Saturday, June 28, 2008

Does Lincoln Haunt The White House?

I got in a discussion the other day … This man I know just returned from a vacation in Washington D.C.

On their last day there, this man and his family managed to be included in a tour of the White House. While they were taking the tour, their guide “casually” mentioned that for many years the ghost of Abraham Lincoln had been seen wandering up and down the halls he knew so well and – of course – had been seen in the famous Lincoln bedroom.

The man told me all this in hushed tones, apparently not wanting others to share in this little knowledge which is a dangerous thing..

Matching the intensity of his disclosure, I informed the man that there was not one hall in the White House that Lincoln today would have recognized, that in fact the former President had never even been IN the Lincoln bedroom, and that my acquaintance, although well traveled, and certainly interesting as a conversationalist, was gullible, naive, and apparently dumb as a stick.

He asked me to substantiate my claim (regarding Lincoln, I presume.)

Here ‘tis.

The White House was built – more or less – by the year 1800. It was partially burned by the British, repaired, and remained the home of U.S. Presidents for the next 150 years.

When Harry Truman became president, the 150-year-old wooden structure was literally condemned. Several smaller floors had buckled, and the entire building was in danger of collapse.
President Truman was never a man to do things half way. By 1950 he had the White House gutted – not remodeled, but the ENTIRE interior was removed, and the rotting wood supports were replaced with steel.

Outside, the building looked like this.

Inside, the building looked like this. The Lincoln bedroom, by the way, is on the top row of windows to the right.

So … can anyone point out to me which of these hallways Lincoln was known to frequent?

But … I’m really trying to be fair here. Maybe the ghost of our 16th president IS trying to revisit the floors and walls he knew so well. Anybody hear stories about a tall man with a beard hovering around any landfills in Arlington, Virginia?

And how was your day?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Rose In The Middle of the Garden

No hidden purpose here. I saw this on another blog. Everything about it charmed me - color, composition, subject matter ... cute cute cute.

So I ... that is, I just sort of ... "borrowed" it - to share with you.

Maybe I'll be lucky and the photographer won't notice.
I mean, like, there's gotta be a gazillion blogs out there, right? So what are the chances ...?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Biding Time ...

I know ...

we haven't chatted lately.

My fault.

No, I'm not ignoring you - I'm not. I look forward to our visits together.

It's just ...

I'm working on a new play. It's going well. On my mind. Filling my time.

It won't last. You know me. The first wall I hit, I'll be posting up a storm. Funny how - why - that works the way it does. I don't know how or why, but it works for me. I'll post some, and then work on the play awhile, and ... forth and back.


In the meantime, if you're cruisin', check out the people on my links. They are cool. Often. I'm sure they'd love for you to drop in.

See ya soon. Miss ya already.

Your bunny buddy,


Friday, June 20, 2008

Saw An Interesting Thing on TV

I think it was CNN. (All these reports seem to run together, don’t they?) One of the supposed experts predicted that gasoline would reach $5.00 a gallon by the 4th of July.

At that time it was suggested that there was now a frantic need for alternative sources of energy.

Then it was announced that sales of trucks and other vehicles that get two or three gallons to the mile weren’t selling well … duh …

At that time it was suggested that there was now a frantic search for alternative sources of energy.

This was followed by the Arabs considering increasing oil production – thus lowering prices – so that other countries wouldn’t be so eager to develop alternate sources of energy.

(See? Somebody was paying attention.)

I later heard that someone running for president suggested that we build 47 (actual) nuclear reactors to produce electricity. (What a forward thinking idea. You won’t need lights at night if your state glows in the dark. Why didn’t anybody think of this before?)

At that time it was suggested that there was now an interested search for alternative sources of energy.

I also heard that since there were now fewer cars on the highway, the high cost of oil was actually being beneficial to the environment. (This was said by someone on CBS News. I haven’t liked CBS News since Walter Cronkite left, so I kept waiting for the newscaster’s nose to grow, but it didn’t. I was disappointed.)

There is now a great push toward offshore drilling, and for massive oil drilling in Alaska. Today I heard that “if Alaska could be opened for drilling now, we wouldn’t have to search for alternative sources of energy for another 40 years.”


Excuse me, but, uh … if ya wait another 40 years to start looking for this alternative energy stuff … who’s gonna be here to use it?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ever Have One Of Those Nights?

Last night was my Writers Group Meeting night. It was a “sharing” night, which meant that we didn’t have a specific topic for discussion. Instead, we shared material that had been prepared in advance.

I like this little group – very laid back. We have upwards of twenty people who may show up, with perhaps eight or nine being “regulars.” Far more than half the group demonstrates ability and gifting above average, with a few bordering on brilliant.

Last night, in the middle of a discussion on “stealing time,” a realization came to me. Most of the people I appreciate, respect, enjoy, and call friends, were all gathered together with me in the same room. It was a nice feeling. It was a VERY nice feeling.
It's good when you enjoy being where you belong.
Addendum. One more of our group just became a blogger. Check her out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

An Interesting History

There’s an article making the rounds of the email circuit, called “An Interesting History.” I've received it twice,now. The first time was from an old buddy who sends me every bit of trivia available. The second time, I received it from someone who takes this sort of thing much more seriously. This time I read it much more carefully. It’s an interesting article in that it’s my impression that it doesn't at all say what it wants you to believe it is saying.

What do you think? I’m including the entire article here – censorship isn’t fair. On the other hand, I AM interjecting my own comments from time to time, where I question the actual direction this thing is taking. I'm passing it along so that if you stumble over it somewhere else, you won't be fooled by what it appears to say.

This is the most interesting thing I've read in a long time. The sad thing about it, you can see it coming.

I have always heard about this democracy countdown. It is interesting to see it in print. God help us, not that we deserve it.

How Long Do We Have?

(So here the author suggests that this article is about the inevitable decline of democracy. It’s important to keep this theme in mind, to see what proofs are presented to substantiate that claim.)

About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh , had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:

'A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.'

(This statement may or may not be debatable. At face value, however, is the thought that Professor Tyler must have been smoking too much unrefined hemp. He’s applying the characteristics of a democracy to a republic. Not the same thing at all. And, in case we forget, the form of government in the United States is not a democracy – it’s a Republic! You remember this one, don’t you? “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic …

For the record, enough enquiries were received by the University of Edinburgh that, while they confirm that Alexander Tyler once taught there, they have no record whatsoever that he ever wrote a treatise on the Athenian form of government, Republic or otherwise.)

'A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.’

(If I understand the implication here, the writer is suggesting that because this country is going through a economically difficult time, this is a “proof” that we are a democracy in decline. If I have voted myself a “generous gift from the public treasury,” it must have been delivered to the wrong address. My impression of our present misfortune is that we elected the wrong people to lead us. But that’s just my impression.)

'The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years'

(And what does that assertion have to do with any civilization being either a republic or a democracy? Absolutely nothing. From here on we are going on several rabbit trails, appealing to emotion rather than logic.

Even with that knowledge, I can’t resist an answer to the suggestion that no great civilization has lasted more than 200 years. I suppose you could say that statement could be true if you don’t count the British, who had been around as a monarchy for 700 years. Japan had 800 years, China about the same. Rome ruled for 700 years, Israel more-or-less the same. Egypt was under the same rule of government for almost 2,000 years. Hmmm … maybe if we don’t call any of these civilizations GREAT …)

'During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. from bondage to spiritual faith;
2. from spiritual faith to great courage;
3. from courage to liberty;
4. from liberty to abundance;
5. from abundance to complacency;
6. from complacency to apathy;
7. from apathy to dependence;
8. from dependence back into bondage'

(Now this IS interesting. In theory we are still quoting an 18th century college professor living in Edinburgh. Professor Tyler – for the record, please define bondage, spiritual faith, liberty, abundance, complacency, apathy, and dependence. Are you SURE you are living in 1787?)

(It doesn’t matter. We’re about to lurch in a whole new direction.)

Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law, St. Paul , Minnesota , points out some interesting facts concerning the 2000 Presidential election:

Number of States won by: Democrats: 19 Republicans: 29
Square miles of land won by: Democrats: 580,000 Republicans: 2,427,000
Population of counties won by: Democrats: 127 million Republicans: 143 million
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Democrats: 13.2 Republicans: 2.1

(Now read this next section VERY carefully.)

Professor Olson adds: 'In aggregate, the map of the territory Republican won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country. Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare...'

(Did you read the same thing here that I did? With one inane swipe Olson lists "proofs" that Republicans were responsible - maybe ideal - citizens, and Democrats were ... uh ... somewhere below that level. Why? Is the author trying to sway 2008 voters in some direction? In the 2000 Presidential election, unless I'm mistaken, the Republican won. I guess it depends on your viewpoint how well THAT turned out.

As a point of interest, I made an effort to check out Joseph Olson and Hemline University on the internet. I could only find one in connection with the other, and both in regard to the comments made above. When I checked through accredited Universities of Minnesota, Hemline University wasn’t listed. It’s probably just me, but I’m beginning to detect a pattern …)

Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the 'complacency and apathy' phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already having reached the 'governmental dependency' phase. (In other words, Democrats. Boy, am I gonna have fun talking to a few friends of mine who think they are respectable! Love it!)

(And while we’re at it, let’s throw in one more black fear which doesn’t apply to the premise.)

If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders called illegal's and they vote, then we can say goodbye to the USA in fewer than five years.

(Of course! The very first thing “criminal invaders” want to do is change this country into a carbon copy of the depressed areas they just escaped from! Everybody knows that!)

If you are in favor of this, then by all means, delete this message. If you are not, then pass this along to help everyone realize just how much is at stake, knowing that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom.


(Brave what?)


And how was your day?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Why I'm Never Invited To Speak At Graduations - Part Two

And then I had this strange dream, explaining why “It’s all about me” is not a good subject for a graduation speech.

It was a large auditorium, normally used as a sports arena. Perhaps half a thousand students filled the center area.

We had talked – toward a dozen of them and I, briefly, for twenty minutes before the ceremonies began. All of them were excited – an artificial adrenalin rush. Sadly, they were unaware that for many of them, perhaps the majority, this was the last time in their lives that they would receive any form of public acknowledgement for an achievement.

In my dream I’m wearing the traditional graduation robe. Unusual colors adorn the sash around my neck – colors representing the two schools of higher education through which I had barely managed to squeak.

A black girl – one of the students – is taking pictures. She’s wearing a shiny blue party dress under her robe. She’s barefoot, creating a more endearing picture than the ones she’s taking.

All impressions are fleeting, a merry-go-round of activities at the edge of vision, a brief turn … and then gone.

I am standing at the podium. It’s suddenly warm. I have the impression that all eyes are focused in my general direction. I see a flash of shiny blue from the third row. Comforting.

“Class of 2008, congratulations.” The sound of my own voice booming back at me comes as a brief shock. Looking out, I’m painfully aware that if I was as wise as the occasion suggests, I’d quit now and go home. At least half the attendees have already mentally dismissed me, rightly dwelling on the parties that would extend well into the night.

Fool that I was, I continued. “I remember well my own graduation,” I stated. “The theme that year was ‘At the Crossroads.”

Inwardly I smiled. I alone knew what was coming.

“When I reached that crossroad, I turned in the wrong direction. I blew it. I blew it for me, and I blew it for you.”

Now there was quiet in the auditorium.

“I mean, look around,” I continued. “We have global warming, energy prices have gone up because sources are running out, weather conditions are getting worse, the ice caps are melting, the economy is almost ruined, and almost every country in the world hates us – pardon me – hates you.”

“I knew the fuel shortage was coming. I saw it coming forty years ago, and what did I do? I gave you the I POD. I did that.”

I paused, wondering if they knew about the concept of tar and feathers.

“And here’s the good part. I’m responsible for the mess, but I’m not going to pay for it. I’m simply going to walk away – not my problem. And I taught the next generation (the “me” generation) to do the same thing.”

“So here we are at your generation,” I concluded. “But don’t worry. There’s maybe just enough left for you to sail past the point of no return in ease and relative comfort. Take what you want and split. You’re welcome to follow the example I set for you. And don’t worry. No matter HOW selfish you are, the world will likely not destroy humanity until at least fifty or sixty years after you’re gone. Why should you care? I didn’t.”

And then I woke up. And for a long time I thought about that dream. For a long time I wondered why nobody ever told the truth to graduation classes. And all the time I knew the answer. It’s why nobody has ever asked me to speak to a graduation class …

or should.

Why I'm Never Invited To Speak At Graduation

I was having a conversation the other day with my buddy, Anonymous. It wasn’t a great conversation. Much of it didn’t make sense. And trying to exchange barbs with someone thru a blog is every bit as exciting as watching the bubbles on dishwater dissolve.

Anyway … eventually Anonymous and I reached an agreement – each of us thought the other was pond scum, and we were never going to “speak” to each other again. Ever. Never.

Her parting shot (I think Anonymous is a “her.”) fell into several parts. First, all I wanted to talk about was myself – it’s all about me. The second comment was that the way I wrote was “theatrical.” (This one I believe I can win. Look at the profile, sweetie. It says “playwright.” Writing in a manner that is “theatrical” comes with the territory.) And finally, in answer to several of my questions, she replied “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Why would you even ask such a question?”

“Why would you ask such a question?”

The query stayed with me. “Because you know the answer,” was the first thought that came to my mind. And then it occurred to me that perhaps she DIDN’T know the answer. What seems like the obvious conclusion finally struggled to life in my thoughts.

There’s more than one Anonymous. I’m talking in code to the wrong person. No wonder little of what was said made sense. This is not anyone I've known before. So if you’re still out there, Anonymous number two, I apologize.

However. Something else that was said has stayed with me. “It’s all about you,” was her statement. This was puzzling. My initial post was (in brief) that I had gone somewhere, reacted to something, and was wondering if this reaction was normal. As a writer, I don’t see this as being at all unreasonable. As a writer, I see myself as an observer, rather than the center of even small attention. This observation shocked me.

And then I had this strange dream, explaining why “It’s all about me” is not a good subject for a graduation speech.

(And I’ll tell you about it in my next post.)


And how was your day?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In Response To Your Comments

I posted excerpts from nine plays. Comments on and off the blog expressed the most interest in my one work in progress, THE TEAPOT COLLECTOR. Thank you. I’m encouraged to pick up where I left off almost a year ago.

I posted a lighthearted jab at Hillary’s image … Nicki responded by saying that the story of Barack Obama would make a great musical. I agree. (In fact I’ll be greatly surprised if there aren’t several dramatizations eventually produced.) Not ten minutes ago I saw an interview with Mister Obama, who stated that Will Smith has already volunteered to play the role.

I posted a question (and later deleted it) in which I solicited advice. Most of the responses were thoughtful and intelligent. Thank you. Only one response was from someone who used the name “Anonymous” instead of the far more appropriate name of “Pond Scum.” Ah well. Be careful what you ask for.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I stumbled over these striking pictures of Hillary ...

Oops! Sorry! They're actually Eva Peron. My bad.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Excerpt from the play ANOTHER DUMB GHOST STORY

ICKLES is a ghost, who, at various times, appears to MARY as; a Scottish bagpiper, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and – at this moment – a Mexican bandit. ANOTHER DUMB GHOST STORY has crisscrossed the United States so many times that the logo is registered.

MARY: Are you really a ghost?

ICKLES: WHY does everybody always ask that question?

MARY: Why don’t you wear a sheet and go around clanking chains, like you’re supposed to?

ICKLES: I like that. You meet one ghost, and already you’re telling him how to dress.

MARY: I didn’t mean anything personal.

ICKLES: Would you take off all your clothes and run around the neighborhood with only a sheet wrapped around you?

MARY: I guess not.

ICKLES: I guess not indeed.

MARY: I’m sorry.

ICKLES: I accept your apology. We won’t mention it ever again.

MARY: Well, it’s been fun talking to you, Mr. …

ICKLES: Ickles. Just Ickles.

MARY: Pardon me, but …


MARY: Don’t you have someplace you can go?

ICKLES: Not really. Do you?

MARY: I’m there!

ICKLES: Me too. Isn’t it nice?

MARY: You can’t stay here.

ICKLES: Why not?

MARY: Because I’m tired and I want to go to bed.

ICKLES: A good place to go when you’re tired.

MARY: Look, Ickles. I’ve had a rotten day, a long drive, and – thanks to you – a fight with my landlady. I may be evicted in the morning! I ache, I’m tired, and I’ve reached the end of my rope! If you don’t leave – now – I’m going to start throwing things! Do you read me, mister?!

ICKLES: Loud and clear, SIR!

MARY: Then you’ll leave?


MARY: A-a-a-h!

ICKLES: Don’t get mad at me. It’s your fault. You’re the one who brought me here. You’re the only one who can send me back.

MARY: I did not, by any stretch of the imagination, bring you here.

ICKLES: I beg to differ with you, but you did.

MARY: I did not.

ICKLES: Yes you did.

MARY: I didn’t.

ICKLES: You did.

MARY: Didn’t.

ICKLES: Did. I win!

MARY: Alright, if I can send you away, I order you to go. Be gone. Scat. Poof!

ICKLES: Am I gone?


ICKLES: You must be doing something wrong.

MARY: Oh, you noticed that?

ICKLES: Do you know any magic words?

MARY: What magic words?

ICKLES: You know. Magic words.

MARY: You don’t mean abracadabra, and things like that?

ICKLES: I don’t?

MARY: That’s silly.

ICKLES: Okay. Which side of the bed do you want? Personally, I like the side toward the bathroom …

MARY: I didn’t say I wouldn’t do it. I just think it’s silly.

ICKLES: It’s worth a try. Hey, I’m as anxious to get this over with as you are. I certainly have no desire to stay where I’m not wanted.

MARY: Okay. But promise me you won’t laugh. What am I saying? I’m trying to think up words I don’t know, to get rid of somebody who isn’t even here. Why am I doing this?

ICKLES: When you figure it out, wake me.

MARY: Abracadabra! Alacazam-shazam! Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! By the shores of Gitchee-Goomie.

ICKLES: Mary! Something’s happening …

MARY: What?

ICKLES: I don’t know. I have this strange feeling in the small of my back.

MARY: You’re sitting on your spurs.

Excerpt from the play THE DISENCHANTED FROG

This was my first foray into children’s plays. I wanted to write something where the dialogue would appeal to adults (figuring that the costumes and action would hold the kids.) It worked out much better than I hoped. “Mature” adults never understood a word, but those who were kids at heart got it all. In this scene our narrator – FENNIMORE FROG – has just been introduced to a private detective, one BEBE WOLF.

FENNIMORE: I guess I’m ready. When do we begin?

BEBE: Begin? Dear frog, we have begun! I call this …

(HANS enters, blows a squawk on a toy saxophone, then exits.)

…”The Case Of The Missing Mast!”

FENNIMORE: What was that?!

BEBE: We’re trying to work a little music into the act.

(FENNIMORE moves away from Bebe.)

Where are you going?

FENNIMORE: Out of the line of fire when they start throwing things.

BEBE: I know what you mean. I thought the accordion lacked dramatic effect.

FENNIMORE: I want to hear about the missing mast. If that’s alright with you. If you don’t mind.

BEBE: Yes. Alright. I don’t mind. It all started when I was approached by this old sailor, see, and …

FENNIMORE: Of course he came from the sea. Where would you expect a sailor to come from? Arizona?

(HE looks for a reaction from Bebe. There is none.)

Excuse me.

BEBE: Certainly.

(FENNIMORE crosses down to the audience.)

FENNIMORE: Where is it carved in stone that the frog gets all the straight lines and none of the funny stuff?

(HE crosses back to Bebe.)

Thank you.

BEBE: You’re welcome. Are you done?

FENNIMORE: Apparently.

BEBE: As I was saying – before I was interrupted – I was approached by this old sailor, s-s-s – you understand, and he was in a very low state …


(HE again looks for a reaction from Bebe. He receives a blank stare.)

Don’t you get it? You said he was in a low state, and I said Florida, and … I quit.

BEBE: Where was I?

FENNIMORE: Low state.

BEBE: … and he told me that during the night, someone had stolen one of his masts! Right off his ship!

FENNIMORE: Stolen a mast?

BEBE: I’m sure he said it was a mast. One of those big long things? You hang sheets on it?

FENNIMORE: I know what a mast is!

BEBE: Of course, it could have been an anchor … or a rudder … or a week from Tuesday … No, it was a mast. I’m almost positive it was. Anyway, the curious part – oh, most curious indeed – was that no one saw or heard anything! I’m sure the crime would be undetected yet today … EXCEPT … when the sailor woke up in the morning? … and went up on deck? … he found all this rope on the floor, and this big hole? Well. He suspected something was definitely amiss. You don’t live on a ship for years and years, and not notice a thing like that.

FENNIMORE: I suppose not.

BEBE: Well. Once he realized something was wrong, he decided to count the masts. I never would have thought of that. Brilliant! And when the full realization struck him, he cried out in a most stricken voice: oh my goodness! One of my masts is mizzen!

FENNIMORE: Mizzen? Now wait a minute …

BEBE: How cold you are, frog. How callous. I’m sure if YOU had a mast mizzen …

FENNIMORE: You don’t understand. There IS a mizzen mast …

BEBE: That’s what I said. That’s what HE said.

FENNIMORE: Every large sailing ship has a mizzen mast. You may have misunderstood what …

BEBE: Every ship has a mizzen mast?

FENNIMORE: Large sailing ships. Yes.

BEBE: Every one?

FENNIMORE: Every one.

BEBE: Crime wave! Crime wave!

FENNIMORE: No, it’s CALLED the mizzen mast, and it’s …

BEBE: I’m sure I would call it the mizzen mast also, considering the circumstances.

FENNIMORE: Will you listen? The mizzen mast is the one behind the main mast. He was referring to …

BEBE: Darling frog, it pains me to contradict, but the mizzen mast was before the main mast. The main mast was after … In other words, the mizzen mast was the main mast mizzen – missing. The main mast wasn’t missing and couldn’t be mizzen, therefore we must mark the missing mizzen mainly, and merely mention the remaining main … mast.


BEBE: Let me put it the same way. The main mast missing is the mizzen, however if the main mast is ALSO missing, then we must mention the missing mizzen more meaningfully, merely because it’s the main mast. Missing.

FENNIMORE: I’m glad we cleared that up.

BEBE: You might call this a marvelously malevolent moment in maritime memorabilia.


BEBE: Don’t ask me to repeat it, frog. I was lucky to get through it the first time.

FENNIMORE: Just tell me one thing – are we looking for one mizzen – missing – mast, or two?

BEBE: Masts? Oh dear me no, lovely frog. You won’t find masts, I dare say. Not one. Gone gone gone.

FENNIMORE: Then what ARE we looking for?

BEBE: Isn’t it as obvious as the nose on a chicken? Somewhere in this town lurks the world’s largest termite!


BEBE: Yes! A terribly tremendous and tenaciously tempered termite, threatening the titanic toothpicks of trade trawlers and troop transports everywhere. What do you think?

FENNIMORE: I think the role I got in this show isn’t so bad, after all.

(FIZZY, HIZZY, and WAYNE enter.)

FIZZY: Don’t push!

HIZZY: I didn’t push. HE pushed!

WAYNE: Did not! Did not!

HIZZY: Did so!

WAYNE: Did not! Did not!

BEBE: Excuse me.

(SHE crosses to Fizzy, Hizzy, and Wayne.)

I thought I told you to wait back there.

FIZZY: It’s dark back there.

HIZZY: It’s cold back there.

WAYNE: It smells back there.

FIZZY and HIZZY: We don’t wanna wait back there.

HIZZY: We’ve been back there for MINUTES!

FIZZY: I wanted to say that.

WAYNE: I thought of it first.

FIZZY and HIZZY: Did not! Did not!

WAYNE: If I can’t think of it first, I’m gonna hold my breath ‘till I turn purple!

FIZZY: You ARE purple!

WAYNE: See?!


FIZZY; We’re the three little figs. I’m Fizzy.

HIZZY: I’m Hizzy.

WAYNE: I’m Wayne.


WAYNE: A poem! In honor of the sales … frogman.

BEBE: Oh good.


BEBE: Wayne is very talented.

FENNIMORE: No no no no no no ….

BEBE: Sweet frog, do you know what happens when you hurt a fig’s feelings? They sing.

FENNIMORE: A poem. How bad can that be? Why do I keep asking questions when I already know the answers?

WAYNE: A poem. By Wayne Fig Newton. That’s my stage name. I thought of it myself. A poem. I call it “Ode To A Fig.”

FIZZY: He used to call it “Odorous To A Figorous.” He did.

HIZZY: But that was too long.

WAYNE: So I shortened it.

FENNIMORE: Good plan.

WAYNE: Ahem. “Once there was a fig,” …

FIZZY: A fig? That was me!

WAYNE: “… who tried to climb a twig.”

HIZZY: Yesterday it was a tree.

WAYNE: Who’s telling this?

FIZZY and HIZZY: Sorry.

WAYNE: “And just because the tree was tall …”

FIZZY: “He climbed up on a bee!”

HIZZY: A wall!

FIZZY: “Then fell down on a flea!”

HIZZY: A ball!

WAYNE: “Because the tree was big and scary …”

FIZZY and HIZZY: “He decided he should name it Mary!”

WAYNE: “And when he saved the last for best …”


WAYNE: I’m pretty sure I forgot the rest.

FENNIMORE: That was it?

BEBE: Very nice.

FENNIMORE: I didn’t feel the ground shaking. Maybe the worst is over.

Post script; this was my first play written on commission, to be produced at an outdoor Arts Festival. I remember starting it one morning at about 5am, and finished it that same day just before midnight. The script remained virtually unchanged for 15 years, until I added the poem by the figs. You have been the first to see that addition.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Excerpt from the play ALYCE TIMES ONE

This play is now complete, in third draft form, entered in a contest, and waiting for the first public reading in August. This is the first play I have co-written, with Julie Morrison. I’ve chosen this section for you to read, for two reasons. First, we worked about equally here, but I don’t think you can tell where one of us stopped and the other began. The second reason I chose this segment is because I like it. Here is almost the end of the play – Alyce learns she has joined her dead husband. Sounds morbid, I know, but … read for yourself. (By the way, it’s Alyce (Al-LEASE), not Alice. Say it wrong and Julie won’t correct you … but she will give you a look that would melt marble.)

ALYCE: Maybe you’re just hopeless. What are you smiling about?

JACK: You.

ALYCE: I don’t want anybody stealing our stuff.

JACK: Why? It’s just stuff. What are ya gonna do with it?

ALYCE: EH. … you take all the fun out of it.

JACK: Tell me something.

ALYCE: What?

JACK: Did you ever tell me your dreams?

ALYCE: I’m impressed. You WERE listening.

JACK; You don’t remember.

ALYCE: I only remember the last one, at a diner in Kansas City ... I was a waitress and he was a cute customer. He asked me out then disappeared. He did leave a honking huge tip, though. I told myself, If I ever see that guy again, I will treat him right and never let go. I starting dreaming that he'd come back to get me ...

JACK: A shame I got there first.

ALYCE: That WAS you, coconut head.


ALYCE: Don’t tarnish one of my better memories of you.

JACK; Wouldn’t think of it. I love you.

ALYCE: What?

JACK: You heard me.

ALYCE: I just haven’t heard you say it like that in such a long time. I love you, too.

(ALYCE and JACK kiss.)

Wow, you still haven’t lost it… What do we do now?

JACK: What did you have in mind?

ALYCE: I don’t know. You’ve been here longer than I have. Don’t we walk into the light or something? And stop grinning at me.

JACK: Don't tarnish some of the best memories I have of us. Walk into the light if you want to. Personally I’m going to ride. I’ve got the Maserati parked downstairs.

(JACK jangles keys in front of ALYCE.)

ALYCE: You’re kidding. They let you drive?

JACK: What? One accident and they never let you forget. If you’re nice, I’ll let you drive, maybe.

ALYCE: Oh yeah? I’m a better driver than you are.

JACK: Whoever told you that?

ALYCE: You did.

JACK: Must have been a weak moment.

ALYCE: You didn’t think so at the time.

Excerpt from the play VOLLEYS

VOLLEYS is a series of sketches depicting the relationships between men and women. Some volleys are playful (Volley for serve.) Some are more serious, as in cannon volleys in wartime. Nothing in this play is made up. It’s bits of conversations I’ve heard (or at least to which I’ve been a party.) The following monologue is almost word for word as it was given to me in a Dance Hall on a Friday evening. By the end of the evening, a variation on this practiced speech had been duplicated to everyone in the place. I included it in the play because I suspected sad people like this actually existed, but I had never personally met one before.

AMY: See that woman over there? The one in the black dress? No! Don’t turn around. See her, now? That’s Jill Forrest. She hates me. I don’t know why. Jealous, I guess. I’m younger, prettier … I only mention it because she’s talking to Mike. Look how bored he is. Mike and I are getting married, did you know that? We haven’t formalized anything, he hasn’t even asked me yet. But he will. That’s why I came over to talk to you. You’re his friend. May I ask you something personal? Does Mike talk to you about me? What does he say? You can be honest. I can take it. Here he comes. Hi darling! Did you see that? Did you see how he smiled? He does love me, he just hates to show public affection. Shy. We’re going to be so happy – just the two of us. Once we get married and I get him away from that crowd he runs around with. I know they’re telling him bad things about me. I don’t mean you, of course. Who’s he talking to, now? I don’t know that woman. Do you? I don’t think I like her – her type. Would you do me a big favor? Go over and talk to him. And somewhere in the conversation – casually – ask him why he never says he loves me. But make it seem like it’s your idea. Tell him that I’m a person, I like to hear it, too. He does love me, you know. We’re getting married. Soon. We have to – I’m thirty years old, I don’t have that many child bearing years left. My sister is five years younger than I am, she already has two little girls. There he is- tell him! Tell him he has to marry me! Tell him I’ve saved myself, I don’t want to be alone any longer …