Friday, February 27, 2009

You Know You Are Getting Old When ...

Okay. I'm now reduced to this; blatant stealing.

My friend Nicki posed the question on her blog - "You know you are getting old when ..." She commented on the new refrigerator that was installed in her apartment. It didn't have an ice maker.

I thought about that question. I thought about that refrigerator. (No, I am not seriously in need of a life ... at least not seriously. Not TOO seriously.) In case you don't know this fact about me, I'll tell you. At the moment I am deeply engrossed in writing a play. In short, there are people who think this play is completed. I have no idea why they think that. Well, maybe I might have a suspicion. In any case, I'm working away at this thing, and take a few minutes to breeze thru the blogs I enjoy. And there is Nicki's question - a distraction. So here's my secret. when I'm under self-induced pressure, I am drawn to distraction. The more pressure, the more I cling to distraction. It's like moss growing on the north side of a tree. (Does moss really grow on the north side of a tree? How does it know which way is north? I learned this bit of trivia from a John Wayne movie, so it must be true. John Wayne has never lied to me. Actually, I think it was William Holden who said it, but he was standing beside John Wayne at the time, and if it wasn't true, John Wayne would have corrected William Holden. I don't recall anybody ever correcting John Wayne.)

Where was I?

Oh. Yes.

Anyway, I was drawn to Nicki's question. I can easily remember a time before refrigerators HAD ice makers. Does that mean I know I'm getting older? (Don't tell anybody. When I was really young - I mean minus two or something like that - I can remember a friend of my parents who had a refrigerator that had no electricity. It was a big wooden box with ice in the bottom drawer. But that was in Chicago in the summer. In the winter they didn't even need the wooden box. They just put their milk and hot dogs out on the window sill, and whatever was out there stayed cold just fine. But that was Chicago - very progressive.)

In the meantime, I thought the question was a good one, and - being a writer, I'd love your response. How do you know when you are getting older? (And I'll make it easy on you - you don't have to talk about refrigerators, or even Chicago, if you don't want to. Personally, I think Chicago is a pretty interesting place, and I think there's plenty to write about, but not much of it makes me feel older. S0 maybe you shouldn't write about Chicago.)

On the other hand, I'm not at all suggesting that you CAN'T write about Chicago if you want to. I mean, if Chicago makes you feel old, I'd love to hear about it.

So. Ya got it? "You know you are getting old when ...

(And to make it even easier, the kind blogger people have provided a comment box for you. I'm not kidding. It's about three inches down from where you are reading at this very minute. If you don't believe me, go ahead and scroll down and see, and then come back. That's okay. I'll wait.

Do be do be dooooo ...

See? It's there - waiting for you. Ya ready? "You know you are getting old when ...'



And how was your day?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Case For Leni Riefenstahl, PART TWO

A postscript of sorts ...

In regard to Leni Riefenstahl, in my mind it comes down to "what did she know, and when did she know it?" It seems pretty obvious the bulk of her important work was completed long before the Nazi atrocities were widely known. It seems to me that she was taking advantage of being in a position very few 34-year-old women could even dream about.

Hitler had brought Germany out of a monumental depression, gave work to people by building a roadway system that became the envy of Europe. He ordered the creation of the Volkswagen (laid the cornerstone at the factory), restored the military, the economy, and national pride. On the other hand - at the time - a small percentage of the population (the Jews) were beginning to be profiled as being responsible for most of the problems in the country.

Is this too high of a price to pay for national peace of mind?

We know what came next.

(1) The invasion of countries that were perceived as a threat to natural security.
(2) The imprisonment of people with no real charges or trial
(3) Allowing and/or encouraging the suspicion of people, based solely on religious differences.
(4) Torture
(5) Taking away of citizen rights and privacy.
(6) A government where the leadership was not held accountable for actions.

Should we judge Leni for not reacting when she saw these things happen?

Yes! Absolutely!

So ... Should we judge any less harshly the people in any country where these things occur?


And how was your day?

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Case For Leni Riefenstahl

In my opinion, Leni Riefenstahl was one of the great film directors of the 20th century. Her images are powerful, with often a dream-like quality. Her choreography is always exactingly precise, moving literally thousands of people with seeming ease.

Later in life she switched to still photography, captivated by tribes of people in the heartland of Africa.

Even later, at the age nearing 100, she was still active as a photographer, now under water.

Still, I’m hesitant to admit knowledge of the woman, much less admiration. What you may not know, and I’ve been hesitant to mention until now, is that for the greater part of her career, she worked for the greatest monster of the 20th century, and she is known almost exclusively for glorifying Adolph Hitler and the 3rd Reich.

Here, then, is my question. Is it possible to be drawn to powerful images, and at the same time repelled by the subject matter? I have this feeling of guilty pleasure, and I don’t like it very much

What are your thoughts?


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


So. I make all these noises about being a playwright. But it's been a couple of years since one of my works has been produced. Am I now writing for my own amusement?

That ain't it, kid.

So. Last year my buddy Julie and I entered a play in the WRITER'S DIGEST PLAY COMPETITION, and it did well.

So. This year I entered my latest work in the same competition. I mean, that's doing something.

Right? Right.

So. A minor complication. The play has been entered, but so far only 25 pages of it have actually been written. I mean, if it wins something, what are the chances that somebody might actually want to read part of it?
So. For the past few days I've been writing like the panicked idiot that I am. Here's a bit of dialogue nobody else has seen yet.
(Madeline, age 55, is talking on an antique cell phone.)
MADELINE: Betty? Madeline. Would you do me a favor? Look out your window and tell me if Bill is home yet. (SHE pauses.) Good.Yes. I'm still here. His Highness hasn't come out of the bathroom in three hours. I mean, nobody is that full of ... on the other hand, I could be wrong about that. (SHE pauses.) I don't know. A couple of hours, most likely. I want to make sure he's taking his pills. Not that it would be such a big loss, if you know what I mean. (SHE looks around.) God, look at the dust. I'm in the tea room. The TEA room. The GARAGE!
(SHE runs a finger over the top of a dusty teapot. At that moment OWEN, age 72, enters.)
OWEN: If you break that, you pay for it.
MADELINE: Why don't you clean these once in awhile?
OWEN: Go home. Clean your own teapots.
MADELINE: Teapot. Singular. More than one is an excess.
OWEN: Too bad you don't feel that way about husbands.
MADELINE: I beg your pardon?
OWEN: As well you should.
MADELINE: I'm sure I don't know why I come over here.
OWEN: You're masochistic.
MADELINE: I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about.
OWEN: And it's no fun at all if I have to explain it.
(MADELINE speaks into the cell phone.)
MADELINE: Betty? I'll call you back. (SHE ends the call, hands the phone to OWEN.) You really should get a new one of these.
OWEN: Why?
MADELINE: It's old.
OWEN: So am I. There. I've fed you a straight line for once. Make the most of it.
MADELINE: Of what?

And how was your day?

Saturday, February 14, 2009


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

It's time to return to work; people to see, friends to love, an agent to apease. It's time to write words again - better words. Always better words. The desire to communicate ... in ... plays alone, plays with another, plays for others. Contests. Words. Acting and writing classes to teach. It's more than making a living. It is living.

It's time. Time time time. Turn turn turn.


And how was your day?

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Funny Valentine

My Funny Valentine
My funny Valentine
Sweet comic Valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable, unphotographable
Yet you're my favorite work of art
Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak, are you smart?
But don't change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little Valentine, stay
Each day is Valentine's Day
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart


Details later ... It's gonna take me awhile to go thru the mountain of emails ...