Tim Thibodeaux is perched precariously atop'Big Tex' as he prepares the 52-foot-tall talking cowboy figure for the opening of the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, Monday, Sept. 20, 2004. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)
Agency Tests Security Blimp in Washington: Pentagon police said the Defense Department is testing a security blimp - fully equipped with surveillance cameras. The white blimp was spotted early Wednesday morning hovering at various times over the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. The 178-foot-long device, which is expected to remain in the skies until Thursday, is conducting a mission for the Defense Department.
Authorities say the airship is equipped with infrared cameras designed to provide real time images to military commanders on the ground. The equipment on the blimp already is being used to protect troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Army says the device will make at least one 24-hour flight in the District of Columbia area. It has been in the region since last week, and is also being used for test runs over the U.S. Marine Corps Base in nearby Quantico, Va., and the Chesapeake Bay.
"The Honorable Gavin Newsom:
As chair of His Majesty's Bridge Committee, appointed through the intuitive intervention of that acute seer Baba Rebop, I beseech a boon. I request Your Honor to submit to the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco a resolution requesting the state Legislature to name the western span of the Bay Bridge after His Majesty, Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.
<LJ-CUT text=" --More--(39%) ">
His Majesty did predict the building of this world famous span in 1869, a time when only goats and the Central Pacific Railroad coveted Yerba Buena Island.
Such a bridge named after His Imperial Majesty would intrigue hoards of free-spending tourists to visit the Golden City by the Bay. San Francisco's nearest competitor is only the Sandwich Islands, once ruled by mere kings and queens.
His Majesty is a model of fiscal responsibility. San Franciscans accepted Bonds of the Empire at par, during a decade when U.S. government paper money and U.S. government coined silver passed among merchants at a discount.
His Majesty looked after the unfortunate of his realm, issuing proclamations to redress wrongs against African Americans, Chinese, Native Americans and all others in need of tolerance and acceptance.
His Majesty, through his humble representative, prays that you will grant this petition.
Your Obedient Servant,
ROBERT J. CHANDLER
Chair, His Majesty's Bridge Committee
"In the Chinese province Qinghai are obviously particularly sporty the policemen and understand themselves thereby also to co-ordinate. To this impression one comes at least when regarding this photo, which developed in the city Xining, where the law guardians had to work satisfactorily in a Trainingscamp."
- I've come to really hate seeing shows at The Warfield. The sound there is usually decent, but the staff are a bunch of assholes. Anyway, this show was a combo Creatures / Siouxsie and the Banshees show. The first four songs were recent-ish Creatures songs, and were really good. Budgie is one hell of a drummer. After the fourth song, Siouxsie had a tantrum about the fact that it was too cold on stage, and they stormed off for ten minutes or so. (Isn't this exactly the opposite of the complaint that most bands have?) She ranted about the staff some more throughout the set, and had a second ten-minute tantrum a few songs later. At one point a cartoon-stereotypical fratboy got up on stage and she tried to beat him with a swinging microphone (which was not nearly as entertaining as it sounds; it was just kind of sad all around.)
All the Creatures songs were great, and all the Siouxsie songs bored me, but that's to be expected, since I'm totally uninterested in almost everything they've recorded as the Banshees post-Hyaena. All things considered, had I left just as she began her first tantrum, I would have had the optimal experience for this show.
Also: when did goths start smoking so much pot? I liked it better when your stereotypical goth was a tweaker, because then they didn't smell as bad unless you got really close. The stench tended not to roll off them in great clouds, at least.
- This was a great show -- the sound was a lot better than at the show in Davis a few months ago. We got there a little late and didn't feel like fighting our way into the sea of people, so we sat on the grassy hill at the back. The sound was surprisingly good up there, and we got to spread out with nobody bumping into us the whole time. It's been many, many years since I've been to a place as big as the Greek Theatre, and I'd forgotten that arenas don't have to suck. So between those two shows (one close up with crap sound, and one far away with good sound) we can sorta cut-and-paste together one optimal show.
The Distillers opened, and they were surprisingly okay, given that what I've seen of them on MTV has been utterly despicable.
Funniest thing about seeing a show in the People's Republic of Berkeley: standing in line at the security pat-down surrounded by great rasta-like plumes of pot smoke.
- Ok, first of all, Hanzel und Gretyl were the first act, and were a big part of the reason I went to this show at all. The tickets said 8PM, and we got in line at 8:15. It was around 8:45 by the we actually made it into the building, and H&G were already done.
- I thought that their second-to-last album, "Animositisomina", was pretty good (though the latest, "Houses of the Molé", is totally unremarkable);
- I heard a rumor that they were going to be opening for themselves, doing a set as the Revolting Cocks;
- I heard that Jello Biafra was going to be singing with them.
Um, hello? If you are so incompetent at running your door that you can't get your customers into the building, you do not start the show until you've gotten the people in! What the fuck!
The Grand is basically a hotel ballroom, not a concert venue, so the whole thing had the feeling of "hey, let's rent out a room at a convention center and have a show there." We were still in the process of trying to figure out whether all the bars in the place were implemented as a pile of bottles on card tables, and whether any of them had rum other than Barton's, when Thrill Kill Kult started. I said, "let's go up front, it can't possibly sound this bad everywhere in this room." Angela noted, "since we're standing in front of the sound board right now, it probably does."
She was right. Halfway through the third song (which I thought was "The Devil Does Drugs" but Pineapplehead says was "Daisy Chain for Satan"; whatever) I'd had enough; I decided that I'd better go wait out in the lobby just in case they decided to play another song that I used to like.
This wasn't totally unexpected; I've seen TKK at least a dozen times, and they're always hit or miss (more often miss.) I've seen them be excellent, and they've also been among the worst shows I've ever seen. This was probably the second worst TKK show I've seen (the worst being during the "13 Above the Night" era, when their show was Groovy and a couple of strippers lip-synching over a DAT.) They were a full band this time, and they seemed energetic, but it just sounded so bad. And that, plus the bright lighting, made it hard to overlook their general horrific dirtbaggyness.
So then Ministry. This is the first time I've seen Ministry since 1988 (that's how much I hated them on the "Land of Rape and Honey" tour) so I didn't have very high expectations. There were three reasons I went:
So, I went to the Ministry show hoping that it would actually be a RevCo & Lard show instead of a Ministry show. Well, turns out, it was a Ministry show after all. We left after the fifth or sixth song, and every song thus far had been from "Molé" (actually, the first song might have been "Deity," but I couldn't tell.) I understand that Jello came on later, but I can't say I regret that we cut our losses when we did.
I guess the sound quality was a bit better for Ministry than it was for TKK (or maybe I was just getting acclimated) but they were doing the whole "undifferentiated wall of guitars" thing that they do, and frankly I think I would have enjoyed a Motörhead show more.
This was my first time seeing a show at The Grand, and definitely my last. The spirit of Maritime Hall lives on there.
Roger and Ann needed to meet Sergey in San Francisco.
"Should we take a train, or a steamship, or a plane?" asked Ann.
"Trains are too slow, and the trip by steamship around South America would take months," replied Roger. "We'll take a plane."
City prosecutors on Wednesday said it was not illegal to perform naked yoga in the city - even at the crowded tourist destination of Fisherman's Wharf.
Prosecutors dropped charges against a limber nudist, known locally as the "Naked Yoga Guy", who made a habit of striking yoga poses in the buff in order to promote a book and his lifestyle. The Naked Yoga Guy, whose name is George Monty Davis, had stripped to stretch near Fisherman's Wharf, prompting a public complaint. But prosecutors decided they had a weak public nuisance case against him because local laws do not bar public nudity.
"Simply being naked on the street is not a crime in San Francisco," said Debbie Mesloh, a spokesperson for the district attorney's office.
Don't get talked into hosting your own store, kids. Recall that my one purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.
In other news, here's one for all you people stinking up my sidewalk: Hard Evidence: Secondhand Smoke Is Much More Dangerous Than First Thought. "The research, published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that inhaling someone else's tobacco smoke may increase your risk of heart disease by up to 60 percent. [...] just being near someone smoking a few cigarettes a day is almost like being a light smoker yourself. Secondhand tobacco smoke exposure can give you almost the same risk of a heart attack as if you smoked one to nine cigarettes a day."
(The article didn't say anything about second-hand puke.)
"There are two neural events that we believe are hallmarks of the 'aha!' moment for the rat," says Linda Hermer-Vazquez. These are high-frequency activity in one subset of neurons, and decreased activity in two other areas, she says.
"Artificial noses don't work well when there are other smells around," says Christiane Linster, an olfaction expert at Cornell University in New York. "Rats are good at that."