Saturday, January 31, 2009

just a thought

77 of 168 republican national committee members voted, on the final ballot, for the whites-only country club guy.

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quote of the day

"Michael Steele was positively my last preference for RNC Chair -- since he was, and is, by far, the most effective, articulate center - right voice of the Republican Party, with a firm but friendly manner on TV and, thus, the best possible choice for the GOP to appeal to the broad middle of American society.

For all those reasons, I hoped the RNC would not elect him.

I am surprised that a party that currently has Rush Limbaugh as its leading voice (my personal preference for Republican Chair) would be wise enough to reject Mr. Limbaugh and elect Michael Steele.


As a Democrat, I am very disappointed."

lanny davis, democratic strategist

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please speak clearly, into my right ear

PART ONE: clothes given to you, previously worn

megan grabbed my arm as we were passing backstage. "quick, go to the hair table and look at the word puzzle book," she said. "page four, number 37. look at the answer chris wrote."

she was talking in hushed, hurried tones, so i knew it had to be good.

i rushed to the hair table and there it was: super word puzzles part 3! in bright, bold, primary colors. i turned to page four. one sentence clues with spaces for each letter of the answer. number 37: clothes given to you, previously worn by another member of your family, a sister or brother. there were 11 spaces below that sentence for the reader to write an answer. chris had already been there. and had written in an answer.

H A M M I E D O W N S

hammie downs. was it two words, did he think? or one: hammiedowns.

____________

PART TWO: i don't know any zabows


tim grabbed my arm as we passed each other in the hallway near the dressing rooms. "do you who is here tonight? at the show? alan zabow."

i searched my cranky, rusty memory bank. the virtual rolodex flipped. zahn, zappola, zurawski. nope. no alan zabow.

"i don't know alan zabow," i told tim. he looked at me like i'd admitted to war crimes.

"of course you do! you met him in nashville -- tall, dark hair, good-looking. greek, i think."

"greek. alan zabow?"

"yes."

"i don't know any zabows."

"what?"

i don't know anyone named zabow."

"what?! zab..."

"i don't know anyone..."

"NO," tim said, and then continued as if talking to a very old person or a foreigner – loudly, slowly and deliberately – "ELLEN'S BEAU."

ah.

ellen's beau.

ellen's new boyfriend. yes. i had met him. in nashville. greek. nice looking fellow, i thought.

alan zabow, i did not know.
____________

PART THREE: for all intensive purposes

my friend and former high school prom date anne touched my arm in the middle of brunch. "you know, isn't it funny? i just learned this, maybe two years ago..." anne, a former fulbright scholar, was in town with her boyfriend and daughter. someone had said something brilliant (probably not me) ending with the phrase "for all intensive purposes," when anne had touched my arm.

"...it's not 'for all intensive purposes'," she said, "it's all intents and purposes."

anne learned it "maybe two years ago," i had just learned it in that moment. intents and purposes. huh. makes much more sense. i never really thought about it, but for all intensive purposes? what the hell could that mean? only for purposes that are intensive? or...for all purposes that are intensive? what about purposes that are less intensive? what about purposes that are, in fact, quite laid back?

i don't know what it's called, but there's an unwritten rule that once you learn a new word or phrase, you'll see it or hear it at least two more times within the next 24 hours.

and now, i can't stop seeing it, hearing it, or reading it. it's everywhere.

for all intents and purposes. for all intents and purposes.
for all intents and purposes.

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how did i miss this?

i just spent two months in japan. i brought home chopsticks, little japanese dolls, authentic hakata ramen and shells from the beach in okinawa. somehow, i missed this...


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Friday, January 30, 2009

i've always been a ford man

i'm a ford man.

i've never owned another...oh wait. okay, there was that crappy buick. (yikes, i drove a buick regal when i was in my 20's.) but for the most part, i've never...um. wait. is a fairmont...? yes! that's a ford station wagon! (yikes, i drove a ford station wagon in my 20's. a yellow ford station wagon. in my 20's. starts with a d and rhymes with ork.) then there was the red festiva, and the black escort zx2, and finally the explorer sport.


the ford motor company, despite having it's worst year in a 105-year history, is the only american auto company not to ask for bailout money. so. you get this:



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you are a magnet, and i am steele

the republican national committee has chosen it's new leader.

it took six rounds of balloting (so long they had to rush through the rest of the days voting because a wedding party was waiting to get into the hall - no kidding) and the winner got only six more votes than the 85 he needed to win, but the leader of the rnc tonight is a black man.

he's also mike tyson's former brother-in-law.

the republican party – whose minneapolis convention was a muggy sea of pasty whiteness (causing me to blurt out, "where are the black people? where are the hispanics? where are the gays, for crying out...? well okay...there aren't gonna be gays...") – has chosen michael steele, one of it's only black members, to be their leader.


the party's other black member had to drop out of the running in order for steele to win.

is this a positive step for the republican party? sure, if only symbolically. it's a positive step for the country: the leaders of both political parties in the united states are black men. that's a pretty remarkable thing.

but let's be realistic. in the end, for the rnc, this race was between katon dawson, a man who only recently dropped his membership in a whites-only country club, who became a republican because the democrats desegregated his school in the 1950's, and steele, the guy who thought obama "played the race card beautifully" during the presidential campaign, and who in 2006 stood before a group of jewish leaders and compared stem cell research to holocaust atrocities and slavery.

these are serious choices, people.

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quote of the day

"I am a guy on the radio, and I am not by any means an official leader of the Republican party – I'm a conservative. The official leaders of the Republican party are fighting over who their ultimate leader is going to be...hint, hint it's Sarah Palin."

rush limbaugh

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

now this...

...is a comments section. (please, jump on in.)

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the tao of groucho


(hat tip: brad kelley)

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waiver? i don't even know her.

cnn's campbell brown takes obama to task over breaking waiving his own ethics rules:

"My view is simple: Mr. President, if you want to hire former lobbyists because you think they are the best people to do the job, then hire former lobbyists. Just don't hold a big news conference first to tell us how your administration is going to be so different from previous administrations in that you won't be hiring lobbyists."
here, here.

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bend over and say "no condom!"

the house passed the $825 gazillion stimulus bill last night and zero republicans voted for it. zee. roh. was this a surprise?

in my tiny, skewed view, here's what happened:

1. the democratic congress wrote a super giant, bigger than life, wake grandma from the dead stimulus bill that included many things democrats think will stimulate the economy. republicans have a hard time with stimulation, period. (seriously, have you seen john boehner? he hasn't been stimulated since he was covered in goo and the doctor held him upside down and slapped his ass. stimulated? how could you tell if he were? and mitch mcconnell? yikes. that is horror-movie zombie material. we're talking anti-stimulation. negative-stimulation. secret camps in colorado play video of mitch mcconnell on an endless loop to make people like ted haggard not gay. and it works.)

2. president obama (still enjoy saying that, by the way) has pledged to work toward a new era of bipartisanship. i think he's acted really bi-partisany so far, why stop now?

3. republicans went on the t.v. en masse to say the word "condoms" as many times as they could. those closed-door republican meetings must have been like the old dick van dyke show:

buddy
let's just say 'condoms' about fourteen times.

sally
yeah, that's it! you say 'condoms-condoms-condoms' and i'll say
'i don't know who that's going to stimulate, har-har!"

rob
(at his desk, distracted)
listen guys, i gotta get home. laura's making a pot roast.
jerry and millie are coming for dinner and i don't wanna be late.

sally
yeah, i gotta go too. herman glimscher is taking
me to dinner and the movies tonight.

rob
aw, that sounds romantic.

sally
sure, it would be if his mother weren't coming along.

buddy
just keep saying 'condoms-condoms-condoms'
and maybe you'll scare her off.

sally
i couldn't scare off agnes glimsher with
mitch mcconnell on an endless loop!

(they laugh. fade out.)

4. rush limbaugh said the nation is being told to bend over and grab their ankles for the new president because he's black. wow. rush. get outta my head.

5. not a single republican voted for the stimulus.

6. the headlines today are still "stimulus bill passes house".

does obama look foolish? did the republicans slap him down? what's the lesson here?

really, the republicans didn't like what was in that initial bill. that's okay – good, in fact. they should be fighting for what they believe in. and the bill is gonna change even more now that it goes to the senate. but is this all simply political gamesmanship, while the country is looking at it's collective bank accounts and thinking "just do something, you idiots"?

and truly, now that the stimulus bill has passed the house, and monies for family planning and contraception were taken out of it, i will miss watching john boehner discuss the size of the package, arguing that it isn't stimulating until we remove the condoms.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

quote of the day

"i am so damn glad that you can never be my wife, 'cause i surely wouldn't (want to) have to listen to that prattle from you everyday."
dick armey, former republican
house majority leader, to salon's joan walsh
classy.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

wanna buy me a cup of coffee?

...or lunch or dinner, for that matter?

just click on the will blog for coffee graphic in the side column over there on the right (NOT the one in this post) enter the amount you want to DONATE, select a payment method and you're off! can't do it right now? that cute graphic will be in that side column tomorrow too. and next week. and next month. i drink coffee every day!

i see where the donations come from, and i will go to starbucks and actually sit at a table for two, with an empty chair, and think of you while i sip a chai latte. or a hot chocolate with whipped cream. or whatever it is you buy me. (you are so nice!) i'll even take a picture of us (me) enjoying our coffee (my coffee) and post it on tuesdays!

that is, unless you buy me dinner. which means i'll be sitting at a table in mamma mexico by myself. thinking of you. just imagine me, sitting alone in a restaurant in new york, taking photos of myself while i eat a filete pancho villa. that's gotta be worth $20 or $30, right? (by the way, that's one cheap dinner, thanks a lot.)

don't be embarrassed. it's a recession, silly. we all need friends.

friends like you.

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little eric and the sculpture garden

discussing the republican opposition to obama's stimulus package tonight on hardball, indiana senator mike pence threw out the old "$50 million dollars for the national endowment for the arts" line. "tell me how that's going to stimulate the economy!" pence said.

i don't think mike was being sarcastic here, i think he's being quite honest: he has no idea how that 50 mil might help.

mike just needs to listen to his buddy, republican weasel whip eric cantor, who recently answered that question, telling everyone how part of that $50 million would actually be spent: "there's $300,000 for a sculpture garden in miami."

in fact, adorable little eric has been flouncing all over the place shouting "sculpture garden! sculpture garden!" to folks like fox news, the richmond times, and others. it's a outrage, it's a scandal, right? a sculpture garden! in miami, no less! ugh! stupid sculpture! stupid culture!

funnily enough, the bit about the sculpture garden was a lie.

there is nothing in the stimulus package having anything to do with a sulpture garden in miami, akron, madison, or walla-walla. eric cantor was lying.


and once you pick your teeth up off the floor, you'll be fascinated to read what our friends at politifact have to say about little eric and the sculpture garden: liar, liar, pants on fire.

leave it to a wacky liberal politician from backwoods wisconsin to get it right: representative dave obey, house appropriations committee chairman, defended the proposed funding to the nea: "artists need jobs just like everyone else. fifty million out of $825 billion doesn't seem like an extreme amount to support our artists."

thanks dave. i say, if the $50 million remains, it all goes to the madison rep.

(the photo above is of actor and comedian eddie cantor, not virginia republican eric cantor. i'd much rather have a photo of eddie on my blog, so...close enough.)

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

somewhere along the way

a wild horse lunches on the island of vieques, puerto rico. january, 2005.

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r.i.p. mill mountain

mill mountain theatre in roanoke, virginia, has been around since 1964, but last tuesday they announced that their doors were closing for good. after a 35 year run, you can add the carousel dinner theatre in akron, ohio to that list. the now part-time artistic director-executive producer of beverly, mass's north shore theatre is leading efforts to reopen the theater that closed its doors only last week. and soon the madison repertory theatre in my home state of wisconsin may become the latest fatality in a long string of dying regional theaters.

millmountain

it's a tough time for theatre. this week, after 40 years of providing some of the best, most respected regional theater in the country, the madison rep announced it is in the dire-est of straights: without an immediate infusion of at least $50,000 cash, it would have to shut down it's current production. not next season. not next year. now. by february 1st.

this is the stuff of melodrama; of old-time musical theatre. in dames at sea (a show i actually did at madison rep) the wrecking ball comes crashing down on the theater at the end of act one. at least ruby, dick, and the gang had a captain with a boat to bail them out. the rep may not be so lucky.

lately, it seems that everyone from wall street, to the banks, to the auto industry, to the porn industry is asking the government for a bailout (three of those four getting one.) but every time i hear republicans complaining about the pork that's in obama's $825 billion stimulus bill, one of the first things they mention is money for the national endowment for the arts.

what are they objecting to? $50 million to allow the national endowment for the arts to provide grants to struggling arts groups. how ridiculous, right? that arts groups should receive any of this money? a bunch of actors and hoity-toity artists.

and administrators. and office staff. and theater crew. and costume designers. and set designers. and shop crew. and artistic staff. and ushers. and bartenders. and merchandise folks. and box office employees. and porters. and custodial staff.

really. how ridiculous.
$50 million out of $825 billion.

anyway, i doubt mill mountain, carousel, north shore or the madison rep would qualify would have qualified. rest in peace, friends.
UPDATE 1/26/09 – marlene adds a canadian perspective:

"Tony, I read the RIP Mill Mountain Theatre spot with great sympathy and understanding. Your story is the story of Canada at the moment, and our current Bush wanna be Prime Minister is doing everything in his "I Can Be A Bigshot Hardhittin' Politician Too" power to play hard ball with the arts.

In the face of massive cuts to culture here in the last year (grants to artists, cuts to programs in schools, funding for theatres and development to new works in all mediums), he responded to outcries by stating publicly that artists were "gala attending" indulgent jet setters, and that "normal" working people weren't concerned about theatre or music. In a blatant shout out to The Bush He Wants To Trim he further stated that "normal" people work hard, and want to come home, have dinner, spend time with the family, pop in a movie (of course, artists don't act in, produce, direct, write, light, dress, design, compose for, work as crew on movies.)


it is a sad thing to see such important parts of communities disappear when we know how deeply valuable they are, not just for employment and entertainment, but as part of the identity of a community."

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

sasha fierce steinem

who is the leader of the modern feminist movement? jessica at waxing poetical has a pretty clear idea:

"IF you want it THEN you should have put a ring on it.

What could be more clear? There's no emoting, there's no hemming and hawing. There is only logic. A white chick would never have the wherewithal to be so bold."
who's she talking about?

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kissing, touching, even...???

you'll never believe what the obama's are doing in the white house now. wait until our friends at the american family association here this:



UPDATE 11:54 a.m. – i think my favorite part of this video is the fox anchor's follow-up question about the first couple: "i know they set a great example, but can we learn from just watching them, or...?"

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

lost weight

season four of "lost" started tonight and, well...is it my imagination or has everyone gotten fatter? (including me?)

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

a better tuesday: the first family

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quote of the day

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

President Barack Hussein Obama
(read the entire inaugural address here.)

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p.s. iowa

you're kidding me. there's more?

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a better tuesday: the speech

it was not, to my ears, the soaring rhetoric we're accustomed to hearing from barack obama. it was strong, and muscular. it was literary. i immediately found myself wanting to return to it, re-read it. and to co-opt a commenter i read out there somewhere, if president george w. bush had ever said anything like it, i would have fallen over dead.

president obama did not talk down to us. this was not a speech written for first graders – it was full of rich, complex, challenging ideas and thoughts. he did not paint a rosey picture. he did not act as cheerleader. and he called us to follow our better history, and to take responsibility. for ourselves, for each other, for our country, and for our world.

that, to me, was what was most different: this seemed to be a speech as much to the people of the world, as to the people of the united states. make no mistake, it was from our leader, and it was for our country. but president obama spoke – not in a condescending or threatening way, but in a sincere, hopeful, adult way...in an honest way – to people everywhere.

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a better tuesday: random thoughts

1. i would just like to suggest to aretha franklin (and all singers, for that matter) that she always, always breathe in the middle of the word "country" when singing "my country 'tis of thee".

2. what was mr. potter from "it's a wonderful life" doing there?

3. supreme court chief justice john roberts interpreted that oath of office nearly as well as he interprets the constitution (btw, it was roberts who screwed up, not obama.)

4. to anyone as unimpressed as i was with rev. rick warren's invocation, and as saddened by the omission of rev. gene robinson's prayer from the broadcast of the pre-inaugural ceremony, look at this page at the new whitehouse.gov (hat tip andrew sullivan.)

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the screaming and storming, part 2

it's illegal to take photographs during the performance of a play. it's illegal to make any kind of recording, too.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

did jill slip?

vice president-elect joe biden and his wife jill were guests on today's oprah winfrey show. discussing her husband's decision to accept barack obama's offer of the vp slot, jill biden said, "joe had the choice of being secretary of state or vice president."

more at jake tapper's blog.

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"when you're throwing folks a bone...

...it's a good idea to make sure they can, you know, see the bone."
dan savage
on the exclusion of rev. gene robinson from hbo's broadcast
of the obama pre-inaugural festivities at the lincoln memorial.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

obama-thon

i know the inauguration doesn't actually take place until tuesday, but i find it fascinating that on cnn i'm finding live coverage of pre-inauguration festivities in washington, d.c, and on msnbc it's "yes we can! the barack obama story".

on fox? a report on pat-down policies at nfl stadiums.

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set the tivo

from cnn.com:

CNN will replay Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in its entirety on Monday, Jan. 19, at noon (ET) as part of the network’s MLK Day programming.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

overkill

the story of us airways flight 1549 is stunning, remarkable, and uplifting. the pilot, chesley b. "sully" sullenberger, is a true american hero. the nation needs and deserves to celebrate something truly miraculous in these tough times.

but the greatest disservice of all – to sullenberger, his co-pilot, the plane's crew, and the 150 passengers who survived the whole ordeal – is that the media is going to shove this story down all of our throats until we all gag on it.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

somewhere along the way

somewhere between zion national park & bryce canyon, utah. june 2005.

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ignorance is...

i just looked at my 401(k) balance.


what do you think is worse, that i haven't looked at it in over 6 months? or that i've lost so much money in 6 months?  

oh well.  times is hard.  i guess i should be happy i even have a 401(k). on the bright side, i hear bank of america just got a giant chunk of cash from taxpayers.  maybe they'll use it to pay off my credit card.  
"Ignorance is bliss, someone said.  
Don't tell me who, I don't want to know."
– oscar wilde

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quote of the day

“It amazed me when I looked at California and saw churches that had nothing to say about police brutality, nothing to say when a young black boy was shot while he was wearing police handcuffs, nothing to say when the they overturned affirmative action, nothing to say when people were being delegated into poverty, yet they were organizing and mobilizing to stop consenting adults from choosing their life partners.

There is something immoral and sick about using all of that power to not end brutality and poverty, but to break into people’s bedrooms and claim that God sent you."


rev. al sharpton,
addressing atlanta's tabernacle baptist church
at the launch of the alliance of affirming faith-based organizations.

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dear iowa

c'mon. i mean, really?

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the inspiration that is chris matthews

on hardball tonight, some beautiful (and ultimately inspiring) chris matthews reporting.

first, he continually referred to what happened to us airways flight 1549 as "a bird attack" (not a "bird strike" which is what aviation experts call it.)

and then there's this: in an attempt to understand exactly what happened, matthews asked this question of a bird strike expert (my emphasis) –

"so tell me how the birds hit the plane. there's two vectors, the birds are going in one direction, as a flock. together. and the plane's going in the other direction. the birds are not aware the plane is moving, or...you know. dogs jump outta the way, deer jump outta the way. birds can't do that, right?"
thursday over the hudson

Mid-afternoon, high over Manhattan,
a flock of Canadian Geese head south.
Two Geese are flying far back on the left side of the "V".

There is a general sense of unease.


GOOSE A
How's the wife?

GOOSE B
Fine.

GOOSE A
Flying on the right today, I see.

GOOSE B
She needed a little space is all.

GOOSE A
Sure, sure.

(Beat)

Colder than it's been.

GOOSE B
(Suddenly irritated)
She needed space, I said.

GOOSE A
The weather, featherhead.

(B shoots A a look.)

(Uncomfortable beat)

GOOSE B
I hate New York.

GOOSE A
That's a strong word, hate.

GOOSE B
Too many tourists. And you can never get good parking.

GOOSE A
I love a Grey's Papaya.

GOOSE B
Oh sure, who doesn't?

(Beat)

GOOSE A
See that thing up there?

GOOSE B
That giant silver thing.

GOOSE A
Yeah.

GOOSE B
Sure. I see it.
It's giant and silver how could you miss it?

(Beat)

GOOSE A
(Hesitant to ask)
You, ah...you think it's...moving?

GOOSE B
Moving?

GOOSE A
Yeah, moving. Like us. Moving.

GOOSE B
Do I think it's –

GOOSE A
Silly question, I suppose.

GOOSE B
– moving.
I don't think so, no. Moving? No.

GOOSE A
Good. I don't think so either.

(Tiny beat. Then to himself, under his breath)
Moving. Stupid.

(Beat)

GOOSE A
We are headed right for the damn thing, you know?

GOOSE B
Seems that way, doesn't it?

GOOSE A
If it's not moving...and we're...can we...?

GOOSE B
Can we what?

GOOSE A
Can we, uh...jump out of the way or something?
Before we hit it?

GOOSE B
Jump out of the way?

GOOSE A
Yeah.

GOOSE B
Jump out of the way?

GOOSE A
(Sheepishly)
I don't know.

GOOSE B
Do a lot of jumping, do you?

GOOSE A
I just meant –

GOOSE B
When is the last time you jumped?

GOOSE A
I just don't wanna hit it, or –

GOOSE B
You idiot. "Jump out of the way," he says.
What do you think I am, a dog?
______________________

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

quote of the day

cnn's wolf blitzer, to a passenger of us airways flight 1549, which had earlier crash landed in the middle of the hudson river:

"did it feel a like bird – or birds – was sucked into the plane's engines? because that's the preliminary report we're getting from the faa."
(early reports suggest that all passengers were rescued from the flight.)
UPDATE 1/16/09 – the headline on tonight's new york times website: all 155 escape jet's plunge into hudson. the pilot, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, 57, is being hailed as a hero for the remarkable landing. the plane's crew is also being commended for keeping the passengers organized, focused and calm.

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the screaming and storming

shortly after moving to new york city, i heard an interview with patti lupone on a broadway-talk-radio program.

it kinda made me wanna puke.

the show's host was all pumped and ready to explode (yes, explode) with excitement and adulation over the fact that he had the great patti lupone in his presence. during the interview i seem to remember there being a lot of "when you did this" and "when you did that" and "you were absolutely amazing in" and "you were robbed" and the like.

puke pukitty puke-puke.

one of my favorite moments, though, was lupone recalling her performance as reno sweeney in "anything goes!"

in the number "blow, gabriel, blow" lupone's character, directed to leave the stage during a big dance break, returned belting so high that the audience had no choice but to look to see where that siren-like noise was coming from. this is not the way the tune is written, but how lupone interpreted it. it was my idea, she said.

best, though, was her reasoning behind that choice: i had to get the attention back on me, i had to get the focus back on me, this was my moment, this was my number, lupone said. or something to that effect.

see, that moment, lupone realized, was about HER. not about her character, not about the show, not about the scene, or the story. it was about HER. getting the focus back on reno might have been important, but it's not where lupone lives. it wasn't about reno. it was about patti.

several days later, i heard an interview with christine ebersole on national public radio. ebersole was performing in the broadway musical "grey gardens" and spoke at length about how fortunate she was to be in the company of great actors like mary louise wilson and the others in the cast. she was so lucky to be able to perform this material, she told the interviewer. she was incredibly humble and generous. grateful.

now, these two theater stars might be exactly the opposite of what i'm guessing them to be. lupone might be the dearest, sweetest woman alive, and ebersole might be a total loon. that grateful act might have been total bullshit. and maybe my memory is a little foggy about both interviews. this is just the impression i got.

it makes this story all the more interesting to me.

amanda ameer has written an account of lupone's second to last performance in her tony award winning role as mama rose in the recent revival of "gypsy" which seems to fit in nicely with the image i have of lupone already.

any actor knows that nothing is more irritating, nothing is more disruptive than being onstage in the middle of a performance when photographs are being taken from the audience. audience members show nothing but total disrespect for the actors, the designers, the director – not to mention their fellow audience members – when they snap off a photo during a show.

besides all of that, it's illegal.

no really. illegal.

that said, amanda's story begins: she and a friend are at that second to last performance of gypsy, and suddenly, during "rose's turn", there are photographs being taken. flash! flash! right in the middle of what ameer calls "the most - some might say only - important part of the entire musical." flash!

and then?

lupone. goes. off.

"No. Enough. ENOUGH. Stop. Stop. You have taken three pictures. You in the third row from the back. Didn't you hear the announcement? They said no pictures in the announcement! Three pictures. I won't have it. I want him out of here."

What followed was a ten minute lecture on our contemporary society's "lack of public manners". "This is the the-atre!" she exclaimed as if this were a Saturday Night Live skit about a Broadway diva. "I won't go on while he's still in this theatre. Turn on the house lights, I must see that he's gone. I simply won't go on."

Screaming. Storming around the stage. Screaming and storming, the hoarse Broadway diva playing Mama Rose on the last evening show of the run, Patti Lupone: a cliché within a cliché.
now please. this kind of acting out is certainly not exclusive to ms. lupone, or to big-star-types. i've seen and heard it from plenty of others only pretending to be big stars: the storming off-stage and swearing profusely at the understudy who came in a smidge late with a line; the commenting to the stage manager, as you exit stage left, that the actor you just played a scene with (who's exiting right behind you) doesn't deserve to even be there; busting into another actor's dressing room to shout "you stepped on my god damned foot you stupid son-of-a-bitch." it's all too common.

but c'mon! actors are crazy! you have to be a little crazy (or a lot crazy) to do what they do!

so okay, i'm a big woose wuss. but that kind of crap is what makes me want to join the peace corps (which, i'm sure, has it's own divas.) and if it means instead i'll get to work with generous, caring, humble people – like many of the actors i know in milwaukee? well. i guess i'll have to settle.

but believe me, milwaukee has it's divas too.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

question of the day

is there any doubt that if bernie madoff were a black man, he would be in prison by now?

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obama throws the gays a bone!

after the furious gay uproar (the f.g.u.) over barack obama's selection of rev. rick warren to give the invocation at his inauguration, obama has now gone and picked everyone's favorite gay bishop rev. gene robinson to offer a prayer at a preinaugural event (ha! pre! meaning before, or...uh...pre! so the gays will be first! take that warren! take that homophobes!) robinson has said, despite the timing of this invitation, he doesn't feel like sloppy seconds, or believe this is a tit-for-tat (despite my silly outburst.)

gays are on the edge of their seats: what will robinson wear!? (a marian stole and chasuble, light blue-silver with a picture of mary on the back would be my choice, but i don't know the rules.) what will robinson say? will there be showtunes? will lupone be there? (that was for you, danny.)

well, according to gene-gene-the-prayer-givin-machine "it won't be a happy, clappy prayer," (meaning really gay) and – hold your shouts of "amen!" – he won't use a bible. (what!?) "while that is a holy and sacred text to me, it is not for many americans," g-rob said. "i will be careful not to be especially christian in my prayer. this is a prayer for the whole nation."

wait. you mean there are people in this nation who are not christian? stfu!

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

the father, the blogger, and the holy ghost

i missed this in time for christmas, and it can't possibly wait until next december, so consider it an early start to the 2009 holiday season: ladies and gentlemen – baby jesus' blog.

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even dora is bi

i felt a little silly that morning, being so impressed with the young girl working behind the counter at the seven-eleven in downtown seoul, south korea.

of course she spoke korean to the first two customers in line. but the third customer, an elderly woman, was clearly japanese. the young counter girl easily slid into fluent japanese, and helped the woman find some hand cream she had been searching for.

when i stepped to the counter, she smiled and said "were you able to find all your items?" and continued in clear, plain english.

i really shouldn't have been surprised. multilingualism isn't unusual; in fact, it's the norm for most of the world's societies. even dora the explorer speaks two languages.

and then there's this.

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the tricks of war

a frightening piece in today's new york times reveals some of the tricks and traps of war:

"Hamas, with training from Iran and Hezbollah, has used the last two years to turn Gaza into a deadly maze of tunnels, booby traps and sophisticated roadside bombs. Weapons are hidden in mosques, schoolyards and civilian houses, and the leadership’s war room is a bunker beneath Gaza’s largest hospital, Israeli intelligence officials say.

Unwilling to take Israel’s bait and come into the open, Hamas militants are fighting in civilian clothes; even the police have been ordered to take off their uniforms. The militants emerge from tunnels to shoot automatic weapons or antitank missiles, then disappear back inside, hoping to lure the Israeli soldiers with their fire."
and the israelis are resorting to their own tricks.

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dear saturday night live

watching a group of actors (neil patrick harris and the snl cast, on tonight's show) lampoon another group of actors for...uh...being unemployed – while show after show is closing on broadway – really isn't all that funny.

see, while you guys (actors and comics who are getting paid) make fun of those folks in phantom or wicked (p.s. snl, annie, cats, fiddler, music man all haven't been on broadway in years) the actors who were employed in shows like hairspray, gypsy, grease, young frankenstein, rent, spring awakening, legally blonde, chorus line, spamalot, all my sons, speed the plow, and boeing-boeing will all be looking for work soon. their health insurance could eventually run out, and so could their savings.

it'd be like the group of factory workers who got to keep their jobs, mocking the guys who got laid off – those guys who are wondering how they're gonna support their families, buy medicine for their kids, put food on the table.

now that's funny.

UPDATE 1/11/09 - 1:02 a.m. – wow snl, you're on a roll! on the same program you were able to be incredibly insensitive to actors and romanians. offering poor (stupid?) romanian villagers a whopper taste test, and then laughing while they tell the spokesman that two burgers could feed their village for days? funny! (btw, romania is often referred to as the poorhouse of europe – nearly 14% of romanians live below the poverty level. you guys sure know comedy.)

UPDATE 1/11/09 - 11:20 p.m. –
about the "save broadway" sketch, reader katie reminds us that it's not just the actors who suffer when a show closes:

"what most (well, a lot of) people don't get is it's not just the highfalutin' actors (present company excepted, of course) but the ushers, and the stage managers, and the musicians, and the bartenders, and the tchotchke sellers and the cabbies and the restaurants and the hotels...and on and on."
yes. let's hear it for the tchotchke sellers. angie is worried about there being something to see:
"we're taking another group of theater students to new york this summer again to, uh...see shows. we hope there will be some!"
and leslie sums it up for the snl cast quite succinctly:
"one word: karma."

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

can i post to my blog...

...from my phone? huh, guess so. (i know. sometimes i'm so 2006.)

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...you never go back."

think the republican party is serious? or are these guys just a ploy? and really...a defining moment for the g.o.p? more like this, i'd say:

"The contest for Republican Party chairman comes as Republican leaders seek to figure out...what face to put forward as they struggle to avoid shrinking into a party of Southern white men in an increasingly diverse country."
so sure, why not a black face?

and how about this defining moment? or better yet, this?

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the special relationship

i am reluctant to comment on anything i don't fully understand. however, i am moved by the honesty and clarity of a recent bill moyers commentary on war, death, israel and palestine:

"...this week, the U.S. Army sent letters to the 7,000 family members of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every letter began, "Dear John Doe."

For too much of the world at large the names of the dead and wounded in Gaza might as well be John Doe too."
glenn greenwald has more on the moyers piece, and further commentary on the current situation in gaza:
"...more than 1/3 of overall Palestinian deaths are children, and a similar percentage of the more than 3,000 wounded are also children.

The Russian invasion of Georgia -- which was vehemently and universally condemned in the U.S. as an excessive and brutal response to Georgia's assault on South Ossetia -- resulted, according to the Georgian government, in total deaths on the Georgia side of 405 (220 of whom were civilians) and total number of civilians wounded between 200-250.


Of course, all of that pales in comparison to the duration, destruction and carnage created by the U.S. as a result of the Iraq War (the most unprovoked of all of these conflicts)."
and in newsweek, aaron david miller lays out the situation (as well as what he feels might be a way ahead for the obama administration) most clearly:
"The issue at hand is to find the right balance in America's ties with Israel. Driven by shared values and based on America's 60-year commitment to Israel's security and well-being, the special relationship is rock solid. But for the past 16 years, the United States has allowed that special bond to become exclusive in ways that undermine America's, and Israel's, national interests."
watch the entire moyers piece below.

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Friday, January 9, 2009

matthews hearts blago

does msnbc's chris matthews have a man-crush on crazytown rod blagojevich? matthews even has a little pet-name for the embattled governor: b-rod.

i enjoy matthews now and then, but watching him salivate over blagojevich (the way he salivates over the clintons) can be downright oogy!

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

take ty's advice

"I'll keep this simple: Cancel whatever you're doing tonight and go see Slumdog Millionaire instead."
– boston globe film critic ty burr

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class v. lack of intelligence

sarah palin thinks caroline kennedy is being handled, you know, with "kid gloves" in regard to possibly replacing hillary clinton in the u.s. senate. palin suggests there may be some sort of "class bias" as to how differently she was treated.

i say it's an "intelligence bias," but that's just me.

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black v. gay

my new favorite blogger, ta-nehisi coates, has a great post on the issue of the africa-american vote, proposition 8, and a new report that shows 58% of blacks voted yes on prop 8, not 70% as suggested by exit polling. (and to those of you who say, "you lost, get over it," i say, "i'm a gay, get over that.")

here's coates on marriage:

Homophobia is bad for my community. I support gay marriage because I believe it is a moral imperative, and the marker of a just society. I support it because, as a black man, I have seen first-hand the value of all kinds of family. In other words, it's in my interest. It's in my son's interest. It's a part of a world, that I hope to live in.

But frankly, I have no use for people--gay, straight, white, red, rich, poor--who feel like black people "owe them." I have no use for people who like to trot out their history of supporting "black causes."
more ta-nehisi coates atlantic blog here.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

quote of the day

"you should stay off the internet. it's crazytown. it's the land of freaks."
rob hancock

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

it's 2009...

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