Monday, July 30, 2007

LIT: From Louie Bond in Wimberley!

Hello friends!
Just spreading the word that the 2007 season of Shakespeare Under the Stars begins tonight with the opening of Twelfth Night. Tomorrow night, All’s Well That Ends Well, will begin its run. The shows will alternate evenings for two weeks, but no show on Sunday. There is an alternate location in case of rain (first time for that!).

Those interested in a final Bond viewing (Annie has graduated and so this is her last performance; Jenny is focusing on other things and enjoying her first summer off in 12 years!): Annie plays Helena in All’s Well.

But you know both shows will be fabulous, as always!

For more information, check out the EmilyAnn Theatre website at

Please pass this information on so we can fill the seats for the kids!

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OBT: Tom Snyder

Sheesh, a tough, tough weekend on great talents. Snyder was the first talk-show host i really got into -- Carson was that of the generation before, though i liked him. We used to stay up late in the dorm just to listen to Snyder. Lots of good memories there . . .

Talk show host Tom Snyder dies at 71
NBC ‘Tomorrow Show’ interviews included John Lennon, Charles Manson
The Associated Press, Updated: 12:02 p.m. CT July 30, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO - Tom Snyder, who pioneered the late-late network TV talk show with a personal yet abrasive style and his robust, trademark laugh, has died from complications associated with leukemia. He was 71.

Snyder died Sunday in San Francisco, his longtime producer and friend Mike Horowicz told The Associated Press on Monday.

“Tom was a fighter,” Horowicz said. “I know he had tried many different treatments.”

Prickly and ego-driven, Snyder conducted numerous memorable interviews as host of NBC’s “Tomorrow,” which followed Johnny Carson’s “Tonight” show from 1973 to ’82. A signature was the constant billowing of cigarette smoke around his head.

Snyder’s style, his show’s set and the show itself marked an abrupt change at 1 a.m. from Carson’s program. Snyder might joke with the crew in the sparsely appointed studio, but he was more likely to joust with guests such as the irascible science fiction writer Harlan Ellison.

Snyder had John Lennon’s final televised interview (April 1975) and U2’s first U.S. television appearance in June 1981.

One of his most riveting interviews was with Charles Manson, who would go from a calm demeanor to acting like a wild-eyed, insanity-spouting mass murderer and back again.

Another wacky moment came when Plasmatics lead singer Wendy O. Williams blew up a TV in the studio; in another appearance she demolished a car. Yet another time, Johnny Rotten decided he really wasn’t in the mood to be on a talk show and acted indifferent for an excruciating 12 minutes.

In 1982, the show was canceled after a messy attempt to make it into a talk-variety show called “Tomorrow Coast to Coast.” It added a live audience and co-hostess Rona Barrett — all of which Snyder clearly disdained.

The time slot was taken over by a hot young comedian named David Letterman.

Born in Milwaukee, Snyder began his career as a radio reporter in his home town in the 1960s, then moved into local television news, anchoring newscasts in Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles before moving to late night.

“He loved the broadcast business,” said Marciarose Shestack, who co-anchored a noontime newscast with Snyder at KYW-TV in Philadelphia in the 1960s. “He was very surprising and very irreverent and not at all a typical newscaster.”

He returned to local anchoring in New York after “Tomorrow” left the air. He eventually hosted an ABC radio talk show before easing back into television on CNBC.

His catch phrase: “Fire up a colortini, sit back, relax, and watch the pictures, now, as they fly through the air.”

Letterman, a longtime Snyder admirer, brought him back to network television, creating “The Late Late Show” on CBS to follow his own program. (Subsequently, the format and hosts have changed, with Craig Kilborn and now Craig Ferguson.)

Snyder gained fame in his heyday when Dan Aykroyd spoofed him in the early days of “Saturday Night Live.” His chain-smoking, black beetle brows (contrasting with his mostly gray hair), mercurial manner and self-indulgent, digressive way of asking questions as well as his clipped speech pattern made for a distinctive sendup.

Snyder announced on his Web site in 2005 that he had chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

“When I was a kid leukemia was a death sentence,” he wrote then. “Now, my doctors say it’s treatable!”

Horowicz met Snyder in 1982 and worked with him at WABC-TV in New York. Snyder’s curiosity, Horowicz said, allowed him to navigate between local news and talk shows with ease.

Snyder is survived by his daughter and longtime girlfriend.


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OBT: Ingmar Bergman

Film director Ingmar Bergman dies
Swede known for arthouse classics made more than 50 films
The Associated Press, Updated: 11:56 a.m. CT July 30, 2007

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Master filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, one of the greatest artists in cinema history, died Monday at his home on an island off the coast of Sweden. He was 89.

Bergman’s dozens of works combined deep seriousness, indelible imagery and unexpected flashes of humor in finely written, inventively shot explorations of difficult subjects such as plague and madness.

His vision encompassed the extremes of his beloved Sweden: the claustrophobic gloom of unending winter nights, its glowing summer evenings and the bleak magnificence of the Baltic islet of Faro, where the reclusive artist spent his last years.

Once described by Woody Allen as “probably the greatest film artist ... since the invention of the motion picture camera,” Bergman first gained international attention with 1955’s “Smiles of a Summer Night,” a romantic comedy that inspired the Stephen Sondheim musical “A Little Night Music.”

His last work, of about 60, was “Saraband,” a made-for-television movie that aired on Swedish public television in December 2003, the year he retired.

Allen said he was “very sorry” to hear of Bergman’s death.

“He was a friend and certainly the finest film director of my lifetime,” the Web version of Swedish daily Aftonbladet quoted him as saying.

“Saraband” starred Liv Ullmann, the Norwegian actress and director who appeared in nine Bergman films and had a five-year affair, and a daughter, with the director.

Famous cinematic scene
The other actor most closely associated with Bergman was Max von Sydow, who appeared in 1957’s “The Seventh Seal,” an allegorical tale of the Black Plague years as a knight playing chess with the shrouded figure of Death, one of cinema’s most famous scenes.

His 1982 film “Fanny and Alexander” won an Oscar for best foreign film. His 1973 “Cries and Whispers” was nominated for Best Picture.

“The world has lost one of its very greatest filmmakers. He taught us all so much throughout his life,” said British actor and director Richard Attenborough.

Astrid Soderbergh Widding, president of The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, confirmed the death to The Associated Press, and Swedish journalist Marie Nyrerod said the director died peacefully during his sleep.

Bergman never fully recovered after a hip surgery in October last year, Nyrerod told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

“He was one of the world’s biggest personalities. There were (Japanese film director Akira) Kurosawa, (Italy’s Federico) Fellini and then Bergman. Now he is also gone,” Danish director Bille August told The Associated Press.

“It is a great loss. I am in shock,” August said.

Cannes Film Festival director Gilles Jacob called Bergman the “last of the greats, because he proved that cinema can be as profound as literature.”

Household of severe discipline
The son of a Lutheran clergyman and a housewife, Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born in Uppsala, Sweden, on July 14, 1918, and grew up with a brother and sister in a household of severe discipline that he described in painful detail in the autobiography “The Magic Lantern.”

The title comes from his childhood, when his brother got a “magic lantern” — a precursor of the slide-projector — for Christmas. Ingmar was consumed with jealousy, and he managed to acquire the object of his desire by trading it for a hundred tin soldiers.

The apparatus was a spot of joy in an often-cruel young life. Bergman recounted the horror of being locked in a closet and the humiliation of being made to wear a skirt as punishment for wetting his pants.

He broke with his parents at 19 and remained aloof from them, but later in life sought to understand them. The story of their lives was told in the television film “Sunday’s Child,” directed by his own son Daniel.

The director said he had coped with the authoritarian environment of his childhood by living in a world of fantasy. When he first saw a movie he was greatly moved.

But he said the escape into another world went so far that it took him years to tell reality from fantasy, and Bergman repeatedly described his life as a constant fight against demons, also reflected in his work.

The demons sometimes drove him to great art — as in “Cries and Whispers,” the deathbed drama that climaxes when a dying woman cries “I am dead, but I can’t leave you.” Sometimes they drove him over the top, as in “Hour of the Wolf,” where a nightmare-plagued artist meets real-life demons on a lonely island.

It was in the Swedish capital that Bergman broke into the world of drama, starting with a menial job at the Royal Opera House after dropping out of college.

Bergman was hired by the script department of Swedish Film Industry, the country’s main production company, as an assistant script writer in 1942.

In 1944, his first original screenplay was filmed by Alf Sjoeberg, the dominant Swedish film director of the time. “Torment” won several awards including the Grand Prize of the 1946 Cannes Film Festival, and soon Bergman was directing an average of two films a year as well as working with stage production.

After the acclaimed “The Seventh Seal,” he quickly came up with another success in “Wild Strawberries,” in which an elderly professor’s car trip to pick up an award is interspersed with dreams.

Other noted films include “Persona,” about an actress and her nurse whose identities seem to merge, and “The Autumn Sonata,” about a concert pianist and her two daughters, one severely handicapped and the other burdened by her child’s drowning.

Prominent stage director
Though best known internationally for his films, Bergman was also a prominent stage director. He worked at several playhouses in Sweden from the mid-1940s, including the Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm which he headed from 1963 to 1966. He staged many plays by the Swedish author August Strindberg, whom he cited as an inspiration.

The influence of Strindberg’s grueling and precise psychological dissections could be seen in “Scenes From a Marriage,” an intense detailing of the disintegration of a marriage that was released as a feature film in 1974.

Bergman showed his lighter side in the following year’s “The Magic Flute,” again first produced for TV. It is a fairly straight production of the Mozart opera, enlivened by touches such as repeatedly showing the face of a young girl watching the opera and comically clumsy props and costumes.

Bergman remained active later in life with stage productions and occasional TV shows. He said he still felt a need to direct, although he had no plans to make another feature film.

Bergman, at age 84, started production on “Saraband” — based on the two main characters from “Scenes From a Marriage” — in the fall of 2002.

In a rare news conference, he said he wrote the story after realizing he was “pregnant with a play.”

“At first I felt sick, very sick. It was strange. Like Abraham and Sarah, who suddenly realized she was pregnant,” he said, referring to biblical characters. “It was lots of fun, suddenly to feel this urge returning.”

Battle over taxes
Bergman waged a fight against real-life tormentors: Sweden’s powerful tax authorities.

In 1976, during a rehearsal at the Royal Dramatic Theater, police came to take Bergman away for interrogation about tax evasion. The director, who had left all finances to be handled by a lawyer, was questioned for hours while his home was searched. When released, he was forbidden to leave the country.

The case caused an enormous uproar in the media and Bergman had a mental breakdown that sent him to hospital for over a month. He later was absolved of all accusations and in the end only had to pay some extra taxes.

In his autobiography he admitted to guilt in only one aspect: “I signed papers that I didn’t read, even less understood.”

The experience made him go into voluntary exile in Germany, to the embarrassment of the Swedish authorities. After nine years, he returned to Stockholm.

The date of Bergman’s funeral has not been set, but will be attended by a close group of friends and family, the TT news agency reported.


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OBT: Eddie Andrade, Terry and Sarah Penney

Really tough weekend with the loss, in one wreck, of actor Eddie Andrade, and primo guitarist Terry Penney and his wife Sarah. Tony Young had just finished mastering their new CD here last week, and i had done some graphics work for it. . . Big loss.

Musicians Killed In Suspected DWI Crash
POSTED: 11:03 pm CDT July 29, 2007
UPDATED: 11:14 pm CDT July 29, 2007

SAN ANTONIO -- A suspected DWI crash killed four people early Sunday morning south of Kerrville on Highway 173.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials said Regelio Palacios, 18, caused a crash that killed Sarah and Terry Penny.

Also killed in the crash was the couple's friend Eddie Andrade and Duggen, Andrade's dog.

The friends were on their way back from a performance in Uvalde when the crash occurred.

Jerry Reyna, Sarah and Terry's son, said his mother would have forgiven Palacios.

"My mom would have been able to forgive that person," Reyna said with tears in his eyes. "It's just one of those things where you have to turn the other cheek when something like this happens."

Reyna and his family placed flowers at the site of the fiery crash on Sunday afternoon.

Reyna said he takes comfort that his mother and his stepfather lived life to the fullest.

"I'm glad they all went together," Reyna said. "(They're) in a happy place right now."

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

ENV: Delaware Skipper

Delaware Skipper, Anatrytone logan, 1 mi N of Ingram, Kerr Co., Texas, 27 July 2006

Click on picture for larger image:

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

NAT: Toward more tolerant humanity

Polyglot babies 'more tolerant'
Leigh Dayton, Science writer | July 18, 2007

A STUDY of newborn babies and preschoolers has revealed that language may be the root of prejudice - and the way to avoid it.

US and French researchers have found that the language babies hear spoken in their first six months of life leads to a preference for speakers of that language.

The preference is so entrenched that by age five youngsters prefer playmates who not only speak the same language but do so with the same accent.

A key implication of the findings - reported in the US publication Proceedings of the National Academy of Science - is that children exposed to different languages grow into more tolerant adults than their monolingual mates.

Linguist Stephen Crain of Sydney's Macquarie University tended to agree: "I've always thought it would be beneficial to expose our children to more than one language," he said. "If they no longer have a prejudice against people who don't sound the same as they, they may be more accepting of people from different backgrounds who don't sound the same," Professor Crain said.

Cognitive psychologist Elizabeth Spelke of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, conducted a series of experiments with Harvard doctoral student Katherine Kinzler and Emmanuel Dupoux of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris.

They judged the preferences of three groups of children. Five-to six-month-old infants looked at native speakers longer than non-native speakers.

Ten-month-olds selected toys most often from native speakers, and most five-year-olds chose native speaking playmates over children with an accent.

According to Professor Spelke, the most surprising result came from the group's experiment with five-year-olds. "The findings suggest that (the preference) has nothing to do with information, the semantics of language, but rather with group identity," she said.

If so, Professor Crain said that may answer the mystery about human languages: why do they diverge yet retain common structural properties? "One obvious answer is the differences are the means by which people segregate themselves by speaking a language which can't be understood by people from the next community," he said.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

ENV: Yup, it's Circus Time!

We're on the cusp of our second anniversary already at Circus of the Spineless, and here to take on the penultimate version of our first fifth of a decade is Roger at Words & Pictures! Many thanks to him for stepping up to the plate for this. You can email submissions for July to him directly by the 30th. And thanks for making the Circus one of the best Carnivals online!

We’ve had some excellent bloggers step up to the plate for the next few issues. Put these on your calendar:

#24 will be at Naturalist Notebook
send your submissions by August 30 to Summer here at her gorgeous new blog

#25 will be at The Annotated Budak
send your submission by September 29 to Marcus here

#26 will be at The Other 95%
send your submissions by October 30 to Kevin here

#27 will be at The Hawk Owl’s Nest
send your submissions by November 29 to Patrick here

And of course, we’re looking for hosts for December and beyond!

all my best, tony g
milk river film, ingram, texas

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Friday, July 20, 2007

ENV: Jim's Reddish Egrets

Jim Stevenson sent these pictures of Reddish Egrets were at San Luis Pass Thursday afternoon.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

ENV: I and the Bird hits Two!

It's hard to believe, but it's been two years since the inception of the wonderful I and the Bird blog carnival. My how it has grown! Congrats to Mike Bergin and everyone else who's ever been a part of the project. Check the newest one out at Mike's 10,000 Birds here.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Next Show!

Click on the pic for the large, readable version!

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Monday, July 02, 2007

ENV: Circus of the Spineless #22

Bev has served up a wonderful plate of invertebrate delicacies at Burning Silo for Circus of the Spineless #22. Please give it a check here, and help spread the word via your blog.

We’ve had some excellent bloggers step up to the plate for the next few issues. Put these on your calendar:

#23 will be at Words & Pictures

#24 will be at Bird Wacthers Notebook

#25 will be at The Annotated Budak

#26 will be at The Other 95%

And of course, we’re looking for hosts for November and beyond!

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