Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pia e Marcello

Pia e Marcello
Originally uploaded by lapigna

On Poverty

Poverty in D.C.

Something I didn't know, and somehow ran across looking up the annual average rainfall for Nevada...yes, the men who moil for gold do strange things in the land of the midnight sun...but the strangest I ever did see, was that night on the marge of Lac la Barge...

But I digress. I truly do think the heat is baking my brain cells sometimes. Augusto is back in Guatemala. I'm working alone for a time, talking to myself now, and self 1 is not being very nice to self 2. He keeps calling me "retardo" and "dickweed". It was 98 degrees today. The heat index, based on the level of the pools of liquid sweat in my shoes, had to have been 108. I gauge the heat and humidity levels by the "squish" "squish" sound when I walk.

But I digress.

The federal poverty level (income) for a household of one person is $10,600 per year. Add $3,600 per person in the household. A family of three is considered at the poverty level with an annual income of $17,600.

The numbers I knew. I thought it was around $15k or $20k or so. What surprised me is the number of people below the poverty line in the U.S. Almost 37 MILLION! About 25 million are white, 9 million are black, the rest are "other" or overlapping multi-racial duplicates. These are 2005 figures. Back in 1975, it was around 25 million.

THIRTY SEVEN MILLION PEOPLE in the U.S....out of 260 million total...that's 14%...amazing...sad...

And that doesn't even take into account all of the homeless people...almost 1 million in any given week...around 3 million "experience" homelessness at least temporarily during a given year...

Sustainable Energy :: Without the hot air :: a book by David J.C. Mackay

My prior post referenced a link that MsHedgehog (thanks mshedge!) sent me with regard to someone running the hard numbers on energy/sustainability. The guy who wrote it is David J.D. Mackay, who is also publishing a book titled "Sustainable Energy :: Without the Hot Air". Mr. Mackay is a professor in the Department of Physics at Cambridge University.

The book is actually available free, in rough draft, in the form of PDF files (color and printable black and white versions) that you can download. There is also a four page Executive Summary.

7MB Color Version :: PDF Download

Executive Summary :: 4 pages :: PDF Download

Main Website ::

And, he's got a blog.

Magical Thinking :: Tending Towards Zero

Thanks to LimerickTango for this link...

Some actual hard numbers on saving energy to digest...short and sweet...

And here is another that Ms.Hedgehog sent me several days ago...more in depth...

Heavyweight physics prof weighs into climate/energy scrap

My thought is that we all really need to be thinking in terms of "tending towards zero" in terms of our energy usage.

Here's why. I have a friend who has an earth sheltered passive solar house at about 8,700 feet in elevation in Colorado. They have a couple of wood stoves, some thermal mass for heat storage/release, and propane for the cooking range and as a backup heat source. It's a nice house in the Sante Fe southwest territorial style, with saltillo tile floors and stucco walls. Nice and warm and bright and cozy and homey. Probably about 1,500 square feet.

Their electricity bill in the winter? About $25.00. 100 years ago, hell, less than that - most folks were living happy, healthy, productive lives with ZERO energy. ZERO carbon footprint.

So, I know it can be done. There are lots of people today who are living completely off the grid. We've been brainwashed into thinking it's the American Dream/capitalist way to use energy - lots of it - more more more, better better better. More appliances (although more energy efficient), a wine cooler, a mondo SubZero, a snowmelting system for your driveway and your roof, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda. I've built some houses where the appliance budget - ONLY the appliance budget mind you - has been $50,000. We've been brainwashed and advertised into an economic system designed to separate us from our money. The middle and lower classes have found that it's been taking 110% percent of your income just to make ends meet. Hence the credit crunch/crisis/crash.

That's why people using little/no energy, living off the grid, have been branded as "strange", "hippies", "unAmerican", "pinko commie fags". I think it's actually the most American and patriotic thing you can do to try to conserve the Earth's resources. Walk the walk and talk the talk. I was watching "The Matrix" last night, for the 93rd time, and caught something Morpheus said. (paraphrasing) "There's a difference between 'knowing' the path and 'walking' the path..."

Think ZERO and you will be taking BIG steps in the RIGHT direction. We just need to get about 1 billion folks to start thinking ZERO.

Walk the path. Be a ZERO HERO. Hell, I might even try to sell some t-shirts.

Which also goes to this - one of my favorite sayings - by Ghandi - "BE the change you wish to see in the world..."

Bush :: Now he's gone too far...

Here are the first several here to read the entire article.

Does Bush proposal threaten access to the pill?
White House seeks to protect health-care workers who object to abortion

By Rob Stein :: The Washington Post
updated 12:27 a.m. ET, Thurs., July. 31, 2008

A Bush administration proposal aimed at protecting health-care workers who object to abortion, and to birth-control methods they consider tantamount to abortion, has escalated a bitter debate over the balance between religious freedom and patients' rights.

The Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing a draft regulation that would deny federal funding to any hospital, clinic, health plan or other entity that does not accommodate employees who want to opt out of participating in care that runs counter to their personal convictions, including providing birth-control pills, IUDs and the Plan B emergency contraceptive.

Conservative groups, abortion opponents and some members of Congress are welcoming the initiative as necessary to safeguard doctors, nurses and other health workers who, they say, are increasingly facing discrimination because of their beliefs or are being coerced into delivering services they find repugnant.
Story continues below ↓advertisement

But the draft proposal has sparked intense criticism by family planning advocates, women's health activists, and members of Congress who say the regulation would create overwhelming obstacles for women seeking abortions and birth control.

There is also deep concern that the rule could have far-reaching, but less obvious, implications. Because of its wide scope and because it would -- apparently for the first time -- define abortion in a federal regulation as anything that affects a fertilized egg, the regulation could raise questions about a broad spectrum of scientific research and care, critics say.

"The breadth of this is potentially immense," said Robyn S. Shapiro, a bioethicist and lawyer at the Medical College of Wisconsin. "Is this going to result in a kind of blessed censorship of a whole host of areas of medical care and research?"

Broad implications
Critics charge that the proposal is the latest example of the administration politicizing science to advance ideological goals.

"They are manipulating the system by manipulating the definition of the word 'abortion,' " said Susan F. Wood, a professor at George Washington University who resigned from the Food and Drug Administration over the delays in approving the nonprescription sale of Plan B. "It's another example of this administration's disregard for science and medicine in how agencies make decisions."

The proposal is outlined in a 39-page draft regulation that has been circulated among several HHS agencies. The FDA has not objected, but several officials at the National Institutes of Health said that the agency had expressed serious concerns.

"This is causing a lot of distress," said one NIH researcher who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. "It's a redefinition of abortion that does not match any of the current medical definitions. It's ideologically based and not based on science and could interfere with the development of many new therapies to treat diseases."

Since a copy of the document leaked earlier this month, outside advocates and scientists have voiced growing alarm that the regulation could inhibit research in areas including stem cells, infertility and even such unrelated fields as cancer.

GINA from Beemer

P.S. Note that this post is not about a $250k concept car with a 600 horsepower engine. It's about creative design, creative thinking, and not just thinking outside of the box, but thinking in an environment where there is no box.

Superlightweight fabric skinned vehicles are thinking in the right direction.

"There is no box."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

6 degrees of separation...

Watch this video and guess my bizarre BAZAAR connection...

eHouse "the intelligent kitchen" :: from Dwell Magazine

Click here to watch the video.

I wonder about the gigantic Wolf commercial range and its huge ventilation requirements. I also wonder about the large expanses of glass in terms of heat loss on a house in upstate NY. It's always a trade off in terms of open/airy place/space making and daylighting versus reducing the glazing square footage to reduce the heat loss in a cooling climate. It always comes down to the actual, hard numbers.

It's a step in the right direction, but I still think the little things don't amount to much when you are talking about roughly 1 billion people living in the 1st world and hogging/wasting most of the energy.

Hard numbers, hard facts, hard realities, hard decisions.

Hopefully it all doesn't end up equating to a hard life from here on out.

Above all else, to thine own self be true...

Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...Above all else, to thine own self be true...

To thine own fucking self be true, this time, dickweed...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Great Gig in the Sky

It took me a little bit to find this, to dredge up old, old memories and remember the band and the song. Something just triggered a memory of the woman's voice singing on this song. Clare Torry is her name I think. There is something very haunting to me about her voice. Some might think she sounds like a cat in heat in the beginning, but if you can stick with it, she calms down at the end.

Here's a cover singer who is not too too bad, either...oh duh, there are two singers at the end...

Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You

Can't we all just get along? :: Foreign Policy and the Environment :: Intro/Part I

Since the environment is the one thing I have been passionate about almost my entire life, I'm going to continue writing in this vein for a while. Dare I say I am more passionate about the environment (and the future of humanity and the critters and flowers) than I am about tango?

Anyway, here goes with my latest thoughts....

As the United States continues down its path of asshole capitalist saber rattling in the world order, I'm struck by how much more often it is about money, dollars, dinero, making a profit, perhaps with a bit of power and ego thrown in and not necessarily about doing the right thing. Nor doing the thing right.

We often hear in the media (from the mouths of our leaders) the words "protect American/U.S. interests". War is business. It's the business of protecting business. It's the business of protecting cash flow, resource flow, the redistribution of wealth to the wealthy in America. War is a business in and of itself. There is money to be made - bullets and bombs. Our current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, in response to 9/11, the "War on Terror" - is like CocaCola laced with cocaine. Addict the people to fear, the fear of terrorism, and you have a product in "War" that people will be willing to spend money on for years and years into the future. Forget the short skirmish, the two or four year or ten year war, we're talking decades of war here.

That is, unless we, the people, grow some balls and say enough is enough. This is not what we want to do. "This is not who we want to be. This is not how I want my tax dollars to be spent."

War is most often waged under the guise of democracy. Spreading democracy. Democracy by force, at the business end of an M1-A1 Abrams tank or an AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for real, true, bona fide democracy. I'm all for an ass-kicking nuclear powered military. I'm all for superior air power and superior weaponry. I'm all for going in and kicking some really bad dude's ass - as a last resort - and with the blessing of the people of the country in question. And with the blessing of the people of THIS country.

I'm struck with the thought, however, that democracy springs forth spontaneously, from within the people, from within the collective. That's how it started here in America, right? Democracy is not a product to be plopped down on foreign soil. You can't shoehorn it into a society that is based on something entirely different. How can you take thousands of years of tribal existence and expect to just erase it and replace it with democracy? Like I've said before, we are stupid.

So while the upside/profit goes to private individuals (investors and stakeholders), the downside/losses/mess/cleanup/liabilities go to the American people/taxpayers. The latest is the $40 million dollar super-prison in the middle of the desert in Iraq that is sitting idle/empty and will likely have to be bulldozed because of shoddy construction. Don't even get me started on the $100 million in bricks of $100 dollar bills - pallets and pallets of shrink wrapped cash that went missing in Iraq. "Hey what about that $100 million stored in the warehouse!? Has anyone checked on that lately?" Don't even get me started.

Sure there can be the upside of a job well done - a people and a country who are happier and safer and more productive and better off - because of U.S. military (or civil) involvement. Can anyone name the last time this happened? Germany and Japan and most of Europe after World War II? I'm not up on my American military and foreign policy history, but in my lifetime, it's been debacle after debacle.

Does anyone remember that we armed and trained the rebel dudes in Afghanistan during the Russian occupation of that country? The rebel dudes (mujahideen aka al Qaeda) that we are now paying to put down with lives and blood and cash. Our cash. Your cash. The lives and blood of our loved ones. For what? Democracy? In your dreams.

We are being Enron'd by our own government. Enron'd by the special business interests with the blessing and aid of our own government. The American people are seen as a big cash cow - an unlimited ever flowing fountain of tax dollars. The largest cash cow ever. Keep the money flowing while everyone is too busy with "life" to notice that we are screwing them. Too busy trying to make a buck and figure out how to put Johnny and Amy in college. Too busy trying to make a buck and figure out how to afford $4/gallon gas. Too busy trying to make a buck and figure out if you should walk away from your $400k mortgage on a $300k house. Too busy trying to make a buck and figure out what the fuck happened to the "American Dream". The problem is we all are/were dreaming. The capitalist induced dream of more, bigger, faster, cooler, better off this year than I was last year.

So, I got sidetracked in my intro as usual. Sidetracked into war and Iraq and Afghanistan. But that's why you guys love me right? My obtuse/obscure tangents are hopefully not entirely a waste.

I wanted to lay some pertinent ground work for where I will be going with this thread. What if? What if we were to actually walk the walk and talk the talk on what America and democracy and the American way is "supposed" to be. What if we were truly using our resources and efforts to re-build Iraq after Saddam? Schools, universities and jobs and training for the men. Water and power (oops!) projects. Infrastructure. Agriculture. An economy that fits the Middle Eastern tribal/Islamic model. Sure we should "ever so gently" try to influence the way they think about and treat women there, but not at point of a gun. We should deal with all things counter to basic human rights - always. But what if we were actually doing it right? Doing it peacefully with the citizenry and leaders and letting the military deal with the bad guys. My hat's off to our soldiers and their leaders. They have a tough job there. What exactly is their job there? I forget.

If they had a life, if they had a future, a roof over their heads, a job to go to, something to look forward to, they wouldn't be wanting to kill the dudes occupying their country.

The thing is, we are all going to have to start getting along.

But first, we have to make our government and leadership accountable. Accountable to we the people.

"True patriots must be willing to defend their country against their government..." [Attributed to author Edward Abbey]

Monday, July 28, 2008

From lingerie, to total one post.

I just left this comment on a thread on the PickensPlan. A guy wrote to me about all of the little things we can do to save energy - turning out lights is a start, plus a hundred other things we can/must start doing to individually save energy.

Here is my comment back...

Hola Marty,

I definitely agree that there are a multitude of "little things" we all need to be doing to reduce our individual energy consumption. But, I would actually like to see someone run the numbers. Turning off lights and tweaking the t-stat a few degrees one way or the other is one thing, but I fear that true, meaningful savings will only be achieved by drastic, monumental, incontrovertible, involuntary, inevitable means.

There are simply not enough resources on this planet/blue marble for everyone to have/use unlimited power. How much silicon and other potentially toxic raw materials does PV manufacturing require? What of our primitive battery technology? Are there toxic waste streams that will be generated from solar PV, battery storage and wind turbine manufacture of the gigantic scale that will be required to fuel the world? T

The wastes/risks of nuclear power are known. Nukes supply 15-20% of our power in the U.S. now. What if we go to 80% like France? What if the entire world goes to 80% nuke sourced? Has anyone run the numbers on how much yellowcake this possibility would require? Has anyone run the numbers on how much radioactive waste this will produce, how many millions of hectares it will require world-wide to store it? If we are using vast amounts of land to store radioactive waste, how does that impact arable land and world food production? How can we be sure water supplies will be safe for 10,000 years, and not tainted by radiation?

Perhaps we are on the crux/flux of a new technological/intellectual/scientific era, but the absence of real education even in the United States will likely preclude that. Even though we humans think we are pretty smart, and can put a man on the moon, we collectively have done some pretty stupid things in the past 100 years, like becoming dependent on the internal combustion engine, polluting our oceans to the point of impacting fisheries and the natural balance of ecosystems in a major way, just to name a few. Not to mention global warming.

Who knows? I suppose we must all start taking baby steps.

I see two really, really big things we need to start the ball rolling on post haste - education and birth control - worldwide.

Without those two, we are doomed.

There are simply too many people. Too many stupid people.

Tango & Lingerie :: Manuela Arcuri

Behind the scenes...

Tango Legs

I just ran across's a pretty cool little video someone made...with pretty good musicality (in the editing)...

Sunday, July 27, 2008



Antigravitational rotational time dilation abstraction...

Antigravitational rotational time dilation abstraction...

Tango and the City :: Suzy Vegas

I'm really liking what I'm reading over at Last Tango in Buenos Aires.

Suzy Vegas.

Check her out.

In particular, in her "Tango and the City" post, I like what she says about how most people in relationships (and in life) "compete" rather than "feel". That's some very observant shit. I hadn't thought of it that way before (tango). But now (fully immersed in tango...okay, partially immersed) it makes total sense.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sometimes Salvation

Spine Tingling

What is it that makes one's spine tingle? For me, it's like a little spurt or rush or zing of energy from about mid-back, upwards through my neck, ending where my headbone connects to my neckbone. At the exact moment it completes its journey, my neck hairs stand on end.

Mostly it happens when I'm listening to music. It happened when this happened. Sometimes it happens with a thought. Sometimes it happens from the visual cortex - like seeing the Milky Way stretching across the night sky.

In the case of this post, it happened when I first listened to this song.

On nuevo tango :: Sex with Pornographic Athletes

I didn't say it, Suzy Vegas did.

"Salon tango is like having sex with someone you love, nuevo tango is like having sex with a pornographic athlete."
Suzy Vegas []

But now I'm wondering what happens when you dance tango with someone you love who has the skillset of a pornographic athlete....?

Tango Estilo del Perro

Nothing against doble frente, it just popped into my head while reading something on Tango-L...I post this with a big grin...

Yo no sé por qué razón

For the song, the lyrics, not the dancing...although the dancing ain't too shabby...

Sticking with my "no judgement"...and policy of Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Race, Sex, Color, National Origin, Disability, Religion, Age, Sexual Orientation, Status as a Parent, Politics, Carbon Footprint and Tango are two versions...

I love this song, but alas, it does not find itself in my collection...anyone willing to help me with that?

Kinda nuevo-ey...Claudio y Diana

Most definitely nuevo...Gaston y Mariela

Yo no se por que razon

Friday, July 25, 2008

Well I had a dream I stood beneath an orange sky...

This is the best version of the song "Orange Sky" by Alexi Murdoch that I could find. The one I listen to, the KGSR Live version, is the best I think, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Oh it is....hear it...and weep...

Here are the lyrics...

Well I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
Yes I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
With my brother standing by
With my brother standing by
I said Brother, you know you know
It's a long road we've been walking on
Brother you know it is you know it is
Such a long road we've been walking on

And I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
With my sister standing by
With my sister standing by
I said Sister, here is what I know now
Here is what I know now
Goes like this..
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, in your love, in your love

But sister you know I'm so weary
And you know sister
My hearts been broken
Sometimes, sometimes
My mind is too strong to carry on
Too strong to carry on

When I am alone
When I've thrown off the weight of this crazy stone
When I've lost all care for the things I own
That's when I miss you, that's when I miss you, that's when I miss you
You who are my home
You who are my home
And here is what I know now
Here is what I know now
Goes like this..
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, in your love, in your love

Well I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
Yes I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
With my brother and my sister standing by
With my brother and my sister standing by
With my brother and my sister standing by

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fade Into You :: Mazzy Star

On the subject of nuevo tango :: a more intellectual connection?

Some guy on Tango-L today said that nuevo tango (note my passive aggressive use of lower case) involves a "more intellectual connection".

He didn't outright say "a more intellectual connection than traditional Tango", but I will take it as imnplied. A veiled insult against my intellect. Well, the intellect of us all.

I think I know what he was trying to say, that somehow nuevo requires/involves more thinking/real time analytical processes during the dance.

And that, my friends, is the difference between the two forms. The perfection of the perfect connection comes when there is no conscious thought. It comes when two people are absolutely there, in the moment, with the music and each other and nothing else.

It's sad that so many people will never experience this.

So don't get me wrong, although I am most definitely an AT purist, I am still in a "live and let live", "no judgement", "it's all good" tolerance mindset with regard to nuevo, but I'm with my new friends Jorge* & Mrs. Red Dress when they say (my paraphrasing) "it ain't Argentine Tango..."

Movement Invites Movement :: A New Tango Blog

My thanks go out to Jorge* & Mrs. Red Dress (very nice dress by the way) for adding this blog to their blogroll. They just started blogging this month, and have no doubt already created a stir by unequivocally stating that "Nuevo is NOT Tango".

My kinda folks!

Although, I must admit that this past weekend, at the Gustavo y Giselle Atlanta workshop (who some, including a good tango friend of mine...) view as "Nuevo" dancers), during a class, I broke into about one minute of FauxNuevo. It was my own little joking parody of memyselfandI if I were a Nuevo dancer. It made her laugh, so it musta worked.

Anyway, check out the new blog here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sin titulo

Originally uploaded by Malena_c

No words are necessary...

Leaders' Tango Fashion Faux Pas

Dudes, this is short and sweet and hopefully to the point...

Do not wear Wrangler jeans and ropers (cowboy boots).

Do not wear a white silk "outfit" consisting of Japanese inspired capri pants, with a dainty matching short sleeve top with a nehru collar, bottomed out with patent leather white shoes and cute little white socks. If a woman had been wearing this, I would have been weak in the knees. With a guy wearing it, I was just scared. (Truth be told, this "outfit" was in a class, not a milonga, which is even worse.) Guys do not wear "outfits". Never ever. And capri pants? WTF?

Do not wear gigantic enormous billowy high water Maoist pant-type things with side snaps where your legs show through. The visual of hairy male leg skin is too shocking to the other males and it negates, offsets, and dilutes the calm inducing preponderance/predominance of the large amounts of female leg skin.

I would love to wear a kilt to stay cool in a milonga. I would probably dance more by staying cooler. But I won't. I promise.

A side note on female leg skin. During a class this weekend, I minorly dinged my partner's shin doing a leader back sacada. (I know, I know...) Being an attentive and respectful and caring kinda guy, I apologized and immediately bent over to check it and rub it a little. I was not expecting the level of smoothness, softness, suppleness that I encountered with the tip of my right index finger. It was almost mind blowing. My reaction was to stand bolt upright and resume the embrace whilst muttering something like "holy shit". She got it. We laughed. I love to laugh (when in context) in classes (more often) and milongas (much less often). It seems too many people are taking tango way too seriously.

That is all.

Pretty darned cute...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gustavo y Giselle Anne :: Here's the video...

R&R :: Day One

Photo by Petter Hegre
Saturday Morning Dreaming :: I really like this table...

You know how sometimes when you are waking up - for me it's usually when I am sleeping in - and you drift in and out of these semi-dreaming, semi-sleeping, semi-waking states? It's nice when it happens. Rare.

I stayed at last night's milonga until the bitter end, although I didn't dance the last few tandas, choosing instead to watch. Oh, in case you didn't catch it, I'm in Atlanta at the Gustavo y Giselle workshop - here ostensibly for "just the milongas" - although I noticed there is an advanced class this afternoon that is still open to leaders. Anyway, I got to bed around 3:00 or 3:30 I suppose, and was having some nice dreamy feelings this morning as I was waking up. Feelings of contentment, of gratitude, for what tango has brought into my life. I was trying to remember all my dances last night. They were all nice dances, even my one community service dance. Even community service tango feels good.

Gustavo y Giselle's performance was great - outstanding - fantastic. The real treat for me was watching them dance socially - they were warming up and having fun. They are so good, that after you have seen them many times, that level of dancing becomes the norm them. The expected. The beauty and technique and musicality and connection are all somehow anti-climactic. Don't get me wrong - they are moving and a joy to watch - but somehow...something...I can't explain it.

And don't forget the passion. I was talking with a friend about Ezequiel y Sabrina and Javier y Geraldine and their passion when they were together. The passion seems to be missing with them now, with their new partners. But not with G & G, the passion is still there, although it's more like a bed of hot coals. Not a big fanning flame of passion, but a deep, strong, white-hot heat of love. I think I see that with them. They are such a great couple. I admire them. Last night was a room full of G&G disciples. We wouldn't have been there if we didn't admire and respect them.

The video of the first song/dance is still uploading an hour later. I'll try to get it posted later.

The milonga last night was a treat. I would guess there were about 150 folks. Great DJ'ing by Avik...but a leader/buddy and I were talking about how there was a large proportion of "fast". Fast tangos, fast vals', and some painfully sloooow milongas. Overall, an A+ on the DJ'ing, you just can't really find fault there.

I had a wonderful surprise running into friends from Phoenix. I hadn't seen them since Austin back in November. It was great to catch up with them. That's one thing I love about tango - all the great people. We're going to have dinner tonight before the milonga.

There were lots of other familiar faces to say hi to and catch up with. Catch up and then dance a tanda (with the followers anyway).

My tango was okay. Not bad for not really having danced in four months. Stuff started coming back to me by the end of the evening. I completely forgot about volcadas. I was talking to my buddy from Phoenix, joking about Gustavo & Giselle's reverse double counter clockwise rotation back volcada with a twist, a gainer and a pike. I was joking in envy, it's a clean, simple, difficult to lead volcada that is a signature for them. Anyway we were laughing at my verbose descriptives, and it dawned on me that I had forgotten about them altogether. I'm not a big volcada dude. I'm a big dude, okay, but, I'm not big on volcadas, and not big volcadas either. I have a sweet little milonguero volcada "normal" that I do. At most, I may follow it up with another one, linked to the first, on the close side with a walk out in crossed feet over there. Anyway I forgot about them until the last tanda. I'm sure more "stuff" will come back to me today and tonight.

One thing about volcadas for the ladies. I noticed this one follower doing a "heel drag" version with a lead who appeared to be stuck in volcada mode. I thought to myself, "Self, isn't the follower supposed to trace her toe on the floor, and not her heel?" Maybe it's something new, but I didn't care for it. It was as if she were scraping dogshit off the end of her stiletto. I dunno, maybe she was.

Also, I saw a new left hand form. I will call it the "hook 'em horns" form. Hook em' horns is a saying and a gesture with regard to the Texas Longhorns. Index finger and pinky finger extended. There was a leader dancing this way and I winced a little bit, but then thought it cute. It's all good you know. He will learn and/or come into his own. There was also a fair amount of the "bang bang you're dead" form. Left index finger extended like you are making a gun with your hand - shooting it at the ceiling like in the old west days in a saloon.

Floorcraft and nav were good. There were a few issues in getting around the edges of the dance floor - to the entrance/exit, to the food/wine table, and to the restrooms. Some people were talking that the overall/general level of dancing was lower than expected/desired. All my dances were good. I was a little rusty, but I just got into the connection/embrace first and foremost, focused on music/ality, and it all turned out just fine. Nice dances. Nice women. Lots of really good looking women. There's something I'm going through these days where women just seem to be getting better and better looking, softer skin and hair, they smell better, their teeth are whiter and more perfect. What's up with that? I think it must be some cruel trick God or the Universe is playing on me.

Oh, and my left shoulder was killing me last night and this morning. I stopped on the way here yesterday and bought some Motrin. That seemed to help. A lot. The pain would be worse without it. I only noticed my hand dropping a bit during one dance at the end of the evening.

The only down element of the evening was that I dripped vino tinto all over my favorite shirt. Well, one of my favorites. It's a light blue linen number with nice embroidery down the button placket thingy - whatever you call it. I think it will be okay, I hand washed it in the bathtub. I need to get some stain remover. There was a crack in the bottom of the plastic vaso and I didn't notice until it was too late.

My plans for my R&R day today? (for my international readers, R&R is "rest & relaxation...) A big breakfast. Lay out by the pool and read and sleep. Go see the new Batman Movie. Perhaps try to shoehorn my way into the advanced class late this afternoon - mostly as an icebreaker to meet more followers.

I better get my ass in gear. I'm burning daylight.

Also, kudos to Ronda and Manuel...they throw a nice party...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Auger bit from hell...

This is the reason my shoulders and elbows hurt so bad right now...


Gone dancin'...

Gone dancin'...

Gustavo y Giselle are in town for a four day workshop. Four milongas over four nights, although I already missed last night's milonga. I won't be attending any of the workshops - no partner, no bread. I've vacillated for the past couple of months, because of the expense involved. I finally decided to throw caution to the wind, along with a fair amount of money.

I'm justifying it as a birthday gift to myself, and some well deserved R&R.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A photo

This is a self portrait of me and a friend dancing tango...I farted around with photoshop to make it look grainy and scratched and in theory, old. I took it a while back and uploaded it to my flickr account, but kept it private/hidden for whatever reason.

Here it is now, for all the world to see. Okay, maybe not all the world, but at least you guys.

DA Tango

Another tango travesty in the media...

Why, oh why, does tango always seem to get the most twisted press in the national/world media? Why do the producers and their bosses seem to cater to the kitsch and the ratings and not the reality? When was the last time any of us saw national media coverage of Argentine Tango in its purest form - a social milonga? It could be in Buenos Aires, it could be a milonga in New York City, or L.A. or Portland or wherever.

Anything, but not this. Horrific is the only word I can think of.

By the way, thanks to Cherie for the first post on the subject - back on June 11.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Call it full...What a fool I am...

My little moon meter down at the bottom right of this blog tells me that the moon is "waxing gibbous"...99% full...let's just call it a full moon...tonight...and tomorrow night...and more or less on Friday night...

I've felt it the past couple of's not a bad feeling, in general, although it can be a downer at's more of a gut feeling...that things are somehow amiss...things in the world...kind of a general's difficult to describe, because it's so very subtle, sometimes I miss it myself...

It makes me want to listen to songs like this...and remember someone special in my life...who is no longer in my life....except in a memory...

Sometimes I forget to remember her...I was with her right years Malibu, California...and it was to be the last time ever I saw her face...

What a fool I was...what a fool I am...still a fool...

Extreme physical exertion...

Extreme exertion, yes. Am I sore? Yes. Is it hotter and more humid than hell? Yes.

Does it feel good? You're darn tootin'.

I feel good, healthy, strong. I'm losing weight. I'm tanned from working without a shirt. I know, I know, I should be protecting myself with a shirt and sunscreen. I'm sleeping odd hours, but getting 9 or 10 hours of sleep a night. Work and sleep. I eat when I can.

I've done a couple of crazy things, like toting a 350 pound beam, on my shoulder, by myself, and worked it up two ladders to its final resting place 10 feet above the ground on top of two columns. I'm lucky I didn't fall and break my neck and then have the beam fall and crush my head like a watermelon. Augusto wasn't there to help me - he's vertically challenged anyway - I'm about three of him.

Yesterday, I almost broke my wrist twice muscle-ing a 1/2" 8.0 amp drill with a 2" auger bit 13" into the dead center end grain of a column. When the thing hawgs into the wood, sometimes it bites so hard that the resulting tweak goes from the drill to my fingers, to my wrist, torque-ing my elbow, and wrenching my shoulder.

Luckily, my cat-like reflexes allow me to react and absorb the energy - letting go of the drill and twisting with some tango contra-body torsion whilst cursing that would make a sailor blush. I have to be especially careful when drilling with this rig into the top of a column, standing on the top step (big no-no) of a 6 ft step ladder. I only have two more of these bearish monster holes to drill, and now I have scaffolding set up for better footing and safety.

That drill is deceiving in that it is so small and light, but it is a powerful little mo-fo. It must be 1 horsepower. Anyway, I'll be more careful - now that I'm almost finished with the heavy boring.

Now that I'm writing about it, I don't like it that I'm apparently taking some stupid risks. Me Mr. Safety Man. I've always been high on safety - except that time I chopped my leg with an axe. Straight on, right into the high point of my left shin bone. It didn't hurt too bad, but I got a little woozy when the flesh started to slowly part and I could see the bone.

I'll be careful, I promise. In the coming days I'll be framing the roof.

Here's the scarf joint - half of it anyway - I'll be setting the sister beam tomorrow. There are two scarf joints - dead center on the door when you walk out into the loggia. It's kinda my little signature thing to make it "special".

Scarf joint...

Here's a wider view. The small holes in the sides of the columns are for my custom designed nut thingamajigger - for the hidden structural connection using 1/2" threaded rod. The holes will be hidden/filled with wood plugs. I don't think I will even need to add kickers, but I probably will just to be safe for racking action/forces. The thing is bomb-proof.

Work in progress...

Here are all of my hand tools, collected at the end of the day. I decided to take a photo for posterity.

My hand tools...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A comment as a post

I was going to leave this as a comment somewhere...another tango blog...but I thought better of it...I though it would sound too crass...

You can try to figure out where...

I'm sorry, but you attended four tango festivals in the span from April 20 to July 4 (two months and fourteen days - mas o menos). That would hardly constitute "not dancing much tango" in my book. I don't want to sound crass, but are we supposed to feel sorry for you?

I've only danced once or twice since last Thanksgiving, and before that, it was the Denver Memorial Day Fest (2007) - one milonga only.

Some of us are really not dancing much tango.

Feel sorry for me.

How about a date for poor lil' 'ol me? Your potential future-ex ex-tango dancing ex-lover...?


OOPS! I forgot, I did dance a lot at the Atlanta Tango Fest, back at the beginning of April, so it's been about 3-1/2 months for me...sin tango...but a very sparse tango year for me...okay, yeah, I did the Gustavo y Giselle Atlanta workshop in July of 2007...two or three milongas...okay...kinda sorta sparse in the tango department...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Three Women of Tango :: by Terence Clarke

I ran across this here.

Three Women of Tango, by Terence Clarke


There is a tango entitled "Tengo Miedo", written in 1929.

Tu cariño me enloquece.
Tu pasión me da la vida.
Sinembargo tengo miedo,
tengo miedo de quererte.
(Your affection drives me crazy.
Your passion gives me life.
But just the same I'm afraid,
I'm afraid to love you.)

In New York some years ago, I danced occasionally with Julietta, a woman who had had three husbands, two of whom she had left. The third was named William, a retired American investment banker who was a tall and quiet New England Protestant who'd attended Choate and Harvard. He was quite well-spoken despite his shyness, gray-haired and usually clothed in New England tweed, a blue dress shirt and an old-school tie, and he treated Julietta with extraordinary kindliness. He was many years older than she. They lived on Sutton Place and were of such polished elegance that they seemed simply out of place dancing Argentine tango.

She was of Paraguayan extraction, very dark with extremely dark eyes, who was known among the tango people in New York as one who kept to herself. She spoke no Spanish, having been raised in East Side Manhattan on Fifth Avenue. Julietta and William had a great deal of money, and had traveled the world, staying in the most remarkable hotels anyone could imagine. They received an expensive gift every Christmas, for example, from the general manager of the Danieli in Venice, where they would stay for a month each year. A hand-written letter as well from that same general manager.

Julietta was a fine tango dancer. One afternoon, I danced with her to "Tengo miedo", recorded by Ada Falcón with the orchestra of Francisco Canaro. This tango is no longer well known, but Falcón sings it in such a way that I feel it is an undiscovered treasure. The lyrics tell of a woman afraid to love her lover. The irony of the performance is that, when Falcón declares her fear, she does so with a smile in her voice.

I asked Julietta if she knew the lyrics to this tango. When she replied that she did not, I translated them for her as we danced.

Tengo miedo ... A pause, in which you can feel Falcon's search for the correct words, which she delivers with considerable intensity, as though she's looking up at her lover and saying, with a smile, "Yes. Yes, I will." Tengo miedo ... de quererte.

Toward the end of the tango, I sensed that the emotional state in which we had begun dancing had changed. For one thing, the front of my shirt was damp. The music came to an end, and as I released Julietta from the embrace I saw that she was in tears.

"It's just that ... that translation ... it reminded me of my father," she explained. "I ... I loved him so."

"What did he do?" I asked.

"He died!"

"No, I mean what did he do for a living?"

"Oh..." Julietta shrugged. "He was unusual for someone from Paraguay. He was in shipping. He owned ships." She put the fingers of her right hand to her lips as she surveyed the dance floor. She was wearing a ring of black jade. "I stopped seeing him after I finished school. Sarah Lawrence. He wanted to see me. But I refused. And then ... then he died."

"What happened?" I asked.

"Well, I think ... I think he died of sadness." She sighed, looking for a moment at the ring, caressing it with her fingers. "Sadness for me."

Julietta and William once took me to a cloth and button store on lower Broadway in Manhattan that was staffed by elderly orthodox Jews, men who knew where each remnant was located in this store — a store filled with thousands of such remnants — where each bolt of cloth was, each button, each sequin. The store was long, very narrow, and very dusty. There was a broad window in front, but the daylight coming in from outside was for the most part cut off by piled up bolts of cloth.

Julietta shopped there for embroidery and brocade, cloth that reminded her, she said, of her mother, who had died long ago in Paraguay. The three of us had coffee afterwards in their apartment, and Julietta told me about the messages she had received from her mother, when she had been a little girl.

Her mother and father had been divorced, and her father had basically stolen the two-year-old and brought her to New York. He'd forbidden his former wife to visit them or to talk to Julietta on the phone. So the mother had sent letters to Julietta that she had sewed into remnants of embroidered lace and brocaded silk. The letters were secret. All her father knew was that his ex-wife was sending Julietta the sewn gifts, and he allowed the girl to receive them. Julietta suspected that his doing so absolved him of the guilt he must have felt being so cruel to his daughter. Each letter was a soulfully made present to a little girl far away, and each one of them had made her suffer terribly.

She showed me several of them that day. She had catalogued them by date and had stored them, singly, in protective manila envelopes. The letters themselves contained bits of family news and were written in very simple Spanish. Each was framed in cloth, pink, green, light blue, made playful by the lace that her mother had sewn to the cloth, by the colored thread that held the lace to the paper, by little tassels, cloth buttons, quilted little squares of velvet, gold brocade, bright cotton and silk, silver and white.

"The maid had to read them to me," Julietta told me, an admission that caused her mood to darken. "Because I couldn't understand the Spanish."

"Why haven't you ever learned Spanish?" I asked.

"I couldn't stand it! Spanish was my father's language, even though he spoke English to me. He spoke Spanish on the phone every day, doing business. It was like a gun or something. He was always so formally dressed, shirt and tie. Perfect. His hair combed, so handsome. And everything he said on the phone sounded so disapproving."

I read a few of the letters, translating out loud into English the news about the new bishop at the cathedral, about her mother's servant Locala, a Bolivian Indian woman who made such wonderful coffee, and Locala's sister Marisol who had six little children, all of whom prayed every Sunday for Julietta's soul.

Julietta nodded, joyful in her memories. When I looked up at her, she was seated in the sunlight coming in the window, in a chair for which she had done the needlepoint work on the chair back herself, a pair of dark red roses on an ebony background. William sat across from her, a saucer and cup of tea in his hands. He had heard this story many times before, it was obvious. But he listened in silence nonetheless, allowing Julietta her sorrow.

Earlier, she had handed the man at the Jewish remnant shop a twenty dollar bill, to pay for a selection of colorful remnants, a few pearlescent buttons, some red velvet tassels and a quite frayed but nonetheless somberly beautiful piece of blue Chinese silk. The man was in his seventies, wearing a wrinkled white shirt and black pants. His white beard was stained below his mouth with yellow. He wore a black yarmulke and he counted out the change from a drawer in the counter in a hurried manner. He had had to interrupt his cutting of a large piece of cloth with a pair of heavy scissors, and he appeared to resent the distraction. He put the items that Julietta had bought into a white plastic sack and handed it to her with her change, thanking her without looking at her.

The three of us passed back into the noisy flow of Broadway.

"What do you do with the remnants you buy?" I asked as we stood before the shop awaiting a taxi. The remnants showed through the plastic, as though shrouded by a cold fog.

For a moment, Julietta remained silent.

"I donate them to the Catholic girls' school in my neighborhood, for the girls' art classes."

She put on her sunglasses, and looked back over her shoulder at the shop window, the view through which was almost fully blocked by the ends of the bolts of cloth.

"I like their selection here. Their prices. They've got everything."

Her eyes were hidden by the glasses.

"But mostly," she murmured, "I come here to weep."


An Argentine couple I knew in New York had had an on-again/off-again relationship for many years. Federico was about fifty, short, squat, and had a terrific sense of the rhythms of tango and its related dance, the milonga. Lucia, known as La India, was rather tall, with long black hair that seemed to command the space around her upper body. You had to arrange your right hand carefully when you took her into your embrace, so that the hand would not pull her hair or ensnare it any painful way. She danced very slowly, and always appeared to be savoring this moment of masculine intensity.

India was the number one woman I knew for shopping at used clothing stores or "seconds" shops. Many of the tangueras in New York would not go shopping for dance clothing without her. I associated the sound of clothing stores — the tight click-click of hangers moving from or being replaced upon the racks — with her. The sound was a major part of India's personality. It was the sound of commerce being done in the name of artistic necessity.

She did not buy conservatively. For tango she dressed in the mode of a 1950s screen beauty. So there were a lot of sequins and tight dresses, very high heels, remarkable makeup. Film noir severity, with dark sunglasses, tight sweaters and long black skirts. A form of dress very often sought after by the older New York tangueras, say those over forty. The younger women don't much care for any of that, and appear at the practicas in Levis and baggy shirts, in keeping with the contemporary fashion of the streets. Basically they dress in hip-hop clothes, K-Mart style. The older Argentines cluck at this, certain that this kind of sloppy informality is an offense against tango itself, and will result in sloppy tango.

India, though, was sympathetic to the simpler mode of dress, even though she was well into her forties. I once asked her why, even in Buenos Aires, one sees so few women who take the trouble to dress for tango the way she did. She nodded and sighed.

"It's the economic situation in my country. It's always bad. The government. Corruption. So women there don't have the money to dress up like a two-bit tart." She smiled and lay a hand on my shoulder. "The way I do," she said.

India was five inches taller than Federico in her stocking feet. So, with heels she was seven or sometimes eight inches taller than he. She did not slouch when she danced with him. They looked like a pine tree dancing with a shrub. She appeared to love Federico as though there were no other lover in the world.

One evening I was cadging some cheese from the kitchen of a milonga in New York, sneaking around in the refrigerator. I'd found a little bread, some gouda, and a knife, and I was happy.

As I turned to return to the milonga, I saw India leaning in the kitchen doorway crying. She resembled - this evening - Ida Lupino in sunglasses

"India," I said. "¿Qué pasó?"

She looked up at me and I could see tears running down her face, melting pearls covering her cheeks with silvery light.

"Oh, it's just that ..."

She looked away. I found a roll of industrial paper tissue on the sink.

Tearing off a square of it, I approached her.

"It's just that Honey Bun doesn't love me any more," India said, taking the tissue from me.



I would not have equated Federico with the notion of being a honey bun. Glancing out to the dance floor, I saw that Federico was dancing with a portly blonde woman. Ada Falcón's voice floated through the kitchen. Tu cariño me enloquece. Driven mad by affection. The middle finger of the blonde's left hand was caressing the back of Federico's neck.

India sat down on a wooden chair and leaned forward, her elbows on her knees, her lower legs splayed out to the sides. She placed a hand on the back of her neck and grimaced. I felt she was on the verge of explaining some sort of secret to me, an internal solitude of some kind that would explain how she could give herself over so completely to such sadness.

"She wouldn't leave him alone. I asked him not to dance with her," India muttered, "but he went and did it."

There was nothing else. Silence. Tears. She daubed at them with the industrial tissue.

I had never seen such a display from India, and a few days later I was speaking with a mutual friend, a woman who knew her well. I worried out loud about the state of India's emotions.

"So this is the first time you've seen this act that Federico does?" my acquaintance asked.


"It happens once every few months," she said. "It sends India into some dark unhappiness that ..."

"That must be terrible for her," I muttered

"She loves it!"

"But who'd want anything like that?"

My friend shook her head.

"She says it makes her feel like a woman. A true woman. She lives for it."


Ada Falcón herself was a child star in Argentina, making her stage debut in 1910 at the age of five. Known then as La joyita argentina (The Little Argentine Jewel) she was an immediate hit as a singer during interludes between acts in Buenos Aires stage productions. At the age of thirteen, Ada made her first film and became an immediate star.

Her voice was mezzo-soprano, and so has a profundity not shared by the more usual sopranos. When she sings, there is nonetheless a kind of playfulness in her voice that seems to make fun of the possibilities for betrayal and desperation that fill so many of the tango lyrics. When she is singing of the disappointment life can bring — when she's seen how the love she's given away has then been thrown away — now that she's given up what she had in such abundance as a child: innocence, trust, laughter — now that the only thing she has left from that time is the memory of the madreselva, the honeysuckle that grew up a wall, to the flowers of which she confided her closest secrets, when there's nothing left at all, Ada still sings with a smile in her voice, fresh and genuine, and with a suggestion of jaded desire for the person to whom she is singing.

She is a Judy Garland-like figure. Evidently she did not attend school. Rather she had personal teachers who worked with her when she was not making movies or singing or making records. She was also quite remarkably beautiful, notably so. By the time she was in her twenties, she was driving around Buenos Aires in a fast, red luxury convertible, she owned a fabulous three-story home in the Recoleta neighborhood, and she was appearing in public wrapped in fur and glittering with jewels. In the early thirties, she made approximately fifteen recordings a month. She was a superstar, and when you listen to her recordings you understand why. There are few singers in any genre who approach their songs with as much casual authority, yet fine artistic judgment, as Ada Falcón.

She was not as successful in matters of love.

She fell for Francisco Canaro, who was himself one of the most successful tango orchestra leaders of the twenties and thirties. This man's music is extremely popular to this day. Many of Falcón's greatest recordings were made with Canaro, including "Tengo miedo". I have listened to most of them, and wondered how much of the passion that is so evident in her voice came about because Canaro himself was standing near her as she sang, behind her, watching her and marveling at the feeling with which she gave him back the songs that he had given her.

In 1943, at the age of thirty-eight, at the peak of her career, Falcón abandoned it. Her retirement was sudden, completely unexpected and extremely strange. She began to appear on the streets of Buenos Aires in disguise, it seemed, her head swathed in scarves, shawls hanging about her shoulders, her considerably lovely eyes hidden behind slab-like sunglasses. She stopped recording. There were reports in the newspapers about strange nighttime peregrinations, about her odd dress, her raving. What was more unexpected was that she abruptly left Buenos Aires one day in the company of her mother, traveled to Cordoba, Argentina and there entered the Molinari Convent of Franciscan nuns.

There is a great deal of speculation about her decision to leave show business, the life she had known almost since birth, and to enter the contemplative life under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Most center upon her love for Canaro. Because Canaro had a wife.

Evidently Falcón had been very guilt-ridden about her affair with a married man, yet overwhelmed by the love she felt for him. She had pleaded with Canaro to divorce his wife so that she could marry him. Canaro had agreed, but did not actually go through with the divorce action. He kept Falcón on one hand and his wife on the other, for years. There were family reasons. The Church, you see. We just have to wait for a while, he said, to keep it respectable. We have careers. We have obligations. Falcón waited, until the day on which Canaro admitted to her that he would never leave his wife under any circumstances.

Falcón, the theory says, went mad. She went to the streets, wandered the streets, swathed in craziness. Shortly thereafter, her mother took her away and she entered the convent.

Ada Falcón died in 2002, at niney-six, in the convent in Cordoba. She seldom left the convent, she never recorded another song, and it's my guess that she never recovered her heart.

Treat :: A Treat

God, Santana was just so prolific, with so much good music. These guys could jam. I'm in a Santana mood...just sitting here listening to my iTunes...but it's 2am and I'm hungry...

Jingo :: Dig it

I've been looking for this version for a long time. I would pipe it to my stereo system upstairs, in order to pull that big drum up on the subwoofer, but it's 2am and I don't want to wake the neighborhood.

This one is best listened to really, really loud.

Samba Pa Ti :: Carlos Santana

Pure audio with slide show...

"Down home" video of a TV show...pretty good audio...

Cool but interrupted version from Germany in 1971...great audio and video...

The Project :: Pennsylvania Bluestone :: The Last Tango in Georgia

After almost five weeks of waiting, my stone is finally being delivered this morning - the first of two loads. I thought it was going to be roughly 16 tons, but the supplier just gave me the total weight - it's closer to 32 tons. 64,000 pounds of stone to be hauled by hand around into the backyard, and then set, obviously, by hand. Mucho trabajo would be an understatement.

It's going to look something like this. Full color, sawcut, flamed, 'pattern'.

Emailing: bluestonef6.jpg

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A new bloguera...

Suzy Vegas...The Last Tango in Buenos Aires...

Cradle of Love....

This is the song by Kelly Willis that started this flurry of music played in my iPod mix today...and it struck a chord...

Anyway, I found it, and wasn't impressed with the audio I started posting all these others...but I will finish up with this one....the lyrics are below...note that the guy playing guitar is the songwriter...Paul Kelly...

Holy shit it hurts to listen to this one...

Baby you look tired and baby you look beat
Seems like you've been working eight days a week
Baby take a break from all you've been thinking of
And come into my cradle of love

Baby let me hold you and rock your cares away
Put aside your troubles at the ending of the day
Cause when we lie together I fit you like a glove
Come into my cradle of love

Down in the valley you can lose your name
All your sorrow and your pain
The dark warm waters they can heal you
And make you all brand new again

So baby come on over and lean your head on me
Here in my arms now is where you're meant to be
Baby take advantage of all I've got to give
Come into my cradle of love oh

Down in the valley you can lose your name...

So baby come on over and lean your head on me
Come into my cradle of love
Baby let me be your cradle of love
Oh babe come into my cradle of love oh yes oh

I have not forgotten you...

A thousand miles from nowhere...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Untitled by LaPigna

Originally uploaded by lapigna

I'm gonna break my rusty cage.........and run....

Folsom Prison Blues

A Boy Named Sue

Neruda Wordle


Wanna see my wordle?

From Johanna...she found this cool little widgety site...called Wordle...

I don't care for it (my wordle), but it is what it is...I think it only looks back a few days/posts into your mine is all about the Pickens Plan and wind power and energy and such....

It would be interesting if it had a more powerful algorithm to look at all the words in a blog, or at least 30 days or so...

But it's definitely a cool site...something to bookmark and play with...


I think I figgered out what I want to do when I grow up...

But without so much drama...without the extreme apilado...Gavito-'esque' you might say...when I'm 84...dancing with a 24 year old potranca...

Sorry, I'm male, what can I say...

I think the audio is off synch a bit...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Today is my birthday...

I wish we could all have some champagne!


Today is my birthday...I have a thing about working on one's birthday...I don't think anyone should ever have to work on their should be a paid holiday in the corporate world...

But, that said, I am working today...cutting scarf joints on my beams...I had a nice invitation to go dance tango tonight in Atlanta...but just can't swing it unfortunately...

This is me somewhere around age 2...maybe 2-1/2...

My Baby Picture...

Note that I am still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Pickens Plan :: Resources

Wildorado Wind Ranch

If you are interested in more information on the subject...

EIA :: Energy Information Agency :: Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government

U.S. Department of Energy :: Wind Powering America

National Renewable Energy Laboratory :: Wind Research

Wikipedia Article on Wind Power in Texas ::

Note that Texas has the largest current capacity (5,300 MW) and has been doing research since 1970. California is second in capacity at 2,400 MW.


Mesa Power [T. Boone Pickens]
FPL Energy [Florida Power & Light]
Seawest Windpower
AES Wind Generation
Shell Wind Energy
BP Alternative Energy [British Petroleum]
Cielo Power [Austin, TX]
Edison Mission Group [Irvine, CA]
American Electric Power
RES Americas
Invenergy, LLC

[In general, I would look to, and expect, all electrical utility companies and all major oil companies to become involved in wind/alternative energy development in the coming some way, shape, or form...]


Siemens Power Generation


West Texas Wind Energy Consortium
The Wind Coalition
American Wind Energy Association
Alternative Energy Institute
Industrial Wind Action Group [Great site for wind power in the news...]
Global Wind Energy Council
Wind Law Institute ??


North American Wind Power
Mahalo Search Result :: [Some good info here on Pickens & Mesa Power...]
Renewable Energy World

YouTube Video :: Making Wind Power a Reality
Juan de Bedout, a scientist at General Electric's Global Research Center discusses wind power at a recent energy briefing at the Technology Center.

The Pickens Plan :: More Detail

Okay, so T. Boone Pickens is building a big wind farm near Pampa, Texas with 2,700 wind turbines generating a combined total of 4,000 megawatts. The cost is estimated be $1.2 billion. In the construction business we call an estimate "an opinion of probable final cost". (grin)

So, to get wind power up to 20% of our total, that would be 9,600,000 MW (megawatts). So, we would have to build 2,400 wind farms just like this one at a cost of $2,880,000,000,000 (two trillion, eight hundred eighty billion dollars).

Damn! We're already over budget! Pickens said it could be done for $1.2 trillion.

Okay, I gotta get my head around this :: The Pickens Plan

Do you ever start thinking about something and it just boggles your mind and bothers you?

I had to run some rough numbers to get my head around this whole PickensPlan wind energy thing.

This appears to be a useful resource :: EIA :: Energy Information Administration :: Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government ::

Total U.S. electricity generation capacity is currently at about 4,065 million megawatt hours [MWh].

Here's the breakdown ::

Total U.S. Electric Power Production

According to PickensPlan (info gleaned from the home page), wind turbine power is currently at about 48 million megawatt hours [MWh] or 1% of total U.S. power production. Doing the math, that would put the figure at 4,800 billion kWh.

So, for argument's sake, let's say total current capacity is at 5,000 billion kWh.

First and foremost, which I don't ever hear anyone talking about, is the concept of maximum energy production. Under the current state of "affluenza", it's all about more, more, more. We need MORE power, more this, more that. But we don't. Can we all agree that we can't continue building power plants and extracting resources infinitely for ever and ever.

We need to come clean with the concept of using less energy, figuring out how to live the American dream consuming LESS energy.

So, given that, let's say 5,000 billion kWh is our max - the concept that we should never need more power than that.

Also according to the PP home page, the average American household uses roughly 10,000 kWh (per year). I backed into the figure by using the statement that "4,800 billion kWh is enough power to supply 4.5 million households...".

Keep in mind though, that infrastructure, commercial and industrial power needs are in the 5,000 billion kWh figure.

Now moving on to the dollars.

Pickens says $1.0 trillion for enough wind farms to bring the wind power proportion to 20% of total. Plus $200 billion for the electrical distribution/power grid.

So, corporate sponsorships with little decals on the blades of the turbines aside, let's start talking about where we are going to come up with $1.2 trillion dollars. Or let's say half that as a start - $600 billion.

The momentum of this movement will solve the land challenges - that is the easy part to me.

$600 the manufacturing capacity to build millions and millions of turbines.

According to this article on Wikipedia - "Wind Power in Texas", "The Wildorado Wind Ranch is located near Amarillo and consists of 161 MW of wind turbines (70 Siemens Mk II turbines each with a rating of 2.3 MW). These turbines have the capacity to meet the electricity demand of more than 50,000 households."

I'm not sure of the conversion from MW to MWh, but it it's linear, that would mean it takes seventy one [71] 2.3 MW turbines to generate 161 MW of power. It seems to me from driving by Wildorado, that there are more than 71 turbines, but let's go with that figure.

We need 10% from wind (remember, I am going with half of the 20% figures to start out) - so 500 billion kWh. 161 MW = mega is 1,000,000 right? Kilo is 1,000. So 161 million kWh?

I'm lost now. Any engineers out there care to help?

I'm trying to figure out how many 2.3 MW turbines it will take to provide 500 billion kWh....? I've got units/conversion issues going on. Let's just say that's a lot of turbines that need to manufactured - not to mention the manufacturing facilities that need to be built to do it. I'm sure the production capacity is not there right now.

Also, to get your head around the dollars involved, a $250 million dollar construction project is huge - like Coors Field (baseball stadium) in Denver. $4.8 billion is the final cost of the Denver International Airport. So, $600 billion dollars is huge - the equivalent of building 125 huge airports.

So, now I have my head wrapped around the problem...did this help you at all?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Here comes my happiness again :: Formerly "Color me listless"

God you gotta love my mood swings...all it takes is a song...and this is damn good one...turn it up!

From Raul Malo & The Mavericks :: Dance the night away

Here are the lyrics ::

[Hello Austin!]

Here comes my happiness again
Right back to where it should have been
'Cause now she's gone and I am free
And she can't do a thing to me

I just wanna dance the night away
With senoritas who can sway
Right now tomorrow's lookin' bright
Just like the sunny mornin' light

And if you should see her
Please let her know that I'm well
As you can tell
And if she should tell you
That she wants me back
Tell her no
I gotta go


I just wanna dance the night away
With senoritas who can sway
Right now tomorrow's lookin' bright
Just like the sunny mornin' light

And if you should see her
Please let her know that I'm well
As you can tell

And if she should tell you
That she wants me back
Tell her no
I gotta go

I just wanna dance the night away
With senoritas who can sway
Right now tomorrow's lookin' bright
Just like the sunny mornin' light

I just wanna dance the night away
With senoritas who can sway
Right now tomorrow's lookin' bright
Just like the sunny mornin' light

By the way, I think you could dance a nuevo-ish milonga to this...

T. Boone Pickens :: PickensPlan

T. Boone Pickens, the oil man, has a plan for alternative more talk...action...I have just signed up to be an organizer...and actually sent a message to talk to someone about submitting my become an employee/staffer in the campaign...I'll keep you posted...

Find more videos like this on PickensPlan

Monday, July 7, 2008


From Chris, UK on Tango-L...Tango event on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in London on July 7...

Only one comment on the tango in the YouTube video...I'm damn glad I dance the way I do...damn glad...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Color Me Listless

From Johanna...and it pretty much nailed me right on the a pile driver...except the part about me being egocentric...I find that offensive...(grin)

ColorQuiz.comAlex.Tango.Fuego took the free personality test!

"Urgently in need of rest, relaxation, peace, and a..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.