Monday, April 30, 2007

Free Speech Isn't Totally Free

Bill of Rights
Amendment I
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.

I am a big fan of the above words. They are the fundamental backbone of what you are reading right now. The government is forbidden, except in very specific circumstances, from punishing people for what they say in public. Unfortunately too many people take this to mean that freedom of speech equals freedom from responsibility for what they say. And therein lies the misunderstanding. I know this is somewhat stale news, but I would like to address the Imus flap in this context. For those of you who don't know, talk show host Don Imus referred to the female basketball players from Rutgers as 'nappy headed ho's' on his radio show a few weeks ago. Of course this touched off a firestorm of racial indignation, and ultimately lead to Imus being fired. Some would like to see his ouster as a violation of the First Amendment, but I strongly disagree. The Constitution only applies to the Government. Imus has not been prosecuted. He does not face legal action. He got fired because his comments, which were probably no worse than any number of other comments he has made in his many decades as a 'shock jock', angered enough people that his advertisers removed their support. T'was booty killed this beast. For all its protestations of art for art's sake, and freedom of the airwaves, money is the true lifeblood of broadcasting. And that money comes from advertisers who want you and me to buy their stuff. Who can blame companies for not wanting to be associated with someone who, in this obnoxiously PC time in which we live in, appears to be an insensitive racist? I don't agree with it. I don't think it's fair. But it is the reality of the world. In a country where a single moment of unrestrained exuberance can derail an entire presidential campaign, why should we be surprised when an aging loudmouth gets canned for being a pig?

Anyway, just my two cents. Ok, show's over, go on about your business.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

happy birthday to me...woo...hoo.

And yet another birthday dominated by work...although this one was slightly different because on this birthday I actually got to bleed. Just a word of advice, folks. When using an angle grinder, the hand guard is not just a decoration.

Anywhoo, my lovely wife got me a groovy Blue Oyster Cult album/dvd, and my friend Mayi sent me the original King Kong(dvd, not the monkey), so I'm quite happy. My day began with Starbuck standing on my tummy at 4am, and then going to work at 8, and then the aforementioned bloodletting, but I guess it hasn't been a total wash since the work day ended around 3:30.

Yesterday was kinda weird, since I had to go to work as well, but as I passed the University of Tampa I saw Darth Vader and a TIE fighter pilot standing on the sidewalk. Not really a usual sight round these parts. No Star Destroyers in the sky, so I guess we are safe from the Empire for a little while. Now if only I could find a used Tauntaun store...

Eckerd college emailed me asking for supplemental materials, so that's a good sign I hope.

And that's about it for today. How was your weekend?

Love ya's,
Marius the Old

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Turtle Asks...

Here's how it works: Leave me a comment saying "interview me!"- I will respond by e-mailing you five questions. I get to pick them, and you have to answer them all.- You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.- You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post - When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them 5 questions.

Preguntas de Senior Tortuga:

1. If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?

Hmm, anyone? Janeane Garofalo. She is brilliant, lovely, and really cool. Plus I think it would benefit most men to spend at least one day as a woman.

2. Name one thing that you know now that you wish you knew 20 years ago.
That the seemingly smallest, most insignificant actions can have huge consequences.

3. Name the one thing that you own (talking material possessions here), that you adore above all others, and why? I have a chess table that my father made that I use as a night stand. It has been either next to my bed, or somewhere in my room for as long as I can remember. It's nothing fancy, but it is one of the few things of my dad's that we got.

4. What has blogging done for you? Blogging has made me a part of a large, and growing community. I was one of the last people to 'get' the Internet, and I had heard about blogs, but never thought much about them. Then I started this blog mainly with the intention of chronicling my move from Louisiana back to Florida, but suddenly I found myself putting far more here than just 'today we boxed up more books'. And before I knew it I was looking at things not just from an experiential perspective, but from a 'I should blog about this' perspective. Then I started reading other people's blogs, and before long I had pen pals in different states, and even different countries. There is even one young lady who I found on a video blog she used to be associated with, and is now blogging for a major news organization, who knows 'Marius' as one of her more frequent commenters. I enjoy putting my thoughts and opinions out there, and I enjoy even more when folks read and comment. I especially like it when someone disagrees with me. I like to grapple, verbally. And it has helped me stay in touch with some of the folks, amphibious and otherwise, that mean the most to me.

5. What three words do you say most often?
Lately, God damn it!! (and I know that I really shouldn't use that particular one, but it just sort of slips out.)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Let's Just Take a Deep Breath

The news has been relentlessly bleak and horrific lately, and I scoured my sources for something uplifting, funny, or even less than tragic to bring you today, but I couldn't find anything. Even the wierd stuff was depressing. So, without further ado, I give you cute critters.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

LOTR, Muppet Style

Thanks to Turtle for this one.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Brief Update

Wednesday evening I had a very nice interview with the Theatre faculty at Eckerd College in St. Pete. They are some of the nicest, most relaxed folks I've met in quite some time. I was there for nearly two hours, and the time flew by. We began with the usual round table 'tell us who you are and why we want you' Q&A, then they took me on a tour of the facilities. The place is old, and needs lots of TLC, but it is one of the most original layouts I've ever seen, and has that wonderful 'old theatre' smell that, unless you've experienced it, it's impossible to describe. The Lake Worth Playhouse has that smell. The only drawbacks are a 40 mile commute(which just means I can catch up on book tapes), and the fact that the interviewers don't know what the pay is. But I got a wonderful vibe from the place, and I think I could be quite happy there.

As for USF, HCC, and the theatre in Coral Springs, so far nothing new.

Ok, time to be a teacher. See ya!!

Love and kisses,

Saturday, April 14, 2007

George Bush Loves Gay People

WhatWhatWHAT?! You heard me. George Bush, and the entire RNC for that matter, loves gay people. And abortionists, too. Here's my reasoning. Every election Democrats try to campaign on important issues: health care, campaign finance reform, tax reform, etc. And each year(except the most recent one) they get stomped like a Narc at Bike Week because even though people realize that these are the truly important issues, they are more complicated than Kim Jong Il's psyche chart. The Republicans, on the other hand, know how to jerk the knees of thier constituents. If gays are allowed to marry, can human sacrifice be far behind? Blastocysts are babies too, albeit microscopic bundles of less than 1oo cells, but babies nonetheless, and it is far more dignified for the hundreds of unused embryos in in vitro clinics to go into the garbage than it is for them to go into stem cell labs. I'm sure the Shrub Prince gives prayers of thanks to his God for the boon of issues that affect a very few, yet piss off so very many.

Ok, I'm done for the night. TTFN.


The Triangle Abides

The Grim Reaper's unholy triumverate is complete. Don Ho, famous Hawaiian lounge singer and maker of the miniscule aquatic air pockets, has gone to the great luau in the sky. I can't say I was a huge fan, but when I was but a pup we used to frequent a Polynesian lounge/restaurant in Connecticut called the HuKi Lau(I think that's the right spelling). It was cool for my brother and me because it was all spooky tribal masks and colored lights. There were the ladies in the grass skirts, and the guys swinging bolos and dancing with flaming spears. And there was the Kahuna Nui of the Connecticut Lounge Lizards, Duke Galai. I honestly can't say if he was talented or not, since I had to be all of 8 or 9 the last time we were there, but I am sure he owed more than a little of his success to Mr. Ho. Oh, and the best part of that place, for us kids anyway, was the Pu-Pu Platter. If you don't know what it is, it's an appetizer plate with various finger foods, and in the center of the thing is a tiny hibachi. Yeah, they would give my brother and me a little fire to play with. And it was called Pu-Pu. It just doesn't get any better than that for a little boy.

Oh, yeah, rest in peace Don.


I want my nights, my first name, and my life back.

A Crappy Question

Why is it that if someone says that their dog crapped in the living we just think, 'well, that's mildly annoying.', but if there is a news report that includes the term 'human feces' we get totally grossed out? Is it because human offal is considered to be worse than animal leavings, or is it because there is the implication that one or more of our supposedly enlightened species took the time to excrete in an inappropriate place?

Yes, be glad you do not have to live with these thoughts 24/7. I envy you.



My wife and I had hoped to go to our first SCA event in five years later this month. Then, of course, the little thing going on in my theatre that weekend that I thought didn't need my presence grew to a giant show that I cannot avoid. So, no St. Val's for Lord Wihtgar.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Johnny Hart, Dead Too.

I can't believe I missed this one. Johnny Hart, creator of B.C. and The Wizard of Id died on April 7th. When I was a kid there were two comic(as in newspaper comics, not superhero) books I used to collect. B.C. and Garfield. I loved B.C. In fact there are some lines from those books that my brother and I still quote to this day. (Scudzo! The mouthwash that really scrolls your nurd!) Harts humor then was silly, clever, and accessible to all ages. Granted in recent years he became more preachy and religious in his comics, but he never stopped being amusing. I often forget how much I used to enjoy B.C., and The Wizard of Id to a lesser extent, but there will always be a place in my fondest memories of those comics, and I truly hope that Hart has gone on to that Heaven he so strongly believed in.

R.I.P. Johnny.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut, Dead.

Kurt Vonnegut passed away yesterday at the age of 84. He fell a few weeks ago, suffering brain damage, and finally succumbed to his injuries. I am a huge fan of his work. I read Slaughterhouse 5 when I was in high school, but I was way too young to appreciate it. It was many years later that I picked up The Sirens of Titan and realized what a sardonic genius Vonnegut was. My favorite book of his, by far, is Timequake. In it there is a ripple in time in which everyone on Earth is forced to relive a twenty year period, fully aware that they are reliving it, but totally helpless to change anything. I highly recommend it.

Many of my favorite quotes come from Vonnegut, including one I used for years as my signature line for my emails. "If you really want to hurt your parents, and you haven't the nerve to be a homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts." Brilliant!

If you haven't read any of his work, please do so. If you have, pause a moment to remember a great writer.

Rest in peace, Kurt. You've earned it.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Scott Adams for President

Please read this latest from the creator of Dilbert. I wish I had written it.

Dilbert Blog.

Gay Marriage+ Mickey Mouse

I know many people that have worked for Disney, and the company is notorious for draconian treatment of employees, but on the civil rights front Disney is coming out(heh heh) as a front runner for tolerance. They have been taking flak for years by religious conservatives, mostly Southern Baptists, for having 'Gay Day' at the parks, and for extending employees' benefits to same sex partners, but Disney knows something that the Southern Baptist Convention hasn't figured out yet. There are a lot more gay men and women who want to get married at Disneyland/world than there are Baptists who don't. And while happiness is mandatory at Walt's parks, it's the almighty dollar that truly makes Mickey's eyes light up. While the parks on both coasts allowed same sex couples to book vow renewal ceremonies, the actual wedding package (which includes arrival in Cinderella's coach, heralds trumpeting the arrival, and formally garbed Minnie and Mickey in attendance) required a valid marriage licence; something neither state currently grant to gay couples. After some inquiries by prospective couples, and some online criticism from, Disney has announced that the $8,000 wedding package is now available for 'commitment ceremonies'. Disney spokesman Donn Walker said. "This is consistent with our policy of creating a welcoming, respectful and inclusive environment for all of our guests...We are not in the business of making judgments about the lifestyle of our guests. We are in the hospitality business and our parks and resorts are open to everyone."

Friday, April 06, 2007

Sounds Greek to Me

This is an interesting article from

Mystery of Greek Amphitheater's Amazing Sound Finally Solved
By Tom ChaoLiveScience Staff Writerposted: 05 April 20071:30 pm ET

Cut the chatter! The ancient mystery surrounding the great acoustics of the theater at Epidaurus in Greece has been solved.
The theatre, dating to the 4th century B.C. and arranged in 55 semi-circular rows, remains the great masterwork of Polykleitos the Younger. Audiences of up to an estimated 14,000 have long been able to hear actors and musicians—unamplified—from even the back row of the architectural masterpiece.
How this sonic quality was achieved has been the source of academic and amateur speculation, with some theories suggesting that prevailing winds carried sounds or masks amplified voices.
It's in the seats
Now, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered that the limestone material of the seats provide a filtering effect, suppressing low frequencies of voices, thus minimizing background crowd noise. Further, the rows of limestone seats reflect high-frequencies back towards the audience, enhancing the effect.
Researcher Nico Declercq, a mechanical engineer, initially suspected that the slope of the theater had something to do with the effect.
“When I first tackled this problem, I thought that the effect of the splendid acoustics was due to surface waves climbing the theater with almost no damping,” Declercq said. “While the voices of the performers were being carried, I didn’t anticipate that the low frequencies of speech were also filtered out to some extent.”
However, experiments with ultrasonic waves and numerical models indicated that frequencies up to 500 hertz (cycles per second) were lowered, and frequencies higher than 500 hertz went undiminished, he said.
Acoustic traps
The corrugations on the surface of the seats act as natural acoustic traps. Though this effect would seem to also remove the low frequencies from the actors' voices, listeners actually fill in the missing portion of the audio spectrum through a phenomenon known as virtual pitch. The human brain reconstructs the missing frequencies, producing the virtual pitch phenomenon, as in listening to someone speaking on a telephone with no low end.
The findings are detailed in the April issue of the Journal of the Acoustics Society of America.
Amazingly, the Greek builders of the theater did not themselves understand the principles that led to the exceptional audibility of sound from the stage.
Attempts to recreate the Epidaurus design never quite matched the original. Later seating arrangements featured other materials, such as wood for the benches, an approach which may have ultimately derailed the design duplication effort.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Job Interviews and Synaptic Meltdowns

First the 'big' news. I had a phone interview with the faculty of the University of South Florida theatre department today. I think it went well, but then it is rather difficult to gauge such things over the phone. I answered their questions as best I could, and they did not sound displeased with my responses, so the bottom line is...we'll see. Prithee keep those extremities intersected. And if, by some chance any of the faculty are here visiting my little corner of the intertubes, welcome. :-)
On to some weirdness. Song lyrics. I stumbled across a video of Barnes & Barnes' Fish Heads a few minutes ago, and it got me thinking about bizarre song lyrics. I mean, it's really hard to beat 'Roly poly fish heads are never seen drinking cappuccino in Italian restaurants with oriental women...yeah.', but it can be done. Here's just one example that leaps to mind. It's from They Might Be Giants' song Mr. Horrible, and it goes, "Would it be ok with you if we wrote a reminder of things we'd forget to do today otherwise, using a green magic marker, if it's ok, on the back of your head?" Your turn. What are some of the weirdest, most obscure lyrics you can think of. And just to keep things interesting, no John Lennon or Jim Morrison.
From the fiery furnace of feline affection department, Starbuck(registered Kitty-o-the-Apocalypse tm) has gone from being an unbearably adorable kitten, to an aloof adolescent, to a house wrecking teenager, and is now becoming a five pound Lummox-O-Luv. Up until a week ago the very thought of sleeping in the same bed with us was unthinkable, but ever since that pic I put up a few posts ago he has chosen to sleep either just above my head, or as in the other night, snuggled right up against me. Cute, right? Sure, except it has grown warm again, and I awoke in the middle of the night to find myself constrained to a 12" strip of bed with a sleeping wife to the right of me, and a c-shaped, fuzzy heating element to the left. The a/c was still set for the cooler nights, and I was stewing in my own juices. I eventually gave up the fight to remain asleep and got up to turn down the air. The cat barely had the decency to wake up.
Finally there is a band called Saliva, who's music has always resided in the 'meh' aisle in my mental record store, but they have a new song called Ladies and Gentlemen that, imho, rocks. Check it out. And PIKARESQUE, if you listen to the musical bridge about two thirds through the song, Rap Cat puts in a cameo.
Ok, enough drivel for one night. May the Great Bird of the Galaxy watch over you all.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Loch Ness Monster Explained...Finally

This pic shows what Scottish scientists Michael Gary Scott and Angus MacGyver claim to be the actual Loch Ness Monster. It is a Civil War era submarine, believed to have been built around 1859 with the intention of selling it to the highest bidders across the pond. Unfortunately the next year the Confederate sub The Hunley began sinking Union ships without any help from the Scots, and the sub, lovingly called Wee Cuiteog, or worm, was abandoned and set adrift in the loch. "It is unclear who the builder(s) were, but we have a pretty good idea that it was Laird Seosaidh of Inverness that funded the project." says MacGyver. The two men have been pursuing their sub theory for several years, despite threats of law suits and even bodily harm from the multi-million pound industry that has been built upon the humped back of "Nessie". Their big break came when the boat washed ashore last Thursday. When asked how he felt about his theory being proven, Scott said, "It would have been nice to have been wrong, but at least now we know. And the best part is we get to keep the boat."
The two now plan to move on to the American Midwest, where they hope to prove that Bigfoot is really just an abandoned Algonquin battle yurt.