Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The New South

The part of me that went back to Los Angeles applauds the people that went back to the South to change it for the better.

The other part of me reads it and says “The New South: now with 30% less lynchings, y’all.”

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Head Over Heels is a Feast of Fun

A good recipe can make a fine dish, be it food or musical theater. Just the right amount of Act I intrigue with lyrical exposition and Act II redemption with swooning love songs, built on a recycled movie can brew up a sweet and charming (if expected) story. But, like a great cook, Head Over Heels throws out the recipe book and tosses all kinds of unexpected odds and ends into the pot. Sixteenth century pastoral story, check. Music by a 1980s new-wave girls band, check. Modern update to a sex comedy, done. And out of this eclectic grab bag, Heads Over Hells tears off the stage to grab your interest and rarely let it go.
Taylor Iman Jones and the Cast of Head Over Heels

The word exuberant seems designed for this evening of entertainment that will put a smile on your face; a smile that doesn’t leave until hours after the curtain comes down. It is headed by a trio of young women who discover their strength and their loves. The voice of these three will stun you as they grow to take over the stage.
The story, for those of us not up to date on 16th century pastoral romances, is thus. The King of Arcadia faces a prophecy from the Oracle of Delphi that he will lose his kingdom after 4 conditions come to pass. Two concerning his daughters and two concerning him. To avoid this fate, he takes the entire court on a fanciful march into the woods on a flimsy lie. The King and Queen (Broadway veterans Jeremy Kushner and Rachel York) set out bickering in word and tune.
They are joined by their daughters Pamela (Bonnie Mulligan) and Philoclea (Alexandra Socha), the subject of two of the prophecies.  Pamela has rejected all suitors to date and depends on her servant Mopsa (Taylor Iman Jones) for company. Philoclea, alternatively, has had her love, lowly shepherd Musidorus (Andrew Durand) rejected by her father. These three women, Bonnie Mulligan, Alexandra Socha and Taylor Iman Jones give Head Over Heels its fantastic voice. They can sing sweetly or belt out the songs of the Go-gos with heart, edge and flair. They can sound like the young lady rockers when they want to and yet can interpret songs in a way you never heard, so that words tell a fresh story. These three are what kicks Head Over Heels into overdrive.
Andrew Durand carries much of the comic weight (with an amazing assist from Bonnie Mulligan) as Musidorus who will go to any lengths for his beloved. The Oracle is played, well over the top, by Peppermint, an actor who honed their skill’s on Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
Bonnie Mulligan tearing it up.
It is pure old style hokum rendered new by the talented cast, including a chorus of sexual mischievous dancers and actors. Spencer Liff provides quite a modern twist for the choreography. Arcadia is rendering in cartoon glory by Julian Crouch’s scenic design and Kevin Adams’ lighting. Tom Kitt has rearraigned some of the Go-go’s tunes and kept others which sound as fresh as you remember. This mélange of ingredients has been masterfully directed by Michael Mayer, making the show glide along quickly.
Had I not seen the audience, I would wonder who this show appeals to. I know that fans from the 1980’s would embrace the music, and LGBT fans would embrace the heart of this show (and the dynamic turn of Peppermint). But everyone in the theatre loved this show and had a great time, from the young girls and out of towners who weren’t sure what to expect to the locals who might be a bit apprehensive of another jukebox show. Head Over Hells delighted us all.
Head Over Heels | Book:Adapted by James Magruder Original Book: Jeff Whitty | Director: Michael Mayer | Cast: Andrew Durand, Taylo

Friday, July 27, 2018


This is nuts! At 1:00 in the afternoon yesterday in Hartford, I checked the weather since I was going to head back from training  to New York.  My first screen on weather popped up.

Lot at that!  The hotest city is London.

London England!!! Hotter than LA (albeit at 10:00 in the morning), Portugal or Montenegro.  Wow.

Thank goodness this isn't an indication of crazy weather or global climate change.

PS - Nineties in London is fuck-all hot as they don't have air-conditioning over there (they never need it).

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Cloisters and the Met's Heavenly Bodies Collection

Every year the Met now juxtaposes fashion with the artistic inspirations. Sometimes it is amazing (the Chinese Art) and sometimes so-so (technology). This year the show is Heavenly Bodies and discusses how the Catholic Church has influences fashion.

Usually these show are at the main Metropolitan Museum, but this year - because of the theme - there were many pieces at the Cloisters, which was started from Rockafeller's collection of religious art and architecture. Ed and I took Ed's parents there while they were visiting.  It was cool.

I will say, I have never seen the Cloisters SO busy. Usually it is a quiet place, given over to reflection and solitude. This show really pumped up the attendance. I liked it since the more people that see this amazing place the better.

And, of course, there is the planters outside which make my heart warm and fuzzy.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

This IS What Happens

I told you my story of not recognizing my father after 9 months and I was 9 years old.  Imagine a toddler!  How this breaks your heart.  My story link - This story LINK

Friday, July 20, 2018

Trainspotting Live Splashes Down in New York

originally posted on ReviewsOffBroadway.com

For those audience members that might not have visited the Roy Arias Stage before, the walk up to the second floor for Trainspotting Live NYC is a bit of a surreal experience. The staircase winds up through a tall, nondescript stairwell and drops you into a warehouse like interior, a bar behind you and the greeter the only indications you’re in the right place. Grab a drink, and line up to enter the (graffiti filled) black box theater to the flashes of neon, the beat of 1990s dance music and the exuberant cast and you know you’re in for something wildly different.
Trainspotting Live is an immersive experience not just of light, music, and the occasional liquids but of joy, despair and elation. It is based on the book, not the movie, so some scenes may seem out of sequence or lacking altogether - if your only experience with Trainspotting is the 1996 movie of the same name. But in the moment, alive with intensity, it doesn’t really matter.
Andrew Barrett as Renton in Trainspotting Live
Many of the set pieces are funny, gross and rude. The audience is treated occasionally as a coconspirator, sometimes as an enemy and sometimes simply as voyeurs. But the audience never feels forgotten or superfluous.
For those that have no connection to the book or movie, some of the surprising moments can be jarring.  Trainspotting Live is the story of Renton and his group of friends, surviving in the heroin scene in Edinburgh in the 90s. Andrew Barrett does an amazing job anchoring Renton inside this immersive funhouse of a show. Renton is ring master, bedrock and sounding board for his friends: Tommy and Sick Boy. Greg Esplin (Tommy) and Tariq Malik (Sick Boy) are, like Mr. Barrett, excellent in holding our attention in the course of the evening. Mr. Esplin is particularly effective as his good boy spirals off the rails after a bad love affair.
The other cast members, Lauren Downie, Pia Hagen, Tom Chandler and Oliver Sublet, pull duty as multiple characters, bringing the story to vibrant life. Each and everyone of them have standout moments that bewitch, enthrall or jar the audience into attention. To watch Lauren Downie seamlessly switch from an uptight mum into a frightening date who is demanding to lose her anal virginity is quite an impressive sight (if a bit scary).
Andrew Barrett, Lauren Downie, Pia Hagen and Olivier Sublet
Renton’s journey is documented from party boy to heroin enthusiast to detox, to the one sober member of his team, as his friends take paths that are sometimes parallel and sometimes skew far away from Renton’s own.
There are some scenes that are designed (in the book and the show) to gross us out. In particular, the embarrassing morning after a night of sex and the most disgusting toilet in Scotland scenes, will put some people off. But for the audience I was with, those scenes somehow morphed into bonding moments that brought us along with the storytellers.
Trainspotting Live is crazy fun entertainment. I love the immersiveness of a show like Sleep No More, but Trainspotting Live takes it up a few notches as the actors acknowledge and revel in the audience, blithely taking us on a youthful, embarrassing and exhilarating trip most of us have long since outgrown.
Trainspotting Live | Playwright: Irvine Welsh (novel) Harry Gibson (Adaptation) | Director: Adam Spreadbury-Maher, Greg Esplin | Cast: Andrew Barrett, Tom Chandler, Lauren Downie, Greg Esplin, Pia Hagen, Tariq Malik, Olivier Sublet | website

LA Frame of Mind

It's funny listening to songs about Los Angeles. They are usually about broken dreams or plastic people or losing yourself or fakers and con men. Everyone has heard a million of them.

At some point every mildly successful artist writes a song or makes a movie about how Los Angeles is plastic and insipid.

They funny thing is, I don't particular disagree with them, but I feel sorry for those people. They're bitter because they didn't obtain their dream (or they did but lost the girl back home).

And I say, politely, screw you.

If you can't make it in Los Angeles, it isn't her fault.

If you hate beaches, sun and people that are striving for a better life, pack it up and go back to the Quad Cities, of the Triplex, or the America's Hometown or where ever it is that you are a big fucking cheese.

Los Angeles is full of traffic, because people like living there. We have the ocean, mountains, a desert, two major (and dozens of semi-major) Universities. You hate it when people refer to "the industry" - then don't respond. You hate it when people are shallow - then find people that aren't. There are too many Mexicans, foreigners, minorities, young people, old people, rich people, fake people, gays, strivers and what ever else bugs you - then pack it up and move to Des Moines - it is a lovely city of very wonderful white people.

But you don't have to trash my town on your way out. Slink out in the middle of the night and then tell the folks back home how you left because you couldn't stand the people and you never wanted to make it anyway.

I could have grabbed a million pictures for this post - the beach, the Hollywood sign, the downtown skyline, the most gorgeous Observatory in the world, the space age house, the Getty Museum, UCLA, USC, Dodger Stadium, the busiest port in America, the Paramount Gate, Japanese Gardens, Koreatown, Armenia town, Santa Monica Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Bel Air - the list goes on.  But I choose a crappy picture of a stupid busy street engulfed in smog so thick you can barely see the Hollywood Hills that are less than mile away. Because even a shitty day in Los Angeles is fucking fantastic.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Trump Ready to Dump Montenegro

So Trump gave an interview, AFTER the Putin meeting, in which he asked why we should support Montenegro, a NATO ally.

He also said that they are very pushy hostile people and might easily start World War III. Which is bullshit. There are less Montenegrins that there are people who live in Milwaukee.


This is a straight up Putin propoganda line.

Montenegro has broken free from Serbia and Russia's orbit. Before joining NATO in 2017, the Russians attempted to rig their (Democratic election). Instead of sitting on their asses (as we did), Montenegro called Russia out and kicked their people out of the country.

Why is Montenegro in NATO?
  • For the United States, we (NATO) didn't want Russia to have a deep sea port in the Adriatic. 
  • For Montenegro, they are on the path to democracy and European Union membership but are a tiny country. They have great relations with most everyone (the country has a number of permanent residents from Western Europe, Russia and Ukraine) - but they don't want Russia breathing down their neck.

Why is Trump bringing this up now, when he could have actually stopped their entry into NATO? Putin yelled at him.

(Could this be) Trump's New Blueprint for the USA (only Christians have the Right to Self-Determination)

Israel just passed a law saying that only Jewish people have the right to self-determination in Israel. That means that no one else in Israel has the "right" to be a member of the country - including the Arabs that have lived there for hundreds of years peacefully and stayed. Including the ones in their Congress. This also includes most US Jewish people, because Israel has already passed a law that the only Jewish people who are "really" Jewish are orthodox Jews - as defined by Orthodox Clergy.


I cannot be the only one who sees this as the Christian Right's blueprint for the United States, can I? The only people that have the right to National Self-Determination in this country will be Christians (although they still have to find a way to disenfranchise the Catholic Hispanic population.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Remember this old Mascot of the Month?

Sent from my iPhone

(B)Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Trump has a traitorous meeting with Putin and the Republican Leadership lines up to (mildly) object:
  • Mitch Mc'y: I don't want to talk about the President, but everyone should know I feel strongly the other way.
  • Paul Ryan: I have a spine and totally disagree with what President Trump said. And I will do something about it someday.
  • John McCain: He's a terrible person we shouldn't expect anything less. Now, where do I vote for the Judge that will stop abortion, gay rights and chose corporations over people?
  • Flake / Corker / Heller: This has to stop or I'm going to get really mad.

Trump spread disinformation about our allies and NATO and the Republican Leaderships line up to (mildly) object:
  • Mitch Mc'y: I don't want to talk about the President, but everyone should know I feel strongly the other way.
  • Paul Ryan: I have a spine and totally disagree with what President Trump said. And I will do something about it someday.
  • John McCain: He's a terrible person we shouldn't expect anything less. Now, where do I vote for the Judge that will stop abortion, gay rights and chose corporations over people?
  • Flake / Corker / Heller: This has to stop or I'm going to get really mad.
Trump says there are good people at a rally where white supremist march, call out for cutting down blacks, jews and Mexicans. The supremists literally kill a counter-protester with a car and they are good people. Republican Leadership lines up to (mildly) object:
  • Mitch Mc'y: I don't want to talk about the President, but everyone should know I feel strongly the other way.
  • Paul Ryan: I have a spine and totally disagree with what President Trump said. And I will do something about it someday.
  • John McCain: He's a terrible person we shouldn't expect anything less. Now, where do I vote for the Judge that will stop abortion, gay rights and chose corporations over people?
  • Flake / Corker / Heller: This has to stop or I'm going to get really mad.
Candidate Trump brags on tape that as a famous man he can commit sexual assault freely (grab 'em by the pussy). Republican Leadership lined up to mildly rebuke him.
  • Mitch Mc'y: I don't want to talk about the President, but everyone should know I feel strongly the other way.
  • Paul Ryan: I have a spine and totally disagree with what President Trump said. And I will do something about it someday.
  • John McCain: He's a terrible person we shouldn't expect anything less. Now, where do I vote for the Judge that will stop abortion, gay rights and chose corporations over people?
  • Flake / Corker / Heller: This has to stop or I'm going to get really mad.
  • Fox News - "It's locker room talk - and fire Billy Bush, someone has to pay for Trump's comments!"

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Yeah - That Went Well

I hope you tickled his balls as you blew him - that makes him finish faster...

Friday, July 13, 2018

Breaking Things Is Easier

President Trump loves to Break Things...

So far
  • He has broken our agreement with Iran.
    • Despite promises, nothing has replaced it and we are not talking to Iran
  • He has broken the US pledge in the Paris Climate Accords 
    • Again, no talks to replace it with a bigger and better climate accord
  • He is trying to break the Affordable Care Act - and is breaking the parts he can.
    • To date, no work on his "great big beautiful plan that will cover everyone and will be really easy to implement".
  • He is trying to break NAFTA, NATO, Department of Justice, FBI and the Media - all with varying less of partial success
What he doesn't do is fix anything. He hasn't fixed anything except to work with Congress to give a giant tax break to rich people and corporations. He is like your crazy uncle that takes things apart then loses interest.

PS -Everything goes down easier with a little Calvin and Hobbs

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Waterline Square (Behind Us) Nearly Complete

The final "design" pre-build
As some of you know, our building was the second in a set of 5 buildings around a new neighborhood. The final three are getting much closer to completion. In the shot above, the farthest building is the new Richard Meir.
Richard Meir's building in plan
Richard Meir's building - almost done.

The tower between us and the RM building

The giant multi-facade / tower building at the north end of the project.

Stupid or Liar - You Be The Judge

Once is an honest mistake. Three times, two after the mistake is pointed out, is either lying or amazingly stupid.  Your choice.

Unaccompanied - The Film

A film maker, as frustrated as myself, has tried to do something to illuminate the situation children find themselves in after being separated from their parents in the American Court system.  Check out the site Unaccompanied: Alone in America.

Here is a pic from her site:
I will take my own advice now and try to stop teaching this pig to sing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Only 38 of 102 Children Under 5 Reunited By Deadline

So, I am going to start with something unconventional here, a story of myself. My parents divorced when I was about 7 or 8. I lived with my mom for about a year and then lived with my dad. The whole rigamarole around why this happened  isn't important in terms of this story.

But I remember flying out on a Continental Airlines 727 and landing at LAX. Flying alone, I was the last off the plane. I exited the plane and saw this guy and a woman waiting for me.  It was my father but I had no idea who he was. After about 12 months, I couldn't recognize my own father when I was 8 or 9 years old.

Now, instead of a divorce and knowing why, imagine being ripped from your parents at an age less than 5 years old and spending months away from them. When you are returned you are both happier and terrified. We have fucked up a ton of kids for no reason.

And no, President Trump, those kids didn't come in illegally. In fact, the kids did nothing wrong. Maybe, in some cases, the parents came in illegally - but others came in legally asking for asylum. What we did was evil.

And now, the Administration has missed the deadline to return the children to their parents. Originally they said there were 38 children (out of 102) they wouldn't be able to reunite (remember this). In fact, there were 64 kids they were not able to reunite. Only 38 were reunited by the deadline.

The President isn't worried about this because, to him, the parents broke the law. Now, by missing a court order, the Administration has also broken the law, but he doesn't see that.

You should see pictures of me for a year after this. I was covered in black splotches (a nervous condition that my pediatrician didn't know how to handle) and was diagnosed with a ulcer. At fucking 9! And I was with a parent and grandparents I knew, in a country where I spoke the language.

I cannot image how people are okay with this.

I have ignored this situation, powerless to do fuck all. And I know that fear. What the fuck?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The New America (Again!!!)

For the second time in a day, we have another example of the Trump Administration's support for hate slipping out into the real world. This time hate and stupidity.

You can watch the whole thing here - but the upshot is some old white man is screaming at this woman to go back to her country and she shouldn't wear a Puerto Rico shirt in America.

This is asinine for a couple of reasons.

First - Puerto Rico IS part of America.

Second - The shirt is a Commonwealth Flag. It is the same as a Texan wearing a shirt with the Texas Flag  or my shirt with the Californian flag superimposed on the state of New York. It is NOT an independence flag you dumb shit. It is the flag of a United States region.

Third - An old white Police Officer just stood there as she asked for help. Finally other officers came up and arrested the asshole for assault.

For Fuck's Sake

This is what the family of our President tweeted last night about the new Supreme Court pick. Technical a non-partisan pick.

PS - This doesn't count as "Trump" since my Trump-Free zone only relates to direct knocks against our Very Stable Genius President.

The New America

Don't visit! Or if you do, and you're brown - wear your return ticket.

A 91 year old Mexican grandfather was legally visiting his grand children and great-grandchildren in California for 4th of July. He comes about twice a year to visit.

He was beaten with a concrete block by a woman, then two other men after the woman claimed he was trying to take her child. They all screamed at him to go back to Mexico. I'm sure he will if he gets out of the hospital alive.

Point made.

New Supreme Court Appointment

Brett Kavanaugh will very probably be our next Supreme Court Justice. It is odd to see the Democratic party and some very conservatives rallying against this pick. (If they actually do derail him, the next pick will be just as bad or worse. This isn't a fight we can win after the fact.)

For the conservatives, he isn't conservative enough. In particular when he ruled the Affordable Care Act illegal, he didn't describe it as un-constititutional. And when he turned down an 17 year old immigrant's access to abortion, he said the state wasn't required to allow it, not that abortion should never be allowed.

For Democrats, there is a massive hub-bub to protect women's control over their own bodies and voting rights. Too late. We should have voted.

That goes particularly out to you in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.  In the fair is fair world though, you are losing your rights to your bodies first, so maybe this is what you wanted.

In any case, 75,000 of you in MI, PA and WI screwed the rest of the country's lives up. Don't blame my ass, I was part of the extra 3,000,000 Americans that voted for Hillary.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Doughboy Statue in Hell's Kitchenn

Ed and I walked to lunch yesterday (at a rooftop Mexican place - very nice) and on the way back passed this statue.

It is of a Doughboy, the stereotypical US Army Recruit sent to Belgium during WWI. In his hands are poppies from Flanders Field, and the inscription echoes back to that poem.

The red poppies are emblematic of the war because they only grow on land that has been disrupted - that causes the flowers to seed. Well, after the battle of Flanders Field the next years the ground was covered in red poppies. That is why the Brits where red poppies on memorial day.

This statue is from the Belgium government after the war. There were (are?) about 9 scattered about the city. I didn't know that.

Here is the poem that the base refers to:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
  That mark our place; and in the sky
  The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.   Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
  Loved and were loved, and now we lie
      In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
  The torch; be yours to hold it high.
  If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
      In Flanders fields.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Let Us Say Your Order Was Wrong 38% of the Time: Would You Go Back?

Let us say, for shits and giggles, that you went to a restaurant and everything third time, they didn't bring your food, but charged you.  Would you go back?

Let's say you're driving and about a third of the time, the brakes didn't work. Is that acceptable? If it caused your child to be injured, is that acceptable?

Well, out of 100 children under 5 that were forcibly removed from their parents, 38 are now "impossible" to reunite. LINK 19 of these have parents that were deported without them (often on the promise of getting their children back) and 19 because well, they just don't know where the parents are.

That doesn't include the thousands of children, over 5, that the government says they don't have a required to track after they separated the parents and children.

Now I know what some of you are saying, "Their parents broke the law in coming to the United States and separating minors from criminals is only proper." And you might have a point, if that were true. But it is not true.

Many of these people - parents with children - came requesting asylum. And the US is bound by treaty (a treaty WE insisted on) to give a hearing to asylum seekers. So you see, they are not criminals, at least many of them are not.

The government cannot even get a LIST of the children who they have to the courts. What would you do if the government couldn't find your child after forcibly taking him or her away?

Friday, July 06, 2018

Damsel is a Movie in Distress

Ed and I went to see Damsel yesterday. I blame myself for this, I had read some goods things about it, in particular about Robert Patterson.  The images and trailer give the impression that Robert Patterson and Mia Wasikowska are the co-stars. The credits give the same impression.

The are co-stars only in that they both star in this movie. They are actually very rarely in the movie together. It is essentially 2 halves, one were Patterson stars and one where Wasikowska stars.

Neither half is particularly great, nor entertaining.

Part one is a Comedic Western Love Story with a little Tragedy thrown in. Part two is a Seriocomedic Western Tragedy with a little Adventure thrown in.

Patterson is great in a different type of role than you usually see him in. Wasikowska is great as Western Proto-feminist. And the movie will have you occasionally laugh and quite often ask "What the hell...?". In fact, as we left, both Ed and I laughed and said, "What the Hell was that?" Unfortunatley it was followed by, "..besides a waste of time and money.

But yes, Butterscotch is cute.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Because the United States in the New Third World

So students in Detroit sued the state of Michigan over the disparity in school quality and the inadequacies of their schools. They sued the state because the state and the (Republican) Governor took over the schools, and their funding is sub-standard.

These are the same rocket-scientists that screwed up the Flint Water supply, poisoning thousands.

But all this is okay because the Republican state officials didn't show overt racism. It's just that the cities of Flint and Detroit are primarily black. But they are also poor and if you screw over all poor people you aren't necessarily being racist.

Also, Americans have no right to literacy. REALLY! That is what the court said.

Ennie Meanie Chilli Beanie

... the spirits are about to speak....

Let us take a moment before Monday when the President promises to revel his nominee to the Supreme Court, ala the Miss Universe Pageant way. We already have the semi-finalists cut - Presidential Nominee Trump gave us the list of 25 possible pics before office.

He has culled it down to the finalists, which is revealing one at a time in private interviews, which actually does help build the suspense.

On Monday he has promised to release his pick as winner and - if history is any guide - he will tell us all his runner up as well.

But once the pageantry is complete - what changes, really?

Three major changes are in store. Two for the social conservatives that twisted their beliefs to vote for the thrice married adulterer, and one for the fiscal conservatives.

First and foremost, the a Women's Right to Choice over her body is most likely done. Conservatives have hammered at the court to overturn Roe V Wade for decades and it looks like that will happen. Abortion will be outlawed in about 20 states, legal in about 10 and the other 20 will face a harrowing state-level fight. A woman's right to abort a zygote at 6 weeks due to a rape will be dependent on where she lives. Some states will repeat the message of Brazil where a 12 year old raped by her father was forced to have the child AND give the father parental rights - because that is what a 2,000 year old book says.

Second, the Affordable Care Act will be overturned, at the very least the requirement to ignore preexisting conditions. So those people who had cancer, or genetic markers for some diseases can be denied coverage. This is a happy outcome for both fiscal conservatives (those preexisting conditions aren't cheap) and social conservatives who think preexisting conditions are a smite from the Lord.

Thirdly, there is a good chance gay marriage will be overturned. If not overturned then defiantly defined as less than straight marriage. Most anyone will be able to deny services to gay couples because it will offend their religious liberties. Depending on the flavor of the new Supreme Court Justice, this "right to deny" may be extended to all homosexuals, bisexuals and others and perhaps to other sinners and minorities.

Sure voting rights and the ability for our votes to count are in the shitter, but that would have happened with Justice Kennedy anyway. Voter purges, radical gerrymandering and racial gerrymandering have already been upheld. North Carolina was ruled to have drawn their electoral maps and changed their laws specifically to limit the effect of minority voters. The District Court said they had to be redrawn. The Supreme Court has already stayed that ruling so the illegal maps can be used in the next election. So as far as voting rights go, every vote is not equal already.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Happy 4th of July

Today is the 4th of July. It is the anniversary of the Declaration of  Independence, wherein the representatives of the 13 colonies listed their grievances at the King of England and declared independence from the crown.

That Declaration prompted a War for the right to self-determination (at least the right to self-determination among land-owing white men). A right since expanding to all white men, then all men (regardless of color), then women, and finally to all people old enough to be drafted.

That Declaration gave way to a Constitution (with at least 1 major pitfall along the way) which now governs a country of 350 Million people who believe that Americans are governed by a set of laws and respect.

Happy 4th of July. It is a great country - even if we don't agree on every way to make it better, we are all committed to the ideal of a great nation.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Does It Make Sense to Leave an International System the USA Set Up?

Our government is in the midst of reacting to the World Order by overturning it - upsetting the apple cart, as it were.

Before we decide to junk the current system, Americans should understand that America defined and built the system. It was designed to reduce international conflict and wars, reward democratic behavior, and reinforce capitalistic systems. It was specifically designed as a counterpoint to Socialism, Fascism and Communism.

NATO was designed to bind the non-Communist countries of Western Europe into a single alliance so that they wouldn't go to war again. From a 1940's American perspective, this was because the two World Wars that Europe had fought in the previous 30 years, too many Americans had died and we spent too much money in "European" wars. NATO also provided a shield against Soviet provocation in Europe.  NATO and our system has lead to the "long peace" - 70 years without a war in Europe between countries.*

GATT (the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs), which then transitioned into WTO (the World Trade Organization) has built up a framework for international trade that has increased the national wealth of every country that is part of it, including the United States. Especially the United States when you consider US companies operating overseas! The US set this up with our allies after WWII to avoid the trade wars that plunged the world into a depression in the 1930s. And no, trade without a framework will not stop trade wars. The percentage of the world economy that was involved with international trade was larger in the 1920s that it is now. In fact Germany and England were each others largest trading partners before World War 1, before they went to war.

I don't object to the idea of rethinking these commitments and international organizations, but there seem to be no "thinking" going on. Just knee-jerk reactions to some perceived slight.

*There have been civil wars and minor clashes - but no major war between state players.

Mascot of the Month (Possibly the Year) Efexor

This month has been  /is / will be too much for me. The Supreme Court is about to go super Conservative. This is due to a President who lost the popular vote, supported by a Senate where the majority party represents a minority of voters (feature - not bug) and a the House of Representatives where the majority of votes represents a minority of voters (bug - not feature) . At no one's surprise, they have delivered a Supreme Court that has enabled and is enabling a systematic disenfranchisement of non-Conservative voters.*

In any other country we would see this as proof of wholesale corruption (as we do in Turkey), but here it is unremarked upon.

The only thing getting me through this is Efexor and Xanax.

* This session the Supreme Court allowed Ohio to purge voter rolls after 2 missed elections; allowed Texas to keep undemocratic gerrymandering; forbade Wisconsin from abolishing undemocratic gerrymandering; reduced the power of public sector Unions.  All of these decisions gave more power to the Republican Party.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Straight White Men SUPER Early Look

Kelly was in town this week-end with a friend. The four of us went a new show called "Straight White Men." This is NOT a review, it is a reaction.

It's not a review because it would be majorly unfair. It was only the 3rd show, and only the 5th day a new father was in it - Tom Skerrit pulled our 5 days ago.

Of the three people that had lots of rehearsal, Josh Charles and Armie Hammer were fantastic. And both still look great. A surprise from Josh since he is pretty damn old now to be playing Armie's slightly older brother.

The brand new cast member was brand new, i.e. not bad, but not comfortable in the part. The other brother - that is going to take a little work in previews.

Altogether, it needs to be tighter, but it could be good.