London Theater Review: Good with David Tennant

Phantom of the Opera Les Mis, Mamma Mia!, the Lion King, and Wicked were sold out, so I treated myself to the second night of a revival of Good, a 1981 play commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The new production economizes on the number of actors to an impressive yet also absurd degree. The roles of wife, girlfriend, and mother are all played by the same actor, for example.

Although there are no characters who identify as 2SLGBTQQIA+ or of Color (or 2SLGBTQQIA+ and of Color), the play is timely because it concerns Nazis, who have never been more numerous on Planet Earth (everyone who disagrees with me, for example). The lead is David Tennant, who has played Dr. Who on BBC and this led to every one of the 796 seats in the Harold Pinter Theater having been sold (I got the last one at 7:13 pm for a 7:30 pm show).

One great aspect to the play is that it explores the tendency of academics to embrace whatever political ideology is necessary to hold onto and/or climb to the next run of the university ladder. There is also an exploration of what happens when the fresh young student is competing with the tired wife and mother for a dynamic professor’s attention. The play looks at extremely late term abortion care, i.e., whether it is okay to perform abortion care on the elderly whose quality of life has declined (euthanasia). This is what gets Nazi Party officials interested in the professor, who ultimately wears a fine SS officer’s uniform. The play is at its weakest in showing the audience how this apparently useless literature professor could plausibly have been considered of some importance to the National Socialist cause.

It is worth spending $150-200 per person on this experience? Maybe, but the seats are pretty uncomfortable if you’re older than 30 or taller than 5’4″. And a musical with 200 singing dancing cast members is a better value on a per-actor/per-skill basis.

Loyal readers will be disappointed if I don’t share some masketology. Perhaps 10 or 20 out of the 796 audience members were wearing masks, about half simple cloth masks and half more elaborate affairs. As readers will recognize, this is a source of confusion for me. They’re afraid enough of COVID-19 to wear a mask, but not afraid enough to stay home and experience something theatrical via streaming video rather in close proximity to 794 strangers? One lady was sitting right in front of me and had the mask off during intermission and then put it back on again for the second act. Apologies for the poor mobile phone image quality in dim light, but here are a couple of folks with the high-end masks walking out:

Soho and Chinatown were packed on a Thursday night following the theater. Pubs all around central London seem to be packed, beer drinkers spilling out and congregating on the sidewalks in front of the pub until at least 10:30 pm. The English economy is going down the tube (so to speak), but these folks still have plenty of money to spend on drinking in pubs? (Maybe this is because the government has promised to borrow money and spend it in such a way that consumers don’t suffer a reduction in lifestyle.)

Also on the way back to the hotel, I went by the Monument to the Women of World War II, which reminds us that it is not going up in a 1,000+ horsepower Spitfire during the Battle of Britain with 100 hours of flying experience that required bravery, but rather staying on the ground.

There were some political posters outside Whitehall.

and here’s a guy nobody talks about anymore:

Nobody is upset if Julian Assange dies in prison without ever having been convicted of anything?

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Gender Care Day at the Adolescent Medicine Clinic

I hope that everyone has been having a good LGBT History Month so far.

Here’s a tale from a medical student learning Science. There may be a correlation between concern regarding COVID-19 and concern regarding gender ID:

There seems to be a correlation among siblings:

We still love Prozac and similar (SSRIs):

Here’s a screen capture in case this is memory-holed:

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College grades based on mask compliance

From a UCLA professor:

Let’s dig in….

  • “300 student mandatory in-person lecture”; why is the mass lecture (“live video”) still a cornerstone for college teaching? It didn’t work well 50 years ago and now the students are scrolling social media on their phones.
  • “I’m the sole care provider for my child.” -> “I expected to get paid a lot more in the California family courts than in the university halls”? (a success story from someone who didn’t need a Ph.D. or any pronouns to make bank)
  • “I’m giving extra credit to those who mask up”; how can this work in a 300-student class? If a student is masked, how does the professor (she/her) identify him/her/zir/them with sufficient particularity to add a note to the grade book?

A comment on the above:

Here’s an interesting one from the other coast… Amherst College’s “Updated policy: Masking in Classrooms”:

Prior to October 17, faculty members will conduct an anonymous survey of their classes, either by collecting handwritten (no names!) responses to the question, “Should masks be required in this class?” or by distributing a survey based on this template. … If anyone in the class, including the instructor, wants to continue with masking, then masks will be required.

We are informed that the hallmark of a stupid person and/or MAGA Trump supporter is doing his/her/zir/their own research. Intelligent Americans follow the Science and defer to expert advice. Amherst College should have a senior Covidcrat interpreting the CDC runes and issuing edicts. Instead, the college is going to let the mob decide! How is that different than Science-denying legislators in Florida voting to forbid public school districts from ordering children to wear masks?

Here’s a good image for university Covidcrats to use:

Screen capture in case the Ministry of Truth deletes this at some point:

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Non-profit versus for-profit in the power restoration Olympics

“Governor DeSantis Calls on Lee County Electric Cooperative to Accept Additional Mutual Aid to Expedite Power Restoration” (Saturday):

At this time, Florida Power and Light (FPL) has restored power to more than 45% of their accounts in Lee County, while LCEC has only restored power to 9% of their accounts (18,000 out of 183,000 customers).

Florida Power and Light is the Evil Empire of Electricity in Florida, a for-profit regulated monopoly.

What about LCEC?

LCEC is one of more than 850 not-for-profit electric distribution cooperatives located throughout 46 states and serving 75 percent of land mass in the nation. Cooperatives are in business to serve members at the cost of service. This business model is different from investor-owned utilities, which typically share profits with investors globally.

It seems as though the profit-seekers invested substantially more in resiliency than the non-profit folks.

Sunday morning: LCEC had 177,105 out of 199,097 customers tracked (11 percent on; note the inconsistency in total Lee County customers with the 183,000 figure above).

FPL had 132,930 out from among 288,630 in Lee County (54 percent on).

On Monday morning, the outage site still showed roughly the same number out: 177,369 out of 199,097 in Lee County. Either LCEC made no progress at all in 24 hours or we are seeing #FakeNews on the poweroutage.us site (someone’s computer system is broken?). Over the same roughly 24-hour period, FPL had reduced its Lee County outages from 132,930 to 100,220. I checked Twitter and found the following update from LCEC:

The power outage site shows 184,751 LCEC customers out across all locations.

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Dental hygiene declined during coronapanic

Happy Dental Hygiene Month. I hope that every reader has bought him/her/zir/theirself a new toothbrush head to celebrate.

This reminds me to relate a story in the Department of Philip is Always Wrong. I conjectured that Americans’ dental health would have improved during the lockdown. With offices and schools closed for 1.5 years in the Science-following cities and states, people were never more than a few steps from a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. It was, for at least part of the time, actually illegal for anyone to eat in a restaurant. With nearly every meal being consumed at home, there was thus no obstacle to brushing immediately after every meal.

I checked in with a dentist friend who confirmed the general principle that Philip is Always Wrong. “Hygiene was far worse during lockdown,” she responded, “due to constant snacking. Parents were too lazy to monitor their kids’ brushing. People just gave up and let everything go.” (Because of this, her practice has never been more profitable, nearly all funded by tax dollars (Medicaid for pediatric dentistry).)

Illustrating the best of modern German culture, a basket of cavities and/or revenue, depending on your perspective, from Amana, Iowa:

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The destruction of Florida by Hurricane Ian, as perceived by the coronapanicked

Most of my friends are from the Northeast or California. As such, they’ve been near the maximum panic level for coronapanic since March 2020. Knowing that we’d moved to southeast Florida, these folks contacted us to make sure that a hurricane in southwest Florida hadn’t destroyed our house and killed us. The ensuing phone, email, and text conversations provided a good window into how those who are most fearful of COVID-19 (and most supportive of lockdowns, school closures, forced vaccinations, and forced masking) process news about an unfortunate event.

Let’s start with the official newspaper of the coronapanicked. The New York Times ran stories with “Fort Myers, Fla.” in the dateline, implying that the article was about the mainland city. The photos, however, showed politically distinct towns on barrier islands, such as Fort Myers Beach. They also showed the damaged causeway to Sanibel, another barrier island. Next to some text about damage to houses, the newspaper ran photos of wrecked mobile homes (i.e., trailers) in trailer parks. A lady who has lived in Florida for 50 years said “Why do you think they call them barrier islands?” Example from the NYT combining these two methods:

On Friday afternoon (September 30), a Manhattan-based friend wrote to me about the destruction of Orlando by floods. He had seen it on TV so it must be real. I pointed out that MCO was receiving commercial airline flights, that people were getting off those airliners into rental cars and driving the rental cars to Disney (all four parks were open on Friday, September 30), Universal (park opened evening of September 30), and Sea World (opened Saturday, October 1). The awesome Dezerland was open. All of these places had electric power. Maybe there were a few neighborhoods in Orlando, whose metro population is 2.5 million, that remained flooded, but if the airport and all of the theme parks were opened, did that qualify as catastrophic damage?

Another Manhattan-based mask Karen posted on Twitter about “hundreds” of Floridians having died from Hurricane Ian. That sounds bad, but more than 3,000 out of the 22 million Floridians die each year in car accidents and, in fact, some of the deaths attributed to Hurricane Ian are actually car accidents. Our Karen had never been motivated to express any concern about these deaths and how to reduce them (see my pet idea!). A day after he posted about “hundreds” of deaths, the official tally was in the 20s and ABC was estimating in the 30s. (i.e., more people are killed by car accidents every week in Florida than the number of confirmed deaths from this hurricane) It is sad when people die directly or indirectly from a hurricane, of course, but obesity kills more Americans every day than all hurricanes put together kill in a year.

(This raises the ghoulish question of whether Hurricane Ian might actually reduce the number of deaths among Floridians for 2022. When roads are closed and things are shut down, people don’t drive as much. This cuts into the traffic accident rate and might cut car-related deaths by more than the number killed by the hurricane. A similar phenomenon was observed when the U.S. military went to Saudi Arabia before our first Gulf War. Despite some soldiers killed in combat, lives in the military were saved overall compared to if we hadn’t fought the war. Soldiers couldn’t drink and had almost nowhere to drive, so deaths by car accident were cut almost to zero.)

Our neighbors, most of whom are physicians with low levels of coronapanic, considered the media coverage fake news. “You know that they’re lying to you when you keep seeing the same damaged house from different angles,” was one observation. One neighbor is sheltering a refugee from Fort Myers. As with my friend’s dad, her house was undamaged, but she drove across the state to our sanctuary neighborhood in order to enjoy the luxuries of electric power and Internet.

David Hogg, the survivor-turned-activist, implied that “half” of Florida has been destroyed and will need to be rebuilt:

A year into COVID-19, he wanted all of us to pay each other to stay home:

Despite being decades too young to get a shot in Denmark, he was a vaccine enthusiast:

Has “half” of Florida truly been destroyed? Here’s NOAA’s map of where the agency thinks Hurricane Ian did significant damage. The photos were taken on Thursday, a day after the hurricane.

The NOAA imagery shows that the destruction of Fort Myers Beach might not be complete. Here’s a typical part of the barrier island that is not a trailer park:

There is a lot of debris, but nearly all of the houses appear to be standing. Here’s what it looked like before (from Google Maps):

Related:

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60th anniversary of Mercury 8, with Hasselblad camera on board

Today is the 60th anniversary of the Mercury 8 mission, which orbited the Earth six times while photos were made with a Hasselblad camera. A good time to remind iPhone owners what a camera used to look like! From the Hasselblad Manual by Wildi:

Loading the film is as simple as using Instagram:

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The Naples, Florida airport fully reopened yesterday

If you want to go to SW Florida and volunteer with the recovery efforts, you may be pleased to learn that the Naples airport reopened yesterday (only from 7 am to 7:30 pm due to damage sustained by lighting). The airport reopened with PPR on Friday, just two days after Hurricane Ian made landfall, complete with control tower.

A friend lives in an oceanfront condo in Naples. I checked in with her today. Consistent with Vice President Kamala Harris’s point that “communities of color” were “most impacted” by Hurricane Ian, houses and buildings close to the water in Naples were flooded. My friend’s building has a sacrificial ground level lobby and it was dramatically sacrificed, complete with car pushed into the lobby:

Car dealers became billionaires thanks to coronapanic. Will they get an extra few $billion in profit in Florida given that cars have been destroyed during a moment when each new car is sold for $6,000 or $15,000 in profit? (the MSRP-invoice spread plus the market adjustment markup)

My friend evacuated to a house that is 2 miles inland. Neither her condo nor the evacuation destination were damaged, but neither has power or Internet. One guy actually elected to stay in the condo building, despite the mandatory evacuation order, and came through the storm without injury. Restaurants and supermarkets are open.

“Photos show Fifth Avenue South damage after Hurricane Ian swept through Naples, Florida” (Naples News, 9/30) shows that even a single step of elevation was sufficient, in some cases, to keep a store from being flooded.

If you get hungry while you’re in Naples, the Supermarket of the Deplorables reopened just one day after the storm, 9/29. Here are some November 2021 photos from Seed to Table:

The Google says that it is less than a one-hour drive from the Naples Airport to downtown Fort Myers, which is near where the hardest-hit communities of color on barriers islands are (Sanibel, Captiva, and Fort Myers Beach).

How’s Team DeSantis doing with the overall recovery effort? Here’s today’s New York Times:

The top stories are the horrors likely to be visited on the nation by improperly appointed Supreme Court justices, “relatable lesbian content”, a soccer stampede in which more people died than were killed by Hurricane Ian, and journalist Ezra Klein’s dream that someone other than himself be stuck with the bill for our enormous government (“a tax that could help with inflation” that will fall on “the rich”).

Nothing about the Tyrant of Tallahassee or the situation in Florida after what the same newspaper previously characterized as a catastrophe. Should we infer that Ron DeSantis therefore has not made any missteps?

Update, 8:30 pm: the New York Times front page now has an article about Florida, but it is about migrants being welcomed in Maskachusetts (top left), not about the recent Category 4 hurricane or Ron DeSantis’s restoration effort. Also… bean soup.

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Hunter Biden’s competitor in the art world

It’s National Arts and Humanities Month. Hunter Biden is probably the world’s most successful artist as measured by the time between when he started to paint and when the first painting sold for a least $500,000 (Guardian). What’s his competition? “Three Years Ago, Her Art Sold for $400 at the Beach. Now It Fetches Up To $1.6 Million at Auction” (Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2022):

“Summertime,” Ms. Weyant’s portrait of a woman with long, flowing hair that the artist had sold for around $12,000 two years before, resold for $1.5 million, five times its high estimate.

Ms. Weyant’s oeuvre of roughly 50 paintings has already filtered into the hands of top collectors such as investor Glenn Fuhrman and plastic surgeon Stafford Broumand. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art recently exhibited her work in a group show, and former Venice Biennale curator Francesco Bonami said he predicts she will make her own Biennale appearance soon, which would be another career milestone.

For the past year, the [27-year-old] artist has been dating Larry Gagosian, the 77-year-old founder of arguably the most powerful art gallery network in the world. … Ellie Rines, owner of the New York gallery 56 Henry, which gave Ms. Weyant her first New York solo show three years ago, said anyone who factors the artist’s dating life into her odds of success is being misogynistic.

From the same article:

Readers: How are you celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month?

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How to help with Hurricane Ian relief

If you’re among the shrinking minority of Americans who pay Federal income taxes, pat yourself on the back because you’ve already helped with Hurricane Ian relief. You’re one of the folks who funds the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA; $28.7 billion budget for FY 2020). Congress already appropriated the money. Wikipedia says

The governor of the state in which the disaster occurs must declare a state of emergency and formally request from the President that FEMA and the federal government respond to the disaster.

That’s already happened. So now some of this already-paid-by-you and already-appropriated-by-Congress money will be spent to address the damage caused by Hurricane Ian.

Suppose that you want to do more. My favorite way to help a place that has suffered is to buy stuff from or in that place. After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, for example, I bought a bunch of Japanese-made products, including Shun knives. SW Florida isn’t renowned for manufacturing, but you could plan a vacation there! Marco Island is pretty awesome and the monster concrete hotels should be fine after the power is restored. Even if you visit the theme parks in Orlando you will be helping keep the state’s economy vibrant.

Don’t need to learn sexual orientation and gender identity at Disney World or be frightened to death at Universal? You can donate money. But to whom? Charlie Crist, the Democrat who says that he will deliver Floridians from fascism, and Ron DeSantis, the hated fascist himself (he and Giorgia Meloni will get together and shave each other’s heads, get scalp tattoos, and burn synagogues?), agree that the best place for donating money is the Florida Disaster Fund, run by VolunteerFlorida. This enterprise earns a 100/100 rating from Charity Navigator (compare to 89 for the American Red Cross):

The default is a modest $10. Casey DeSantis explains at about 18:30 into the video below that more than $10 million has been raised. Some of the cited big donors: Amazon, Walmart, Publix, Florida Power & Light, the PGA Tour. The credit card fees are being waived when you donate so nearly all of the money should go to work.

One caveat is that you don’t get public credit, even your name on a list of donors, if you donate a modest amount. You get a web page thank-you:

So unless you can brag on Facebook or Twitter or a personal blog, giving will have to be its own reward. If you’re a Democrat make sure to take a screen capture of this because you won’t want to keep the email acknowledgment and there is some chance that your itemized deductions will be more than the generous Trump-established standard deduction. Alternatively, you could be like Elvis Presley and not try to write off the deduction “because it takes away from the spirit of the gift.”

Why would Democrats not welcome the email acknowledgment of the gift? “Your donation plays a key role in supporting Governor DeSantis’ initiatives…”

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