S I O U X P E R L A N D akaCOWTOWNwithanOPERAhouse

Geez am i exhausted. We've had a whirlwind of a couple of days here in Sioux City. We've met everybody who's anybody, interviewed them all, conducted workshops, seen dozens of other museums who want to collaborate, private collections which could be donated...it's been fun. An old operating-on-a-shoestring Train Museum. A bevy of Junior Leagers that want the entire enterprise to be ONLY for the say 7 years old and under set.

Today, we met a 4th generation Sioux Cityer who has a huge old car and truck collection (and a 737 flight simulator) that he will donate. And for TWO days in a row, we've dined in high style at the Sioux City Country Club, which has been a lot of fun. Today, it was with the mother of the founder of Gateway, and she is a total scream. She reminded me sooooooo much of my Aunt Connie (only well, very rich), in very nice couture and Versace glasses. She just says whatever is on her mind, no sugarcoating. When Gerry talked about taking his horses to Texas in the trailer for a riding excursion (which usually elicits oooohs and ahhhhhs), her response was "whatever!" which gave us all spasms of delight. We sat outside on this beautiful terrace...she chain smoked and went on and on and on regaling us with stories of Sioux City, while we ate salmon and salad and patty melts and iced tea and watched all the other oldsters playing cards.


Not a Lovely Day for Travel

I'm just getting to Sioux City after a lot of driving, walking, flying, napping, walking, flying, napping, eating, driving. Now, finally, it is all about to become sleeping. And today my Mom and BC left Ohio to go back to Georgia. Here is a pic of Mom marvelling at the camera built into my notebook, and a picture of BC, trying her best to ignore me and my camera!


Look at the Cool Stuff i got to do Tuesday

These are all pictures we took at the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday, where i am about to start another project. this one is looking from the catwalk above the rotunda dome, down between the inner plaster dome and associated Gustave Eiffel-looking structure, and the outer masonry dome. Everything STILL smells of soot up there, even though it has been years since there were any coal heat fumes or gas light fumes rising to this, the highest interior point.

Looking up, from inside the building, toward same dome. It has just been restored to its original paint job (circa 1859), which some might say evokes Dorothy and Blanche and Sophia and Rose's color scheme for their 80s Miami house. Actually, the colors are beautiful, even if overly pastel and weak in value.

Here i am, leaving my mark on the late 19th century visitors gallery, which has been closed now for many generations. Apparently, since it is not even close to ADA accessibility, there is no proposing to open this back up to visitors, which i think is a real pity. Well, hopefully we will be able to take visitors on some kind of virtual tour, either through some dramatic filmed experience we can integrate in an exhibit downstairs, or a moving webcam or something. There are lots of options for getting visitors up there without really getting them up there. One of the best parts is the tiny masonry spiral stair of 226 risers that is all black and green inside, with handpainted signage on the masonry from more than 150 years ago (one sign says "create no nuisance" as the stair passes by what must have once been a very important space).

This is a view out one of the windows behind the dome, looking toward the SE. We are just below the cupola here.

And, the fantastic cupola, a giant ligth-filled space. The structure you see in the lower foreground is actually milk-glass just beyond which is a beautifully restored stained glass cap at the top of the plaster dome. All the ductwork you see in the middle ground has only just been installed, to keep this interstitial space from reaching temperatures that could fry a brain.


A Press Release That WON't Make Headlines Tomorrow: The Most Important Issue Facing Americans Today

In my humble opinion, the most important issue facing any of us is whether or not we have free and fair elections. If we no longer have elections as a means of expression of our collective will, we are pretty much fucked. Have we crossed the threshold into fascist territory? We certainly are ruled by an elite that thinks it can, should, and will make up voting results, just as it feels it controls and owns all public opinion, journalistic outlets, and ability to disseminate "news" (remember all that crap about "Framing the Message" after the 2004 election?). Anyhoo, trying not to be too negative here, but--same as going online to check my bank records--somebody better come up with a way to make election results checkable by each and every voter, or there is going to be an, uhm, run on the bank. 92% is a pretty strong statement...seems like maybe there aren't so many stupid lambs out there as you think, Karl? Hmmm, maybe there is an accountability moment coming, George? Or maybe it's birth pangs of a new give-a-shitness sweeping the land, Condi? The last throes of a corrupt neo con job, Dick? We are all out here, Rummy, up here in Ohio and California and New York and Nebraska. And we are watching.

Check it out:


PRESS RELEASE August 21, 2006, Park City, UT

92% of Americans Oppose Secret Vote Counting; Favor Public's Right to
Know In Elections
By Kathy Dopp

A new Zogby poll will be released on Tuesday reveals that fully 92%
of every single demographic group in American favors the public's
right to observe vote counting and to obtain any information regarding
vote counting, according an August 12-15 Zogby telephone poll of
approximately 1200 likely voters nationwide.
One actual survey question and answers is:

"In some states, members of the public have the right to view the
counting of votes and verify how that process is working. In other
states, citizens are in effect barred from viewing vote counting even
if they would like to view the process. Which of the following two
statements are you more likely to agree with A or B?"

Statement A: Citizens have the right to view and obtain information
about how election officials count votes.

Statement B: Citizens do not have the right to view and obtain
information about how elections officials count votes.

Neither/Not sure

The survey was commissioned by election protection attorney Paul Lehto
of Washington State. According to Lehto, "The public overwhelmingly
opposes secret vote counting and favors election transparency and the
public right to know."

Here in Utah, our Utah election officials are out of touch with the
public, as shown by this new Zogby poll. Utah Lt. Governor's office
implemented state-wide voting systems with secret ("proprietary")
programming code and decertified Utah's former paper voting systems to
force counties to adopt new electronic ballots that are not humanly

Bruce Funk of Emery County, Utah invited computer security experts to
examine Utah's new voting machines in March, 2006. The findings were
reported in the New York Times on May 12, 2006. The security flaws
that Funk found caused PA and CA to issue urgent security directives
and Avi Rubin, professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins
University said "I almost had a heart attack. The implications of
this are pretty astounding" and Michael Shamos of Carnegie Mellon
University said "It's the most severe security flaw ever discovered in
a voting system". Yet Utah's Lt. Governor's office reacted by holding
a closed executive session meeting with Diebold officials and Emery
County officials, after which the doors on Bruce Funk's office were
locked to prevent this 23 year elected official from doing the job he
was elected for. The minutes of their secret meeting have yet to be
publicly released.

In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where Salt Lake County's former election
official Michael Vu now officiates, it was found that 15% of the paper
ballot records did not match Diebold touch-screen electronic counts in
the recent primary. According to Kitty Pilgrim, CNN correspondent,
"The May primary election in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, using Diebold
electronic voting machines was a debacle."

The only way to be sure that electronic counts are correct is to count
the voter verifiable paper records. Yet, the Salt Lake Tribune on
July 7, 2006 quoted Utah Election Director Michael Cragun saying that
a recount would consist of reconciling the electronic polling place
records by "re-accumulating the memory cards" and "The permanent paper
record comes into play only in an extreme situation."

Counting the paper roll ballot records by hand to verify the accuracy
of electronic counts requires equipment called "paper roll advancers".
Yet Utah election officials have not purchased any paper roll
advancers; have not purchased the equipment required to install a
known clean software system on Diebolds; and have kept Utah's security
procedures a secret. "Security by obscurity" is a formula for insider

Utah election officials have actively worked against the transparency
in elections that the public overwhelmingly wants. The US
Constitution created a government with checks and balances, not a
system of blind trust in the infallibility and good intentions of
others. Yet Utah election officials implemented a new "faith-based"
voting system which lets private companies secretly count unseen
electronic ballots and determine outcomes of elections without any

These nearly unanimous Zogby poll results bolster efforts to convince
the Utah Lt. Governor's Office that the public recognizes this as a
crisis on which they must act to change our election conditions. The
staff of the Lt. Governor's office should be willing to admit the
problems inherent with the secret vote counting machines and consult
with expert computer scientists and mathematicians to develop methods
to ensure our election outcome integrity.

In concert with Tuesday's full announcement of the Zogby poll, the
National Election Data Archive has developed a new method for ensuring
election outcome integrity. In this new paper to be released soon by
the National Election Data Archive "The Election Integrity Audit"
NEDA's releases a new method for calculating audit amounts -- hand
counting of ballots done to check the accuracy of vote tallying
machines—that would reveal any corrupted vote counts that could
wrongfully alter any election outcome.

According to NEDA, a fixed rate audit of 1 or 2% or even 5% is not
capable of detecting outcome-altering vote miscount in close races.
This is extremely relevant given the enormous financial and legal
barriers to bringing a challenge to a close election. Attached to
NEDA's paper is a computer algorithm and spreadsheet that offers
readers the ability to calculate, for particular races and elections
the audit size to detect vote total corruption. NEDA recommends that
their new calculation be adopted as the standard for calculating
election audit percentages.

It is from the "Consent of the Governed", according to the Declaration
of Independence, that government derives "Just Power." It is time for
state and county election officials to listen to the public and make
Utah's election process publicly transparent and verifiable.

Kathy Dopp, kathy@ElectionArchive.org
National Election Data Archive, President
P.O. Box 682556, Park City, UT 84068
435-658-4657 http://ElectionArchive.org

This press release can be found online at:


In the News

A reputation for heavy drinking is right. Oh my my, OU and Athens are in the news today:

click on the title of this post


Library is Complete

Wanted to post these pics too before I get in bed. We finally finished the upstairs hallway / library. Boy am I a packrat.

Here is the stupendous 1960 Telefunken Hymnus. It weighs about 800 pounds and takes about 15 seconds to warm up after you turn it on. This is where I play all the old LPs and 78s I've inherited from various sources. Works great to have it in the stair hall, because I can crank it up and we can hear it all the way in the kitchen!

Look at all those LPs would you. There is a lot of them. I've listened to a bunch of BC's old albums in the past several days. And I haven't even unpacked the 5 boxes of 78s yet--most of those came from my Dad, and are from oh like 1938 to 1942ish? And I've bought a bunch myself when I find interesting ones--mostly Doris Day's early stuff. They are wonderful.

Lots of Nancy Drew, more Hardy Boys. I know it is really queer i still have these. It's just about the right balance: 60% boy, 40% girl.

The (Very Local) News

I'm just returning from 2 days in blazing Arkansas, where it was over 100 degrees. I am so tired i can barely tap these keys. Got up a 4 am this morning. Yuck. My presentation, however, went really well, and the project is just about through. But before I go to bed, I wanted to let you all know that my little sis is a TENNIS CHAMPION! Her team went all the way to the finals in the Atlanta Lawn & Tennis Association's City Finals, and they WON! She is a real natural with tennis and makes it look easy, like everything she does. Congratulations Karen! I made this wierd little cartoon for you with some nifty software that came with my notebook, called comiclife. Pretty cool. Send me more photos of the tourney and lets make up a little story?

In other news, later this week my Mom and BC arrive. We're very excited! But have a lot to do to get ready (like get all that crap out of the other guest room). But later. I'm going to bed now.


The Flying Shards of a Better Tomorrow

Geez this is funny. Someone named AMY sent this to me, but i'm not sure which one of you Amy's it might have been? Atlanta Amy #1? Atlanta Amy #2? Kansas City Amy? Hmmmm. Well, at any rate, this IS funny, well, if you can bring yourself to laugh about the systematic destruction, raping, and pillaging of the middle east--murdering people too, yeah--all being done in our names and funded by our tax dollars. What a scream. Ha ha.


Fifty Things I Can Bore You With!

This meme is lifted from Curtis and then Larry. My friend Trish used to email these to me all the time... sure miss her!

1. How tall are you barefoot? six one
2. Have you ever been cheated on? sure thing.
3. Do you own a gun? No. But I've got a nice old sabre and scabbard that my Dad brought back from occupied Japan in 1946.
4. If you had a mental disorder, what would it be? ADHD. OCD. A bit manic at times, especially when I work till 9 or 10 pm.
5. How many letters are in your crushes name? 6
6. What do you think of hot dogs? Love 'em, but those nitrates don't like me very much.
7. What's your favorite Christmas song? Sleighride: Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Iced coffee
9. Do you do push-ups? I'm down with push ups and up with people. Giggle.
10. Have you ever done ecstasy? Yessiree
11. Do you have a boyfriend? Moved on up to the eastside: a PARTNER!
12. Do you like the rain? Yes I do, specially at this time of year.
13. Do you own a knife? In addition to the aforementioned large one, many others.
14. What do you smell like? Scotch
15. Do you have A.D.D.? I really think I do. But when i was a kid, it wasn't being diagnosed except in really extreme cases.
16. Full initials? CSYVN. Shut up.
17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: I hope this cool continues. I hope VectorWorks works smoothly tomorrow. Damn the fair is packing up in 3 days.
18. Name the last 3 things you have bought today. Not a thing. What a fluke.
19. Name five drinks you regularly drink. Club soda, Iced Coffee, water, red wine, scotch.
20. What time did you wake up today? 7:15 or so, to the sounds of WEAK radio... Athens LOW POWER fm station.
21.Can you spell? Can Helen Keller drool? Hello? Expertly.
22. Current worry? Goddamn that commute mister is about to start.
23. Current hate? I agree with Larry, Life is too short for that crap. I hate dividers.
24. Favorite place to be? Asleep next to my own personal heater butt (Steven).
25. Least favorite place to be? that darn asphalt parking lot where the farmer's market is every Saturday am.
26. Where would you want to go? I've never been to me. Monte Carlo?
27. Do you own slippers? Yes. Boiled wool J.Crews. But they're for winter. Not now.
28. Where do you think you'll be in 10 years? In my garden pruning and NOT mowing ANY grass.
29. Do you burn or tan? Burn yes. Tan no. Me Nordic. Me whitie.
30. Yellow or Blue? Blue blue BLUE.
31. Would you give up your current life to be a pirate? Fuck no.
32. Last time your cell rang? I've no idea. It's actually kinda useless in these har hills.
33. What songs do you sing in the shower? Doris Day. Que Sera Sera. Like I mean it.
34. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child? my stoopid bitch of an older sister!
35. What do you have in your pocket right now? nothing.
36. Last thing that made you laugh? Kj's lovely son, Nimai.
37. Favorite bed sheets as a child? hmmmm. The Egyptian Pima 600 thread count ones? Gimme a break.
38. Worst injury you've ever had? Hit by a car.
39. What is your GPA? We won't mention the one from undergrad school. As a graduate student, HOWEVER, near 4.0 dahlings.
40. How many TVs do you have in your house? Three. And one is Ginormous...like 6 feet wide, and 8 years old I might add. Steven bought it just before meeting me (I woulda stopped him).
41. Who is your loudest friend? Larisa. In the most delightful way. I'd love to hear her right about now!
42. Who is your most silent friend? I just realized...I don't really have any friends that I could even remotely classify as silent.
43. Does someone have a crush on you? Really don't think so.
44. Do you wish on stars? Yes.
45. Do you believe in magic? Yes.
46. What song represents how you feel at the moment? Moon River (if you could see this full moon. Geez it is beautiful.)
47.What song did you last hear? Mornin' Glory; Bobbie Gentry.
48. What song do you want played at your funeral? Who the hell knows?
49. What were you doing 12AM last night? Reading the Book of Liz, a short play by David and Amy Sedaris.
50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? Steven's awake already.


"Twelve Great Places You've Never Heard Of"

I'm nothing if not a broken record. Thanks Keith for scanning and sending us this piece. Who knew we'd found such a good place to be?

A Really Great Place to Live!

Our friend Debbie writes with the following news:

"Keith showed me a clip in the AJC last nite that the city of Decatur
was selected as one of 12 "unknown" best cities to live in in the U.S. by
Mother Earth Magazine. One of the others, you ask????

Athens, OH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


More of our Handiwork

Here's a picture of our new shelves in progress. We are putting up 42 shelves in the upstairs hallway. It is kinda biggish (14' x 8' wide), so we thought it would be good to turn into our library. They'll run around 3 of the walls, have an oak nosing to match the floors, base mould, windows and doors. Many shelves are super long, spanning across this or that door to connect two sections. I think they are turning out very nicely. Those heavy-duty standards and brackets were REALLY fun to mount to ye olde plaster walls. I found many areas where the plaster "tightened" down over the wood lathe, as I attached the vertical standards. Oh well, at least none of it fell down. It certainly is easier, and cheaper, than doing full millworked built-ins, and a little cleaner and more mod...someday when i'm in less of a hurry I'm hoping to make proper built-ins somewhere in this house...maybe in a basement level den when we get to work down there. I'll take some clearer pictures in a few days when it is all finished, and the books etc. are all unpacked and in place (if i'm still alive).

There is a big storm happening here right now, and Steven is outside gardening in it! He can't be bothered by a little rain...yesterday he and JingXia went over to our friend Roberta's, who lives in the glasshouseworks precinct of Stewart, where they took away a whole pile of bracken roots to plant in the front. Operation Grass Be Gone has begun!

This stuff is gorgeous. Not your typical fern, it thrives in heat, poor soil, full sunshine, and little in the way of water. We have a big patch of it at the farm where I work, and it thrives right next to boiling aspalt in our parking lot. Roberta is a sweetheart to help us out with our bracken needs... she has a business called Inner Gardens, and is Gerry's gardener at the farm. She comes to the office at least once a week to tend the outside stuff, and to handle all the big beautiful plants inside the barn where I work. On Tuesdays, she works at Glasshouseworks with Tom and Ken and the others. We have to figure out some way to thank her for all the Bracken (she insists we did her a favor taking it away).


Ouch. I just took this picture with my notebook--It was easier than seeing my wound in the mirror. There are 6 stitches there! I had a really ugly nickel-sized mole removed, which got irritated everytime i cut my hair. It was great going to the office today with blood dribbling down my head.


Lucky Me

Click on the title of this link if you happen to have a new MacBook Pro. There is a recall on the batteries; i've known about it now for several weeks but haven't been able to take care of it, what with working around the clock and all. Right after Steven got here a few weeks ago, he was at Donkey, Athens most fabulous coffee house using their WIFI while we were between the internets. He called me at work in a frenzy, declaring my Mac a piece of junk, because it shuts down after about 4 minutes unless you are plugged in and not using the battery. Lucky me, my serial number is W8607... Shanghai; 2006; 07th week. Nice to know how that works. Now if I could just get off hold with AppleCare.
Fight the H8 in Your State