17 May 2007

Time I had some Tylenol

They're testing the fire alarms here today. During the work day. So I'm not tense and jumpy, not me, though the last couple of hours have been randomly punctuated by the kind of loud, piercing sounds that we're not supposed to ignore.

One of our staffers, who sits in the large room with several other people came to my area because she didn't want to disturb the other folks with her hiccups. "Don't worry about it," I said, "none of them can hear any more."

At one point our CEO asked where he had to go to rip the wires out of the wall so that we could have some peace. I told him that if he did that, he'd have the gratitude of the entire staff right up to the time when we all died in the fire.

15 May 2007

Instant replay

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown is a great show for children. Well, maybe for older children. Much older children. Because while I was all awash in nostalgia (and wondering why, if they had gone to the trouble to write Sally in, she doesn't get to call Linus her Sweet Babboo?) at least one child at Saturday night's performance wasn't quite as familiar with the Peanuts gang as the rest of us.

"I don't get it!" he complained fairly early on. Like about 8:05 or so. Later on, around 8:10, he did. "Oh, I get it!" All of his color commentary was loud enough for the entire room to hear, much to his mother's dismay. (That whole outside voices, inside voices, during-the-performance voices just hasn't sunk in for him yet, you know?)

But the best was probably during one of Chuck's bits. Chuck, as Linus (and Linus ain't just Sally's Sweet Babboo, let me tell you), was sucking his thumb. He removed the thumb from his mouth, considered it, and said "I think I'm losing my flavor!" Most of the audience chuckled, but our own John Madden, Jr. really loved it. He guffawed and repeated "I think I'm losing my flavor!!" If he'd had a Telestrator handy, he could have light-penned the thumb-from-mouth maneuver for us.

Sometimes one's $11 merely gets an evening of light entertainment, but when we're really lucky some one in the audience is discovering why theater - and good ol' Charlie Brown - is so great after all.

14 May 2007

The Quotable Barbara

Barbara was handling concessions at intermission on Saturday night and when I told her that my hair was all tangled because John and I drove over in his convertible and she gave me that Barbara look and said "Oh, cry me a river, build me a bridge, and get over it." When I told that I liked that one she modestly replied, "Well, I have teenagers."

12 May 2007

Scalzi on Edwin

Because even SF writer (and cool opinionated blogger) John Scalzi has more time for Edwin Booth than the Folger.

The Family Assassin

11 May 2007

A tragic oversight

The always nifty Sam Waterston is hosting a series for the Folger Shakespeare Library to commemorate its 75th anniversary. I listened intently to the first episode (of three) in which we worked our way forward through American history and the history of the performance of Shakespeare in America sort of casually waiting for a mention of Edwin Booth. There was none.

And while there is a spiffy picture of the lovely and talented Mr. Waterston on the series website, that doesn't make up for omitting any reference to possibly the greatest American Shakespearean actor of the 19th century. And the founder and primary funder of The Players.

Sarah Vowell and I are understandably disappointed.

Europe in DC

Because I'm between shows, I have no plans tomorrow, so I'm taking the Metro to Europe! No, no, I haven't been drinking at my desk. The European Union is having an Embassies' Open House on Saturday so I'll take the Metro to Dupont Circle and ride their special shuttle around to the different embassies, tour their buildings, taste their food, listen to their music, and admire their dances. I think I'll skip having my face painted, though.

I'll go the Embassies of Ireland and Germany (the Brits aren't participating) as an homage to my European heritage, but then I'm hitting Bulgaria specifically for the food because I've never tried Bulgarian food and have no idea what it's like. If Maureen is able to join me we'll go to Hungary, I'm sure, and I'll like to check out several other countries I've always wanted to go to.

There's a "Passport Stamp Collection Area" and I'll see how many stamps I can get. It's tempting to bring my real passport, but they probably wouldn't stamp it, more's the pity.

And after I spend the day traipsing around "Europe," I'll spend the evening doing a very American thing - going with friends (John and Jeff and Amy) to see other friends (Andy, Chuck, and Susanna) in a musical based on a comic strip (by Charles Schultz). And probably eating dinner at a chain restaurant.

10 May 2007

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Today marks my 8th anniversary here at my job. Our office covers three floors and I've worked on all of them. I've supported various people, have been generally appreciated, and have often been treated better than I deserved. *

I started here as a temp-to-perm when I was still temping for an unnamed owner of a major sports franchise. And his sister. I'd been temping for about two years (and a year and half for the sports mogul) because I enjoyed it but I'd reached the point where working without a 401(k) or health benefits was becoming an unwise choice.

So I called my contact at Kelly (I was a Kelly Girl!) and told her that I needed a "real job" and she set up an interview for me here. I met with lots of folks, many of whom I still work with, took a typing test, and told at least one person that as I lived three miles away I would never call in and say that I couldn't make it to work because of the weather. And I'm pretty hard core, so I haven't.

I started in late April and by early May was being asked when I could become a full-time, permanent employee. I thought we would date a while longer before getting married, myself, but the company wanted to put that ring on my finger and so on May 10, 1999, I started here officially.

Last year on my anniversary my "Big B" Boss gave me a project to work on telling me that it was extremely important and that if it were done wrong someone would go to prison and that he would make sure that it was me, not him. Most folks would have just given me a card, you know?

I've worked for this company longer than anywhere else I've ever been and (so far) I like it very much. Sitting where I do, I get what I think of as "Work TV" because I'm in a corner near some important and interesting folks and I enjoy listening to them. I'm also handy on the spot when my "Big B" Boss decides it time to wind up my "Little B" boss and I have told him more than once that if he has time to wind people up that way he isn't going to nearly enough meetings.

So far I've earned by 5-year pen and pencil set and am aiming next for my 10-year clock. I wonder what the 50-year gift is.

* This is probably the dominant theme in my life and one of the reasons why I am an optimistic Christian. If my friends and colleagues are better to me than I deserve, why not assume the same for God? And, in fact, God is better to me than I deserve.

07 May 2007

At the Wedding March

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

God with honour hang your head,
Groom, and grace you, bride, your bed
With lissome scions, sweet scions,
Out of hallowed bodies bred.

Each be other’s comfort kind:
Deep, deeper than divined,
Divine charity, dear charity,
Fast you ever, fast bind.

Then let the March tread our ears:
I to him turn with tears
Who to wedlock, his wonder wedlock,
Deals triumph and immortal years.

06 May 2007

Pre-show entertainment

David and I saw The Drawer Boy final matinee today and sitting next to us were an older couple. The wife was fussing over her husband a bit and as the lights went down, she asked him "Can you see all right?"

Once it was fully black he answered her "Nope. It's too dark in here."

I'll bet he's been amusing himself at her expense for forty or so years now and that if anyone got the dry humor and deadpan sarcasm of the show, he did.

05 May 2007

One of the team

Michael J. Fox: Teamwork seems to be a real theme on the show and in your life.

Denis Leary: Where I come from in show business, there were always, like five other people in a scene, and we wanted to make the scene as good as we could because we knew we all looked better that way. That was true when I was doing stand-up in the clubs in Boston too -- there was a sense that we were all in it together, so if we had to drive up to New Hampshire to do a show, there'd be four of us in the car -- one guy driving, another guy holding the beer, another guy probaby had the weed on him, you know what I mean? Everybody's got a responsibility. I think that the best people I've ever worked with -- Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman in Wag the Dog [1997], Clint Eastwood in True Crime [1999], Chris Walken -- all the legends that I worked with that I really admire all want you to be as good as they're going to be, because first it takes the pressure off them, and second it makes the whole thing better.

In the May 2007 Interview

03 May 2007

Or, perhaps, "nice rack"

You Are a Flawless Beauty!

When it comes to beauty, you spare no expense - and it shows
You're the kind of woman a man would launch a thousand ships for
It's hard for anyone to beat you in the beauty department
But remember, it's okay to show a flaw or too - you've got plenty to spare

Uh huh. Sure. I'm sure that everyone will buy into this one. Of course, after what happened this morning, maybe it's true.

I got on the elevator today wearing an outfit I'm rather fond of that involves a spiffy red top with a reasonably low scooped neckline. The woman riding with me was probably in her 60s and English isn't her first language. It sounded to me as though she were speaking some dialect of French, but I could be very wrong here. Anyway, she leaned over, poked me in the chest right below the collar bone and said something that included two words that I understood: "very nice."

As I say, I think the rest of it was in a French dialect, so as I was about to ask if she spoke French - and the very way that "Parlez-vous Fran├žais?" comes out of my mouth alerts genuine Francophones that I am not of their number and encourages them to speak back to me very slowly - the elevator opened and another woman got on. The first woman then said something else which may have contained the word "belle," another one I understand.

I smiled and said "merci" as she got off of the elevator. After all, I didn't heard her say "putain," so I wasn't thanking her for calling me a whore. Then I turned to the second woman and said "I think that she gave me a compliment, but I don't know she said."

The second woman smiled and said that the first woman had said that I was very beautiful. And her smile - for your information - was sincere and there was no insulting pause before "very beautiful."

So it may have been an accurate translation and it may not, but whatever, who cares, because it perked up my day.

Oh, and here's one I consider a bit more likely. It helped that I changed that answer about attracting trust-fund Yalies.

You Are a Classic Beauty!

You have a timeless beauty that looks great in every decade
Instead following trends, you stick to what works
And this means you never skimp on your beauty routine
Upside? Your classic looks tends to attract gentlemen - not boys.

02 May 2007

Reliable Source

From Jeffrey Hatcher's Scotland Road:

John: Where'd you get that? Another tabloid?
Halbrech: No, I heard it on the radio. Public radio.

You can probably do an NPR geek check at each performance, based on on the laugh that line gets. We were well represented tonight.

01 May 2007

He is an Eng --- Peruvian?

There's this Gilbert and Sullivan lyric from Pinafore that has always amused the bejeebers out of me:

He is an Englishman!
For he himself has said it,
And it's greatly to his credit,
That he is an Englishman!

For he might have been a Roosian,
A French, or Turk, or Proosian,
Or perhaps Itali-an!

But in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
He remains an Englishman!
He remains an Englishman!

I am rendered bejeeber-less by this song because it connects with something else that I have long been bemused by, which is people being proud of being American, which for most Americans is a total accident of birth.

I mean, I'm grateful to be an American, and glad to be an American, and I think I'm very, very lucky, but it seems a little silly to be proud of something over which I had no control. It's sort of like being proud of being bi-laterally symetrical. Or having O negative blood. I really had no input at all here.

So whenever I pass one of those "Proud to be an American!" (dammit) bumperstickers, I usually hum a few bars of the above nifty piece of 19th century sarcasm.

But the joke's on me because it turns out that the whole Englishman thing is, in fact, optional. If you get some other country to claim your pub in Penzance, like, say Peru, you can give up the whole Shakespeare-1066-Churchhill-blah-blah and be Peruvians instead of Cornishfolk. Why give up the whole Shakespeare, etc and become a wholly-owned portion of a medium-sized South American country? To avoid the smoking ban, of course.

Yep, the Peruvian Arms is offering itself up as a Peruvian consolate in order to be able to smoke on the premises. You've really got to admire that kind of ingenuity. And the fact that it's all going down in a locale made famous by Gilbert and Sullivan, well it's just too much happiness.

Had the Peruvians actually accepted the offer, I'd be ending this post with something like "those wacky Peruvians!" as a shout out to the nicotine-enabled Cornish but no such luck.

And, besides, as The Smokers' Club newsletter (I love Google) points out, Peru has had it own smoking ban since 1991.

phrase making

From Friday's Silver Spring, Singular:

Will even more Discovery employees be granted "eternity leave" by the company?

I really like "eternity leave" as a euphemism. It amuses me the same way that "dirt nap" did when I learned it. I may have to start collecting some of these in a list the way that I do good quotes.