Monday, October 25, 2010

Rock 'n Roll DWTS Edition Recap... Madness I Tell You!

The top 10 dance routines are being show-cased tonight. So far, Mrs. Angrybell and I are not digging them. More on that later.

Audrina and Tony started the dance portion off with a Paso Doble. This is not a dance suited to her personality of a the girl next door. Let's see how this goes. Another One Rides the Bus, by Queen, was the song. Mrs. Angrybell never thinks of this as a rock song. She has the face down but is not being forcefully flowy in her movements, if that makes sense. Mrs. Angrybell thinks she took the serious part too to heart and had no passion coming through, no verve. Len was a little overly harsh, but he was right. She hits the steps, but is not getting the character of the dance. Bruno even agrees. Carrie Ann feels she has to coddle her. The score was 24. I would have given it a 7. But at this stage in the competition, score inflation is on the rise. Could we see a perfect?

Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer followed that up looking for little redemption in the tango. It was interesting watching Kyle dance with his brother, since originally the tango was danced by men not male/female partners. Where Audrian wasn't getting the character of the dance, Kyle totally is. I have to wonder Lacey was thinking with this costume. There are times his frame is off because his bum is sticking out more than it should. Clean. Not many mistakes, there was one midway through the dance after they did a nice series of spins down the floor, but overall really good. Who choreographed it? It didn't bear the marking of any of a Lacey Schwimmer let's-piss-off-the-judges-by-deviating-from-the-syllabus routine. How does Len give Kyle a 7 when he gave Audrina Partridge an 8? The 23 was wrong.

Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough is also looking to bounce back from last week's foxtrot. This week they're doing a paso doble to a Pink song "So What". Mrs. Angrybell didn't recognize her with the hair extensions. This is not an easy song. There is a change in tempo. And they are handling it really well. Mrs. Angrybell thinks that pyrotechnics always help. She lost it for a second at the end and it threw off Derek as well. And it was heading towards a good score. Carrie Ann hated the dance. I'm surprised she found it so out of control. The 20 is brutal. I have to watch this again, but I defer to Len.

Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke drew the tango this week. Angrybabybelle, who wouldn't go to sleep, was waving at the screen. Girl you really got me going was the song. His frame is not locked. Mrs. Angrybell thinks he is doing the Audrina Partridge thing, which I agree with. Angrybabybelle clapped along to the routine. Not sure if she likes the song or the dance. Sure its clean, but there's not passion in it. Mrs. Angrybell thinks he looks ticked through it. And yet they got straight 8s? What are they thinking tonight?

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas are wondering why they are still on this show. Alright, not really but I am. I think Mark wants off. He is listening seriously to Bristol's suggestions about choreography. Either that or he feels like he is playing with house money after surviving last week. They do the tango to . This routine is not bad. She is locked in, she is on his hip when she should be. She is lacking emotion for much of the dance, but she has it in flashes. This was her best dance. They got robbed with that 23. That dance and routine was superior to those 24s that have been given out.

Kurt Warner and Ana Trebunskya are looking to build on last week's score with their paso doble. I love the Brett Michael's suggestion of "Don't break eye contact, that's when they go crazy on you." The Final Countdown is the song. Started it out nice and intense, but then when they went to open, he looked a little agraid, but then he started to show that intensity again. The problem in this dance for him is not the steps, but the attitude and showmanship. He is not consistent in keeping in character. Len doesn't look happy with this. For once, both Mr and Mrs. Angrybell disagree with the judges. There may be something about the lines that Bruno mentioned, but ... that's what makes a horserace. The 18 seemed harsh.

The Maksim and Brandy train wreck is still rumbling down the tracks. Mrs. Angrybell feels bad for Maks because he keeps getting crazy partners that he has to be a therapist for in order to get them on the floor. Mrs. Angrybell wants to know what Brandy is wearing for this paso. Holding out for Hero is the song.  Mrs. Angrybell however thinks that Maks is doing an homage to Han Solo. The funny thing about this, it seemed like the mistakes that happened were made by Maks, especially when they did that dip and he almost lost it. I didn't love this dance. They got a 26. I guess. It was good. I just felt like something was wrong with it.

Then there was the group jive. Derek and his partner have won this that last few seasons. And this time he comes in second, with Brandy and Maks hanging on to get the final 10 point bump.

So who is to go? Kurt had a bad week. Jennifer looked fully mortal this week. And Bristol unleashed an impressive dance. Sad to say, I think that this week, Kurt Warner goes home. If Jennifer Grey does, I'd be very surprised. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Does The ILWU 10 Know This Isn't France?


This is the second work stoppage that I've heard of recently by the International Longshore Workers Union local 10 this year that I know of that have nothing to do with labor conditions at the port. ILWU 10 apparently has decided that days off are called for to protest things that they really have no business weighing in on in this way. That's something you expect from a French union, who love to strike at the drop of a hat.

Yesterday, the Longshoremen refused to handle cargo to protest the killing of Oscar Grant and the trial of Johannes Meserle. Did someone not tell them that a jury has decided this case? That 12 the case is still going on?

ILWU 10 needs to stop worrying about politics and worry about its membership more. Let the system work in that case. It does not need to be inflamed by some yahoos who think they can substitute their judgment for that of the jury who heard the case.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's Been An Interesting Week For People With Any Sort Of Phobia

I'm going to start this off and lay out some of my phobias. I'm not talking arachnophobia type stuff. I'm talking about fears of certain groups. Two that I have are fears of Islam and fears of Prius' drivers. So I guess that gives me Islamophobia and Priusphobia. In my opinion, both could be the death of me (I have been hit by Prius drivers and have had more near misses with drivers of those damned cars than any other type).

While I have  a fear of Prius drivers, and Muslims, that does not mean that I discriminate against them. Both are groups that I find pose a threat to my safety. The Prius drivers because they can't seem to drive while keeping their eyes on the road instead of that infernal readout that shows how fuel efficient their being (making them also, in my opinion, narcissists). The Muslims, well... because they demonstrably want to see me and my children and my relatives dead (yes, if you have not figured out, I'm Jewish, supporter of Israel and have family who live there).

That does beg the question of, is it a phobia if in fact they are out to get you?

But that is no matter.

Why am I confessing to this? Because apparently certain groups want to prevent people from admitting to their fears. Confess publically that seeing a Muslim person in religious garb on a plane makes you nervous, then you CAIR wants to make sure you do not get to keep your job. Think this is my imagination? Then check with NPR to see when Juan Williams will be on the air again.

He was fired last night for stating in an interview that
“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.
In case you do not listen to NPR, Juan Williams is a long time reporter for NPR. He has also written for years for The Atlantic Monthly as well as contributing to other magazines. Outside of his journalism work, he is also author of several books on the Civil Rights Movement and African American issues. In short, this guy has a track record of being serious when it comes to what he writes and reports about.

Apparently, this experience and track record of being a respect journalist is not sufficient when it comes to stating the simple fact that in light of his life experiences, he has a fear. He did not say he advocated stripping them of their civil rights. He did not say that we should go out and hurt them for being Muslim. He expressed some fear.

According to CAIR and NPR, that's not acceptable in a journalist. Never one to let someone have an opinion that Islam isn't perfect, CAIR stated
CAIR is calling on American Muslims and other people of conscience to ask National Public Radio (NPR) to address analyst Juan Williams' statement that airline passengers in "Muslim garb" make him "nervous."

"NPR should address the fact that one of its news analysts seems to believe that all airline passengers who are perceived to be Muslim can legitimately be viewed as security threats," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "Such irresponsible and inflammatory comments would not be tolerated if they targeted any other racial, ethnic or religious minority, and they should not pass without action by NPR."...

He noted that media commentators who launch rhetorical attacks on Islam and Muslims normally do not suffer the professional consequences of those who similarly target other racial, ethnic or religious groups.

Ignoring the falsity of the statement that Muslims are a particularly targeted and aggrieved group by the media, lets look at what they are attacking. They are attacking his expression of fear of a group. Is it regrettable. You bet. Is it natural considering what has happen over the past decade, or longer depending on how historically minded you are, between the US and the Muslim world. Of course. Would it be nice if people didn't have to fear other groups for rational reasons? Absolutely.

But apparently, we are supposed to live in a world where even our feelings must be politically correct, otherwise, apparently, we lose the ability to do our jobs in a non-discriminatory manner. At least, thats what NPR believes. NPR fired Mr. Williams last night, stating,
His remarks on The O'Reilly Factor this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR
How? He expressed a fear, a personal fear that he holds. He did not tell a lie. He did not simply accept propaganda, governmental or otherwise,and pass it off as news. He expressed his feeling of fear.

What he did do is apparently verboten among right thinking people. He stated that he has identified the current threat to himself as anAmerican as militant Muslims. However, almost as if this was something the Bush Administration fought against it, it has to be opposed e left while it's in power. From Obama Administration down, we are told that we are not dealing terrorism caused by militant Islam. To suggest that the terrorism we are facing most frequently as a threat to us comes from Islamic worshippers is a heresy it seems.

There's also the suggestion that the conservative views of Mr. Williams were not liked by his bosses at NPR and that this was the real cause of his firing. Previously, because of his criticisms of the First Lady, he had been forbidden from using identifying himself as an NPR analyst when appearing on The O'Reilly Factor.

I wonder what NPR would have done if he had expressed a concern about his children going to a Catholic school?

But that's not the only bit of punishment for expressing one's opinion. As Mr. Williams was getting his pink slip from NPR, author Elizabeth Moon was being de-invited (should I say booted) from appearing at WISCON where she was supposed to be a Guest of Honor. WISCON bills itself as "The World's Leading Feminist Science Fiction Convention."

Apparently they only want feminists who do not utter words outside of the pages of science fiction books that could be deemed controversial. In this case, Ms. Moon voiced her opposition to the planned mosque near the World Trade Center site. In her blog, where the objectionable comment seems to come from, Ms. Moon writes,

The point here is that in order to accept large numbers of immigrants, and maintain any social cohesion, acceptance by the receiving population is not the only requirement: immigrants must be willing and able to change, to merge with the receiving population.   The new place isn't the old place; the new customs aren't the old customs.   "Acceptance" is a multi-directional communications grid.  Groups that self-isolate, that determinedly distinguish themselves by location, by language, by dress, will not be accepted as readily as those that plunge into the mainstream.  This is not just an American problem--this is human nature, the tribalism that underlies all societies and must be constantly curtailed if larger groups are to co-exist.  It is natural to want to be around those who talk like you, eat the familiar foods, wear the familiar clothes, have the familiar cultural references.   But in a multicultural society like ours--and it has been multi-cultural from its inception--citizens need to go beyond nature.  That includes those who by their history find it least comfortable.

Whether a group changes its core behaviors and values after immigration or not, it must--to be assimilated later--come to understand the culture into which it has moved.   To get along, it must try not to do those things which will, sure as eggs is eggs, create friction, distrust, and dislike.    Is this a limitation on its freedom?  Yes.  It is also a limitation on the freedom of the existing culture into which it's a compromise.   A compromise isn't entirely comfortable to either side, and either side may misjudge how uncomfortable a compromise is to the other side--it is wise to grant that what you're asking the other guy to do may be quite uncomfortable to him/her.   A group must grasp that if its non-immigrant members somewhere else are causing people a lot of grief (hijacking planes and cruise ships,  blowing up embassies, etc.) it is going to have a harder row to hoe for awhile, and it would be prudent (another citizenly virtue) to a) speak out against such things without making excuses for them and b) otherwise avoid doing those things likely to cause offence.

When an Islamic group decided to build a memorial center at/near the site of the 9/11 attack, they should have been able to predict that this would upset a lot of people.  Not only were the attackers Islamic--and not only did the Islamic world in general show indecent glee about the attack, but this was only the last of many attacks on citizens and installations of this country which Islamic groups proudly claimed credit for.  That some Muslims died in the attacks is immaterial--does not wipe out the long, long chain of Islamic hostility.   It would have been one thing to have the Muslim victims' names placed with the others, and identified there as Muslims--but to use that site to proselytize for the religion that lies behind so many attacks on the innocent (I cannot forget the Jewish man in a wheelchair pushed over the side of the ship to drown, or Maj. Nadal's attack on soldiers at Fort Hood) was bound to raise a stink.   It is hard to believe that those making the application did not know that--did not anticipate it--and were not, in a way, probing to see if they could start a controversy.  If they did not know, then they did not know enough about the culture into which they had moved.  Though I am not angry about it, and have not spoken out in opposition, I do think it was a rude and tactless thing to propose (and, if carried out, to do.)

I know--I do not dispute--that many Muslims had nothing to do with the attacks, did not approve of them, would have stopped them if they could.  I do not dispute that there are moderate, even liberal, Muslims, that many Muslims have all the virtues of civilized persons and are admirable in all those ways.  I am totally, 100%, appalled at those who want to burn the Koran (which, by the way, I have read in English translation, with the same attention I've given to other holy books) or throw paint on mosques or beat up Muslims.  But Muslims fail to recognize how much forbearance they've had.  Schools in my area held consciousness-raising sessions for kids about not teasing children in Muslim-defined clothing...but not about not teasing Jewish children or racial minorities.  More law enforcement was dedicated to protecting mosques than synagogues--and synagogues are still targeted for vandalism.  What I heard, in my area, after 9/11, was not condemnation by local mosques of the attack--but an immediate cry for protection even before anything happened.   Our church, and many others (not, obviously all) already had in place a "peace and reconciliation" program that urged us to understand, forgive, pray for, not just innocent Muslims but the attackers themselves.   It sponsored a talk by a Muslim from a local mosque--but the talk was all about how wonderful Islam was--totally ignoring the historical roots of Islamic violence.

Now apparently for having the audacity of suggesting that 1) immigrants have to do somethings to adapt to their new home and 2) that it was unreasonable for Muslims to believe that building a mosque at the site of the most destructive act of Islamic terrorism on American soil and not expect controversy.

Now some have argued that what is happening to these people is no different than the punishmnent meted out to Rick Sanchez for calling Jon Stewart a bigot andconplaining tha the "Jews" have too much control over CNN. But it's not. First, what Sanchez said is untrue, and could have been deemed slander by Stewart. Second, regarding his comment that Jews control the media industry, that is a repetition of the old anti-semitic Elder of Zion conspiracy charge that originated with the Tsarist secret police. Here, we have two people who are not trying to smear an ethnic or religious group. One is saying a personal fear he holds. Another is urging immigrants be incorporated into the American system like every other group who has come over.

If we are going to penalize people from stating their opinions, how are we gping to have a free exchange of ideas? How are we going to know when there are people who are living in fear? If the Muslim community is upset by this, maybe it's because the truth stated by these two hurts. Instead of trying to penalize these two for their opinions maybe they need to look at what they are doing, whom they are supporting and ask whether these are people and groups that they should be supporting.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Its Madness Time Again During a Lull in the NLCS (DWTS Recap)

Alright, the Baseball G-ds were looking kindly upon me tonight and decided not to schedule the Giants-Phillies game for tonight. Go Giants!

Tonight is TV Theme Night. Whatever will we do without The Situation?

The judges gave their review of the remaining contestants. Carrie Ann and Tony were very high on Kyle and Brandy. Why? I'm not sure. They seem to see greatness in them, but I see tenativeness with Brandy (odd considering she has a long history of performing live) and sloppiness from Kyle. Both of them, however, share a huge disadvantage: their professional partners. Both Maksim and Lacey have a history of sabotaging their partners by choreographing to what they want rather than the abilities of their partners.

Mrs. Angrybell would like to give kudos to Brooke Burke's team (Manager and Attorney). For the most part, they have managed to keep her from suffering from some of the outfits (not to mention hair styles) foisted on Samantha Harris.

Maksim and Brandy drew leadoff this week and the theme song to the show Friends. It will be a quickstep. Yay! But with Maksim choreographing... yah. Len is going to go nuts with all screwing around. And then they spend a long time in open before getting into hold. Little problem after the first circuit for Brnady in the corner. Her frame is nice. Good kicks and flicks. She is on her toes too much. She never really gets the good heel toe movement. It was good. According to the Len scale of last week, it should not get above a 7. Of course, Len's critique makes a liar out me. Len how could you? So the scores were surprising to me. A 27. I suppose it was high energy and all that, but still ... a 27?

In the two hole, its FloCork dancing to the "Brady Bunch" theme. Seeing Mrs. Brady and Barry and Corky... just wrong. Funny but just wrong. Doing a tango. Never thought of this song as a tango. She is right in on his hip. Good for her. Nice turns, but she got a little dizzy at the end. She keeps looking down which is not going to sit well with Len. Was a clean dance. Not spectacular, but done pretty well. This can't be good, Carrie Ann and I agree on things. Not sure she is right about the timing problem. Then again, the camera angle prevented me from seeing her footwork. Given the scores for Maks and Brandy, the 21 seems fair.

Kurt and Anna followed up that routine. They drww the theme song to Bewitched for their quickstep. Should be interesting since apparently the reruns did not make it to the Ukraine for Anna to see. The mucking around worked, I like how she did the nose twitch and he started dancing... well... better. His frame is not great, he is hunching occasionally. They're really using the nose thing to good effect. Not too much,  and its almost like when he makes a mistake, he gets a nose twinkle. Of course, thats not the case, it just works with the music. But nonetheless it covered up a little flub there on the second one. Good routine. Not as good as some of his other stuff, but an improvement over last week. Maybe I'm just too hard. Carrie Ann just called the dance the reincarnation of Gene Kelly. I suppose the 24 was a fair score. I guess we've hit that point in the season where they inflate their scores.

Tony and Audrina were trying to discover how to dance with onion breath. The rumba tonight is to some song that I guess  . Mrs. Angrybell says only an Italian man would wear a powder pink shirt. Audrina has tried to raid Edyta's wardrobe. Once again, she grabbed the full body sheet and not the wash cloth that Edyta would've worn. There were some nice bits. The problem is that there was almost no hip action. Otherwise it was good. But with a lack of hip action, its not a good rumba. I really wonder what dances Len is watching tonight. Where was the hip action? Really? Bruno hits the nail on the head this time. Where was the smoldering sex? Damn, Carrie Ann is picking up on what I couldn't get out. And then the lift police rears its angry head. For the record, no lift. Mrs. Angrybell thinks that Audrina should get her money back on her boob job because there is a dent in her implant. The 23 was generous. I really think this was a 7 dance.

Kyle and Lacey showed up trying to get back up towards the top with a Foxtrot to the theme from "Charlie's Angels". Mrs. Angrybell wants to know if Kyle is supposed to be super pimp Bosely or someone from the Jeffersons or perhaps Isaac Washington on the Love Boat. Better technique. I dunno. I think I am just so anti-Lacey that I can't say much nice about it. Bruno was right, there was not enough foxtrot. They broke into disco too many times. Len hated it. Maybe I just was compensating for my hatred of Lacey and was trying to be nice. The 20 was right, but the spread was a little nuts.  Len's score broke his own standard from last week. Oh well.

Rick and Cheryl. Doing a rumba. To Hill Street Blues. What does it say when a basketball player with multiple injuries still nagging him from his career has better hip action than any of the female contestants so far? He is not repeating his mistakes from last week and his not trying to be small, just stepping small. Very well executed. I liked it. Now the 24 is what I would have expected from the Maksim and Brandy routine. What to think of this? I dunno. It was better than that.

Bristol needs a good routine. If she doesn't show anything this week, she's going home. Its a jive this week to the theme from "The Monkeys". And dancing it in a monkey suit is not necessarily what I would think is the way to show she has personality. She got lost on the time. She stopped. I feel bad for her, she knows she blew this dance. And its just getting worse. It was paining Len to not say what he wanted to say. Somehow, she salvaged an 18.

In as the clean up routine: Jennifer and Derek. And from the montage, it looks like Ms. Grey's temper and difficultness (always rumoured so Mrs. Angrybell tells me) is starting to come to the surface. Hopefully Baby pulls it together for the foxtrot. The song is Love and Marriage (married with Children). Little bit of mucking about. I think they missed a chance to make this funnier by going more towards "Married With Children" and not Ozzie and Harriet. Not their best routine. There were a couple of little missteps, tiny, but just enough to keep them being perfect. Should keep them near the top of the leaderboard.Well, if Carrie Ann threw the lift police card, you had to expect Len to say something was "too theatrical". The 25 was fair. It was not good enough to be higher, but it should not have gotten lower.

Alright, so who should come back? Everyone except Bristol. She tried. She got further than I thought she would get. Her problem is that she cannot get off the plateau she reached. And because of that, its time to vote her off. If you are looking to get rid of a guy... do us all a favor and vote Kyle off. Lacey's instincts are showing again. She's deviating a little more each week from the syllabus.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ashkon's Giant's Anthem

Saint Clarkian's Day Speech

O that we now had here
But one more hit with RISP in San Francisco
That we’d be up 2-0 to-day!
What’s he that wishes so?
My teammate Wallnoseand? I ain’t havin’ it, my fair-to-poor cousin:
If we are mark’d to lose, we’ll pitch well enow
To Torture the McCoven; and if to live,
The fewer runs, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one run more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for series sweeps,
Nor care I who doth jump on or off my bandwagon;
It yearns me not if men my jerseys wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet a storybook World Series run,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my schnozz, wish not a win from Game Two:
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one easy win more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Wallnoseand, through my locker room,
That Guillen, who hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And the Royals’ money for convoy put into his purse:
We would not lose in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to lose with us.
This day is called the feast of Clarkian:
Fans that outlive this day and the next, and see us come safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse them at the name of Clarkian.
The fan Tortured these next two days, yet sees the NLCS,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Clarkian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show the spot Huff was HBP by Farnsworth.
And say ‘that was in a scoreless game with the bases loaded on Clarkin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But fans will remember with quickly-deleted YouTube videos
What feats we did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in their mouths as household words
Posey the king, Burrell and Torres,
Wilson and Romo, Sanchez and Bumgarner or possibly Lincecum,
Be in their flowing microbrews freshly remember’d.
This story shall the good fan teach his son;
And Clarkin Clarkian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that wins this game with me
Shall be my brother; though he yells that a woman’s pussy is jealous,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And pessimist fans in San Francisco now a-bummin’
Shall think themselves accursed they were not watching us here,
And hold their manhoods as cheap as we do Favre’s whiles any speaks
That cheered for us upon Saint Clarkin’s day.
Re-enter BOCHY

(Stolen shamelessly from McCovey Chronicle's poster, WhereThere'sAWIllieThere'sAMays)

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Madness on the Night the Torture Continued

Alright, have to say this: GIANTS win the NLDS.

On to the Dancing portion of my Madness/Torture evening. And apparently, its in the round tonight with a different stage.

Leading off tonight is Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskya doing a rumba. Well, it took four weeks, but he threw in the Christian stuff.  As for his wife, she has come along way from that first Super Bowl appearance. To which I say, thank you for losing the blue thingies. Back to the dancing. Well, Drops of Jupiter is the song. Kurt is trying, but he is not getting much if any hip movement, even on the early cucarachas. He is also not getting the footwork as nicely as he has on other dances, its almost like he is stomping. Good if this was Paso, but not good for the rumba. He gets through the dance. But its not done well. Frankly, his last two dances were better, partly because he remembered to keep his steps small and not his movements. This is weird, Len saw hip action. The scores were 15 (technical) and 19 (performance). Both a little on the generous side of things. Should have been 13 and 17.

Maksim and Brandy. Need I say their last names? Another rumba. And another chance for Maksim to show off his chest. Lucky us. Brandy is raiding the Edyta closet, though she is using the bedsheet rather than the pillow case that Edyta would have used. On the up side, it manages to hide her hips. Her foot work is very good and she is really into the performance. The dip was really well done. Much better than Kurt's. Technical score of 22 and performance score of 26. Those seem right.

A note to Brooke Burke: you are not an NFL color analyst. This slow mow thing you are doing is not working.

Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke did the first Argentine Tango of the night. I like how he is so decisive in his early steps. Then he starts to soften a little too much. His posture is a little bit off. Nice twirly lift. The second lift was a little less impressive. Not sure if that last lift worked the way they wanted it too. This is a shame. Fox came out strong and then got.. soft. And he didn't look controlling, he looked a little lost. Good grief, it must have been bad because Carrie Ann is pointing it out too. Len noticed it too. I'm a little surprised Len gave him a 7. The technical was 19. The performance was 20.

Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer. Someone needs to get their roots done. Among other maintenance things that Lacey needs to do. Yes, I'm mean. I don't like her. Anyways, she is trying to turn Disney into a romantic dude. Kyle better be up for it. They're dancing the rumba. Mrs. Angrybell wants to know what on earth Lacey is wearing, calling it "one fo the worst things I've ever seen. I'm without words. Did she raid Bjork's closet?" To Kyle's credit, he's got some hip movement going there. The problem is his outfit makes him look like a tubby kid trying to pull in Bjork at the Academy Awards. Little too much smiling there. This is supposed to be romance, not scoring a touchdown or dunking a basketball. Technically well done. Performance, could have been better. They weren't, selling it as well as they could have. Len and I are not in sync this week. Len, c'mon. Usually you and I are together on this. Technical : 18. Little harsh there. Performance: 22.

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and Karina Smirnoff. Doing the Argentine tango. I'm afeared. She survived the roll lift. NIce, These Dreams is the song. He is trying to look intent and in control, but it comes across as stomping. His posture is good. And I think that Karina is trying to mask his footwork by keeping him stationary for as much as she can. The kicks were ok, not as precise. He made a mistake there just before the third lift.  Nice little death spiral. This will be interesting to see how Len looks at this. Who replaced Bruno this season? He is being brutal to Sorrentino. Len, "It was bad throughout." Technical: 12. Performance: 16.

Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas drew the rumba. With that appropriate/not appropriate biut, she just dethroned Cloris Leachman as jokster queen of the ballroom. The problem early on is that its precise but at the expense of flow. The lack of flow is a real problem. Carrie Ann was funny, but if she thought that was raunchy... I'm concerned. Bruno and I were closer in our evaluations of the dance. Technical score: 17. Performance score: 18.

Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough came out to give us an Argentine tango. Ms. Grey could have whined in her montage. But she didn't. I like that. They got a good tango song. But then they are mucking about with the piano. Camera work is awful. Nice entry to the dance floor though. Oh wow. That was a great routine. So good. Then just the little ...something... at the end. Barely noticeable if it weren't for the fact that it disrupted the flow. But damn, she is starting to remind me of Brooke Burke dancing. The judges are right, this was a great dance. Could it be a perfect score? Mrs. Angrybell says "10" and that she made it look easy. Technical score: 27. Performance score: 29.

Bristol Palin and Mark Balls rumbaed on the floor. As Mark says "The rumba and Bristol have nothing in common." Her kid si cute. Not liking this version of Umbrella. For someone who is not a performer, she may be turning in one of the better rumba performances of the night. Note to Maksim, Mark is the direction you want your body to head towards if you are going to show off your chest. Mrs. Angrybell is against the nudity. Sarah Palin looks a little worried by how close her daughter is getting to Bristol. The footwork is good. I think Bruno and Carrie Ann were a bit hard. Each week, her performance is getting better and better. Technical score: 18. Performance score: 14. Wow, I think the scoring was off.

Tony Dovolani and Audrina Partridge batted clean-up tonight doing the Argentine tango. Nice dip. Don't you want someone to love by Jefferson Airplane. Her footwork is going in the right  places, but the difference between Audrina and Jennifer 's performance is the definition of the steps, the commitment to each step. She does create beautiful lines. Its a god performance, but the technical is off a bit. They should score well. Whats up today? This is the second time that Carrie Ann and I have had the same reaction (she just expressed it better dammit.). Technical score: 24. Performance: 22.

Who should go home? Well both The Situation and Bristol had bad weeks. I'd love to keep both of them around, if for no other reason than Mrs. Angrybell gets to look on in horror. The Maksim-Brandy train still looks like it is on a way to crash. We can only hope its next week.

However, of the people I think should go home, it might be time for Florence Henderson to go home. She's funny. She's fun. But her dancing scores are a bit... well inflated. If she doesn't go home this week, I have a feeling she is not long for the ballroom.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What is President Obama Thinking?

President Obama's national security advisor, James Jones, is resigning as part of the reshuffling going on among the President's advisors. There are conflicting reports as to whether Jones is leaving of his own accord or is being forced out.

So who has President Obama chosen to replace him? Past National Security Advisors have brought with them a wealth of experience in foreign policy and military policy experience. Some of them include Robert Cutler, McGeorge Bundy, Henry Kissinger,Zbigniew Brzezinski, Colin Powell, Brent Scrowcroft, Anthony Lake, and Condoleeza Rice. Many came to the position either through a ix of military and government service, usually in the department of Defense or the Department of State. Some were academics who had long been active in participating in studies and think tanks which helped influence US security policy.

Presiden Obama's nomination for the position is a man named Thomas "Tom" Donilon. His resume is unlike any of the examples of previous NSA's that I've listed above. For most of his career,he has been a lobbyist and partner at O'Melveney and Meyers. Now while this should not necessarily exclude him from consideration, especially when you consider that one of the best advisors that FDR had on national security was a lawyer named William Donovan (this was before there was an NSA position), he seems well... massively unqualified to be the NSA.

How unqualified? Remember Michael Brown, President Bush's FEMA chief when Hurrican Katrina hit? Yeah. That sort of qualifications.

Other than being a lobbyist, Mr. Donilon has held a few other jobs. For foreign policy experience, he Served from 1993 to 1996 as the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. Sounds impressive? Maybe. But the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs is the title they give to the Secretary of State' press secretary. Basically,he was the PR face for the US media. After retiring from that position, Mr. Donilon was, as I mentioned before, a registered lobbyist. Who did he represent? Fannie Mae.

The he joined the Obama campaign as a foreign policy advisor. As a reward for being a loyal member of the winning team, he was given the position of Deputy National Security Advisor. As Woodward noted in his book Obama's Wars,

The Pentagon also had concerns about Donilon. When criticism of Jones had reached a high-water mark the previous year, Gates had decided to publicly embrace him. “I think of Jim as the glue that holds this team together,” Gates told The Washington Post’s David Ignatius, whose “Jim Jones’s Team” ran prominently on the op-ed page.

Gates did this in part, he told an aide, because he did not think Donilon would work out as Jones’s successor. Gates felt that Donilon did not understand the military or treat its senior leadership with sufficient respect. The secretary later told Jones that Donilon would be a “disaster” as Obama’s national security adviser.

So, for a position that requires a person to interact with the military regularly, you would think that the President would choose someone tah had an understanding of the people who carry out our security and foreign policy, and at least a respect for the military establishment. Instead, the President has chosen a man who deeply distrusts the military and has reportedly gone put of his way to violate his own chain of command by cutting his predecessor out of the loop with the President and his Chief of Staff.

So let's recap. No military experience. No academic experience. His only real experience in the foreign policy experience, as other than a kibitzer, was as part of Warren Christopher's team while Secretary of State. Making that an apprenticeship under one of the worst Secretaries of State we've had since World War II. His relationship with military is politely described as piss poor. So what in this backgrounds leads anyone to think that this is the man who should be the NSA for the United States of America.

So, what is President Obama thinking?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Thanks For Nothing Sacramento

I guess it would be too hard to ask our elected officials in Sacramento, and I'm including the Governor, Assemblymen, and State Senators in this, to have done their jobs properly. The budget was due 85 days ago. As of today, there is no budget. That may changelater today in an act of arrogance by the lot of them.

Let me explain.

As anyone with a brain might know, this state has a significant budget crisis. Add to that the continued moribund state of the economy, and you have a real problem. We got to this place by not managing our money properly. Toput it bluntly, this state has been spending money like a drunk sailor on liberty.

Things needed to change. The spending by our state, in good years, is reckless and premised on the idea that what goes up will continue to go up. In bad years, like we've been having the last few years, it is clearly unsustainable.

And yet neither our Governor nor our Legislature have taken meaningful steps to reform our spending. According to the Legislative Affairs Office, the current amount is over $20 billion. When you cant just print money, like the Federal government chooses to, that's a lot of money to be out.

That should leave a responsible government three choices: 1) raise taxes, 2) cut spending, or 3) cut some spending and raise some taxes. Because the economic situation is so bad, raisaing taxes would just compound the problem and probably depress any gains that may actually be occurring in the economy.

To his scant credit, the Governor proposed a budget that drastically slashed programs across the budget. Especially hard hit were social programs. Was this a perfect plan? No, but what it should have done was forced us to look at how we are spending our money and reform te system so that it is sustainable. If we as a state our going to be committed to the welfare system, then it is incumbent upon n to do it in a way tat it does not unfairly penalize those of us who are taxed to pay for it.

So what did the Legislature? What they are famous for. They failed to tae action. They complained. They screamed like spoiled children on behalf of tier various benefactors (unions if they were democrats, corporations if they were republicans, you know, the usual).

And all the while, the statement without a budget. And real budgetary reform went undone.

So today, we wake up to fid out that the Legislature is ready to pass a budget. But what's in it? That's a very good question. No one seems to know. And they are voting on it today. All we have is an outline of what they say is in the budget. Somehow, without making any significant cuts, and without raising any taxes or fees, the alleged budget will close approximately $19 billion of the deficit. Well, it looks like they are resorting to more accounting tricks.

Because if there is one thing that we have earned through this present economic hardship, accounting tricks are a good idea for establishing a long term solution.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Some thoughts on the iPad

Alright, about a week with the iPad as my gotodevice and I am pretty happy. Mrs. Angrybell has named my iPad"Doris" and is referring to it as my mistress. I think that's a little unfair. I would never have a mistress named Doris. Yvonne, Amber maybe,but never Doris.

Anyways, it seems to bee thing among attorneys to say what they are running on their iPads. So here goes:

Documents to go (the full version with the PDF program,it's version of word, excel and PowerPoint)
Dragon dictation

Overall I'm pleased with how they work. I thought I would have more trouble adapting to the small virtual keyboard but it hasn't really been a problem. Dragon though is not as good, so far, as the version I use on my wintel machines. But that may be because I have not used it enough for it to adapt properly. We shall see.

Now, once we get into the fun apps, I have been trying a lot of the free apps. Some I have ben keeping. I was a little disappointed with the Kindle app, mostly because it does not allow you to access documents that you have converted to Kindle format. This kind of sucks, for lack of a better word, because ihave a number of ebooksthatigadbught iotherformats thatdonot translate up into iBooks and Kindle wont download from account like it would to my Kindle reader. Fortuantely, I found a free app, exlibris, that will accept my books.

The one app I have searched in vain for is one that would allow me to score a baseball game. There is one app out that does, however, the reviews all say that it is a waste of money because it is impossible to use and/or it crashes all the time. So if there is a developer out, you know, it might be nice. There's a lot of tech savvy fans out there. I'm just saying.

Alright, so this week i am going to start trying the iWork programs. It would be nice not to lose my pleading formatting that docs to go is incapable of handling (either on the iPad or on my Blackbery). I know, it's laziness on my part but I just hate having to reformat the pleading numbers back in if I edit it all on my iPad.

Also, to Google, could you please upgrade you app to make it easier to use blogger. Thanks.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Story Night Madness (Week 3 Dancing With The Stars)

Mrs. Angrybell thought for this week: missing Edyta.

Thoughts on Brooke Burke's dress: all boobs = all good. Someone has made up with wardrobe department.

Jennifer and Derek drew the lead off slot tonight doing a samba. Wow, I wonder if Mrs. Fox is watching this show. Obviously Baby has watched this show before, because she was making references to Nicole. Good song, just never thought of it as a a Samba. Mrs. Angrybell is concerned about the shenanigans going on at the start of the song. This dance does not suit her. She is getting through it but not with nearly the style that she did the previous weeks.  However, after the break, she started to look a little better doing the dance. Of her three dances, this was her most tentative. I expect they'll get dinged by Len for not putting more of the story into the dance and keeping most of it in the breaks. Interesting, Len and I disagree with the story during the dance. But we agree that this was not her cleanest dance. And then the other judges line up to kiss her bum. And still they got a 24. Hmmm.... not sure about that.

Florence and Corky followed up that questionable bit of scoring with a Waltz to Eidelweiss. Too much mucking about. She is on her toes, no heel toe movement. Its mucking up her rise and fall. She is on beat, but she is also having some trouble and I don't know if its the costume or something else. She looks very stiff. She also keeps looking down. This is not going well for Mrs. Brady. Nice pirouette at the end. Story was nice. Mrs.Angrybell is horrified by the kissing at the end. Bruno is glossing over a lot to pick at only her flow. Len is honest and knows he's going to get it from the audience. That 20 was high. It should have topped out at an 18. But what do I know?

Kurt and Anna were the first to go from the men's side of the competition doiung the foxtrot. Nice song, Had a Bad Day. He's movement is better this week. But he is not getting the right kind of foot strikes. But his frame is mostly good. There are times he lets it go, but usually that when he is breaking hodl with her. I like that he is right there with her on the hip. And he smiled. I liked it. I'm not sure what Bruno is smoking. They got a 23.

Margaret Cho and Louis Van Amstel apparently are going to dance a samba. Otherwise, someone needs to explain that outrageous headgear. The song is Copa Cabana. Nice footwork to start the routine. She's got the boucne that Jennifer was missing.  But then she gets to the middle of the floor and it starts to lag a little bit. She danced into the corner and got lost. There are parts of this dance that go well and there are parts she looks totally lost.  I'm not sure what the story is on this one. Was there one? Who knows? Good grief, am I sharing a brain with Len? At least I'm not sharing one with Bruno tonight. Or worse, Carrie Ann. The 18 was fair, considering the inflation that is going on tonight.

Tony and that person from an MTV show took the floor next. Audrina Partridge, right have to remember that name. But for how long? This week they are doing a waltz. I'm so not used to watching Tony not with a cougar. And once again, she is still a whiner, this time about "digging really deep". Holy crud, sometimes her foot work is correct (going toe heel). Sappy, but its a waltz. If there was more smoke used, I'm not sure anyone could have seen it. 26. Hmm. Well, I dunno.

So who comes next with a tale? It would be Bristol and Mark doing a foxtrot. Mrs. Angrybell thinks that Bristol talking about abstinence si like Kat Von D speaking out against body art. Alright, there was too much of Mark alone before Bristol gets into the dance. Once they get into the foxtrot it starts to look ok. This outfit does not make her look young or attractive. Her frame is good. But the dance is not working for me. She is in nice and tighton him, but something is just missing on this one. Bruno is the outlier again. The score is a 19.

Now its time for the Maksim and Brandy train wreck. Which they are now denying that there is any problem. And to make it more interesting, they are doing a samba with a story drawn from The Bodyguard. This should be interesting. So now we know, Brandy is sensitive not weak. Good to know. She was the fist one to do her story telling at the beginning with the dance steps. Nice hip action. But she is a little flat with the rest of the movements, a little too much RB styling and not samba-esque. Don't get me wrong, there were some very nice aspects of this dance. they really made use of the entire dance area. It was good. But it missed a little something. Not sure that the 24 was right, but tonight's scoring has been odd.

Kyle and Lacey are either really uneducated or I am really old. They had no idea who the Eagles were? I hate that band, but even I know when I'm being tortured with their music. Anyways, they threw away a good song for the Waltz in exchange for one that is... eh. Who thought that Lacey looked good in this outfit? He is dancing the the routine on his toes. Good posture up top, but his rise and all is off because of his footwork. Please, Lacey, please, we do not need to see your mid-section. Just like no one needs to see mine. The story was there. The dancing was not. Ahh Len, thank you for being honest. That 23 was too high. Should have been a 20/21, but Bruno and Carrie Ann strike again.

Now here's the Situation and Karina. G-d did I just write that? So Mr. Sorrentino and Ms. Smirnoff drew a foxtrot to Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas. Ok, Karina has raided Edyta's closet. He looks a little lost but then starts to get into it. Problem is he is trying to remember everything and its causing him to think too much. Lots of missteps going on in this. He is very stiff. Mrs. Angrybell is surprised how little dancing ability he has for this. Len was right, it was bizarre. They drew a bizarre 20 to go along with the dance. Weirdness.

Rick and Cheryl danced clean up this week. Dancing the Samba. I know this song, but cant remember the name. Oh well. For a big guy, he has some hip movement. And no fear about being with his shirt open. His problem in this dance is he is trying to make himself small instead o using small steps. There is a difference and when he tries to get small, he hunches. And that makes it hard for him to get the right movements going. A 24... how do they do that when the lead dance was given a 24 but wasn't nearly as good as the other ones that scored that, or higher.

This week the men did better. If it was me, then the person going home would be a woman. To me, its either going to be Florence or Margaret. Bristol could be in jeopardy, but she showed some signs of moving forward still.

Giants Win!

What happens when you take:
- A rookie catcher
- A washed up 1st basemen that no one wanted during the offseason
- A 32 year-old 2nd basemen who recently underwent serious knee and shoulder surgeries
- A fairly chubby shortstop who was signed to a minor league deal last year because no one thought he could cut it in the big leagues anymore
- A very chubby 3rd basemen who has underachieved all year
- A left fielder who was released earlier this season and was signed to a minor league deal
- A career minor leaguer center fielder who had his breakout season as a 32 year old
- A right fielder who was released by the ROYALS!!! (Granted, everyone hates him)
- An ace who is supposedly too small to be a pitcher
- A #2 pitcher who has a career record of 57-62
- A pitcher who has a $126 million contract despite the fact that he has performed like a replacement level player over the past few years
- A pitcher who is used as trade bait every season
- A pitcher who reached the legal drinking age a month ago
- A batshit crazy closer and a bunch of no names
- The highest paid position player doesn’t even start and may not even be on the playoff roster

You win the National League West!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mrs. Angrybell finally gets to see a team I got her hooked on win something!!

Go Giants!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Arabs Being Arabs

In dog bites man news, the Palestinian Authority is pulling out of talks with Israel.

It was predictable. This time, their complaint was thatIsrael refused to extend a ban o construction within Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Note, this is not the same as new construction projects. It was a refusal to extend a ban on projects that had already been begun and would not expand the territory which the settlements always take up.

Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for the PA's head, Mahmoud Abbas, stated

"The Palestinian position is clear, ...[t]here will be no negotiations as long as settlement building continues."

Nice of them to be so touchy about buildings going up, or perish the thought, being completed. What would it be like if Israel took a similar position? There would be international condemnation, the Obama administration would find some way to deny more support from Israel. Of corse, the Israel statement would read something like this:

The State of Israel will no longer negotiate with the Palestinian Authority because they have failed to honor any of their promises in anyone agreements signed beginning with the Oslo Accords of 1993. This includes failing to amend their charter to accept the existence of the State of Israel, failing to end the use and support of terrorism against the people of Israel, ...

Good job Abbas. On the one hand, a road to peace and statehood.m On the other giving e hard line militants an excuse to start killing again. But it seems you would rather destroy than create.

I'm just sorry that this is going to hurt Israel and her citizens more.