Monday, December 31, 2007
What will it bring? I used to think every year brings something better but it gets harder to trust that when life gets hard. So far so good....So, I'll just keep trusting...
At this time instead of thinking about resolutions I focus more on things that inspire me...That inspiration will hopefully bring new adventures, peace and abundance.
Check out the video below. I loved Kurt cobain so much. He inspired me. I always felt a connection to his songs. It's an outsider thing, I guess...
Plus, I always did have a thing for blonds...
Sunday, December 2, 2007
If you are in LA - I hope you will come check out this show.
My friend Patty is super talented - and hot - as you can see from the pic.
She has brought together a bunch of talented mofos to create an evening of fun, insane entertainment.
I will be , once again, attemping to dance as well as throwing in my hat as a choreographer...it will be interesting...
It's only 12 bucks, probably 90 minutes and promises to be a whirlwind, mash up of creativity.
All the info is above. Come out and support. It will be a good time!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
Health insurer tied bonuses to dropping sick policyholders
By Lisa Girion
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 9, 2007
One of the state's largest health insurers set goals and paid bonuses based in part on how many individual policyholders were dropped and how much money was saved.
Woodland Hills-based Health Net Inc. avoided paying $35.5 million in medical expenses by rescinding about 1,600 policies between 2000 and 2006. During that period, it paid its senior analyst in charge of cancellations more than $20,000 in bonuses based in part on her meeting or exceeding annual targets for revoking policies, documents disclosed Thursday showed.
The revelation that the health plan had cancellation goals and bonuses comes amid a storm of controversy over the industry-wide but long-hidden practice of rescinding coverage after expensive medical treatments have been authorized.
These cancellations have been the recent focus of intense scrutiny by lawmakers, state regulators and consumer advocates. Although these "rescissions" are only a small portion of the companies' overall business, they typically leave sick patients with crushing medical bills and no way to obtain needed treatment.
Most of the state's major insurers have cancellation departments or individuals assigned to review coverage applications. They typically pull a policyholder's records after major medical claims are made to ensure that the client qualified for coverage at the outset.
The companies' internal procedures for reviewing and canceling coverage have not been publicly disclosed. Health Net's disclosures Thursday provided an unprecedented peek at a company's internal operations and marked the first time an insurer had revealed how it linked cancellations to employee performance goals and to its bottom line.
The bonuses were disclosed at an arbitration hearing in a lawsuit brought by Patsy Bates, a Gardena hairdresser whose coverage was rescinded by Health Net in the middle of chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. She is seeking $6 million in compensation, plus damages.
Insurers maintain that cancellations are necessary to root out fraud and keep premiums affordable. Individual coverage is issued to only the healthiest applicants, who must disclose preexisting conditions.
Other suits have been settled out of court or through arbitration, out of public view. Until now, none had gone to a public trial.
Health Net had sought to keep the documents secret even after it was forced to produce them for the hearing, arguing that they contained proprietary information and could embarrass the company. But the arbitrator in the case, former Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Sam Cianchetti, granted a motion by lawyers for The Times, opening the hearing to reporters and making public all documents produced for it.
At a hearing on the motion, the judge said, "This clearly involves very significant public interest, and my view is the arbitration proceedings should not be confidential."
The documents show that in 2002, the company's goal for Barbara Fowler, Health Net's senior analyst in charge of rescission reviews, was 15 cancellations a month. She exceeded that, rescinding 275 policies that year -- a monthly average of 22.9.
More recently, her goals were expressed in financial terms. Her supervisor described 2003 as a "banner year" for Fowler because the company avoided about "$6 million in unnecessary health care expenses" through her rescission of 301 policies -- one more than her performance goal.
In 2005, her goal was to save Health Net at least $6.5 million. Through nearly 300 rescissions, Fowler ended up saving an estimated $7 million, prompting her supervisor to write: "Barbara's successful execution of her job responsibilities have been vital to the profitability" of individual and family policies.
State law forbids insurance companies from tying any compensation for claims reviewers to their claims decisions.
But Health Net's lawyer, William Helvestine, told the arbitrator in his opening argument Thursday that the law did not apply to the insurer in the case because Fowler was an underwriter -- not a claims reviewer.
Helvestine acknowledged that the company tied some of Fowler's compensation to policy cancellations, including Bates'. But he maintained that the bonuses were based on the overall performance of Fowler and the company. He also said that meeting the cancellation target was only a small factor.
The documents showed that Fowler's annual bonuses ranged from $1,654 to $6,310. But Helvestine said that no more than $276 in any year was connected to cancellations.
He said Fowler's supervisor, Mark Ludwig, set goals that were reasonable based on the prior year's experience.
"I think it is insulting to those individuals to make this the focal point of this case," Helvestine said.
Bates' lawyer, William Shernoff, said Health Net's behavior was "reprehensible."
He said the cancellation goals and financial rewards showed that the company canceled policies in bad faith and just to save money. After all, he told the arbitrator, canceling policies was Fowler's primary job.
"For management to set goals in advance to achieve a certain number of rescissions and target savings in the millions of dollars at the expense of seriously ill patients is cruel and reprehensible by any standards of law or decency," Shernoff said.
The company declined requests to make Fowler available to discuss the reviews.
Cianchetti, the arbitrator, earlier ruled the rescission invalid because Health Net had mishandled the way it sent Bates the policy when it issued coverage. At the end of the hearing, it will be up to Cianchetti to determine whether Health Net acted in bad faith and owes Bates any damages.
The disclosures surprised regulators. A spokesman said state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner was troubled by the allegations.
"Commissioner Poizner has made it clear he will not tolerate illegal rescissions," spokesman Byron Tucker said. "We are going to take a hard and close look at this case."
In recent months, the state's health and insurance regulators have teamed to develop rules aimed at curbing rescissions and to more closely monitor the industry's cancellation policies.
Other insurers that have rescission operations, including Blue Cross of California and Blue Shield of California, said they had no similar policies linking employee performance reviews to rescission levels. Blue Cross said it conducted audits to ensure that claims reviewers were not given any "carrots" for canceling coverage.
Bates, who filed the suit against Health Net, owns a hair salon in a Gardena mini-mall between a liquor store and a doughnut shop. She said she was left with nearly $200,000 in medical bills and stranded in the midst of chemotherapy when Health Net canceled her coverage in January 2004.
Bates, 51, said the first notice she had that something was awry with her coverage came while she was in the hospital preparing for lump-removal surgery.
She said an administrator came to her room and told her the surgery, scheduled for early the next day, had been canceled because the hospital learned she had insurance problems. Health Net allowed the surgery to go forward only after Bates' daughter authorized the insurance company to charge three months of premiums in advance to her debit card, Bates alleged. Her coverage was canceled after she began post-surgical chemotherapy threatments.
"I've got cancer, and I could die," she said in a recent interview. Health Net "walked away from the agreement. They don't care."
Health Net contended that Bates failed to disclose a heart problem and shaved about 35 pounds off her weight on her application. Had it known her true weight or that she had been screened for a heart condition related to her use of the diet drug combination known as fen-phen, it would not have covered her in the first place, the company said.
"The case was rescinded based on inaccurate information on the individual's application," Health Net spokesman Brad Kieffer said.
Bates said she already had insurance when a broker came by her shop in the summer of 2003, and said she now regretted letting him in the door. She agreed to apply to Health Net when the broker told her he could save her money, Bates said.
She added that she never intended to mislead the company. Bates said the broker filled out the application, asking questions about her medical history as she styled a client's hair in her busy shop and he talked to another client waiting for an appointment at the counter. She maintained that she answered his questions as best she could and did not know whether he asked every question on the application.
Bates' chemotherapy was delayed for four months until it was funded through a program for charity cases. Three years later, she can't afford the tests she needs to determine whether the cancer is gone.
So she is left to worry. She is also left with a catheter embedded in her chest where the chemotherapy drugs were injected into her bloodstream. Bates said she found a physician willing to remove it without charge, but he won't do it without a clear prognosis. That remains uncertain.
Shernoff, Bates' lawyer, claimed that the performance goals for Fowler showed that Health Net was bent on finding any excuse to cancel the coverage of people like Bates to save money.
"I haven't seen this kind of thing for years," Shernoff said. "It doesn't get much worse."
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
If you've been following the blog...you can see the trend.
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Colbert. I love them. I do.
If they made an American version of "Extras" I would literally kill your grandmother to get the part of Gervais' best friend.
Seriously check out the UK versions of The Office (although the American one is awesome - Rain Wilson went to my Alma Mater - He Rocks!))as well as the UK's Extras.
Truly, truly funny shite.
Monday, November 5, 2007
My Favorite place on earth...
Why do I love it?
I now live on the West Coast and I see it's beauty but I'm an eastern-er by nature. That said - I hate the cold and LOVE the desert.
This is why I love Ogunquit, Maine. Yes - it gets friggin freezing but it has many elements of the desert. It is barren, embraces solitude yet embraces it's beauty.
I will end up there - one way or another.
Enya's music adds perfectly
Friday, October 26, 2007
This bitch of a bird dances better than i do...
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The more I see the democrats voting for the Lieberman amendment and voting against friggin Moveon.org - I don't even know what angle or position to take. It's just all so fucked up.
So - that said.
I watched this really weird, entertaining monster movie last night. If you have been following the blog at all (thank you - BTW) you might know I'm a crazy person who is obsessed with horror flicks. It's strange because I am one of the more sensitive people on the planet. Someone sneezes and I feel like I have to do the same and I think about it and want to recommend a certain allergy remedy...blah, blah, blah...
But I can watch a scary flick (guts and all) and I don't have nightmares.
Well - I will if it's good and that is rare. Most suck.
ANYWAY - I watched this Korean flick called The Host. It is the strangest, fabulous and most thought provoking film I've seen in awhile. Is it great? - no. But it is an interesting take on "the monster flick". Most monsters in film (and society) are manifestations of our fears and it's interesting to take a look at that.
The Host creates a physical threat as well as a political threat - and the only people that can prevail is a "loser family" trying to find their child....
Check out the trailer...
P.S. The lead guy Song Kong-Ho is an AMAZING actor. I've seen him in another flick called Memories of Murder (Same Director)and the dude has a HUGE range.
Watch this movie - put all your preconceptions aside. You will think it's scary, and then camp bullshit and then friggin - Ordinary People.
Check it out.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Jon Stewart keeps me sane.
As he puts it: The Senate is Fucking Crazy Town!
It's so much easier to discuss O.J. and Britney's VMA performance instead of looking at the insanity going on within the Beltway.
Just when I'm about to pack it in and move to Antartica to save a few Polar Bears - Jon Stewart makes lol and reminds me I'm not completely insane.
Watch the video and call your Senators. Tell them something, anything - just get involved.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Hey all, So it's been about a year since I've scooped up any stray dogs, but I have another one and I am looking for a loving, secure home for this wonderful little guy. I've named him Catcher, he's a labrador/chihuahua mix, about 3-4 years old, and weighs 16 lbs. I found him running around my neighborhood on Monday. No collar, no tags, no microchip. He's incredibly sweet, doesn't bite, doesn't bark, and seems to be housebroken.
He likes other dogs and has been playing quietly with my two dogs with no problem. He's just a bit lonely, he keeps climbing into my lap. I've had him looked over at the vet, who says he's healthy, he just needs to be fixed and have his teeth cleaned, all of which I am planning to do next week. I have had him vaccinated for rabies, parvo, distemper, etc.
My neighbor, who helped me catch him, is keeping him in her spare room until I can find a good home for him, but I don't know how long she can do it. I've contacted several rescue organizations that do adoptions, but no one has gotten back to me, so I'll probably have to find him a home myself. Whomever adopts him will need to have a secure yard with a tall fence and be willing to keep him indoors so he doesn't take off.
I'm attaching several photos, which really don't do him justice, he's so cute!
If you or anyone you know is interested, please contact me at (323) 344-7126 or cell: 917 747-8173, or at this email address: email@example.com. Please feel free to forward this email. Thank you! Tracey
Freelance Writer Los Angeles, CA
(323) 344-7126 firstname.lastname@example.org
Do I love you? Yes, I love you. Will we always be happy go-lucky? Do I love you? Yes, I love you. But it's easy come. It's easy go. All this talking. It's only bravado.
There's a red car in the foutain...
Sometimes I walk away when all I wanna do -is love and hold you right. There is just one thing I can say - nobody loves you this way...
This was/is my favorite band. The Blue Nile. They have influenced Peter Gabriel, Annie Lennox and every other anglophile on the planet. They were never MTV darlings or throw off 80's one hit wonders. They wrote strange, fluid, sad and hopeful records.
I look at this video and am reminded of my ideas of beauty, edginess and sexuality. I loved and lusted after these pasty white, scottish dudes...
People write off the 80's as a cocaine filled, Reagan loving, selfish generation but I disagree. The 80's embraced androgeny, computers and perms. All beautiful things...
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
These two incidents(see below)demonstrate how far our country has fallen. There was a time when citizens of this country understood the complexities of being American/Human. But now, after 9/11 and the Bush administration's focus on fear - everyone is looking to be led, schooled and brainwashed.
Seriously - i am not a reactionary but we have crossed a line. These videos are only a tame visual representation of the American Publics loss of freedom.
The Reverand and the questioning student's only weapon was a book in hand...
The Government is creeping into our bedrooms and bathrooms (Larry Craig!).
It really has to stop.
The bland argument of "I don't care if they listen to my phone calls as I have nothing to hide" is a short thinking slippery slope...
The Congress is actually in talks debating Habeus Corpus and the justification of torture. WHAT? General Petraus sits there and tows the political line and we go along with it. Bush gives his "keep up the surge" speech and we go along with it -it is all lies.
Lies that are killing young men and women of both our country and Irag.
When will it stop? The middle class is dying, foreclosures and bankruptcy are rampant and the percentage of those with no health care has risen...
The answer - not sure but maybe...
President: John Edwards
Vice President: Barak Obama
Secretary of State: Hilary Clinton
I was brought up to believe this country was forward thinking and respected history but now I see a country that loves segregation, unlawful searches and the integration of church and state.
NOW is the time to write or call your politician and scream, yell and make them uncomfortable. This is not the time to be nice.
You can be fair and adamant. Lean toward adamant
Monday, September 10, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
You just can't make this shit up.
Here is an "unofficial/Official" biographer for Prez Bush...
The Prez is LIAR. And he is also a Liar and, if you really think about it, A LIAR!
Yes - I am liberal but I saw the Ron Paul Clips after the Republican debate and I do believe that SOME Republicans still believe in this little thing known as the CONSTITUTION. Paul is a Libertarian at heart and in the long run, to me, is SCARY but only because he is smart and thoughtful.
Look - I get the idea of wanting less government, to some degree, but I still REALLY believe in the WE is more important than the ME.
It is a struggle. I get lost in my own drama of wanting this or that. I'll most likely by a cute dress before I give $$ to the ASPCA. I know, I suck....but I am trying...
I believe in liberty and the UTMOST importance of FREEDOM of expression. Everyone, from Hannity (SATAN) to Cronkite must be heard.
That said - the true voices are Colbert and Stewart - it's the only ticket to vote for.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Religion Briefs Coalition of nuns calls for impeaching Bush and Cheney
JOURNAL WIRE REPORT
Saturday, September 1, 2007
A progressive group of U.S. nuns has called on Congress to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney because of their roles in the war in Iraq.
“The National Coalition of American Nuns is impelled by conscience to call you to act promptly to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for ... high crimes and misdemeanors,” the group wrote in a letter written on behalf of its board members.
The letter says that impeachment is warranted for their “deceiving the public under the false pretense that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction” and “destroying” the reputation of the United States and the good will of other nations.
“The time for impeachment is now — before the example of George W. Bush’s regime is set in stone,” they wrote. “Future generations will thank you for preserving the freedom of our nation and its relation to the entire human community.”
The coalition was founded in 1969 for individual nuns dedicated to issues of social justice and human rights.
The letter was approved during a mid-August meeting of the board, held in Chicago. During that same meeting, the board unanimously adopted statements opposing all war and affirming peacemaking efforts. “Rather than continuing support of a just-war theory, a more compassionate church would oppose all war and teach peacemaking skills for all levels of government and interpersonal conflict resolution,” the statement reads.
The board also adopted statements pledging to work to “moderate the impact we make on planet Earth,” and supporting nuclear disarmament and relief efforts for the poor in Africa.
Friday, August 31, 2007
NY Times Editorial:
Today, much of the Gulf Coast remains in ruins. Less than half the federal money set aside for rebuilding, as opposed to emergency relief, has actually been spent, in part because the Bush administration refused to waive the requirement that local governments put up matching funds for recovery projects — an impossible burden for communities whose tax bases have literally been washed away.
But why should we be surprised by any of this? The Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina — the mixture of neglect of those in need, obliviousness to their plight, and self-congratulation in the face of abject failure — has become standard operating procedure. These days, it’s Katrina all the time.
Consider the White House reaction to new Census data on income, poverty and health insurance. By any normal standard, this week’s report was a devastating indictment of the administration’s policies. After all, last year the administration insisted that the economy was booming — and whined that it wasn’t getting enough credit. What the data show, however, is that 2006, while a good year for the wealthy, brought only a slight decline in the poverty rate and a modest rise in median income, with most Americans still considerably worse off than they were before President Bush took office.
Yet the White House press release on the report declared that President Bush was “pleased” with the new numbers. Heckuva job, economy!
The question is whether any of this will change when Mr. Bush leaves office.
There’s a powerful political faction in this country that’s determined to draw exactly the wrong lesson from the Katrina debacle — namely, that the government always fails when it attempts to help people in need, so it shouldn’t even try. “I don’t want the people who ran the Katrina cleanup to manage our health care system,” says Mitt Romney, as if the Bush administration’s practice of appointing incompetent cronies to key positions and refusing to hold them accountable no matter how badly they perform — did I mention that Mr. Chertoff still has his job? — were the way government always works.
And I’m not sure that faction is losing the argument. The thing about conservative governance is that it can succeed by failing: when conservative politicians mess up, they foster a cynicism about government that may actually help their cause.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Ok. I am adding a monthly shout out post.
I have a lot of friends that are stupid talented so these shout out posts are an opportunity to introduce you to their work.
Buy their CD's, their artwork, take their class, watch their movie or purchase their books.....
Here is her Bio:
PILAR ALESSANDRA is a script consultant and director of the popular writing program On The Page. She's trained writers and story analysts at Nickelodeon, MTV, and ABC/Disney. She's taught at numerous conferences including The ASA Festival, FTX West Conference, Great American Pitch Fest and is an annual Star Speaker at the Los Angeles Screenwriting Expo.
Pilar was a movie geek selling sandwiches out of a cart when she was hired as a script reader by Amblin Entertainment at the age of twenty-five. With the formation of DreamWorks, she became Senior Story Analyst and a reader liaison between the studio and Robert Zemeckis's company, ImageMovers. Work at Interscope Communications then led her to become Senior Story Analyst for Scott Kroopf's production company, Radar Pictures. SheÕs also read for The Robert Evans Company, Cineville Entertainment, and Saturday Night Live Studios.
Not only can you sign up for her very popular classes here...
Check out her website:
Ashlee Temple and her sister Holly create paintings, paper pieces and shadow boxes that exude femininity, mystery and cryptic beauty. Angels, skulls and faded photographs tell a story in each and every original piece of art. Every Holiday Season I still wait with anticipation for Ashlee's Christmas card to arrive in my mailbox. I've framed each one I've received.
Go to Ashlee and Holly's website and buy something for that blank wall you stare at day after day...
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
A Real American Pie
By Kristen Lee Kelly
Special to the Ledger
VERMONT AVE—It’s 10:30 a.m. I slide on my rubber soled, slip resistant shoes and pull my hair back into a single well coiffed ponytail—as per state regulations. I am prepared for my adventure. What will I encounter and whom shall I serve?
Arriving, I stand before two large oak doors complete with their resplendent golden handles and detailed etched windows. It is the House of Windsor? The House of Wax? The House of Dereon? Oh no—I stand before the palace known as The House of Pies!
Upon entering, I’m greeted by a rotating dream. Pies and cakes of every creed and color spin in glorious harmony. I catch my breath as before me is the master baking oven. I’m a fool. Who was I, in this moment standing before this pristine, stainless steel oven, to think I had the right to wait tables at The House of Pies?
It’s too much to take in at once. A bit dizzy, I stumble and take a seat at the vast counter where I meet Sylvia Navarro—waitress extraordinaire.
Sylvia has been working at House of Pies for 29 years.
“I filled out an application and the next day they called me to work. I am from Chihuahua, Mexico. I came to America to find a better life and then I started working in a factory but I didn’t like it so then I started looking in the restaurant industry and I found this one. I started as a cashier and then the manager asked me if I wanted to become a waitress so I told him: ‘I don’t know how to wait on tables but if you give me a chance I will.’ And… I’m… still here.”
My first reaction is she stays for the free pies but I’m wrong. It’s about family
Los Feliz vistor, 5-year-old Sarah Hernandez, from Irvine, has her eye on House of Pies delicious chocolate cream pie. Photo by Jacob Hernandez
“You know—usually when you work at a place you have a manager or assistant manager or supervisor (and I don’t know how many others) on your back but here – they let us do our job. They leave us alone. As long as we take care of the customers and everything they don’t bother us. It’s a family here. We all take care of each other. I look forward to seeing my regular customers as well as working with my fellow workers. This is a good place.”
The Customer: Adam Cobb
As Sylvia is about to lead me into the kitchen, one of her regular customers speaks up to tell me if Sylvia were not married he’d be her boyfriend. Sylvia smiles and makes him promise not to tell her husband. I ask this young handsome man, by the name of Adam Cobb: “Is Sylvia the only reason he frequents the House of Pies?”
“I started coming here when I first moved to LA about three years ago,” said Cobb. I’m from Chicago and it really reminded me of a Mid-Western diner. It’s a place without pretense where a bunch of people can sit down and read their newspaper. I sometimes order pies but I usually come for the French toast with bacon and eggs. And I come here for the staff—they are a real hard working bunch. In LA a lot of folks waiting tables are aspiring to do something else whereas these are folks that have been doing this all their lives. They are really dedicated to it.”
Soon, the lunch rush arrives. It’s overwhelming. However, there is no stress here, no manager barking orders or bus boys dropping plates. It’s a well-oiled machine and the staff is remarkable.
Then, I meet him—the baker.
Ramiro Gonzalez, with his kind eyes and humble presence, welcomes me into his kitchen. He’s been working at The House of Pies since 1969 starting as an apprentice and working his way up to head baker.
Nervously I ask a stupid question: “So, Mr. Gonzalez, what is your favorite pie?” He smiles and graciously answers:
“Most definitely the strawberry cheesecake! I bake over 150 pies a day and, although sometimes it can get a little boring, I like the work I do and that it keeps the customers happy. I come in around six o’clock and work until three or four. It’s a long day but I don’t mind. It’s less on the weekends. Oh— and please call me Ramiro.”
I proceed to ask an even dumber question: “OK, Ramiro: How do you stay so thin making pies all day?” I cringe at the sound of my own voice but it’s an honest concern of mine. If I worked here full time I’d be living in stretch jeans and housecoats. Ramiro laughs.
“I’m on my feet all day! And I don’t eat pie everyday although I have to taste it to make sure the flavors are there. Growing up I was always thin. It’s just they way I’m made I guess. I just like it here. I’m sure I’ll be making pies up into my 70s – which isn’t too far away!”
With a wink he heads off into the kitchen.
Customer Fred Dean
By now the lunch rush is in full force. I’m impressed with the customers. They are all different ages and ethnicities. This is not some trendy, retro joint where hipsters gather to be seen and tourists come to celebrity watch—although many a celebrity is known to haunt the outdoor patio. I’ve only been here an hour and I’m beginning to understand why someone like Sylvia or Ramiro would stay for over thirty years. Sylvia introduces me to another regular customer—Fred Dean. He’s been coming here since the 1970s:
“You see the same people here so it’s comfortable and it’s a relaxed atmosphere. I come in a couple of times a week and although the food is good it’s the people that keep bringing me back. There’s a new owner here now and I hear they have some plans – I hope they don’t plan to change the ambiance of it. I think we need a place like this. Los Feliz is getting kind of trendy and it’s not that I don’t like that but it’s nice to have the older, cozy kind of coffee shop. This is one of the few.”
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Winchester (the first video) is my home town - loved it. However, I would die if I lived there now. Too many people wear Izod shirts, go to church every Sunday while they are cheating on their spouses and vote for politicians by the name of Bush. I think if I had stayed there I'd now be addicted to Crystal Meth.
I love living in Los Feliz, CA. I'm happy to be surrounded by palm trees, sunny days, Griffith Park and a lot of cute Beck wanna-be's but...
I know I will most likely end up living in Ogunquit, Maine - as exemplified by the beautiful (if you disregard the bombastic, CHEEZY soundtrack) second video.
If you really want to experience calm, lack of bullshit and no joke/existential "nature in action" - you must visit Ogunquit, Maine. I always end up back there in some way. In the winters you literally freeze but, even with that drawback, it is awesome. The ocean never lies, the people who live there could care less about Paris Hilton, Box Office grosses or the latest techniques in hair extensions. These people care about caging the best lobster, drinking a cold brew and beating your ass at a mean game of miniature golf.
Even if I don't end up there in this life I've given instructions to those I love. After I croak and my organs (at least those that still functioning in some capacity) are given up - those ashes, now residing in some fabulous and very expensive urn, will be spread along the scenic walk in Ogunquit known as The Marginal Way. There is no place on earth more beautiful. Truly.
Wow - Origins and Destinations. Life is everything in between so you just gotta enjoy it.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
What would you do if you could be invisable? Think about it!
Scientists step closer to realising invisible technology
Liverpool, UK - 3 May 2007: A unique computer model designed by a mathematician at the University of Liverpool has shown that it is possible to make objects, such as aeroplanes and submarines, appear invisible at close range.
Scientists have already created an ‘invisibility cloak’ made out of ‘metamaterial’ which can bend electromagnetic radiation – such as visible light, radar or microwaves – around a spherical space, making an object within this region appear invisible.
Until now, scientists could only make objects appear invisible from far away. Liverpool mathematician Dr Sébastien Guenneau, together with Dr Frédéric Zolla and Professors André Nicolet from the University of Marseille, have proven - using a specially designed computer model called GETDP - that objects can also be made to appear invisible from close range when light travels in waves rather than beams.
Scientists predict that metamaterials could be of use in military technology, such as in the construction of fighter jets and submarines, but it will be some years before invisibility cloaks can be developed for human beings.
Dr Guenneau, at the University’s Department of Mathematical Science, explains:
“The shape and structure of aeroplanes make them ideal objects for cloaking, as they have a fixed structure and movement pattern. Human beings and animals are more difficult as their movement is very flexible, so the cloak - as it is designed at the moment - would easily be seen when the person or animal made any sudden movement.
“A cloak, such as the one worn by the Harry Potter character for example, is not yet possible but it is a good example of what we are trying to move towards. Using this new computer model we can prove that light can bend around an object under a cloak and is not diffracted by the object. This happens because the metamaterial that makes up the cloak stretches the metrics of space, in a similar way to what heavy planets and stars do for the metrics of space-time in Einstein’s general relativity theory.
“In order for the cloaking device to work in the first place light has to separate into two or more waves resulting in a new wave pattern. Within this pattern we get light and dark regions which are needed in order for an object to appear invisible.
“Until now, however, it was not clear whether photons – particles that make up all forms of light – can split and form new waves when the light source is close to the object. If we use ray optic techniques – where light travels in beams - photons break down at close range and the object does not appear invisible. If we study light as it travels in waves however, invisibility is maintained.”
Scientists predict that invisibility will be possible for objects of any shape and size within the next decade.
The research findings are published in Optic Letters.
Notes to editors
1. Research into cloaking devices is led by Professor Sir John Pendry and includes researchers at Imperial College London and Duke University (USA), Marseille University and the French Centre National Recherche Scientifique
2. The University of Liverpool is one of the UK's leading research institutions. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £100 million annually.
For further information, contact:
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Friday, July 6, 2007
Monday, July 2, 2007
An Open letter to Congress.
What will it take for the Congress to wake up and see America is sinking? It is falling into quicksand and the day to day citizen is losing faith in the hopes and dreams America represents.
It started when George Bush won an election where the population lost it's voice due to missing chads and selective zoning. Then the administration ignores Richard Clark's warnings of oncoming terrorism and, alas, 9/11. Instead of embracing the world's help this administration chose to use our country's collective fear and set a fake war in motion. Next(and in no particular order):
-Shock and Awe
-"Mission Accomplished" - NOT!
-Bin Laden not found
-A gift wrapped package delivered to the pharmaceutical companies - the new prescription drug plan
-A gift wrapped package to American banks and credit agencies - the new bankruptcy bill
-America's loss of respect around the world
-The Patriot Act
-Wire tapping America's phone lines/NSA spying
-Tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans
-Swift boating John Kerry
-Ignoring the Geneva Accord and arguing for sanctioned torture
-Ignoring the Kyoto Protocol
-Outing Valerie Plame
-Ignoring the advantages of Stem Cell research
-Ignoring the 9/11 Commission's recommendations
-Ignoring the Iraq Study Group's recommendations
-Escalating the war in Iraq
-Speaking of the world as having Axis' of Evils
-No bid contracts (HALLIBURTON) in Iraq
-The politically motivated firing of Attorneys under Alberto Gonzales
-"Commuting" Scooter Libby's sentence
The list goes on and on...
A long time ago - George Bush abandoned America and the people who live within it and those that fight for it. Congress has sat back and let him do it. You've let the Executive Branch swell into a ribald Oligarchy.
President Clinton was impeached for messing around with an intern and lying about sex while George Bush has now sent more soldiers to their death than those who died in 9/11 - a war that was fabricated. Only a few are willing to speak of a Cheney or Bush impeachment proceding. Those few will be getting my vote.
You were all apart of this. Is it the money? The power? Lack of foresight? WHAT IS IT? What allows you to watch what is happening and not speak out?
Our country is turned upside down - Day is night, the sky is no longer blue and justice and the rule of law is reserved only for a chosen few.
The Congress will call a special session to save Terri Schiavo but will not work honestly to stop this ill fated war? Nor will the Congress back away from the Insurance Companies and their monied lobbyists in order to give the sickest of Americans the care they deserve.
Please - I want to believe there are still a few untainted politicians walking the halls of congress who will begin screaming for a change.
Be Impolite! Be Anarchists! The country is an absolute mess and has no direction. DO SOMETHING. I elected those of you I believed would be the politician I am not. The country has entrusted you to be forthright and productive yet it seems the Congress has chosen to be deaf, dumb and blind to the obvious misdoings of this administration.
Driving across this country in my little Hyundai over a year ago I was amazed by the American landscape and the people that live within it. I love the American Spirit.
Congress must act now to preserve it.
I send this letter not knowing what else to do. Congress needs to sacrifice the way the majority of people in this country are sacrificing in order to fight over in Iraq and the way they are sacrificing to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads and the way they are sacrificing to foster America's prosperity all over the world.
Stop it - just stop playing the game and fight for this country.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I cannot believe what I am hearing. Look - I get it. Cable News Networks salivate at the "next Laci Peterson" case and saturate their airwaves with commentary about dead pregnant white women. I try to choose not to be sucked into the black hole of death sensationalism. That said - I cannot even grasp Bill O'Stupid ASS O'Reilly even going to the place he has gone when it come to the death of the pregnant woman in Ohio. He basically states - these women (including the woman,and her son, killed by her WWF Pro-Wrestling husband)were at fault for getting involved with these men and they were at fault for not leaving these dangerous men and for putting their chldren at risk.
Women are SCHOOLED to stand by their man - whatever. They are not to blame because they chose to trust. Predators seek out victims. Predators smell women who are vulnerable. These men who have chosen to kill their fucking PREGNANT wives are PREDATORS. The woman is not at fault.
Do women need to value themselves more so? YES! Should they kick men who are unkind, indifferent and abusive to the curb - YES! But even the most educated of women get tricked. I am one of those women. Even though I've never been hit or raped or physically abused - I've lost sight and allowed myself to believe a man was someone they were not when all along they just really didn't want to know, nurture or care for my ass (a nice one at that - I may add). Was it my choice? On one level, yes. I except my part in that. But would I be to blame if they shot me in the head. BULLSHIT!
Women are taught to NURTURE and to see the other side. We forget sometimes that the energy it takes to try and understand the man we love takes away from the love we could give ourselves or, Heaven Forbid, our kids. I believe these women in these most recent cases fell into this trap. So - Bill O'Reilly makes the argument their choice to try and make their marriage or relationship work led to their deaths. As a result - they are at fault.
What it comes down to is this - Bill O'Reilly is a STUPID, SENSATIONALIST FUCK!
Thank you Dan Abrams. Don't let this woman hating muthafukah get away with this hateful, misogenistic rhetoric. PLEASE!
I know this is not the most pressing or important issue of the day when soldiers are being killed every hour and people are dying of cancer because their health plans will not pay for the most basic of procedures but if you have an extra second - write Fox and tell them that Bill O'Reilly is a dumb, insane and, in the long run, obsolete FOOL! Will it do any good? - probably not. Fact is, he gets the biggest ratings and money talks - but this just made me so angry I want to do/say something.
I REALLY hope KARMA exists because this MOFO is in TROUBLE.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
If at all possible PLEASE support Veteran Voices. I attended an incredible show last night put on by the company. It runs for the next two Saturdays in June and will reopen in August. Click the link below for ticket information or:
Tickets are $20 and all proceeds go towards the
non-profit organization Veteran Voices, The theatre branch of The Veterans Center for the Performing Arts (V.C.P.A.)
This production does contain some strong language and profanity. New Dates : EXTENDED THRU JUNE!!!
- Saturday, June 9th 8pm
- Saturday, June 16th 8pm
- Saturday, June 23rd 8pm
- Saturday, June 30th 8pm
Mortise & Tenon (Showroom)
446 South La Brea, LA 90036
(La Brea between 4th and 6th)
Veteran voices is committed to celebrating our military veterans by providing an arena to develop and produce new works for the stage.
It's an uplifting, funny, sometimes brutal, completely honest evening where the soldier's experience is shared with those who otherwise might not have the opportunity to really understand the comittment these men and women have made.
There's no pity, no apologises and no political agenda.
This show is different. I learned a lot last night. I cannot recommend it more. Do something for the troops - buy a ticket.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Michael Moore is right! Lame Ass Good Morning America and all the other pandering news programs don't want to face up to the truth. We all went asleep and forgot to ask the questions and even now - we continue to remain silent.
Get those young men and women out of Iraq. Bring them home!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
So I settle into bed last night and float off into dreamland where I am enchanted by none other than Mr. Brad Pitt. As he takes me by the hand we find ourselves walking across a moonlit desert. The air is clear and the temperature is just right. The terra cotta landscape provides the perfect setting as he gently lays me down on the sand. He softly touches my face and begins to kiss me.
And wouldn't ya fuckin know it?! HE WAS A HORRIBLE KISSER.
I'm not making this up. I seriously crashed last night, embarked on this erotic adventure and found out Brad Pitt kisses like a toad.
Even in the unconscious I'm not cut a break.
Life is unfair.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
You will not be disappointed.
Thus - with no further words I present you with The Gods of Sex...
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Below you will find an article written by Bill Shein. Bill was the premiere columnist at my alma mater's newspaper. Plus, he was an all around funny muthafuckah. Check out his website:
He provides a wry and LOL funny take on everything from Alberto Gonzalez to the weather.
My Red Wine Experiment
by Bill Shein
HAVE YOU HEARD about the many health benefits of red wine? If not, you are living under a rock — which, you should know, does not have any health benefits at all. Red wine, however, can lower blood pressure, fight cancer, protect your heart, and bring stress-reducing joy to a meal of pasta or prime rib.
A recent study also found that high doses of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, produced a tremendous increase in the strength and endurance of laboratory mice. The mice also began speaking with exaggerated French accents — but their new accents were somewhat less noteworthy than the fact that they were speaking at all.
In the study, the muscle-bound mice received a daily dose of resveratrol equivalent to drinking hundreds of glasses of red wine. But the researchers were quick to point out that "no one can drink enough red wine to obtain such doses."
Is that so? In the name of science, I decided to put their claim to the test. What follows are actual entries from my research log.
Glass 1 — I begin my experiment at a local diner, drinking Merlot with breakfast. Several people — clearly not scientists — look at me, horrified. I adjust my white lab coat and raise my glass in their direction. They look away.
Glass 6 — Finishing off the first bottle, I am strong enough to lift my plate in the air and yell, "Keep them home fries coming, Chefie!"
Glass 12 — At 9 a. m., I'm at my desk. I open a bottle of Shiraz. I start Microsoft Word and begin writing. Unaware of my increasing strength, I type too hard and break several keys.
Glass 27 - Maybe it's just me, but everything I write is utterly hilarious. For example: "I like blue. I really do. Blue is my favorite hue!" I giggle constantly while refilling my glass again and again — in the name of science.
Glass 50 — My formerly flabby arms are now inexplicably toned. I feel as if I can lift my refrigerator over my head, which I do. Many things spill. I go outside for a walk.
Glass 78 - Catching my reflection in a store window, I see that my "one-pack abs" have been transformed, without exercise, into impressive six-pack abs. When did I become shirtless? No idea.
Glass 134 — I fall madly in love with the Wicked Witch of the West, the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
Glass 265 — While doing shoulder presses with a parked car, I notice that I now have 12-pack abs. Still no sign of my shirt (or lab coat).
Glass 400 — After lunch, I see the mayor on Main Street. I tackle him, pull up his shirt, and deliver a loud raspberry to his naked belly. He is not amused. I cackle uncontrollably for hours.
Glass 582 — To the best of my knowledge, I am now invisible.
Glass 583 — Still invisible.
Glass 584 — Yep, I am definitely invisible.
Glass 585 — According to the police officer cuffing me in an (occupied) dressing room at Victoria's Secret, I am no longer invisible. I post bail, even though no jail cell could possibly hold me. I am Schwarzneggian.
Glass 638 — Incredibly, my 12-pack abs are now 14-pack abs: Twelve abdominal muscles in front, and, somehow, two extra abdominal muscles on my back. Weird.
Glass 744 — A large crowd gathers at the wine store to view my transformation. I stand on a bench and share a line from Plato: "Nothing more excellent or valuable than wine was ever granted by the Gods to man!" People go wild, passing me around above their heads. Then I read aloud from "The Republic" while doing bicep curls with two small children. The crowd roars.
Glass 857 — As the sun sets, I drink a final glass of wine, make a few more notes, and then fall asleep. I do not wake for a long, long time. When I do, I discover that everything after Glass 12 may have, just possibly, been a dream. But in my pocket I find a summons to appear in court. Something about trespassing at Victoria's Secret. Weird.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Bill Shein is a trained research scientist. Do not try this experiment at home.
(This column first appeared in the Berkshire Eagle newspaper on Friday, April 27, 2007. Read Bill's previous column, "Enough About the Weather!").
Monday, May 21, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Anyway I found this BBC TV thingy where she offers her "minimalist" influences...
I offer these videos.
I wish I was a true artist. I wish I had a focus and a vision. I wish...
But these mutha's give me inspiration so I share it with you.
Whether you get or agree with the people in these videos you have acknowledge their focus and desire and lack of commercial bullshit.
Monday, May 14, 2007
This is a trippy Stevie Wonder video. Well, it's not really a video as videos were not videos in 1979. Meaning - there was no MTV so they were just little art films.
In 1973 these two dudes by the name of Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird wrote a book called The Secret Life Plants and it was all about the relationships between plants and man. I've never read it and all I truly know about it is what I've read on Wikipedia. I'm such a fake intellectual! Basically the book focuses on the "New Age" idea that plants are so much more than plants and have feelings and can be learned from...Oh. how 70's!
In 1979 there was a documentary made based on the book and Stevie Wonder wrote the soundtrack...
I'd always been a weird kid when it came to music and I bought The Secret Life of Plants the first day it came out. My household was full of music - mostly to drown out the sounds of dysfunction. That said, my one brother would be listening to avant guard jazz which many times sounded like the AFFLECK duck while my father would be playing his organ for hours at a time. I think he played at Fenway park as the sub organist - thus my unconscious was/is imprinted with Take Me Out To The Ball Game in all it's cheezy organ-gasmic glory. My other brother would listen to the Beatles and then take the record off the turntable (yes - it was that long ago) and replace it with Frank Sinatra while my sister listened to Fleetwood Mac. As I worshipped my sister I adopted her Fleetwood Mac obsession so by the early 80's I was perming my hair and cutting my skirts into shards in order to look like Stevie Nicks in the Stand Back video.
Little known fact : Prince played keyboards on that tune.
But back to the Secret Life Of Plants and this video - what I love about this song and this video is how beautiful and open Stevie Wonder is. It's one of the few times you see him without his sunglasses.
Growing up my Cousin Pam, was born blind,absolutely refused to wear sunglasses. That is not to say making the choice to wear sunglasses is bad but what I loved about Pam was she forced people to acknowledge she was blind. I'd love to say her blindness made her more intuitive and patient but actually it made her really angry. It motivated her - being that she got both law and education degrees. She travelled the world and absolutely refused to be pitied or condescended to. But at the same time she had no tolerance for people who didn't know how to deal with someone who was blind. She would floor someone in their ignorance and basically shame them and many times it was embarassing from my 13 year old perspective. That said it was what in the long run made me love and respect her that much more. She passed at much too young an age of breast cancer but before she left this earth she taught me that her complications, physical and emotional, made her beautifully human. She had to fight for everything and, no, she didn't appreciate it. She was fuckin mad about it. But she kept on keeping on and did the best she could and never, ever backed down.
I hope you dig this video. The soundtrack is on napster. Check it out!
Now Danny is insane and ridiculously talented. These are just two of the many reasons I adore him. Below I'm proud to present Danny and his fellow clowns - The Gods of Sex. It's strange, quirky and the beginning of something really hot...
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Wings of Desire was recently recommended to me and being a bit of a foreign film snob I immediately went to Blockbuster and checked it out. I cannot recommend this film enough. It is spacious, contemplative, hauntingly beautiful, an inspired melancholy and affirming of the human condition.
Filmed throughout Berlin it is a love letter to the city. It's the story of an angel who wants to give up his wings to experience the sensations of being human.
I found myself scared by his decision. Why give up a spiritual life where nothing can hurt you to enter a human world of broken expectations and selfish driven need? Why? Because he was bored - that's why. He wants the gamble, the unknown and the possible ultimate payoff - the sensation of truly loving someone.
The film is remarkable in it's simplicity and it's saddness. The images are stark and the characters silently transform themselves. The narrative is strangely dense without ever feeling heavy. The cinematography is breathtaking and the images stay with you for a long time. The opening sequence is ridiculously gorgeous.
What is even more remarkable about this film is the approach the director (Wim Wenders) took in making it. He barely had a script so he just filmed and let the story take it's own shape. The screenwriter would send him a page of text from time to time and the actors basically followed the director's lead. As a result the film is sparse and poetic and most narration is done in voice over.
Peter Falk plays himself and, at first it feels jarring to have Columbo floating around in this German art film but as the story unfolds - it all makes sense. In addition, a young Nick Cave makes a cameo and he rocks!
Next time you go to the video store or pick your monthly Netflixs - watch Wings of Desire.