Sunday, February 18, 2018

Heroin and Opiate Update for Calhoun County, February 2018

This disturbing news is only softened with the knowledge that our county's Substance Abuse Council has 30 years of tracking with a thorough network of reliable information.  Other counties are just at the start of their programs, so their shocks will come as their connections increase.

These charts are for heroin/opiate overdoses that did not result in death.

The typical demographic is a white male, 20-30, for heroin/opiate overdose.  This year, the January numbers have this demographic nearly equally divided between male and female.  Also note that with the added controls placed on hydrocodone-based analgeics (the "Norco" or "Vicodin" prescriptions), the prescription opiate number is down, but the heroin use is up. 

Overall, the numbers continue to increase. 

The graphs come courtesy of the Calhoun County Substance Abuse Council, a group who generously offers me a seat at the table whenever my time at WMU permits.  It hardly seems like enough time. 

Note that the current reports are for an overdose per day.  In 2017, there were months where the death rate was one every three days.

I'll just let the numbers sink in.  There are many things to say, but if you live in Calhoun County, these are your neighbors, your co-workers, your children, your parents.  In 2018, there are several requirements being put in place to clamp down on physician prescribing patterns, which should slow the prescription opioids.  However, judging from these numbers, the users seem to make their downhill slide to heroin...and, as I say in my public presentations, there isn't a Walter White in any of those labs.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

My 2018 Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement from Disney Has ARRIVED!!!

I own a few shares of Disney stock.  These days, it’s about as close as I can get to being part of a Star Wars experience. 

As a consequence of stock ownership, annual reports with a strutting Mickey arrive at the doorstep with their “year in review” and a list of who will be running for their board of directors.  Glossing past the payments for being “on” the board (300K+), Iger’s $2.5M salary, his $12M “performance based bonus,” and “$17.3M “equity awards,” the board of director candidates include operating executives of the Carlyle group (whose management included the Saudi Bin Laden corporation), General Motors, BlackBerry, Sears, WE Family Offices (whose focus on ultra high-net-worth international families belies the implication of traditional “family”), the biotech company Illumina, Oracle, NIKE, and Estee Lauder.

Wow.  General Motors, BlackBerry and Sears really kept ahead of the curve in the past decade.  Illumina and Oracle may help Disney actually build a Stepford Wife for the investors at WE.  NIKE can help them run from the consequences, and Estee Lauder can make it all smell pretty.

But wait! There’s MORE!

The board recommends a “yes” for executive compensation but a “no” for transparency with its lobbying practice!  Here is a nice passage from page 65 of their statement: (quote) Disney spent $2,524,624 on lobbying in California from 2010-2016, and Disney’s lobbying in California has attracted media attention (“Family Friendly? Disney Funds Lobbyists Fighting to Deny Americans Parental Leave,” Republic report, May 29, 2012). (end quote) Apparently this is the third year the lobbying proposal has been put forth, and it has been unable to obtain more than 33% support in prior submissions.


There is no mention here of the Fox acquisition being planned, but among the broadcast ownership of Disney comes the expected ABC and ESPN, are investments in A&E, History, Lifetime, LMN, FYI channels... and VICE!
VICE is described as an afterthought, an 18% interest via A&E and a 10% direct ownership, with the line, “a channel offering programming of lifestyle-oriented documentaries and reality series aimed towards millennials,” and 70 million estimated subscribers (I see it comes buried and bundled with my current Comcast).

VICELAND programming includes - and I confess these sounded like Onion posts or rejected National Lampoon Radio Hour episodes:

Abandoned - skateboarding in abandoned areas with the lights out
Ball’s Deep - “to find out what humanity’s deal is”
Beerland - to go across the country to drink .... beer
Bong Appetit - going to cannabis parties
F*ck, That’s Delicious - eating, probably to be shown after Bong Appetit
Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia - to seek out exotic ... drugs
Huang’s World - with “the world's only Human Panda, Eddie Huang, takes us on a hilarious journey exploring race, identity, multiculturalism, and his irritable bowel syndrome through food”
It’s Suppertime! - again, about .... food
People Just Do Nothing ... ok
Party Legends - ok, this one at least uses “emerging artists and animators” (read, “unpaid interns”) to describe legendary ... parties
Slutever - for “female sexuality, gender, and love” - one episode has the hostess seeking an anonymously delivered “happy ending” for a woman’s massage - a bit unsettling in light of the recent Larry Nassar trial and sentencing
Weediquette - in its third season - exploring “heady times”
...and there are many, many more...

I looked for “Ow, My Balls!” but I guess that’s for 2019...

And speaking of 2019, this mailbox eagerly awaits the next Disney Annual Meeting and Proxy Statement!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Where Profit Can Be Made - A Drug Concern Will Be Presented!

Drug take-back days are intended not just to rid quick, inappropriate access to prescription medications, but to have them destroyed in a manner that won't have the drugs appear in our drinking water (if it seeps, it creeps).  However, even taking acetaminophen properly creates left-overs in our body that it excretes every time we visit our favorite Facebook lounge.

This is the first commercial reference I've seen approaching this challenge, with a $39.95 price tag (and an offer for a subscription for automatic shipping on a regular basis), for those with a refrigerator-based water spigot.

At least it also gives a shout-out to our departing Michigan governor with its "lead and other contaminants," something he didn't mention in his final State of the State this past week.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Time to Engage and Engorge

The Middleton Christmas Feast Fest of 2017

All family members remaining at the table at 3pm will be given instructions on chopping maple logs as an exothermic activity

The Left-overs-to-be include

Cornish Hens, with teeny weeny amounts of stuffing, or not

Roasted potatoes, prepared on a century old appliance, sometimes stirred by a century old pharmacist

Green Bean Casserole, imported from the furniture city for the occasion

Yams, shaken, not stirred

Madge’s Pea Salad, featuring a Velveeta infusion sauce

Whole Wheat and Multigrain bread and rolls, to expedite physiological processes, with optional butter from contented cows

Cranberry sauce, uncannily unfettered

Deviled eggs, beaten to holy submission

 - Random snacks, crudites (and I do mean crudites), and nut-based fillers -

Orange Pineapple Dessert, by popular request

Pumpkin-based edibles, of heretofore unsurpassed quality

All handily hand made by hand-washed hands. 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Raw Notes ASIFA Central Meeting 5 December 2017

For reference until editing time available:
AGENDA  ASIFA DEC 5 Board Meeting, 8 PM EST


  1. General Status Report
  2. Reviewing the boards active roles
  3. General Issues
  4. Discussing the officers transition document
  5. Planning future initiatives for 2018

There are only a few ASIFA endorsed festivals - ie, Ottawa - there is the likelihood they are scam festivals
Posted with the disclaimer that we don’t endorse these festivals - it might help to post on the website that these festivals
Deanna -  maybe we should post those only the ones we think are really good
Other reliable festivals - from personal experience
Steve has used Chicago festival
Sharing personal experiences - crowdsource way - the FB has “less authority” and then have a disclaimer - if someone knows about this, hop on and tell the pros and cons of the particular festival
This could represent an opportunity to have the festival discussion move ahead online
FB is a good way to have the ongoing conversation - old school form (better than advertising festivals sending a blast email) - this can generate meatier topics on FB as well
Brad concurs.
Chris - there are options for the posting.  BRAD AGREES.
STEVEN LIKES SAYING THIS IS BRAD. No, that was Bob. Praise “Bob” !

38 members - ASIFA Central template on the dropbox account - available for printout (4 to a page) - comes out on coverstock well.  Use for local events.

We have received all 30 ASIFA anniversary books , they are sitting on Chuck’s desk and will be given names soon.
Nikki and Mack’s prizes have been shipped. $10 shipping costs were reimbursed.  Media mail is fun.  We like media mail.  
An advertising initiative for the lower peninsula down  to WMU and east and west (Kendall, GVSU, et al) for festivals - a 4 page pdf that can be mailed -- which  profs are in the schools as contacts - event info - we all are professors, or look good in tweed, make a Big D and a Pop - students are the leaders of tomorrow, the animators of the future, where we plan to live the rest of our lives.
Chuck still has the flying house project from Bill Plympton DVD (it’s fun, it’s colorized, and it has a Blair Witch mini-documentary inside of the disk too, and it’s a lot of fun...they still have lots of copies out there, so Chuck can give this one off as a prize and it’s SHRINKED WRAPPED but it is SOOOOO HUGE even if it’s SHRINKED.

Brad - checking where the DVD played out - 2 films played in Australia, mate. The 30 second piece played quite well - in ASIFA Israel, they are showing the bumpers.  Waiting word from ASIFA South, yall.  The audience was 25 in GR, 20 from Chris, so we have room for growth.  We will solicit Chicago in the future. Chicago is windy.  It is windy every place tonight.  Showings in February (more to come).  Internationally, that’s about all three is to report.

Deanna says - IAD asked Vanessa for the international report and it should be out by Friday.  Coordination was a cluster whoooopee of challenges.  We are in a volatile discussion on the budget (not heat, but in terms of change) - China wants to underwrite the magazine printing, mailing and they won’t control the content - Chris R will still be the editor. GEEEE WHIZ THIS IS A BIG DEAL, do we need to know Mandarin?  Cantonese?  The website is a challenge at the international level, Thomas R is revamping - will the magazine be public or private (a member perk?) - needs an editor for “media reform plan” -
During the magazine debate - an addendum to the anniversary book?  Material from 2010 could be updated (Starving Rock is so 2005).
Chuck leans more to the electronic format - want to kill a tree, send us $$ -- the China donation just came across today (!!)
Brad - Chuck’s idea is a model, a really nice model, with lots of tiers, or tears, but not tears as torn, but if we use China, can it break?  I have had tears over broken China.
A print subscription or a downloaded pdf.  Journal of Popular Culture model - print on demand (ie lulu press) - things are printed as ordered
Chuck would like to be in the loop on the magazine status - he works with Chris R about the deadlines - wants to update information in case those out there would like to write for the ASIFA magazine.
Ray K isn’t on the board anymore.  Do they want to include Chapter News in the magazine…
Deadline for spring issue is Feb 1, May 1  for summer, August 1 fall and winter October 1.
Nothing in 2017 made it to print.  2017 never existed.  There is proof of that.  Most of it animated.
2015 is the last time Chuck has in his archive for a printed issue.  
A GREAT OPPORTUNITY for PEER PUBLISHING or STUDENT STUFF AND THINGS because it’s publish or perish time!  (ok, Chris R review...that’s enough for me, how ‘bout youse?)

1. General Status Report

  • Membership Coordinator Report
    • Membership dues have been paid for the 2017 calendar year to ASIFA International
    • e-mail address is pointing towards Chuck's personal email account
    • Report on current member numbers as well as breakdown: Comp/Honorary/International/Student
    • Postcard template to print & hand out at events
    • Advertising initiative for local colleges w/animation programs
    • ASIFA Anniversary books have been received from Nelson Shin (total 30)
    • Prizes for Nikki and Mack have been shipped and shipping cost reimbursed
  • IAD 2017 report
    • ASIFA Australia showed: Ritty and Mitty, OK2SAY
    • ASIFA Israel showed: The bumpers
  • Brief update of international activities

2. Reviewing the boards active roles:

President of ASIFA Central: R. Brad Yarhouse (the handsome young man)
Treasurer of ASIFA Central: Deanna Morse (woo hoo)
Secretary of ASIFA Central: Jim Middleton (typist)
Membership Coordinator of ASIFA Central: Chuck Wilson (amazing guy)
Event Coordinator of ASIFA Central: Gretchen Vinnedge (darling hair, oh the smile)
Website Coordinator of ASIFA Central: Julie Goldstein (such verve)
Social Media Coordinator of ASIFA Central: Chris Sagovac (Cavogas, backwards)
Member-at-large of ASIFA Central: Steven Leeper (lovin’ the Chip experience)
Member-at-large of ASIFA Central: Gary Schwartz (Motown Master)
Member-at-large of ASIFA Central: Robert SwieRINGA! (rockin’ out!)
International representative: Deanna Morse (best dressed, SKYPE rocks my world)(whirld)/whorld/wrrrrrled
Thoughts on the roles - (tick tick tick)
Julie has been challenged by password issues - “password” is not recommended - Deanna may have that password someplace along the West Coast -
Templates and fluid design - updating as we talk/type - will be updating website - another email just before the meeting
Network Solutions - wordpress update - can adjust pretty easily - working with other version/CafePress
Social media coordinator - a forum discussion and resource; thus far, getting the administrative processes are in place (password, legitimacy of the requests for membership) - 3 events are at pending status, but that can result in a review of them
Our post-announcement documentation of events could be enhanced.
FB live events - should we examine this - what happened and post-event streaming a possibility?  Sounds like a possibility - especially with sessions on off-site topics/lightning sessions - capture these for FB
Growning # of animators in MI want to take advantage of resources but cannot make the trip to the conferences or events - can offer another means of connectivity
Chuck - Women in Animation - multiple events with lectures and panels - member accounts allow access to recorded media after a presentation - NICE
Bob - assist with the newsletter to keep it moving forward - a Deanna suggestion comes to mind - have a spotlight series on international animators or others who can then have an idea what is going on at other chapters - links to other chapters?
Animation Education in the area - kids making animation in the area (with Gretchen) - over -

GREAT says BRAD!  (Jim had to step out for coffee)
International ASIFA is challenged with fiscal issues - budget discussion has been extended 3 times - and now we have China!  So that’s nice.
Julie - where did the China money originate?  Chapters in China - 3.  They have lots of YUAN.

Austria is very active as well - study abroad potential?  Cross-exchange for educational opportunities.  “Under the radar” programs… the president of ASIFA Austria is treasurer of ASIFA International now… coming to the US for stop motion projects.

How do we connect with other members in other organizations?  We learn through the connections.  And look at us now! And you, too, Chris!

3. General Issues to be raised:

  • Does everyone have what they need to do their job? Usernames/Passwords, etc.
  • Reiterate that Chuck created a account for us to share files/material
  • Do we reinstitute officers one free year of membership in exchange for service?
  • Twice-a-year e-newsletter (Spring/Summer, Fall/Winter)
  • Do we want to stay with CafePress or go with another option for ASIFA Central merch? (yes)
  • Website example from Julie:

Officers had been offered a free year membership in recognition of their time *not in the current bylaws* - should it be integrated into the bylaws or reviewed at an annual thing - might be others impacted for a free membership for volunteering - paying dues is a tax write off - a recruitment tool for volunteers - a poll of the online participants are unanimously agreed that this is a ducky idea.  Chuck is abstaining, because he wants to see me spell it.  

Checking the WIX site - it charges for a non-banner ad site.  The best thing would be to update the wordpress with the right content and then migrate - familiarity with wordpress - WIX has a contemporary look. Other features - editor and HTML is interesting.  Many options - as a hub, it could become a focus for activity: broadcast, archive, video… flexible with the platform
Let’s review these notes and select some elements (sodium Na, potassium K, etc) and then have a meeting in January for the nature of nebulosity.  Julie has many opportunities to explore and navigate Jim’s arcane spelling.  
January would be great meeting time.  
Still have a January event at Wealthy - the 17th - Brad and Steve will coordinate promotion. Showing some animation. ANIMATION ANIMATION ANIMATION. Chuck has the possibility of the Best of Fest from Ottawa, fresh from Canada, and that is AWESOME … please please please oh that would be so nice… San Francisco would be a nice showpiece too… our brains are scrambling… YESSY YES YES…
Somewhere here, note some other things to investigate (Jim’s typing…) …. My skull… this is so fun, Brad.  I am having fun… quiet fun… joy unbounded….GREAT IDEA …. CHUCK IS FANTASTIC AND A GREAT HUMAN BEING I AM SO PROUD TO BE OF HIS SPECIES. I WANT TO BE CHUCK WHEN I GROW UP.

4. The creation of an Officer's Transition Document which includes material such as:

(it was roundly determined that this is an invaluable asset to put into the ASIFA Central archives as a guide to future membership and chairpeople within the various positions noted…)
This is also where things wound down and the blankets beckoned amid the whirling wind and rapping branches upon the windows….mother nature is the mother of all natures….)
Membership Coordinator
  • Active member spreadsheet
  • Generic Membership card PDF
  • Welcome to ASIFA Word Doc and PDF
  • Join ASIFA Word doc and PDF
  • Forward e-mail address to new coordinator
Website Manager
  • Updates including:
    • Post election results on website
    • Update current officers page with new officers
    • Add new manager username/password to website
    • Add new officers to site security
    • Remove old officers from site security
    • Will be researching Wix and options for a revamp of our website design to be discussed at a future meeting...
Social Media Coordinator
  • Post election results on Facebook Group
  • Add new officers to ASIFA Central Board Facebook Group
  • Remove old officers from ASIFA Central Board Facebook Group
  • Give new officers Admin status in Board Group
  • Remove Admin status from old officers in ASIFA Central Facebook Group
  • Give new officers Admin Status in ASIFA Central Facebook Group
  • Approve new members to the ASIFA Central Facebook Group
  • Monitor discussions (pinning duration, keeping on topic, etc.) in the ASIFA Central Facebook Group
  • Keep running account balances in PayPal and Bank accounts
  • File yearly e-postcard to IRS, keeping non-profit status active
  • Make sure international dues are paid yearly (usually due in January)
  • Pass bank info, financial records, and PayPal username/passwords to new Treasurer

5. Future Initiatives

  • Animators Open Mike  
    • What are the goals of these?
    • Student work? College Reels?
    • How often?
    • Rotating locations?
  • Summer Retreat
    • Rotating host/location?
    • Date
  • Ongoing Workshops
    • Where?
    • For whom?
    • How often?
  • Planning IAD 2018
    • New format ideas?
  • Detroit                      
                      How the largest city in Michigan is part of ASIFA Central.
  • Promotion
How can we best document and promote our activities?
  • Screening Event
Ottawa International Animation Festival: Best of the Fest 2017 program is available -- have been contacted by OIAF asking if we’d like to screen.

6. To Do List

Chuck is going to contact OIAF about screening their Best of the Fest program in January.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Musings on Blade Runner 2049

Peugeot 2049, Masquerading as a sequel to Blade Runner

This is a long movie, so my first recommendation would be to get a medium sized popcorn, but add lots of salt to it, and then go with a small drink.  This will allow for some proper physiological water retention, so there won’t be a need for a bladder-based intermission.  This is a relevant factor, too, because despite the improved technology of today’s cinema, there isn’t a pause feature for a theatrical presentation, which insists on playing out in “real time,” although with the broadly-brushed panorama of Blade Runner 2049, watching it in real time would require an investment of several weeks.  This is one of the many advantages to film editing, as opposed to life living.

As a spoiler alert, this is another film where Robin Wright doesn’t fare well, but Harrison Ford at least manages to survive a relationship with his child.

And, considering that the original was supposed to be taking place 18 months from now, this version of my birthday number 94 seems logical.  However, L.A. isn’t quite to the 2019 level of drenched decay as the original 1980s movie predicted.

But isn’t that the function of science fiction, and for predictions of dystopia?  They are supposed to accelerate the likelihood of the predicted event as a form of “Wake Up” call to the probability of an unfortunate future... 1984 was premature by a generation, The Day After Tomorrow collapsed a decade of climate disasters into a two-week period, so it is that a film like Blade Runner 2049 is giving us the warning not to invest in San Diego property, because, frankly, San Diego is going to be one dumpy place.

There is an aside reference to a “Great Blackout,” an event that rises for unkown reasons but seemed to have had a major impact on digital information.  This is something we’ve been anticipating since the overwhelming dependence on the internet, making a linerar existence without it seem unimaginable.  So imagine it.

Need a typewriter?  See me after the Great Blackout.

As to the performances - Denis Villeneuve brings a large amount of humanity out of beings that are supposed to be completely subservient or totally digital.  It creates the question on the humanity of the supposed humans in that society, the reverse-abuse from a Lieutenant of the LAPD or the bloodlust of the manufacturer of the latest wave of replicants.  Even the sinister “Luv” belies her name again and again, but can still elicit a child’s contentment at the prospect of “going home.”

Sean Young, a la Carrie Fischer and Peter Cushing, reprieves her Rachael in cameo, but 30 years cannot be masked to the satisfaction of the producers, so a performance double is used, and quite smoothly, too.

In summation, 2 hours and 40 minutes, watch the drinks, watch the screen.  Quite the ride, but one we will probably push off until 2100, if we are all lucky...

(so of course I went out and found the original Blade Runner after watching the sequel - the VHS copy is a shredded mess and this DVD version is New! Improved! with More Kelp!)