Category: Experiences (Page 1 of 3)

The night after my dad’s death

I’ve been lucky. Death, until now, has been clean for me. Literally.

Tonight I walked into my parents home, after the trip down south, and saw my father’s blood on the dining room floor. He bled to death last night.

I’m not sure how to deal with this.

I’m so soft. And maybe too self indulgent in my pain. There is privilege even in grief, until there isn’t.

Papi, quiero pensar que seguís estando tras la puerta cerrada de tu cuarto. Dormido, ahora, para encontrarnos a la mañana. Pero la sangre no me deja.

Script for the Fall of Atlantis, Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas

forum shops atlantis jeff green

Every year for what seems like a decade we’ve been going to Vegas in the summer. My husband has a conference and we tag along. And every year we go to the Forum Shops at the Caesar’s Palace and watch The Fall of Atlantis fountain show. It may be 1960s technology and cheesy, but the animatronics are still pretty amazing.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to understand the show at all. The sound is really, really, really terrible. Dramatic, sure, but it turns the voices incomprehensible.

For years I’ve looked for a script for the show so I could understand it. I’ve written to Caesar’s asking for it to no avail. Fortunately, this year I found a YouTube recording of the show that has the actual script. The guy who subtitled the show took the trouble to watch recordings of the show carefully and then wrote it down. I’m not sure it’s 100% accurate, but it’s close enough and I’m glad that this year I can watch the show, script on hand, and finally understand it.

Here is the script:

Pay heed to Poseidon, he rules our seas divine.
He shakes the core of olympus.
More rain is his warning.
Honor the gods and all their might
Watch their Magic fill our void, to bless this special night.

Behold this vision. The story of Atlantis will show you the truth.

Atlas, king of Atlantis, has arrived.
Listen to him speak of his city’s ruin.
His kingdom was destroyed by foolish pride.

ATLAS

I once faced a decision, which destroyed my precious land. Our magic crystal, source of our strength, was brutally extinguished. Re-live my story, here in your form. Behold our crystal, powerful and right jewel.

From my children, I must choose a successor. But power has seduce them. I have lost command. They misuse our magic crystal. They destroy our precious land.

Alaia, daughter of water, rules the ocean and the rain.

Gadrius, son of fire, wields the fury of all flames. I call on them now. Alaia, grace us!

Wielding an angry trident, she stabs the tank, coaxing the waves to dance. Her eyes are the color of the sea’s greatest waves. Her head is dusted with gold from the ocean’s floor.

ALAIA

Dear father, I deserve your throne. Choose me! I quench deserts by tickling the sky, I put out fires with a wink of my eye. Come out, you brother, from wherever you hide. Try to survive the wrath of this tide.

ATLAS

Be still, Alaia. Put your childish ways to rest.

Gadrius, my son, come forth now!

Behold Gadrius. His fingers are made of flint. His eyes are the color of flame. His heart burns of ambrosia orange.

GADRIUS

Hail father! Choose me to inherit the throne. My fire conquers the darkest night and kisses each day with brilliant light.

Poor, poor sister, your precious ice is melting.

ALAIA

Dear Brother, your force is a weak threat! I have plucked this wave from the earth’s edge. I’m the only one fit to rule this land.

ATLAS

Stop this evil rage! Cease this mad war. I beg you, my children! Destroy no more!

ALAIA

Give in brother, before you fade to nothing.

GADRIUS

Poor Alaia, your strength deceives you. My fire angers your water.

ATLAS

Gadrius, Alaia, Stop this madness!

GADRIUS

I rip this beam from the sun and lace it with Hade’s breath.

ALAIA

I seize the windstorm and spite you with pelts of sleet

GADRIUS

Ha! Your water turns to mist to disguise you perfectly. Surrender! I will smother your sea creatures.

ALAIA

Cease! I will prow your stars!

ATLAS

Titans! Our magic suffers under your brutal attacks! Hear me, children! Cease this madness!

I cannot choose one child above another. Good people of Rome, I put the choice in your hand. Choose the heir to my throne and cease this foolish fight or we’ll find this precious land robbed of day and starrry night.

Gadrius or Alaia. Please, help me choose. Speak up, choir! Riase your voices if Alaia should be queen!

GADRIUS

Your votes are useless. Soon you will see this mighty kingdom will belong to me.

ATLAS

Now you vote if Gadrius should be king.

ALAIA

I won’t forget this. If you dare, and I’ll put a tornado from this thin night air! Gadrius, what a pity, it seems they’ve chosen me over you.

GADRIUS

Do not deceive yourself. They voted that I should be king.

ATLAS

Oh great Gods! Forgive me! My children poison this kingdom with greed. It is a cold, black day for Atlantis, indeed!. It is too late to halt this evil war, and so the gods shall settle with a storm.

ALAIA

With the cruelest rainstorm this world’s ever seen, I will silence you forevever so that I shall be queen.

GADRIUS

Not before you collapse to my fiery steel. I will burn you, Alaia, and they I will be king.


I have come to end this ambitious fight. Now I see the fate on this land. The rest of this earth is my duty to save, so I’m forced to send Atlantis to its watery grave!

The sun and the sea, in one swift beat, shall finish this war with water and heat.

You have witnessed the fall of Atlantis. Remember the vision, learn and take heed.


And here is the subtitled show:

Surprisingly, it’s easier to understand the show by watching a recording than by being there in person. This version has the best audio I’ve found:

Poisonous Beetles

Lytta-vesicatoriaand the Democratic party

The blister beetle or Spanish fly is a marvelous creature.  It secretes a substance called cantharidin which causes chemical burns and blisters.  They can be extremely painful. The substance is secreted by the male and gifted to the female, who uses it to coat her eggs.  When it was discovered in the 18th century, it was considered one of the strongest poisons, on par with strychnine.  But the poisonous cantharidin has important medical applications: it kills warts.

Last year, my 11-year old daughter developed a painful case of plantar warts.  These are caused by the HPV virus and they are extremely difficult to treat.  Mika had two removed surgically, but as long as the virus is present, they can keep coming back.  For that reason, when she developed a third one, the doctor finally recommended trying cantharidin.

The application itself wasn’t too bad but within hours it started acting out.  Even though Mika had taken a pain killer, the pain in her foot was excruciating.  She begged me to stop it, but it was inside her, so there was nothing we could do.

The cantharidin was forming a blister underneath the wart, killing both the skin and the wart.  Interestingly, the surface of the skin never blistered much.  We didn’t go back to the doctor to have the wart removed either – Mika didn’t want to have anything to do with doctors anymore -, but eventually the pain stopped and the wart was gone.  It’s been many months, and she’s wart-free so far.

I thought about blister beetles and cantharidin when I read a quote from an anonymous colleague of mine at the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee (ACDCC) calling me “poisonous”.  Sometimes political bodies, just like organisms, can get a virus and develop a wart.  In the case of the ACDCC, it has to do with conflicts-of-interest and a lack of commitment to transparency.   I can only hope that my “poison” will be as effective here, as beetle poison was for my daughter.

 

An Invitation to the Presidential Inauguration – Not!

inaugurationLast month my husband, a member of our local School Board, got a thick envelope on the mail purportedly from the White House.  Inside, there was a crisp invitation to Barack Obama’s inauguration.  Or so it seemed.  I was a bit suspicious, I must admit.  The previous month he’d gotten a lovely Christmas card purportedly from the President – but actually paid for by the Democratic National Committee.   It has a cute picture of their dog in the snow in front of the White House.    It seemed to be black and white, but maybe that’s how things look when it’s snowing.

In any case, upon further digging inside the envelope I found out that this was not a ticket to the inauguration, but a commemorative invitation.  I’m not sure why he would actually want to commemorate not being invited to the inauguration, but perhaps teasing people is a good way to fleece them as well.  Along with the commemorative invitation there was a catalog of  “collectibles” to help you remember this not-so-historic day.  For $50 you can get your own Second Inauguration bronze medallion with a profile of Obama and Biden, or spend $400 and get a panoramic photo of the President taking the oath of office.  That’s too much for you? Well, for a mere $25 you can get your own coffee mug with the gold Inaugural seal.  And while your commemorative invitation wouldn’t actually let you into the event, your friends don’t need to know that.  For just $50 you can get a custom-size frame for it with the signature of Obama and Biden.  Won’t that make everyone jealous?

And people accused Clinton of being greedy.

 

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