Chuq Von Rospach is a Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management and amateur photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and landscapes. My goal is to explore the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found. You can find out more on the About Page.
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Monthly Archives: February 2004
So friday was February 6, and February 6 is a rather notable day in my life. On February 6, 1989, I was handed a badge and a copy of John Sculley’s Oddysey, and told to go make useful things as a new employee at Apple.
And here I am, 15 years later, still with Apple, still going strong, still doing interesting things and working to change the world.
John Sculley is gone, so is Mike Spindler (thank god), and Jean-Louis. Steve is back, and OS X rocks. Been an interesting 15 years — and if you think about where we (as a company and as society, and as technology people) have come in that time, from the Mac II to the xServe, from Multifinder to Panther, from macPaint to the iPod and Final Cut and iDVD — man it’s been a hell of a ride, no?
Makes you wonder what the next fifteen will be like. I’m looking forward to being part of it. How about you?
Saturday was a bit of a special day, as Laurie and I wandered down to San Jose Arena (aka HP Pavilion, aka Compaq Place, aka, well, oh, never mind) for Bette Midler’s Kiss My Brass tour concert.
I’ve seen Midler in concert before, a long time ago in a galaxy far away (in a previous life, when I was small and green and really wrinkled), and she’s a great show. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time. You might be familiar with her for her portrayal of a character much like Janis Joplin in Rosemary Clooney, a wonderful reflection of her roots in the field., and if you haven’t seen that movie, go find it and watch it (but be prepared to be depressed as hell). Her new album honors
But if that’s how you know Bette, you simply won’t understand the kind of show she takes on tour. Her early start was here in the Bay Area, doing, effectively, the gay bathhouse circuit. Her shows have a strong attachment back to classic theater works like the Broadway reviews of the 30′s and 40′s. Combine the two, and you have an evening of serious music and not so serious, rather bawdy and topical humor. For instance, at one point, she digressed into her views about the current political climate, and trust me, she’s not voting for Bush in the next election (and neither, clearly, is her audience). Janet’s boob, J’lo’s love life, and the war in Iraq all got put in the crossfires. As did Bette herself — always willing to throw herself on a joke to save her audience, she did a wonderful send up of herself, and her flop of a TV series, in a piece with (I kid you not) Judge Judy (on vidoe) and a guy in a CBS eye costume, which ends with her punching out the eye and being sentenced to having to apologize to every person who ever watched her TV show personally.
And then she comes out on stage to sing I’m sorry, i devil’s horns and a tail. Only she can’t finish the song, not straight. Of course.
The best way to define the Divine Miss M is a line she used during the show. She looked out at the audience and said something like:
You know, these days, it seems you can’t become a singing star unless you dress up like a whore!
And do they call me up and thank me? Nooooo!
She also did a duet with Mr. Rogers (yes, that Mr. Rogers), and opened up after the intermission with her latest Delores Del Lagos piece. This is a continuing theme with her, Delores being one of her characters, the epitomy of everything you could hate about Las Vegas Lounge lizards in all their glory. Delores does a nautical act, complete with mermaid’s tail, navigating around the stage in an electric wheel chair. blissfully tacky, wonderful stuff.
In this show, Bette revisits Delores in Fishtails above Broadway, in which Delores takes on the Broadway stage (and flops miserably), and given one last chance, re-invents herself (did you see the Julie Andrews movie SOB? No, pretty much nobody did, but it ties back to Janet’s boobie…), and goes on to do a Broadway review.
Which has to be seen to be believed, if you’ll believe it by seeing it. Bette goes way over the top as she and her Harlettes strap on the garter belts and bowler hats for a quick riff of Fosse (actually, they take on Fosse and Busby Berkeley at the same time; god help me, they do), then a quick snip of Chorus Line, and for the grand finale, you have Delores herself just completely demolish Carol Channing doing the Hello, Dolly entrance down the grand staircase.
Now remember, during this entire time, Bette and the Harletts are in full mermaid fins, either in wheelchairs, or madly hopping about the stage.
I swear to god the woman sitting next to me was laughing so hard she wet herself. Or came awful close.
Great entertainment, great energy, her backup band was awesome, and Bette really put a lot of herself into the concert; no opening act (who’s you get to do that?), about 2 and a half hours of concert, and it starts in high gear and ramps up from there.
If you get a chance, see it. It may not be guns & roses, but, you know? that’s another reason to recommend it…
I’m with Jeff and Alanah on this one: Could the hockey world just shut up about the CBA for five minutes this weekend?. (by the way, their Vancouver Canucks Op Ed is one of the best hockey blogs out there, and one of the few that seems to remember the Western Conference exists…)
Unfortunately, the answer is no. the upcoming labor stuff is the 500 pound gorilla at center ice, telling everyone to skate around it won’t work.
The basic problem: the media needs controversy (good news doesn’t sell newspapers, radio minutes, or clickthroughs), and both sides need the media to try to push their side of the agenda. And the All-star game is a time when people are looking to (and at) the sport, so there’s no way to avoid that vision being hijacked by the politics.
Other than to get the politics put behind you. As I’ve said before, this is all posturing,a nd we shoudl all ignore it to the best we can. Neither side will get serious about negotiation until the last minute, because if either side does, it’ll be accused of giving in before it got the best possible deal.
So skate around the gorilla.
All-star weekend is also time for looking at the game and how it can be improved. ESPN has a couple of good articles, 10 things we’d change about the game and 10 things we like about hockey. I agree with the things they like completely, and their ten things they’d change mostly.
- Call the rule book
- Bring back the tag up rule
- no limit on curvature of sticks
- stop protecting the goalie
- serve two full minutes
- move the goal line back
- amend the instigator rule
- better schedule
- fix the standings
is a great starting point. But first, throw out shootouts. I’m against home run derbies instead of extra innings, and I’m against shootouts for the same reason: it ain’t hockey. You might as well have the goalies meet at center ice in mortal combat.
Instead? ten minutes of four on four overtime. If it’s not decided then — it’s a tie. Which leads to
fix the standings: how to encourage teams to play for wins? zero points for a tie. don’t reward a tie — reward wins. And I say that knowing full well that ties have really helped the sharks this year; but if you win, you get two points. If you don’t win, you get zero. Games are 60 minutes, with 10 minutes of 4-4 if needed added. Watch teams stop playing for ties…
Better schedules: definitely. Cut the schedule by 8 games: 4 home, 4 away. cut paychecks by 10% to compensate — for every player making more than 40% of the league average. Reduce intra-conference play to cut some of the travel, but let’s still find a way so that every team plays in every arena over a two or four year cycle.
dump the instigator rule: although to put it bluntly, if the referees did their job, teams wouldn’t need to police things for them. but the instigator rule needs to go.
move the goal line back: seemed like a good idea at the time. wrong. bring back the tag-up rule: ditto.
stick curvature: here’s one I disagree with. It’s solving the wrong problem. You won’t get scoring up with banana sticks, you’ll get scoring up by getting goaltending equipment under control. My argument is that while goalies need (and deserve) protection from the pucks, much of today’s equipment isn’t for protection. Reduce the size of the blocker, reduce the size of the catching glove, reduce the size of the leg pads, and you reduce the ability of goalies to do the sumo goalie schtick. I don’t want to take away a goalie’s ability to be good — I want to take away a goalie’s ability to use technology to be better than they are. Oversized pads are an advantage they don’t need in today’s game.
And finally, call the rule book: on which I agree completely, but first, fix the rule book. One problem with this thought is that the rulebook has no discretion, and referees need it. infractions that affect the game (especially scoring chances) need to be called; things that are done away from the play and don’t affect play many times shouldn’t be called; referees can’t win here, because if they do call it “by the book” they get ripped for calling too many penalties, or for calling “too many” penalties against one team (as if magically, both teams are supposed to commit the same # of penalties in each game). So make the calling priorities clear, and what isn’t a priority.
I’m also increasingly convinced the two referee system isn’t working. The NHL attempted to get everyone to call the same things the same way, and the reality is, referees are like players, they have strengths, weaknesses and preferences and tendencies. So this “objective calling” failed, and the clash of personalities and styles on ice create problems.
My current belief is that the 2nd (junior) ref should move upstairs, replacing the video replay official. He has the ability to call penalties from the eye in the sky, solving the issue he was put on the ice to solve — behind the play penalties. But by putting him in the video replay booth, video replay’s powers can be expanded beyond the very limited powers. By having a fully qualified ref up there, their job can become “make sure the right call gets made”, which is what it ought to be. The upstairs ref can call a delayed penalty through adding another light to the christmas tree over the goals — a blue light indicates a pending penalty from upstairs; the upstairs ref also has an electronic whistle to call play. Their primary focus is behind the play issues, but they should also call all major penalties and high sticks. The upstairs ref can also use video replay and confer with the on-ice ref to un-call a penalty that shouldn’t be called — and faceoff at center ice instead. Let’s get the call right. Proper use of technology can do that, non-intrusively.
Other things people have suggested:
do away with the red line: people who suggest this don’t watch much hockey where it’s done. it isn’t the solution to the problem they’re suggesting it for.
wider blue lines: a minor yes from me; anything to open up space I’m for.
bigger ice surfaces: I’m against — because that’s something the league should ahve done before all the new buildings were built. Now, it’s too late. Now, if the league wants to require that any new building or significant retrofit moves to a bigger ice surface, I wouldn’t mind. But it’s like the red line, it’s not the solution some people claim it is. More space leads to less hitting, and makes it easier to play “keep away”. If you think the trap is boring, watch a game on international ice where a team simply avoids the other team for a period and the other team can’t catch them.
bigger goals: first, try smaller goalie gear.