Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Turns out, Stevia brings on heart attacks

 UPDATE - Turns out my liquid Stevia does NOT have Erythritol. It uses water to cut the stevia percentage.

Well, this is not good news. Turns out that stevia and monkfruit products, as well as many low carb foods marketed to people with diabetes are full of a product called Erythritol. This is a naturally occurring substance in fruits that is about 70% as sweet as sugar, but crystallizes the same way so it looks like sugar.

Because stevia products are about 200 - 400 times sweeter than sugar, Erythritol is used to cut the product and make it look more natural.

And, because we can't have nice things, it turns out that Erythritol raises the risk of heart attack, stroke or death within 3 years. Worse is that the researchers weren't even looking at Erythritol. Here is how the scientists discovered this...

Hazen’s research had a simple goal: find unknown chemicals or compounds in a person’s blood that might predict their risk for a heart attack, stroke or death in the next three years. To do so, the team began analyzing 1,157 blood samples in people at risk for heart disease collected between 2004 and 2011.

“We found this substance that seemed to play a big role, but we didn’t know what it was,” Hazen said. “Then we discovered it was erythritol, a sweetener.”

It bums me out because Stevia is used at our home because I was convinced that it was better than other, more "artificial" sweeteners. Nope.


After years and years of Doctors saying watch your sugar, they really should note that any sweetener besides sugar has even worse affects. 

It is funny because the first time I remember super-annoyance from my grandmother was when they outlawed artificial sweetener Cyclamates and hence RC Diet Cola. I actually remember her fuming and saying, "I would have to drink a bathtub of RC to get that many cyclamates!" She was not pleased.

Interestingly Erythritol is bad for you BECAUSE it is overly helpful to your system. When humans have boo-boos, our blood clots at the boo-boo site. Well, this happens internally as well. When there is a tear inside, the blood cells clot as well. Normally the internally clot is the same size as the tear. If you tear a blood vessel by 10% you get a 10% clot.  Erythritol super charges this response. So a 10% tear is given a 90 or 100% clotting effect. These clots can then travel throughout the blood system and cause heart attacks, strokes and death.

Sugar it is.



"The Biggest Storm of the Season in New York"

 meh...

I think in New York they call this "It didn't stick"

Definatly not the "5 - 7 inches" we were promised. I'm so very very disappointed. I was waiting for the freezing rain, impassible snow and general hilarity that come with the deadly bitter cold.

Daily Stoic & Black History Month

 Today's meditation is mine. 

I am impressed by the voting rates of Black Americans. Occasionally the voting percentage is higher than whites, but it is definitely higher than other groups. Think about this for a moment. Blacks were slaves. Then Blacks were put outside many of our laws under Jim Crow. It wasn't until the 1960s that they were included as full Americans with equal protection. But still, after multiple documented attacks, Black Americans believe in elections. They still believe that voting is an American duty instead of a means of winning. Blacks voted in parts of the country where they know there voices will not be heard, and yet they still believe in the American dream of equality and democracy. The rest of America should only be so motivated. 

And the "Stoic" part, Scott?

Remember that one of the key factors that give us dominion over our immediate emotions is the ability to accept what happened in the past, and move forward with our own and our community's goals. As a White American, I have a hard time watching the beatings, killings and the general disruptions to Black lives. I honestly cannot imagine the anger and hurt that Black Americans feel, but I can admire their way of fighting back against injustice.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Turns out, Team MAGA might not be crazy about Covid 19

 We were intellectually a little lazy. We, in this case means many many progressives and Democrats. Turns out, Covid might, indeed, come from a lab in China.

As you will read below, 4 agencies think it was from the wet market, and 2 agencies think it got loose from a lab. But the two agencies in this case are the FBI and the Energy Department. President Biden specifically asked the Energy Department because of some unique and cutting edge labs. 

So yeah, MAGA might be right here.



What the heck is this? A rare Giant Phantom Jellyfish

 I never heard of these. It is found very deep underwater, this one in the Antarctic. Weird
, cool and scary in equal measures.





Daily Stoic: Does Anger Work?

This is a meditation that Marcus Aurelius writes about the Emperors of Rome from the past. How well were they remembered (pre-Wikipedia)? What did all their fury and anger do?

Keep a list before you mind of those who burned with anger and resentment about something, of even the most renowned for success, misfortune, evil  deed, or any special distinction. Then ask yourself, how did that work out? Smoke and dust, the stuff of simple myth trying to be legend.

Marcus Aurelius

Sure we remember the work of people that followed their stoic principals and focus on the good of the citizens. Lincoln ending slavery. Washington as the father of our country. Rosevelt (both) for their contributions to the health and wellbeing of Americans.


But then think of those that we tend to forget over time. What did Benjamin Harrison do as President? What is the legacy of Chester Arthur? Who were the President's between Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln? Probably small men with too much ambition and not enough focus on others.

Watch people who flail about as the move from one goal to another, each ephemeral and easily forgotten.

PS - I love the line : ... Smoke and dust, the stuff of simple myth trying to be legend. Think here of Kim Kardashian or my father. They yell, they strut, they bask in attention of the many for the joy attention itself. How will the world remember them? For the most part, the world will not remember 2 weeks later.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Daily Stoic: The Real Source of Anger

 Often, when I attempt Stoic resolve, I am thwarted in my desire for tranquility by politicians' ineptitude and results. Today's meditation is like that. I must look at this not as a way to resolve the world, but to resolve myself towards my goals. So, take politics out of it as you read this

Keep in mind that it isn't the one who has it in for you and takes a swipe that harms you, but rather the harm comes from your belief about the abuse. So when someone arouse your anger, know that it's really your own opinion fueling it. Instead, make it your first response to to be carried away by such impressions, for with time and distance self-mastery is more easily achieved.

Epictetus

This is easier for me to understand with a personal example with my attitudes. 

Let us say someone I know conversationally says, "Wow, you have put on some weight huh?" Because I value their opinion AND it is something I am uncomfortable with, my first response is anger and the desire to lash out ("Yeah, and you're a fucking waif, aren't you!").  Even if I don't particularly value the person's opinion - I will still get pissed off.

And yet if someone says, "You're not very smart, are you?" or "Are those blue contacts, you eyes look great today?" I could not care less. I am very comfortable with my intelligence and my kind-of blue eyes.

So, if I can shrug off the second comments, I should learn how to shrug off the first type. Easier said than done, but possible.

FYI, Gavin is probably the only person who has ever told me I gained weight and I didn't want to smack him. Because he put it in these terms at volleyball at the beach once. "Hey, just so you know, you're gaining a little weight in your stomach." Because Gavin stated it in a reasonable manner and at the beach where the comment kind of made sense, and since I was in single mode looking to ...... spike the ball ..., it didn't bug me. That once.

What I hear whenever anyone says something 
about my weight or clothes.


Thursday, February 23, 2023

The odd tale of Director Paul Verhoeven

 I first saw a Paul Verhoeven picture in 1977. It was the "Dutch Romantic -Thriller" *, A Soldier of Orange.

It was the story, well, I'll take the IMDB synopsis.

Young Dutch Students just before the outbreak of World War 2. Leiden, the Netherlands. Introduction on Students life in University and fraternity. As soon as the war starts, many students join the resistance.

In the image from the movie, you can see a very VERY young Rutger Hauer. Most remember Rutger as the evil man in "Blade Runner."

Hard to believe it is Rutger Hauer isn't it?

Verhoeven did other thoughtful and quiet Dutch Movies and TV before being lured to Hollywood in 1984 - after his great movie, The 4th Man

At the time Verhoeven was a very hot director and had been promised by the studio he could pick his movies - and everyone, include him, expected a similar line of artsy / thriller type romances. But not long after he arrived, his studios (Orion and Universal) had bombed out getting someone to direct RoboCop. The studios had approached and been turned down by a number of young reasonably famous directors. They all said no mainly due to the excess violence - which the writer said was necessary for the comic book movie.

Then the studios told Verhoeven that IF he did Robocop, he could go back and have his pick of pictures next. How do I know? At the time Verhoeven was represented by the Lantz Office where Greg worked. Greg knew I loved Verhoeven and gave me the details as they happened.

Verhoeven did RoboCop and it was huge. And suddenly Verhoeven was an action director. He liked it, and it made tons of money - of which he often got a cut.

And so he did more. And this very artsy director followed up with: Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Showgirls, Starship Troopers and The Hollow Man.

In 2006 he directed The Black Book, a true story based on some Dutch / Jewish resistance during Nazi Germany. It was in Dutch and did not do particularly well in the States.

Paul Verhoeven and wife Isabelle Huppert

He has gone back to Germany, married Isabelle Huppert (the actress) and seems to have started making movies in Dutch again. He release Elle in 2016 and Benedetta in 2021.

So his story is an odd one. He followed many directors from overseas to Hollywood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. His story is different because he went back to Europe and restarted working on the movies he loves.

*IMDB described his movies as "romantic-thrillers" and I think the description is apt.

The Broadway Museum

Me doing a subtle Michael York 

Eddie and I went to the Broadway Museum a few weeks ago. I don't think I posted, so here are some pictures.

From top left: Me showing off the original 1930s Sigfield Girl's outfits. Line of costumes including Sunset Blvd, Wicked (mainly blocked) Hedwig and the Angry Inch and others. Chorus line final outfits. A walk through the story of Oklahoma.


Oddly, Ed doesn't like hippies, but did like Hair

Daily Stoic: My Part in the World

 Today's meditation is about our place in the world. The ancient Greeks vaguely knew that there were atoms and that all thing were made of them. They saw this and believed an interconnected cosmos which underpinned that every person and action was part of a larger system. Even evil was there for a reason.

Whatever anyone does or says, for my part I'm bound to the good. In the same way an emerald or golf or purple might always  proclaim "whatever anyone does or says, I must be what I am and show my true colors.'

Marcus Aurelius

Of course, my true color is not emerald or gold or purple. This idea is that despite the circumstances we must always show our true colors and best side. 

FYI - My aura is orange. 


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

See, I don't understand how you are so anti-Constitution

Let us look at the hypocrisy here.

First, DeSantis wants to ban events that don't "align" with the state's mission.

What stands in his way?!?!?

The Constitution, bitch. Amendment 1 (ONE! How did he miss it?)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Which DeSantis ignores or doesn't get it. NO wait, he gets it, he has a law degree from Harvard.



Turns out masks didn't help

Turns out, they don't

Being true to the science also means being open to changing your mind. Even if it kills you to agree with Ron DeSantis on something.

A detailed scientific review of the best data shows that masks don't help stop the spread of Covid-19 or the flu. Even N95 masks. This is from the Cochrane Medical Library (website).

These are the relevant portions. And again, it pains me to agree with crazy people. But even a stopped clock is right once a day (twice if it is analog).




"You see", he said, stupidly, "if they die, they don't need Social Security, Medicare or other government funds"

 Oye


Story from Anchorage here...

Again: I admit to having a MASSIVE crush on Aaron Tveit's voice.

 He is back in Moulin Rouge and yes, I did see it again to see him (I got free tickets though). His voice is clear and precise (Ed's word). Just take a listen from a song recorded (semi-illegally) from the show.

Semi-illegally here means that it should not have been taken during a performance, but there is video of him watching the video and reacting, so I know he and the management have seen it.

Roxanne


It might seem very overwrought, but remember he is playing at a 1,000 + seat theater and has to emote all the way to the rear of said theater.

Daily Stoic" Circumstances Don't Care

 This is a great meditation, because I need to fix this in myself.

You shouldn't give circumstances to power to rouse anger, for they don't care at all.

Marcus Aurelius

I look at this as a reminder. A reminder to me that losing it over the TV news, or next outrage, is not a useful emotion. They can be used as motivators, but not rulers of our actions.


PS - I now avoid most of the news. Thank goodness for Tivo's scan feature!

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The math does not work

(Am exception to no DT, LB, MG, MTG rule. Because it is now a possible solution proposed by multiple spokespeople - I am sorry, I don't want to offend her - spokesmen.)

Marjorie Taylor Green has proposed, and she is not the first republican to propose this, that we have a national divorce. Essentially dividing up into the Red and Blue states. Let's ignore that her comment is in direct conflict with her sworn oath of office, because lying is absolutely passé now.

But I do want to direct your attention at the highlighted portion of her tweets.


Now, let's look at her assumptions and math. I know math isn't a big favorite of the right because it is science, but still. We can look for them.

I don't want to debate IF the government would be smaller. But I do love this line: "Hence, we would solve our debt and spending problems immediately."

Let's look at this shall we?

  1. Let's take dipshits numbers. That is 34,000,000,000,000.00 ($34 Trillion)
  2. The population of the United States ~332,000,000 (332 million people)
  3. Let's say the red states have 1/2 the population  ~165 million
  4. So to 'immediately' solve the debt crisis - as she claims. Everyone in a red state now owe's the government an immediate $103,000. 
  5. So to meet her assumed 'immediate solution' each resident will have to pitch in an extra $130,030.
Again, I know that math isn't there long suit. That because being an mean-ass lying stack of guano doesn't require much math.



Sometimes you don't really get the Book Ban Reality until it smacks you in the face.

 This was posted by a substitute teacher. He was fired for pointing this out. Just watch the few seconds, and this is what Florida SCHOOL libraries look like now.


Daily Stoic: Am I in Control?

 This meditation requires some discussion after the quote:

Remember that it's not only the desire for wealth and position that debases and subjugates us but also the desire for pease, leisure, travel and learning. It doesn't matter what the external thing is, the value we place on it subjugates us to another ... where our heart is set, there our impediment lies.

Epictetus

Now, we all know that Scooter loves travel. LOVES. And the meditation isn't about travel or peace as much as it is about self control and goal setting. The question this meditation asks is: Am I in control of my goals, or are they in control of me?

For people addicted to drugs, or smoking, or thrill-seeking; are those people in control of their goals? Or are their goals in charge of their lives.

I have had to meditate on the overwhelming drive for travel and how it is affecting my long term goals. It has been interesting.



Sunday, February 19, 2023

Spotlight on... Me

 This was on the PAWS Website....

Volunteer Spotlight: Scott

This Volunteer Appreciation Week, we’re spotlighting a few of our amazing foster volunteers! With ongoing support of our regular clients and our new Preserving Families in Times of Crisis program, which is funded by PetSmart Charities, we’ve had a lot of need for foster volunteers in recent months. Thank you so much to these dedicated volunteers for their support!

Let’s kick things off with Scott, a brand-new volunteer who joined PAWS NY about four months ago. Right away he started working as a Housecall volunteer and signed up to foster Tappy and Angelina for a few weeks while their guardian was hospitalized. 

Scott, who has spent much of his life volunteering and working with nonprofits, says, “There is so much in the world I cannot affect, but this is one way I can help.” Learn more about Scott, his work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and his favorite memories with Tappy and Angelina in the Q&A below!

Scott Volunteer Spotlight - A man with silver hair and glasses in a dark long-sleeved shirt lounges and lays back on a couch, with a small dog tucked up on his left side, and a larger yellow lab curled up on his right side.

Scott with Tappy and Angelina

How did you hear about PAWS NY? 

After I retired, I did some investigating to find a nonprofit to support. I had worked with an organization with the same name in Los Angeles during the worst of the AIDS crisis. Back then, they were focussed (at least in LA) with AIDS patients that had pets but needed help. I found PAWS NY, which does a similar thing with people that need support for their animals in NYC. Animals are one of the best means of support for people.

Why are you passionate about PAWS and our mission of helping people by helping pets? 

I have seen first-hand the way pets improve people’s lives. I think it is one way that I can help others that is immediate and fulfilling. I also have to thank my husband, as he did not sign up, but he was a huge part of my being able to foster PAWS pets for so long.

Do you have pets of your own? Or have you in the past? Tell us about them!

I have had terriers for the past 30 years. Our most recent boy, Trevor, died in April 2020 during the beginning of the COVID lockdown. It was a hard time without him.

What do you do as a PAWS NY volunteer? Which clients & pets do you help? What do you do with the pets during your shift? 

We fostered Tappy and Angelina for a little over a month. I also walk a different little dog in Hell’s Kitchen twice a week for a woman with mobility issues.

Scott's Husband Ed - A man in a patterned button down shirt and shorts sits on a couch with two dogs laying their heads in his lap: a small white dog and a bigger yellow lab.

Scott’s Husband with Tappy and Angelina

What is your favorite part about volunteering? Do you have any favorite memories?

I like volunteering because of the way it helps others. There is so much in the world I cannot affect, but this is one way I can help. My favorite unexpected memory from our time with Tappy and Angelina is hearing them both snore! My dogs used to dream, but never snored.

Where are you from? Where in the city do you live now?

I’m from Los Angeles, born and raised. I lived there for most of my life, but I have been in New York now for 16 years.

What do you do for work? What brought you / keeps you in NYC?

My husband got a transfer here (for a two-year gig, 16 years ago!). I transferred with Citibank until I semi-retired, but I still teach Project Management every now and then. I love everything about New York, except the weather. I’m a real LA person: I do not like seasons.

What do you like to do in your spare time (besides volunteer with PAWS NY)?

I reviewed off-Broadway shows for years up until COVID (over 200). I worked for a site in England. I also write, but just for fun.

Share 1-3 fun facts about yourself!

  1. I worked with a U.S. nonprofit in Bosnia Herzegovina for many years. It is called Project1948.ngo and we worked in Sarajevo to help young adults with the aftermath of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  
  2. I presented at the United Nations for Bosnia, in support of the UN’s goals for women. Note: Bosnia is not represented deeply at the UN and so Project 1948 often attended the United Nations in representation for Bosnia in the ECOSOC meetings (Economic and Social Council).
  3. I won $22,100 on Jeopardy in 2013!

Thanks so much to Scott (and his husband) for their support and dedication! If you’d like to volunteer for PAWS NY, sign up for an orientation now.

Good Grief: THIS is considered too divisive for Florida

Florida is fucked up. Here is the latest example of nincompoopery you can't make up.

For the last two DECADES an Annual Embracing Our Diversity art exhibit has been held in Sarasota Florida at the State College of Florida - Manatee / Sarasota. I has hosted over 4 million visitors, including 400,000 last year. 

But the University required 3 of the art pieces to be removed. An the non-profit decided to end the art fair - saying they wouldn't remove just those 3. Before you think was some woke thing gone wild. The piece below was one of the three.

It is titled "Being Different Gives the World Color." It was censored because of a quote on the billboard sized image. A quote was included in small print along the bottom left. This was the quote that required the image to be removed according to state officials:

"Diversity and inclusion are like the needle and thread that stitch together the harmonious fabric of peace for humankind."

quotation from Raaina Chadha, a fifth-grade student from New Delhi, India

The horribly offensive piece is below: The story from Tampa


This is another pulled piece. Because, well Justice and Love for Black people, makes White people sad.


Friday, February 17, 2023

Daily Stoic: Enemy of Happiness

 Interesting. I have to think on this

It is quite impossible to unite happiness with a yearning for what we don't have. happiness has all that it wants, and resembling the well-fed, there should not be a hunger of thirst.

Epictetus        

I can understand this, as long as we are striving for what we really want and believe is right. By which I mean, Stoicism demands that we focus on our goals and how to get there. If my goals is financial freedom (like the FIRE movement) then being jealous of the man that has a new car is not helpful.

If that is what your goal was, then you buy a car, don't save for early retirement.



Thursday, February 16, 2023

What is happening in Israel?

There is a lot of background noise about changes in Israel this week. Over 130,000 peple turned out to march against changes that are being pushed by the government. What is going on?


There is a proposed law by the new ruling coalition. This coalition is the most radical right-wing government they have ever had. I don't want to say "conservative" because this coalition is not "conservative" in the manner of preserving the status quo. But they want to expand the settlements in the occupied territories, officially repudiate the commitment to a 2 state solution, and to subject Arabs to a permanent second class citizenship so that they cannot vote and have no right to private land ownership.

How are they planning to do this? They are looking to gut the Supreme Court which has stood in their way. Here are their proposals.

  1. It would allow the government, by a vote of 51% of the legislature (the Knesset) to overrule any Supreme Court law.
  2. It would change the nominating committee to be run from the Knesset. Presently an independent board nominates Court Justices.
  3. They would have the Supreme Court justices be removed by a simple majority of the Knesset. This means the ruling coalition can replace the entire slate of Supreme Court Justices at any time.

Why would Netanyahu go along with this?

  1. These changes would let Netanyahu avoid prosecution. He has already been charged with crimes.

It means that America and Israel would no longer have shared values, the Poligrip of our relationship.

Fly Free Flaco

This cool and odd story. Flaco, a Eurasian Eagle Owl, is now roosting in Central Park.

Here is the odd little story.


A few weeks ago, someone vandalized Flaco's enclosure in the Central Park Zoo and cut the fencing. Flaco flew away, and the zoo organized to try and recapture him. Turns out that he was born in captivity (which is how most Zoo animals are acquired now) and had never been taught to hunt or eat prey.

Well, Flaco is now doing well. He has learned to kill and eat (mainly rats) and is living his best life in Central Park.

Since Flaco CAN survive on his own, the Zoo has suspended attempts to catch him. They will monitor Flaco, because rodent poison can harm bird predators - they want to make sure he stays alright. One local owl in Central Park hit a trash truck and was later found to have very high poison in their systems and had problems flying. They are making sure that doesn't happen.

In the meantime, fly free Flaco.

Daily Stoic: Think before you act

Today's meditation asks us to think about things differently when we ask "Why did I do that?" or "How could I have been so stupid." 

For to be wise is the only on thing - to fix our attention on our intelligence, which guides all things everywhere.

Heraclitus

From the explanation in the book, the Stoic argues that the correct decision making is with us all the time. But it takes exercise and commitment to make sure your mind is in charge. Not your emotions, or physical sensations or hormones.

For this last one, we even have a saying for it. "He is ruled by his little head".



Quoted for PR

 Noice...

I got credit in the list.  I will leave out the other 5 and show mine...

 
 
Header image
 
 

"Immerses us in both history and a timeless human theme. It’s what makes a classic a classic and what makes this an experience that shouldn’t be missed.” - Deb Miller, DC Metro Arts"

NEW PLACE PLAYERS’ CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED PRODUCTION OF OTHELLO EXTENDS AT CASA CLARA


“Director Makenna Masenheimer has created a topical and relevant story of Othello. Not just by narrowing the focus more towards the Black Moor Othello, but by opening his story to all people that are judged as “the other”. The underlying dynamic is emphasized in this production. Neither has the Shakespeare dialog changed but emphasized a bit differently to pull the “otherness” front and center. It is a great show and event and night out.” – Reviews Off Broadway

 

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

My Latest Post on Substack is up.

 Again, I write for me mainly, but please enjoy if it interests you.



We are becoming numb to violence

 This happened yesterday.


Another mass killing. Ho hum. 

The shooter had no connection to Michigan Sate or the people he killed. Okay. I'm sure they will make a movie of it.

Or take Kyle Rittenhouse. He is actually a hero to some. The man who shoot 3 people when he had an illegal gun, at an event in a second state, and broke down on the stand. This nice little white boy was acquitted (so you can kill people without consequences) and is now a star.

I understand in a way. The same way gay men and young women idolize 6 pack abs, so people idolize killers of minorities.  The callousness of this is hard to explain.



Daily Stoic: The Tyranny of Desire

 Today's mediation is about indulgence. It is interesting.

A king, by attending to what is honorable, protect the food health of the body in its care and gives it no base or sordid command. But an uncontrolled, desire-fueled, over-indulged soul is turned form a king into that most feared and detested thing - a tyrant.

Seneca

Just think about the way we talk about some of our vices; 'addicted to porn', 'hooked on drugs', 'dependent on alcohol', 'getting a sugar high', 'you'll take my guns from my cold dead hands', 'I can't live without my phone', etc. 

I am sure many of these vices, those things that dominate some lives today, were problems in Greek times. But there are so many more indulgences now. Hard liquor, easy access to drugs, heroin, porn of all types. I know that some people think gay sex is an addiction (not me, I'm just trying to be expansive).

There are so many new and possible vices that the sneak up on us. It was a bitch to kick Diet Coke (actually Coke Zero, but you get it). And it passed from being a occasional indulgence to a vice without me even knowing. 

Some vices sneak up on you, and you don't know until it's too late. And there is an "enjoyment" that we don't think of as a vice until it goes too far. Plastic surgery, dieting and exercise.

I like the idea that over-indulgence is the problem. For most things that turn into vices, moderation is the key. But motivation isn't enough for some people. Or isn't possible at times of stress. Physical or mental, we need to work on our addictions.



Monday, February 13, 2023

An Unexpected Climate Change issue

Most of the effects of Climate Change has been known or projected for a long time. Most of them at least 40 years.

But a new and previously unknown threat has emerged. And, as you might of guessed, it was worse than we thought. Rarely does new climate news turn out to be good news.

So here's the thing. Back in the early 1980s we were working with state of the art scientific tools. Our tools in the 2020s are much better and complete. And we have found issues in the Antarctic.

Antarctic has actually been less effected by Climate Change to date than the Arctic. We have seen the loss of Sea Ice in the Arctic. And we see the interlink effects. Sea Ice reflects the suns rays back to the sky. Where as blue seas absorb more heat. Around the arctic, melting of the permafrost in Russia, Alaska and Canada ends up release more methane, a very powerful greenhouse grass.

And many people were looking at the Antarctic and being happily surprised by the loss of ice to date. And then scientists looked down, under the water. They were not so happily surprised. It turns out that most warming in the Antarctic is in the ocean. Why is that bad?

There are two relatively small glaciers that essentially hold back the massive West Antarctica glacier system - Pine Island and Thwaites Glacial Tongue. They was these systems hold back the system is that they are both anchored to the bedrock under the ocean floor, which makes their areas stable, and is holding back the large system.

It turns out this system is failing and collapse is a possibility. Climate Change is heating the water of the Antarctic Ocean, which is being pushed by the currents to go under ice shelfs. In the case of these two sites, the glaciers are being quickly undermined. If they both are floated off the bedrock and removed from the front of the Antarctic West Glacier Fields, there is nothing holding them back from traveling downhill and entering the ocean. This will seriously raise sea levels. 

The new hope - and hope is the word as we don't understand enough - that the glacial collapse we be slow (in human terms  - glacial terms it is Formula 1 fast). Greenlands glaciers are moving much faster than in history, but there has been no collapse yet. Hopefully Antarctica will act in the same way. But fast or slow, the sea level rise will be centuries earlier than we thought.


Daily Stoic: Anger Is A Lousy Motivator (you know - in my words)

Today talks about Anger. Anger is a motivator to me quite often, particularly in the last few years. I'm am not sure if it is age or actual crapping of the world, but it motivates me the wrong way. Instead of celebrating political goods news, I wait for the bad. I have learned from my youth to always wait for the other shoe to drop.

It made sense when I was young, but it doesn't help me now. It infects my relationship with life in general, and often Ed in particular. Through no fault of his own. One of my journeys through this process is to stop dreading bad news around every bend. FYI - Ive grown to the point, by the by, where I am only anxious. And less than 75% of the time.

Kids, this is a great improvement for me.

There is no more stupefying thing than anger, nothing more bent on its own strength. If successful, none more arrogant, if foiled, none more insane - since it is not driven back by weariness even in defeat, when fortune removes its adversary it turns its  teeth on itself.

Seneca

This is the habit I am trying to break...


This philosophy ruled me throughout most of my life. I am working on this and almost completely over it.

Except when I am not.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

My Othello Review is up on Reviews off Broadway

 reprinted

An Engrossing and Authentic Othello for the Times

The New Place Players excel at embracing old locations to bring the audience exciting new shows. Othello is their latest production, staged at a restored row house foundry on the East Side. The setting of statuary and stained glass brings an engaging medieval ambiance to the proceeds. This is further enhanced by the trio of musicians on stage. They play period instruments before the show and provided an excellent low-key soundtrack to the proceedings at times.

For those that need a quick refresher on Othello - you might have forgotten since High School Shakespeare - here is a simple synopsis. Othello is a powerful and respect warrior for the Republic of Venice. He is also a black man – a Moor. Ever the outsider, Othello incites anger when he marries Desdemona, the beautiful daughter of a Venice Nobleman. Igao, one of his military attachés, can’t believe Desdemona has chosen a Moor! An attack occurs in Cyprus by the Ottomans and Othello and his army is sent to repel the attack. Othello does not name Iago as his second, another brick in the wall of jealousy which Iago is building. He schemes to drive Othello crazy with jealousy as he paints Desdemona the adulteress WITH Othello’s second in command. Thereby removing both Othello and Casio (the 2nd) with one swoop.

Elliot Johnson as Othello (photo: Carol Rosegg)

As for the show itself, director Makenna Masenheimer has created a topical and relevant story of Othello. Not just by narrowing the focus more towards the Black Moor Othello, but by opening his story to all people that are judged as “the other”. The underling dynamic is emphasized in this production. Neither has the Shakespeare dialog changed but emphasized a bit differently to pull the “otherness” front and center.

It works partially due to the great acting of Elliott Johnson as Othello. He projects strength, both mentally and physically. Most of the characters view Othello as “one of the good ones.” That is, he is a black Moor, but fighting for Venice. He a responsible leader with troops and Venetian rulers both express admiration. 

But when Othello marries Desdemona, her father complains to the city fathers and civic leaders that Othello has shamed his family by bedding and marrying her (in that order). The local authorities tell the Nobleman that Othello is a great general and no punishment is coming, he disowns his daughter who has been soiled by the Moor. Desdemona is played beautifully by Alanah Allen as a happy wife and partner of Othello.

Othello is driven mad with jealousy due to the ruthless planning and execution of a plot by Iago, played by talented Coner Andrew Hall. Iago plots to make Othello jealous of his wife and second in command, Cassio. Thereby inflicting pain on Othello and ridding himself of a competitor, Cassio. Cassio is played by Mathew Iannone, with the perfect amount of fealty and respect for Othello.

Othello is presented in the middle of the space, chairs lining each side. The space is reminiscent of a 17th century church. The soaring ceiling and statuary lined walls give an emotional depth to the play. I suggest arriving a little early to get the best seats, all seating is open.

Like every version of Othello, the transformation from adoring husband to a jealous murderous partner is problematic in its swiftness. But this show deals with it a bit differently. After Othello’s crime, his temper is blamed on his blackness. His contemporaries are quick to blame his fiery hot-headedness on his race. Othello’s friends rapidly turn on the Moor. Othello's reputation falls from reverence to disappointment in a moment, disabused of the idea that he and his fellow Venetians are equals.

The one flaw in the show is the portrayal of Iago. Iago is described as “honest Iago” in the dialog and his treachery goes unseen until late in the play. Here, Iago sports the look of an unkempt confederate soldier too bitter to function in society. No one would ever believe Iago is anything but the villain here. It is a relatively minor flaw, since Iago is the villain of the piece, known from very early on – although it does smack you upside the head with the metaphor of a false friend to a black man.

Helen Herbert as "Emilia" in the foreground. (photo: Carol Rosegg)
In the background: Alanah Allen (Desdemona) and Conor Andrew Hall (Iago) 

Iago's "whore", Emilia, is used unwittingly to help the plan. She is played by Helen Herbert and seems to fade into the background only to surprise and impress when she moves to the forefront.

Director Masenheimer builds a steady flow of action and emotions in Othello. She admirably keeps the large cast individualized for the audience to understand. The entire production: acting, costumes, set and lighting combine to form an immersive experience that makes the audience fell more like voyeurs rather than spectators. It is a great show and event and night out.

Othello
PlaywrightShakespeare | DirectorMakenna Masenheimer | CastElliot Johnson, Alanah Allen, Conor Andrew Hall, Matthew Iannone, Rose Kanj, Nathan Krasner, Helen Herbert

Now Starring in Wyoming..

Get married at 12 !

Get and AK47 at 14 !

Get an abortion - pysch ..  

... abortions are against god's law. Childhood marriage and AK 47s are not.


Brought to you from the good folks behind Don't Say Gay, Businesses Are Also Christians, and Don't Let Pregnant Women Travel

Next on the docket... 

Why can't Christians and Christian Businesses refuse service to gays, blacks, unmarried people, divorced people and sinners like the Bible says? 

Supreme Court - That is wrong!

OK.. How about just fags?

Supreme Court - We'll think on it.

OK... How about just Drag Queens and Trannies?

Supreme Court - Now you're talking.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

An Oddity from House Porn

 I love investigating houses and homes. It is a pre-Covid, Covid, and post-Covid addiction.

And every now, you see something that makes you go hummm...


This is a half translated mush, which you think you get at first glance, but then say - what the hell is that.

Estados translates to "states". But it is close enough that Americans can assume "estates" is the right translation. But it is not.

New from the "Fashion Plate" files

 This is how Kyrsten Sinema, Democratic Senator from the schizoid state of Arizona, dressed for the State of the Union address. For you Brits, the Queen (now King) doesn't address us at Christmas. But once a year the President comes to a joint meeting of. Congress, both Senate and House of Representatives, and gives a speech celebrating what he already did and telling what he wants to do next year. Except for President Trump who used the state of the union to complain as well.

Anywho, the speech reception was a bit of a joke. Marjorie Taylor Green and here fuck-all crazy republican buddies boo'ed at the speech while there! The booing by the way is a new phenomenon brought to us originally by Republicans to scream at Obama, now multiple people directing screams an name calling at Biden. Not during a normal period (like the Question period in House of Commons) but during a once a year address to Congress from the President.

Now for the fun dresses. I suppose it is easier to be a man in these circumstances. You throw on a suit and your done. But these were some bad decisions by our members:

Senator Krysten Sinema (D - AZ).


Here she is a designer dress by Dynasty - circa 1986. I just imagine her looking at the canary yellow dress and saying "You know what would ziz this up? Big giant puffy sleeves."

Alike in bad outfits, albeit from the other side of the aisle.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Green (R - FL)


Now if you are thinking..."that outfit looks vaguely familiar".. Here is the comparison your are striving to think of...




And in the latest from our "No Shit Sherlock" files

 


Reduce Child Labor Laws: Who wants to do that? (Hint: Begins with Republica..)

 Good Grief people, just let in a SOME migrants....

All the migrants want is jobs and all we want is workers. Seems like a simple solution. I mean simpler that changing laws so more kids can work in unsafe conditions!



Occasionally Advice Columns Give the Right Advice

Dear Prudence, 

I’m struggling. I’m feeling a strong connection to the Amish, and I would love to dig deeper into this feeling. I feel the urge to join them, but I feel as though it is disrespectful and I’m not sure I am ready. I also don’t want to be judged by my friends and family for converting to the Amish lifestyle. AND I really love having a phone and car and shower and makeup and cute clothes, so is there a way that I can join the Amish but keep everything I already have? I basically just want to farm and not pay taxes. HELP!!!!

— Amish Wannabe

Dear Amish Wannabe,

Look, I get it. Life in 2023 is expensive and draining. What I’m hearing in your letter is a feeling of being overstimulated, overwhelmed, and desperate to unplug and simplify your existence. But leave the Amish out of it! They are busy, and don’t need you and your cute clothes complicating their lives. It sounds like you could use a one-week camping trip. Try that and reevaluate.

I can’t help you with the taxes.

"I want to be Amish. But with better clothes. And a cell phone."


The tale of Chiselborough

 Our second dog sit in England this past month was in Chiselborough. Which is a village of about 100 - 125. It was in the middle of nowhere....