DON'T. GO. And you ESPECIALLY do fucking NOT convince other girls to leave with you.

"But Julia!", you say in a whiny little bitch voice to your computer screen as you read this email, "I've been cheering on our teams at all the sports, doesn't that count for something?" NO YOU STUPID FUCKING ASS HATS, IT FUCKING DOESN'T. DO YOU WANNA KNOW FUCKING WHY?!! IT DOESN'T COUNT BECAUSE YOU'VE BEEN FUCKING UP AT SOBER FUCKING EVENTS TOO. I've not only gotten texts about people being fucking WEIRD at sports (for example, being stupid shits and saying stuff like "durr what's kickball?" is not fucking funny), but I've gotten texts about people actually cheering for the opposing team. The opposing. Fucking. Team. ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID?!! I don't give a SHIT about sportsmanship, YOU CHEER FOR OUR GODDAMN TEAM AND NOT THE OTHER ONE, HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN TO A SPORTS GAME? ARE YOU FUCKING BLIND? Or are you just so fucking dense about what it means to make people like you that you think being a good little supporter of the greek community is going to make our matchup happy? Well it's time someone told you, NO ONE FUCKING LIKES THAT, ESPECIALLY OUR FUCKING MATCHUP. I will fucking cunt punt the next person I hear about doing something like that, and I don't give a fuck if you SOR me, I WILL FUCKING ASSAULT YOU.

"Ohhh Julia, I'm now crying because your email has made me oh so so sad". Well good. If this email applies to you in any way, meaning if you are a little asswipe that stands in the corners at night or if you're a weird shit that does weird shit during the day, this following message is for you:

DO NOT GO TO TONIGHT'S EVENT.

I'm not fucking kidding. Don't go. Seriously, if you have done ANYTHING I've mentioned in this email and have some rare disease where you're unable to NOT do these things, then you are HORRIBLE, I repeat, HORRIBLE PR FOR THIS CHAPTER. I would rather have 40 girls that are fun, talk to boys, and not fucking awkward than 80 that are fucking faggots. If you are one of the people that have told me "Oh nooo boo hoo I can't talk to boys I'm too sober", then I pity you because I don't know how you got this far in life, and with that in mind don't fucking show up unless you're going to stop being a goddamn cock block for our chapter. Seriously. I swear to fucking God if I see anyone being a goddamn boner at tonight's event, I will tell you to leave even if you're sober. I'm not even kidding. Try me.

And for those of you who are offended at this email, I would apologize but I really don't give a fuck. Go fuck yourself.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Now THIS is interesting - dog names

 I kind of thought this was funny, but not true. Turns out it is actually true. 

These are the most popular dog names in each Burroughs based on New York registration tag information. Select the picture to zoom the image.


I also love that in the Bronx, 3 of the names are just what type of dog they are: Maltese, Yorkie, and Poodle.

FFS, an entire state taken over by the Furry Conspiracy

 Hey-zues people are stupid. Maybe something is wrong with the water in North Dakota - they have gone fucking crazy.

The latest is this...


You might think, seriously? Are there are schools that set up litter boxes for those students that identify as cats?

Seriously.? No. Nada. Nyet! 

It's bullshit. It has been disproven a thousand times. There is NO proof except "a friend of mine, his/her child's school has litter boxes!"

No your friend's child's school does not. There has never been a documented case of this. One or two photo-shopped images that were easily proven fake. But no place where this has happened. Yet that didn't stop the North Dakotan dimwit legislatures from taking time from actual state business to address a non-problem.

But it is critical to pass this law. Because... it is?

Idiots.

My Latest on "The Intersection of Geography and Economics" substack

 Again, I write this substack as a way to exercise my selfish desire to share my knowledge and keep myself mentally sharp-ish. This week's is about what happened to Yugoslavia after Tito's death.


You don't have to read it, but it is there if you're interested.

My Review of Anthony Rapp's One Man Show

 Now you all I don't really like one person shows. But this was Anthony Rapp, so I risked it. It was wonderful...

Anthony Rapp’s Without You Engages Joyfully

Without You is based on Anthony Rapp’s 2006 book, Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss and the Musical Rent. The show is not a quick recap of his time in Rent, but about the emotions that Rent brought up and the story of his mother’s illness.

Anthony Rapp is stunning in Without You

The book and play Without You is centered on this time when Rent was beginning and was a massive hit AND at the same time Anthony’s mother was sick and getting sicker. Rent is a great play, yet one also with great tragedy. The parallels with his mother being sick are offset against the the play going through sickness and pain.

Anthony Rapp recalls his journey with Rent, from readings to Off-Broadway to Broadway. He doesn’t add a lot of new information that wasn’t in the book Without You, but the information was new to me.  I found it entertaining and interesting. I confess on traveling to New York (from Los Angeles) to see Rent with the original cast. I loved the show. To hear these new stories was fun and engaging. Without You is peppered with songs from the show, along with other tunes. Only 2 or 3 of the songs are sung completely, most are snippets used to relate to parts of the play.

Rapp’s tie of the story of Rent to the story of his mother’s illness is jarring at first, but little by little Without You pulls us into the analogies he is looking for. 

Anthony Rapp is stunning in the show. It is quick, tight and focused. The musical choices are absolutely perfect. Anthony Rapp’s voice is unique, and may not be your favorite. It isn’t my favorite, either as singing is such a personal thing. But Rapp’s voice work is stunning in the show. It pulls out emotion and pathos. His singing is the compliment that makes this show work.

Director Steven Maler understands the movement and stage business to emphasis the story, without being distracted. I absolutely loved the show, and left on a high.

Without You

PlaywrightAnthony Rapp | MusicJonathan Larson and others 
DirectorSteven Maler | CastAnthony Rapp


Daily Stoic: The power of a Mantra

 I tend to think about the "mantra" as another form of visualization or affirmation, but for the greeks.

Erase the false impressions from you mind, by constantly saying to yourself, I have it in my soul to keep out any evil, desire or any kind of disturbance - instead, seeing the true nature of things, I will give them only their due. Always remember this power that nature gave you

Marcus Aurelius

The Stoics believed that nature and logic held were the key to knowledge. And knowledge ultimately led to eudaimonia (happiness). And this - combined with a ethical life - was the key to virtue.

Every now and then, I need to remind myself that at this time, Greeks worshiped a pantheon of Gods. Zeus and Hera ruled over the other gods and man. The Stoics ignored the Gods when they could, because nature, logic and ethics held sway for them.

I think of the reality we face, and problems seem so much larger now. Then I remember that they actually had to defy the Gods to live this way.



Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Today's Daily Stoic: A Little Push Back

 I am trying to be more Stoic. To live as if fixing my forward path is the only one that is possible, but I also found this from the NY Times to be helpful. The Stoics of the past gained pleasure in the pursuit of stillness. Today that stillness is almost impossible. But today's Time Opinion  reminds us that there is more than living and learning - the article is titled We Need Pleasure to Survive.

And so today, I am quoting from that article. It is a bit better today than The Daily Stoic's The Only Prize. Here is a snippet of the Times Article:

After sitting with all these health warnings, it seems to me that the guidance around all sorts of things feels a bit draconian.

Not because I question the science, or the value of knowing the potential risks. Not because I think it’s propaganda for Big Boredom. But because if you’re a certain kind of person you take these warnings to heart, and it can be hard not to feel obligated to incorporate them into your routine. And because what seems less discussed is the role — maybe even the necessity — that having some simple pleasures plays in our lives.

...

While I’m certainly not suggesting that we all start binge drinking daily, eating hot dogs at every meal and breathing deeply over gas ranges, I do wonder what’s lost if we don’t let go of our superegos from time to time in pursuit of perfect health and potential longevity.

I decided to get in touch with academics who study pleasure and happiness to see what their research indicates. They didn’t mince words. “We need pleasure to survive,” said Morten Kringelbach, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Oxford who’s also the director of the Center for Eudaimonia and Human Flourishing. Kringelbach’s research over the past few decades, he said, has been in identifying the “machinery of the brain that makes you want something.”

For me, much of that pleasure and variety comes from travel. It is constantly a new experience (which the article contends is critical). One visit might be to see friends, one trip might be to see nature, one trip might be to see architecture, one trip might just be to lay on a beach with my honey, but the point is no trip is exactly the same as any other.

Sunset in St. Kitts

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

A Little Beaten Today

 I am in a less than good mood. One might even say a lousy mood. This is not a gluten problem. It is more a "every day for the past week we have woken up to a new shooting" type problem.

And a bit of resignation that this is where I live now. A country that overturns abortion rights to control women. Where a daily mass shooting leads to calls for more guns - they don't even pretend with "hopes and prayers" anymore.

And a country that rewards lying, stealing, and cheating. Well, at least for older white men.


And it is so normal and accepted that I have run out of outrage and regret - I can't help it but I have moved right along to "it's hopelessly fucked and I am fucking out of hope."

Daily Stoic: Deeper Understanding

 This meditation speaks to me about not judging based on limited information. Something I have been guilty of more than a few times.

From Rusticus... I learned to read carefully and not be satisfied with a rough understanding of the whole, and not to agree too quickly with those who have a lot to say about something.

Marcus Aurelius

When you judge too quickly, even though you might bed right on the big ideas, you may not agree with the smaller ideas, or might not understand everything. Like this old cartoon shows.




Monday, January 23, 2023

Trevor: A dog that knew how to relax.

 


A Tour of the United Palace Theater

 The Lowes United Palace Theater is a 1930s movie hall when they were the "it" place to go. Last Sunday there was a tour of the place that Ed and I went to.

You might have actually heard of this. It is in Washington Heights and Lynn Manual Miranda has donated a lot of time, money and marketing time to rebuild it up to it's history. This will be the home of the 2023 Tony Awards. The first I know of so far from Broadway.

The Movie Palace from the street.

You cannot really believe the detail. I'm going to post some pictures, but they don't really do the place justice.


The interior of the auditorium, looking at the stage and from the stage

Some of the detail inside.

More from the lobby. That is a statue of Eros, Goddess of the Sunrise. The rest are just amazing

Daily Stoic: The Day in Review

 Today's meditation is interesting. It is kind of obvious, but not something I usually do proactively.

I will keep constant watch over myself and - most usefully - will put each day up for review. For this is what makes use evil - that none of us looks back upon our own lives. We reflect upon only that which we are about to do. And your our plants for the further descend from the past.

Seneca

This is almost exactly the opposite of our philosophy today. Modern philosophy is about not looking back as much as possible. Our politicians focus not on what they haven't done, but what they will do - even though they didn't complete the last promises.

Most of us in casual sports are taught to overcome a loss, but watch professional teams and coaches they actual go back and check how they met their goals previously - in order to improve going forward. Even our inspirational ideas exalt us to move forward and ignore what happened previously.



Friday, January 20, 2023

A Couple of Pictures for today

 Just a couple of pictures...

Far right, Aunt in law - Pat Meadowcroft
Uncle Timo's Wife's Sister

A sunset picture from our living room


State Nincompoopery (partial list only)

I have pledged not to follow the political idiots for a while. And I will try to follow that, but the state level idiocy must be noted. It is scary and worrisome how the most venerable are targeted in many ways - often when there is no activity in their state. We are traveling back to the worst of the 1970's (against gays) and 1950's (against women).

We will start with the two worst offenders.

Drag Story hour at library.
Look at the poor children being indoctrinated without parental permission


Florida

  1. Demands Universities report all trans students and all questioning student (those that went for counseling) be reported to the State.
  2. Did not authorize the Advanced Placement class – high school classes that can be used for college credit – to African American Studies. This is the first time an AP class has been rejected by the state
  3. Permanently prohibits Covid-19 mask requirements throughout Florida
  4. Permanently prohibits Covid-19 vaccine and mask requirements in all schools
  5. Permanently prohibits Covid-19 Vaccine Passports in Florida
  6. Permanently prohibits Employers from hiring or firing based on vaccine status
  7. Flew legal asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard
  8. Makes NHL cancel diversity job fair
  9. Required Florida Universities provide “woke” data on courses and programs that include any mentions of “diversity, equity and inclusion”, Critical Race Theory
  10. Passed Don’t Say Gay bill.
  11. Blocks investment in any funds that takes into account Climate change



Texas

  1. Passing Don’t Say Gay bill.
  2. Dumps busloads of migrants at Vice President’s house on Christmas Eve in 18 degree weather (-8C)
  3. Banned various books including “Diary of Ann Frank”
  4. Passing a law that criminalizes Drag Story Hour at all libraries and reclassifies anywhere that has drag presentations (restaurants, churches, Theaters) as “adult entertainment the same as porn stores with all the legal distance limitations that entails.
  5. Sues adoptive parents that are LGBT
  6. Requires COMPLETE list of all Texas who have transitioned in the last 2 years.
  7. Deploys Tanks to the border (that will be cray when he uses them)
  8. Blocks investment in any funds that do not support fossil fuels
  9. Outlaws any discussion of critical race theory, including teaching of slavery in the United States
  10. Outlaws mail order drugs that help abortions
  11. Outlaws travel to another state to get an abortion


Idaho

Allows family members of rapists to sue medical providers that provide an abortion on the rapist’s victim.  (FYI - this is pure evil.)


North Dakota

  1. Requires use of pronouns consistent with birth sex at all public schools (including Universities and Adult Education) and all state agencies.
  2. Bans any use of gender affirming care (even by parents) of minors. This includes work of psychologists and therapists for minors
  3. Throwing out ban on conversion therapy (noted for violence and terrorism of youth, which is ultimately unsuccessful, admitted by providers of these camps)
  4. No Drag shows on any public property or in front of any minor

Aren't drag performers just the worst (*sarcasm)

My Review of Heaven

 Heaven is playing at the 59 East 59th Street Theaters. Here is my review from ReviewsOffBroadway.com

Heaven: Lost and Found in Ireland

There is a distinctive way many Irish theater productions play out, and your enjoyment of Heaven might depend on if you love, hate or are indifferent to that style. Heaven is a two hander, where the actors speak directly to the audience. Often, in Irish plays, one character talks to the audience for the entire show. But in this one, both characters talk one on one to the audience, albeit never at the same time.

The characters are a married couple, Mairead (May) and Mal. May is played by Janet Moran in a wistful but lovely turn. Mal is played by Andrew Bennett with more self-loathing and awakening but the same skill. They each describe their marriage and their feelings and questions to the audience. Both partners are separately challenged at the reception of a wedding they are attending.


Janet Moran and Andrew Bennett in Heaven (photo: Ste Murray)

May discusses the rut her marriage is in, the bitterness of having a daughter that fights with her every time they talk, and the disappearing hope for the future. At the party, her assumptions about her complacent life are challenged by the return of an old beau. One with which she had fantastic sexual chemistry.

At the same party MAL, a sober alcoholic, reflects on his hidden sexuality, hidden even from himself in many cases.. A sexuality that manifests itself it some very interesting fantasies about Jesus freeing him from his repression. His internal struggles are deeply felt as are May’s.

The story uses the background of the wedding to illustrate May’s struggles. The story uses a background sexual frustration and then a man's inducements to have Mal to partake of liquor and cocaine to illustrate Mal’s struggles. Neither analogy is as heavy handed as it sounds. And both May and Mal build the tension slowly until it grows to consume them.

I enjoyed the show very much, despite my dislike of the format. Few shows handle this setup as well at Heaven – the last I saw done this well was A Steady Rain on Broadway with Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. Janet Moran and Andrew Bennet are not nearly as famous as that pair, but these two also inhabit their characters fully and believably.

Written by Eugene O’Brian and directed by Jim Culleton, the timing of the soliloquies and the passion of them is a credit to both. It is a simple set and design in order to bring the characters front and center with lighting and subtlety. I enjoyed it very much.

Heaven
PlaywrightEugene O’Brian | DirectorJim Culleton | Cast:

Daily Stoic: Reignite your thinking

Your principles can't be extinguished unless you snuff out the thoughts that feed them, for it's continually in your power to reignite new ones... It's possible to star living again! See things anew as you once did - that is how to restart life.

Marcus Aurelius

This meditation is all about (to me) recharging your batteries to begin your quest for life and meaning. 

This was pretty easy to accept for me. I need recharging a fair amount. 

For a big reset, I would visit Yosemite or Sequoia or King's Canyon. They would once again take my breath away and allow me to see the world in a better way.

For a quick recharge I would drive at night, just past where Sunset hits Pacific Coast Highway. There is a big shoulder against the ocean, where morning surfers park. But at night, empty. And I would drive out to the ocean late at night. Park, sit on the rocks just below the road, and the world disappeared. The sound of waves crashing drowned out the sound of the road. Then they would drive out the voices in my head. Then they crept in and gave me something between a rhythm and unexpectedness. And then I felt ready to face the next month or so, comfortable with the duality of harmony and dissonance



PS: There are neither giant trees, nor waves crashing anywhere near me. The Atlantic is not only flat as lakes, but you have to pay to get on the beach (fucking commies!) and there is no access at night. This is one of the things that keeps me from loving this place. 

Versus theater, which is one of the things that makes me love this place.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The Supreme Court Gets Ready to Fuck Us All again

 I really don't like this court.

They have agreed to hear a case that steam rolls everyone in the name of religion.


LINK here, if you want depressing reading.

Nothing has changed except they've grown more ballsy


Every now and then, something very funny and very LA is posted.

 This is from the Instagram Account - Overheard in LA. There is one for New York as well, but they are never as funny.



Daily Stoic might too aspirational for me today...

Today's meditation is a bit too inspirational for me. This one I am looking at as a goal, not a goal easily achieved.  

A podium and a prison is each a place, one high and the other low, but in either place your freedom of choice can be maintained if you so wish.

Epictetus

To say peace of mind can be achieved seems to make sense to me. But to keep peace of mind in a prison who be almost impossible for me.



Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Interesting idea

 Mill | Home has a fascinating new product. It is a trash can / machine that accepts food waste, removes the water and smell from it, and provides a shipping box to send it to the company.

The waste is then used to make chicken feed. It is helpful to the food supply and reduces carbon from landfills and educes emissions from chicken feed processing. I think I like it.



My Review of "& Juliet"

 I saw & Juliet with Aldona while she was staying with us. Here is my review from Reviews off Broadway.

Joy & Fun & Juliet

I admit that I had low expectations for & Juliet. The premise just sounds clumsy, “What if Juliet didn’t kill herself after Romeo?” And a jukebox musical at that, with songs written Max Martin and collaborators. It sounds like the show was cobbled together to try to mimic the success of Moulin Rouge crossed with SIX. I was wrong that it would not be a ton of fun. It is. And, if it is Moulin Rouge and SIX mashed together, it works


& Juliet is energetic, fun and what people expect a musical to be: big, loud, colorful, and overwhelming. It isn’t perfect, but it a blast.

And I will start by saying the cast is fantastic. I don’t want to be redundant and complement each actor, but the singing, acting and casting were first rate from top to bottom. 

The story begins with Shakespeare’s wife, Ann Hathaway (Betsy Wolfe). She questions why Juliet has to die in Romeo and Juliet. When Shakespeare (Stark Sands) gives a waffling answer – That is what makes it a tragedy – she convinces him to try a new tack. Let Juliet decide to live and see where it goes. And so, Juliet (Lorna Courtney) escapes her parents plans to send her to a nunnery by running off to Paris. A nunnery is where fallen women are sent. Since Juliet is no longer a virgin , she no use to her parents. Escaping with her are two new friends, May (Justin David Sullivan) and Ann, plus one old friend, the nurse (Melanie La Barrie) from Shakespeare’s original play.


In this show, the star-crossed lovers are the non-binary May and Prince François (Philippe Arroyo) and, The Nurse and King Lance - Paulo Szot lending a adult air and voice to the proceedings. Shakespeare and his wife Ann share the stage as feuding couple with different expectations of marriage. The late arrival of Romeo (Ben Jackson Walker), freshly not dead, complicates the happily ever after for all concerned.

The & Juliet songs, mainly bouncing and upbeat, add to the carnival like atmosphere. With one or two exceptions, the songs fit and and add a layer of comedy. & Juliet adds an inside joke or two that everyone who has seen or heard Romeo and Juliet will understand.

The story here is more gender inclusive with love stories between men and women, non-binary characters and a freedom from stereotypes. But the main moral of the story is that self-empowerment gives a person the freedom to choose who to and how to love. And how being true to yourself might be the greatest superpower we all have.

If this all sounds preachy, do not worry, & Juliet is infused with joy and life. Veteran London Director Luke Sheppard balances the razzle dazzle of the show as expertly as he does the moments of love and heart. Instead of a preachy show about gender, he allows this musical to spread the joy throughout the audience without losing engagement in the story. 

& Juliet is good story, great acting and a positive message.

& Juliet
PlaywrightsMax Martin & Friends, Music | David West Read, Book | DirectorLuke Sheppard | CastLorna Courtney, Paulo Szot, Betsy Wolfe, Stark Sands, Justin Davie Sullivan, Melanie La Barrie, Ben Jackson Walked, Philippe Arroyo | Website: & Juliet


Makie beat Rafa at the Australian Open

 I love Rafael Nadal. LOVE him. And I am sorry that he played with an injury today.

BUT, if he had to lose, how great for the UCLA Alum Mackenzie Mcdonald. I have watched him for a long time - like 6 years or so, when he won the College portion of the US Open.

I like him a lot. And he is a cutie! Short for a Tennis Player, but cute as a bug. Go Bruins.

Daily Stoic on a life well lived

 Pass through this brief patch of time in harmony with nature, and come to your final resting place gracefully, just as a ripened olive might drop, praising the earth that nourished it and grateful to the tree that gave it growth.

Marcus Aurelius

The idea in this mediation is that they key to a happy life is being at peace with both our limitations and our strengths. they may not be caused by us, but we can decided on how to accept the good with the bad.



New Post to The intersection of Geography and Economics

 No need to read, but I have been writing a substack (kind of like a blog) called The Intersection of Geography and Economics - to view current and past situations through a news lens. If you desire, the index is here.

This is my latest post.



Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Daily Stoic: Keeping the Course

 Peace is in Staying the Course

"Tranquility can't be grasped except by those who have reached an unwavering and firm power of judgement - the rest constantly fall and rise in the their decisions, wavering  in a state of alternately rejecting and accepting things. What is the cause of this back and forth? It's because nothing is clear and they rely on the most uncertain guide - common opinion.

Seneca

This meditation is all about stying clear in our focus on the end state. What we want to accomplish. And that "what" may easily be hijacked by fads that fall in and out of fashion.

Right now, in New York, yoga has fallen out of fashion. It is not that it is rejected, but it isn't seen as "cool" anymore. But, if one was pursuing yoga to build your body and settle your mind. And it was working, one should stay the course.

To give up Yoga for the next fad (it was soul cycle - now it is pilates) IF yoga was working for you - is a choice to value opinion of others other the opinion of yourself.

Remember hearing about this fad from the 1930s?

Yes kids, he is swallowing a goldfish whole - fad

Doesn't he look silly now.

Monday, January 16, 2023

People Get Horny in Grief

I think that advice columns give more nincompoopery per word than nearly any other type of article on the net. Particularly if you (like I) are trying to avoid political talk. Recently the problems have seemed to come with a particularly odd twist. I mean, maybe not, but odd to me.

Here are 3 examples of what I mean.

1. A woman whose husband died less than 18 months ago is now having an affair with her husband's illegitimate son. Some 20 years younger than her. (The daughter of the woman / half-brother to the guy is writing in at the end of her patience.)

2. A woman whose husband died less than 18 months ago is now having an affair with the dead husband's nephew (her brother-in-law's son). (The woman writes in asking how to break it to her ex-Mother-in-law / boy's grandmother.)

3. A man with a dying husband is now lusting after the husband's caretaker (also a man). (Horny healthy husband is writing in.)

To all of them, the advice was to knock it off, or not pursue it, depending on the situation. In the first situation, the advice columnist agreed it is kinda gross, but the daughter / half-sister has not choice in this, except to stop visiting.


Daily Stoic: The Tyranny of Habits

 So in the majority of other things, we address circumstances not in accordance with the right assumptions, but mostly by following wretched habit. Since all that I've said is the case, the person in training must seek to rise above so as to stop seeking out pleasure and steering away from pain;; to stop clinging to living an abhorring death' and in the case of property and money, to stop valuing receiving over fighting.

Musonius Rufus

This meditation is in line with our ideas about a purposeful life. Habits that reinforce our plans and growth can be very very good. But once you allow your habits, not your goals, to dictate your life you release your control over the choices you must make. 

To me, this is interesting because it is apparently in conflict with the idea that we need to reinforce good habits and try to quit bad habits (smoking, drinking, sugar). But I think that what they are saying is that all habits should be reevaluated occasionally. Thinking of a man who is overweight and he starts to run. And then he runs more and more. At some point his original goal, to lose weight, is met. Now his running might turn into a habit that he is addicted to as much as a smoker is addicted to smoking. 

If he revisits this habit, he may change his habit of constant running to a maintenance level. Or he might change a goal to running in races that raise money for others. But the key is to reexamine habits occasionally.



Sunday, January 15, 2023

Clown Play?!?!?

 I know I am not hip on the latest sex scene, straight or gay, but this is truly a horrible idea. Read the highlighted section for the worst costume play EVER.

They "clown laugh during sex" is the part that got to me. What a terrible idea!!!!

And, does he keep the nose and shoes on during it. Please, pleas tell me the big clown outfit comes off during it.

About sums it up