follow me on Twitter

    Thursday, December 30, 2004

    A Disclaimer

    I realized after I hit post for that last one, I may get a lot of traffic from people googling "Lindsay Lohan's breasts". (And I, for one, would love to google her breasts, if you know what I mean.) So, if you've come here looking for Lindsay Lohan's breasts, or more pertinently, pictures of said breasts, you aren't going to find them. Sorry. Just crude jokes about them. And for my regular readers, I apologize for the crude jokes about Linday Lohan's breasts. I also apologize for saying Linday Lohan's breasts three more - oops - four more times, perhaps leading more people astray in their quest for pictures of Linday Lohan's breasts. And that mention there, which has the words "pictures of Lindsay Lohan's breasts" in that exact order, will probably prompt another ton of google searchers. Oh my. I best quit while I'm ahead, before I write something like naked pictures of Linday Lohan's breasts, which would only lead another group of teenage (or more accurately forty-year-old) males here. And some females as well. Cause I'm sure there are some females who would love to see hot pictures of Linday Lohan's naked breasts.

    Man, this is addicting.

    My Top Movies Of 2004

    Okay, I think this list should only be movies I saw in theatres. I don’t think movies I saw at home on video or DVD should count. That will make it easier to do. So how many movies did I see in theatres this year. Hmm, divide by two, carry the one, hmm. Four. Four movies in theatres. That will make doing this list easy.

    So, my top four movies I saw in theatres in 2004 were:

    4. Shrek 2. I ranked this four because I only saw half of it. Ethan got cranky and I had to take him out of the theatre. I finally saw the rest of it on a plane. Wait. Seeing it on a plane is not seeing it at home. Hmm. If I count seeing movies on a plane, I saw six movies this year. But no one does a top six list. I’ll narrow it to five.

    Okay, my top five movies I saw in a theatre or on a plane are:

    5. Mean Girls. The best thing about this film is that it starred Lindsay Lohan’s breasts in various costumes. I give Lindsay Lohan’s breasts two big thumbs up! Yay the Lohan Two! Otherwise, it was okay.

    4. Shrek 2. I still have Shrek 2 at number four because, ultimately, though it was funny and quite good, it doesn’t really have a heart. It was put on this earth to make money, not entertain. On the plus side, it doesn’t let Mike Myers ad lib. Mike Myers sucks when he ad libs. I think every Mike Myers movie should be required to have Eddie Murphy or Antonio Banderas in it. That certainly would have made the last two Austin Powers movies more bearable.

    3. The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. Not as funny as Shrek 2, but much more of a heart. I wish it would have featured the regular cast more, but (aside from Dennis, the bounty hunter) the additions were good.

    2. Hellboy. A very entertaining, very faithful adaptation of the comics. Ron Perlman in his Hellboy makeup makes me more comfortable with the idea of Michael Chilkis as Ben Grimm. A fun movie, and the best of film of the year I saw in a theatre or an airplane if not for:

    1. Spiderman 2. The best superhero movie ever. A great, fun, entertaining film. Tobey Maguire is perfect as Peter Parker – hell, all of the casting is perfect. (Kristen Dunst may not have a pair of breasts as nice as Lindsay Lohan’s, but she’s still more of a hottie than Lindsay.) It was cool to see characters I’ve always loved on the big screen in a film I could love. I have high hopes for Spiderman 3. High hopes.

    Almost making the cut – Miracle. Unfortunately, I fell asleep on the plane while this one was on. If it had had anything as stay-awake-worthy as Lindsay Lohan’s breasts, I would have stayed awake. But it didn’t. So I drifted off to sleep, just me and thoughts of the Lohan Two.

    Wednesday, December 29, 2004

    A Serious Interlude

    I'm no stranger to death. I've seen my father; all my grandparents; various aunts, uncles, and cousins; and other assorted friends and acquaintances pass on. It's one of the drawbacks of getting older. Death, at least my own, doesn't particularly scare me. (As Woody Allen once said, I'm comfortable with the idea of my own death. I just don't want to be there when it happens.)

    But the deaths of others scare me - my mother, my sisters, my friends, Lesa. But worst of those would be the deaths of either of my sons. And that is what hits the hardest of the pictures of the tsunami devastation I have seen. The pictures of parents carrying their dead children, or mourning same.

    I realize it's a tight time of year - I know we are pretty well stretched to our limits and beyond. But if you can spare something, think about giving to one of the various relief organizations helping out the victims. (A number of relief organizations can be found listed here.) And if you can't do that, send some thoughts to the deity of your choice for these folks.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2004

    I Didn't Go Into Burger King

    Which Pulp Fiction character are you? Take the test here. (Link courtesy of thndrkttn at OT.) I, of course, am Vincent Vega.

    Christmas Gifts

    A pretty good Christmas - nothing to complain about except the time goes too fast. I probably won't see my oldest nephew until he graduates from college - COLLEGE! - in May. It bites when my siblings and their families have lots of time off and I only have one day. But oh well.

    But that's not why I'm posting. Save the lovey-dovey family stuff for the rubes. You folks want to know about gifts.

    Well, Lesa and I got folding chairs from my mom. Which means Matt F. can finally take some of his back. We also got a book from her dad that lays out the history of Girdwood, Alaska, his hometown. (And at one point Lesa's. It's a beautiful little town, now in danger of being overrun by yuppies.) I got a Cardinal's NL Champs t-shirt, a Best Buy gift card (three CDs - the new Alison Kraus, the new Pat Green, and Green Day's American Idiot), an Iowa City community gift certificate (used at Target on Phil Gordon's book on poker and Trimuph the Insult Comic Dog's Greatest Hits DVD), and Ratchet and Clank 3 plus the game guide. The playstation was at mom's house until yesterday, but it's home now and I'm going to catch up on lost time.

    Hope everyone reading had a good holiday as well. And I promise to stop ripping off Matt's post ideas. Although the favorite plays idea is a good one we need to run with.

    Monday, December 27, 2004

    Those Little Plastic Twist Tie Things?

    They use to package kids toys these days?

    I hate em...

    Thursday, December 23, 2004

    My Turn For Musicals

    Matt over at Oasis (see link to the right) has a post up about musicals, particularly Phantom, said post inspired by Greenman at Crap Flinging Monkey’s (see link to the right) phantom posts. (It’s Phantom day in the Iowa City Theatre blogosphere! Kris, where’s your Phantom post?) At the end of the post, he lists his top ten favorite musicals. As I am always willing to be a follower, here’s my top ten:

    1. Jesus Christ Superstar – Andrew Lloyd Webber must have put every ounce of talent he had into this one, cause God knows (there’s an Elvis Costello joke there for those in the know) he hasn’t put an ounce of talent into anything else he’s done. If he had never done another musical after Superstar, I think he’d be highly regarded – well, highly regarded as something other than a hack.

    2. Les Miserables – See what I said above and change the name “Andrew Lloyd Webber” to Cameron Makintosh. And how is it that the Producer (as opposed to The Producers) is more famous for this show than the authors?

    3. Guys And Dolls – Great songs all the way through. This show is almost always idiot-proof. I’ll get back to you in about a month to let you know if it is always idiot-proof.

    4. Music Man – Harold Hill is on my list of parts I would kill to play. Again, great song after great song. And it’s set in Iowa!

    5. Rent – I wish we could have gotten to find out if Jonathan Larson had what it takes to be a long term talent or if this was his Superstar.

    6. Kiss Me Kate – The story is slight – probably the worst of the shows on this list - but the songs are great. C’Mon – it’s Cole Porter!

    7. Cabaret – A dark, dark tale with great music.

    8. Producers – Max Bialystock - another part I would kill to play. I had an opportunity to see this in the Chicago tryout. I still kick myself that I didn’t go.

    9. Chicago – Hey! Another part I would kill to play! Billy Flynn. (Do you see a theme?)

    10. Company – Yeah, it’s Sondheim. But the music is both funny and touching, and the story of a man who’s starting to realize that maybe it’s time to grow up hit me when I first saw the show.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2004

    I Stared At The Monitor All Day

    And all I got was this lousy post about blogger's block...

    Tuesday, December 21, 2004

    Food, Glorious Food

    Over at Off Topic, one of the best threads of the day asks “If you could eat dinner in a restaurant every night for a week, what restaurants and what would you order?”

    Here’s my response (sticking to the immediate area):

    Monday – Al and Irene’s Rib Haven, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Best ribs I’ve ever had, and I’ve had ribs all over the country. A law school friend who grew up in the South (and who prided himself on his abilities with a smoker) said Al and Irene’s sauce was the best sauce he had ever tasted. I’ll take a full rack and add in home made cole slaw and skin on fries for the complete meal.

    Tuesday – El Dorado Mexican Restaurant, Coralville, Iowa. Fast, cheap, and good. I’ll order the beef and chicken fajitas.

    Wednesday – Taste of China, Iowa City, Iowa. Again, fast, cheap, and good. (Kinda like myself.) I’ll order chicken with garlic sauce, pork egg foo yung, and chicken low mein.

    Thursday – Lou Henri’s, Iowa City, Iowa. A great, eclectic diner. Thursday’s are vegetarian days, so I’ll go with a tomato, onion, broccoli, and cheese omelet, with home fries and wheat toast.

    Friday – Pagliai’s Pizza, Iowa City, Iowa. A large pepperoni and beef. Sprinkle with garlic sauce and your ready to go. And what do you know – it’s fast, cheap, and good!

    Saturday – Hamburg Inn, Iowa City, Iowa. The magazine articles on the wall proudly proclaim the time a decade ago or so where it was named one of the nation’s best hamburgers. There are also pictures from when President Reagan ate there (and was waited on by Ruddle – Ron left her a crappy tip). I’ll have a half-pound bacon cheeseburger with fries. Might add a bowl of chili too.

    Sunday – Little Amana Restaurant, Williamsburg, Iowa. Traditional Amana food served family style. I’ll order the Harvest Fest – three meats (usually on a Sunday it’s Fried Chicken, Oven Baked Steak, and Pork Chops) served all you can eat. The sides are mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, kraut (mmm, kraut), and bread. Not cheap or fast, but very, very good.

    Monday, December 20, 2004

    Blogging Expansion

    I'm going to be joining Matt from Thoughts From The Oasis Amidst The Corn (see link to the left) in doing a Survivor blog. Matt has many pics and names of the contestants from Survivor 10. He also correctly picked the final four order for Survivor 9. We'll be going in earnest when the season opens in February. You can find the blog here.

    Four of us from the Friday night poker gang have decided to launch a joint poker blog. It includes the aforementioned Matt, Kris from Random Mentality, and Greenman from Crap Flinging Monkey. I'll post the link once we start going on it.

    Friday, December 17, 2004

    Poker Tonight

    Come on over.

    Yes, this is another in a series of lame posts to try to post every working day.

    Thursday, December 16, 2004

    Is It Just Me?

    Does anyone else chuckle like Beavis when they see blogger say "This may take a few minutes, if you have a large blog?"

    Baseball Musings Part Two

    Okay, so what should the Cardinals do? There are holes at SS, 2B, and C. We need a fourth outfielder, someone we can rely on if Walker goes down or Sanders does not produce like he did last year. Finally, we need to upgrade the starting pitching. So how to do this? Can we do all this? Here’s are two thoughts:

    Go after Carlos Beltran. See if either he or Edmonds will play left, then platoon Walker and Sanders in right. It will cost a lot, and certainly mean that we can’t spend money to address any of the other needs. But with a 2-6 of Beltran-Pujols-Rolen-Edmonds-Walker/Sanders, we won’t need any better starting pitching. We can also put Molina at C, Luna at SS or 2B, and maybe find a low-cost middle infielder somewhere.

    Go after Jason Varitek. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a catcher who can hit? It won’t cost anywhere near what signing Beltran would cost. We would still have money left to pursue a Clement or a Milton.

    Obviously, neither of these is going to happen. But Beltran and Varitek are the two best players out there, and none of the pitchers are really spending much on. So take my advice Redbirds – it’s free!

    Political Thoughts

    Will Gonzalez’s inability to detect Kerik’s many, many flaws affect Gonzalez’s prospects for becoming Attorney General? And why are so many Republicans NOW calling for Rumsfeld to step down? Questions, questions, questions…

    Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    Baseball Musings

    The great thing about blogging is that you can be anything you want to be. Today? I am a baseball blogger. If you don't like it, get your own blog. Of course, I think everyone who visits here has there own blog, so I'm too late with that advice. But still.

    ESPN is reporting that the Red Sox, frustrated in their attempts to grossly overpay a 32-year-old starting pitcher who is past his prime and starting to decline, are going to be successful in their attempt to grossly overpay a 29-year-old shortstop who is past his prime and starting to decline. That’s right, Edgar Renteria is going to Boston.

    I can’t say that I am either surprised or disappointed. This move was obvious the moment the Mets signed Pedro. And I can’t help but think that Cards GM Walt Jocketty is probably breathing a sigh of relief right now, that same sigh you breathe when you are finally outbid on an eBay item you had no right bidding so high on in the first place. I mean, the four years, $32 million the Cards offered was too much. The four years, $40 million the Sox are offering is insane. So good luck Edgar – glad you could make it back to the Series with the Cards. You won’t be getting there anytime soon with the Sox.

    But, coupled with the losses of Womack to the Yankees and Matheny to the Giants (and I really, really hate to characterize those as losses, considering the money involved), what do the Cards do now? My thoughts on that – tomorrow.

    (I’m really getting into this continuing posts thing.)

    Toy Of The Day

    Thanks to Boner over at Off Topic, I present Virtual Light Bright . (And yes, someday I’ll talk about Off-Topic.)

    Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    The Englert (Part II) - ICCT

    So where were we? When we last left, our intrepid band of Iowa Citians had just taken upon the task or raising $500,000 in a little over eight months. Can they do it? We’ll get to that in a minute. First, I’d like to talk a little about the Iowa City Community Theatre (ICCT).

    (Disclaimer: ICCT is near and dear to my heart. I acted in high school, but when I got to college, there weren’t many opportunities for people who weren’t theatre majors. So I didn’t act again. As I grew older, I often had contact with people who were involved in theatre or acting in one way or another. I guess I should have taken that as a hint, but never did. Finally, in the fall of 1998, a friend from work got cast in ICCT’s production of Arsenic and Old Lace. When a member of the cast was hospitalized, my friend suggested that I audition to fill the departing person’s role. I did, I got it, and I haven’t looked back. I’ve averaged two shows a year since that time. I ran for, and won, a seat on the ICCT Board of Director’s in 1999. I ran for, and won, the presidency of ICCT in 2000, a post I held until June 2004, when the by-laws prevented me from running again. ICCT has been very good to me, and I’ve done my best to be very good to ICCT in return. So yeah, I’m a little biased. But that doesn’t mean I’m not factual.)

    ICCT was founded in the spring of 1956 by a group of actors looking for an outlet for their theatrical urges. At the time, there was nothing in town but the theatres connected with the University, and if you weren’t a student, you were out of luck. They performed two shows that first season, starting with 27 Wagons Full Of Cotton. The group opened its second season in the fall of 1956, starting a tradition that extends to this day of the season running from the fall to spring.

    After performing for about ten years in a variety of schools, churches, and other places, ICCT found a semi-permanent home in Montgomery Hall at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. A few years after that, it moved to a semi-semi-permanent home in Exhibition Hall at the Fairgrounds.

    Why semi-semi-permanent? Because ICCT only has use of the building from mid-August til mid-May. During the summer months, the building is used for the Mennonite Relief Sale, the Johnson County Kennel Club Show, and most importantly, the Johnson County Fair. That means, every May ICCT has to move everything out of the building – the shop, the lobby, the stage floor, the risers, the chairs, the green room area, the costume changing area – everything. And each August ICCT has to move everything back in again.

    And though that is a pain, it’s just a volunteer problem – with enough people, it can go pretty quickly. We can get it torn down or set up in about a week’s time, with the major stuff going up (or down) over the course of a long weekend. A more serious problem is that the Fairgrounds location is about five miles from downtown Iowa City, with no bus service. (But plenty of free parking!) This makes walk-up traffic almost non-existent. It also means that ICCT is out of sight for a lot of people.

    These were the reasons ICCT was so exited about the Englert. We had long been looking for a new home, and the Englert opportunity provided us with a chance to gain a new venue, publicize ourselves, and reduce volunteer effort. So when we were approached, we jumped at the chance. We entered into negotiations with the original Englert group, and eventually we hammered out a deal. In exchange for $50,000 from our building fund and $2.25 from each ticket sold, we would receive

    Two seats on the Englert Board Of Directors
    Thirty-six performance nights each year
    Sixty rehearsal nights each year
    First chance at any black nights (nights when no events were scheduled)
    Concession revenue

    This deal was presented to the ICCT membership and approved by that group. It was signed and a copy given to each group. More on that in a later installment.
    And so ICCT joined the fray. Not hesitatingly, not reluctantly, but feet first. We provided many of the initial volunteers for the group. We took part in the official campaign kickoff. I acted as the first Englert Secretary. (Note to all – never bring a laptop to a new group to take notes. They elect you to positions you may not want.) But our contributions didn’t end there.

    A clause in ICCT’s by-laws stated that we could donate funds to other arts groups. This was an important thing for Englert fundraising. Because the Englert did not yet have 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, donations to the Englert cause did not qualify donors for a tax deduction. If you’ve ever taken part in a major fundraising campaign, you know that the tax deduction is a big incentive for many donors. Since ICCT did have tax exempt status, people could donate to ICCT and receive the deduction. Because of ICCT’s by-laws, ICCT could then donate those funds to the Englert cause. But we did more.

    An ICCT person wrote the Englert’s 501(c)(3) application. (Me. I did it.) ICCT volunteers served on many of the Englert committees. And ICCT members, and people otherwise connected to ICCT, donated. At one point in those first eight and a half months, almost 70% of the donations came from people who had come to the Englert because of their connection to ICCT.

    But it wasn’t just ICCT people. Volunteers from all over the community took part, all of us sharing that dream of a community performance space. And at the end of the eight months, we had done it. We had raised the $500,000 needed to buy the theatre from the city. We banked $400,000, and the Englert President and I (as Englert Treasurer) went to the city with a check for $100,000. The building was ours, and it was time for the next step. Raising the money to renovate and open the building.

    (To Be Continued)

    Monday, December 13, 2004

    Laugh Lines

    You never quite know what lines are going to work for an audience and what lines will do nothing. I’ve read scripts that seem flat on the page that jump to life in front of an audience, and scripts that read well that do nothing for the paying customers.

    My character in Cinderella had a line that got a laugh each night that I never dreamed would get a laugh. Here’s the set-up: Because the Prince came back from his travels without a bride, the King (me) developed constant hiccups. So I spent my first scene hiccupping through my lines. After the Prince meets Cinderella and falls in love at the ball, the King says “I knew something had happened. I haven’t hiccupped for the past half hour!”

    Like I said, this got a laugh opening night. As all good actors do, once I realized something was working, I started to tinker a bit with it. I found that the more I hiccupped in the earlier part of the scene, the more the audience laughed. Likewise, the more ecstatic I seemed to be about the hiccups going away, the more the audience laughed. By the end of the run, I was getting a really good laugh on the line.

    You can rehearse and rehearse and rehearse, but until you are actually in front of an audience, you can’t know what your final performance will be like. I’ve worked with actors who didn’t vary what they were doing in rehearsal a bit from what they did in performance, going so far as to step on their own laugh lines or applause lines. I’ve worked with others who realize that it is a collaborative medium, and the audience is part of the collaboration, and that you have to take what they are giving you and modify what you are doing accordingly. The latter are people it is a joy to work with. The former? Not so much.

    Friday, December 10, 2004

    The Englert (Part I) - In The Beginning

    The Englert opened last weekend. If you have no connection to Iowa City, this means nothing to you. If you are in the Iowa City theatre scene, this is probably something that brings out a lot of mixed feelings in you. I know it does in me.

    See, a lot of us have contributed a lot of time to making the dream of the Englert a reality. And now that it is, a lot of us feel betrayed. Betrayed because the dream we were working on is not the dream that the current Englert Board is pursuing.

    Here’s the short back story. In 1999, the owners of the Englert, an old vaudeville theatre that had been converted to a movie theatre during the depression and then further butchered into two screens in the mid-80s, decided to shut down the movie theatre and sell the building. The original sale was to a bar owner from Chicago who planned to convert the space into yet another downtown Iowa City bar. Needless to say, many were unhappy with this course of events.

    Among the people unhappy were a few who decided to do something about it. A group composed of some independent business owners, a fundraiser for the public Library, a banker, and representatives of some arts and historic building groups decided to see if they could purchase the building from the bar owner who had bought it. Those arts groups included the Iowa City Community Theatre (ICCT), of which I was then a board member (and within a few months, president). In fact, I was one of the ICCT people attending the meetings of the small group – my first meeting was in November 1999.

    The dream of the group, the dream that fueled the early effort, was a dream of a community performance space. A place where community actors, dancers, singers, writers, and artists of all type could perform. A place where you could see your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers onstage doing whatever arts they did. There was no space like this in Iowa City – hell, there’s probably few spaces like this anywhere – but we knew that, given the nature of this community, there would be support for a place like the place we envisioned.

    Oh, we knew there would be a need for touring productions. For traveling stage shows, for touring dancers, for professional musicians. We knew productions like those were essential to keeping the building open. But they weren’t the first focus. After all, there was already a space for such productions in town – Hancher Auditorium, on the University of Iowa campus.

    The group was able to reach a deal with the bar owner wherein he would sell the building to us for $750,000, and we began raising funds for the purchase. However, before the deal could be executed, someone had the bright idea to see if the city would purchase the building. The bar owner was receptive – I think he felt more confident of receiving full payment that way. He was so receptive that he was willing to sell the building to the city for less - $700,000 instead of $750,000. A proposal was worked up and agreed to in principle with the city council. The city would purchase the building for $700,000 and then resell the building to the group (now calling ourselves the Englert Civic Theatre Group) for $500,000, thus giving the city credit for a $250,000 donation to the cause, the $200,000 difference between what the city paid and what it sold the building to us for plus the $50,000 difference between the original purchase price offered us and the purchase price offered the city.

    There were two catches: first, we had to cover the cost of issuing the bonds for the purchase, approximately $50,000. We had that money on hand from what we had already raised, including some $10,000 from ICCT. So that was no problem. The other condition was a bit of a problem – we had to raise the remaining $500,000 by November 1, 2000.

    This proposal was approved by the City Council in early February 2000, giving us approximately eight and a half months to raise $500,000. To say it was a daunting task is an understatement – there were many who said we couldn’t do it. Hell, we were unsure if we could do it. But we knew we were going to try. (To Be Continued)

    Thursday, December 09, 2004

    Got Some Crap - Wanna See It?

    I won’t go into the origin of that phrase – but we owe Greenman for creating it. Aw hell, I’ll go into the origin. A couple of years ago, after we had decided on what the shows would be for the following season at ICCT, some of us were trying to think up a theme, something we could hook our advertising on. Greenman suggested “Got Some Crap – Wanna See It?” We didn’t use that one, but it would have been appropriate.

    Anyway, I discovered Done Deal through low culture (link to the left), a humor site you should be visiting. Done Deal is a daily round-up of movie deals – either full scripts, spec scripts, or just pitches – that were sold the day before. It’s a fun read on several levels. First, there is the “Hey, that would be cool to see” level, when you come across a listing that actually sounds worthwhile. There’s also the “OMG” level, when you come across a listing that is so bad, so unreal, that you just rub your eyes. Finally, there is the “So that’s where they come up with so much crap” level, as you see the blinding similarity from pitch to pitch. You can also roam through the archives to see things that actually made it to the screen. All in all, worth the effort, if you love movies.

    And I love movies. I just don’t get to see them in the theatre anymore. But when the boys are older, look out cineplex!

    I should also restart my account at the HSX. HSX is an online game where you invest fake money in movie and star futures. You are given a base level of cash which you spend creating your portfolio. You can buy and sell stocks in movies or stars. The final payoff is the amount a movie makes in its first week of opening, so the trick when investing in movies is to try to pick winners. But you need to pick sleepers too, cause the obvious winners cost more to invest in. I did this a lot a few years back – not sure why I quit. Maybe we could form a league? Matt? Greenman? Kris? Any OTers? Is there interest?

    Feeling My Oats

    I love it when people say what I am thinking in a manner far better than I could say it. Case in point: this blog entry at New Donkey.

    I’ll try to quote it selectively, but it’s so good, and so complete, and so in line with how I feel that quoting selectively may be tough. But here goes:

    I will cheerfully admit that my own partisan fever exceeded its prior career high in late 2003, and kept going up right through election day. And for the first time in my life, I had a hard time understanding how friends and family members--people with whom I thought I shared a lot--could bring themselves to vote for the other guy. To put it bluntly, I didn't see any honest case for giving Bush a second term, and was angered by the dishonest case … advanced by his campaign.

    Moreover, I came to believe strongly that the real agenda of the people closest to Bush--including his political advisors and much of the Republican congressional leadership--was not only dishonest, but deeply cynical and irresponsible: a drive to simultaneously wreck the federal government and to perpetuate their control over the wreckage as long as possible through the exercise of the rawest sort of institutional power and corruption. And moreover, this belief made me angry at even those Republicans who did not share that agenda, because they were helping to promote it against their own best instincts.

    I think today's Republican Party, and its leader, are built on a foundation of fundamental dishonesty about who they are, what they want, and where they are taking the country. As a Christian, I will endeavor not to hate them for that. As an American, I will endeavor to respect those who voted for Bush, because after all, they have as much right to the franchise as I do. But until they demonstrate the ability to walk, or perhaps I should say swagger, in a straight line, I will continue to hold the president, his advisors, and his allies in Congress in minimum high regard. That did not change on November 3.

    Good stuff, if you ask me. Is there a major program or policy this administration has advanced that hasn’t had a fundamental dishonesty at either the core of the policy or the core of how they have promoted the policy? Anything? I know, politicians lie. But politicians also tell the truth if they can, cause the truth is a much better seller. This group lies even when they don’t have to. This group lies about things that the American public would probably give them a pass on. And a culture of lying has been created that permeates all aspects of this Administration. Is it any wonder the only truth-telling that has come from members of this Administration comes after they leave? Clarke, O’Neill, Whitman, and, if his farewell speech is any indication, perhaps Tommy Thompson?

    The reason I bring this up now is the discussions we are seeing about privatizing Social Security. Again, there is a fundamental dishonesty about the way the Administration is approaching the issue, from lying about the program being in crisis (every independent analysis shows that Social Security has enough to pay full benefits for at least another forty years) to lying about the benefits of the solution (the stock market has never had a 20-year period where it lost money – how about that? Course, people won’t be investing money for twenty years – they’ll be investing for thirty, or forty, or fifty, or maybe ten, and they won’t be investing in the entire stock market, just a portion of it, and that can be a little dicier) to lying about the nature of the program (Social Security is not a program to allow people to get rich for retirement – it’s about providing a safety net, about ensuring a minimum level of subsidence for the elderly and disabled). They can’t tell the truth. And you know what? Until they can, there is no reason to believe anything they say.

    Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    Baseball Tidbits

    Yeah, I like baseball. So bite me. And I like the Cards. So bite me again.

    Anyway, the Cards yesterday signed Morris, Eldred, and Mabry to one year deals prior to the arbitration deadline. The money involved is not much, and I really don't see a downside. They also offered arbitration to Renteria and Matheny. Now, I would be perfectly happy to see Matheny playing somewhere else next year. But Renteria is a must sign.

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    Link Update

    Courtesy of Matt at Thoughts From The Oasis Amidst The Corn (see link at left), I’ve been reading Will Kenyon’s blog. I’m going to quote Matt for a bit – I don’t think he’ll mind. If he does, I’ll throw a poker hand to him some Friday night.

    Will was born October 26, 2004 at just 24 weeks and consequently his father is the writer of the blog. Will currently weights 1 lb. 10 oz. … The funny thing is it turns out I know John Kenyon in a peripheral sort of way. He used to write for the Gazette and he's covered my shows in the past. … (I)n every dealing I've had with him, John has always impressed me as a class act.”

    I can second that. I only know John from dealing with him to place publicity articles, but he has always been pleasant and courteous and honest to deal with. So visit Will’s blog and send him some love and prayers.

    Monday, December 06, 2004

    Oh, And

    Happy Anniversary to my lovely wife Lesa. Two years married, three years together. Wow. Love you hon.

    I Am Coming To Town

    I’ve been playing Santa in the lobby before Cinderella starts. Santa is a great gig. I’ve done it before, and it’s always fun. Everyone is happy to see Santa, especially if they don’t expect to see him. Santa is a rock star to little kids. They either run up to see him, or stand and be shy in the distance. But even the shyest ones usually come over to get a candy cane. They might not talk, but they’ll take a candy cane. The non-shy ones will stand and talk and talk about what they want for Christmas.

    I was a little worried cause Andrew would see me put on the costume. But I told him I was helping Santa out, and he seems to get a kick out of it. He really seems to be enjoying being in the play, too.

    Party Doll

    So, Saturday night was the party for Andrew’s birthday. (Thursday was his actual birthday, but we had a performance of Cinderella.) The party was at Lunar Golf in Coral Ridge Mall, which is an indoor course done with black lights and glowing paint. Kinda cool. But let me tell you, if you ever, ever, have to host a party with twelve 6, 7, and 8 year olds, get plenty of rest ahead of time. Don’t do two performances of a play during the day before the party, and don’t stay out until 3:30 am playing poker. Even if you take two second place finishes. Cause you are going to have to do some running around at the party, and if you are tired, you’ll crash when you get home.

    Friday, December 03, 2004

    Contractual Obligations

    I promised myself a post a workday, no matter what.

    So here it is.

    Thursday, December 02, 2004

    Another Opening, Another Show

    Only it’s not opening night. It’s just invited dress rehearsal night. We’ll do the show for a crowd from the Senior Center. They’ll be very appreciative of this show, because no one says anything nasty and nobody does anything mean. Even the stepsisters are more goofy than evil.

    Unfortunately, two of the past three nights our pianist has been sick and unable to attend. That means we have only rehearsed with music once this week. I’m a little skittish about that, particularly cause I still can’t get the right note on the second verse. I did figure out that it’s the same note that I end on before the Prince starts singing, so I’m trying to use that to get off on the right note.


    Work bites. More posts tomorrow. Really. I can talk about invited dress tonight.

    Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    It's A Matter Of Voice

    So, you who know me from such places as “Off-Topic Forum” and “Survivor Bashers”, where are the political posts? Where is the hardcore sarcasm? Where is the Dweeze we know and, well, tolerate?

    I’m here.

    But this is a new venue for my writing. I don’t feel entirely comfortable here yet because I haven’t found my blog voice yet. But I will. It’s only a matter of time.
    Writing is a wonderful thing to get paid for doing. I’m lucky in that regard. But getting paid for it (and no, you probably have never read anything I’ve been paid to write, cause it is work-related writing) teaches you that you’re going to try out a lot of different voices before you find your true voice for a venue. And that’s what I’m doing right now. There’s some politics coming. There’s some sarcasm down the road. But for now, I’m doing immediate writing about what is going on in my life, and the play is the thing.

    Just be happy I’m not writing about poker or fantasy football.

    Lines You Don’t Expect To Hear In A Children’s Play

    “If I keep pushing, I know I can get it in.”

    “If you had brought a shoehorn, Herald, I know I could have made it fit.”

    People! They are talking about the stepsisters trying on the glass slipper! Where are your minds?

    Edited to add: Thanks to greenman for pointing out that it should be trying on the glass slipper, not trying on the glass sister. Of course, I know where his mind usually is.

    A Winner (For Now)

    Verdana normal sized, no color.

    Testing, 1, 2, 3

    I think Verdana. I like Verdana. But what, if any, color? Yellow would go with the cornfields motif, but yellow doesn't read well? This brownish? Let's test.

    While we're at it, let's try this as well.

    And this too.

    As well as this.

    And just plain old no color.

    And plain old no color, but not bold.

    You Know What Would Be Cool?

    It would be cool to do my part as the King in Cinderella in my best Rodney Dangerfield impersonation, and then at the end of the show, when all the cast is onstage and the mirror ball is spinning and we’re trying to give the impression that it’s the Prince and Cinderella’s wedding, I, as the King, could shout out, ala Al Czervik “Hey everyone! We’re all gonna get laid!” and then “I’m Alright” or “Anyway You Want It” or whatever song is was that ended Caddyshack could start to play and we could all dance wildly.

    That would be cool.

    Tuesday, November 30, 2004

    Oh, And

    I'm also going to be messing with fonts and colors until I find one I really, really like. Can someone tell me if there is a way to set my choices as defaults?


    I've updated the links. Shifted some of the political ones around, dropped the baseball ones for now, and added a bunch of blogs from several friends. There are now four of us from our weekly poker group with blogs, so the whole world can shiver in anticipation that sometime we will have a hand by hand breakdown of one of our games spread across the Internet. I'm sure you all can hardly wait.

    Planning On Something?

    After God knows how many years of various bosses asking me, I finally broke down and ordered a Franklin Covey Planner. And it came in today! I am somebody! I AM SOMEBODY!

    Monday, November 29, 2004


    You know, something about stepping in at the last minute really feeds my ego. And I do have an ego. All people who are involved in theatre do, even the techies. But those of us who go out on stage have really big egos. But for me, getting asked to step in at the last minute, having people feel you are someone they can count on to nail it in a short period of time, feeds mine. My lines are about 85% - 90%, I feel pretty good about my song (more in a bit), and the director is trusting me to make my own movement choices. So it will be a short, pleasant gig.

    About the song. It’s a duet with my character’s son, the Prince, and it starts in a weird place. It’s right about the lower level of my range, and while I’ve been hitting the first night when I lead off the song, when I sing after the Prince has sung, it is taking me a note or two to get to the right place. I’m sure I can figure something out, but not sure yet what.

    And I like my voice. It’s a good musical theatre voice. I wish I auditioned better with it, although I wasn’t getting a good part in Guys and Dolls no matter what I did. Still, it didn’t help to blow the singing part of the audition.

    Wednesday, November 24, 2004

    It's Good To Be The King Pt. II

    In addition to the King, I have also agreed to play Santa Clause for a post-play reception to be held after every performance. I’ve done the Santa gig before, and I like it. I’ll post pics when some are available.

    My first rehearsal went well last night. The part’s small, but has some funny gags. Also a duet with Prince. Sorry, with the Prince. Andrew (my soon to be seven-year-old stepson) will be playing the part of Cinderella’s coachman. No lines, just pushing the coach onstage and offstage. Cinderella is a very sweet, very attractive gal who I’ve worked with before (she was the Bride in Father Of The Bride last year) and Andrew was just enraptured with her. He followed her around, asking her questions, telling her about himself. On the way home from the theatre, she was all he could talk about. When he got home, she was all he could talk about with Lesa. “Guess what mom? I met a girl, and she’s only 18!” Elise (the actress) was really sweet with him, but I imagine it could get tiring.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2004

    Going Live

    Okay, I'm going live. I mean live live. I posted the link on OT and will tell others that I'm open and ready for business. With any luck, that will force me to post more often. We'll see.

    It's Good To Be The King

    I don't know who dropped out, but I got a call last night asking if I would want to step into ICCT's production of Cinderella as the King. The show goes up in, oh, 11 days, but I said yes anyway. Or maybe I said yes because the show goes up in 11 days and I'm sure they didn't have many other options. It's Evie directing, and I like working with her, so it should be okay. Not sure who the rest of the cast is, though, or how heavy the part is. My first rehearsal will be tonight (which means DVR'ing The Amazing Race) so I'll find out then.

    Monday, November 22, 2004

    For Everyone Coming Over From OT

    Nothing to see here. Just move along and no one will get hurt.

    About That Prediction

    Ouch! My bad! I meant the other way around. Yeah, that's it!

    Monday, November 01, 2004

    My Prediction

    Kerry 52%
    Bush 46%
    Other 2%

    Kerry 315 Electoral Votes
    Bush 223 Electoral Votes

    Tuesday, September 21, 2004


    I got my links in. (Thanks Matt!) Now I need to start creating some content so my posts become longer than my links.

    And no, that's not a Levitra reference.

    Thursday, September 02, 2004

    Is This Thing On?

    Yeah, like that joke hasn't been done before.