Friday, May 30, 2008

Life after No Depression

The final issue of No Depression is on the newstands with Buddy Miller on the cover.

Okay, a few things here. If you don't know what No Depression is, it's a music magazine that's been around for about ten years that covers American music, and by American I mean that place in America where rock, country, folk, the blues, and even punk all merge. It was named after (pick one):
  • No Depression in Heaven, a 1936 song popularized by the Carter Family
  • No Depression (album), a 1990 album by the alternative country band Uncle Tupelo
  • No Depression, a term used synonymously for alternative country music.
The song by Uncle Tupelo goes like this:

And if you don't know who Buddy Miller is, you've got one good chance to learn all about this pillar of American music 'cause you've got one more chance to hold the actual paper in your hands. I suggest if you really love music, any kind of music, you go pick one up and read it cover to cover. Not just for the great reviews and feature stories of some of the most amazing, talented artists in the country today, but also for the heartfelt letters saying goodbye and what the magazine has meant to readers and even the ads of companies saying thanks for all the great years.

But, life goes on, and darn, if I've learned one thing it's get up every morning because you don't know what's going to happen in the day.

Life for No Depression is going to go on, in the digital world. And if that doesn't make my heart skip a beat, I don't know what does. I love the music, I love the life, and I love the digital world. It's where we're all going, and I'm glad Grant and Peter, the two founders, decided to do this. They're smart guys, and they're going slow, as they should. Too many people dive into the digital world, not knowing what they're doing and where they're going. It seems Grant and Peter want to replicate the magazine online, which is a good start, but hopefully they'll see they can do so much more online.

So they're going online but they also have a deal with the University of Texas to print what they're calling a "bookazine." It will be more in line with the other books they put out, their introduction to alternative music and the best of ND.

As everyone knows, the Web's audience is short attention, click here, click there, link this, link that, and long, thoughtful, well-written copy like you'd find in the magazine may not do so well on the Web. So they're going to use the bookazines as a outlet for some of their longer stuff.

But still, check out the introduction to a review of Alejandro Escovedo. (And if you don't know who he is, you definitely need to start connecting with ND. And don't freak, a year ago I didn't know this stuff. ND is a great university for alt/indie music, whatever that is.)

I still remember the dreary January afternoon, ten years ago, when Grant showed me the mock-up of the cover of ND #14. It was the day before the magazine was due at the printer and I was helping with some last-minute proofreading. When I saw the words "Alejandro Escovedo: Artist of the decade" splayed to the right of Glenn Hilario's illustration, my first thought was, "You gotta be kidding. Alejandro is terrific, but what about, I dunno, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle or Lucinda Williams? Or maybe an omnibus nod to '90s alt-country progenitors Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt and Wilco?"

Grant had recently moved to Nashville and we were working in his second-floor apartment above a garage in southwest Nashville. When I asked him about the thinking behind the decision to lionize Alejandro in this way, he shrugged and said that there were just some artists you went to the mat for, and that "Al" was one of them.

Something to that effect anyway. Grant cited a couple-three other names as examples -- Billy Joe Shaver, the Bottle Rockets, maybe Steve Earle -- before going on to say that making the announcement two years before the decade ended was sure to get people talking, not to mention attract attention to a deserving and largely unsung artist.

So, you're into the music, right? You want to learn more, because all this sounds so cool, right? Last thing, go take the survey on the ND site to help Grant and Peter get a better idea of what direction they should be taking this project.

The Web ain't all about selling shit and surfing for porn. And ND the digital version is going to a great new neighbor, you mark my words.

d'Rafael: Boston busker

Another busker working hard on Boston's streets and entertaining the tourists is d'Rafael.

He plays acoustic guitar and is accompanied by, I am not kidding you, a percussionist who is keeping the beat on what I swear is a box with an electric pickup.

Born in Lima, Peru, d'Rafael plays Latin Gypsy music, and that pretty much says it all right there. The romance and passion and care-free life imbued in both those cultures is combined in his music so that for those who live in this city, we are transported to another place (which can be a good thing when you're getting tired of horns blaring because a tour bus can't swing around a corner like today when I was listening to d'Rafael). Or for the tourists, they can see that Boston isn't all baked beans, the Freedom Trail, and pawking the cawr in hawvard yawrd.

The multicultural aspect of this city and its surrounding neighborhoods, as represented by d"Rafael's music, is what keep a lot of us from moving to warmer, cheaper cities.

Pass Mass HB 4444 to build movie studios

Not to be confused with a bill in Washington by the same name about universal health care.

This is the bill that will give tax incentives to build the movie studios on the south shore.

Me? I'm for it. I don't think legislators like d'Amico get it. On his site he says the tax incentives will subsidize the lives of wealthy millionaire actors and Hollywood types. What an idiot. The people I know who are getting up in the morning (or working throughout the night) and working as extras and photographers, who are making a substantial paycheck (but still not enough to make it here in Massachusetts) are definitely not Hollywood millionaire types.

The studios will bring in jobs. Get it? J-O-B-S. The casting agencies will get work. Actors. Caterers. Photographers. Construction workers. Carpenters. Electricians. Truck drivers. Laborers. Jobs, peeps. Something most politicians in this idiot state can't bring you because they're too busy covering their butts to get reelected. So they don't do anything. All most of them can do is cause problems in the halls of Beacon Hill.

Trust me: This is a better idea than casinos.

Put some power in the hands of the people and call your state rep or senator. If you don't know who they are, call these numbers and they'll connect you with your legislator.

House Clerk -- 617 722 2356
Sate Senate Clerk -- 617 722 1276

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Coco and Lafe back in Boston

With the sun and good weather, the people are out on the streets in Boston again.

Tourists, squinting at those tourist maps and Freedom Trail brochures.

Those crazy Christians with their easels and connect-the-dots/color-by-the-numbers brand of salvation.

And I saw today that Coco and Lafe were back, playing their music outside the Borders on Downtown Crossing.

I saw them last year. Nice fun people who love their music and love performing. They play a lot of folksy covers--Bob Dylan, John Prine, Lyle Lovett--plus their own tunes. They have a great song called, Let's Get Away.

The chorus goes like this:

Let's get away
And go to China
Let's get away
To Casablanca
Let's get away
Forget the budget
Let's get away
Just you and me

They told me today they were back for the summer, and they'd be playing around Boston today. A schedule of where they're going to be playing can be found on their site.

Busking is tough work. If you see them around stop and give a listen, throw them a dollar or two, or even buy their new CD, Dream Streets, a compilation of their 12 most-requested songs.

Riverside Green Line crash

(photo by Dina Rudick / Globe Staff)

I got two urgent calls last night from loved ones. One, a text message read, ru ok?? The other was from my youngest who told me there had been a wreck on the Riverside line out in Newton. She was wondering if I had been riding the train.

Funny. I didn't know. But when you think someone you really love is in danger, or hurt or worse, your mind really flies.

Remember 9/11? Of course you do. When you realized what was happening, who was the first person you thought about? Do you remember that feeling? Yes?

Of course you do. Once you feel it, you'll never forget it.

Facebook in real life

My sentiments exactly...Facebook is just one of those phases the digital world has to get through. Like Mapquest. Everyone complains about Mapquest now, because you never know where you're going to end up when you use it. It's pretty useless now, but when it first came out, it was pretty cool. When it worked, it was great. And if it didn't work so well, you figured it was still new and different. But over time the user experience changes, as do user expectations.

It's the same with Facebook. But it's long past it's shelf life. It's starting to smell. It doesn't reflect real life, does it? It's just a rather heavy-handed attempt to reflect real life.

Social networking is here to stay. We are social animals. It's that simple and clear. But there's more to come. All it's gonna take is a little creativity, and a huge leap in technology.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chris Cagle, girlfriend jailed for domestic assault

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Chris Cagle was arrested for domestic assault Wednesday following a fight with his girlfriend. A police affidavit said the 39-year-old country music singer and his girlfriend, Jennifer Tant, were intoxicated and an argument turned physical early Wednesday. Corrections officials said both were jailed on misdemeanor domestic assault charges.

Karla Weikal of the Davidson County Sheriff's Department said there was a mandatory 12-hour stay in jail before Cagle and Tant could post their $1,500 bonds.

Well, good for Tennessee. They have a law there that says police have to arrest the woman too if it can't be determined who is the primary aggressor. That makes a lot of sense. I'm betting other states have this law too. I can't believe our smarter, more progressive northern states aren't this smart, too. He had a bump on his head from her hitting him with an umbrella, and she had marks where he slugged her with her purse.

And I know I'm walking a fine line here and I have to be careful when I say that I think there's a double standard when it comes to domestic violence proceedings in most states. I think most states only deal with 50 percent of the problem when they go after just the man, who usually is the physical aggressor.

I'm not advocating that women deserve to be beat up. Of course I'm not saying that at all. I don't think men should hit women. I don't think anybody should hit anyone, and if they do it's a crime and they should pay for their crime.

But, I think what happens in many if not most domestic violence cases is that both the man and the woman are usually at fault. I just can't believe that 50 percent of the population is hell-bent on beating up the other 50 percent.

I think what happens in our society is when men get hurt they get angry and then fight back physically. Women get hurt then angry but then fight with their emotions. And we've yet to evolve as a society to believe that emotional pain is just as real and just as wrong as physical pain. But I think a lot of women get away with something because they know they can push men way passed their limits and they know it's not illegal, but it is extraordinarily hurtful.

I've heard it said that the reason women fight with their emotions is because they're not capable of fighting back physically and that's it's a learned response. That's an interesting bit of Darwinian logic, and it kind of makes sense. But like I said, for whatever reason they do it, I think as a society we have to realize that the way women fight and inflict emotional pain is just as wrong as the way men inflict physical pain.

But I think that day is a long way off because despite feminism, women are still viewed not only as weaker, defenseless creatures, they are also viewed as pure, sweet, and kind and incapable for inflicting pain on a person. They are the maternal sex and are incapable of any sort of aggression.

Of course, anyone with any experience in this life will tell you otherwise. Social workers and DAs and anyone else who works with this particular segment of society will clue you in on this stuff. Invariably the woman also has as many problems as the man they arrest. It's not just bad karma that causes a woman to be involved time and time again with domestic violence. You think it's just coincidence that a woman's ex-husband or ex-lovers end up in jail? That the woman is just some poor, sweet innocent who just made some bad choices? My bet is there's usually alcohol, drug, and/or emotional problems on the part of the woman at play here. You wouldn't want to take any of these women under your care any more than you would a sick puppy. They have more problems than you can shake a stick at.

Let me be clear, because I know there are readers out there that no matter how much you put it in straight black and white are going to read something different: I'm not advocating that men should hit women. I'm not saying that women are asking for it. I'm not saying that women deserve it. I'm saying all forms of domestic violence are wrong, both physical and emotional. And until our society realizes that emotional pain is just as hurtful and debilitating as physical pain, we will not make any strides in the area of domestic violence.

Chris Matthews Tears Up Kevin James on Hardball

this made my day...

when you're in a hole, stop

this is such a good example of how dumb this country has gotten...and people all over the country listen to guys like James and just parrot what they hear on their radio because they don't have a brain or an education or even an effing vocabulary....

thanks to The Black Snob for turning me on to this...

April 14, 2005 Homeland Security Checkpoint Stop

This is what my country has become...

They can just stop you and ask you what your citizenship is?...and answering whatever is their legitimacy?? It's as stupid as the airlines asking you if you packed your own bags.

Do they honestly think a terrorist is going to answer, "My country of origin is Iraq, shit, no wait, I meant New Jersey."?

How can someone with even half a brain buy into this? Jesus, if I'm not mistaken, this is how Hitler took over.

All You Do Is Talk

Help yourself, don't say a thing
Your love won't show in anything at all
If all you do is talk

Sadly, I remain in need
of all the things you say, believe, and speak

All you do is talk.

Help yourself, don't think
Help yourself, don't speak
Help yourself, don't say a thing at all

You're lucky words don't bleed

You tie the end of all we see
You say we'll on our way, and all we'll be
Alone in everything

You say it's all we'll ever need
You found an easy way, but still you weep

Alone in everything

Help yourself, don't think
Help yourself, don't speak
Help yourself, don't say a thing at all

You're lucky words don't bleed

Help yourself, don't say a thing
The love you show won't mean a thing, at all
If all you do is talk.

Sadly we remain to see
What brings an end is also what we need

All you do is talk

Help yourself, don't think
Help yourself, don't speak
Help yourself, don't say a thing at all

You're lucky words don't bleed

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull

Partway through watching the new Indiana Jones movie I thought to myself, "Omigod, the writers at Mad Magazine are going to have a field day with this one." And lookie here.

The writers at Mad were my heroes when I was growing up. Two events told me I was on to something.

First, if the nuns caught you with a copy of the magazine, they'd take it away from you, and maybe rap your knuckles with a ruler, too. With the metal strip still in it. If the nuns were against it, I knew it was something that I should embrace.

And second, one summer day I read a sketch aloud to my mother that left her in stitches about a termite exterminator that reduced a house to a smoldering ruin. The exterminator killed the termites with a flame thrower. The fact that on that particular day our house was being sprayed for termites could have helped. But I learned quick that day that anything that could make my mother laugh like that was a good thing. (Editor's note: I was my mother's only son and the one joy in my life was that I could make her laugh whenever I wanted.)

Okay, now if you haven't seen the movie yet and you want to see it and don't want the whole idiotic concept behind this lame "blockbuster" blown for you, STOP READING NOW.

This is your last chance.

Stop right now.

Okay, you've been warned.

So, I'm sitting in the theater watching Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, actually for the most part enjoying the whole kind of threadbare Indiana Jones cinematic experience, and then they come up with this effing Roswell business. Aliens? Are you kidding me? Hey Steve, are you shitting me? This is the best you could come up with? Aliens? This is what lamebrains come up with when they can't think of anything else. Aliens came down and did whatever.

Are you trying to tell me me ET flew away on his bicycle, grew up somewhere, and said, I'm going back there and I'm gonna get your ass? Fucking try to kill me, mo fo.

Okay, that's bad enough.

But then, it gets a little threadbare. Marion and Indie get back together again over halfway through the movie, and the best you can do is put them in some quicksand? And turn Indie into some stupid, blathering school teacher? That's like turning Tomb Raider into Donna Reed. You should have gotten them together way early in the movie instead of inflicting that little James Dean wannabe on us, and had some steamy jungle Indie/Marion sex scenes. WTF?

You know they want to do it. Again.

There are the great chases through jungles, pure Indiana Jones good stuff. But what's missing throughout the entire movie are the quintessential Indiana Jones' moments, like when he faces some big scimitar-waving giant with a bullwhip, then in the end pulls out his gun and shoots him.

My advice? Wait for the DVD.

Today's Libra...and tomorrow's and the next day's

There is a need for change, a desire to break with outmoded patterns from the past. You have had so much on your mind lately that you have forgotten what is important to you. Redefine your priorities and devote more time to family affairs. If others don't want to be directly involved in what you're doing then leave them behind.

Isn't this a pretty accurate assessment and good advice for just about every day of your life? It seems I've lived my entire life trying to please someone else, twisting myself into a pretzel to accommodate someone else or keep people in my life for the simple reason that I just didn't want to be alone. And now, most of the time I just don't give a damn. Nothing left to fight for. Nothing more to argue about. If that sounds defeatist, well, at least it takes an enormous burden off my shoulders. And if it sounds selfish, well it probably is. My only defense is for the first half of my life I wasn't selfish, and now it's my turn.

Ah, many times life can be reduce to its basics. I've learned that an entire lifetime can fit into one or two garbage bags, and that sometimes the fundamentals of life can be pared down to just one or two. We make life way too complicated. Most of it is just noise.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fire shuts down Park Street and Downtown Crossing

An electrical fire in a subway tunnel shut down Park Street and Downtown Crossing stations today at rush hour. Not a big deal. Fire trucks and ambulances all over the place. Lots of people milling around, not knowing where to go or what to do. I normally get on at Downtown Crossing and a guy at the station told me to go to Park. I go to Park and a guy told me I could catch a train at South Station. 

Everyone was polite and no one knew what was going on. 

I got over to South Station and go through the turnstiles and a small group of people standing around a guy who I noticed had a T on his sleeve. (All the T employees seemed to be wearing different uniforms today.) Anyway, this guy was a lot more flustered than the others I talked to. He kept saying the station was shut down and we had to go upstairs and grab a shuttle bus to Broadway. 

Grab a bus....where?  


Upstairs, where? Geez, there's a whole freakin' city upstairs. 

Where you catch the Number 9 bus. Well, it seemed none of us catches the Number 9 bus, but we still dutifully trudged upstairs and out into what was becoming steady rain. 

I stood first in one spot, until some woman came by yelling to everyone that the shuttle buses were down further. God love the loudmouths in the city sometimes, huh?

I walked farther down, not a bus was in sight, and it was imminently clear that there weren't going to be enough buses for that mob. 

I went inside South Station. There's a bar and I figured I'd get a burger and a beer, and wait for this whole mess to blow over, but once inside the bar I just turned around. I'm in a train station, for God's sake. There has to be a train going where I'm going. 

Once again (I was getting good at this) I looked for a small group of people standing around someone with a T on their shoulder. A man was over by the Amtrak desk, and he knew the train schedules. Yes, there were not one, but two trains heading South. He answered each question calmly and accurately. (I wish I would have gotten his name; he deserves a commendation for this, or at least whatever it is the T uses to reward good service.) 

I bought a ticket and in about ten minutes I was heading home. Of course they didn't collect the ticket on the train. 

This was just a small fire. Not a huge crisis. And the thing I learned is this city is not prepared for any kind of major crisis. But we knew that, right? 

Social networking in a nut(shell)

The idea is to put things in context, right? To figure out what's going on. Try and see the big picture.

So, when last week a bunch of us actor-types were emailing each other after our schedule of classes had run its course, there was this flurry that caught my eye.

During a random thread that morphed into talking about our names--some of us have really long names; some longer than others and one has a string of names that's almost unpronounceable. They're beautiful names, just hard for people with, shall we say, not a lot of experience pronouncing central European names. She just threw it out that maybe we should help her with a stage name.

I picked up on one of her middle names--Dominique--and Raphael pulled something off Youtube saying she could even have her own theme song and it all just tickled me so much I begged to blog about it. The end. (Well, she did say, go ahead and blog about it. I don't like to ambush or surprise people on my blog. I guess it's called blogiquette.)

We, in our own primitive digital way, were preserving and extending the experience of the class we just were all in together, even preserving our personalities and roles. I was feeling the joy and happiness and the fun of being with this group of people, and it was all coming through my monitor and headphones.

It's kind of my job to understand the Internet and the Web and social networking and the whole digital experience. (It's also a good excuse to say that at this point because right now I'm blogging at work.) We've all experienced this kind of frivolous kind of back and forth emailing I just described, the heart of which became social networking complete with totally unreadable MySpace pages and all that poking and super poking on Facebook that I consider to be an enormous waste of time. It is also quickly becoming the engine for commerce on those same sites. MySpace and Facebook are just a trend. Again, repeat after me: When you wrap your head around the concept that any media, including social networking sites, are just a medium for advertising that delivers an audience, you'll do fine.

But while Starbucks and Visa and American Apparel and Sunkist are all vying for our attention (me, me, pick me!) we mortals are just trying to keep in touch with one another. And that's the beauty and the power and also the dark side of the Internet.

We've evolved to depend on our ISP and phone provider more than we ever depended upon Ma Bell. The fact that our--what do you call these companies?-- communication providers?? --the fact that our communications providers today haven't understood their new role in society is a matter for Congress to look into. I think it's a better idea for Congress to investigate why (rather than what Roger Clemens shot in his butt, for example), if my email account goes down that Comcast will take up to a week to fix it because it classifies my account as an entertainment account.

Email and Internet access has become too integral to our lives for it to be classified as entertainment.

Friends, family, and acquaintances can keep up on what's going on in each other's lives. Why is that so important? Because we are social animals, peeps, there's no other reason. We crave each other's company, to the point where we'll take the craziest, most dysfunctional relationship over being alone.

There's some real power here, and for those who don't understand it, it's like giving a chimpanzee a loaded gun. It's like playing with fire.

You're typing, peeps, but it isn't letter-writing, no more than your cell phone is the same as that old black rotary thing that used to sit in the hallway in the 1960s. It's not the same any more than a digital eNewsletter is the same as a piece of direct marketing that used to clog your mailbox on your porch.

You're talking about some serious connectivity. You're talking about some serious, long-haul communications, across time and space. We're starting to inject a little Ensteinian principles in our lives. It's so damn easy to hit that send button, isn't it? So much easier than writing and sealing an envelope and licking a stamp and walking to the corner mailbox. All that time to think about if you really want to send that letter. What you really want to say.

It's so easy to stay in touch with people you really shouldn't be staying in touch with, isn't it? Old boyfriends and girlfriends. Ex-lovers. Preserving and extending all of that dysfunction. People who, in the "olden days" would have been gone forever. They could be living in the same town and you'd never see them. Gee, I wonder how so-and-so that creep is doing, and that would have been the extent of the thought. But now you can act on that thought as easy as google411. Or somebody sends email with a distribution list the size of the NYC telephone directory, because it's so darn easy to just click, click, and click some more. And you see an addy and think, what the heck, where's the harm? You're feeling so disconnected right now...but that's where you're wrong. We are all so connected we might as all be in the same room together. And that, my friends, is really the way you should think about it...

The good, the bad, and the ugly. All at your fingertips. Social networking and commerce and relationships that should have just been put on the shelf.

And if you can't tell, I think it's all good....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Memory of Water

Checked out The Memory of Water last night at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA.) Going in I knew--or thought I knew--that this wasn't one of my favorite plays. I had seen it performed one other time before, and didn't really enjoy it. I thought it just wasn't my kind of play, where the story line is three women who rehash their lives and problems because of the death of their mother.

Having buried both parents, and having lived through the screaming matches that occurred between siblings, I guess I thought playwright Shelagh Stephenson just didn't quite get it right. What I realized after last night's performance was that it was the original production that hadn't quite gotten it right.

Still, there were times in the play where I found myself shifting in my seat, wishing for the characters to just get on with it. But more on that later. I think it had to do more with the portrayal of the dead mother, Violet, than the script itself.

From the second you walk into the theater you're drawn into Violet's bedroom. There is no curtain, per se, but clothes hang downstage and through the opening you see Mary asleep in her mother's bed. The voyeuristic quality is enchanting. Last night, Mary, played by Amanda Good-Hennessey, seemed to be sleeping peacefully while the audience filled the seats. On other nights I imagine she tossed and turned in her dreams.

The lights go down, come back up, and Mary's quiet sleep is shattered for the rest of the play.

The three sisters, (the other two are Teresa, played by Lyralen Kaye, and Catherine, played by Shawna O'Brien) each have pain as we all do resulting from less-than-perfect parents. Does this all sound familiar? The ensuing battle, entwined in sibling rivalry, is based in love and need and wrapped in humor. Be prepared to laugh. All the actors' Yorkshire accents with accompanying Yorkshire dry humor are spot-on, and frankly, some things on this side of the Atlantic are just funny or said funnier with a British accent.

Each sister has her moment to vent and purge, and each actress takes her turn with power and authority. Kaye (full disclosure here: Kaye is my acting teacher) is tender and vulnerable and drunk as hell at the realization that her marriage began with a lie. O'Brien displays her character's desperate need for love and her fear of being alone in the most passionate and heart-rendering way. Both characters face the truth about themselves and their lives, and in doing so show their core to the audience.

But it's left up to Mary, whose dead mother inhabits her dreams, to face her own demons and her life's dirty little secret with her mother's ghost. And here's my little complaint about the play: Violet is characterized as a sophisticated, almost Joan Collins-type character, not only a person who tried to extend herself beyond her Yorkshire background and upbringing, but actually succeeded in entering into a more glamorous life. But she really didn't, she lived out her life in a small town in a small house overlooking the sea, and her explanation to Mary about why she chose to make certain decisions regarding Mary's life seem almost plausible, even though they ruined Mary's life. If we were to see Violet as a failure, with questions now plaguing her, this might come across a bit better.

Still, Goodman-Hennessey's characterization of a person who must live with pain and regret is layered and multi-faceted, with her self-control barely contained as she searches for the one thing in the entire house she treasures.

Then there are the two men in these sister's lives: Frank, Teresa's husband played easily and with humor by Michael Steven Costello, and Mike, Mary's married lover, played with tension and an underlying layer of anxiety by Marc Harpin. Harpin and Goodman-Hennessey have an especially sweet moment in the second act when Mary gives Mike an ultimatum, and his answer seems to draw that line in the sand that all three sisters have ultimately crossed over.

WHAT: Way Theatre Artists present Shelagh Stephenson’s “The Memory of Water”

WHEN: May 16 – 31, 2008

• Friday 5/16 – 8 pm
• Saturday 5/17 – 3 pm & 8 pm (also: Press Reviews)
• Sunday 5/18 – 3 pm
• Wednesday 5/21 – 7:30 pm
• Thursday 5/22 – 7:30 pm
• Friday 5/23 – 8 pm
• Saturday 5/24 – 3 pm & 8 pm
• Sunday 5/25 – 3 pm
• Thursday 5/29 – 7:30 pm
• Friday 5/30 – 8 pm
• Saturday 5/31 – 3 pm & 8 pm

WHERE: Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St, Boston

TICKETS: $14-$28 (certain discounts available)

Available online at or by phone at 617-933-8600 or in person at Calderwood Pavilion Box Office
527 Tremont Street\
B.U. Theatre Box Office
264 Huntington Avenue

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Well, I can't say I care much for the name, Beanywood (I'm comin', Beany-boy!) but the two proposed movie studios on the South Shore are a great idea. One in Weymouth (SouthField Studios on an old naval air base and --gulp--maybe a Superfund site) and Plymouth Rock Studios in, well, Plymouth are great ideas.

Big-time movies are being shot in and around Boston since the commonwealth gave a bunch of tax incentives to movie-makers. Just in the past couple of weeks there's been Shutter Island, Mall Cop, Bride Wars, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, This Side of the Truth, and The Proposal.

All this info and more comes from a guy named Chuck Slavin. He's kind of a cheerleader/social chairman for all these studio initiatives. He's an actor and, while I've never met him, from the amount of email I get from him, he's seems kind of a dynamo.

But why shouldn't movies be shot around here? And why shouldn't the state give tax credits to the movie industry? In a state that thinks casinos and adding toll booths on the Mass Pike are the way to bring in revenue, the movie industry is giving us another option.

It means work for hard-working actor types, plus real jobs...for everyone from casting directors and actors to production and technical people to caterers and photographers and electricians and carpenters. And you can't buy the kind of promotion a movie gives to an area. Think of the tourists coming to Southie to see where Gone Baby Gone was shot. Or was it Roslindale? They're going to have to repaint the Freedom Trail when this really kicks in.

It's gorgeous around here, there are the local haunts in and around Boston no matter if you're shooting a movie full of glamour pusses or rough and tough wise guys, there's the ocean, the mountains not too far off, and lots of actors and talent. As a matter of fact, it's getting to the point where you can't spit off the Hancock Tower without hitting a few actors before it hits pavement.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Torrence Boone is leaving Digitas

We were told yesterday that Torrence Boone is leaving Digitas. He's heading up an new initiative between Dell Inc. and WPP Group to handle all of the computer maker's marketing and advertising duties.

He's leaving for New York City, but Dell is headquartered in Austin, Texas. Mecca for all things alt/indie. Hey Torrence, I have twenty years in the computer industry. Omigod, please take me with you.

Anyway, he's going to be missed around here. And it's worth telling a story.

I had only been here a couple of days when C and I got in the elevator down in the lobby. Torrence got in the elevator with us. We didn't know who he was from Adam. Or maybe C did; he's more up on these things than I am. Anyway, that same day there was a little party on the Deck to welcome new employees. I'm standing there all by myself, minding my own business, which I've learned is pretty much SOP for me around here, when Torrence walks in. I noticed him, for the simple reason Torrence is the kind of guy who you notice when he walks into a room. He has that kind of presence.

And don't you know he walks right up to me, gives me a big smile, sticks out his hand and says, here's somebody I don't know. I introduce myself, telling him what I was hired for and then I asked him what he does around here. Yeah. He starts telling me and I guess my jaw dropped. Nicest guy in the world. We talked a bit more, including the difference between working in an agency like this versus being on your own like I had been for five years. (The difference is you work a helluva lot harder on your own. You hustle a lot more on your own. As a matter of fact, you don't hustle at all in an agency; and by hustle I mean looking for work.)

Torrence is the kind of guy who knows you among the 800 other people who work in the Boston office. That's the kind of person he is, and I truly wish him luck.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Curiosity of Chance: You gotta be gay to get it

Two words about this film: Don't go.

It was the closing film at the Boston Gay and Lesbian Film Festival last night. The closer. This is supposed to be the grand finale film. And I was so looking forward to seeing it because the regular Hollywood faire is so lost on me and I even used to work for an independent film festival, and having seen Love My Life last week I thought what the BGLFF was serving up was going to be top notch.

And I'm sitting in the dark watching this film, thinking to myself, Okay, what am I missing here? It must be a gay thing, since I'm not gay. But I like camp. I'm even partial to faux-French lampshades. I just don't get it.

It's bad TV, complete with cardboard one- dimensional characters, and horrible trite dialogue.

Set during the protagonist's high school year, it's complete with a wise-beyond-his-years hero who is so sensitive (we're assuming because he's gay and has greater insight into the world than the rest of us), a bullying, macho sports hero, and the protag's two side-kicks, a hip (but not popular) girl and a bumbling but oh-so-likable male friend. Of course those three wear outrageous but super hip clothes, while the rest of the entire cast was dressed in just the regular style of the '80's, which was pretty disgusting when you think about it. Did I mention the school administrator who spoke with an East German accent?

What were these people thinking when they chose something like this? Who knows. Of course, I guess I'm not the intended audience.

Politik Kills

I am so sick of's a human endeavor, but in the end all politics does is polarize, and I'm really tired of it need to post the lyrics...they're pretty easy to pick out....

Fleas on the Red Line

Why not start off the new week with a subway story, because that's how so many of do.

Some guy on the Red Line was sitting there, jammed into the seats the way people are on the Red Line. That's the reason I rarely sit on the Red Line; I don't love my fellow humans that much to be cheek by cheek like that.

Anyway, this guy is sitting there right in front of me, leaning over because he can't sit all the way back in the seat for the two people on either side of him, then he starts scratching his head like an old dog. Just going at it. Not just a couple of scratches to get the itch. Nope, this guy is going at it like Bob goes after a flea under his collar.

I was thinking, Whoa there, fella. I was looking for dandruff and gnats and all kinds of stuff to start jumping off the guy. I mean, who does something like this in public??

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Gold Dust Orphans' Wizzin'

Go see it. It is hilarious. Check your homophobia and go to The Machine, a gay bar over by Fenway Park, and laugh your ass off.

It's great when all of your expectations are met in the theater. So much is crap, or it's just not right up there and you find yourself sitting in the audience making concessions for the actors or the production. And theater isn't getting any cheaper.

First, go. And when you go, check to see if the Sox are playing. I dropped Sue off at the door and went to park. There's a little lot around the corner I figured I'd shoot for if I couldn't find any on-street parking. Nothing on the street and parking was $35 because the Sox were in town. Holy Christ. Those guys are going to burn in hell, it's that simple. 

So, after driving around for awhile and it was getting late, I said to hell with it and parked at the Beth Israel Hospital. (Here's a tip: when you bail your car out, tell the attendant that you were there for a doctor's visit and you get a discount. I can't believe they bought that I had a doctor's visit at 11:00 last night, but they did. Sue was busting a gut laughing.)

I got there about a half hour late, and they let me in. The woman at the door (yes, see: it's a gay bar but women work there...sheesh) showed me where my "wife" was sitting (that's so cute, they think all heterosexuals are married) and in seconds I was laughing.

It's an original script, original music, with social commentary, the usual Orphans' sight gags like little things flying around on a wire, and some of the funniest jokes on the planet. C'mon, instead of ruby slippers Dorothy is wearing ruby panties. Glinda is a coke addict (helps when the poppers put them to sleep: Hey, it's snowing!) The scarecrow doesn't have a brain but that doesn't mean he can't keep talking on his cell phone. Lots of people do . The Tin Man doesn't have a heart and the hard drive on his laptop froze. The Cowardly Lion has gender issues. "C'mon, I'll fight you with my hair tied back." (Now that's funny.) They're all going to see the Wizard of Id and they get around in a giant vagina. I know that' sounds weird, but you just gotta see it and you'll be dying. 

It's campy and it's serious (well, seriously funny) commentary about our lives today, and you just don't see that in so much "serious" theater. I just wonder sometimes just how relevant any of the theater is nowadays. I love the theater, but I have to question why it's so hard to fill seats, at least in the smaller theaters. More and more, small theater companies play to their friends. You hear that the theater is dying and sometimes I wonder if maybe we should just let a lot of it die off and see what grows back, because we're just sort of keeping it on life support. 

Saturday night

Another kind of quiet night. Sue suddenly came down with some stomach bug last night, and it just hit her hard today. 

I did some errands today...a little grocery shopping, picked up and dropped off some shirts at the cleaner, which I like to do so much because the Chinese lady who runs the cleaners is so nice and has such a nice smile. She can't speak English very well, and everyone knows what a smile means. I tell her that I'll see her next week, and she just lights up the store.

Got a haircut, too. I'm starting to fit in a bit around here (more on that later) and it's all a bit weird. I never really fit in anywhere, and I'm always a bit leery of people who seem to take to me. I guess it's all that low self-esteem shit that keeps cropping up from time to time, not thinking you're good enough. Not deserving. 

Anyway, we talked politics 'til the cows came home. Joe and Midge and I were going at it. Midge is a townie. Joe's Sicilian, and damn if I'm not the odd man out. I said, the Democratic candidate will take Massachusetts, so that means I can write in any damn name I want who I think deserves the office and leave the voting booth with a clear conscious. Hell, I just may give it to my dog, Bob. Midge supports Clinton, Joe just hates Republicans, and isn't shy about saying so. 

It was such a beautiful day I thought I'd go into Boston, but with Sue being sick I got halfway there and wished I hadn't. I thought she might need me, or just be lonely and feeling alone. It's no fun without her anyway. The usual crowd was on the subway, all the Sox fans clogging the subway and not getting the hell away from the doors. What do people think? Are they afraid they'll get trapped in the subway? I was going to check out the new Apple store and maybe play some guitars--always on the lookout for that one honey--but I ended up in Newbury Comics. Walked out with Uncle Tupelo's Anodyne, Whiskeytown's Faithless Street, and Son Volt's Straightways. I guess I'm kind of stuck in a rut, but I love that stuff. Right now Faithless Street is cranking in my brain through the headphones.  Earlier I made some soft-boiled eggs for Sue, and I had Whiskeytown on and I asked her what she thought of it and she said, "It's a little hillbilly."  She loves me anyway. We're seeing Son Volt this coming Saturday. 

Took Bob for a walk when the sun was going down. Quincy, I realized, is the kind of town that if I were raised here I'd get out as quick as I could. Funny that I ended up here, because in so many ways it reminds me where I was raised. Maybe that's how I ended up here. I told Sue when we were trying to figure out if we wanted this apartment that I like it here because it's not trendy. Just regular folk. And Chinese. Or Chineece, the way Sue pronounces it. 

Anyway, I noticed tonight how many fences there are in this town. Everybody has some kind of fence--chain link, split rail, hedges, or big board fences--keeping in their front yards that are not bigger than a parking spot on the street. What the heck are they trying to keep out? It's a tough place. The shopkeepers are friendly, but the natives aren't. You can't get anyone to even nod at you, which I can do on Downtown Crossing with all the African Americans and Latinos. These people around here just kind of glare at you while sitting in their lawn chairs on their front porches or balconies. Behind their fences. The townies are getting encroached upon. This is like little Chinatown. In the barbershop there was a guy in the chair next to me, and you could tell he wasn't too happy with the conversation. At one point we were talking about a place that was kind of like a Chinese market, and he just muttered that they'd serve you dog meat there. Kind of sounds like West Virginia right about now, doesn't it?

But a lot of the people around here have seen their town change so much. Some of these people don't even leave Quincy. Or they go to South Boston. They won't even go all the way into Boston. The shipyard is closed, and their fathers and a lot of them counted on the shipyard. And it's like a little Detroit around here. A bit of the rustbelt in the Northeast. 

Friday, May 16, 2008

Arlen Specter is an idiot

Get these people out of our lives. Why are they here?

The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter, wants a full Congressional hearing like they had about MLB steroid use to look into the charge that the New England Patriots videotaped opposing teams signals.

Good grief. Does anyone besides me think it's ironic that Specter voted for Bush's Protect America Act that let the government eavesdrop on people's conversations? But football teams can't spy on each other. What happened to the old saying, all's fair in football and war?

What the hell does this have to do with the nation? In case you don't get it, I'll answer that one for you: It has nothng, nothing to do with the nation and the NFL should tell this blowhard to butt out. It's none of your business how we run our business.

The country is backrupt. The war is an endless morass, draining this country of millions by the day and killing, maiming, and destroying lives on both sides. Our reputation overseas is shit, and this guy thinks that a pressing issue of the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee for the most powerful nation in the world is to investigate whether or not a football team spied on the other one. Hell, is that even illegal??

This is what makes people like me grind their teeth. Our tax dollars--our money--is being used to pay these guys. Our money is being used to pay their staffs and heat and light their offices and probably pay for their martinis and hookers. (You heard it first here: Arlen Specter spends tax dollars on hookers. I have absolutely no proof of this, but it seems it's gotten to the point where you can do and say just about any idiotic thing in this country and no one takes notice. Here's another: Arlen Specter is pregnant with my illegal alien's baby. And one more: Arlen Specter called me sweetie when I asked him what he was going to do for the American people.)

Why don't they do what legislators used to do in the old days: go home when their work in Washington was done and run a hardware store? These guys have nothing to do since there's an election going on, so they come up with ridiculous stuff like this.

Should we abolish Massachusetts state tax?

This was in the Boston Globe on Monday:

A group of antitax activists launched a campaign over the weekend to abolish the state income tax, setting the stage for a contentious public battle if the measure is added to the ballot this fall.

After pushing a similar initiative that almost passed six years ago, a group called the Committee for Small Government is back for another round, asking voters to end the income tax and save the average taxpayer $3,600 a year.

The group, led by libertarian Carla Howell, is almost certain to gather the 11,000 signatures needed to put a question on the November ballot.
To say that state officials are worried about the prospect would be an understatement.

Oh, God, this is so inviting isn't it? Every turn the government has its hand in your pocket, and there is so much of government that I think needs overhauling. I look at my pay stub and it just makes me sick looking at what both the state and federal governments combined take from me. It's just plain wrong that a person who makes what I make--barely...barely... enough to keep up--has to pay the amount of taxes that I do to support projects that I could care less about, or feel they aren't being run right.

This is one of those times when I hear myself wanting to shout from the rooftops that government is too big, it's too much in our lives, and something has gone very awry that we're at this place in time.

Maybe the best thing to do actually would be to pass something like this and cut off the legislators, because one thing they spend so much time doing is bringing money into their districts. The money's there, and whether the district really needs it or not, bringing home a big barrel of pork is how these guys get elected.

Do something drastic to change the system. Really derail the lawyers that run government.

And if you cut off this source of revenue, obviously what will happen is that property taxes will go up--way up. But I don't own property anyway because I can't afford to own it.

Hell, maybe with what I save in taxes I could use to buy a nice condominium on the water. Marina Bay in Quincy. I'd be moving up, moving on up.

Check this out, darlin'....

It seems I'm constantly a day late and a dollar short...

Now ain't that just a plumb down-home way of saying I just don't get things right sometimes?

We all talk funny in this country...and a lot of us--the ones with a bit (or a lot) of Southern influence in our raising--seem to talk a little funnier than our more sophisticated, better-educated counterparts, particularly in the media.

I guess last week or so Obama brushed off a reporter in Detroit, and called her "Sweetie" to boot...I didn't hear about this until today...oh lordy, I groaned, here we go again...

Okay, first, let's get this out, that reporter for WXYZ in Detroit asked one lame-ass question: What are you going to do for the American auto workers? She threw that out to Obama as he was walking by. That's really the best question you can come up with when you got the potential leader for the entire free world in front of you? Something that open-ended and unfocused? If I were her editor, I'd call her a helluva lot worse than sweetie when she got back to the newsroom.

From the sound of her voice, she sounds pretty young. I guess this is the generation we're handing the country over to...people who can't read or formulate good questions.

And Obama gets whacked for calling her Sweetie and telling her to "hold on one second..." She signs off by saying, "this sweetie never did get an answer." Now ain't she cute? I think we finally found a replacement for America's other little darlin', Katie Couric.

Then all the pundits had to give their analysis, what the women think; we got a recap of the feminist movement, it's causes and effects; we got an analysis of Obama and how the comment showed just how green he is.

The best one I heard is from this guy, the one that made the most sense to me was this one. Of course he's some fat white guy:

We get to hear Obama's entire apology, something nobody else ran...and I love this guy's final comment, about how guys might be able to relate finally to Obama...

This is something I fight all the time. I call women, darlin' and I don't mean any disrespect at all. As a matter of fact, if I do call you that, it typically means I like you. I'll call you, hon, too, and it means I'm feeling for you. I also call men, dude, bro, and man.

I hold doors for women (hell, I hold doors for everyone; it's a miracle I get to where I'm going for letting everyone go ahead of me), I let people get on and off elevators before me, I offer my seat to older women and men on the subway. Just the other night I offered my seat to a white-haired gentleman, dressed in the uniform of intelligentsia around these parts: blue blazer, khaki pants, blue button-down shirt, a rep bow tie. He declined, I think he was a bit amused by the whole affair, and I spent the rest of the trip wondering if I insulted him.

But I gotta watch myself. The other week in a meeting I told a young woman of color to calm down because she was all excited and in my face because I made a comment about her blog, and she threw it out that she hates when men tell her to calm down. Just like a man can't call a woman sweetie, a man can never tell a woman to calm down. She can holler and scream all she wants because she's sticking up for herself and being strong. She's not being aggressive or impolite. Conversely, a man has to stay calm and collected, otherwise he's being aggressive and will find his next meeting in the HR department. Welcome to the double-standard that occurs so often in this society.

The best thing you can do in these situations is know your audience. If you're around people who take offense to certain things you do, no matter how innocent it is, it behooves you protect yourself (and also respect them for the people they are, too) and don't do what offends them, again, even if it is of the most innocent intent. So, I don't call women darlin' at work, even though I do it all the time in the outside world, and I'll be careful in particular what I say to certain people.

It's called survival and putting food on the table.

And I've also learned to remove myself from something or someone who potentially could get me in trouble, again, even in the most innocent of situations.

Obama can't do this. He's in the public eye and can't run and hide like I can. Obama should know not to call someone sweetie, just like I know I have to be careful who I call darlin' and who I tell to calm down. His apology was the politically correct thing to do, and as the commentator on the video says, it's a good one. Obama, as I could tell all along is a good politician, which frankly worries me more than him calling a reporter sweetie.

Weasel at the MFA

Just a funny aside when I went to see Love My Life at the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which was playing at the MFA.

After the film I went into the gift store again and almost bought this Japanese print that Sue and I have considered before. I noticed that it was from the MFA, so I thought I'd check out the real deal.

So, when I was entering the galleries, who was checking passes but that the same security guard who I blogged about, who called me, Pal, pointy little goatee and all that...

So, I hand him my card and he tries to scan it, and it doesn't work. He tries again and again and again...and I'm starting to get a little nervous, wondering if he'd recognize me, and finally, in his same old jovial way, said, I quote: "Your card's no good. Go to member services and tell them."

The guy is just a crank and doesn't have a clue about how to deal with people and the MFA puts him front and center.

I'm starting to actually kind of like this guy...

Maybe next time I go I'll bring him a box of chocolates...mixed nuts....

Or maybe it's just that I like images from the Wizard of Oz and he gives me a reason to take screen shots of them.

A gay old time in Boston

I'm having a gay old time this week...

First, on Wednesday I checked out Love My Life at the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival...actually, the reason I went is because it was advertised for it's indie music and because it's set in Japan...Sue has sparked my interest in Japan since she lived there for so long...

And it's a completely enchanting movie...great story, about two Japanese young woman who are lesbians, and the whole cast of characters that that surrounds them--who knew there were that many gays in Japan...but it's a great story, tenderly and amusingly told, delightfully shot--it's so easy to watch, the cinemaphotorpher just lays it out for you to see...and you love and care for each and every character, rooting for them to get what they's the trailer...even in Japanese it's pretty easy to see what it's all about...

and oh, the opening scene is's one of the final shots in the trailer where they are kissing and passing a piece of candy back and forth between their sensual and playful and funny, I laughed out loud...and the ending scene to the movie is one of the hottest love scenes you'll ever see....

Then tonight I'm going to see the Gold Dust Orphans production of Wizzin'. Ryan Landry and the Orphans are up to their old tricks again, only this time it's Dorothy who flies off to the Land of Id, and the Wicked Witch is after her ruby panties.

From their site:

An adult version of the beloved classic, “The Wizard of Oz”, “Whizzin’” tells the musical story of troubled teenager Dorothy Gale, as she travels over the rainbow, far from the dull, sepia toned trailer parks of Hyannis to the deep, dark recesses of her own VERY colorful mind.

It's a musical, magical place called "The Land of Id" where all your favorite characters reside! There's a pill popping Glinda, some VERY gay Munchkins, an agoraphobic Tin Man, a painfully insecure Lion, a cell phone addicted Scarecrow ... even the sociopathic Wicked Witch of the South End flies in for a spell!

Chock full of terrific new songs, (plus a few standards!) "Whizzin'!" just can't be beat for all out entertainment!

The show boasts an all-star cast of Orphan favorites, including Afrodite, Penny Champagne, Megan Love, Olive Another, Billy Hough, Ryan Landry, Cheri Amour and returning to the Orphan stage, Boston favorite Rick Park!
So grab your basket and get on board for the silliest, sexiest sensation of the season!

Enough said...I can't wait...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Don't bet on a horse if you're not riding it

Something I've learned in my long life is never bet on a horse race if you're not riding the horse.

Don't get caught up emotionally in baseball teams, football games, or basketball playoffs if you're not swinging the bat, throwing the ball, or standing at the foul line.

Same for political races. And don't tell me that voting is like batting in a baseball game. You get one measly vote, and just like one of anything--one shot at a charging rhino, one meatball, one last lonely dollar--it doesn't give you a lot.

Here in Boston you get that lesson a lot with the sports teams. Balls going through first baseman's legs when a win has been clinched (well, obviously, a win is only clinched when the score is totaled or the votes counted), and 16-0 teams falling flat on their faces (or other parts of their anatomies) in the Super Bowl. Most recently the Celtics going 0-3 on the road with Cavs. Just learn to watch and see what's going to happen.

Anyway, of course I'm getting around to the election here, and my absolute disgust for what's ensued.

When my mind's eye falls on Clinton I recoil. And she just keeps getting worse, rallying the poor whites in every state to the point where it's really starting to look just plain ugly. In a very sympathetic moment, I feel that a lot of the people supporting Clinton now are being unfairly judged. Most, it seems, are uneducated and scared, which still doesn't absolve them of their actions and the things they are saying. But they are being publicly ridiculed and frankly proving exactly what Clinton is saying. Hopefully they'll just be so disgusted in November that they won't come to the polls. Let them feel like they're being heard now, when it really doesn't count. But if they decide to actually vote in November, that won't bode well for Obama.

Seriously, how are you supposed to take someone seriously when you see video of people drawing and shucking that they think Obama is Muslim and or his name is Hussein and "I've had enough of Hussein," or that they just can't vote for someone who's black? (Extra: he's not black; he's bi-racial. Ah, you know what I mean.) Unfortunately, in this country, really dumb people are allowed to vote for president.

And, frankly, in that dumb group of people I also include the people who are voting for Obama because his skin color (I'd like to see an African-American in the White House before I die; this is for my grandmother who lived during Jim Crow), and there are lots of people who are voting for that reason. It's just as racist to vote for Obama because of his skin as it is to vote against him for the same reason.

I simply don't know about him because all he's been is a symbol for change. And I don't vote for symbols. And that's really all I have to say about him, because after all this campaigning, I still don't feel like I know him.

McCain? He's not a visionary. I can't see him talking to, say, the founder of Google, or discussing social networking and it's affects on society. Come to think of it, I can't see Obama or Clinton doing that either. All we seem to get from McCain is he's this grizzled veteran whose experience will come in handy if terrorists attack us again. Well, that's handy.

I guess my prime beef with all the three of the major candidates--I'm still including Clinton because, as I've blogged before, you can't kill a Clinton. They're like snakes that you keep wailing on with the flat side of a shovel, then when you put the shovel back in the shed they slither away under some rock--my biggest complaint is none of them are visionaries. None of them give you something that makes you say, wow.

Again, I'm just speaking for myself, this middle-aged white, Buddhist, country-music-loving, hillbilly. With all three all I see is more government, more taxes, more of the same. I don't see any of them who seem to have a clue about where this world is going because of strides in technology, changes in the economy, major shifts in society, or in the world in general.

But I live in Massachusetts, and barring a real catastrophe, Obama will take Massachusetts, which means I can actually walk out of the voting booth with a clear conscious, having had voted (even if it's a write-in) for someone who I believe deserves and can handle the job.

Just A Little Lovin'

From C...yeah, it's a little weird for a Thursday overcast morning at the office, but I can so hear this on a pretty Saturday morning, sipping coffee, lounging on the couch, spent...

Just a little lovin'
Early in the mornin'
Beats a cup of coffee
For starting off the day

Just a little lovin'
When the world is yawnin'
Makes you feel wake up feeling
Good things are coming your way

This old world
Wouldn't be half as bad
It wouldn't be half as sad
If each and everybody in it had, yeah

Just a little lovin'
Early in the mornin'
That little extra somethin'
To kinda see them through

Nothing turns the day on
Really gets it dawnin'
Like a little bit of lovin'
From some lovin' someone like you

This old world
Wouldn't be half as bad
It wouldn't be half as sad
If each and everybody in it had

Just a little lovin'
Early in the mornin'
(Just a little lovin')
(When the world is yawnin')
Just a little bit of lovin' ah
Oh, in the morning
Nothing turns the day on
Really gets it dawnin'
Make a little bit of lovin'
It's so good, it's so good

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Breast-jiggling, thong-wearing car washers

Thanks Jen, for turning me on to this...

Loud mouth on the MBTA Red Line

It's the age-old complaint living in the city...some idiot talking (too loudly) on a cell phone.

We all talk on the phone: Hi hon, we're pulling into the station right you want me to pick up anything before coming home?

But there is this thing that we all should be aware of now, and that's talking loud and the dude on the Red Line this morning.

You know who you are, because I stared at you until you noticed. I heard you over the sound of the train and my iPod turned up full, that's how loud you were. Do you have any idea how loud you have to be to drown out the racket of a subway train? And you kept it up. You. The guy in the blue-striped shirt and the khakis (the uniform of every tweaker in this city) and your teeth too big for your mouth.

You had to have a clue, bud, but you just kept talking and talking. I mean, I was glaring at you. Don't know what you were saying because it wasn't English (or Spanish, French, or Italian because I would have been able to deduce a bit of that) but you just kept it up in your tired, monotonous tone.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My pals at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

I've been meaning to blog about something that happened a week ago Sunday (April 4) at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the MFA, but was actually waiting to see if I'd get a response to my complaint to their members office. But nothing, so here I go, with both barrels.

First, the good news. Sue and I love the MFA, at least for what it is. We've both been all over the world, been to a lot of museums, and it's not the greatest museum. There are many museums that are by far more complete, more fascinating, just more world-class. But, welcome to Boston. Boston, in so many ways, is a second-class city going downhill fast. So let's rate the MFA pretty good.

So, Sue and I are members for the second year in a row now.

On this particular Sunday, we went to see a film, 3 Americas, with two of our neighbors. Afterwards, the writer/director/ producer Cristina Kotz Cornejo, another producer, Angela Counts, and three of the actors including Nicolas Meradi from Argentina spoke and answered questions after the film.

A great film about a girl named America who moves back to her grandmother's house in Argentina and how she grows and matures. It's about the three phases of her life, it's about the three Americas, it's about a lot of things and there's not a single car chase or gun fight. Afterwards, the comments and the questions were thoughtful and enlightening, and an additional bonus was later I was able to talk face-to-face to the director about her film and to Meradi about Meisner training.

A great day, huh?

Well, yeah, as long as you're not dealing with the stuck-up bunch of stiff necks that run the joint.

First, the MFA has a great gift shop. (Notice how every compliment is a superlative, and there's always this big "but" that follows?) I saw a shadow book there that I thought would make a perfect birthday gift for Rowland Scherman, a photograper. What better gift than a shadow book for a person who's made his life's work painting with light, huh? I decided I'd pick up the book after the film.

After the film ended, I walked into the gift shop and headed to where the book was. I was halfway across the store when it dawned on me that the lights were low and there was no one in the store. No customers, no clerks. So, I turned around to go out, but before I could get to the door, a security guard who looked for all the world like he belonged in the Land of Oz (little pointy beard and all) stood at the door and said, "Hey pal, we're closed."

Hey pal?

Is this any way to talk to anyone? I was shocked, not that I demand to be called, sir, because that blows my mind, too, but, Hey pal? I mean, you expect a little bit more, dare I use the word, class, from the MFA.

Did you just call me, pal? I asked, incredulously. But he didn't answer, but said nastily, we're closed. By this time my dander was up and I said, The door was wide open. But I left.

Okay, here's the thing. I don't dress like a Boston Brahmin. I am a fifty-two-year-old grown man and that day I was wearing my typical cowboy boots, faded jeans, and leather jacket. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, anyone's pal.

But welcome to Boston, that racist, (I'm Caucasian, by the way), elitist, snotty city on the Charles. The Athens of the East. There is that idea of Boston being that "pawk the cawr in Hawvard Yawrd" and all that blue-blood crap, and it does still exist in certain enclaves like the MFA, but Boston is so much a mixed city of African-American and Latino and Asian and people from all over the world and all kinds of cultures that this sort of behavior is just shocking.

I'm sorry if I don't look like a member of the gang of doners who were clogging the lobby that day (tuxedos, bulbous noses with broken blood vessels from drinking too many gin and tonics at the club, name tag with class of '38 written on it) but that's really not the way to treat members or anyone who walks through those doors. Because what's ironic is there's a really good bet that I could run rings around our little Ozian security guard in the art department, or a lot of other visitors for that matter.

The next day Sue drove me to the museum where I picked up the book and I mentioned this incident to a nice, polite young man in the members office who felt I did have an obvious complaint. I filled out a form, but haven't heard anything in a week, so I figure Sue's and my $100 members charge and all the tickets and gifts we've purchased in the past and will purchase aren't appreciated, even though we keep getting these pleas for money in the mail all the time. I'm wondering if the new wing they're building will have a back door for the likes of me to go in and out of.

But there's more. I went to the lobby to meet Sue and our friends, where I had the conversations with Cornejo and Meradi. There obviously was some function about to start for the above-mentioned blue-bloods. So, to clear the lobby, another security guard, in a loud booming voice, shooed everyone out the door. Here's a talented filmmaker and actors and guests of the museum being treated like riff-raff. They couldn't come up to these people and quietly and politely explain that another function was starting?


And I'm sure the predominantly white, wealthy people who stayed were never once referred to derogatorily or spoken to rudely.

Just A Girl In Short Shorts Talking About Whatever

A few months back I stumbled upon the blog, Just a Girl in Short Shorts Talking About Whatever. Written by Becky C, she's a former DA, a lesbian, a mom, a Libertarian, and a whole lotta other things including a mountain climber.

She's kind of a mouthy (this is a good thing, in the sense that she's opinionated) and I guess it's because of her lawyer training she can back up her opinions and she's a talented enough writer that she does it in an entertaining way. Plus, she illustrates a lot of her posts with pictures of hot, semi-naked girls.

And most of the time I agree with her. Affirmation is a wonderful thing, knowing that you're not crazy for thinking the things that you/I do, especially in the liberal Northeast. I've always said you have to watch the left as much as the the right, and Becky gives a person like me a good out in the form of the Libertarian Party. It's really hard living where I do to explain to people that no, I don't feel that Clinton or Obama represent what I believe and how I envision this country. So I don't even try.

Anyway, so first, go read her blog. I think you'll love it.

Second, her post today was about how the mayor of San Francisco is banning the sale of tobacco products from drug stores, saying that tobacco runs counter to the purpose of a drug store, which is supposed to be health, never mind that drug stores also sell Twinkies, which are bad for you, too. This is pure Short Shorts stuff. Funny, irreverent and dead-on, giving the Libertarian view of getting government the hell out of our lives. Especially of getting the government out of our lives as it tries to tell us how to live on on a moral basis.

As I've said more than once, along with having to watch the left as much as the right because they both have agendas, I also believe that there is a special spot in hell reserved for the moralists of the world. Because morals and humans don't go hand in hand. Jesus himself said, anyone who is without sin can throw the first stone, and no one did. Moralist always fall, because no human being is that good. (Which is one thing I would love to point out to Obama fans. I guess you had to live through the Kennedy years to understand this feeling though. He's no saint, simply because he's a politician and he's running for president, and that's a tough lesson for young people to learn.)

Anyway, something else I'm fond of pointing out is, with humans, throw logic clean out the window. This is in reference to the Short Shorts posting. We all know the dangers of cigarette smoking and using tobacco products. My father died of heart disease and smoked almost his entire life. He had a stroke on the operating table as he was having triple bypass surgery, and when he finally got home a month later he would go into the basement to sneak a smoke. Doctors once thought I had throat cancer, and I did quit smoking, but I still carry a can of Skoal. You'd think I'd learn, but I don't need the government telling me I'm stupid. I know already know it.
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