Thursday, August 30, 2012

Right mind. Left Brain. Iron Fist. Wooden Leg. Piece of Twine. Swanee Ribbon.

I was reminded, quite forcefully, after my latest rant that I need to concentrate upon "accepting the things that I cannot change."

And I agree.  I tend to get bent out of all shape when faced with unbelievable idiocy.

But there is a certain calmness that comes with the idea that I am just one of the many sheep.

If I offended anybody ELSE, let me apologize.

And no, I'm NOT an Atheist.  I'd like to think I'm a man of Faith, with no Religion.

But enough of that......

I auditioned this afternoon for a play, locally.  DANCING AT LUGHNASA.  There' s a role in there for me; let's see if the "other eyes" agree with me.  If so, I get to play for awhile with some kids.  I've done it before and it was fun.  And if they don't agree, I always have my job and.....

Oh, f**k.

I think I've mentioned this before, but as I've aged, I've come to enjoy auditioning more than I did in the old days.  I love the idea of the cold reading; where you get a quick look, make some quick choices (and by the way, the choices don't need to be RIGHT, exactly...they just need to be MADE) and go and do it; take your choices and match them to the choices your scene partner has made; or, in lieu of choices your scene partner has made, bring them into your choices, and together create a universe for just a little while.

Such fun.  The closest I will ever get to Creation.  In that moment, the choices you make, the scene you create, shall be unique and original, and never to be repeated.

Early rehearsals pale in comparison to the instant fun of the audition.  But it soon comes back.

You have to work before you can play.

And we tend to forget that the essence of "a play" is "to play."

There were two plays being auditioned at the time, the other being called THE MOVIE GAME.  It is an intriguing script, and another role in I thought I'd have a shot at, but I was shut out of that one.

Made me sad; I like the director of LUGHNASA, he's one I consider a close friend and one of the few in the Northern State whose opinion and work I trust and enjoy.  But the other director is also somebody I would've like to have worked with; for I've enjoyed her work in the past and.... 

And I could really use some friends.

But until then, I have the auditions; and if I don't get, it's okay....I still have my job and...

Oh. Yeah.

Already pointed that out.

But for those of you that missed it.....

Oh, f**k.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Avert your eyes, for I am ranting; and I don't care what you think at this point....come back tomorrow when I'm in a better mood.

It seems that every time there is a natural disaster, there is a gloom-and-doomer (usually on the right, and usually of the religious variety) that states that it's an Angry God, punishing us for our latest this case, it's all about Gays and the "A" word.

Yup.  We're being swiped at by the Angry God for a violation of his laws.

And I'm sure we've been swiped at before; certainly, He was probably behind the whole Black Death, which killed 100 million people world wide, in a most hideous manner.  And lest we forget the whole Spanish Flu Pandemic that killed somewhere around 130 million people worldwide.....

I wonder what we were doing back then to raise his ire so?

Could it have been the seemingly calculated extermination of the indigenous populations of the New World?

Could it have been a war that involved the entire world?

And yet....the Angry God seems to let us off the mat time and time again.

We never, ever learn, it seems.....there seems to be one way, and one way only, to keep an entire population enthralled and controlled and in fear for their very souls.


But I am a wretched sinner, my friends;  for I believe in the words of John Scopes, who stated in his now-famous trial, "I believe that religion is supposed to comfort people; not frighten them to death."

Religion is not supposed to explain life to us; for if that were true, we'd be selling slaves and our daughters, and stoning people left right and center...cuz that very un-Christian Old Testament says it's A-OK.

Stop telling me we're doomed because the world doesn't think as you do.

Because in the final analysis, the Crusades failed because apparently, God wasn't on our side.


Sorry.  I'm furious.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Seething, but functional.

It's been awhile since I did some random thoughts.

More accurately; I have random thoughts alllll the time; I just don't always write them down.  But it's a peculiar season, and my mind wanders off, and contemplates, and seeks parity.

So, why should I suffer alone, when I have all of you to foist this upon?


I had a discussion with a co-worker of mine regarding the media fall-out over the Congressional fellow from MO who took his head out of his a** long enough to put his foot in his mouth.  My co-worker friend and I bandied ideas about and agreed to disagree, but my point was clear:

I would never want to have to join in on the decision to terminate a pregnancy; but I defend to the end the woman's right to choose.

And "Pro Choice" does NOT mean "Anti-Life."

And yes, we should be spending our time finding people do protect the innocent, rather than re-define the violation.

Religion is man-made.  Faith comes from God.

And somebody is going to need to get Jesus something to settle his stomach.

And the more I write, the most frustrated and angry I become.

Damn it.

And I continue to think about abandoning my post and retiring to the riverside.

And I think of some Jimmy Buffet lyrics:

"Mama, I'm fine, if you happen to wonder;
I don't have much money, but I still get around...
I haven't made church in near 36 Sundays.
And f**k all your West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gowns..."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Does the First Amendment apply to those with an overabundance of Bile?

Recently, I have been having an on-going conversation with one of my oldest friends, regarding our recently discovered difference in political views.

He had posted the picture of the business owner in Portland OR, who placed in his store window an anti-Obama sign; and my friend commented on the fact that the "Liberals" are trying to silence this man's first amendment rights to free expression.

I had to point out a homeowner in Chattanooga TN who placed an anti-Bush poster on his front lawn, and was told by the local courts to take it down.  I indicated to my friend that I doubt that the jurist in question was probably NOT "Liberal."

It brought home to me two things: 

First, our collective memory is about as long as the thirty second commercials that sell us our clothes, our cars, and our Government.

Secondly, as we all know, the right to free expression does have limits; and if your anti-Bush or anti-Obama sign causes rioting in the streets, then it is NOT covered under the First Amendment.  You cannot yell "FIRE" in a crowded movie house.

It is, however, completely legal to yell "MOVIE" in a crowded firehouse.

Civility is not dead in America, my friends; it's in the ICU, under heavy guard, because people keep trying to kill it.  But it will rise, and when it does, it won't be pissed.  It will be forgiving.  And we will breathe a sigh of relief that the long National Nightmare is over.

Take THAT, Nattering Nabobs of Negativity.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I've always been Historic, 'cuz I lived in a log cabin.

I always imagined that I could use this little place as a means to achieve the White House.

Because we all know that the American public approves any candidate raised in a log cabin.

This is actually the first family cabin; it's a little ways up the road from the current family cabin, located in the middle of the Mitten.  This is where I spent virtually every other weekend and two weeks a summer. This is the back of the cabin; the side that faces the road.

This is the front; this faces the river.

And this is the river as it runs past all the cabins on the road.  This picture is important in the history of my life; for I am standing at the very spot where I began being stung by a hive of wasps when I was very young.  It was an accident perpetuated from a frog-catching trip, and while by Brothers escaped, I did not.  I was stung upwards of 40 times.  And I lived to tell the tale.  But I still have a pathological terror of the flying stinging things in all their myriad shapes and sizes.

I hate the bees; I love the river.

If you go back to the first picture, you'll see another example of family legend; the three trees in the foreground.  My Father planted each tree upon the birth of his children; one for each son.

The cabin itself is quite tiny, of course; it was divided by what can only be called temporary walls; one space was living space and dining space and kitchen; the other two spaces were the bedrooms.  The "bathroom" was up the driveway near the road, and was as old school as you can imagine.  The kitchen did not include running water; there was a hand pump.  Hot water was created by heading the cold water on the stove, or on the wood furnace.

It was rustic, yes.  But the food tasted better, the water was sweet and cold, and the river sang that same lullaby it does today.

A few years ago, I was walking along the river and ran into the current owners; they knew who I was based only upon my resemblance to my Father; and they asked if I would like to look around inside.

Twist my arm.

It was different, and yet the same; the furniture was different, of course, but there were actually some of the original pieces still in evidence.  The old furnace was done, and they had put in running water.  The old bunk beds were gone...but there was one thing that went to my very core.

There were two paintings that hung in the boys' room; and I always wondered what happened to them.  My Grandmother (Dad's Mom) had apparently painted them.  They were of twin clowns, and they were hanging almost in same place I saw them when we left that cabin back in the mid-seventies.

And all the memories came flooding back.

To my credit, I managed to get outside and up the road before I began to cry.  But they were tears of wondrous reminiscence.

Kind of like this post.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Further Adventures.....

A quick trivia question:  What do you think is the first line that Popeye ever spoke in the comic strips?

The answer:  "D'ya think I'm a cowboy?"

Popeye the Sailor was supposed to be a temporary character in EC Segar's THIMBLE THEATRE back in 1929.  Instead, he became so universally popular that he soon took over the comic strip, and many of the main characters slowly drifted away into obscurity.

Yes, many of you remember Olive Oyl and Swee'Pea, and the lovable J. Wellington Wimpy.  But poor Ham Gravy (Olive's original fiance), and Olive's family: her brother Castor, her Mother Nana and her Father Cole, disappeared forever.

The incredibly talented EC Segar died in 1938; and even though many others have taken up the mantle of Popeye writer/artist, the humor is changed forever.  But Segar is not forgotten.......

In his hometown of Chester, Illinois, located on the bluffs above the Mississippi River in the state of Illinois, have added to the legacy by producing a statue of a Popeye Character every year since the middle 1990's.  Popeye, of course, was the first.....but they now have Olive and Swee'Pea, Bluto, Cole Oyl, Castor Oyl and his Whiffle Hen, and the Sea Hag, and Eugene the Jeep......they are located at the various places around town, and in my brief sojourn there, I was not the only one travelling from one to the other to get a picture.

They will continue to do so until sometime around 2020.

Someday, I'm going to attend the Popeye Picnic.  I hear they have a costume contest.

Oh, and by the way, if you DO go there, make sure to stop in to SPINACH CAN COLLECTIBLES.  They have a great little museum of Popeye trinkets, and a gift shop for swag.  And they are, quite possibly, the friendliest people I've ever met in a tourist trap.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Not Shangri-La, but Harrodsburg.

Once upon a time, there were a group of people known as "Boonies."

They would come together in a centrally located city in Kentucky, to tell the story of one of the greatest explorers of early America, Daniel Boone.

The above photograph is a photograph I took recently, on a sojourn through my past.  I had to actually sneak in to the amphitheatre; apparently, they had a small production running, but the theatre was closed up, and I knew a secret entrance through the adjoining Fort Harrod.

The place is showing its age, alas.....they haven't really been big on the upkeep.  The area that was once an indoor "blackbox" theatre is now a conference center.

But I've always felt that this particular place, as with all outdoor theatres that run historical drama, have certain....magical properties.

For example....upon entering the space, all the sound around....dimmed.....significantly.

And in that silence, I heard allllll the voices.

I laughed out loud as I recalled the now infamous "Shatner Night."  It was a game that was supposed to be played by the more.....experienced...members of the company.  We were by no means bored with the performance, but we wanted to be able to keep it fresh by trying to provide thinking elements into the run.

We each had to do one line as James T. Kirk, with all the pauses, and radical changes in tempo included.  And we had to do it so well, that only the people who were playing the exercise would know.

Because if you got caught doing such a thing, you could be on the hook for what was called, "Unprofessional Conduct," and you could be fined a days salary.

Well, it started fine.

And then the damned thing blew up.

Somehow, word began to spread that we were playing this game, and everybody wanted to try their hands....but it blossomed beyond "a line as Kirk" into "Ad-libbing madly on a Star Trek theme."

The Indians were showing up with Trek Insignia applied to their war paint.  In fact, for some reason, they appeared in one scene in a transporter circle.

Everybody seemed to be flashing the Vulcan salute.

One of my favorites:  "These pants sure do Kling On, don't they?"

Yeah.  We got caught.

I would tell the story of the night that the actor playing Boone got kicked in the head and was taken to the hospital at intermission; and the understudy wasn't even CLOSE to knowing the lines; but was so very arrogant, he thought he could pull it off.

In the modern parlance:  Epic Fail.

Seriously....we did a forty five minute second act in 22 minutes.

Good times.

It's good that the old place is still in use; but sadly, the living accommodations, lovingly called Boone Manor, has disappeared.  Replaced by a Mobile Home park.  And not one of the really NICE Mobile Home parks.

But I have my memories.

And that picture.


That's something.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Several pictures, as precious as Gold...

At the end of this road, which lies a couple of miles from the nearest collective civilization, lies what has been the escape for my family for as long as I remember.

It's quiet an peaceful and full of a lifetime of memories.

And this river, named for the Cedar trees that surround it, is the sweetest lullaby I have ever known.

In the words of The Great Gonzo, "I'm go back day....."

It was the Eighties, after all.....

I can remember that I had just started my career at the College on the Hill in the Show Me. 

I was living in an apartment at the back of an antique house, with the windows facing just ever so, so the natural light of the sun never seemed to make an appearance into my sorry rooms.  The rest of the place was filled with college students that had very little care that while they DIDN'T have to be coherent for the eight o'clock classes, I DID.

I had no relationships; the theatre had just closed and everybody had moved on, and I was a virtual stranger at the college.

I had not stopped drinking.

It was a perfect storm for the formation of a depression, and boy, that's what I did. 

'Cuz everybody had to have a hobby.

Anyway, one of the first things I did as Summer turned to Fall was to get just about as sick as one can get without actually having to call an ambulance.  A tremendous infection of the entire head that left me unable to stand up, deaf in one ear, and feverish enough to have some reallllly strange dreams.

I dreamt that I had fallen asleep, and when I woke up, the College on the Hill had disappeared; all the building were gone, except for the holes in which they were built.  There were even pipes sticking out of the ground, still shooting water and steam into the was like a giant steamshovel had come along and dug the College right out the ground.

The people were still there; execept that they were walking in circles and all deaf in one ear.

I awoke with healing powers; but when I went to help the perambulatatory-circular and deaf-on-the-left remnants of the College, they not-so-politely declined.  Actually, they'd throw rocks; and as I recall, they would all kind of synchronize their counter-clockwise movement, and wave after wave of rocks would come soaring my way.

I awoke, fever broken, but still deaf in one ear.  The thing would hang on for quite some time, so I saved up money and went to a doctor, who gave me antibiotics and sent me on my way.

And, after much internal debate, placed a personal meaning on the dream, and went upon my merry way.


What do YOU think it means?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'll be brief, this time.

I don't want to ruffle anybody's feathers, truly.


My philosophy has always been that discussion is a way to seek understanding.  And, if understanding is impossble, then tolerance is the order of the day.  And if tolerance is impossible, silence has lease.

As far as corporations go....well, if I disagree with a corporate point of view, I simply don't put my money in their coffers.  But I don't start a website in an attempt to destroy them.

It reminded me of a quote from a Roman Senator by the name of Tacitus:

"Men are more ready to repay an Injury than a Benefit, because Gratitude is a burden and Revenge a pleasure."

Surely, those that seek to destroy because of a difference in philosophy are no better than those they seek to destroy.

We must be better.

We need to live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.