Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Historical Note on Riding the Dunes at Glamis

“Bo may know football, baseball, tennis, hockey, lacrosse, and the theatrical arts, but does he know off-roading?”
-Wendy Anderson, Glamis Dunes Riding Instructor, 1989

When one thinks of dunes, dunebuggies, off-roading said dunebuggies in 115-degree heat in the middle of the desert, and busting sweet wheelies on Gecko Road, he can only be thinking of Glamis. Beautiful Glamis, California, situated nine hours off the I-5 on scenic Route 78, becomes temporary home every day to migrant Appalachians (a.k.a. “toughies”), unemployed cable guys, women bikers, and the occasional hipster on his way to Coachella, all united by their love of riding the dunes.

The off-roading underground has long known Glamis to have the best sand drags around, capable of handling both the traditional dunebuggie and the sleeker ZR-9 ATV, but word has begun to spread throughout the last 18 years, ever since the release of 1991 cable TV flick “Gecko Road to Nowhere.” Former professional baseball and football star Bo Jackson, for example, is tacitly acknowledged among the wider sporting community as an avid, skilled rider and Glamis advocate. The release of GR2N coincided with Jackon’s rehab of the hip injury that eventually ended his dual-sport career. Required to spend his days on bed-rest, Jackson interspersed his watching of game film with daytime cable TV. After catching GR2N, Jackson determined to ride the dunes at Glamis as soon as he regained his health and stayed true to his promise, making his first trip east in the early spring of 1992. Starting with a second-hand quad from Raiders teammate Jay Schroeder (who himself had frequented Glamis while a student at UCLA), Jackson quickly graduated to an ATV and then a sandrail until confident that he truly knew the activity. Today, Jackson off-roads annually at the ZR-9 Glamis Challenge, always arriving unheralded but identified to those in the know by his silver-and-black helmet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Historical Note on the Chain Gang

“Nothin’ worse than the sound of the chain.”
-Sam Cooke

While the origin of the shackled worker remains unknown, the first recorded chain gang was the direct effect of the slave ship Lathamas, commissioned by the infamous Captain Isaac Jennings. According to the ship’s log, in 1794 Jennings set out on his third voyage by way of Barbados through the Granada Islands. Buying a shipment of Ecuadorian slaves, Jennings then set sail for New Zealand. Due to a weather system and rocky sea, the Lathamas changed course and arrived in Australia in the spring of 1795. Sea-torn and weary, Jennings soon took fancy with a local maid, deciding instead to keep his ship at port and try his hand at farming. Keeping 15 of his strongest slaves for himself, Jennings chained his workers together with his local white slaves, all hardened criminals and outcasts from England, using the shackles he harnessed from the ship’s bow. With his new method, Jennings was able to keep his slaves from running away, as well as allow him to beat his workers accordingly, with little effort. With the Australian drought in full force, however, Jennings lost many slaves to gangrene caused by the constant pull of the chains. Jennings returned to the sea in 1780, choosing instead to transport criminals from England to Australia, rather than slaves. The chain gang method Jennings brought to greedy land owners and prison colonies was most famously used in Botany Bay Prison, where European noblemen often visited, returning to mainland with their new knowledge. The chain gang remained a staple of prison life until 1955, when it was ruled an inhumane working condition.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Horoscope Monday: Anatinus

Anatinus (the platypus, Gemini in the Western Zodiac): The New Moon approaches this weekend and deals Anatinus a blow to the heart. Someone you trust will betray you – beware a Kingii (frilled lizard, Aries in Western Zodiac). But not all is bad. The betrayal will open a new door for you and the opportunity that will arise cannot be passed. Look for a Cinereus (koala, Cancer in Western Zodiac) to guide your way. You are in need of new clothes.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Historical Note on the Brazilian Blowout

“It’s like the curls should be curly but they’re straight instead, oh my gosh I love Brazila” J. Simpson

The formaldehyde-free-foam-based-keratin-form-defining-anti-curling hair treatment, commonly known as the Brazilian Blowout, has been around since the early 80’s, but only recently has come into the public eye. (Keratin is the active ingredient in most straighteners which helps form the hard mineralized structure.) Started by Kathy Ireland’s hairstylist, Ribiero Paulo, in Aguas de Lindoia Brazil, the Brazilian Blowout was developed as a method of keeping a models hair straight over the course of a week’s photo shoot, without repeatedly flat ironing and touching up. The traditional Japanese technique of straightening left a slick rich looking line, while the new Blowout left the models with a more natural looking line, without the problem of demarcation (where new hair grows in curly while the remainder of the hair is straight).

Now common place throughout Los Angeles and New York City, the process of the Brazilian Blowout takes about forty-five minutes and can last up to three or four weeks depending on the three key elements of hair: Softness, Shininess and Silkiness (what Americans call the Nappy effect). The Blowout is a relatively simple six step process: shampoo, chemical application, blow-dry, full rinse, blow-dry, five minute flat iron. The secret to the Blowout is the chemical composition, which has been patented by several different companies, Bauducco and Havaianas (owned by Paulo) holding the most successful ones. But what remains constant, and secret, are the active ingredients in the fermenting process, where the keratin is infused with an array of lotions, natural Brazilian spices and anti-curl agents. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are reported to have gone through all of season 2 of The Simple Life on only one treatment and blow drying.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wordsmith: The Etymology of "Dutch Uncle"

“Who do you think you are? My Dutch uncle?”
-Jimmy Durante

Ever been on the receiving end of a stern talking-to? Ever gotten a talking-to so stern as to prompt an elderly onlooker to remark, “He really talked to you like a Dutch uncle, little lady”? Indeed, the expression ‘Dutch uncle’, meaning one who admonishes harshly, rises only seldomly from the depths of the mature chap’s learned vocabulary, usually to the befuddlement of nearby youths.

The term, typically used in simile, first appeared in Shakespeare contemporary Christopher Marlowe’s play, The Massacre at Paris (c. 1590s), as a veiled reference to his real maternal uncle, Edwyn Gareth, who was actually Welsh. The English had begun to compete with the Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish for land and spices as the Age of Exploration dawned. By the 1590s, the Spanish Armada had already failed, so the English turned their attention and hatred toward the Low Countries due to geographical proximity. With the time ripe for literary wordplay drawing from the rivalry (e.g., ‘Ottoman greeting’ for a surprise murder, ‘Mexican pizza’ for second-rate tortilla sandwiches, and other surviving examples with later historical roots), Marlowe seized the opportunity to take a jab at his uncle that he could hide under historical pretext.

In the play, the Catholic Duc de Guise—himself a caricature of cruel persona with artificial ties to foreign power due to the Catholic-Anglican rivalry—enlists the political alliance of his fictional uncle, Duke Philip of Orange, in quashing the Huguenot uprising. Phillip cuts an austere figure as Guise’s adviser, cautioning him harshly and questioning him rigorously at every turn until Guise becomes frustrated and orders the massacre of his adversaries against Philip’s advice, eventually blaming “the pressures and sorrows/by my Dutch uncle bestowed” for his frame of mind. How Gareth affronted Marlowe enough to warrant such literary treatment remains as mysterious as the circumstances surrounding Marlowe’s own death at 29. ‘Dutch treat’ also comes from this time period. Incidentally, the phrase ‘een engelse koningin’ (an English queen) also survives in modern Dutch, referring to spinsters.

Monday, May 4, 2009

JPedia First! Horoscope Mondays

A stirring discussion came about during the JPedia editorial meeting as we discussed what the true astrological framework is. We did a little research and found that the two main zodiac signs (Western and Chinese) came from a similar background but failed to take into account the Southern Hemisphere. During our search of peer-reviewed manuscripts we found that the Aboriginal Zodiac offers an alternate and worldlier take on the Zodiac. Based on the constellations (like the Western) the view from the Southern Hemisphere lead to a different interpretation of the constellations. Along with a deep reverence for all things equatorial (like the Chinese) the Aboriginal astrology is based in more level horoscopes. But, there are wild shifts due to planetary mis-alignment that comes during solstices and equinox. Using various sources we’ve put together Aboriginal Horoscopes. Today we look at the current Astrological sign, Taurus (April 19-May 20). In the Aboriginal framework this time period is dominated by Jupiter with strong influences from the Fire element – this gives us the Aboriginal sign, the Spiny-Tailed Gecko known astrologically as Ciliaris.

Ciliaris: As Jupiter tails behind the rings of Saturn, make plans to protect valuable assets. It is a time of great uncertainty, financially. You should keep in mind that the bending moon will protect you from harm, but others may be inclined to disrupt this. Be cautious of Crocodylus (in Western known as Virgo). With financial uncertainty a ring of hope comes from Jupiter re-emerging. You will find great love with a Macropus (Kangaroo or Capricorn in Western) or a Sarcophilus (Tasmanian devil or Leo in Western). You will become ill. Consult a doctor.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Historical Note on Dante Basco

-Dante Basco

Children of the 1980s often find themselves wondering what happened to the favorite actors of their youth. Macaulay Culkin went from Kevin McCallister to Richie Rich, grew up to be sort of weird, and got married really young; the guy who played Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez became a firefighter; and everyone knows NPH went from Doogie to Barney. So whatever happened to Dante Basco?

Basco, who played the scene-stealing Rufio in the 1991 blockbuster “Hook”, vanished from relevance quicker than you can say bangarang. Readers surely recall that Rufio was by far the oldest of the Lost Boys; by the time filming wrapped, Basco had reached college age. The youngest child of a hard-working Filipino-American family, Basco’s acting helped pay the bills, but his parents never considered it a successful career, particularly given that older brothers, Derek and Darian, were both products of prominent east-coast professional schools and his father had put in his 20 years in the U.S. Navy. Basco matriculated at Stanford in 1992, dee-jaying under the Rufio moniker and taking the occasional commercial-acting job (Nerf Manta Ray, Sega Genesis, and the local Swanson Ford, to name a few). After staying in Palo Alto for law school, Basco returned to Los Angeles to become an entertainment lawyer specializing in arbitration for child actors. He still works the turntables on occasion, welcoming “Ru-fi-o! Ru-fi-o! Ru-fi-OOOOOOOOO!” chants and saying “You are The Pan” on demand to partygoers at Avalon on Vine.