Thursday, August 30, 2007

Iowa Trial Court Rules In Favor Of Freedom To Marry

A trial court judge in Polk County, Iowa struck down Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional in a legal ruling late Thursday afternoon and ordered the local clerk to immediately begin issuing same-sex couples marriage licences. The Des Moines Register reported:
Gay couples from anywhere in Iowa could apply for a marriage license from Polk County. The process takes three days, however.

Polk County is expected to appeal the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court.

County Attorney John Sarcone said the county would immediately seek a stay from Hanson, which if granted would prevent anyone from seeking a marriage license until an appeal could be heard.

The case will be appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, which could refer it to the Iowa Court of Appeals, consider the case itself or decide not to hear the case.

Des Moines lawyer Dennis Johnson represented the six gay couples who filed suit after they were denied marriage licenses. He called the ruling "a moral victory for equal rights."

Johnson argued that Iowa has a long history of aggressively protecting civil rights in cases of race and gender. He said the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Legislature passed in 1998, contradicts previous court rulings regarding civil rights and should be struck down.

Johnson called the Defense of Marriage law "mean spirited" and said it was designed only to prohibit gays from marrying. He said it violates t he state constitution's equal protection and due-process clauses.

Lambda Legal, which spearheaded a same-sex marriage drive across the country, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the gay and lesbian couples in Polk County District Court on Dec. 13, 2005.

CA Legislature Passes Migden's Bill To Expand Reproductive Technology to HIV+ Men

Despite her recent legal and political troubles, openly lesbian State Senator Carole Migden's legislative prowess seems undiminished. Yesterday, the sent SB 443 to the Governor's desk after it passed her bill to expand assistive reproductive technology to HIV+ men by a vote of 35-1 (McClintock) in the State Senate and the State Assembly concurred with technical amendments.

Currently only California and Delaware prohibit fertility treatments when one member of the partner is HIV positive. Migden's bill would allow for a process called "sperm washing" recognized by the the American Society for Reproductive Medicine that minimizes the chance of donation fro an HIV-posiive sperm donation and includes a requirement for informed mutual consent. Unfortunately, Migden's bill was not amended to allow HIV-positive women access to assistive reproductive technology so technically it is against the law for an HIV-positive woman to donate her eggs to herself or anyone else. Perhaps next session Senator Migden or some other legislattor would be interested in carrying legislation to eliminate this oversight in this well-intended legislation. Current research is showing that the risk of transmission from HIV-positive mother to new born child is as low as 4% and dropping.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

REVIEW: Octavia Butler's FLEDGLING

Octavia Butler's twelfth (and last) book came out in paperback recently and I got a copy for my birthday in May. Some of you will remember that I knew the author personally and blogged about my encounters with her previously.

fledgling is a brilliant re-imagination of the vampire myth by one of the most creative writers in the genre of "speculative fiction."

The story begins with a young woman who wakes up, bruised and burned in a cave. The woman leaves a cave and discovers a razed village nearby and meets a young man who she bites, feeds on and then has sex with. One of the many unusual aspects of this tale are the details that the young woman appears physically as a pre-pubescent, dark-skinned female while the man is white and in his 20s.

Eventually we learn that the name of the young vampire is Shori Mathews and although she looks like a 10 or 11 year old she is actually 50-60 years old, which is young (but equivalent to an adolescent or teenager) for her kind, the long-lived symbiotic, vampiric species known as The Ina.

Butler weaves a suspenseful plot around these basic story ideas, as we learn more about the unusual nature of Ina culture and society while the book progresses to a pleasing conclusion.

Some of the idea this "genre fiction" novel grapples with are miscegenation, gender-stratified societies, the nature of addiction and racism. As always, in creative and enthralling ways Butler excites and intrigues the reader with her vision and insight of her final book. It's one of the sadnesses in life that we will not have the opportunity to experience any new works by this gifted author, one of the few African American females writing speculative fiction.


My Assembly Person The Next Speaker?

Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and Senator President Pro-Tem Don Perata are both termed out in 2008 unless voters pass a proposed initiative to modify legislative term limits. In today's Capitol Weekly, there is a report on who the next Speaker of the California Assembly may be.

A look at the fundraising totals provides a pretty good clue as to who is
in the top tier of contenders to replace Núñez and Perata. Leading the way is
Freshman Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, a close ally of Núñez and organized
labor. The caucus' second-leading fundraiser, Culver City Democrat Karen Bass,
also has close labor ties. And, like De Leon, Bass is frequently mentioned as a
possible successor to Núñez.

Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) Denies He Is Gay

Yesterday, Mad Professah reported that homophobic United States Senator Larry Craig, Republican of Idaho, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct resulting from an arrest by a Minneapolis police officer for lewd conduct in a men's bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport this summer. Today, 62-year-old Sen. Craig gave a press conference with his wife Suzanne by his side where he said "I am not gay. I never have been gay.”

An excerpt from MSNBC's coverage:
He had “overreacted and made a poor decision” when he was apprehended by an undercover police officer in a men’s room at the Minneapolis airport and later pleaded guilty.

“While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct in the Minneapolis Airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away.” He said he kept the information from his friends, family and staff, adding, “I wasn’t eager to share this failure but I should have anyway because I am not gay.”

Nor did he hire a lawyer, Craig said, although he now has retained counsel “to review the matter and advise me on how to proceed.”

“I have brought a cloud over Idaho and for that I seek and ask the people of Idaho to forgive me,” he said.

People in Idaho seem doubtful.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

US OPEN 2007 Day 1: Celebration of Blackness

Day 1 of the 2007 US Open night session was devoted to a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Althea Gibson's victory as the first African American athlete to win the U.S. Open. Craig has more details and fabulous pictures. In addition, numerous African American women who had accomplished firsts (first African American female U.S. Senator, first Afican American female Astronaut, first African American female elected mayor of a major U.S. city, etc etc).

After that the two must successful African American female tennis players since Althea Gibson, Venus Williams and Serena Williams came out and won their first round matches easily, in an awesome display of power and glamour that honored the great champion who paved the way for their success: Althea Gibson. Amazingly, African Americans Donald Young and Asha Rolle managed to win their first Grand Slam matches ever on the same day USTA decided to (finally) honor the tennis accomplishments of this fellow African American by inducting her into the celebrated Court of Champions.

Video of Robot Solving Rubik's Cube

Monday, August 27, 2007

Homophobic U.S. Senator From Idaho Pleads Guilty To Lewd Conduct

The LGBT blogosphere and political Washington is buzzing with the news that United States Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) recently plead guilty to a lewd conduct charge. Thanks to blogger and reporter Rex Wockner, here is an excerpt from the official Roll Call (Capitol Hill newspaper) report:

“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.

Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could ... see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”

Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.

“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”

In a recorded interview after his arrest, Craig “either disagreed with me or ‘didn’t recall’ the events as they happened,” the report states.

Craig stated “that he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine,” the report states. Craig also told the arresting officer that he reached down with his right hand to pick up a piece of paper that was on the floor.

“It should be noted that there was not a piece of paper on the bathroom floor, nor did Craig pick up a piece of paper,” the arresting officer said in the report.


In October 2006, Craig’s office publicly denied allegations that he was a homosexual made on a gay activist Web site — Craig’s office told the Spokane Spokesman-Review that the charge was “completely ridiculous,” saying that the allegations had “no basis in fact."

It should be noted that U.S. Senator Larry Craig had a 0% rating with the Human Rights Campaign and was a spokesperson for the Romney for President campaign (which he has since asked to resign from).

US OPEN 2007: Men's Top 10 Preview

1 Federer, Roger (SUI). The World #1 has won two out of the three major championships played this year and been in nine consecutive Grand Slam finals (every major final since Wimbledon 2005!), winning seven of them. Who would bet against him? According to, odds on Federer winning his 4th consecutive US Open title are so great, that if you bet $250, they will only pay you $100! Although some commenters are more than a little suspicious of Federer's draw which protects him from having to play anyone ranked in the Top 100 until the third round at best, most pundits, including Mad Professah believe that will continue his inexorable march to Greatest Of All Time status by winning the 2007 US Open. He has a rendezvous with 2006 finalist Andy Roddick in this year's quarterfinals according to the draw and has had some surprising losses earlier this year (Canas, twice) as well as some unsurprising losses (Nadal at the French, Djokovic in Montreal) but always brings his best stuff to the biggest stages. And there's none bigger than the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center. Champion.

2 Nadal, Rafael (ESP). The Spanish wunderkind plays so much tennis during the early clay court section of the tennis season that towards the end of the year even the young, supple body of the longtime #2 best player in the World starts to break down. He has shown that he can play well on hardcourts by winning the Pacific Life Open earlier in the year, however he has been humbled by players on this surface recently (Djokovic, Youzhny, Berdych). Semifinalist or earlier.

3 Djokovic, Novak (SRB). The New Kid On The Block anounced himself earlier in the year by making two consecitive Masters Series on hard courts and has won two of them this year (Miami and Montreal) beating higher ranked players both times, no mean feat when you are currently #3 in the World. When Djokovic beat #3 Roddick, #2 Nadal and #1 Federer two weeks ago in Montreal the world took notice. And he looks pretty good with his shirt off. The Kid has made two consecutive major championship semi-finals, I predict he'll go even further in New York. Finalist.

4 Davydenko, Nikolay (RUS). The perennial Top 5 player never makes much of a splash at the Slams and now has a controversy over betting on his matches over his head. The draw predicts a quarterfinal match with James Blake, who I predict will go further in this tournament than the Russian. Quarter-finalist or earlier.

5 Roddick, Andy (USA). Ahh, the hard court season when American tennis comes alive. Roddick had a decent US Open Series season this year, placing third behind Federer and Blake and just ahead of Djokovic by winning Washington's Legg Mason classic. However, since the rest of his season has not gone as well he finds his ranking down to 5 and in the unenviable position of having to play a quarterfinal against Federer, who he has not defeated in over 10 tries. Although his loss to Richard Gasquet in the Wimbledon quarterfinals was one of the best matches of that tournament (and probably the year) I'm sure it was a mentally devastating loss for Roddick, who was looking forward to his 4th meeting at Wimbledon against Federer. His take-away from that loss should be to play his potential quarterfinal match against Federer as if it were a final, and maybe, just maybe this time he'll come out victorious. Yeah, I don't believe it either. Quarter-finalist or earlier.

6 Blake, James (USA). Interestingly, the other Great American Hope for U.S. Tennis has had an even better US Open Series season, winning Pilot Pen again and getting to the finals of both the Los Angeles' Countrywide Classic and Cincinnati ATP Masters Series final. If it weren't for just a few breakpoints saved by Radek Stepanek, Blake would be in the running for the $1 million bonus in New York as the US Open Series winner. Blake actually has a pretty challenging draw (fellow American journeyman Michael Russell followed by the always wily Fabrice Santoro with dangerous Sam Querrey and Tommy Haas lurking) on his way to meet Nikolay Davydenko in the quarterfinals whom he is 6-0 against head-to-head. So, this really is a moment where Blake has to live up to his book sales and decide whether he will make a breakthrough or a whimper in New York. I'm suspecting it will be the former. Semifinalist or early round loss.

7 Gonzalez, Fernando (CHI). Oh, where oh where has Mr. 2007 Australian Open finalist been all year long? He's in Nadal's quarter of the draw and it's doubtful he'll even make it that far. Quarter-finalist or earlier.

8 Robredo, Tommy (ESP). The best-looking member of the Top 10 is in Djokovic's section of tyhe draw and it's doubtful he'll make it that far. Early Round Loss.

9 Berdych, Tomas (CZE). When Berdych is on, he can defeat anyone in the Top 10, but his curiously flat performance against Nadal in the Wimbledon quarterfinals this year have led me to question whether the Czech player will really ever live up to his potential, despite his hard-hitting ground strokes and go-for-broke style he shares with his girlfriend Lucie Safarova. He does have the possibility of complicating Andy Roddick's move through the draw to meet Federer in the quarters but somehow neither I nor Tomas really believe that will happen. Fourth Round.

10 Haas, Tommy (GER). Ahh, one of the few players in the draw who really believes he is a better tennis player than Roger Federer. Unfortunately for him, he has a possible 4th Round showdown with the new and improved James Blake. If the German player gets through that match (which is unlikely) then he could complicate life for Federer in the semi-finals. At least 4th Round.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

US OPEN 2007: Women's Top 10 PREVIEW

1 J. HENIN. The World's #1 was a finalist at every Grand Slam last year, winning only on her beloved red clay in Paris. The Belgian's half of the draw contains both Serbian players Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic as well as both Williams sisters as well as other hard hitters like Tatiana Golovin, Marion Bartoli, Lucia Safarova and Dinara Safina. For the third time in a row, Serena and Justine are slated to meet in a quarterfinal showdown at a Grand Slam. The first two were straight sets wins by Justine. I don't think that Serena should even be playing this tournament, since she has only played one match since injuring her left thumb against Daniela Hantuchova at Wimbledon, where she lost to Justine. However, I really can't believe that Justine can make it through this draw to get to the final again.

2 M. SHARAPOVA. The "Golden Girl" of the WTA has a gift-wrapped draw in which in her half is lacking almost all of the hard-hitting seeds. In Sharapova's half she has coming-back-from-injury Nicole Vaidisova, solid but streaky Anna Chakvetadze and always sneaky Martina Hingis in addition to 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. None of these players should really prevent her from getting to her second consecutive U.S. Open final. Finalist.

3 J. JANKOVIC. The hard-hitting Serb is starting to get eclipsed by her younger countrywoman, particularly at the Slams. Jankovic lost the WTA Tier 1 Rogers Cup final to Justine Henin, the seventh time she has lost to the Belgian in seven times. Quarterfinalist or Champion.

4 S. KUZNETSOVA. The mentally fragile Russian is one of the few hard-hitting players in the current defending champion's half who can outhit Sharapova and she has won this title before. However, her focus seems to have slipped recently as her fitness level has noticeably decreased. Semi-finalist.

5 A. IVANOVIC. Last year's winner of the US Open Series wasn't able to defend her title this summer but she did win a title and has already proven that she is worthy of her Top 5 status. Mad Professah is a big fan of the Serbian sisters but I'm hoping that it's the older sister that makes her big breakthrough in New York, although I wouldn't be surprised if the pretty younger sister slips through instead to take the whole enchilada.
Quarterfinalist or Semifinalist.

6 A. CHAKVETADZE. Anna started the hard court season as the hottest player on the tour by winning two tournaments in a row (Cincinnati and Stanford). Quarterfinalist.

7 A. MAURESMO. The former World #1 pulled out of the last Grand Slam of the year a few weeks ago with an injury.

8 N. PETROVA. Set to tussle with Daniela Hantuchova in the Round of 16. Has the game to do well on hard courts but not the mental fortitude to do well among all the glitz and attention of New York. Fourth Round of Quarterfinalist.

9 S. WILLIAMS. Serena shouldn't even be playing in this tournament. She hasn't played a tour match since losing to Henin at Wimbledon. A Melbourne Miracle will not be repeated. Early Round Loss.

10 D. HANTUCHOVA. The svelt Slovak is in the Golden Girl's lower half but is likely to meet another -ova in the fourh round, Nadia Petrova in the Round of 16. I believe she will get past that round, but not the next round against another Russian in the quarters. Quarterfinalist.

REVIEW: The Bourne Ultimatum

Between semi-final matches of the WTA Acura Classic a few weeks ago MadProfessah attended a screening of The Bourne Ultimatum at an Ultra-Star Theater in Carlsbad, CA on Saturday of opening weekend. There was a line to get into the theater and the particular screening was packed.

After having seen the first two Bourne movies, The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, on DVD I was interested in seeing the latest "threequel" in the theaters, particularly since I had seen Shrek The Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Spider-Man 3.

The Bourne Ultimatum is a nearly perfect action movie. It is well-directed by Paul Greengrass (Oscar nominated for United 93) and cleverly written by Tony Gilroy and starring Matt Damon, the same team who also made The Bourne Supremacy together.

The third installment in the Bourne franchise has received nearly uniformly positive reviews (94% users, 94% critics at and is doing exceedingly well at the box-office, on track to well outperform the previous two films.

And its clear to see why. The filmmakers have retained the voyeuristic travelogue aspect to the film (we get to see Jason Bourne in London, Madrid, Moscow, Turin, Paris, Tangier and finally New York City) while increasing the action level to a near fever pitch. Any attempt at love interest has been jettisoned, making the film essentially an all-boy's affair. Julia Stiles and Joan Allen return to forward the plot slightly, and even the small parts are peopled by very good actors: David Strathairn, Albert Finney and Scott Glenn.

Ultimatum is the last of the three Bourne books written by best-selling spy novelist Robert Ludlum, and the movies diverged greatly from the books when they were adapted to increase their entertainment value. The filmmakers have done an excellent job of making an adult, intelligent spy thriller and I'm sure the lack of an actual source novel to adapt will not prevent them from making more.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

REVIEW: Gateway Restaurant (Three Rivers, CA)

The evening of Day 4 of the Summer 2007 Road Trip we spent at "the best restaurant in [Three Rivers] to eat at if someone else is paying": The Gateway Restaurant and Lodge. Interestingly they had no problem when we showed up minutes before 8pm with a canine companion in tow and no reservation on a mid-week day in August (after spending nearly 7 hours in the park). They seated us outside and brought a bowl of water for the dog. The Gateway is almost directly outside of Sequoia National Park, literally on top of the Kaweah River. Their motto is "The only thing we overlook is the river!"

Mad Professah ordered the Top Sirloin Champignon Royale (A Truly Thick Cut of Chairman's Reserve Top Sirloin, Broiled to Perfection and then Topped with Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions in a Brown Sauce with Red Wine and Garlic) from the Entrées From the Broiler section of the sizeable menu. The Other Half ordered the Trout Almondine (Idaho Rainbow Trout Pan Fried to Perfection. Topped with Toasted Almonds) from the Entrées From the Sauté Pan menu.

Trout AlmondineChampignon Royale
Trout AlmondineTop Sirloin Champignon Royale

I quite enjoyed my Champignon Royale. The sauce with mushrooms, onions and wine was scrumptious and went perfectly well with medium-rare sirloin. I detest squash so I let The Other Half eat my portion as well as his. He was not as pleased with his trout, which he thought was slightly overcooked. He'd a master at pan-grilling salmon so he's often disappointed when he orders fish in restaurants (though, to my surprise, he does so quite often, since he does like to eat the stuff).

After our entrees we were pretty stuffed and didn't order any dessert. Mad Professah doesn't drink alcohol, but The Other Half ordered a Lambrusco, which was surprisingly served over ice and was pretty sweet and frizzy. Unimpressed, he finished the sangria-like potable and ordered a Pinot Grigio which he quite enjoyed. I took sips of both but grimaced both times.

Overall I rated Gateway a B+ while he rated it a solid B.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Summer 2007 Road Trip: Day 5

Day 5
We woke up, packed up the car and checked out of the lovely Lazy J Motel Ranch. We ate breakfast at We Three Bakery and Restaurant and got some sandwiches for the trip. As you can see, we took the scenic route home, basically trying to avoid the direct but ugly Interstate 5 Highway.

Breakfast at We Three was delicious:
Soft scrambled eggs with bacon and pancakesChicken enchilada with eggs
Buttermilk pancakes with soft-scrambled eggs and bacon for RonChicken enchiladas with choice of eggs (over-easy) for Dean

During breakfast we ordered a club sandwich with homemade potato salad and tuna salad with fresh fruit to go, got in the car and drove non-stop for 5 1/2 hours, taking the scenic route along California State Highway 56 around Bakersfield to Mojave onto California State highway 14 to Interstate 210 to the Pasadena area and home.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Competing Statewide Ballot Initiatives For California's Electoral Votes

Republican operatives are circulating a ballot initiative that could radically change the dynamics of the 2008 presidential electoral map by assigning California's 55 electoral votes to that candidate which carries each of the state's congressional districts and not the statewide plurality. In 2004, President Bush carried 22 of California's 53 congressional districts while losing statewide 44% to 54% to Senator John Kerry. If the Republicans' initiative had been in effect Bush would have won 19 more electoral votes (almost as many as Ohio's 20 votes, which decided the 2004 Presidential election).

This week, Democratic operatives struck back with a competing ballot initiative of their own that would also re-assign the manner in which California apportions it's electoral votes for President; this time to the winner of the popular vote. However, the Democratic measure would have the impact of eliminating the effect of the electoral college altogether by asserting that after states with 270 (a majority of the 538 electoral votes up for grabs) have also agreed to do the same thing, California would assign it's electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote, regardless of which candidate won a plurality in the state. This would guarantee that the winner of the popular vote would always win the electoral vote and be elected President, which did NOT happen in 2000 (Gore won the popular vote, and Bush wonwas declared the winner of the electoral vote) and occurred three other times in the 19th century.

Current polling on the Republican measure has it ahead 47% to 35%, which although sounds scary, is actually pretty good news, because it's rare for any ballot measure to pass which does not BEGIN with initial poll numbers in the 55-60% range. The Democrats' measure is the second effort to get the Nationa's largest state to join the "popular vote" movement. Last year, the Legislature passed a bill to do this but the measure was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

Summer 2007 Road Trip: Day 4

Day 4

Leenah in the CarToday was mostly a travel day, as we drove from San Francisco, CA to Three Rivers, CA just outside Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. We left San Francisco at 1pm and arrived in Three Rivers by 630pm, checking in to the Lazy J Ranch Motel, an Americas Best Value Inn.
The motel was surprisingly pleasant, with a king-size bed, a microwave, refrigerator and TV with DVD/VCRplayer. It also had a pool.
Here is a view from the car of the Kaweah River Valley on the way to Three Rivers.After checking in we drove immediately into the park and although the Visitors' Center was closed we paid our park fee ($20 for a week's multiple entry into both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks). We took the picture below at Hospital Rock.

We had dinner (at the recommendation of the front desk at the Lazy J Ranch motel) at Serrano's Mexican Restaurant and although the service was shockingly slow, at least we could eat outside with our canine companion in tow and the food was excellent and plentiful. I had the costillas en salsa (pork ribs) with refried beans and rice and the other half had the broiled chicken salad. We had enough food left over for a snack in the morning and the doggie enjoyed those bones!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

CA-37: Laura Richardson Elected To Congress

One year ago, Laura Richardson was a member of the Long Beach City Council. Yesterday, she won the general election in the 37th Congressional district of California by winning 67.05% of the vote. Turnout was incredibly light, with only 8.19% of the 262, 746 registered voters casting votes on a hot summer's day. Richardson received 14, 105 votes. When she won her 55th State Assembly district race in November 2006, Richardson received over 50, 000 votes and in June 2006 when she won the Democratic nomination for the 55th Assembly district with 15,551 votes.

REVIEW: Fracture

The movie Fracture stars Sir Anthony Hopkins and Best Actor Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling in a taut thriller directed by Gregory Hoblit.

Although the film did not get very good reviews on its initial release or perform very well at the box-office The Other Half and I still went to see Fracture (albeit at our favorite cheapskate second-run theater Regency Academy Cinema in Pasadena) earlier in the summer because he thinks Ryan Gosling is cute and I like to see Hopkins in just about anything.

Since the movie was released on DVD yesterday (with two alternate endings!) I thought I would put down my thoughts about this film.

It's definitely not a painfully bad movie, and for someone who lives in Los Angeles there's always a certain frisson as one recognizes the locations in the film the characters are going to as places that you have been to yourself. That being said, this is clearly a two-man show, with some very fun scenes between Hopkins' character, Ted Crawford, the older, rich, successful engineer who shoots his philandering young wife in the head and Gosling's character, a young, ambitious, handsome but somewhat stuck-up district attorney who gets the case dumped in his lapas his last case before he can jump to a high-power, lucrative private firm. The smaller parts are well-cast, with actors like Cliff Curtis, David Strathairn and Rosamund Pike.

It's definitely not a perfect movie. The plot relies unfairly on information that the audience couldn't reasonably know in order to "solve" the mystery. It's really unsurprising that the DVD contains at least two alternate endings, since really the story could have gone in multiple directions without much more suspension of belief fom the audience. In addition, the chemistry between Gosling and Pike is weak, at best. What's interesting is that Gosling must have been paired with the legendary Anthony Hopkins before his Oscar-nominated performance as a crack-smoking elementary school teacher in Half Nelson became widely known. His next appearance will be in Peter "Lord of the Rings" Jackson's film adaptation of Alice Sebold's celebrated first novel The Lovely Bones, as the father of the murdered child who is the center of the story.

Overall, if you go in with lowered expectations and appreciate the interactions between two actors firing on all cylinders, Fracture is a pleasantly diverting two hours.


Summer 2007 Road Trip: Day 3

Day 3 The third day of the road trip was spent driving from Sunnyvale to San Francisco and hanging out with friends and family in "The City." We walked along Valencia Street in The Mission District and had amazing sandwiches for lunch at Bi-Rite Market with ice cream at the Bi-Rite Creamery across the street. We split dog-sitting duties as Mad Professah took a detour to go to a meeting in Marin County and took the ferry back from Larkspur Landing Ferry Terminal to the Ferry Building in San Francisco, walked to the Embarcadero Station and took Muni to the corner of 24th and Church a few blocks from where we were staying in the Mission District. The whole trip on public transportation took about 2 hours and cost under $10. I got back just in time for barbecue chicken and a vicious game of Blokus (won by the expert player pictured below).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More Reports and Research On Uncircumsized Men and HIV

In Tuesday's New York Times there's an article ("Washing After Sex May Raise H.I.V. Risk") on a counter-intuitive result from a study on uncircumcised men in Uganda: immediate washing of the penis after vaginal sex increased the rate of HIV transmission from female to male sexual partners. A summary of the article by the invaluable Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report says:
For the study, Fredrick Makumbi of the Makerere University Institute of Public Health and colleagues examined 2,552 uncircumcised, HIV-negative men ages 15 to 29 in the Rakai district of Uganda. Eighty-three percent of the participants said they washed their penises with all sex partners, the Times reports. The researchers asked the men when and how they washed their penises -- including if they washed with or without cloths -- after sex at the beginning of the study and at six, 12 and 24 months after the study began. According to Ronald Gray, a study co-author and professor of population and family planning at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the researchers did not ask details about how the washing was conducted or if soap was used because of an oversight. Some soaps used in Africa are more irritating than soaps used in other places, according to the Times.

The researchers found that men who washed within three minutes after sex had a 2.3% risk of HIV infection, compared with a 0.4% risk among men who delayed washing for 10 minutes or more. Makumbi and other AIDS experts said they do not know why washing might increase vulnerability to HIV, but they offered some explanations. One is that delaying washing and prolonging exposure to vaginal secretions might reduce viral infectivity. Another explanation is that the acidity of vaginal secretions might impair the ability of HIV to survive on the penis, the Times reports. In addition, the use of water, which has a neutral pH, might prolong viral survival and possible infectivity, according to the Times. HIV likely needs to be in a fluid to cross the mucosa and infect cells, Gray said, adding that if HIV-infected fluid dries, its infectivity could decrease. Adding water, therefore, could resuspend HIV and increase its infectivity, the Times reports.

This follows news reports that Bush Administration is going to start allocating some of the funds in PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) to provide adult male circumcision in African countries such as South Africa, Kenya and Uganda where studies have shown tha male circumcision can reduce HIV transmission rates by as much as 60 per cent among heterosexuals. The Black AIDS Institute sent out a rare statement praising an initiative by the Bush administration.
Meanwhile, public health must begin to make people aware of the dramatic difference circumcision appears to make in HIV risk. In doing so, however, the Bush administration must respect the justified concerns both communities and individuals may present. Too many years of abuse at the hands of pseudoscience have left communities of color around the world distrustful of health officials. Any outsider- driven, top-down campaign urging men to have skin removed from their penises will no doubt deepen that skepticism.

So as the Bush administration gears up its response to the compelling data on circumcision, it will be well advised to help local leaders do the leading, which is something its AIDS program has proven reluctant to do in the past. That includes investing in raising the HIV-science literacy among local leaders and supporting culturally appropriate venues where communities can develop the tools needed to interpret the science.

At the same time, people of color around the world no longer have the luxury of allowing other folks' mistakes to hold us captive. If we're going to survive this epidemic, we must begin taking responsibility for our own lives. That means, no matter what the Bush administration does, and no matter what any local health department does here in the U.S., we must learn the facts about circumcision and HIV.

It is an entirely appropriate choice for any individual to opt against circumcision as a method of HIV prevention. But he must make that choice based on the facts, not as a self-defeating reaction to fears about government abuse.

Mad Professah has been following the ongoing debate(s) about HIV and circumcision quite closely and will continue to do so.

CA-37: Special Election Today

The special election in California's 37th Congressional District is being held today, Tuesday August 21, to fill the seat vacated by the sudden death in April of U.S. Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald. 45-year-old State Assemblymember Laura Richardson won a hotly contested primary election in June to become the Democratic nominee and thus the overwhelming favorite to be the next United States representative for the 37th Congressional District.

Mad Professah has been following this race for months and looks forward to seeing who will replace soon-to-be Congresswoman Laura Richardson in the State Assembly, as well as seeing whether she will agree to co-sponsor important federal legislation like H.R. 3326 (Early Treatment for HIV Act), H.R. 2221 (Uniting American Families Act), H.R. 2015 (Employment Non-Discrimination Act), H.R. 1592 (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act) and H.R. 1246 (Military Readiness Act).

Summer 2007 Road Trip: Day 2

Day 2

The second day of the Summer 2007 Road Trip was spent mostly in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, home of the tallest trees on planet Earth, the California Redwood.

After arriving in beautiful Sunnyvale, CA on Day 1 after a five hour drive from Santa Barbara, CA and checking in at The Maple Tree Inn (one of the few places that was in the right location that was pet-friendly) we woke up at the crack of noon and drove up into the hills above Santa Cruz for about 90 minutes on a very winding road to reach Big Basin Redwoods State Park, home of some of the tallest and oldest living organisms in the planet: the California Redwood. As one enters the park, here is the very first tree one sees.

Right next to the office where one pays ones park fees is a cross-section of a redwood showing the numerous growth rings of a very old sempervirens (literally "long living") tree.

Here's a close-up showing the details of the metal plaques showing dates that the tree had lived through to put its amazing longevity into human perspective.

And here's the close-up of the plaque next to the growth rings.
Unfortunately almost all of the trails in Big Basin Redwoods state Park (and other parks) do not allow dogs, so after we had a lovely picnic (severely attacked by vicious yellowjacket/hornets) we set off for a walk on one of the paths we could take the dog.
On the way back we stopped at a "turn out" to get a view of the forest from one of the high points in the Santa Cruz mountains.

REVIEW: Transformers

Mad Professah saw director cum racist hack Michael Bay's latest summer blockbuster several weeks ago and was extremely disappointed. Although the visual effects are flawless, the script (by Alias producer-writers Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci) is surprisingly insipid and star Shia LaBoeuf is completely uninteresting to this reviewer. All I could keep thinking as I kept looking at my cellphone to check the time was "I am not in the target demographic of this film." But even if I was, I don't see how the film would be enjoyable to anyone. Clearly others do not agree with me. Unfortunately, since the film has grossed over 300 million dollars domestically the producers have already announced at least one sequel in the works. Wild horses couldn't drag me to see it, especially in 2009 or 2010.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Federer wins 50th title and clinches US Open Series

26-year-old world #1 Roger Federer won his 50th ATP Tour title (the 9th man ever to do so) by defeating his 35th consecutive American player, James Blake in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4 at the Western & Southern Financial Group ATP Masters in Cincinnati, OH on Sunday. With his win Federer clinched first place in the US Open Series, which means he qualifies for a million dollar bonus if he were to win the 2007 U.S. Open, a major title he has won the last three years in a row. Blake has won one of the 19 sets he has played against Federer in 7 matches. Although Federer is only the fifth youngest to win fifty titles (Borg was the youngest at 23 years, 7 months), he is second on the list of ATP Master Shields with 14 (Andre Agassi is currently at the top of the list with 17) and tied for 3rd on the list of Grand Slam titles (11) behind Roy Emerson (12) and Pete Sampras (14).

Summer 2007 Road Trip: Day 1

Mad Professah spent the last week on a "Great American Road Trip" to see the tallest and largest trees in the world, Sequoia sempervirens and Sequoiadendron giganteum respectively,which just happen to be several hours drive from my home in Los Angeles. This week, as a blogging special series I will be recounting the details of my trip.

Day 1

Day 1 was mostly spent picking up a rental car from Fox Rent-a-car near LAX. The other half took public transportation all the way. He walked to the Pasadena Gold Line Southwest Museum station, then took the train to Union Station, and from there the Fly-A-Way Bus to LAX and finally a shuttle bus from LAX to Fox Rent-a-Car. Then it took about an hour to get a grey Honda Civic Hybrid (pictured above) rented. The entire ordeal (from leaving home to arriving back home again in the rental car) took nearly four hours.

I was up in Santa Barbara at a tennis camp the whole time and got picked up around 7:30 pm and we drove up the 101 freeway from Goleta (where University of California, Santa Barbara is) all the way to Sunnyvale, CA.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

REVIEW: Sunshine

Saw the new Danny Boyle film Sunshine last night. Boyle is the very stylish director of 28 Days Later..., Trainspotting and Millions. His two collaborations with screenwriter Alex Garland are both re-imaginings of genre films which remain completely faithful to their source material. 2002's 28 Days Later... is the best low-budget, end-of-the-world film with flesh-eating zombies you'll ever see. It was a highly profitable film which has spawned an inevitable sequel 28 Weeks Later... directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (reviewed favorably by Mad Professah). His new collaboration is another end-of-the-world film, this time in the genre of science fiction. The plot involves a team of astronauts who are on a mission to save humanity by flying a bomb to the sun in order to jump-start our dying star. Of course the team is multiculturally diverse and psychologically flawed. To add depth, this mission is the second human mission to restart the sun, morbidly named Icarus II. (Icarus, of course, was the boy in Greek mythology who despite warned by his father not to fly too close to sun was overwhelmed by the fun of flying with wings made of wax and feathers and forgot his father's admonition and thus fell to his death.) The casting is peculiar with 28 Days Later...'s Cillian Murphy (and his big beautiful blue eyes) paired with 28 Weeks Later...'s Rose Byrne, Fantastic Four's impossibly beautiful Chris Evans, the unusual Michelle Yeoh, the soon-to-be-ubiquitous Cliff Curtis (Live Free or Die Harder, Fracture, Whale Rider). By peculiar, I mean that for a big-budget Hollywood summer film the actors are generally not above average in looks (except for Evans) although the acting was uniformly believable (even Evans).

The movie looks absolutely breathtaking, with incredibly brilliant views of the sun, showing it to be a dangerous, powerful and beautiful symbol of nature. There is Boyle's signature use of music to enhance emotionally powerful scenes. (The main musical theme from 28 Days Later is so evocative that versions of it are currently running in trailers for Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf and the Kevin Bacon vehicle Death Sentence.) Additionally, the appearance of circles and close-ups of eyes as well as the power of extreme heat and extreme cold are narrative themes in Sunshine. While Boyle used a shaky, hand-held almost guerilla filmmaking style to with great impact in 28 Days Later... in keeping with that film's minimalist budget, in Sunshine the art direction, set design and overall production values are minimalist and modern in a manner which oozes money and reflects the much larger budget and expectations for this film. Unfortunately, these heightened box-office expectations have not been met and Sunshine has only grossed about $4 million dollars, less than one tenth of the production budget. Most reviews fault the movie with falling apart in the third act, and while it's true the film slightly changes genres (from very hard sci-fi cum suspense drama to sci-fi cum suspense thriller) Mad Professah really only had issues with the the last 5-10 minutes of the film where Boyle's directorial flashiness actually impedes the storytelling and was completely on the edge of my seat for more than half of the film. It's the kind of movie you want to go back to catch metaphors and foreshadowings you may have missed during the first viewing.


Kitchen Remodel: Pictures After Staining

You can look at the "before" and "during" pictures from last week by clicking here. As you can see, we finally have use of the kitchen again, but there's still some tasks to be done: replacement of the hideous backsplash tile (with a multicolored Walker-Zanger tile) and the painting of the back walls of the cabinets (with a blue-ish grey color).

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I'm baaack

Blogging will resume today... Will post pictures of the current state of the kitchen...

Friday, August 10, 2007

On Vacation Until August 17

Mad Professah will be on vacation, visiting Sequoia National Park and Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Northern California, from August 10 to August 17th. VERY light (if any) blogging until then.

Report Cards from the Logo/HRC Forum

1. Hillary Clinton. Hillary was clearly comfortable wth the setting and came across as well-informed and empathetic. She was very specific about what she wanted to do regarding state recognition of same sex couples: repeal Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Unfortunately there are only 2 sections of DOMA. I believe though Clinton was referring to the second half of DOMA which restricts any federal benefits currently provided to married couples from being provided to same-sex couples. She was more accurate and eloquent on the issue of the ban on openly gay or lesbian people serving in the United States Armed Forces. Grade A.
2. Barack Obama. Impressive, but not as polished as Hillary. Got visibly annoyed when repeatedly asked to defend his position on same-sex marriage. Grade A-.
3. Dennis Kucinich. The biggest surprise of the debate. Clearly the most progressive of the candidates, unabashedly so. Unfortunately has no chance of winning the nomination. Grade B+.
4. John Edwards.I thought he had the best answer to the inevitable same-sex marriage question when he described his intellectual and emotional understanding of how LGBT folk feel like when they are denied the freedom to marry, but he also reiterated that his position had not changed: he is still opposed to same-sex marriage. Grade B.
5. Mike Gravel. Has raised almost no money. I disagree with other bloggers who advocated for his inclusion in this event. Grade C.
6. Bill Richardson. When asked by Melissa Etheridge "Is homosexuality a choice?" the Governor responded "Yes, it is a choice." 'Nough said. When asked whether he would sign a marriage equality bill into law if provided one by the New Mexico state legislature he refused to answer the question! Grade F.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Barack Obama Announces LGBT Leadership Council

Today ("coincidentally" the date of the Logo/HRC Presidential Forum on LGBT issues) the Obama for America campaign released list of members on their long-awaited LGBT Leadership Council. (h/t Rod 2.0) The full list is in the LGBT section of the website

Stampp Corbin, National LGBT Liaison, Obama for America; Former Human Rights Campaign Board Member;
Terje Anderson, VT, Former Executive Director for the National Association of People with AIDS
Tom Barbera, NH, Board Member, Bay State Stonewall Democrats and Vice Chair, SEIU National Lavender Caucus
Paris Barclay, CA, Emmy Award Winning Producer and Director
Michael Bauer, IL, Community Activist
Tommy Bennett, IL, Radio Personality, Tom Joyner Show
Rosalyn Bugg, CA, Community Organizer
Phil Burgess, IL, National Director, Pharmacy Affairs, Walgreens
Ed Butler, NH, State Representative
Beth Bye, CT, Connecticut State Assemblywoman
Thomas Chaderjian, IL, Stonewall Democrats
Gary Cloutier, CA, Councilmember and Vice Mayor, Vallejo
Jon Cooper, NY, Suffolk County Legislature Majority Leader
Craig Covery, MI, Councilman, Ferndale City
Terry Crow, MO, Attorney
Chris Diebel, IA, Business Leader
Karla Drenner, GA, State Representative
Bevan Dufty, CA, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Rick Garcia, IL, Director, Equality Illinois
Carlos Garza, IA, Chair, Des Moines Pride
Richard Gordon, Supervisor, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors
Nancy Greaney, NH, PFLAG New Hampshire
Greg Harris, IL, State Representative
Wendy Howell, VT,
Chris Hughes, IL, Founder, Facebook;
Harold Janeway, NH, State Senator, PFLAG Member
Vincent Jones, CA, Executive Director, Center for Health Justice
Nicole LeFavour, ID, State Representative
Ed Lehman, CA, Union Organizer
Robert Lilligren, MN, VP, Minneapolis Council
Gordene Mackenzie, MA, MA Transgender Political Coalition
Sharon Malhero, IA, Activist
Timothy Patrick McCarthy, MA, Harvard
Darryl Moore, CA, Berkeley City Council Member
Ed Murray, WA, State Senator
Nancy Nangeroni, MA,
Michael Noll, CA, Vice Mayor, Signal Hill
Renae Ogletree, IL, Community Organizer
Paul Provost, MN, Business Manager
Rebecca Prozan, CA, Chair, Alice B. Toklas Club
Nicole M. Ramirez, CA, City Commissioner, San Diego
Tonyia M. Rawles, CA, Bishop-Elect, Unity Fellowship Church Movement
Donna Red Wing, CO, Activist
Dr. Penny Robbins, IL, Reverend
Gene Robinson, NH, Bishop
Robert Ryken, IL, Attorney
Deborah Shore, IL, Commissioner, Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
Stephen Smith, CA, Former DNC Member
Eric Tabor, IA, Chief of Staff, Attorney General Tom Miller
Maxim Thorne, NJ, Former Executive Director, Head Start New Jersey
Dr. Leanne Tigert, MA, Minister
Lew Todd, NY, Founding Member, Stonewall Democratic Club, Gay Activists Alliance, National Gay Task Force
Tom Tunney, IL, Chicago Alderman
David Upthegrove, WA, State Representative
Tawnee Walling, NH,
Gene Webb, IL, U Chicago
Richard A. Wilson, IL, Chair, National Lesbian and Gay Law Association
Tobias Barrington Wolff, PA, Pennsylvania Law School

Mad Professah recognizes more than a few acquaintances and friends on this list. As Rod points out, it's a very different kind of list ("more grassroots") than either Hillary Clinton's list of LGBT supporters or the list of LGBT individuals who have endorsed John Edwards; both lists which were released months ago.

Gays and Lesbians More Likely To Vote

In light of today's LGBT presidential forum, there has been lots of recent commentary in the media about the role of LGBT issues in electoral politics. At the Top of the Ticket blog at the Los Angeles Times they have a post up about a report by Community Marketing, Inc. which claims that 92.5% of gay men and 91% of lesbians voted in the 2004 presidential election, a participation rate far greater than the general population.

The survey results are included in the Gay Consumer Index™ and Lesbian Consumer Index™, precedent-setting national surveys of more than 12,000 gay Americans and 10,000 lesbian Americans conducted by Community Marketing Inc. in spring 2007 and set to be released later this month.


More than 92% of gay male respondents (92.5%) reported that they voted in the 2004 presidential election with nearly 84% (83.8%) reporting that they voted in the mid-term election in 2006. Results for lesbians were similar with nearly 91% (90.7%) of lesbian respondents reporting that they voted in the 2004 presidential election and 78% reporting that they voted in the mid-term election in 2006. In comparison, media reports estimate that 64% of the general population voted in the 2004 presidential election and just 40% of the general population voted in the 2006 mid-term election.

Slightly more than 31 percent of lesbian respondents (31.1%) reported that they made a financial contribution to a political party in the past twelve months. Forty percent (40.1%) of gay male respondents reported that they made a financial contribution to a political party in the past twelve months.


The Gay Consumer Index and Lesbian Consumer Index are groundbreaking national studies of gay and lesbian consumer preferences and behaviors. The median age of lesbian respondents in the survey was 44, which matches the median age of the general female population. The median age of gay male respondents in the survey was 44, which is slightly lower than the median age of 47 among the general male population.

Survey participants were solicited through over 75 widely distributed internet and print publications. These media partners contributed their survey participants into Community Marketing’s own proprietary survey panel developed since 1994, which includes respondents from many other leading event and media companies such as Advocate Magazine, OUT Magazine, Instinct Magazine, Curve Magazine,,, and

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Kitchen Remodel: Pictures of Before and During

Here are some pictures of Mad Professah's kitchen before and during the kitchen re-model. (Note a rare appearance by Leenah!) Here's what the kitchen looked like the morning of Monday August 6, 2007.

And this is what it looked like last night, Tuesday August 7th.

Hopefully I can post "After" pictures by the weekend!

A Cacophony of Candidates In Town Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the LOGO/HRC Democratic Presidential forum known as Visible Vote '08 in Los Angeles (Studio City, actually). As Mad Professah mentioned a few weeks ago, this is not a debate, but actually a series of sequential appearances by presidential candidates who will respond to questions from a panel of journalists, celebrities, and activists. The order of appearance is Senator Barack Obama, former Senator John Edwards, Senator Christopher Dodd ("scheduling conflict"), Congressmember Dennis Kucinich, former Senator Mike Gravel, Governor Bill Richardson and last but not least Senator Hillary Clinton.

With all these presidential candidates in town, I have been trying to think of the correct collective noun to describe a collection of presidential candidates. There are some lovely examples of peculiar collective nouns in the English language, like "an exultation of larks, a pride of lions, a cete of badgers and a convocation of eagles. I like the word "cacophony" but this was after I rejected "cluster" (influenced by The Daily Show's Clusterf@#ck to the Whitehouse) and "bevy." What word would you pick for the collective noun to describe a group of politicians?

At least three of the leading Democratic presidential candidates are having much-discussed fundraising events associated with the first ever LGBT-specific presidential forum in Boystown West Hollywood and other areas. Hillary Clinton's is $50 (or $1000 if you want real face time with the candidate) at The Abbey), Barack Obama's is $250 at Arena (managed by the same company that runs The Abbey!) while John Edwards is $15 at Republic Restaurant, across the street from Barack's (hoping for spill-over?). Mad Professah will definitely be at the Barack Obama event (You can RSVP by donating here) and may stop by the Edwards event also.

LGBT Blogging bigwigs Rod McCollum (Rod 2.0) and Pam Spaulding will be in town for the event. Pam will be live-blogging the debate for Pam's House Blend.

LA TIMES Top 25 Delicious Dining Deals

Today's Los Angeles Times has their annual Delicious Deals spread. This is a list of 25 of the best-tasting and cheap dishes available in L.A. area eateries.

1. Jamón serrano sandwich at La Española Meats, $4.95. La Española Meats, 25020 Doble Ave., Harbor City; (310) 539-0455.

2. Roasted chicken with beans and rice or fries, tortillas and garlic sauce at Pollo a la Brasa, $5. Pollo a la Brasa, 764 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles; (213) 382-4090; 16527 S. Vermont Ave., Gardena; (310) 715-2494; and 2100 W. Whittier Blvd., Montebello; (323) 727-1965.

3. Nostalgia breakfast at Chips, $4.50. Chips, 11908 Hawthorne Blvd., Hawthorne; (310) 679-2947.

4. Frites deals at Fraîche, $13 and $22. Fraîche, 9411 Culver Blvd., Culver City; (310) 839-6800;

5. Platter of nem nuong at Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa, $13.99. Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa, 9016 Mission Drive, Rosemead; (626) 286-3370.

6. Sunday supper at Dominick's, $15. Dominick's, 8715 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 652-2335;

7. Daily special ice cream bar at Milk, $3. Milk, 7290 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 939-6455.

8. Red velvet cupcake at Jongewaard's Bake 'n' Broil, $1.95. Jongewaard's Bake 'n' Broil, 3697 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach; (562) 595-0396.

9. Happy hour martini at Wilshire Restaurant, $7; bar snacks, $5.50 to $9. Wilshire Restaurant, 2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 586-1707;

10. Indian lunch buffet at Woodlands, $7.95. Woodlands Indian Cuisine, 11833 Artesia Blvd, Artesia; (562) 860-6500.

11. Wednesday bagels, 18 for the price of 12, at Schwartz Bakery, $5.50. Schwartz Bakery, 443 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles; (323)653-1683.

12. Fresh boiled Gulf Coast crustaceans at New Orleans Fish Market, $4.99 per pound. New Orleans Fish Market, 2212 W. Vernon Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 296-3817.

13. Fourteen-inch "calzone from the Caucasus" at Dream Bakery, $2.50. . Dream Bakery, 12908 Sherman Way, North Hollywood; (818) 765-3844.

14. Large cheese pizza at Folliero's, $10. Pasta dinners are only $5.25. Folliero's, 5566 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles (Highland Park); (323) 254-0505.

15. Seven-course chef's tasting menu at Tagine, $42. Tagine, 132 Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills; (310) 360-7535;

16. Sansai soba at Yashima, $8.99. Yashima, 11301 Olympic Blvd., Suite 210, West Los Angeles; (310) 473-5297.

17. Taylor's prime cheeseburger at lunchtime in La Cañada Flintridge, $7.95. Taylor's Steakhouse, 3361 W. 8th St., L.A.; (213) 382-8449; and 901 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada Flintridge; (818) 790-7668;

18. Pozole at Taquería El Granjenal, $4.39. Taquería El Granjenal, 899 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa; (949) 645-4964.

19. 1 Barrel Rum. $11.95. Beverage Warehouse in Los Angeles, (310) 306-2822,; and Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463.

20. Whole crab lunch special at Seafood Village, $17. Seafood Village, 684 W. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park; (626) 289-0088; 9669 Las Tunas Drive, Temple City; (626) 286-2299.

21. Bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwich at Rustic Canyon, $10. Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen, 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 393-7050;

22. Pan-fried dumplings at Mandarin Noodle Deli, $5.75. Mandarin Noodle Deli, 9537 Las Tunas Drive, Temple City; (626) 309-4318.

23. Jerk chicken Sunday special at Ackee Bamboo, $6.95. Ackee Bamboo, 4305 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 295-7275.

24. Khua kling from Jitlada, $8.95. Jitlada, 5233 1/2 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 667-9809.

25. Cabeza taco at Taquería Chihuahua, $1.29. Taquería Chihuahua, 12034 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 313-2350;
Of these 25, Mad Professah previously sampled 3 of them: #2 (there's also one in Eagle Rock), #13 (less than 5 minutes from my house) and #23 (see my review).

Stay tuned as I intend to sample several of these on the list: #17, #15, #7 and #21 look especially promising.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bill Introduced To Lift U.S. Entry Ban on HIV+ People

U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (CA-9) has introduced a bill to lift the ban on HIV+ individuals from travelling or immigrating to the United States. The current ban was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. HR 3337 would repeal that ban and empower the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to review the ban and impose a 30-day comment period before the Secretary reports their recommendation to Congress as to whether the ban should be enforced or reinstated. "This law is unjust and unnecessary and it is time to change it," said Lee. Immigration Equality applauded the introduction of the bill.

99 Cent iPhones In Los Angeles

The 99 Cent Only stores have an ad in today's Los Angeles Times advertising a promotion to sell 4 GB Apple iPhones for 99 cents to the first 9 people in line when it's Westchester, CA store opens on Thursday August 9th, the 25th anniversary of the date the store opened for the first time. The owners of the stores, Jim Gold and his wife Sherry will be in attendance at Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tyra Banks (sic) have been invited to attend, along with a few thousand iPhone-hungry Angelenos!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Light Blogging Due To Re-Decorating

My kitchen remodel / redecoration has commenced so this will probably impact blogging for the next few days... I'll try and put up BEFORE shots and then AFTER shots later in the week...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

WTA Acura Classic: Sharapova Wins 1st Title in 10 Months

Defending champion and #1 seed Maria Sharapova defeated Patty Schnyder for the 6th time in 7 career meetings 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 to win the final Acura Classic to be held at the La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California. It was Sharapova's first title of 2007, although last year when she won this tournament a few weeks later she went on to win the 2006 U.S. Open, her second major title after the 2004 Wimbledon Ladies' Championship.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

WTA ACURA CLASSIC: Semifinals Preview

Maria SHARAPOVA (RUS) vs Anna CHAKVETADZE (RUS). After coming back from a set and a break down as well as saving a match point to beat Venus Williams last night, Anna Chakvetadze will face a well-rested Maria Sharapova who dispatched Sania Mirza easily 6-2, 6-1. The two Russians have played two tight tension-filled matches in the quarterfinals of the Australian and the French this year, which Sharapova has won without dropping a set. However, Chakvetadze has won the last two tournaments on the WTA tour, was regularly outhitting Venus Williams last night (on the backhand side) and has nothing to lose. PREDICTION: Chakvetadze in 3 sets.

Patty SCHNYDER (SUI) vs Elena DEMENTIEVA (RUS). Schnyder did well to beat hard-hitting (but mentally suspect) Nadia Petrova in straight sets yesterday. I suspect she will have more difficulty with the hard-hitting, weak-serving, mentally tough Dementieva. However, whoever wins this match will have their hands full with the winner of the Sharapova/Chakvetadze match. PREDICTION: Dementieva in 2 sets.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Celebrity Friday: Zac Efron Shirtless At The Beach

Zac Efron is one of the bevy of pretty male stars of Hairspray (see review by Mad Professah). Although he is wearing more clothing than Shemar Moore did when he was photographed at the beach recently, I think, Gentle Readers, you will still enjoy the view.

WTA ACURA CLASSIC: Quarterfinals Preview

The WTA Acura Classic is a hop skip and a jump from Mad Professah's stomping grounds in Southern California so I will be driving down with a bunch of other tennis fans this weekend to see Friday's last quarterfinal as well as both semi-finals on Saturday.

Patty SCHNYDER (SUI) vs Nadia PETROVA (RUS). The crafty lefty finally beat her more famous Swiss compatriot Martina Hingis for the first time in nearly nine years despite losing the second set in a tie-break to reach this quarterfinal against one of five Russians in the Final Eight at this important Tier 1 warm-up to the U.S. Open, the last Grand Slam tournament of the year. Petrova is the "most mentally challenged" of the top Russian players (well, except for Dinara Safina!) and Schnyder is one of the most skillful players onthe tour at getting into someone's head. Despite the fact Schnyder leads their head-to-head 5-4 they haven't played each other in more than a year and the Russian's power game should be enough to blow Schnyder off the court. Prediction: Petrova in 2 sets.

Elena DEMENTIEVA (RUS) vs Maria KIRILENKO (RUS). After she serves, Elena Dementieva has some of the prettiest strokes in the women's game, but they often are not enough to make up for her laughably atrocious serve. Kirilenko has just had the biggest win of her young but not so distinguished career, defeating the indefatigable Jelena Jankovic, currently the #3 player in the world, in three tough sets the round before. Matches between Russians are ugly at the best of times, and this one will be even uglier than usual as these two blonde beauties slug it out. Prediction: Toss-up!

Maria SHARAPOVA (RUS) vs Sania MIRZA (IND). It looks like the Muslim Miracle a.k.a. the Invincible Indian has finally started to live up to her hype and started to win matches. She made the final of Stanford last weekend and easily dispatched former Top 10 player Dinara Safina pretty easily to get to this quarterfinal match-up with the reigning U.S. Open champion. Mirza is a big match player, but the jury is still out on whether she has the weapons to match her will. Sharapova has been looking sharp this week, and her serve seems to be returning to it's former strength and consistency. Prediction: Sharapova in 2 sets.

Anna CHAKVETADZE (RUS) vs Venus WILLIAMS (USA). Chakvetadze is the hottest player on the tour right now, having won the last two tournaments she played in, at Cincinatti and Stanford. However, she hasn't really played anyone of the caliber of the reigning Wimbledon champion in her recent victories. Venus is clearly swinging freely and dispatched hard-hitting Daniela Hantuchova in the previous round in straight sets (including a bagel!), limiting the Slovak to a mere 3 games. (Venus has never lost to Hantuchova in 9 matches.) Happily, the organizers decided to schedule this quarterfinal as the evening match so MadProfessah will be able to watch it live in the stands. I suspect Anna will not go down as quietly as Daniela did, but Venus would love to set up another grudge match with Sharapova in the semis Saturday night. Whoever wins that match should easily defeat the winner of the early semifinal on the other half of the draw. Prediction: Williams in 3 sets.


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