Thursday, November 18, 2004

Wednesday and Thursday

17 November 2004

Well, it's Wednesday and this week that means it's DSO night! I'm pretty excited as the concert will contain Berlioz, Barber, Tchaikovsky all conducted by Itzhak Perlman. The reason it's tonight is because Maestro Perlman is an orthodox Jew so he does not conduct on Friday nights (my usual concert night). Unfortunately he won't be playing the violin this time, but I have heard him in person before so I'll live through the disappointment. And this all means that right now I'm listening to Tchaikovsky's Symphony #6 "Pathetique" as that is what we'll be hearing tonight. I'm a huge fan of Tchaikovsky's music, so I'm quite looking forward to it.

I'm going with Suzy again. We had talked about this concert back during the last one (okay, not during the concert as that would be extremely bad form, but that night) and so she's going with me. The plan is the same as last time. I pick her up outside of her work downtown, head to Traffic Jam & Snug for dinner and then off to the concert. I'll be tired tomorrow as I won't be getting home until 11:00 and 5:00 a.m. comes awfully soon after that. And I can't sleep in (the way I like) on Friday as I have a wedding on the east side at 11:00 and I'm driving with my friend Marianne and I have to be at her house by 9:30. I hope the morning traffic is light at 9:00 a.m. I hate the east side so I'm letting Marianne drive (okay, that's what I say now, we'll see how it really works out on Friday).

Last night was a night of crocheting. I really want to finish Mom's afghan up by the end of the month so I need to get cranking. And I found out that our family friend from Mexico is going to be in town next week, so I need to get my butt in gear and make the rosary for his Mom that I have planned. That'll take two days, so I'll start that on Friday after the wedding and finish it on Saturday. Saturday I need to make a dish to take to church on Sunday as it's our 79th Anniversary, and I'm going out with Pamela that night. And then Sunday is way busy. Mass followed by Anniversary party and then I have to rush to Canton for a housewarming party which lasts until 5:00 p.m. I've been invited to a party for that night but that's just not going to work.

18 November

For some reason I never got yesterday's entry posted. No excuses either. I wrote it early and had all day to post. Ah well!!!

I'll tell you all about the symphony in a minute, but first this commercial break brought to you by Grist Magazine, because political agendas have no place when it comes to doing what is best for the natural world!

Republicans take aim at Endangered Species Act

Republican leaders in Congress, bolstered by their election gains, no doubt have several environmental laws and regulations in their sights, but a top priority is revamping the Endangered Species Act. Developers, many Republicans, and a handful of Democrats have long contended that the act's requirements for protecting critical habitat are outdated and burdensome to economic progress. Enviros view them as the very soul of the act. Read about the state of play -- in Muckraker, today on the Grist Magazine website.

Today in Grist: The Republican majority in Congress is going after the ESA -- in Muckraker

Now back to our regularly scheduled boringness.

Last night was my night of culture for the week. The DSO did their usual fabulous job – too bad the crowd wasn't up to the Orchestra's standards. I know I discussed this before, but who wasn't taught NOT to talk during a classical music concert. The dumbass across the aisle felt the need to INTRODUCE HERSELF to the people behind us DURING the Barber Violin Concerto. I'm sorry, but WHY??????? Suzy and I both turned our heads and stared at her until she figured out she should SHUT THE FUCK UP.

At the intermission, we moved to the other side of the hall. For some reason the box office felt the need to sell the seats in my row and the row behind me, so that we were all crammed in like sardines. There were maybe seven people in the center section and ZERO people in the left section, so that's where we headed.

And I won't even mention the loser there in a baggy over-sized ratty T-shirt. Nope, won't mention it at all. *sigh*

Annual "Red List" of threatened species says lots of species are threatened

The World Conservation Union released its annual Red List of threatened species today, and it ain't pretty. Some 15,589 species -- 7,266 animals and 8,323 plants and lichens -- are in danger, up more than 3,000 from just last year. Nearly an eighth of all birds, a quarter of mammals, a third of amphibians, and half of turtles and tortoises are on the chopping block. No doubt there are all sorts of factors at work, though, right? Uh, not so much: "[A] single species, ours, appears to be almost wholly responsible," said the report. It traces the decline in biodiversity, which is currently between 100 and 1,000 times faster than the fossil record indicates is normal, to over-exploitation of resources, habitat loss, pollution, introduction of invasive species, and (you knew it was coming) global warming. Attempting to put a happy face on the grim report, researcher Simon Stuart emphasized that coordinated action has been shown effective in saving specific species. "Good things are achievable," he said.

straight to the source:
BBC News
, 17 Nov 2004

And for a change, some good environmental type news:

Extreme microbes may aid nuclear waste disposal

Researchers with the Department of Energy, hip to the latest trends, have developed genetically manipulated "extreme microbes" that reportedly survive entirely on Red Bull and communicate via appropriated skater slang. Ah, we kid. But there are some pretty bitchin' microbes out there. Able to survive in earth's most inhospitable environments -- some thrive at above-boiling temperatures, enjoy the company of toxic chemicals, and can endure large doses of radiation -- these "extremophiles" may become a valuable tool for eliminating nuclear waste. Lab-enhanced versions could be drafted to begin ingesting and breaking down toxins "in the not-too-distant future," outgoing Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said earlier this year. In addition to saving money -- the Energy Department estimates conventional clean-up methods for nuclear waste could cost up to $260 billion -- the microbes break down radioactive elements into insoluble forms, making them less likely to leak into aquifers and streams.

straight to the source:
The Wall Street Journal
, John J. Fialka, 16 Nov 2004 (access ain't free)


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