27 August 2007

How to make me really glad I came to see your show

When I arrive five minutes after curtain (because lunch with Mom always takes longer than I think it will), and I'm slipping in as quietly as I can during the staged overture, and you're near the door, double team hug me whispering to each other "Leta's here!"

23 August 2007

Sacco and Vanzetti Day

80 years ago today, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed for murder and theft. And, probably, for being immigrants with unpopular political opinions.

Webster Thayer, the trial judge, told the jury "This man, (Vanzetti) although he may not have actually committed the crime attributed to him, is nevertheless culpable, because he is the enemy of our existing institutions."

I have no idea if they did or did not commit the crime because the trial seemed to be more about getting possibly violent foreigners safely under lock and key by whatever means necessary. It was a dangerous time and acts of lethal violence, particularly involving bombs, were being used to make political points.

Gosh, I wish that the whole thing didn't seem so....contemporary.

Justice Denied in Massachusetts

by Edna St. Vincent Millay(1927)

Let us abandon then our gardens and go home
And sit in the sitting-room.
Shall the larkspur blossom or the corn grow under the cloud?
Sour to the fruitful seed
Is the cold earth under this cloud,
Fostering quack and weed, we have marched upon but cannot conquer;
We have bent the blades of our hoes against the stalks of them.

Let us go home, and sit in the sitting-room.
Not in our day
Shall the cloud go over and the sun rise as before,
Beneficent upon us
Out of the glittering bay,
And the warm winds be blown inward from the sea
Moving the blades of corn
With a peaceful sound.
Forlorn, forlorn,
Stands the blue hay-rack by the empty mow.
And the petals drop to the ground,
Leaving the tree unfruited.
The sun that warmed our stooping backs and withered the weed uprooted -
We shall not feel it again.
We shall die in darkness, and be buried in the rain.

What from the splendid dead
We have inherited -
Furrows sweet to the grain, and the weed subdued -
See now the slug and the mildew plunder.
Evil does not overwhelm
The larkspur and the corn;
We have seen them go under.

Let us sit here, sit still,
Here in the sitting-room until we die;
At the step of Death on the walk, rise and go;
Leaving to our children's children this beautiful doorway,
And this elm,
And a blighted earth to till
With a broken hoe.

22 August 2007

The Battle of Bosworth Field

York Memoranda

DATE: 23 August 1485.
AUTHOR: Mayor and aldermen of York.
TEXT: York City Archives, House Book, B2-4, f.169v. (Also printed in Extracts from the Municipal Records of the City of York during the Reigns of Edward IV, Edward V, and Richard III, ed. R. Davies (London, 1843), pp. 218, 217. (English; spelling modernized.)

Memorandum of meeting in council chamber on the Vigil of St Bartholomew, 'where it was shown by divers persons, and especially by John Sponer, sent unto the field of Redemore to bring tidings of the same to the city, that King Richard, late mercifully reigning upon us, was through great treason of the duke of Norfolk and many others that turned against him, with many other lords and nobles of this north parts, was piteously slain and murdered, to the great heaviness of this city.'

Considering what is know of the character of Henry VII, not a obituary to be casually written.


They say; what say they? Let them say.

Family motto of the Keiths, Earls Mareschal of Scotland.

Apply as needed.

20 August 2007

The Quotable Penguin

"The one-act play’s the thing for people with short attention spans. It’s live theater’s version of channel surfing."

From The Silver Spring Penguin's weekend calendar's plug for the Stage's festival.

17 August 2007

Riding the storm out

We're all clear on how much I like to graph my life on Excel spreadsheets, right?

Well, for the last several years I have been graphing my 401k balances. Every Monday morning I go to the website for the company that has my money, I check the balance, and I type that balance into my 401k spreadsheet. There's a little calculation that determines the difference between this Monday and the previous Monday and there's a little chart, so I can see my future cat-food and store-brand paper goods fund displayed visually.

(I don't play with the money, I just look at it and graph it. I re-balance my stocks/bonds/etc percentages every couple of years and pretty much just let it grow quietly; the same kind of benign neglect that I apply plants. This works even better for a 401k than it does for plants.)

The chart generally looks like a two-dimenional representation of one of the hikes that Mom used to do all time - a kind of ragged, but generally ascending, line. There are, of course, a couple of ha-has* - the first in September of 2001 and the second right now.

10 September 2001 was an average Monday and I entered the 401k balance. 17 September, of course, was not an average Monday, but the balance was only a few dollars off of the one for 10 September. The 24 September balance, on the other hand, was 8% lower than the 10 September balance. I guess everyone in America hit the malls after that because after taking on that bucket or two of water, the little dinghy righted itself and I had made back the losses by 8 October.

Right now the American stock market looks more like a graph of a teenager's moods. And the last couple of weeks have had an emphasis on black fingernail polish and songs by The Cure and Morrissey.**

I'm hearing on the radio that things are going to continue like this for a while. Which is very exciting for me because between 16 July and 13 August my account dropped 6%. And that's six percent of a lot more money than I had in 2001. Between 13 August and today, it has dropped an additional 3% from the 16 July balance. So I'm looking at my balance and doing what I did in 2001, which is scanning for some kind of "save" button, but there doesn't appear to be one.

But I shall be staunch. I shall stand firm and not fret. I still won't play around with my 401k. I'll let it get back on its own feet. This is not permanent, it's just something that happens occasionally.

And I'm going to repeat those helpful phrases as I check my balance on Monday through the fingers I'll be covering my eyes with.

* in the sense of a sunken fence or unexpected ditch. See Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.

**Yeah, yeah, okay, out of date references, I know. I'm old, let's move on.***

***But, really, was there ever - outside of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and the works of Chopin - music more suited to depression and self-pity than Morrissey or The Cure?

15 August 2007

Where is she now?

At home with her family, it seems.

So, you were probably wondering the other day "whatever became of Quinn Cummings?" Me, too! Well, okay, not really.* No, I just chanced to learn that she shares David's birthday and then I learned that she writes a blog, so I wandered over to check it out.

I'm glad that I did. Hosted right here on Blogger, The QC Report is smart and funny and I've been reading it big, greedy gulps since I found it.
This day had become something like performance art, and like every performance art piece I have ever seen, I had no idea what in the hell I was looking at, or why they were doing a single thing they were doing. The only thing I could hope to do was admire the elements. The Fates had decided to toy with me today, and all I could do was marvel at their prop choices[.] (From her post "More Locusts," 14 Dec 06)
Add to favorites - check.

* I liked her and all, don't get me wrong, but as far as former child actors go, I mostly just wish them well, and hope that they are clean, sober, and not incarcerated. **

**Well, except for Afred Lutter probably. I spend a lot of time wondering why that particular version of Linus-come-to-life hasn't called me. Or written.

Like flammable and inflammable, only different

This morning I received the following notice from an audition list:

Actors Needed!

This Saturday (8/18), from noon to 4pm, the Carlyle House ... as well as some other historic sites and shops in Old Town are staging a re-enactment of the surrender of Alexandria to the British during the War of 1812.

If you would like to participate, please call the Carlyle House at 703-xxx-xxxx.

This kind of surprised me because if I were arranging that sort of thing, I'd use Rev War re-enactors, who are thicker on the ground in the Alexandria area than lobbyists on K Street. At least, they were when I was active in the hobby.

It's also a safer choice because re-enactors know how to handle and use muskets, bayonets, and other dangerous 18th century trappings and we come with our own clothes and props. Neither of these are true for actors (well, unless you count theater folks like me and Constantia). Plus, re-enactors can outsnarky pretty much anyone on earth when they encounter actors attempting to be re-enactors.

So it was with a certain sense of relief that I got this a few minutes ago:

I just received word from the Carlyle House staff that there has been a miscommunication regarding the talent needed for this coming Saturday.

They are looking for RE-ENACTORS--people who have experience with period re-enactments and have their own clothing.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, please contact the Carlyle House at 703-xxx-xxxx.

Sorry for the mix-up!


14 August 2007

In case you were wondering

Okay, here's why David and I won't be getting married any time soon.

You know how every couple has an "our" thing? "Our song," "our restaurant," "our hot sheets motel," stuff like that. Well, David and I have "our color."

When my life became color coded, David's color became orange (because, as my friend Laura says, orange is a happy color and because David's mobile phone is orange). At work, even e-mail he sends me is orange. And our plans with each other on either of our calendars is orange. So if we got married - you know, had a wedding and stuff - we'd pretty much have to have "our color" in the wedding.

And I'm not spending the rest of my life telling people that the colors for my wedding were Sunkist and Tropicana.

Guilty Pleasure

David Lee Roth is back with Van Halen!* Even though the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide called ol' Diamond Dave “the most obnoxious singer in human history, an achievement notable in the face of long tradition and heavy competition,” I still like him.** He was fun. And I really like his voice. Like Billy Idol, underneath the screaming and howling, DLR has a damn fine instrument.

And, of course, it's also fun to watch him jump around. Mind you, at 52, he may not have quite the built-for-sin bod or the make-the-women-notice physicality, but it doesn't matter. Dave's back. It's time to party.

*"Michael Anthony is being shunned for sitting at Sammy Hagar's lunch table." Schelby on 94.7

**Although I can see where this will lead to one of those "all your taste is in your mouth" exchanges that David and I like to have over music.

How to be rich

Brooke Astor passed away at age 105. In the last forty-some years of her life, Mrs. Astor gave away over $200 million dollars to causes large and small.

12 August 2007

See what I mean?

I was at Greykell's birthday party yesterday afternoon and when I got ready to head out I was asked "Oh, are you going"

"Yep. Gotta see a play."

And they said "Of course you do."

11 August 2007


I'm the sort of person who likes to keep records and since 2004 one of the records I've kept is a list of shows I've seen and performed in. It's a pretty long list.

So I counted one day and realized that I spend well over 150 days (nights) a year inside theaters.

Three years out of four have 365 days.

I spend about half of them inside a theater.

09 August 2007

For Stacey and Casey and Shelly (oh my)

And anyone else who enjoys a good vampire/sorcery/werewolves webcomic.

Sorcery 101.

Found via an ad on Planet Karen, also a pretty darn good webcomic.

08 August 2007

AB would be proud of me

Thanks to the Celiac Disease, I probably consume rice* in some form every day. David, having heard one of my favorite Alice quotes** a few times, asked me if I would like a rice cooker.

And without even thinking about it, I said "I dunno..... What else does it do?"

*Lundberg makes my current favorite. Yummmmmmmm.

** "How would I know how long rice takes to cook? I'm Japanese. I throw it in the rice cooker and when the button pops up, it's done."

06 August 2007

Zooming in

Thanks to Silver Spring, Singular, I've been apprised that Google maps has updated their shots of my hometown. The previous pictures were from before a lot of the redevelopment took place, so looking at the old Google Maps image was a quick trip into the past.

Technically, I grew up one zip over in 20901, but for my purposes, Singular's search works just fine.

The first thing I did was zoom in really close onto my office and see that the back parking lot was pretty empty, so we know the picture wasn't taken on a work day;

The strongly western lean to the shadow indicates a picture taken it the morning;

Crusing north from my office to my church, I can see a nice full parking lot, so it's probably Sunday and the street parkers (like me) haven't arrived in full force, so it's probably before 10:00 am; and

The trees are pretty bare indicating winter or very early spring.

Respectfully submitted,
Leta for CSI: Silver Spring

PS - Peter..... Peter.... I can see your house from here.

01 August 2007


It looks as though WikiHow is going through my college days looking for suggestions. For instance, today we have How to Make Chainmail and while I didn't make nearly as much as many of the folks I knew, I still put in some time with the pliers opening and closing 15-gauge* wire rings.

It was a rather pleasant way to spend time, actually, if you stopped before your hands began to ache. If someone was trying finish a chainmail shirt for an event we would turn into specialists - one or more folks coiling the wire, cutting the links, and opening the links. The actual "knitting" (the term for assembling and closing the links) was left to the person who was ostensibly making the darn thing.

So we'd all sit around and gossip and flirt (there were very, very few Markland activities that did not take place while gossiping and flirting - it's very like theater in some respects) and work on whichever project for a while.

Vastly more interesting than doing anything I was supposed to be doing.

*Want a quick comparison for 15-gauge wire? The plasmaphersis center where I'd swap blood products for lunch money used 15-gauge needles. A real chainmail shirt is heavy.